Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wir Lieben "Eurovision!"

Well, maybe 'lieben' is a little strong. I don't LOVE the Eurovision, but I am strangely compelled by it - every year I swear I won't watch it, then I end up sitting through the entire thing while nervously trying to calculate the points when it gets down to the last few votes.

The Eurovision Song Contest began in 1956 and is the most-watched non sporting event in the world. It is broadcast live to an audience of over 600 million. Leaving aside the political voting that seems to have gripped the contest in the last few years (neighbouring countries voting for each other), the Eurovision is a treasured annual event, especially for countries like Ireland who have won it 7 times.

The Irish entry this year is Marmite - sorry, Jedward - who bring a burst of manic teen hyper energy to the stage - and the other European countries seem to love it. Jedward (twins John and Edward Grimes) were competitors in the 2009 series of the TV singing competition "The X Factor", and have gained many fans (and many haters) since then. Their debut album, "Planet Jedward", was the best-selling album in Ireland in 2010. I'm going to be honest here and tell you that I'm disgusted at the level of hate directed towards them in Ireland over the past few weeks. The begrudgery is shocking, and at times far too personal and hateful. Think about it like this: They're a pair of teenage twin brothers doing what they love and having fun. Who is that harming?!! No-one. So lay off the hate, okay? If there's one thing this country needs at the minute, it's something positive. If that positivity comes in the form of two hyperactive quiffed brothers, then so be it. C'mon Jedward!

Now, enough with the ranting, and down to something a little more "me". In the 55 years of Eurovision, there have been a wide variety of acts - from the sweet, homely Dana to the all-singing, all-rocking (slightly scary) Lordi. There are enough blogs and sites that celebrate both the good and the bad of the Eurovision acts - so, leaving aside drag queens, turkeys, & Donna and Joe, I give you my top 5 favourite things about the Eurovision.

5: There's Always One...
I love watching the voting. In fact, I think I enjoy it more than watching the actual show. BUT - there's always one announcer who wants to break tradition, break the rules, and stand out during the results. This is Björn Gustafsson. He's a Swedish "comedian". In 2008, he thought it would be absolutely hilarious to deliver the results of the Swedish vote as if he was drunk. Hahaha, hohohoho, hehehehe, etc. Remember boys and girls, this man is a COMEDIAN. Being funny is his JOB.

4: The Hotness of Europeans
Yes, this is completely superficial, but it has to be said, because it's true. How many of you watch the Eurovision just to have a little perv over some of the....shall we say...more aesthetically-pleasing entrants? I've had a quick look at some of the entrants and here's my pick of the hot boys and girls due to perform tonight. Just before I do that, can I just say: Portugal, are you MAD? You send THIS when you could have sent Rui Andrade??

Instead, I'll be keeping my eye on Italy's Raphael Gualazzi:

And Slovenia's Maja Keuc:

3: The "Eccentric"Act
From the embarrasingly hilarious to the just plain embarrassing, Eurovision wouldn't be the same without the odd novelty act thrown in. This year, it's the wacky and weird Moldovan act Zdob și Zdub (think a Beastie Boys tribute act in wizard hats):

2: The Interval
A lot of people choose the interval as the time to make a sandwich, have a flick through the other channels, or have a cup of tea - but if you had done this in 1994, you would have missed this. Even after 17 years, it still gives me shivers. Will the 2011 German interval be as memorable? Time will tell...

1: The Commentary
I know that some people prefer the UK commentary, but for me, nothing can beat Marty Whelan on RTE.

Marty has been providing the Irish population with hilarious, witty Eurovision commentary since 2000, and it just wouldn't be the same without him.  Here's a little personal (and very weird)Marty fact: as a child, I took an awful dislike to Marty after I had a dream that he tried to break into our house. It took me years to be able to watch him on anything. Sorry, Marty.

As I write, there are only a few hours left until the Eurovision 2011 Final kicks off - so whether you're watching it in the comfort of your own home, at a party, following the online commentary (Eurovision Fact: Much more fun to watch it and simultaneously follow the commentary on twitter #eurovision) or at the pub, have fun and enjoy.


  1. I love the Eurovision, it's the one night of the year when anything goes musically speaking.

    Now I must say, that in my house it's tradition to rip the p*ss out of the acts and have a good aul laugh so I think it's the banter that makes me love it so much rather than the music.

    Looking forward to tonight's show, though not to JEdward as I simply can't stand them, as I'm watching with friends.

  2. I love the p*ss-taking element of it too Cornflakegirl, that's why I love Marty's commentary, he always throws out a few witty remarks on some of the more...."interesting" acts! I'll be watching it along with twitter, as my OH would rather gouge his eyes out with a spoon than sit through it hahaha :) Thanks for reading, and have a great night!

  3. I LOVE Eurovision but bloc voting annoys the hell out of me! Especially last night. we were robbed... robbed I tell ya! I hated Jedwrd when they first appeared on our screens but they've won me over. They were fun AND entertaining. I wrote a post on them this week. My pre-marriage name is Grimes...but we're not related!
    And no, German's interval Act wasn't a patch on Riverdance;-)

    greta post!

    xx Jazzy (@ValOD1)

  4. I have to be honest, this year was only my second Eurovision ever. As Italy hadn't been in it for yonks, it wasn't even televised nor mentioned in the news.
    Last year when I watched the whole thing for the first time I found it kinda weird, but this year the whole general cheesiness has somehow managed to win me over.

    I absolutely adored Italy's entry, totally my style, but never in a million years had I imagined it would do SO well!!!

    I always knew Europe wouldn't really "get" Jedward, I find that you start to like them only after seeing them on the telly a few times or hearing about their life etc

    Last night brought me a little cheer as my musically savvy ear told me to bet on the winners, when the odds were still super good. I KNOW a tune when I hear one and I KNEW this one would win Europe, and it did!
    And it will get me a lovely treat this week for the first time in AGES! as in....something extra, not something I need.

    Thank you Europe, you've been so much fun the last week.

    My European spirit has always been alive through tellly fun thanks to Les Jeux Sans Frontiers....which I don't think you'd know of unless you're from "continental" Europe.


  5. Wow! Had not heard of Eurovision. Thanks a ton for the videos. I will have to find a way to catch this.

  6. @Jazzygal: The interval certainly didn't live up to Riverdance, though I'm not sure any interval ever will :) I feel exactly the same about Jedward, I really didn't like them at first, but they did a fab job last night and they did us proud - 8th place is fantastic considering our luck the last few years!! You should all check out Jazzy's post too, it's excellent!

    @Lil: The Eurovision is such a cheesy, camp festival, it's hard not to fall in love with it - and HUGE congrats on your win, I hope you get something really nice for yourself to celebrate!! You've definitely got an ear for picking a winner!

    @Tami: I'm not sure if too many people outside of Europe have heard of it, but it's so much fun - I haven't a clue where you'd catch it online, but there are loads of videos on YouTube. Some very, very funny and bizarre entrants over the years, well worth a look!

    Thanks guys for reading & commenting, much appreciated xxx


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