A Word on Switzerland

As promised, I will devote an entire entry to Switzerland, a country that, in recent years, has become one of my favorites.

DJ Bobo, Paolo Meneguzzi, The Lovebugs, and Michael von der Heide, these are the four most recent representatives for the Swiss.  Interestingly enough, they are all Swiss nationals, going against the common misconception that Switzerland never sends one of its own to the Contest (you send one Canadian and you will never be able to live it down).  These four artists also some of the biggest names in the Swiss music industry across various genres: dance, adult contemporary, rock, and pop/schalger, respectively.  Apparently, success in the Swiss music industry doesn’t mean much, as each act failed to reach the Grand Final.  This hurts double when you add in the fact that each song charted in Switzerland and, at least the first three, were predicted to have a strong chance of restoring Swiss pride at the Contest (sorry Michael).

But why did these songs fail?   Each song seemed to have garnered a strong and vocal fan base prior to the Contest.  Each song seemed to have gotten a bunch of publicity beforehand.  DJ Bobo’s Vampires are Alive garnered protesters who claimed the song glorified the occult (apparently, no one seemed to notice a new book series written by Stephanie Meyer starting to catch popularity around the same time).  The Highest Heights also benefitted from a lot of early press as The Lovebugs had a connection to the band U2.  Despite the hype, despite the fan bases, despite the use of various genres, each song fell short of expectations.

Switzerland, while consistently putting in a lot of effort into their entry, seems to fail to realize the importance of promotion.  While Michael von der Heide did a better job than his predecessors in performing around Europe, the Swiss continue to shy away from showcasing their act around the continent.  Azerbaijan, Turkey, Bosnia & Heregovina, Ukraine are just several countries that have articles about their acts flood the pre-Contest press coverage because, traditionally, they go from country to country across the entirety of Europe promoting their entry, because, as I have said many times, only the Greeks can do well without trying.  While everyone whines about these countries having large diasporas, what happened when the United Kingdom tried their trick of trotting their act around the continent in 2009, Jade Ewen finished in fifth place, the best placing of a Briton act in six years.  If Switzerland hopes to rediscover success, it will need to do a much better job at promoting its entry.

One possibility seems to have presented itself, in the form of the self-proclaimed “mother of Eurovision” Lys Assia.  She has said, countless times, that Switzerland should send her back to the Contest.  We know she is a competitor; she represented the Swiss five times.  We know she can produce, as she has already won, and has scored several top placings – though, the 50’s/early 60’s was a completely different era for the Contest.  Niamh Kavanaugh showed that it takes more than being a past winner with a pleasant ballad to woo votes from the jury and audience with her woeful placing in Oslo. Lys Assia, being the inaugural winner, gets a proverbial free pass to the Final, but can she capitalize on it?  She is known for going throughout Europe traveling to various Eurovision events and National Selections.  I assume that she performs at these things already, how difficult would it be to add a new song to her setlist to follow Refrain?  Lys Assia could be the solution that the Swiss need, but only if they use her properly.

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