Is Eurovision proof that the rest of Europe doesn’t hate Britain like the British think they do?

In the wake of Britian's success in the Eurovision Song Contest, Britain's favour amongst Europe is considered.

Killian Duvivier
31st May 2022
Union Jack and EU Flag. Image credit: Pixabay
As with every year, Eurovision is the moment for every European country (with the addition of Australia and Israel) to reunite through the most flamboyant singing contest the world has ever seen. Last year’s competition was hampered by Covid-19 restrictions, having to proceed with limited audience. This year’s Eurovision was significant considering the Russian war is still going on in Ukraine. Such a fact was not ignored, considering there were many blue and yellow flags waved all around the Pala Alpitour stadium in Turin, Italy, where the competition was held.

The Ukrainian folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra won with their song ‘Stefania’, an homage to group’s main performer Oleg Psyuk’s mother, still living in the Ukrainian city of Kalush.

This year, against all odds, the UK finished the competition ranking 2nd; something rare for the UK, whose singing competitors haven’t had the best results in the last years. Although engaging with politics through music is not allowed in the competition, there have been some political messages here and there across past Eurovision events. We all remember of course when the Icelandic band Hatari, flew the Palestinian flag during the night of the 2019 contest, set in Tel Aviv, Israël, in response to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Against all odds, the UK finished the competition ranking 2nd

Well, this year has definitely shown how politicised the show can be. Ukraine winning sends a clear message of support and hope to the suffering country. The UK’s position this year meanwhile has surprised a lot of people, and might be the sign that the country’s popularity on the continent is reaching new levels again.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, the British have rarely managed to score well, ranking between the 24th and 26th place between in the last few years. With the Brexit battle between Brussels and Downing Street between 2016 and 2020, many people could and did believe that Britain's popularity in Europe was affected.

As a French native, I remember myself watching on French news the result of the Brexit referendum. I have a clear memory of the news presenter painting the UK as the only country in the EU that had always been one foot in, and the other foot out; questioning its ‘Europeanity’ if we can say so. And that was only France, who knows what was said on other channels in other European countries.

Since the 2000s, the British have rarely scored well in Eurovision

But with the UK’s humanitarian action in Ukraine and France’s and Germany’s perceived failure to regulate Russian ruler Putin in past years, it seems as if the tables are slowly turning again. It seems that people in Europe are starting to see the UK in a new light.

When looking at the number of television viewers Germany and the UK are at the top with more than 7M viewers in both countries, followed by 5M viewers in France and the Netherlands. Viewers that would probably make the most part of final votes.

Politics aside, Sam Ryder’s 'Spaceman' is genuinely good. Although it might not be everyone’s taste, the singer came up with a well produced song, with great potential. And it seems that his universe is charming more than one; as 'Spaceman' is currently the Number one trending song in the UK.

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