Break out your sequins because it’s Eurovision season again! The lucky few of you who know what that is can feel free to start celebrating while I explain to the poor unfortunates who don’t.
Every year, because we are living in the best of all possible worlds, the national broadcasting companies of every European nation (and Israel) come together to put on a show. Not just any show — the Eurovision Song Contest, a week long, over-the-top pop music extravaganza. Every country sends one artist, armed with an original song, to compete for votes from across Europe.
Sounds like American Idol on steroids, right? Except this has been going on since the mid 1950’s when a bunch of European countries decided to come together and create an event that would start to heal some of the wounds leftover from World War II. The whole contest still carries that feeling of goofy 50’s international idealism.
Past winners include some serious musical contenders like ABBA and Celine Dion, and a fair share of people you’ve never heard of. Different countries treat Eurovision with different degrees of seriousness, which is why some submit world famous pop acts and others submit the winners of local cable station contests. No country can vote for its own contestant, so the winner is determined by who can win over the crowd.
Last year’s winner, Austrian drag performer Conchita Wurst, took the prize with the soaring James Bond-worthy power-ballad “Rise Like A Phoenix” and brought the contest home to Vienna for 2015.
Eurovision is pretty much the perfect mash-up of ridiculous camp nonsense and actual talent. There’s just one small problem: it doesn’t air here in the United States. Unlike Australia, a country that’s shown so much enthusiasm for Eurovision that they get to submit a non-competing performance this year, the United States has been sleeping on this popculture gem — until now.
Thanks to the magic of YouTube, stateside fans will be able to stream the Eurovision semi-finals, which air today, and the 20 song finale which airs Saturday afternoon. The official Eurovision YouTube channel includes the livestream as well as background videos on all the contestants and music videos for the songs that they’ll be performing live at the contest.
Tune in to the world’s best pop culture meltdown, and maybe by this time next year the U.S. will finally have a Eurovision entry of its own! (A guy can dream, okay.)
Share this article and let us know in the comments who you’re rooting for.