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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Eurovision Song Contest, by Thereyns Koo

Are you a Eurovision Song Contest fan? Join the millions who are, for either pure entertainment or amusement value. 

Read this fabulous piece by Thereyns Koo about the madness of Eurovision:

Hmm, there's someone performing parkour-like gymnastics in a glass box while a girl dances about in a dress with a 20 metre train being serenaded by a perma tanned buff guy. You know, that old chestnut. Welcome to the madness that is Eurovision Song Contest. 

Growing up a generation that grew up with New Faces and Young Talent Time, it was in 2002 that I finally succumbed to this guilty pleasure. Even though it started in 1956, it still throws an avant garde curveball to showing off how weird and wonderful light entertainment can be. 

OTT power pop mixed with more creativity than a school rock eisteddfod, I am stuck to the TV - force fed a diet of sugary songs each mangling the English language more than the next. I love it, each year I comeback for more. 

Lets start with the hosts. Each year the precious winner host the contest. Last year it was in Azerbaijan, this year it is in Sweden. Invariably the TV hosts are local celebrities comfortable in their own country, but uncomfortable on an international stage. Not only that but they have to be fluent in English and French as well. And as always the scripted humour fails to translate.

Then there are the musical numbers. Each song is a tightly edited snapshot of a nation's aspirations set to music. Each performance is the perfect musical one night stand where you don't care about the next album or how the group came together. 

Manufactured? Hell yeah! Dude from Hungary, I don't care who you were or are going to be, but how are you going to entertain us tonight?

So how does one win Eurovision? What is the winning formula that will see an act get the majority vote of over 39 voting countries? The ideal act seems to be able to incorporate drums, fireworks, velcroed costume changes, drums, lifts or feats of gymnastic strength, smoke machine, traditional instruments or background musicians, drums, the odd former Olympian, sexual ambiguity, fireworks, drums, English lyrics, a wind machine, youth and drums. 

What I love about it is the mixture of dry humour that the Australian presenter Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang. While the benchmark of BBC presenter Terry Wogan's sarcastic put downs were pure gold, Julia and Sam have managed to be reverent and deprecating while getting close and personal to capture this sideshow of wanna-bes and will-never-bes.

But my main reason to love Eurovision is more about me than anything else. As a former fashion and entertainment journalist with two kids, I am writing this absentmindedly on an iPhone whilst packing a dishwasher and collecting Hansel & Gretel-like food scraps from high chairs, floors and benches while my kids are watching ABC 4 kids. Whilst steeling up to address the task of how to get my four year old to take off his Batman suit without tears, I am aware I am a few life choices removed from the in fashion, in time and in the spotlight path these fabulous nobodies are treading. They live a life I don't lead and the escapism is alluring, but it's not my chosen destiny. 

So for one night, every May, it's good to just tune in, tune out and relax as the show rolls on without me. For that one night you get to be entertained, oh and inspired to unleash your inner Simon Cowell.


Join Thereyns and scores of Eurovision devotees worldwide for the final this evening, on SBS TV at 7.30pm.

And here are some Eurovision gems over the years:





And real Eurovision fans will know that Celine Dion won the comp in 1988:




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