The Eurovision Song Contest is always an exciting time of the year, and the Brits love to joke about it.. but why?
Eurovision is the longest running annual international TV song competition. It was created in the 1950’s when Europe was still suffering the effects of the war, and this was a way to bring countries together again. It wasn’t always called Eurovision, this term was first used by British journalist George Campey in the London Evening Standard in 1951. The first contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland in 1956, with seven countries participating.
There are various rounds before the big event, which is ultimately broadcast live on a Saturday night in May. Viewing figures are HUGE, this is the most watched non-sporting event in the WORLD, and whilst the acts don’t usually find world wide fame, some have! Notable people who have had their career boosted by Eurovision include ABBA, Bucks Fizz, and even Celine Dione.
Did I mention that if you want to win, you need to stand out? I am proud to say that many European countries are open minded and inclusive (bar a few that I won’t mention). So of course it was totally normal that Conchita Wurst, a beautiful drag queen from Austria, won the entire competition in 2014. It’s times like these you realise how utterly fantastic Europe is…
Whilst the acts are usually fun, the quality of singing doesn’t matter all that much. You see, no matter how great a performer is, this doesn’t always mean they will get the most votes, things get political, which goes against everything the competition stands for. And this is why things suck for the UK.
It is a running joke over here in jolly Blighty that we lose, most years, pretty badly. And if we haven’t lost completely, we tend to be somewhere near the bottom of the table. I mean, we could put Adele on stage and still we wouldn’t win. But why? Well, we don’t have that many European pals, clearly. Sometimes we will get votes from Malta, sometimes Ireland, I think that’s where it tends to stop. We didn’t even get any points from Australia, I thought they were supposed to be on our side! (Ps. don’t ask why Australia are even in the competition, they are mega fans apparently…).
So how does the UK always end up in the final? We buy our way into it of course! Since the year 2000, France, Germany, Spain and the UK have automatically qualified for the final, regardless of the scoreboards, as we are the four biggest financial contributors to the European Broadcasting Union.
I think, secretly, we love to lose, we like consistency. Why else would 8.5 million people in the UK watch the contest? We even love a cheeky Eurovision party, it gives us an excuse to drink like fish and dress up inappropriately as our assigned country. Yes, that does really happen.
So whilst Eurovision might be mocked, we love it, from the crazy costumes, the flamboyant performers, and of course, the drunken, sarcastic commentary from Graham Norton.