Wizovision 2021: Grand Final Results
It’s been an exciting week getting to know the finalists, and now the moment is finally here: the Wizovision Grand Final. I’m Marijke van der Meer, coming to you from Rotterdam where the six finalist countries – Denmark, France, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom – have had one more chance to perform and impress both the public and professional music juries from each country. Once those votes are tallied, we’ll have our winner and next year’s host country.
Denmark – “Dementors Down” by Copenhags
Denmark‘s performance was truly something to behold. The Patronus Charm is not easy, yet Copenhags managed to produce corporeal Patronuses that galloped and flew around the stage and audience, much to the viewers’ delight. In addition to a beautiful song, the group showed their impressive magical skills in a highly artistic way. The showmanship was appreciated by both the public and juries, who awarded very high scores that might be difficult to beat.
I asked Copenhags members if they would mind sharing what memories powered their magnificent Patronus Charms. “This moment, right here,” said Gerda Gundersen through tears. “We’re living our dream by performing in the Grand Final of Wizovision. What could make us happier? It’s the easiest Patronus I’ve ever conjured!”
France – “Do You Hear the House-Elves Sing?” by Enchanté
France gave a rousing final performance, waving socks and other items of clothing, but the political nature of their song may cost them in the long run. The audience was clearly divided. There were some SPEW banners waving in the audience but also audible boos. “I agree with the message and find house-elf enslavement deplorable,” one jury member admitted. “But I feel that this song is encroaching on the Wizovision rule prohibiting political songs. It’s just too controversial a subject, and it was bound to receive backlash. The fact that Enchanté made it this far is a testament to the high quality of the song and performance, but Wizovision just isn’t the place for it.”
A member of the public shared their thoughts as well: “I voted for France. I actually had never thought about how messed up the treatment of house-elves is, and I like when music has a message.” However, another disagreed: “I don’t see any elves up on that stage complaining. They seem happy enough.” I backed away before getting caught in the potential crossfire of an argument.
Ireland – “Werewolf in Control” by the Howlers
All-werewolf Irish band the Howlers were a hit with their guitar-shredding, fast fiddling, and step-dancing leprechauns for good measure. The audience was positively rocking out in what Muggles like to call a mosh pit. Lead singer Flannery Finnigan, feeling the energy, jumped right into the audience and was carried by them in another Muggle rock concert tradition known as crowd surfing as she belted the powerful lyrics. “That right there was acceptance like I’ve never felt before,” said Howlers fiddler Conan O’Connell. “All those people jamming with us, knowing what we are, and not fearing but welcoming and joining us.”
One audience member I spoke to was overcome with emotion. “Nobody outside of my immediate family knows that I’m a werewolf. I’ve kept it hidden for years, ever since I was bitten. But this song has made me feel less alone. It’s given me hope.”
Spain – “Aguamenti” by Fénix y las Flamas
Spain caused both a figurative flood of emotions and a literal flood on the stage during their final performance. Fénix y las Flamas, as promised in their song, made it rain and pour by actually casting the Water-Making Spell repeatedly, requiring quite a bit of cleanup and a delay while drenched sound equipment and staff were dried off. The audience seemed to love the effect, reveling in the rain even as they were soaked, but the professional juries were not as keen on the performance. Comments from the juries included “shallow,” “silly,” and “messy,” while the public called it “danceable” and “sexy.”
“I’ll never be able to cast this spell again without breaking into song,” said one audience member. Another viewer nearby, who happened to be a Charms professor, weighed in upon overhearing this remark: “Oh no, I’ll never be able to teach this spell in peace again. My classroom is going to be filled with students singing until the song becomes intolerable.”
Sweden – “Powderfloo” by the Short-Snouts
Sweden‘s catchy song was sure to be popular, but the crowd went absolutely wild when the Short-Snouts managed to connect two fireplaces onstage to the Floo Network and travel between them during the performance. Astrid Åkerström sang one verse, threw a handful of powder, disappeared, and reappeared on the opposite side of the stage to sing the chorus. Different band members continued to vanish in flames and even sing with their heads in one fireplace while their bodies remained near the other.
The performance was full of color, pizzazz, joy, and love. There was even a marriage proposal in the audience as the song ended. One word kept coming up when I asked people their thoughts: “magical.”
United Kingdom – “What Makes You Magical” by B-W!tchers
The British boys of B-W!tchers really know how to bust a move. Their lively choreography looked fantastic on stage, accented by owls flying above them in synchronized formations. The charming Brits got up close and personal with the audience, causing more than a few witches and wizards to swoon when on the receiving end of a flirtatious wink or intimate serenade. Even some jury members admitted that it was hard not to dance along with the infectious rhythm.
Thousands of wands with their tips alight were waving in the auditorium, and the audience could be heard singing along with the performers. There were also signs proclaiming undying love for various members of the band with phrases such as “Winston is always a winner to me” and “Goldstein for the gold.” The boys shared a big hug at the end that elicited “aww”s from the crowd.
I suppose that we shouldn’t be surprised at this point that Gilderoy Lockhart, after finding a way to interrupt every single interview and rehearsal this week, was determined to make an appearance in the Grand Final. We thought we were safe when we made it through all of the performances, but just as we were about to finish tallying the votes and announce the winner, he suddenly flew onstage on a broomstick in dazzling rainbow robes that changed color as he dismounted (or fell, depending on perspective) and paraded around the stage.
The audience seemed to think this was part of the show and began cheering and clapping, much to Lockhart’s delight. He blew kisses while he waved his cloak in sweeping motions that accentuated the bright colors. Even the staff was so astounded that no one moved to intercede for a few moments. Finally, he was coaxed offstage with the promise of a special trophy just for him waiting backstage. “Thank you, Europe!” Lockhart called as he left. “I love me too!”
Once that admittedly fabulous interruption was concluded, the results were in. It was a tight race. France came in at sixth with Spain just ahead, benefiting from the public vote but not the juries. In fourth was the UK, which usually manages to have a decent showing but tends to fall short of the biggest prizes. The top three were very close. Denmark came in third, behind second place by only a single vote. That runner-up spot went to Sweden, which means that the winner of Wizovision 2021 is…
Ireland! The auditorium was filled with howling as the audience showed their approval. “This number had everything,” one jury member said. “Musicality, energy, meaning. It will surely go down in history as an anthem in the movement for werewolf rights, as well as a phenomenal rock song. Unlike France’s divisive entry, Ireland’s is sung by people advocating for themselves and not in support of any political cause but sharing their own personal experiences, which may have just the sort of ripple effect that will lead to political change in the future.”
As green confetti littered the auditorium, the Howlers took the stage one more time for an extremely passionate encore rendition of “Werewolf in Control.” Lead singer and songwriter Flannery Finnigan accepted the trophy with her bandmates:
We want to thank everyone back home in Dublin – our families, who instilled a love of music in us, our friends, manager, producer, and especially the Irish werewolf community, who have supported us as musicians and as human beings. This is dedicated to all werewolves – those who are living their best lives, those who can’t live openly, those who are struggling in silence and secrecy. Our voices are for you. Music is the most powerful magic in the world! Keep on rocking and howling!
What an incredible finale to a truly remarkable Wizovision. Thanks for tuning in. Join us again next year in Ireland for Wizovision 2022!