Now in its 52nd year, the Eurovision Song Contest has made strides in uniting some of the world’s most chaotic areas under one common purpose: the creation of spectacularly awful pop music. Previous winners include ABBA and Celine Dion. They’re on the higher end of the artistic scale here.
On May 24, the finalists, including representatives from Israel, Bosnia, the United Kingdom, Russia and Azerbaijan will compete for the top prize. And America can no longer use geography as an excuse for ignorance, because the fine folks at Eurovision are not only streaming the competition live — they’ve provided a vast wealth of video for international consumption.
I’ll be honest: I haven’t watched American Idol since its first season — but that’s because American Idol never had a turkey puppet for a contestant:
Unfortunately, Ireland’s Dustin the Turkey did not progress beyond the semi-finals. (Which is baffling to me, given that his song had lyrics like “Shake your tail feathers to the funky beat.”) Commentary refers to Dustin as “controversial,” which I don’t understand. Is it because he apologizes to the world for Riverdance?
Meanwhile, the steamy pop ballad sung by Belarus’s Ruslan Alehno isn’t so bad — until the chorus reveals that the screenwriters of Terminator deserve a song-writing credit:
It’s not all completely awful. Andy Abraham out of the UK is pretty fun (just three decades out of date). And the frontrunner, Russia’s Dima Bilan with Believe , is about on par with current top 40 radio (which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as he’s previously recorded with Timbaland and Nelly Furtado):
Most people in the U.S. have never even heard of Eurovision — and for some, that’s probably for the best. But for those with a refined palate for the ridiculous, it’s like Christmas. Don’t believe me? Check out Switzerland’s entry from last year, by an artist named DJ Bobo.
I’m not sure what this song is trying to say about international cooperation — hopefully “vampires are alive” isn’t a veiled critique of EU tariffs. Because what I like about Eurovision is the idea of many people, speaking many languages, coming together…for one completely absurd night of music.