Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Hey, So I'm Obsessed With Eurovision Now. COME OBSESS WITH ME

On Saturday my friend Robyn made some digital wizardy happen so that a group of us could all watch Eurovision live together, and my friends, I AM A CHANGED WOMAN.

Where.

Where has this competition been all my life??

The hours FLEW by, and it was much fun to be in a group that was cheering or snarking or laughing with each new act. If you're not familiar, Eurovision is an international singing competition, but those words can't do it justice. The stage productions aren't just eye candy, they're eye cocaine. The outfits, the dancing, the laser light show with pyro and giant props, all on the most STUNNING stage... wow. Just wow.

Like many of you I first learned about Eurovision through the Will Ferrell movie on Netflix last year. The movie is a roller coaster of soaring heights and cringing depths - the depths being any time Will Ferrell is on screen - but I highly recommend it for the good parts. Dan Stevens' character alone makes it worth your time (John & I are both a little in love with Alexander Lemtov), but then there are some absolutely jaw-dropping musical numbers, including John's favorite that he plays at least once a week, Husavik.

Anyhoo, if you've seen the movie then you might have thought they were exaggerating with the musical numbers - making them sillier or grander or more over the top. We certainly thought so. But Y'ALL. They're not exaggerating. And I am so happy about this.

Even though Eurovision doesn't air here in the U.S., happily you can find most of the acts on Youtube, so BRACE YOURSELF. I'm about to blast you with a bunch of my favorites from this year's lineup. And fun fact: most of the contestants sing in English, so no subtitles needed!

Let's start with a good example of Eurovision as a whole, just so you know what you're in for. ::evil grin:: Take it away, Lithuania!



(The Roop, Discoteque)

If you're not grinning by the end of the first minute then your heart has no sense of whimsy.


Now let's hop over to The Netherlands, because I can't believe this one didn't get more love. So powerful it makes me want to stand up and cheer and cry at the same time, oof. I love a good anthem. Anyway, like several of these the live performance is blocked in the U.S., but here's the official music video, which - oh wow - is actually even better:



(Jeangru Macrooy, Birth of a New Age)

(P.S. In the live version they translated the chorus: "Yu no man broko mi" = "You can't break me.")

That's fueling my obsession, btw: every act has both a live performance AND an official music video, so of course I have to go watch all my favorites again and see which version I like better.

Speaking of favorites, Graham Norton (who was emceeing the broadcast we watched) was hilariously snarky about this next one, saying the song was good but you had to close your eyes to enjoy it. I think Graham may be right, but it's hard to look away from this performance, haha. PLUS, this is John's favorite of the whole competition. It's a solid 80s style pop song, definitely one of my favorites, too. (Again, the song. Ha!)



(Tix, Fallen Angel)


Time for another funny one - which Graham Norton clearly hated (ironically), calling it a "children's show performance." Our group was howling through the whole thing, though; just keep your eye... on the dancing finger:



The full length live version is blocked in the U.S. (boo) so this is just a short clip. If you're outside the U.S., though, click that link for the whole thing.

Next a surprisingly addictive hard rock number from Finland - another one that makes you want to jump up and yell, or at least dance around:


(Blind Channel, Dark Side)

Now another stirring pop anthem, this time from Sweden. This one makes me want to CRANK the volume 'til my ears hurt, although the stage production is a little underwhelming:


(Tusse, Voices)


And finally, the performance that won the hearts of everyone in our little watch party, Iceland!!


(Dadi, 10 Years)

Much to my heartbreak this is NOT the Finale performance we watched - again Eurovision has blocked that one in the U.S., whyyyyyy -  but I did find this behind-the-scenes video of a rehearsal, so you can see what we saw:



(Starts around :35)

Plus I love getting to see the production this way, with the camera operators running around and everyone's positioning on stage. I just find it fascinating.

Anyhoo, I was declaring my love for this group within the first 15 seconds, and when the three keytars all hooked together into a circle I was full-on fangirl screeching. Bahahaha!

Since then I've also watched the official music video version, and I think I found my next dream cosplay. See if you can guess, then tell me how awesome and/or cringey it would be if I showed up to Dragon Con in it. (It would also be hekkin' hot, but that's what battery fans are for, right?)

Needless to say, for the last few days I've been randomly walking up to John and singing, "Everything about youuuuu... I LIKE" with an aggressive thumbs up. Instant happy feels, highly recommend.


I'm going to end there, but hopefully I've inspired you to watch ALL the Eurovision songs. I think the only one I actually disliked was "Growing Up Is Getting Old" from Bulgaria, because WOW was it depressing, but the rest are all worth watching! Preferably with friends, so you can cheer and brainstorm cosplay options together.

If you're already on the Eurovision bandwagon, tell me your favorites in the comments - or better yet, link them! I've seen a few of the most popular acts from previous years, but I have LOTS to catch up on, and I want to see it all.


*******


P.S. This Friday is movie night on the Epbot Discord, want to watch The Road To El Dorado with us? It'll be fun! Or there's also a matinee showing Sunday afternoon, if you're busy Friday. Hit that link for details.

P.P.S. It's almost the end of the month, have you entered the Squeegineer Give-Away yet? People who donate via Paypal are entered automatically, but everyone else can enter for free by e-mail, just get those in by midnight on the 31st!

69 comments:

  1. It is actually on Peacock for US peoples. This is where ABBA was discovered and Olivia Newton John, so it has been around for awhile, but this is the first time it has legitimately aired in the US.

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    1. Ohhh, good to know, I just signed up for the free version of Peacock! Fingers crossed it's there.

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    2. AND Celine Dion! She won for Switzerland in 1988!

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  2. I have been OBSESSED with Eurovision for several years now! As Ms says, this year Peacock made it available (but sort of last minute) which made it sooo much easier than fiddling around with VPNs & assorted tech witchery. No Graham commentary though, alas. If you like Eurovision and SFF at all, I cannot recommend strong enough Cat Valente's SPACE OPERA which is like what if there was a galactic version of Eurovision for much higher stakes? It's amazing!

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  3. Eurovision is THE BEST! Last year was a stellar lineup and I’m crushed it got cancelled. Lithuania and Iceland had the same bands, and dare I say last years entries for both were a hair better?
    Lithuania: https://youtu.be/1EAUxuuu1w8
    Iceland: https://youtu.be/1HU7ocv3S2o

    Also recommend Russia’s entry from last year: https://youtu.be/L_dWvTCdDQ4

    Finally, for a great overview of Eurovision, featuring many past winners, check out the sound Peace, Peace, Love, Love, which was part of the filler acts a few years ago: https://youtu.be/Cv6tgnx6jTQ

    (And bonus, one of the singers from that is Mans Zelmerlow who won Eurovision in 2015 with the fabulous song Heroes: https://youtu.be/5sGOwFVUU0I)

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    1. Bahaha! I appreciate the extra formatting fight so we could have click-able links, thank you!

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    2. Iceland's song from last year is STILL one of my absolute favorite songs! He wrote it after his baby was born, and I was pregnant with my first (and only) when the song came out, so maybe I'm a little biased... I also listened to it in the delivery room right before I started pushing! lol. But I'm not joking when I say I was singing it at my 10 month old earlier today.

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    3. These are AWESOME!!!! Peace Peace Love Love had me in stitches!!! (And yet it's so singable!!)

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  4. Jen, I cannot emphasize enough how much you need to go to gofugyourself.com and read their coverage of Eurovision. Heather is both an amazing writer and a long-time Eurovision fan. Also, the site has years of archives in which to lose yourself.

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  5. Thank you Jen. I should say it more often. Your posts are great.

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  6. So much goodness to enjoy here... plus, Tix's Fallen Angel is channeling the very best Nick Cage, so that's a win!

    THANKS for all the links, I cannot wait to share them!

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  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EwJ-p4tn_w


    I say we all learn this and blast TikTok

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    1. YES PLEASE. (I hadn't watched this yet, and it's as glorious as I could have hoped.)

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    2. I'm living for this guy now. Just sayin'. My new philosophy in life is "The Sass" and yes. I will be doing *me* from now on.

      Just an polite FYI to anyone who may watch this video -> It's like a potato chip, you can't just watch one, you will eat the whole bag in one sitting, and still walk away -literal hours later, wanting more.

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  8. This year was my first Eurovision experience too and I was also immediately hooked and now obsessed. I adored Iceland, but have to admit I wanted Switzerland to win SO BADLY. Something about his voice just tore my heart out. (Unfortunately it's another one where only the "official video" is available to us in the U.S. instead of his live performance. There was just something so sweet and awkward about his interpretive dance, while all the while that amazing voice was belting out.)

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  9. I 100% second and third and fourth Jammie's recommendation to get to gofugyourself.com and read their Eurovision coverage. The Fug girls are some of the wittiest writers that I've read.

    https://www.gofugyourself.com/featured/eurovision-2021-italy-won-and-wants-you-to-know-they-absolutely-were-not-blowing-rails

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    1. I'm already laughing and I haven't even made it past the headline. THANK YOU.

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  10. I have been a Eurovison fan for decades though I do not know why this one from Russia for the 2020 edition just has me rofl.

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  11. I too have been obsessed with Eurovision for several years. I really wanted Iceland to win. They have an indie music feel, which I like. But I’ve had the El Diablo song (I forget which country that one was) stuck in my head foe several days. It’s so dang catchy.

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  12. So Iceland didn’t do a live final performance as they had to isolate so they showed the performance they did for the judges vote the night before. Agree that Graham is hilarious and I’m glad he does the UK shows (nothing can top Terry Wogan RIP, I think he used to get more drunk as the night went on). The UK always does so bad as there are so many more better singers than the ones we usually pick. Also brexit so everyone hates us 😂

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  13. You know the Icelandic band is just Daði's wife Arny, his sister and three of his highschool friends that he invited to form a band so they could enjoy the Eurovision experience together? (One is a school teacher and one is in IT!) Daði and Arny also made all the props and the monster and robot costumes for the music video themselves - be sure to check out their "making of" videos!

    Daði Freyr (Daði & Gagnamagnið) – 10 Years (Official Video)

    How we made the monster and robot costumes (from 10 Years music video)

    Making of the Gagnamagnið instruments for Eurovision 2021

    Daði Freyr – 10 Years (Dance Tutorial)

    Enjoy!

    (Australia is now part of the official competition, but sadly we didn't make it to the finals this year.)

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    1. That is so cool! I remember Typo had a card a couple of years back (Mauboy year??) that said something like "Let's start our own European country so we can enter Eurovision". Also what about the Winner of Triple J's Hottest 100 represents Australia?

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  14. Brainstorm's (Latvia) 2000 song My Star still tends to be one to go to for some random happy feels.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8ZzOxP55Gs

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  15. So this is what it feels like when your two worlds suddenly merge :)

    Did you know that there will be a US version next year? Although I'm not sure if that will work... Is there enough diversity? A big part of the charm of Eurovision is in the national rivalries and the ethnic vibes in the entries (or complaining about the lack thereof).

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  16. Eurovision was literally dreamed up as alternative to fighting. Some one thought “why not an unarmed conflict instead of massive land wars?” And so it started. That’s part of why it’s so over-the-top production-wise.

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  17. Saw in the UK years ago. Lithuania rock band - lead singer was a bad Bon Jovi look a like but his drum section were grannies in traditional garb. And no, I was not drinking at the time...

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  18. Wow Jen, just wow! Your blog and Eurovision together is almost too much happiness for me to handle. I'm Swedish so eurovision (and the national competition we have to pick our yearly contribution to it) is sacred! So glad it brings you joy as well. And if you can find shows from previous years you have a lot of hilarious acts to enjoy!

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  19. I am legit in LOVE with that Dadi 10 Years song. I'm going to listen to that on repeat for a while!

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  20. This year there were so many great songs! Beside the ones you mentioned I really liked Ukraine, Russia and Italy :)
    I'm from the Netherlands and me and my family watch every year. It's so funny to me a lot of Americans are discovering the eurovision madness now haha.
    One of my favourite older ones is "so lucky" by zdob si zdub :)

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  21. I was planning on working on other things today, but apparently an hour trip down the rabbit hole is what I needed instead. I love the Dadi 10 Years song, and I'm also a fan of The Roop Discoteque! Thank you for sharing!

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  22. It's easy for me to see why that Netherlands entry didn't get much love - it's a celebration of things African and an indictment of colonialism, and that makes a lot of white folks uncomfortable.

    Which is also why it's awesome.

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    1. That, and the host country usually gets very little points anyway because nobody in Europe wants a country to have to pay for the show two years in a row. But still, the Netherlands got way too little, that song is great!

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  23. I think I have only ever missed one Eurovision in my living memory (I am in the UK). It's such an awesome, fun evening. But the scores are where it's at. It's changed a lot over time, but I love how now the jury scores mean absolutely nothing as the popular vote scores come in and completely throw everything out the window!

    My all-time favourite song was Finland's Leave Me Alone, by Hanna Pakarinen in 2007 (the year after Lordi won for Finland with Hard Rock Hallelujah). Basically, I think Finland is my spiritual home.

    However, I also have a particular love for the UK's 1997 entry Love Shine a Light, by Katrina and the Waves (it's not possible to watch this and not clap along) and Sweden's 2015 entry Heroes by the fab Mans Zelmerlow (which I played incessently to my long-suffering class at the time!)

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  24. Eurovision is one of those subjects I can do a spontaneous TED Talk about, so I am delighted you have found it. If you use a VPN (the Opera browser has one built in), you can see all of the blocked videos on the official channel, AND some of the recent contests. If you want to watch another full Grand Final, I heartily recommend 2014: It was my first and I fell head over heels. There are a TON of podcasts; my favorites are 12 Points from America and The EuroWhat?, both hosted by Americans, and ESC Insight for some fantastic analysis. For Daði’s first appearance in the iconic sweaters, look up “Is This Love?” and enjoy the keytar solo in the middle. I also have a soft spot for Occidentali’s Karma by Francesco Gabbani.

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  25. Eurovision is the one week of vacation that is pretty much set for me every year. I am from Germany and a few years ago me and some of my friends started visiting the host cities and the shows at the venue. It really is a great way to get to know a bit more of Europe and meet lots of lovely people. So far I've been to Copenhagen, Vienna, Stockholm, Lisbon and Tel Aviv. For next year I would have loved Iceland to win (I really like Dadis music and can't wait for his concert next year in April) but overall there were so many songs that got stuck in my brain. I love that contest in all its silly or over the top moments of glory.
    Oh, and have you seen JuroDadi? Great way to get to know some older Eurovision songs but with a Dadi-Twist:
    JúróDaði - Daði Freyr plays Eurovision songs
    JúróDaði 2

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  26. Welcome aboard the Eurovision train!!! If you haven't delved into it's past, Celion Dion was a contestant. I've been a fan since Alexander Rybak's 'Fairytale' song won in 2009. For me Albania seems to have consistantly great song entries like: Lindita - World, Aurela Grace - Feel the passion, Juliana Pasha - It's all about you. Then there is Belgiums - Laura Tesoro - Whats the pressure. I embedded some more on my website if you want to check out others that are worth listening to in my opinion. My favorite songs never seem to win but i'm happy to find NEW music or songs! https://www.intotheether.net/eurovision-song-contest-favorites/

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  27. I fell asleep on my couch during the voting���� but most I had seen in the 1st pre selection show.
    Imaging waking up at 4am to find out italie had won����
    (Dutch so i've seen it for over 50y now... ouch I'm old��)

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  28. Welcome to the Eurovision madhouse, we're all bonkers here! And it's so much fun! I'm so old that I remember when ABBA won...
    There have been some really memorable performances through the years. Ukraine's contestant in 2007, Verka Serduchka with the song "Dancing Lasha Tumbai" is forever etched into my brain.
    Semi-sidenote (?): Swedish Molly Sandén sang "Húsavík". She came in third place in the Junior Eurovision song contest in 2006 and has competed three times in the Swedish Melodifestivalen (the competition where we choose our contribution to the Eurovision song contest). Unfortunately not with her song "Freak" though. Dare I say it, a way better song than "Húsavík"

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  29. This year I really liked Ukraine, but I also deeply appreciate the level of petty vibes inherent in Spain's 2008 submission, El Chiki Chiki. Nothing says "We know we aren't going to win so we're just going to let the internet pick and flip the rest of the countries the bird" like sending a man with a toy guitar and a pompadour do represent your nation. (Note: actual Spanish knowledge not necessary to get the gist)

    Baila el chiki chiki

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  30. It's my new most favorite thing in the world! For me it started with the random discovery of Dadi Freyr, the singer of the Iceland group. I love all of his music and following him lead me to Eurovision. It's pure joy and happiness mixed with some of the most stressful moments of my life lol

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  31. This was my first year as well. I and the in-laws watched on peacock. It was just as fabulous as I anticipated. :) Plans have been made for watching next year. My nephew even said he will ask for the day off of work, as he felt jilted that he didn't get to watch with us...lol

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  32. Welcome to the wonderful weird world of Eurovision! I’ve grown up with it (in Sweden) and it’s a feast every time. You got the hang of how to watch it right away, it seems. I also thought Iceland was far best and it was too bad they couldn’t perform in the finale. They would have won for sure. 💖

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  33. Every year I find out it's Eurovision time by a sudden explosion of sheer madness on my Tumblr dashboard. I love it and usually end up with new music in my iTunes by the end of it. This year the Italy performance was the first thing I saw and I haven't stopped listening to it.

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  34. I keep confusing Eurovision with the movie 'Saddest Music of the World'

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  35. You will not regret becoming a lifelong Eurovision fangirl! I've been watching since I was a kid in the 90s as Australia has broadcast it here for years. Australians have been so invested we even finally made it into the competition, despite geography. I was disappointed we didn't make the final for the first time this year, especially because I actually really liked our song and singer (though I think her planned 2020 entry was even better). For true Eurovision joy, check out Moldova's 2010 entry - just google "epic sax guy".

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  36. Born in 1968 in Germany Eurovision playes a huge part in my cultural upbringing. This was one of the first events my kids where allowed to watch and stay up late. ;)

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  37. If you liked Eurovision, you're gonna LOVE Leningrad Cowboys!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5GRpA5H3CI

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  38. Haha, I also watched Eurovision and then went down a rabbit home when I realized it was a real competition.

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  39. A friend just married a girl from the Netherlands and she hosted a Eurovision watch party. Most of us had never heard of it before ... it was everything.. we had the best time!

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  40. Coming to this late, but I've been a Eurovision fan since the early 80s when I lived in, well, Europe. I can't believe that a country that stuffs down reality TV fare like Project Runway, Drag Race, American Idol, The Masked Singer, So You Think You Can Dance hasn't been all over Eurovision, and that it took Will flippin' Farrell to get it started???

    This year was FABULOUS, and I adore Iceland. Your choices correspond to mine, particularly the underrated (by judges and audience) Sweden and the Netherlands, both of which I loved.

    And hooray for Peacock TV for letting me finally get my Eurovision fix. Live. <3

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  41. We watched the last 1.5 - 2 hours of it. We didn't see any of the actual acts but saw clips of some of the filler groups on the roof tops. But saw *all* of the scoring. It was wild and confusing and fantastic! We are making plans to watch more next year if it's available.

    For those of you who have been long time fans, is there a set number of fan/viewer votes? We were wondering if, once Italy got it's 500 something points (right? it was 500 something?), if the other countries would realize that there weren't enough points left to move them above Italy. Like -- there's 3000 viewer points that are then divvied up by the countries based on the percentage of votes they got from the viewers. (does that make sense?) Or are the viewer points completely random and change from year to year depending on the total of viewer points that are given to the countries?

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    1. From what I understand from our/Australia's compares, there is no way for the viewers/acts to know how many votes are left. Could be 1000, could be four.

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    2. The viewer points are the same as the jury points; each country gives out 12, 10 and 8-1 points, ranked with the popularity people in that country have voted for.

      The difference is that those votes are counted together and read out as a lump sum received by each country, which is why they are read out in the order that the jury votes have left the scoreboard. So 58 points given by 39 countries = 2262 points.

      So yes, theoretically you can try to keep score, but I had a look at the numbers, if you *had* been tallying up the given points as they were read out by the time Italy got their points you wouldn't have been able to tell the winner yet. 3 countries and too many points left. After the 2nd to last was read you would have been able to tell coz then you would have known how many point were left.

      (Back in the day when only one set of points were given you could often tell winners before all countries had given their points.)

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  42. Oh, you HAVE to watch Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai for an immediate smile!

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  43. Winners (not actual... but you know what I mean): Vampires are Alive (by DJ Bobo [obvious why I remember this one!); FairyTale (Alex Reiback - OH MY Gosh!); anything from Moldova, but especially the one with unicycles; You'll love the Russian Granny song. Head*Desk mentioned Heroes... The one with the sand painting...The Israeli song from a few years back with the chorus "But before you leave, let me show you Tel Aviv", Ah, good times, good times. Yes, I'm from Australia, why do you ask?!

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  44. Oh, "Diamonds and Pearls" - go-to happy song. I'll leave now, before I remember anymore amazing songs. The Russians (Russians? Ukrainians?) churning butter... slightly NSFW!

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  45. Apologies NOT "Diamonds and Pearls" it's "New Tomorrow" by a Friend in London (I remember choruses)

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  46. it really is amazing how much good music is out there once you overcome the 0.5cm barrier of subtitles.

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  47. I highly recommend the 2016 (?) "half-time" show/song/thing/whatever 'Love Love Peace Peace'. It was a) hilarious, b) a great recap and explanation of Eurovision as a whole. Definitely worth checking out. Also as a Finn, it is my national duty to recommend the one singular win we've had on Eurovision. Lordi winning was the single most hilarious thing that'd happened in Eurovision in a long while.

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  48. Years ago there were 2 female hosts on the Canadian radio program "As it Happens" (it played on our local NPR station) who had the most HILARIOUS commentaries on Eurovision. You couldn't help cracking up right along with them.

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  49. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo5H62mCIsg
    I hope the link works. If not look up Australias 2019 entry. I know, Australia in the Eurovision, go figure! Who doesn't want to see a Kate Bush sound alike singing opera style whilst dressed as a pole dancing Elsa from Frozen? As for the background, well I was expecting to see Nyan Cat at any moment. Enjoy now and thank me later xx

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  50. There are some really iconic performances - the year Finland won with Hard Rock Hallelujah is fabulous.

    My favourite is Keiino, from Norway; in 2019 they rather famously got screwed over by the 'professional judges', because that group uses dress rehearsals to judge and they had a technical issue they weren't allowed to start over from. The fan votes (which are for the actual live show) had them in first by a mile, but weren't enough to let them win the whole thing. They were second in the Norway national final this year, but I personally like them better than Tix and there was some controversy over them not being the reps.

    Eurovision started geoblocking the live shows when they started licensing airing rights to the US, so some older videos (such as Finland 2006) can be viewed on their channel. This is the first year NBC directly has had the rights, I think it was Logo before and there isn't a single way to watch all the older videos in the US except via VPN.

    The five countries that give the most money to EBC are guaranteed to get in the finals, which is why Germany and the UK are always there despite not actually doing well in the rankings and sometimes just being embarrassing performances.

    Sweden's national competition is also famous for its quality; it's not unusual for runners up from that competition to be hired by smaller countries as their entrants.

    Graham Norton is a jerkwad, if you have to watch a european livestream i'd avoid him next time.

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  51. Which costume? The monster, the band. The tobot?! (I hope the band, so you could incorporate sweet dance moves.)

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  52. Another Eurovision fan/convert! Hooray!

    The simplest way to explain it to your friends: it's an international "Battle of the Bands". You've got some three dozen acts; each has three minutes to make their case. There's a good deal of national pride and regional bias involved, but you can ignore that and just enjoy seeing so many decent performers doing their best.

    My blatherings on Eurovision: https://pureblather.com/tag/eurovision/

    And a playlist of some of my favorites:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsjr5KYtrL2ROGQpSTPybMspotWvGkzEo

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  53. Aww, Eurovision, I love it and all its cheesy over-the-top-ness. I'm so pleased for you to have discovered it and I will obsess with you!
    I used to reserve the big TV as a child so I could put the subtitles on, they'd show the translations if the songs weren't in English. I remember a particularly ridiculous one about a necklace, the lady singing that this was the necklace of love and power and was a very beautiful necklace, there was another about a truck :-/ !
    A few factlets - the songs are limited to 3 mins, after someone submitted some epic in the 60s (the show takes long enough already!). It's been going since the mid-50s and is AN INSTITUTION. There can only be max 6 people on the stage (and no live animals!) although you can get round the animals rule with puppets (of varying quality) vulture.com Memorable Eurovision Performances
    As well as a lot of famous artists performing over the years, Riverdance/ Michael Flatley premiered at Eurovision as the interval show for one of Ireland's hosting duties (rumour has it that Ireland started submitting rubbish songs as they were fed up of winning/didn't want the expense of hosting). There's a group of about 5 countries who get an automatic pass as they put in the most money, everyone else has to qualify through the semi-final shows (except the host, they get a slot too).
    With the cancellation last year, anyone who qualified was allowed to represent their country again this year (but had to provide another song).
    Dadi Freyr had a member test positive for covid so their dress rehearsal performance was used for the judges night and the live show night, I don't think their final performance would have been that different, luckily, but I really felt for them having to sit it out.
    It's very much a political thing but no-one will ever say that officially - e.g. Greece will award 12 points to Cyprus and Cyprus will award 12 points to Greece, regardless of the quality of the song. UK will come last, certainly for the last few years, I really feel for whoever represents us as it's not usually relevant to their performance (with some exceptions, cough cough Jemini).
    It's a brilliant stage for controversy, variety and breaking boundaries - eg Dana International for Israel (1998) and Conchita Wurst (2014) and Russia this year, and for absolute craziness - I'm looking at you Verka Serduchka. If you thought Norway were rocky, have a look at their winning song from Lordi in 2006 (Hard Rock Hallelujah)!
    I love the variety of the artists and songs that take part, most countries hold a selection competition to decide on their representative and the way that a slow heartfelt ballad can win one year and a dance stonker the next is fab, considering the voters won't be that different each time. Among my favourite songs that I can recall are Dadi Freyrs from this year (and 'Think about things' that didn't have the opportunity last year), Ruslana with Wild Dances and every so often this tune pops in my head - Olsen Brothers, Fly on the Wings of Love.
    And if you want AN ABSOLUTE TREAT, how about Dadi Freyr performing a Eurovision medley? Dadi Freyr Eurovision Songs and I think you can get yourself a sweatshirt somewhere too.
    I've got to stop, I'm in a Eurovision YouTube wormhole...

    Just seen the winner from 2002, "I Wanna", I must have missed that year but was that really the best song?!

    Ooh and don't forget to check out the Russian grannies from 2012 and their song from 2020 which looks like a strange workout video from the 70s.

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