For the first time in its 61-year history, the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcast live in the States Saturday (3/2c, Logo). And, since I’m as close to an expert on the subject as anyone on the TVLine staff — I co-wrote Austria’s winning entry in 2014 and have had three other songs reach the finals — I thought maybe I was the right person to give you some idea of what to expect from the mega-popular continent-wide competition. (Last year’s audience was a record-breaking 197 million viewers worldwide.) Ready? Here goes…
DAZZLING COSTUMES | When Bob Mackie dreams, those dreams look like Eurovision. Seriously, outside of RuPaul’s Drag Race, you will not see more sequins in one place at one time than you will on stage during the contest. And if an outfit doesn’t sparkle, it’s either so far over the top that it can no longer see the top from its altitude, or it’s so elegant that it makes you feel classier just looking at it.
EYE-POPPING PYROTECHNICS | The bells and whistles that accompanied last year’s finals included everything from animated stick figures and a hairless werewolf doing interpretive dance to eyes the size of a room shedding silver tears and enough fireworks to make Disney’s Wishes seem about as impressive as a birthday cake with an extra candle on it. (You might wanna keep sunglasses handy.)
BATTY VOTING | If anything’s going to make you feel better about the nutty process by which America elects its president, it’s going to be watching the recently overhauled, still kooky-as-hell way that Eurovision picks its winner. Honestly, the process so baffles me that, to explain it, I had to bring in an actual expert, William Lee Adams, founder of ESC-centric wiwibloggs.com. “Each country awards points to its 10 favorite acts,” he says. “In the past, the winner was chosen American Idol style, with people picking up their phones and voting. But since 2009, the public vote has only accounted for 50 percent of a nation’s results. The other half is determined by a professional jury, which — cough — supposedly has better taste than the masses.”
KILLER SONGS | Once you get past the spangles and politics — not that there’s anything wrong with spangles — what you’ll discover is that much of the music is absolutely fantastic. If you doubt it, check out a couple of entries from last year. Almost any two will do, really. But if you’re looking for recommendations, my favorites were Norway’s uber-dark ballad, “A Monster Like Me,” and the UK’s insanely catchy “Still in Love with You.”
So, will you be tuning in? And if so, for the songs or the spectacle? Hit the comments.