Overtly fangirling over Eurovision in Australia is often met with confused looks and a general sense of bewilderment.
“What’s a Eurovision?”
When people ask me what Eurovision is, I answer very excitably, “The most glamorous, extravagant, diverse song contest in the world – duh!” To which they stare at me blankly and proceed with their boring, lonely, non-Eurovision filled lives.
It’s taken some time, but over the years I have convinced a few friends to hop on the Eurovision bandwagon – and you can too!
So, here is my official list of strategies to transform your non-Eurovision friends from indifferent spectators to instant fanatics:
Show them the good, the bad, and the wacky. Over the years Eurovision has developed an undeserved bad rap for being a ‘joke’, and I am the first to defend the contest by highlighting the incredible performers that grace the Eurovision stage every year. From Rona Nishliu’s iconic E flat 6 in her dramatic performance of Suus, to Il Volo’s effortless harmonies and classical resonance in Grande Amore, to Australia’s very own Dami Im and her powerful mix in Sound of Silence, or even Kate Miller Heidke’s ethereal vibrato throughout Zero Gravity… the list goes on of all the incredibly talented vocalists that Eurovision has to offer.
However, I would not be the diplomatic human being that I claim to be if I didn’t show them the more quirky and questionable side of Eurovision too; because more often than not it’s a great selling point. ‘Epic sax guy’ didn’t become the meme he is today out of nowhere, you know what I’m saying? From Russian grannies, to Icelandic BDSM-inspired acts, Eurovision always has something inherently unique to offer.
But most importantly, there are a lot of sexy men… oops, I mean a lot of extremely talented European pop singers that have inordinate amounts of charisma and flair that sadly fly under the radar in the Western world. So, here is a compilation of some of the most memorable Eurovision performances to get you started!
Now get your theatre friends on board. Whether you’re a professional performer or an avid amateur theatregoer, Eurovision is as theatrical as it gets. From dazzling costume changes, to extravagant staging, and incredible key changes, Eurovision and Broadway are not that dissimilar after all. Which brings me to my next point…
Make a night of it! Dress up, bring your squad over and have a party. There are many reasons in this world to celebrate: birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas… but none of them beat a Eurovision party. Think about it. You’re literally celebrating an entire continent of over forty countries coming together and sharing their unique take on music. What’s not to love?
But if your friends still aren’t convinced, tell them there is a drinking game. Australians love to drink, so this is a ubiquitous winner in my world. With countless Eurovision Drinking Games to choose from and a 100% success rate, your friends are bound to be delightfully drunk by the second song (what can you do when every song has multiple flourishes of pyrotechnics though?)
Remind them of Eurovision’s LGBTQIA+ following. With the success of drag queen Conchita Wurst, and her controversial but powerful win in 2014, the contest proves itself to be an ally. Despite political controversy and social backlash, Eurovision continuously mirrors our rapidly evolving world and allows its artists to flourish within that realm of transformation.
Let’s not forget the contest’s not-so-subtle political endeavour. Whilst the contest claims to be apolitical, it is sub-textually anything but. With multiple Eastern European countries struggling with war, oppression, and varying degrees of famine, Eurovision has become a platform for artists to give expression to their country’s struggles. Ukraine’s 2016 win with Jamala’s 1944 is one of many politically charged songs to enter Eurovision, which provides a welcome reminder of how prolific and impactful a large platform and a loud voice can be.
If your friends still haven’t taken the bait… show them the film. I know, I know – a last resort for sure. But people know and like Will Ferrell, and the film does a pretty decent job of capturing Eurovision’s essence. Plus, Rachel McAdams recently admitted to Eurovision being bigger than the Superbowl, so if that’s not a selling point… I don’t know what is! Also, “Ja Ja Ding Dong” is an absolute banger!
And if all of the aforementioned amazing-ness isn’t enough, remind them that ABBA and Celine Dion originated from Eurovision. This always gets a little ‘knowing’ gasp from people and seems to do the trick.
10. By this point you will have done everything you can my little Eurovision fiend, so there’s nothing more you can do except threaten the friendship or cut your losses.
It’s okay. Some friendships were just not meant to be.