For those of you souls unlucky enough to not know what Eurovision is, it’s an annual event where European nations, more or less, commit to send some people who have at least a vague understanding of what a tambourine is to put themselves forward as the musical representatives for their country, other countries then vote for their friends or whichever act they find the most amusing and a Eurovision champion is born…
1. It’s great for geography, not only will you get to learn the names of all the European capitals you’ll also discover lesser known facts, like Australia is in fact in Europe (well they are performing in a contest for European countries so it must be true).
2. It’s a great way to learn about international (well European+) political affairs. You’ll learn which countries are afraid of retribution if they don’t vote for another nation (just you watch all those former soviet-bloc countries break away from old alliances…), which countries like each other (close neighbours, like the Scandinavians, often stick together) and who the least popular countries in Europe are (UK is definitely up there in the ‘other-European-nations-really-don’t-like-you’ stakes).
3. Unlike some more acoustically sophisticated types of music you don’t need to have any musical skills, appreciation or understanding to enjoy (or even represent your country at) Eurovision, in fact the more tone-deaf you are the more you will probably like this.
4. If you are an alcoholic it’s a judgement free way to enjoy your favourite beverage, no-one in their right minds would ever expect you to watch Eurovision sober!
5. As Avenue Q so famously put it ‘everyone’s a little bit racist’…indulge your inner xenophobia in an annually encouraged event by ridiculing, mocking and then bemoaning the intolerable success of that nation you just love to hate (come on you Swiss and English, let’s not pretend we aren’t eager to see France in an epic fail).
6. If you love ridiculously bad poppy music you can scream enthusiastically at this terrible genre without anyone suspecting you aren’t being ironic and that you actually like the music.
7. You can learn the art of maintaining the perfect composure appropriate to the kind of social occasion where they can only be one winner (Oscar nominees take note) by noting the behaviour of the acts that continuously receive ‘nil points’ from every other nation. Note how that happy gleaming grin distracts you from the fact they are now dead behind the eyes.
8. If you don’t actually have any friends, family or interests and wonder what to do with yourself at evenings or weekends, you can kill not just one entire evening watching hours and hours of this seemingly never-ending competition but they even have semi-finals and often competitions to select a country’s acts too. That could account for at least four out of 365 evenings in the year.
9. You can learn about European+ regional economics. Note how some countries deliberately field an atrocious act (but in the ‘wholly-bad’, think Kate Bush, not ‘so-bad-it’s-good’, think Spice Girls, way) to avoid winning the competition and being rewarded with the financially black-hole-inducing prize of having to host the competition next year (Greece’s entry, or Ireland entering Jedward yet again, should give you an idea of what I mean).
10. It’s an annual excuse to get together and throw a little party, bring people together, throw in a little babycham and a peanut or two and use your human guests as a shield to hide the shameful fact that, secretly, you really love this yearly event, even though you know you shouldn’t. Tears of emotion flowing down your face as you are moved by a man continually spinning in a giant hamster wheel can easily be disguised as tears of laugher.