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Weekly List #131: Reasons to watch the Eurovision Song Contest

So yesterday was the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest and let me just tell you – it was everything I could’ve hoped for. The ESC is a bit of a “monument” in my family. Back in the olden days (so, when we still all lived at home fulltime), we would all gather, give points for the act, the song, the outfit, the performance…. Then we’d have to put our points together because of course we could only vote for one act (Why only one? I have no idea). And even now, I still absolutely love the atmosphere of the entire event. However, I’m sure not everyone’s been as “lucky” in getting the Eurovision Song Contest as part of their general education. So here’s 5 reasons why you too should be watching the grand finale this Saturday!

1. The history

Eurovision is 100% coming from a historical place. After all, it’s existed for over 60 years. And while it’s original goal – to bring more unity to the European countries – has sometimes been twisted a bit (and the ESC has been used exactly to make a political point?). I feel like that’s still a pretty darn good reason to watch it.

Also, history-wise. This is the competition that brought us ABBA with Waterloo, Celine Dion with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, the crazy sax guy, and so many other amazing highlights from the past century. Watching the ESC, in other words, is basically like honoring all that history. What’s not to like?

2. The glitter

Sure, this has been a bit of a hit and miss in recent years. Last night, during the first semi-final, I even saw someone tweeting they “very strongly disliked” how some countries actually had the guts to “try and bring songs that were sung well”.

And while I personally quite like the improvement in music these last years have seen, there is something to be said about that argument. After all, the start of the 21st century saw the Eurovision Song Contest basically inundated in glitter, and sparkles, and light flashes. But, well, at least that last one we definitely still have going on!

3. The stories

For example, did you know that in 1969, because there was a relatively “basic” point system, there were actually four winners? And the ESC just sort of went with it?

Or that the only Belgian winner (so far, and she will continue to be that as Belgium’s already out after the first semi-final) Sandra Kim was technically too young to be allowed to enter? In her song she sang she was 15 years old, however, she was only 13 when participating. Cue the new age limit of 16 years old – yes, really.

And of course, then there’s the man with the beard, the Russian entry that got banned from entering the country where the ESC was taking place, some failed attempts at bringing disco back, … I could go on and on!

4. The music

Yes, this is actually a reason to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, not one to stay far away from it. What’d ya know? Throughout the years, there’s definitely been a lot of absolute junk. I mean, there’s a reason the contest got its bad rep. But then, even within the junk, there’s absolute gems like this (which, yes, 10+ years on I still think is a great song)

(Just check out my favourite songs from this year, from the 2010s up to and including last year, and from the 2000s!)

5. The ambiance

This, for me, will probably always be the main reason to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. After all, it’s the one thing just about every European country (and now Australia) has in common: we tune in, bash about every song, secretly (or not so secretly) really like some of them anyways, and get entirely too invested in the voting. Even if our own country is no longer in the running.

Just check out Twitter, Tumblr, or any other social network site – the week and night of Eurovision? It’s a whole different world.

Also, it’s something we have that Americans don’t, which is quite a funny thought – especially concerning these types of videos:

So – tell me! Do you watch the Eurovision Song Contest? Do you like it? Who’s your favourite this year? Or are they already out? Be sure to let me know below!