I Attempted To Explain Eurovision To American Friends…

The sequins, fireworks, girls in short pants, guys in matching white suits and a song that doesn’t make sense.

Choreography by Eminem-meets-Rihanna in a Italian nightclub with a three-cellist backing band and a woman trapped in a white piano.

Australians having parties in the theme of a randomly-assigned country – resulting in the best drinking game ever.

The unmitigated horror of tunes that are deftly dissected by Milton Mermikides in a post called “Deux Points! How To Write The Perfectly Average Eurovision Song”.

I’ve witnessed the spectacle a number of years, find it quite enjoyable, and admire some of the songs and flamboyance. However there is this amazing middle-ground of songs between the quite good and deliciously terrible. A luke-warm competence of song that is just utterly ok, which I find fascinating. How, and why do these songs jump all the hurdles to make it to the final? The answer? They are perfectly accessible and completely musically unchallenging. Not bad at all, not good at all, not anything at all.

Would you like to write one of these super-mega-normal bet-hedging epic mediocrities?

I’m not sure if my explaination really crossed the cultural barrier when explaining it to Americans, however.

I don’t watch the SBS screening, because it isn’t a) Terry Wogan or b) Grahame Norton (here he is about to interview the UK entry, Englebert Humperdink):

Here’s an example of Wogan’s breakdown of the songs, from back in 2006, which demonstrates the high regard that is generally held for the competition by viewers, I think:

“Not Israel’s best, I think… How many votes is THIS going to get? For heaven’s sake… WHAT’s with the automaton? What’s that got to do with ANYTHING? …I don’t think Spain cares anymore… If they vote for eyebrows, then this will win… UK – are we going to get no-points – AGAIN?”

An old not-favourite by some not-Winners Of Eurovision:

My pick for this year? Russia:


About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a former Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide. She regularly presents a news and current affairs show on RTRFM's The Mag (tune in on Tuesdays!).
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science. She files her nails while they drag the lake.