Dearest readers, for the last several days, I have been writing a Guide to the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual spectacle that 100 million Europeans (and Israelis) watch religiously every year despite a dearth of quality.
Specifically, I have been writing a guide for the American viewer who may have heard of Eurovision (or may not) but has never seen it before. While the Europeans themselves–especially the British–are quite adept at describing and mocking the competition while simultaneously loving it (despite their claims to the contrary), European commentary comes with certain baggage: the commentators (1) are speaking to an audience that already has a baseline awareness of Eurovision and its history; and (2) have some kind of vested interest given that they are (allegedly) rooting for their own nation’s entry.
The next couple of posts are written by an American (me) for a primarily American audience. Years ago I also did not understand the competition, but after 6 years of watching it very closely, reading about it, and spending countless hours on YouTube watching old clips, I feel quite secure in my own knowledge. As an American, I do not have the same baggage as the Europeans do, and therefore I feel that I am suitably qualified to explain to non-Europeans who have never seen the competition exactly why 100 million people tune in every year to watch.
I will be attaching links to YouTube clips so that you too can see the performances. While I hope that I have done a good enough job detailing the contest’s appeal, you must remember that Eurovision is a visual and audial event. Watching the clips is the best way to get a sense of the competition: the good, the bad, and the hideous.
A warning: my guide is long. This is the most I have ever written about a single topic. It is so long that I have broken it into multiple parts. Oddly enough, it is the awfulness of Eurovision that makes it so interesting and so rich a topic. If all the songs were good, then it would be no fun at all either to watch or to write about.
You may notice that I did not list any of the music that I listened to while writing these posts (as has become my tradition.) The reason is because I found that I could not listen to music while writing about a song competition. Ironic, but there you go; Eurovision is steeped in irony.
So, dear reader, I hope you stick with these posts and enjoy. And come May 14th, I hope that you will watch the final, as I intend to.