Editorial – After the usual „this is the worst ESC year ever“ cries on certain platforms, we now realize that 2011 is not that bad at all. There is a development tough that is deplorable: Of the 43 entries this year only 8 (Spain, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Macedonia, Serbia, Cyprus and Portugal) will perform their entry entirely in a language other than English. France’s decision to perform its operatic song in Corsican means that this year will not have a single entry in French (except one sentence in Lithuania’s chorus). After the contest was dominated by French in its earlier years and French was at least the second most important language over the decades this year marks a new down point.
Even countries which usually would be expected to perform in their own language like Slovakia, San Marino and Slovenia (allegedly) have sprung on the English bandwagon, but who can blame them?
Last year out of the 14 non-qualifiers, 9 had performed in their national language and only 4 songs performed in a language other than English qualified (Serbia, Greece, Portugal, Israel). In the final the first 7 places were reserved for songs in English, only Greece could make it into the Top 10 with their song “Opa”. The other non-English entries were France (12.), Serbia (13.), Israel (14.), Spain (15.) Portugal (18.). All this shows, that a song performed in it’s national language has it harder to get a good result. Since 1995 only one song has won the contest in a language other than English (Serbia 2007)
The problem I see with this is that the contest loses a lot of it’s intentional appeal and its goal, to show different European cultures. The Dutch representatives, the 3JS, have never sung in English in their career, but they seem to think that they need to perform in English to get a good result and the biggest problem is that they are right. It is also the televoter’s and juries fault for favouring songs in English.
In the future, there are countries which are more likely to sing in English (Germany, Scandinavia) and others that will probably send entries in their national language in the coming years. The protest in Poland against Magdalena Tul’s intention of performing in English is a cause of hope as it shows, that the fans can actually influence these decisions. Let’s hope this “anglophonization” does not progress as it has or in 2020 we will only hear songs in English.