|What's the point(s)?|
However, having no wish to see Gospodin Lavrov laughed at in public, I have a consoling suggestion to make about the reason why Azerbaijan gave the Russian entry no points. The idea occurred to me when I watched the video to see what all the fuss was about (see here). To my surprise, I noticed that it was sung in English. Then it dawned upon me that the Azerbaijanis probably did not understand a word of it.
If the Soviet Union had been more attentive towards teaching the international language to its subject nationalities, and had had less of an inferiority complex about speaking English, then those judges down in Baku or wherever might have got the message and been able to sympathise with the words of the Russian crooner.
But then again, listening to the words, I wonder. I felt as if I was watching to someone on “Russia’s Got Talent” auditioning for an understudy in a 1980s musical about Jennifer Rush. I am not sure I’d’ve given the song many votes, even I had known that doing so might have risked making Mr Lavrov burst into tears at the humiliation of it all. One has, after all, one’s moral integrity to consider, even when it comes to International Farting Competitions.
But a final, positive, point: Russian is a much more attractive-sounding a language for crooning than English. It can convey a sense of mystification with especial force outside the former Soviet Union, because we in the English-speaking world were (and are) so much worse at languages than even the Russians (who are not that great). I think the song would have done much better both inside and outside Azerbaijan if it had been sung in Russian. The time for linguistic inferiority complexes is long past. Modern up, Sergei old chap! Who wants to hear Nezhnost, or even Podmoskovnye Vechera, sung in English, after all (except, perhaps, in a “creative” way by Bob Dylan, say, or Sid Vicious, two inferior singers who refused to accept their vocal limitations)?