The middle of May is my Christmas and it truly is the most fabulous time of the year. Sequins, choreography, songs of love and peace, feathers, fake-tan and strategic voting. In other words, the weird and wonderful world of Eurovision.
The Eurovision Song Contest was born in the 1950s, in a bid to unite post-war Europe through song. Countries qualify with their song in an effort to make it to the final and once in the final, all countries around Europe vote for the most popular song and its country becomes the next Eurovision host country the following year. Historically, Eurovision has launched the careers of ABBA and Celine Dion and many up-and-coming European artists are hoping the same thing, with one of the more colourful winners being Israel’s ’90s champion, transsexual Dana International (yay for progress).
Eurovision 2013 wrapped up in Sweden last Saturday night, with Denmark dubbed winner for their song ‘Only Teardrops’, sung by a barefoot and Shakira-esque singer named Emmelie de Forest. However, Eurovision is not a juggernaut only because of winners. It is everything else that comes along the way, which leaves me counting down the days until the extravaganza.
There is cheesy and sickening Europop sung by people with their heavy regional accents. There are elaborate and gaudy outfits which should have been left in 1995. There is enough glitter and confetti to drown even Ke$ha. There is annoying banter between hosts and there is scenic imagery of each participating country.
Among, the more colourful events this year there were Finland’s lesbian kiss, Ukraine’s giant (literally), UK’s Bonnie Tyler staging a comeback, Ireland’s Jersey Shore extra, Lithuania’s hunky Brandon Flowers lookalike, France’s rock chick, Moldova’s soaring singer… and then there was Romania.
Romanian singer Cezar (do yourself a favour and check him out) represented everything I love and expect from Eurovision. His song ‘It’s my Life’, which has subsequently seen him dubbed in the press as a “castrated vampire”, was a mixture between opera and dubstep. While Cezar resembled Dracula in his bejeweled outfit and high notes, all I can say is that he was fabulous with a capital F and this is a song I will be discretely downloading and thanking the Eurovision gods for.
Aside from the singing, there is the voting. Each country must grant songs between one and twelve points. There is awkward lagging via satellite, there is elongated small talk and there is the strategic voting, putting to shame the purity of the contest. Greece give 12 points to Cyprus and they repay the favour, Norway votes for Sweden and former Soviet countries vote for Russia. Traditionally western countries like France and the UK trail behind with points.
While I live in Australia, which is a long way from Europe, many Eurovision loyalists hit pubs and clubs and even city squares to marvel at the magic of Eurovision. I sincerely hope Romania’s song is played in all its glory at many nightclubs- I love you, Cezar.