Eurovision: The world’s greatest drinking game*. You drink every time you see white pants, three or more nonsense syllables in a row (eg la, la, la), a dramatic key change, an on-stage costume alteration, lyrics that are in English (but barely recognisable as such), and so on.
Eurovision is a massive international contest for up and coming musicians. All Europe (and several other countries) competes, the finals run for several nights, and then the 25 best songs are performed in one massive night, followed by a LOT of voting. Abba first became famous at Eurovision.
Sounds sane, doesn’t it? I assure you it is not. The thing that makes Eurovision special is the astonishing array of poor singing, apalling songs, and sheer exuberance. I dressed up for the occasion, and so did a few others:
Last year a German woman named Lena won the contest. The opening number celebrating her 2010 song featured sixteen synchonised male dancers dressed all in white (that’s sixteen drinks), then (I kid you not) twenty-four fake Lenas in little black dresses and wigs, singing and dancing together with the flags of the twenty-five finalists (Lena was representing Germany again this year, so she was among them).
All my doubts about Eurovision 2011 (could it be as spectacularly wrong as previous years?) were banished at once.
I was a little disappointed that only one lady (Lithuania, if memory serves) showed massive cleavage, and not a single girl ripped off an item of clothing at an opportune moment.
Ah well. 2011 was all about boy bands, magic, and hoop skirts.
One of the early gentlemen had hair that looked like he’d stuck his hand in an electrical socket, but even he was outdone by Ireland, who had a pair of male lead singers with five-inch high hair on top and giant dice-shaped shoulder pads. Oh, and they were twins, too.
My picks for the top three:
1. France’s tousle-haired opera singer.
2. Italy’s soft jazz.
3. Finland’s oh-so-subtle environmental pop, “Da Da Dum” (that’s three nonsense syllables, by the way).
The host of our Eurovision party assigned each person their own country. Austria was mine – a lady with six-inch heels apparently welded in palce (to a podium in an inpenetrable sea of fog from which several backup singers appeared). It was rather dull in Eurovision terms – nothing but a few hundred sequins flashing on her dress. . . which turned out to be real diamonds. Yikes.
Ukraine stood out. She had a cool dress and the song was fine (again, Eurovision standards apply). The REALLY cool thing was that she had a sand artist on stage, making brilliant pictures that appeared on the giant screen as they were formed. And so it was that the Ukraine was upstaged by sand. Badly.
The best part about Lena’s triumphant re-entry into the contest was her interview, when she replied to the question, “Why compete again?” with “Because I am an egotist” and to the question, “Are you nervous?” with “My legs are shaking and my breasts are ready to BCHOOO!” (With mime of exploding breasts). Her song (along with two others) was terribly derivative of last year’s winning offering – although this time her backup dancers were dressed in hooded silver unitards.
Because it’s Eurovision, that’s why.
Serbia’s song had a pleasantly psychedelic 60s vibe (with a charming lack of actual dancing ability), but my heart will always belong to Moldova.
Every single person on stage wore a 2.5-foot cone-shaped hat on their head through the entire song. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a fairy (also in a giant cone-shaped hat) rode onto stage on a unicycle, wearing a short hoop skirt with bells all around the hem, and carrying a two-foot long fake trumpet. At the last moment, the lead singer produced and wore a monocle.
Don’t believe me? Want to see it for yourself? Okay.
I’m sad to report that none of my favourites won. The winner was Azerbaijan, with a harmonious and catchy song about – ah, whatever. I don’t care. Probably love.
*Those of us working the next day tend to play the drinking game with M&Ms/smartes/skittes/pods/etc.