You can take the boy out of Europe, but you can’t take Europe out of the boy.
And this boy is quite excited by the fact that Australia has been invited to compete in the 2015 Eurovision Final. Some may find this unusual, given it’s a ‘European’ song contest. However, Israel has also been a regular competitor since 1973, even though it’s arguably a Middle Eastern country, at least geographically (the Israel Broadcasting Authority is a member organisation of the European Broadcasting Union, the producer of Eurovision). You could argue that Australia is the ultimate ‘European country’ with every nationality of Europe (and possibly the world) represented in our proud, modern multicultural society.
This year Eurovision will be hosted in Vienna, Austria, after Conchita Wurst’s historic victory last year in Copenhagen, Denmark. The contest will consist of two semi-finals which will take place on 19 and 21 May, and a final on 23 May 2015.
The Australian live broadcast schedule on SBS is as follows:
- Wednesday, 20 May, 5am AEST;
- Friday 22 May, 5am AEST; and
- Sunday 24 May, 5am AEST.
SBS will replay these events at the more civilised time of 7.30pm from Friday, 22 to Sunday 24 May.
Last year Australia’s own Jessica Mauboy was invited to perform at Eurovision as a guest performer, no doubt paving the way for this year’s invitation.
Admittedly, I feel less excited by the choice of sending Guy Sebastian to represent Australia as, personally, I see him as the wrong choice for this event. Regardless, I wish him all the best.
It is hard to explain the cultural, political and social significance of Eurovision to people outside Europe and sometimes even in … Europe. I grew up on the wrong side of the iron-curtain and Eurovision had represented a shining beacon of hope for those of us enduring communist oppression. Although during those years of oppression Hungary did not participate in this event, illegal broadcasts and recordings breached the iron-curtain and gave us both entertainment and hope.
A quick Eurovision history
Eurovision was a post-WWII creation. It started in 1956 and was designed to bring Europe together through a light entertainment program. Eurovision is a cultural and musical extravaganza with high doses of camp costumes, fireworks and unnecessary props and key-changes. Over the years Eurovision:
- saw Olivia Newton-John represent the UK in 1974 …
- … losing to ABBA who was introduced to the world with Waterloo:
- and gave us Celine Dion representing Switzerland in 1988:
In case you are wondering whether there is a particularly ‘correct’ way of watching and enjoying Eurovision, wonder no more. It’s important to turn Eurovision into a party with plenty of friends, food and drinks (given the length of the show, including the subsequent voting, you will need plenty of sustenance).
The Eurovision Drinking Game
There is a particularly fun tradition, called ‘The Eurovision Drinking Game’. You will need a bottle or two (or three, depending on numbers at your party) of good European schnapps and follow these rules:
- have a sip when any of the following occurs:
- the host(s) sing(s);
- the host(s) tell(s) a joke no one in the room understands;
- someone wears an all white outfit;
- someone wears a national dress;
- an outfit has glitter or rhinestones;
- feather(s) or confetti;
- hair or headgear which is bigger than the wearer’s face;
- a song actually performed in the native tongue of its country (France excepted);
- shirtless male dancers or ‘underdressed’ female dancers;
- off-key singing;
- a performer winks at the camera or drops to the knees;
- fake musical instruments or performers who aren’t singing, dancing or playing or doing anything;
- oversized novelty anything (eg. stapler);
- scull what’s left in your glass every time any of the following occurs:
- a host makes a sexist or racist comment or ‘joke’ or tries to flirt;
- an outfit so ridiculous and over the top that you need a drink to make it go away;
- someone on stage wears a horn;
- a performer arrives on stage through a means other than their own feet (eg. being carried, on horseback, etc.);
- you realise that a song you thought was being sung in the native tongue of its country is actually being sung in English;
- seemingly unnecessary key change in the song;
- a new outfit is revealed mid-performance;
- water feature;
- random fireworks;
- utterly awkward (possibly synchronised) dance routine;
- a musical instrument that no one in the room can identify;
- appearance by an accordion;
- a political protest;
- the French entry performs in English;
Why you will need a few drinks
In case you are wondering whether a drink (or more) is really necessary to watch Eurovision, be assured it is: