The Eurovision Song contest turns 65 this year, and it does not seem about to retire. Each year European nations (and for some reason Australia) compete in a song contest that is a major televised event with audience voting. The country that wins gets to host the event the following year. Last Year Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won with ‘Stefania’, a blend of traditional folk harmonies and hip hop about the unconditional love of the singer’s mother. Sung entirely in Ukrainian and accompanied by cultural symbols and dress, it became a defiant declaration of Ukrainian nationalism in the face of Russian invasion and was an audience favourite.
Eurovision is a cultural event with many legends, like ABBA, Conchita Wurst, and Epic Sax Guy. Celine Dion was even a competitor early in her career. My personal favourite of all time was or Daði Freyr in 2020, which was unpopular with the event organizers because they playful Icelandic gang did not seem to be ‘taking the competition seriously enough’. 🤔 What does this even mean in the context of the most shmaltzy, camp-infused performance event? Surely everyone is in on the joke, and being a bit extra is OK? Besides that, I did not even sense that Daði was being sarcastic or ironic – if anything, the inclusion of hometown kids and family members seems to signal earnestness. In 2019 Will Farrell made a movie about an Icelandic group competing in Eurovision which was also a nice mix of playful and earnest.
Sweden has it’s own domestic competition every year to decide who should represent Sweden at Eurovision (see the Spotify playlist below). There is a heavy weight of high expectations or any Swedish representative, since Sweden is one of the winningest-countries, and definitely over-indexed relative to population. According to Wikipedia, Sweden has sent 6 winners over the last 64 years (second only to Ireland’s seven), and also has the most top five results of the 21st century (12 finalist spots). This year Sweden will send Loreen, who won in 2012 with the song ‘Euphoria‘ and has a very Euro-sounding soaring jam ‘Tattoo‘. CAN’T BEAT THE FORMULA. This year’s competition is in the second week of May. I haven’t heard all the songs yet, but look forward to rooting for a favourite performance.