Every year Europe explodes into a frenzy of kitsch and cheesiness and excitement. Forget sports tournaments or political elections! Nothing brings out the voting giddiness in Europeans like the Eurovision Song Contest does. After last year’s win by Conchita Wurst the Song Contest 2015 takes place in Vienna, Austria – which, by the way, is right where we are 😉 The theme this year is Building Bridges and Austria is pretty excited since we only hosted the Song Contest once before, ages ago, and no one really dared to hope we’d win it again.
Photo credit: srf.ch
Here’s a little primer for the uninitiated so you too can get ready for the Eurovision Song Contest celebration this weekend.
Step 1: Educate yourself on what Eurovision is. [If you’re European you may skip right to Step 2]
Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne, more commonly known as The Eurovision Song Contest, has been entertaining Europe for almost 60 years. It’s quite special to us, since it’s not actually that easy to get a mass as heterogenous as all of Europe excited about one shared thing. The Song Contest has been doing its job quite well since 1956 as year after year people all around Europe have gathered in front of their television sets, watching the very same thing, whether they are in Iceland or in Italy. But with the rise of social media, even Americans started noticing this strange phenomenon as it basically took over Twitter with hashtags each year.
Meanwhile, even Americans have been unwittingly listening to Song Contest music for decades. After all, stars like ABBA and Celine Dion started out at the Grand-Prix! If you’re completely new to Eurovision, here’s a neat and entertaining summary by Danish vlogger Victoria Flamel:
Step 2: Decide whether you’re going to watch ironically or unironically
This is a trick question, of course. Because the best way to watch Eurovision is, in my opinion, half-ironically and – just like Eurovision itself – not to take anything too seriously. Some people love it whole-heartedly, others hate it with a vengeance, but I think the trick to a fun Eurovision night is to convince yourself that you are totally taking it seriously so you can get properly excited about all the things. Like Yoda says: “Do or do not. There is no try.” This absolutely goes for the Song Contest: You have to commit to it – all while still maintaining a last vestige of irony. It’s quite the feat, I tell you.
Step 3: Assemble your team
Eurovision is best watched at the right place with the right people. It’s no use spending the evening with people who will make fun of you for getting into it or who can’t let loose and get invested. Whether you go public viewing or are throwing your own party you have to be able to embrace the whole thing. So pick your compatriots wisely. If you decide to throw a Eurovision Party, you obviously need the right food as well.
Step 4: Enhance the entertainment
To watch Eurovision properly you will require a dose of patriotism: Pick a team. It doesn’t have to be your own country, just pick one and stick with them and then duke it out with your friends who have picked different countries.
Photo credit: Pexels
Next you need to devise some sort of drinking game. There are tons of templates for this that can be found online and you can use them to patch your own rules together, taking into account your own country’s TV presenters and their own cliché behaviour. If you prefer to stay sober you can, of course, always opt for Eurovision Bingo, which is equally a lot of fun to play.
Step 5: What else do you need? Ah yes, a lot of patience.
Settle in for the night, because it takes a long time until all those votes are in. It might get close and be super thrilling or it might be clear enough who will win early on. If you get bored as the points are called in – that’s what the good company, the food, and the games are for. But if you take an interest in European politics, the tactical voting is definitely highly interesting to watch.
Step 6: Stay online, be social.
Eurovision is about a gazillion times more fun if you are plugged in to your social media channels. The comments on Twitter can be absolutely hilarious and intelligently sardonic as people root for their preferred countries, mock presenters or duke it out over some costume choice. You can also go to Walls.io’s eurovision.social microsite to stay up to date. We’ve even made a little widget you can use to embed the social wall for all things #eurovision on your own website.
But be careful, if you’re watching the Eurovision Song Contest via an online broadcast, your stream might occasionally lag a bit behind the excitement on social media. Ah, but those are the dangers of being at the forefront of Twitter and Co. #SpoilerAlert!