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Monday, May 19, 2008

The Eurovision Party

posted by on May 19 at 9:47 AM

I hope some of you are now intrigued enough to watch this yearís Eurovision Song Contest. It should be shown on a number of channels e.g. ETV Internacional, most major European channels and it will be streamed on the official website (here). The first semi is on May 20th, second on May 22nd and the Final on Saturday May 24th, each time live at 21:00 CET (I think thatís noon for you folks in Seattle). If you download or tape it, make sure youíre not spoiled beforehand, because that would be a real shame.

Now what do you need for a Eurovision party? Booze, obviously. Lots of it. There are a Eurovision Drinking games here and there for those of you who need to be drunk to be able to sit through an entire night of questionable music.

But apart from that, score sheets are also essential. You can make them yourself (find the list of participants at the Eurovision website) or if you wait long enough, the BBC usually makes a handy one for the final. You can score on song, singing, lyrics, outfits, performance, key changes, general ridiculousness or hotness of the performers. Whatever works for you! Derive your winner from that and be prepared to be pissed off if Europe doesnít agree with you.

Flags are nice, those little paper ones, but not the ones you put on cheese, those are too small, I know.. Iíve tried. You definitely need a country to back. For Europeans, itís easy, just pick your own country (or *donít*, as is usually the case for me), but for the rest of the world this opens a range of possibilities. Choose a country for its name, because itís where your ancestorsí roots lie, because itís your favourite holiday destination, because you like the song the most (or least) or because no-one else wants it (Belgium comes in handy in this last category). Defend this country and this song, no matter your personal feelings towards it, to the death. Shout at everyone whoís bitchy about it and hate all the countries that declined to vote for it. Drag wars into it if you have to Ėyou wouldnít believe the amount of times World War two gets mentioned around here at Eurovision time-. Be prepared to feel gutted if your favourite doesnít make it even close to the top ten.

The big difference between the semis and the final is the voting. In the semis, the presenters will just get envelopes and read out who got through to the final. During the final the votes are given live (an example of this here). The votes are half the fun of Eurovision. Every single country has a satellite link and shows a local celebrity sitting in front of a national landmark. Youíll have a Brit sitting in front of Big Ben (ok, a blue screen with Big Ben projected on it, but still), a Frenchman in front of the Eiffel tower and here and there someone who just didnít bother with landmarks and who sits in front of ugly wallpaper. Even when giving out the scores, Europe tries to impress. The voting usually takes well over an hour and is stereotypically the same. The country mentions where theyíre calling from, they compliment the presenters on a magnificent show, try to say something in the native language of the host country, and if they go on too long you can see the presenters thinking ďget the fuck on with it, youíve only got one minuteĒ. Entertainment guaranteed. They give their countryís three highest scores, the rest automatically appears on the screen, the audience in the arena starts booing if their country didnít get any points, and theyíre off again. On to the next country. This is where the bitching really starts. Conspiracy theories! Bloc votes! Politics! Ethnic Cleansing! Everything and anything goes as an explanation why your country didnít get its rightful place in the ranking.


So, dress up, wave your flags, fill in your scoresheets, gently mock the contestants who deserve it, and be sure to acknowledge those who are fabulous. Have fun!

And for your (or my) enjoyment: two Eurovision Queens. First up: Deen from Bosnia & Herzegovina (9th in 2005), who might technically not be a queen, but … well… He wants! To dance! All night! In the discoooo….


And Helena Paparizou (winner in 2004) and her gorgeous men (note the Fire/Desire rhyme):

RSS icon Comments

1

I'm very excited. My Ukrainian co-worker has me convinced Russia will be the winner, though. (She's watching it through Russian television at a friend's, so that means that a Russian broadcast is available in the States...)

Posted by Abby | May 19, 2008 1:49 PM
2

I've heard that very same rumour. Dima Bilan's performance is horribly over the top (though he does rip his shirt open), the ballad is sugary horror, but he's a superstar in Russia and about a dozen other eastern European countries. So he stands a very good change (I hope not though, but then again, what do I have to say about it).
I mean, the guy brings an Olympic medallist with him to skate a few rounds on a mini ice rink! If Belgium ever thought of an ice rink, we'd have brought some the neighbour's kid who can do a halfdecent pirrouette. But not the Russians, oh no! Olympic gold or nothing at all! :-)

Posted by Griet | May 19, 2008 10:33 PM
3

I just checked the results of the first semis. So sorry about Belgium!!! And no Dustin the Turkey? What is this world coming to...

Posted by Sue T. | May 21, 2008 7:07 AM

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