Sunday, April 29, 2018



Why oh why should I write about Eurovision? Has it anything to do with dating, love and life? Indeed it has not but then I am one to often veer off on a tangent and this is it. 

Before you roll your eyes and swipe left let me tell you that Eurovision is one of the most exciting things that unite Europe (and a few other countries outside it). There is no other yearly gathering of nations, for people who are not that into sport, than this singing contest. You may think the voting is political (and you could be right), you may think it’s fixed (and you would be semi-right), you may think there is an imbalance (again you are right), but in the end it’s a great piece of entertainment and the laughs come fast and numerous.

RAI The Italian Channel started Eurovision in 1953. It was originally called Eurovision Grand Prix (presumably changed not to confuse with the car race). RAI belongs to the EBU (The European Broadcasting Union) and any country that does, or their affiliates, can enter. This explains Israel entry. In the past Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine have also entered.

Australia: (a WTF moment) had many of you side blinded as you were still trying to work out if Israel is in the EU and have since learned that the EU has nothing to do with Eurovision I can tell you that Australia does belong to the union affiliated with the EBU. Also Australia broadcasts the contest and is huge fans of the contest, so in 2015, on the 60thanniversary Australia was invited to join, in what was originally a one-off. However, here they are in year 3.

According to the flexible rules of the Eurovision, the country that wins hosts the next one. However, should Australia ever win, the contest will be held in Europe. 

Countries can now sing in any language they choose; I believe one-year Belgium (who have 4 languages) made one up! 7 years into Eurovision Sweden threw a spanner in the works by singing in English, up till then it was assumed everyone would sing in their own language; another rule was born that got changed once again; until in 1999 it was decided contestants could sing in any language they liked. Just about everyone did proving, once again, there’s an advantage if you pick a language most people know?

There is a rule that every participating country has to broadcast all the songs otherwise you can’t come to the party. This will account for some countries choosing not to enter as long as Israel is in the mix.

Another rule born out of necessity is that there is a maximum of six people on stage and no live animals are allowed (trust me they’d use it if they could). Countries have not been adverse to doing whatever it takes to get votes: singing grannies, wheelchair bound singers, near topless singers, fake animals, singers barely 16, a beaded lady, lesbian snog and the wind machine.

The Big Five:
Who are the big five and why are they the Big Five? First, let’s explain that since the wall came down every man and his dog wants to sing for Europe and the contest has gone from a few to too many. Hence we now have to endure semi-finals in which 10 countries are chosen (out of 16 or so) to go through to the final. The rest are sent home with their excessive sequined outfits and road kill feathers on their shoulders. The final is down to 26 countries – 20 from the semi-finals and 6 others. The 6 include last year’s winner and the Big 5 (UK, Italy, Germany, France and Spain). They get to be in the final because it’s their party. They are the largest contributors to Eurovision and have been a part of it since the year dot. Some countries have taken umbrage to this elitist group and have cut off their noses to spite their faces by not participating (i.e. Turkey (who won one year and came second another year and do pretty well until they decided to take their kebabs and grill them elsewhere). 

Still don’t understand that one except that neighbouring countries tend to vote for each other.

Phew, I think that about covers Eurovision and I may put together another missive on some interesting and bizarre facts over its 63-year-old life. Some people take this contest seriously, you can’t, and you shouldn’t. However, it does spawn some pretty good songs, but mostly not.

If you do get the chance to go to the live concert you won’t regret it. It’s hilarious, great fun with electric atmosphere, but if not watch it at home with friends and
look out for excessive tinsel, fireworks and the wind machine.

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