The Artist's Guide
American Idol is Dead: Why Eurovision is Your New Favorite Singing Competition
What televised event attracts more viewers than the Super Bowl? The Eurovision Song Contest! For millions of people around the world, it is simply unmissable. Considered one of the world’s longest running and most-watched television broadcasts, the annual competition, held mainly among the members of the European Broadcasting Union, truly is a global cultural phenomenon! Here are five reasons why you should also tune in to watch Eurovision:
1. It’s a HUGE show
Get ready for 2 to 3 hours of spectacular—sometimes over-the-top—live performances, featuring wind machines, added CGI, and high-tech staging. The host countries always put enormous resources into the production of the show, so you are in for a treat.
Azerbaijan, which hosted the contest in 2012, spent a record 60 million dollars in total after building a new 23,000-seat venue specifically for the event and commissioning a fleet of more than 1,000 London-style taxis. The event organizers have since sought a greener approach by reducing the show’s carbon footprint and using eco-friendly products, but one thing remains constant: they do know how to put on a show!
2. The music, of course
While most Eurovision songs have long been forgotten, the music on offer is so eclectic that you will surely find something you will enjoy. Yes, it can be cheesy, even awful at times, but somewhere between the emotional ballads and the outlandish pop, you’ll hear some genuinely good music too. After all, artists such as ABBA, Celine Dion, and Olivia Newton-John were all discovered at Eurovision!
3. It’s as camp as it gets
Viking-inspired monsters, Russian grannies in traditional attire, superhero costumes—Eurovision has seen it all. Expect a visual feast mixing the extraordinary, the kitsch, and the downright bizarre (think Met Gala meets Europop meets folksy) with surreal moments thrown in for good measure. It is worth noting that fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier will be designing Israeli singer Dana International’s outfit for this year’s contest in Tel Aviv (and Madonna’s, who will also be performing at Eurovision). This will definitely be a sartorial highlight!
4. It’s surprisingly educational
Not only does Eurovision offer an entertaining lesson in geography, it also gives you a chance to hear songs in a rich variety of languages. Brush up on your skills and discover lesser-known countries, such as Montenegro or San Marino, languages or folklores mixed with contemporary sounds (although the contest’s language requirements have been abolished, which resulted in English largely dominating the scene).
5. The sociopolitical agenda
Eurovision might seem like a light-hearted affair but it is a lot more than a song contest: in fact, it has always been as much about political games as it has been about music. From the strategic voting—often a matter of alliances between countries, such as Greece and Cyprus, the Baltic nations, the former USSR, or even Scandinavia—to the more or less hidden political messages about values and human rights, there is a lot going on beneath the extravaganza of glitter and strobe lights!
Are you ready for a major dose of Euro-style entertainment? What better place to watch Eurovision than in Europe where it all started? Browse The Stella’s collection of vacation rentals in southern Europe for the perfect spot to indulge in the guiltiest of TV pleasures.