I’m not sure that any description I attempt will be able to adequately capture the crazy, campy, utterly bat-shit kookiness that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Let me explain; in almost 60 years, Eurovision has rarely been known for good music. (In fact, the greatest shock for fans this year, was not winner Conchita, the bearded drag queen, but the Netherlands’ country music-playing duo ‘The Linnets’ who had the audacity to perform without fire, giant clams, or wig-ripping dramatics, and whose song was folksy and catchy and therefore completely unsuited to Eurovision. And yet they managed to come in second.) Although it is a kitschy annual music extravaganza (that gave the world “Volare,” ABBA and Celine Dion), its reputation is far more aligned with outlandish costumes, big-budget stage effects, song titles “that sound like a phrase that an inherently untrustworthy person would tattoo on their forearm”, and passive-aggressiveness between all the competing countries. In short, Eurovision is so bad, it’s gloriously mad.
This year may not have had the incredible dance moves of 2012’s Russian grannies, a song about pirates by people dressed as pirates (Latvia 2008) or even Romania’s 2013 flamboyant opera dubstep vampire performance, but there was plenty of moments to celebrate (and get completely drunk to) how bonkers Europeans truly are.
First off, let’s start with the sets. I think it was a tie between San Marino and Ukraine.
San Marino: singing inside a clam always adds a little je ne sais quoi
Ukraine deserved special points for involving not only a dodgy tan and the hair extensions but also for putting a guy in a shirt and tie in a giant hamster wheel and making him run around and around it* to try and distract viewers from the woman singing “Can you hear me go tick-tock?” again and again.
*Although to be fair, it’s general a good idea to start looking for new ways to produce energy when you’re having a tiff with Russia.
Moving on to performances, each country had something ridonculous to offer (as ridonculous as using the word ridonculous I’ll stop, sorry). Here are a couple of my favorites for your entertainment:
Russia: the Tomalchevy twins intertwined by hair and holding light sabres while they delicately balanced on a see-saw throughout most of the act and a song which was, like most Eurovision song entries, completely inane yet gets stuck in your head. Also, the Russians were booed after their performance by politically-charged spectators, who, I can only assume, did so in the belief that Putin is a closet Eurovision addict.
As far as staging tricks went, Romania’s was probably the best of the night. Not only did their performance open with a hologram of Paula who poofed into glitter (I may or may not have oohed in drunken delight) but there was also some excellent fake playing on the circular keyboard that looks like Sauron’s Eye (it was perhaps not the best idea to have the keyboard continue playing after the dude had walked away). Oh! And, and they had a key change in their song. Romania was not fucking around.
SUDDENLY, trampolines!! Greece.
France deserves a special mention because their singer looked like an anthropomorphised Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss and because their song made no sense at alll. Titled ‘Moustache’, Twin Twin’s song seemed to be about being so rich that the only thing you still desire is a moustache. “Clearly, this is a satire!” I tried. “It’s a critique of society” But, even I couldn’t convince myself. You could compare it to Greece’s ‘Alcohol is Free’ entry last year but it’s not remotely as sophisticated.
Clearly, Poland is taking poststructural feminism seriously.
With Sebalter whistling like a Disney princess to a song so infectiously catchy that I may or may not have downloaded it onto my PC, I rather thought Switzerland would have done much better than it did. Then again, there are some fairly strange lyrics: “I am the hunter, you are the prey, tonight I’m going to eat you up”, “I am so wet and dirty”, “I feel your judgement”. Either Sebalter intentionally wants to sound like a sex pest or Google Translate wrote most of this song entry.
And did I forget to mention that in the Semis AUSTRALIA JOINED THE COMPETITION, BECAUSE GETTING INTO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL WAS JUST NOT CUTTING IT.
To be fair, with dancers in giant Koala heads and rhyming “Romania” with “speedos on your genitalia”, they fit right in.
Special mention to Latvia’s cake baking song, which was much better than Belarus’ ‘Cheesecake’ as well as Norway’s song ‘Silent Storm’ (that I quite liked) that’s apparently inside the man singing the song, which as Stuart Heritage puts it “is probably gastroenteritis. But who’d call a Eurovision song Gastroenteritis? That’d be madness. The lesson to take from this? Don’t call a Eurovision song Gastroenteritis.”Ask myself what comes next” he sings. My advice would be to run out and buy some Immodium so that this never happens again.” AHAHAHAHAHA.
I also quite liked all the videos where each country makes their own national flag through random stuff – Post Its, hockey pucks, jigsaw puzzles, dresses, mirrors, ice, dominoes, Rubik’s cubes, etc. Ooooh! You can watch all of those right here:
So, that was Eurovision. I know it makes no sense, Reader, but that is part of its brilliance. A brilliance you are sure to appreciate better several shots into the show and especially if you have Europeans who take this competition way too seriously, squabbling over politics and points, “France got a point. Shit. There is no justice”, “Drink every time someone votes for Russia out of fear”, “SCANDA-NAVAL-A. All points go to bare midriffs” and so on.
Ah I just loved everything in it’s own demented way, really. So, go on, watch it next year. You know you want to.