After talking about Azerbaijan’s place as the joint-youngest Eurovision nation yesterday, now we have another of the seven founding nations of the contest. Indeed, Switzerland not only hosted the first ever contest in 1956 in Lugano, they also won it.
The singer of the original Eurovision winner, Lys Assia, has been a frequent feature in recent contests, often wheeled on as guest of honour. She has also attempted to revive Switzerland’s fortunes in the contest by participating in the Swiss national selection this year and last year. Unsuccessful at both attempts, there were rumours that she might represent San Marino instead. Who knows what might happen next year though.
The golden age of the Swiss in Eurovision was in the contest’s first 10 years, and since then the results have been patchier. In addition to the 1956 win, the 1988 contest was won for Switzerland by French-Canadian megastar Céline Dion. Since then, the results have been middling at best. An 8th place finish for Vanilla Ninja in Kiev’s 2005 contest remains the only time the Swiss have finished in the top 15 in the last 10 years, including a fairly poor qualification record from the semi-finals.
However, things are looking more positive this time, as Salvation Army band “Heilsarmee” comfortably won the Swiss national selection (see my review here). The EBU swiftly stepped in to say that using that name (the Swiss name for the Salvation army) and wearing the uniforms was in breach of their promotion guidelines, so a costume change and a rebrand will see Takasa take to the Malmö stage in 2 weeks time.
Takasa is speculated to be a secret acronym, meaning “The artists known as Salvation Army”, though it doubles up as a Swahili word for clean.
Controversy aside (if you can even call it that), “You and Me” is a powerful bit of folk-rock. Doesn’t sound too tempting really, but it’s really grown on me. It’s a bit of a motley crew, including a few rather nice Swiss men (one of them reminds me of a blonde Jake Gyllenhall, imagine!). It’s just got a really solid hook to it, a weighty rock-pop beat, and the capacity for everyone to sing along on their first listen, a dangerous mix!
It’s just got a good feel to it, I can’t quite articulate it. It’s got more oomph too it than some of the more twee entries. It’s also got a great slot (second-to-last) in the easiest semi-final. It should at least avoid adding to the tally of Swiss misses, even if might be a little alternative for the audience. Saying that though, there’s every chance it could break the top 10 – it’s one of those wildcard songs that I have no idea how to predict. All I can say is that I wish them the best of luck, and hope they put on a great performance!
For more ESC2013 reviews and news, please visit my Malmö 2013 hub. Or click “Malmö 2013” at the top of the page.