Eurovision 2012: Switzerland rejects Lys Assia and chooses Sinplus instead

No really, Eurovision has started already.

Last night, Swiss TV viewers selected the band Sinplus to represent the country in next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan, in the first of the national finals for 2012 competition.

In what appeared to be a good-looking show fronted by a reasonably well-chosen presenter, singers performed two minute cut-down versions their songs as opposed to the stipulated Eurosong three minute limit. In some cases this was an absolute God-send. Some were a little weak, it has to be said.

The top-billing for the show was undoubtedly the participation of 1956 contest winner Lys Assia. Now 87, the evergreen performer warbled her way through a composition entitled C’etait Ma Vie by similarly evergreen Eurovision composer Ralph Siegel in a song shamelessly echoing the styles of the 1970s and 80s.

This must have been a conscious decision on Siegel’s part. Something deliberate – fitting – for Assia to sing.

Lys Assia

But things have moved on quite a bit since the late 80s. Eurovision has reinvented itself considerably. Siegel must have known this, especially given the mid-tempo affair his wrote for the pitiful contrivance that represented Switzerland in 2006 and the considerably more musically (just-about) satisfying pop number for Montenegro in 2009. He must have known Assia wouldn’t win.

It may have first seemed appealing to have her on the running order (and was in no doubt perceived by Swiss TV execs as an excellent pull for audiences encouraged to participate in a telephone vote), the novelty of seeing pseudo-legend Assia perform again in the contest didn’t register well with the TV audience. Despite liking the song (I’m a middle-aged fan stuck in the past, don’t forget) I was already prepared. @TobsonHelsinki had warned me. Still, I felt a little a little sorry for her.

A defiantly proud Assia listened as one panellist (at least half her age) dismissed the song as ‘a little old fashioned’. It was but given the resulting telephone vote saw the chanson star languish in 8th place with 5.6% of the vote, little wonder she felt a little hard done by after the show.

Swiss Pannelist

Winners Sinplus presented what came across as the only real plausible song of the show. Undoubtedly U2esque, it seems at this very early stage almost a given that Switzerland’s song Unbreakable will steam through the semis and into the final.

On a personal note, however, I’d urge the lead to lose the jacket. And possibly do something about the make-up and the hair. Apart from that, I do rather like it.

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