Last night, after 3+ hours of singing, dancing, laser lights and voting results, Denmark became the new winner of Eurovision. If you’re from or in Europe, a club-goer, radio-listener or general consumer of media, you better start liking the flowing, flutey (it’s a word now, deal with it) tunes of Only Teardrops; or move away. Far away, to the corners of North America, who has no problem pretending that Europe doesn’t exist anyway.
Now, I’ll let you in on two personal (not so secret) secrets.
#1 Music is not all that important to me (gasp!). If I can dance to it in a club or sing along to it at a party, great, other than that, it just doesn’t get my blood running. Fantastic guitar solos, live concerts and chilling voices do nothing for me – just give me whatever’s pop-y, house-y, and on the Top Charts and I’m good. It’s a problem, I know. And, if you still respect me as a human being and continue reading, you’ll agree that this secret logically leads into the next one:
#2 I love Eurovision. Music for me is a means to an end. The end being entertainment, and nothing more. And Eurovision may not be quality, but it is most definitely entertaining.
In my case, Eurovision isn’t just one night, it’s a week-long celebration (listening to the entries on the official site, 2 semifinals and the final) of fun, glittery ridiculousness. Yes, the songs are usually bad, and the lyrics often worse (‘I painted my toenails for you’, really Lena?), but everybody on that stage worked super hard (in their own shallow way) to get there, and is ECSTATIC. Everybody in that Arena, wherever in Europe it may be, is waving a flag, singing along, and is even more ecstatic (I on the other hand am still a little bitter, because I could have been one of them, but that’s another, truly heartbreaking, story).
I don’t know about your languages and cultures, but there’s a saying in mine that goes: ‘He who sings thinks no evil’. And that right there could be Eurovision’s motto. Because, we’ve long since established that money makes the world go round, and Europe currently isn’t doing so well in that circle of life. For one night, though, we can all put that monetary and ideological crisis on hold, and make light of the situation.
Hey, if Greece can do it, and have this year’s entry be a mix of Greco tunes, traditional (Scottish?) dress and the lyrics ‘Alcohol is Free’ (which begs the question of whether it’s free because Germany is paying for it), then anyone can.
And when you have snippets of fun facts from your national Eurovision commentators, like the fact that each country had to pay for its own on-stage fireworks during the show(s), well that just makes it all the better. Worrying about the national debt Albania’s entry must have caused (they had fireworks coming out of their guitar), applauding Italy for being so cost-effective, and having a serious, sultry song with not fireworks, laser lights or backup dancers and relying solely on good looks (possibly one of their biggest exports, along with pizza, if you’re into that) – what could be more fun? Especially when you’re watching with a group of international journalists, like I was.
So, for all of you Europeans that scoff at Eurovision, I recommend you stop being so musically self-important for just one night, have fun, make fun of everyone (it’s not only allowed, it’s essential to the experience) and embrace the fact that we need all the laughs, shared jokes and European unity we can get – even if it comes in the form of tassels, glitter and vampire opera dubstep.
And for all you non-Europeans, living Europe and beyond, join in, learn the rules, and celebrate when your adopted home country wins, like my friends and I (from China, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and the usual European suspects) did last night.
Now sing it with me – ONLY TEARDROOOOOOPS.
Now that I’ve converted you all into massive fans, let’s end this year’s Eurovision celebrations with some of my favorite fun facts:
1) Ireland was super duper original one year and sent a singing turkey, chicken, goose poultry instead of a person. [My mistake, it was a turkey and his name was Dustin, now stop laughing and show some respect]
2) Russia saw them their originality and took it a step further last year, bringing in an ethno-pop band of grannies, called Buranovskiye Babushki. Again, when you stop laughing, you’ll agree that they’re adorable. They also won second place, right behind our Swedish club favorite Euphoria.
3) Lithuania played the ‘positive thinking’ card in 2006 and came out with a song called ‘We are the winners (of Eurovision)’. Sadly, they were not the winners. Finland won instead and made alternative heavy metal, and monsters, the new cool.
4) I’m going to end this post on a nationalistic note (well, it is a competition isn’t it?). Remember how this year’s winner is ethnic and flutey? Well, Serbia did that first, all the way in 2004, and won second place. Take that, Denmark.