Before there was American Idol or The Voice or whatever it is that my mom watches on TV, there was Eurovision. Eurovision is a 56-year-old annual contest held among the members of the European Broadcasting Union; each country sends a performer or group to perform one song for judges and a huge crowd, and by a mystical system of judging which I do not understand, one country is chosen as the winner each year, and may return victorious to their native land. You may have heard of ABBA and/or Celine Dion, who have both competed in years past and had their careers jumpstarted by the magic of Eurovision.
I am a newcomer to Eurovision, by which I mean I never knew or cared about until last year, when I lived with someone who did, and watched prodigious amounts of the contest in our sweaty unairconditioned apartment in the summer of 2011. I still feel like I do when watching football, which is confused and a little anxious, but also there are many very enjoyable things about Eurovision! Some fun activities include hearing languages spoken/sung in that you’ve never heard before, or alternately hearing people sing in English who clearly don’t understand the lyrics they’re performing, really incredible outfits, really incredibly ridiculous outfits, incredibly ridiculous outfits that are either totally unrelated or extremely literally related to the subject matter at hand, intense choreography, and sometimes pyrotechnics. The songs below do not combine all these elements, but they address many of them, and are also awesome. They do not encompass the entirety of awesome Eurovision things, either; for instance, I know there was at least one performance where the vocalist was dressed as like a robot or maybe the Tin Man in super shiny silver costume and also two shiny metallic backup dancers behind her had like jersey numbers on their backs?? Does anyone know what that one was? Because God damn.
Eurovision 2012 is happening this week, from Tuesday to Thursday. Do your research beforehand to discover where your allegiances lie, and then watch for yourself!
“This sort of butch lady singing with a bunch of hot ladies may seem gay, but she is mostly singing about Jesus.” — my friend Batia
I don’t even know what this is. It makes me scared but also excited?
Dana International is a two-time contestant for Israel, and transgender. This song won Eurovision in 1998! She also competed last year, with the catchy and enjoyable song “Ding Dong.”
This feels to me like a commercial for conditioner? Like I want to buy conditioner or something after watching it. Apparently it is actually about curing cancer though!
The internet is still talking about the “epic sax guy.” Four for you, sax guy! Also, furry shoulder pads!
This song is very entertaining without making any real sense to a native English speaker whatsoever, which is mostly what I look for in a Eurovision entry, so.
Okay, so this hasn’t actually happened yet. But it will, and also, singing grannies. Look at their necklaces! WINNERS. I’m calling it now.