Eurovision Moments May 16, 2022 2:28 AM   Subscribe

I thought a Eurovision moments might be a fun Metatalktail Hour Idea and suggested it but as the Hour for this week had been posted Taz suggested I just post it anyway. So what are your fun / meaningful / wellthathappened / windmachine / fire / waswatchingandthishappenedatmyparty / mycountrywasrobbed etc. favourite Eurovision moments?

I will kick it off with one of my favourite performances Wild Dances from 2004. I am in Australia, so the grand final started at 5am, I was looking after my 10 month old niece overnight so it was her first Eurovision! Her mum (my SIL) came to pick her up and she has never watched Eurovision but had so much fun watching it we are already planning a party for next year. Also don't talk to me about the popular vote we received this year!
posted by Lesium to MetaFilter-Related at 2:28 AM (31 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Not a Eurovision the event itself thing, but I kind of loved this map showing Australia; it all looks so cozy and companionable!
posted by taz (staff) at 3:01 AM on May 16, 2022 [5 favorites]

I just moved to the Netherlands from the USA, and this is my first time living abroad AND my first time watching Eurovision! I wasn't able to stay up late enough to catch the results from the voting, but the show was a hoot to watch. I'm not sure how Eurovision 2022 compares to the rest in terms of quality or tone, but in general it was very much my shit and I look forward to the next one in..Ukraine, as I understand it?
posted by lazaruslong at 7:00 AM on May 16, 2022

Also while the NL song wasn't my favorite, it was fine! And I was pleasantly surprised to see it rank so high, hooray!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:01 AM on May 16, 2022

I'm not sure how Eurovision 2022 compares to the rest in terms of quality

The general consensus on my twitter timeline was too many sad ballads and not enough weirdness. There should have been more of the Norway/Macedonia style energetic WTFness to make it a "proper" Eurovision. (See also the Sweden 2016 interval act "Love Love Peace Peace" for tips on the ideal Eurovision song!)

I was happy to see Ukraine win, and yes, tradition is that it should be in Ukraine next year.

Ireland was completely robbed by getting knocked out in the semi-finals.
posted by scorbet at 7:22 AM on May 16, 2022 [7 favorites]

I was really looking forward to organizing an in-person Eurovision watch party on the big screen at work this year. Then life became complicated in a way that derailed that entirely. I still haven't actually seen it yet. But, based on having watched some of the prelim videos, I am glad that the Ukraine band seems to have been genuinely good. Even if they're no Verka Serduchka.
posted by eotvos at 7:48 AM on May 16, 2022

(Um, I of course, meant Moldova rather than what is now North Macedonia above. Oops!)
posted by scorbet at 7:51 AM on May 16, 2022

Elsewhere on MetaFilter there's currently:
- the FanFare thread for the final
- a post on the blue about the UK doing (much) better than usual

This year's USC (Unexpected Sexual Content) (previously: Eurovision entry from Poland in 2014) was provided by a pro-vegan song from Latvia. Alas, they didn't make the final.

I didn't watch the final as was working, but I did have a twitter window on the screen and it was entertaining to see many friends and colleagues commenting as the evening wore on. Especially during the voting, as UK people slowly realised that (a) the UK wasn't going to come last, (b) it might actually do okay, (c) uh hang on, we might actually win this?!
posted by Wordshore at 8:21 AM on May 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

Also, if we're talking about old favorites, I always loved the really surprising ones. I often wish they'd lean more into it. Waiting through all the boring pop-songs is a bit of a slog.

Lordi isn't bad, but they've got nothing on Winny Puhh who didn't make the finals. I also have great fondness for les Fatals Picards that I can't entirely explain. It's not really my kind of music, but they are adorable. The old-timey ones from the '60s with a live orchestra are also great fun, in a different way. But, mostly for the set design.
posted by eotvos at 8:26 AM on May 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have only been watching Eurovision since 2019, so I don't have any old favorite deep cuts to share. And I have already been aggressively promoting this years entries from Serbia and Moldova in the other Eurovision threads, so I will simply mention them again briefly here.

But if you need something fun to soothe your post-Eurovision blues, may I suggest either the novel Space Opera or the movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga? Both links to Fanfare threads.
posted by the primroses were over at 1:01 PM on May 16, 2022

For me, Eurovision peaked in 2009 with Krassimir’s Illusion. If your first thought is “well that’s weird”, stay with it, it’ll get weirder.
posted by Kattullus at 1:06 PM on May 16, 2022 [5 favorites]

It's from a long time ago, but I still remember watching Riverdance and being absolutely spellbound. Otherwise, I think I'm usually in it for the sporadic rock and the general weirdness.
posted by plonkee at 4:13 PM on May 16, 2022 [3 favorites]

I grew up in Sweden, so I have watched Eurovision (and the Swedish qualifier, Melodifestivalen) for as long as I can remember. I stopped watching for a long time, mostly because it was impossible in the U.S. (For a while it was totally passé to watch in Sweden too, from what I understand.)

When I think back to my favorite moments, they are full of 80:s Swedish entries, like the golden shoes of the Herrey brothers, and the Melodifestivalen entry by Pernilla Wahlgren (where she hits a double high C) that's more popular now than the actual Swedish Eurovision entry that year. I have a few other faves from over the years too. Verka of course, and the winner that year from Serbia is amazing. I also actually really like the 2010 winner (and les Fatals Picards for me also, eotvos!).

But Carola's debut (at 16!) in 1983 with Främling is the most vivid memory I have. We watched her sing with that amazing voice and were just enthralled. My cousins and I dressed like her, doing lip-sync battles and performances for our parents in my aunt and uncle's basement for months and months afterwards. I remember being SO jealous of one of my cousins who owned a yellow jumpsuit that ALMOST looked like Carola's outfit from Melodifestivalen... She will forever be my Eurovision star.
posted by gemmy at 7:05 PM on May 16, 2022 [4 favorites]

I have loved Kate Miller-Heidke for years as an felt she was robbed... but who doesn't like Conchita Wurst
posted by Lesium at 5:07 AM on May 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

And I know we have Fanfare etc. threads about the current 2022 Eurovision Wordshore but I posted this with a more Eurovision in a persons past idea
posted by Lesium at 5:10 AM on May 17, 2022

I wasn't that keen on Lordi's winning song (not my genre) but their opening of the 2007 Eurovision with it was ... well, this is how to open a major event.

(That same Eurovision also had the Eurovision entry I detest the most. That UK entry about flying. Embarrassing.)

I have a soft spot for the Little Big entry from 2020 (the Eurovision that never was) for several reasons. It's Little Big, for a start (and they previously released a song which would have been near-perfect for Eurovision). But the video for their 2020 entry is also a neat prequel to the video for their food-centric song 'Tacos'.

The 2013 entry from Greece, Alcohol Is Free, is a formidable drinking song.

But my all-time favourite Eurovision song is the 2007 entry from Georgia (their debut in the contest): Visionary Dream, sung by Sopho Khalvashi. Still playing that, every now and then.
posted by Wordshore at 9:59 AM on May 17, 2022 [3 favorites]

Speaking as an old person who was watching when Abba won Eurovision, it did feel like some kind of epochal event at the time.
posted by Grangousier at 11:19 AM on May 17, 2022 [5 favorites]

I can't believe I posted about old favorites without mentioning Dschinghis Khan, which I think of as the purest distillation of the event into a single song. I put together a pretty good last-minute costume for a friend's Eurovision watch-party based on it using only stuff in my closet. Also, the set is neat, even if it's not the *most* impressive from that era.

Now that I think about it more than a decade later, Germans singing about 12th century Mongols while doing a parody of a Russian dance in orientalist clothing in Jerusalem in 1979 is a level of nested politics too complicated for me to understand, which is probably a bad sign. . . and reading the translated lyrics, which I couldn't do then, does not give me confidence that I made a good choice. I'm glad nobody had a camera. (At least my closet forced me to chose one of the less offensive characters.)

I do, however, firmly believe they should bring back the live orchestras and moving, mechanical sets.
posted by eotvos at 3:40 PM on May 17, 2022

(Next time, I'm going to dress up as the guy who runs in a circle with a stuffed cat on his shoulder in les Fatals Picards. I speak just enough of that song to know it isn't bad. I might even shave my head for it. Assuming such parties ever happen again.)
posted by eotvos at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm in the US and only started watching Eurovision in the last 5 years, when some kind MeFite posted the SVT stream. Unfortunately my favorite moments are recent and probably tame in comparison with previous years.

For sheer WTF-ery, 2018 and Ukraine's piano coffin with the flaming steps.

2019 brought us a gloriously tuneless Madonna during the interval. And later she tried to cover it up with autotune.

In 2021, Lithuania was the very first performance in Semifinal 1 with their anthem to going stir crazy at home and dancing your butt off, complete with perfect renditions of awkward dance moves. To me, it beautifully captured all the pent up lunatic energy of the pandemic and I actually cried. Thank you, The Roop.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 5:52 PM on May 17, 2022 [4 favorites]

That UK entry about flying
Oh, man. I had entirely forgotten. It's right on the edge of "so bad it's good," but not quite actually there. Is there an uncanny valley for pop songs? This thread is fun. [Edit: resisting making Father Ted references that might offend.]
posted by eotvos at 6:48 AM on May 18, 2022

I watched Eurovision for the first time this year, and loved it to pieces. Ukraine's entry, especially the official video rather than the stage performance, was haunting given its war footage, but for pure joy my heart is with Moldova. A baffled shout out for San Marino's inexplicably angry punk entry, though Norway and Serbia really take the cake for weird. I liked Georgia's efforts at surrealism, and I was a little dismayed at the multitude of girls with long flowing hair aching for some guy in a period pinterest-like set for the many interchangeable mass of videos. (See, for example, Greece).

Could someone more knowledgeable explain how musicians come to represent their countries? Do they apply? Are they nominated? The whole thing is so weird in practice, despite it's Olympics-like postwar origins.

Also: @Orange Dinosaur: Is the 2019 Madonna video supposed to keep stopping-and-starting like that?
posted by Violet Blue at 9:47 AM on May 18, 2022

Violet Blue, yes. Madonna’s ESC 2019 live performance was horribly off key. Afterwards, she edited a recording of it so it sounded better and then posted it to her social media feeds. That video shows a comparison of different song passages, first after she had autotuned them, and then the same passage during the actual performance so you can hear how bad it was. Each version is identified in the upper left corner with a caption that says either “Autotune” or “Reality”.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:24 AM on May 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Could someone more knowledgeable explain how musicians come to represent their countries? Do they apply? Are they nominated?

Eurovision is held by the European Broadcasting Union, and active members of the EBU (and some associated members) are eligible to send entrants to represent their countries. Contestants are determined by each participating national broadcaster, often through a country-specific song contest in various formats - see for example "Melodifestivalen" in Sweden or the "Eesti Laul" in Estonia.
posted by gemmy at 1:26 PM on May 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

Yeah, that Madonna performance was bad, and weirder than Justin Timberlake in 2016.

I'm British but have lived in the US most of my life, and have only been watching Eurovision since 2015, having decided to satisfy my curiosity after seeing many European friends tweet about it every May. While reading this thread, this moment from Austria's 2015 performance came to mind. One of my favorite memories related to this performance was that, after Sweden won that year, someone on Twitter dryly remarked, "The piano died for nothing."
posted by May Kasahara at 5:48 PM on May 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I cannot believe that the Norway entry wasn't even top3! I have been singing it non stop since i saw it!

Fun fact : Celine Dione was the first Eurovision winner, and she sang for Switzerland (only time they have won). Maybe this is why Swiss people still chant "Hop Schwyz Ka-na-da!" when cheering on Swiss teams at various events today.
posted by molecicco at 12:24 AM on May 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

On Wikipedia, the list of Eurovision Song Contest Winners. Hmmm. ABBA won ... 48 years ago. {suddenly feels extremely old}
posted by Wordshore at 5:56 AM on May 19, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, we've been yodelling Norway's wolf song here ever since, like, before and after cocktails. I'd thought they would at least come in fifth or so. "Grandma yum yum"... genius.

Could someone more knowledgeable explain how musicians come to represent their countries? Do they apply? Are they nominated? The whole thing is so weird in practice, despite it's Olympics-like postwar origins.

As gemmy above mentions, in Sweden (drumroll) we have Melodifestivalen which is a multiple-round contest that determines who represents Sweden at the Eurovision song contest. Maybe other countries do it differently, what do I know.

Once one has suffered through the at times abysmal entries from the pre-selection sessions, one can experience the final European event as pure artistic gold.
posted by Namlit at 1:02 PM on May 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

Could someone more knowledgeable explain how musicians come to represent their countries? Do they apply? Are they nominated? The whole thing is so weird in practice, despite it's Olympics-like postwar origins.

Each country's broadcaster chooses their own representatives, subject to the general rules for the number (up to 6) and age (16 or over) contestants.

Lots of countries do some kind of content to choose their representative, but that's not always the case. For example, the UK sometimes uses a popular vote, and sometimes a jury/internal BBC choice to decide who goes.

There's no rule that says the musician must come from the country they represent. This is how American Katrina Leskanich (for the UK) and Canadian Celine Dion (for Switzerland) have been Eurovision winners (sadly, Olivia Newton-John competed for the UK against ABBA and came 4th).
posted by plonkee at 2:01 PM on May 19, 2022 [2 favorites]

I am so late to this thread. But I'm on a Eurovision nostalgia trip tonight, and wanted to post my best/best worst songs for posterity:

Poland, 1997: Anna Maria Jopek, Ale Jestem: I think this was actually a beautiful song and I was sad when it didn't get more votes.

I had an unreasonable love for Estonia's Tii by Neiokõsõ, 2004, sung in Võro. A bit pitchy and would have benefited from some harmony, but should have made the final if only for the moment when the devil-horned drummer headbutts the cymbal.

(Really I'm just a sucker for folk-pop by warrior women. Which was why I was so pleased when Ruslana won for Ukraine that year with Wild Dances, a tribute to her Hutsul heritage on her father's side.)

Latvia, 2007: Bonaparti, Questa Notte. I have a weird soft spot for six Latvian dudes in top hats belting out a pop-opera ballad in loose harmony, so sue me. I also loved the moment of swaying drunken mellowness it brought to the evening; unlike anything else in the program except for Serbia's Molitva (Marija Šerifović), which won that year.

My Eurovision faves tend to end up as deep cuts-- but Israeli trans icon Dana International genuinely owned the stage in 1998 with Viva La Diva. A phenomenal voice and a song perfectly pitched for Eurovision, an instant earworm. It was all over the clubs that summer, and (cheesy as it was) it honestly felt like dancing our way to a better world.

Germany, 1994: Mekado: Wir geben 'ne Party - Germany went through this whole phase where they were like "well, no one's going to vote for us anyway so we might as well fling wtf at the stage". But I sincerely liked this trio of strong-voiced women who demand to know where the party is. (In Central Europe in the 90s, the 80s never ended, musically speaking).

Which brings me to the "best worst" category:

Germany, 1998: Guildo Horn, Guildo Hat Euch Lieb
You will rarely if ever see a performance as committed as this. The song itself is simple: "Guildo loves you/and when your tears flow/ he comes over and sings you songs/ Guildo loves you." Guildo is on a mission to share the love with every single audience member he can reach and a good number of those he can't. You WILL be loved by Guildo.

(Composer Stefan Raab also gave us 2000's Wadde hadde dudde da? which went for ironic-bad rather than sincerely bad, and honestly feels empty next to Guildo. Also, if a dude singer's women backing dancers strip off and he doesn't, nul points forever.)

The lead singer of The Ark (Sweden, 2007, The Worrying Kind), on the other hand, absolutely understands the assignment: deliver your cheerfully mediocre song with enthusiasm, accessorise like a BEAST and get a little bit too naked. I may have included this one because of a predilection for shirtless singing gothboys.... moving swiftly on)

Speaking of goth nudity, I'd be remiss if I didn't link Cezar the levitating Romanian countertenor (It's My Life, 2013)

Latvia, 2008: Pirates Of The Sea, Wolves Of The Sea - Another terrible song redeemed by ENTHUSIASM. What's not to love about singing pirates? Latvian J*hnny D*pp-alike probably preferable to the real thing at this point.

There are so many more that I wish I could remember enough details to find. I live for the Eurovision moments where someone does something *interesting* amid all the relentless upbeat stuff and power-ballad glurge. (Les Fatals Picards' L'amour à la française, linked by eotvos above, is still a legitimate bop for all the cringeworthy Franglais. Damn, 2007 was a good year.)

Anyway, no one will probably see this or care, but there you go: my favourite Eurovision also-rans, with a few winners in there for good measure. Sing, o sing, my sparkly bad-taste angels.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:49 PM on June 2, 2022 [4 favorites]

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Pallas Athena. Not only for the links, because it triggered a memory for me, solving a minor mystery that had been bugging me. I had a song stuck in my head, and the only bit I could remember was a chorus going “be happy”. As you can imagine, it was absolutely impossible to Google. But suddenly I remembered it was a Eurovision song, and it turned out to be Israel’s controversial 2000 entry, Sameach.
posted by Kattullus at 2:29 PM on June 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

thanks for this thread, everyone -- really enjoyed the links
posted by lazaruslong at 3:01 AM on June 4, 2022

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