I was hoping that, after all that time I lived in Europe, I’d come home full of awful habits. I’d be louche, with hairy armpits and an addiction to absinthe. Basically, I was hoping to return to the States looking (and smelling) like a character from a Henry Miller novel, reeking of black tobacco, sex, and ennui. These might appear to be strange goals, but keep in mind I am a writer.
Instead I came back plump and productive, still shiny and Midwestern. A total failure.
The only really bad habit I picked up in Europe was this: EUROVISION.
For those of you who don’t know what Eurovision is, you’re going to think I made it up. But I didn’t, because it’s on Wikipedia. Basically, it’s this show that’s been on since the 1950s, in which all these different countries put forward a song. Hence the name: Eurovision Song Contest.
Simple, right? OF COURSE IT ISN’T! It’s a delightful reminder about how humans can take the most straightforward things, such as “Pick a song! Vote for the best song!”, and have it become a political and social quagmire.
So of course I love it.
But how can something so simple become a quagmire? Well, first there’s the political stuff. Mostly it involves countries forming cliques. For example, Greece and Cyprus always give each other all their votes, and no one votes for Turkey. All the former USSR countries vote for each other, even when the bands are ridiculous. Moldova could stage a jackrabbit eviscerating a young teen while singing the Dreidel song, and the Ukraine would still give it 10 points.
The rest of the shenanigans, which I will term “social,” are mostly about humans being assholes. So, like, basically countries cheat. I mean, they don’t really cheat, but they cheat. Like in 1988, when Switzerland had the French-Canadian Celine Dion sing their song. Needless to say, she won. It wasn’t really cheating, because it is a song (not singer) contest, and the song was by a Swiss guy. But really? That’s what I call stacking your deck. Although I’m not sure what that phrase really means, as gambling is another bad habit I didn’t pick up while living overseas.
Other shenanigans include individuals being assholes. Like when the frontman for the Darkness, Justin Harkness, was not chosen to represent Great Britain, and behaved like a twat. Although that was really quite enjoyable to watch, on a number of levels.
Finally, there’s the best fact about Eurovision, and what makes me love it so much. The fact that it can’t help but bring out the inner asshole in all of us. If you don’t snark to the Eurovisions, you should consider yourself a saint, as the whole thing is guaranteed to be pretty much a non-stop trainwreck. All the female singers look like prostitutes with terrifyingly large, painted mouths, and the men look like they would either jack your car OR try to convince you to smuggle cocaine in your snootch. Every once and a while someone trots out either a creepy child or a creepier old man, and there is SO MUCH GLITTER. Glitter in cleavage, glitter on thigh-high boots, glitter on the stage… I can imagine Liberace saying, “Wow, that’s a lot of glitter.”
Then there’s the actual singing/dancing, which runs the gamut from adorably amateur to, well, Celine Dion cheating. Most of the countries fall somewhere on the schmaltzy/silly line. Some cross into truly ridiculous territory, like when Great Britain had the air line stewards dancing with carts. I’m sorry, but that was the most ridiculous shit I’ve ever seen, Great Britain, and I make it a habit to seek out ridiculous shit.
But nothing can really prepare you for Eurovision except for . . . the Eurovision qualifiers. Which were just done yesterday, and videos uploaded to YouTube. Videos which I will watch with all delight. Here are some of my faves from this year’s hot mess. Er, qualifiers……….
Speaking of terrifying mouths, Cypress is gonna git you with LA LA LOVE:
Never accept any gifts from this guy.
This guy’s brothers are hotwiring your car. Right now.
Then there’s Ireland and Jedward. I can’t even start with this one. I’m just glad that armor looks heavy, so that if they do fall in . . . they’re not coming out.
I hope that was a tantalizing taste of Eurovision and that you’ll join me to watch the final. It’s AMAZING. You definitely want to drink while you watch it, or you might jump out of a window.
And if that’s not a glowing enough recommendation, look at it this way: I learn something new every time I watch Eurovision. Like the fact there’s a country named San Marino. WHO KNEW?