Pop the champagne and fire up the popcorn maker…. it’s Eurovision!
A high-camp feast of musical mayhem and predictable political prejudices and persuasions. A boon for the bookmakers. An excuse for the European pop music community to drink copious amounts of alcohol and rub uglies. An opportunity for European dancers to grin maniacally and display their interpretive dancing skills. A chance for European set designers to let their penchant for garish colours and flashing lights run free. A night for female performers to wear costumes so brief and wispy so as to get a chill in their kidneys.
Not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest? Abba had their big break when they won it back in the 70′s with their ostentasiously costumed rendition of ‘Waterloo’.
It is the highlight of my television viewing year. Better even, than the AFL Grand Final. 3 1/2 hours of laugh-til-your-cheeks-hurt, cringe-worthy bliss. This show is FUNNY. F.U.N.N.Y. Thanks, in large part to the wonderful commentary of British tv/radio icon Terry Wogan. Sardonic, dry, and very, very witty with his lovely lilting Irish accent. He ought to be good. He’s been commentating Eurovision for nearly 40 years…
Every year, Eurovision unintentionally takes on a different theme. Most years at least 90% of the songs feature something in common. Last year just about every person on stage was wearing white. This year, was the year of gothic overtones and pyrotechnics, thanks to the stylings of last year’s winners, Lordi from Finland.
This is the video of Lordi’s winning performace from last year. So much fun. Watch. You won’t regret it. Hard Rock Hallelujah! [how they don't all go up in flames towards the end, is still quite beyond me...]
Eurovision is watched by over 600 million people worldwide and has a cult following in Australia. We don’t take part in it, for obvious reasons, so we have no vested interest, but the people of Europe take it all terribly seriously, which is funny in itself. We just sit and laugh our boxes off at the supreme kitschness of it all and Sir Wogan’s witticisms.
There are heats and semi-finals in every country that takes part; it goes on and on for months, but the Grand Prix de Europe (er, Grand Final), is open to only 24 countries. The format of the show runs in two parts. First, all 24 countries perform their respective and universally puke-worthy songs. Second half of the programme is the vote. We’ll get to that part.
First, I’ll share some stills of a few choice acts chosen to represent their respective countries:
It’s the Bulgarian Sheila E and the Mulletman. Ok, his name isn’t really Mulletman, but he does have rather spectacular hair. It’s all about percussion…
Honestly. CAN they be serious? Just look at them. This lot make Bucks Fizz look like The Beatles. The UK are given a free pass to the Eurovision final every year, along with Germany, France and Spain. Their entries are almost universally TERRIBLE. The thing that concerns me most, is that the songs selected to represent each country are chosen by the general public… I thought Morrissey was supposed to get a gander this year? What happened?!
Last year, Germany did a Country & Western song, complete with cowboy outfits. This year the flavour was Big Band Swing. In German. How very…. Brecht. Not.
A chintzy pseudo rock song of the highest order, sung by a young man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana. Complete with chorus:
Work your magic
You set my beating heart in motion
Will you cast your loving potion
I rest my case.
Georgia’s first ever Eurovision Grand Final appearance. It wasn’t half bad, either, if not a bit strange to look at. A couple of energetic, spinning Cossacks waving swords about and a pretty woman in a red dress, singing a kind of electro-goth anthem. I guess you had to be there….
This is probably best illustrated by Terry Wogan’s introduction:
“There’s a lot of impetuous head-shaking and scarf-waving, and it’s the outfit of the evening, lads, from Natalia. Altogether now, when she’s finished playing the fiddle, I want you to shout….”PULL UP YOUR TROUSERS!!”"
Then, when the song was over:
“We can only hope her mother wasn’t watching that.. [chuckles]. That was quite frightening…”
FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA
Aren’t you glad you don’t live there? It would take you ten years just to say where you lived. I include this young lady, because she had the longest legs and shortest skirt of the evening, by a long shot. There was even a fairly decent shot of her arse at one point, which thrilled my husband no end. Gotta love those Eurobabes.
Hungary sings the blues. Maybe they are hung(a)ry? Ok, that was possibly the lamest joke ever uttered, even in the name of Eurovision., but that’s what it does to you. I swear.
Did I mention how wonderful this all looked on the 42″ inch Plasma? Fan-bloody-tastic.
The second half of the show is made up of the voting process, where they cross to 42 separate countries by satellite link to have a short chat and get the results of the telephone votes from the public, via some local tv celebrity. You’d think it would be quite torturous, but it’s actually very amusing. Partly because so many of the votes are so utterly predictable with neighbouring countries and political allies voting for each other, often with complete disregard to the quality of the act they’re voting for. Croatia gives top votes to Bosnia & Herzogovina and vice versa, Iceland votes for Finland, Moldova votes for Romania, Belarus for Russia, Cyprus for Greece… you get the picture. There was an even more apparent voting block going on this year between the Eastern European countries, not helped that there were two new additions to the fray.
Despite the bias and the accompanying tutting and pffting, it all seems to work out in the end.
What really tickles me is that the poor old UK, France and Germany really don’t have any friends to give them the big points, so they just pick up the odd stray vote along the way. Everybody say “awwwwwww”, heh.
This year, Serbia came out on top, by a fairly decent margin with a heart wrenching power ballad to rival all power ballads, sung by a bunch of women in drag, looking like refugees from the island of Lesbos who all seem to have had a nasty accident with the same curling iron:
… but this is who should have won! If you only watch one of these videos, make it Verka! Hilarious! I’m in love. I want to have his babies. It’s taken me so long to put this blog up because I’ve spent most of the week so far watching Verka videos on YouTube. Best Eurovision song, EVER. It even gives Lordi a run for their money…. WATCH IT. I dare you! [titter]
Only in Europe, could millions of people vote a bunch of women in drag, and a cross dressing man into first and second place in such a political minefield of a song contest. I love it.
So, that pretty much wraps up Eurovision for another year. There were more videos I wanted to include, and if you want to see more, there are loads of great, chuckle-worthy performances on YouTube.
Serbia – 268
Ireland – 5
Oh, stuff it. Here’s one more. This is Switzerland’s entry which didn’t make it past the Semi Final, even though it was tipped as a hot favourite. It cracks me up. The artist is DJ Bobo (which is funny in itself), and the song is…. well, quite surreal. ‘Vampires Are Alive”. Just see it for yourself. Personally I’m quite fond of the shop mannequins in the background.
If you still can’t get enough, check out this blog here. It’s a cracker and it was written by an American who has never felt the sheer elation that a Eurovision final can bring, yet still manages to intrinsically appreciate the supreme cheesiness of it all.
Song Of The Day – Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai