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Forget the dancing clowns, let's get in tune for Eurovision 2011

In recent years I've grown to love Eurovision. It's the sheer enthusiasm of the contestants that impresses me.

I think I was born without the gene that enables a person to jump up and down and scream hysterically with happiness.

Even at my very happiest, all I can manage is a discreet inner glow, and a modest shrug of the shoulders.

But that doesn't stop me from being very touched when I see other people going giddy with sheer delight.

And so I was very touched indeed when Lena Mayer-Landrut, only 19, won this year's competition for Germany with her catchy song, Satellite.

And she was so gracious and polite when she won, too. Her country must be very proud of her.

This quirky little pop tune stood out from all the rest and it notched up a staggering 246 points on the famous Eurovision scoreboard.

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I have to say that the beautiful Lena and her infectious song and cheeky style reminded me strongly of Pixie Lott, Kate Nash, Lily Allen and Paloma Faith; all kooky female British singer-songwriters.

I must also admit here that our very own Niamh Kavanagh, representing Ireland, was arguably the best singer on the night. She was one of the few acts to receive a standing ovation from the rapturous audience.

I thought Niamh had it in the bag when she began to sing. And those haunting Irish pipes were beautiful, being played in the background.

I bet the management of the RDS in Dublin - not to mention the cash-strapped Irish government - were in despair at the thought of having to host the competition next year.

But clearly the voters were in a playful mood and they went for the light-hearted Satellite over an impressive clutch of power-ballad, soft-rock and folk-inspired submissions.

There was some 'good neighbour' voting, of course. There always is. But I'm going to suggest that this is mainly due to cultural preferences and not just outright favouritism and leave it at that.

Overall, I had a great evening lying prone on my DFS sofa with a large glass of merlot in one hand, a bag of tortilla chips in the other and conducting a pleasant discussion with my nearest and dearest about who might win.

We thought the Ukrainian entry had the most artistic credibility, Iceland fielded a good singer, too, and France's effort was certainly upbeat, but we all agreed that the German entry was the one most likely to survive outside of Eurovision.

So maybe next year there will be a distinct absence of dancing clowns, violinists in rural waistcoats and dancing girls with legs that go on forever.

And will the voters want more of the same - or will they vote for a heavy metal outfit or a big ensemble of professional dancers?

I can see why some fans hold Eurovision parties in their homes, certainly. And wasn't the flash-dancing absolutely fantastic? What a brilliant idea for audience participation. It was fitting that the German fans were also the best flash-dancers of the night.

The Eurovision is about free-wheeling fun, frilly frivolity and funky fashion. But it's also about cultural expression and diversification.

And it's so exciting to see experienced artistes competing against starry-eyed newcomers and novelty acts of all descriptions. So come on Pixie, Kate, Lily and Paloma and U2, or any one of a number of indie and mainstream singer-songwriters from these shores: what about giving Eurovision a go in 2011?

I know it's not cool, but what the heck! Oh, and please write your own song and select your own outfit too. And don't turn up with daft platform shoes on your feet and a Bakelite telephone on your head.

And don't set fire to your piano either. For Lady Gaga has the 'statement kooky' thing sewn right up . . . like, totally. So just be yourself, wear a frock from the High Street, pile on the red lippy and smile a lot.

Keep it simple. Keep it fun. Girls, maybe there's a lesson in there for all of us?


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