Eurovision! (A Guide for Americans)

Eurovision! (A Guide for Americans)

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Eurovision 2015 will be streamed live Sat 5/23 at 3p (est)!


What Is Eurovision?

Eurovision is campy, over-the top, EuroPop performances. It is very self-aware. And it is also very serious business.

This year will be the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest! Eurovision combines the national pride of the Olympics with the live performance & voting style of American Idol. Some call it the World Cup of song competitions. There will be 27 live performances this year; usually there are 26. This year is extra special because, for whatever reason, Australia has been invited to compete.

Unlike song competitions and award shows here in the states, Eurovision is streamed live because there are no commercials. The show is not drawn out painfully forever to try to increase ad sales. Instead, the show plows through one performance to the next. The pacing makes you feel like you cant take a break until it’s time for voting! Twenty-seven performances in about two-hours!

After a speed run of live performances, there’s a break where the host makes awkward banter and bad jokes. They don’t mean for them to be bad. But, the entire show is in English. Usually in countries where English is not their first language. So you end up having two people trying to make stage-talk in a language that both of them only half understand. The result is as you would imagine (great).

Then comes the voting! The votes consist of 50% audience voting and 50% “panel of expert judges” voting. You cannot vote for your own country. While Europe is voting (we can’t vote, obviously) there are musical acts. Or a history of Eurovision montage. Then they painstakingly display the results from each country as spoken by a country representative via live satellite link. Sometimes the satellite link works correctly. And sometimes it doesn’t. You’re not supposed to vote politically…

Then, they declare a winner! Somehow, Eurovision is a very efficient award show machine. They crank out 27 live performances, voting, results, and crowning a winner in just about four-hours. I’ve seen episodes of American Idol that have barely 5 performances take two-hours! The winner is actually important because it determines where the competition will be hosted the next year. This year’s is in Austria because they won Eurovision last year.


Drinking Game / Bingo

Because simply watching a campy EuroPop song competition isn’t enough, many people play Eurovision Bingo. Or, much simpler, just a drinking game. The competition is this predictable. Yet, it’s also not predictable at all some years.

The list below make up some of the bingo card slots that I compiled this year. Read through to get an idea of what this competition is all about! Feel free to download the bingo cards pdf to print out for your own Eurovision party!

 

eurovision bingo game

 

  • ABBA Mentioned
  • Air Instrument Played
  • Audience Member witih Face Painted
  • Awarding Points for Political Reasons
  • Awkward Joke
  • Blows Kiss to Camera
  • Country Representative Goofs
  • Crawling or Kneeling on Stage
  • Dressed All in White
  • Dub Drop
  • Host Changes Outfits
  • I Love You Europe
  • Mid-Song Costume Change
  • Obvious Neighbor Voting
  • Out of Sync Backing Dancers
  • Shirtless Man
  • Singer Doesn’t Move
  • Technical Glitch
  • Thank You Australia
  • Wind Machine

 


Eurovision Past Winners

Eurovision has some famous artists under it’s belt. Like Celine Dion, Katrina and the Waves, ABBA. But more often than not, the performers competing are big in Europe just not over here (or yet). Here are some highlights of previous Eurovision performers:


Rise Like A Phoenix by Conchita Wurst (Austria)

A drag queen performer sings a song reminiscent of a James Bond theme song. She won last year’s competition.


Party For Everybody by Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia)

This song features a group of grandmothers singing about partying. During their performance they bake a batch of cookies.


Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi (Finland)

Eurovision’s only winning rock song to date. These Gwar-esque performers won in 2006.


Moustache by Twin Twin (France)

Last year, France’s goofy entry received the lowest amount of votes with a total of 2.


It’s My Life by Cezar (Romania)

Sometimes Romania sends falsetto-singing vampire warlocks to perform.


Irlande Douze Pointe by Dustin the Turkey (Ireland)

In 2008, Ireland sent a turkey. His name is Dustin. He is a TV personality and has recorded several albums.


Watch Eurovision streamed live Saturday May 23rd 3p(est)!

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3 Replies to “Eurovision! (A Guide for Americans)”

  1. How long have you been following EuroVision? You read like an expert!

    Also, do you think there’s any voting advantage based on the timing of someone’s performance? That is, do acts toward the end tend to score better?

    1. I’ve been following Eurovision three years and I’m so sad that I didn’t pay attention to it in previous years. That’s why I love looking at old videos – it’s so great! I don’t like the World Cup so this is as close as I’ll get :)

      I’m not sure about the performance timing – that probably is a factor for audience voting. The judges submit their votes before the final performances (the second dress rehearsal is called Jury Final). Another factor for audience voting that may come into play, is that the Big 5 countries automatically qualify for the finals. Unfortunately, this means no one sees them perform in the semi-finals. So there’s less talk about them in the build-up to the big show.

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