Eurovision is one of the best things on TV. I love it and don’t care who knows it.
The rest of the house isn’t quite on board with the idea of an entire evening devoted to camp, crazy and often reliably awful music — France we’re looking at you.
But how many other annual events unite Europe to celebrate the great and the terrible — Dustin the Turkey you know who you are.
Thanks to the power of deadlines this is written before the final but of a few things we can be sure. France was terrible. Unless they won in which case there’s a pink curly-tailed cochon circling my house. But they make up for it with the wine and the cheese.
The UK didn’t win. The sent a TikTok singing sensation. They could send Adele with Ed Sheeran on backing vocals and it would make no difference. You can’t really tell Europe to get lost in a referendum and expect it to love you back. It’s been 25 years since their last triumph and Scooch and Flying the Flag in 2007 should have earned a lifetime ban. Kindly they keep funding the competition, but that Adele and Ed thing might be worth a go.
The voting was political. There are complicated statistical theses devoted to the political voting patterns. I tried reading one, but I was back in Miss Toner’s maths class struggling with calculus again. Sweden always loves Denmark, the Balkan states used to have a thing for Russia etc. The most perfect example was Ukraine’s 2016 entry 1944, about the deportation of Crimean Tatars by the Soviet Union.
It was a complete dirge, which whipped the backside off Russia’s poptastic sure fire winner, and Russia takes the contest very seriously. Or did.
Some countries just didn’t try. The Polish milkmaids of 2014 were memorable for some serious churning activity. If there had been a cleavage category, they would have won it, but it suggested Poland were not sending their best music that year. The same claim was levelled against Jedward’s 2011 and 2012 appearances, but for their top ten and top 20 finishes the UK selection committee would have offered a kidney and their firstborn.
There was an unexpected surprise. Last year’s Italian lads should have spent their victory lap in euphoric celebration. Instead they had to defend themselves from untrue drug use allegations. My favourite surprise was interval act Hothouse Flowers in 1988, which overshadowed that year’s winner, Celine Dion. Wonder what happened to her.
Not everything was marvellous. Eurovision might be a rainbow-emitting unicorn of loveliness which has provided a lifetime of Abba but it’s not entirely perfect. It did give the world Cliff Richard in 1968 and he hasn’t stopped singing since. Madonna’s appearance in Israel in 2019 during the eyepatch years had dogs scurrying for earmuffs and failed to deliver her stated aim of world peace. And Finland’s winner Lordi in 2006 was surely some kind of cosmic joke.
It led the way with a bit of love. It’s been ahead of the pack for years, from trans winner Dana International in 1998 to Conchita the fabulous bearded drag queen in 2014. Even Bucks Fizz and their skirt-ripping in 1981 was considered a bit outrageous.
It’s also the only time anyone remembers San Marino exists and wonders how bad the rest were if it got to the final.
Eurovision I salute you.