Switzerland has picked Heilsarmee for Eurovision 2013 with their song “You and me.” Heilsarmee is comprised of members of the Swiss branch of the Salvation Army, and it has been noted by more than one observer that it’s a rather controversial choice for Eurovision given its contentious relationship with the LGBT community.
Even if there isn’t ultimately a controversy around the selection, it’s still interesting that the Salvation Army of Switzerland thought entering a Eurovision song would be a good outreach effort. It’s all very calculated, really: they submitted an anthemic rock song and tapped a 94-year-old double bass player to capture the babushki vote. Of course, their calculations paid off at the end of the night.
Not that the competition was fierce: Melissa’s “The point of no return” was our pre-show favorite and the choice of the international panel that provided commentary during Die Entscheidungsshow. However, she didn’t come off as particularly charismatic during her performance. With a flowing gown, a wind machine, and flying monkeys on a leash, the presentation all added up to second-rate Charlotte Pirelli. Worse, Melissa made the mistake of taking the song in a lower key than suited her voice, and she was unable to stand out from her backing track. All in all a disappointing showing for the 2011 Spanish runner-up.
Rounding out the top three were Jesse Ritch with “Forever & a day,” an British R&B number that was passable, and Carrousel with “J’avais rendez-vous,” a sort of alt-chanson number that was competent if a bit dull. At the end of the night, it was hard to imagine Heilsarmee would lose.
All that said, we were quite pleased with Die Entscheidungsshow. It was a fun, well-organized show, and there were no train wrecks in the running. Save, of course, Nill Klemm’s back-up dancers, who were far funnier than Anthony Bighead’s jokey “Do the monkey.” We also had the added bonus of spotting Samantha Ross from ESC Insider and Ewan Spence and Terry Vision from ESC Insight in the audience. It’s kind of hard to miss Terry, really, seeing as he was the only audience member made of felt (since Lys Assia wasn’t there).
UPDATED 17 DECEMBER 2012: esctoday.com reports that the European Broadcasting Union has told the Swiss delegation that they cannot use the name Heilsarmee or the Salvation Army uniforms during their Eurovision performance. If they are looking for a new name, might we suggest Ramsauer and Friends?
UPDATED 14 MARCH 2013: Heilsarmee announced that they will be presenting “You and Me” at Eurovision under the name Takasa.