TV. Chocolate. Cheap travel. Europe does it better in numerous ways. What the uninitiated may not know, is that Europe bestows one of its greatest gifts upon us this weekend. Yes, my friends, the Eurovision Song Contest final has arrived. On Saturday (12pm PST/3pm EST) the greatest TV event you’ve probably never heard of consumes the masses abroad.
What is Eurovision? Only the GREATEST. THING. EVER. In short, countries from across Europe select a singer or group of musicians to represent them in the form of a pop song they write and sing. The performers go through rounds of competition and are voted on by the public, until a select few compete in the Eurovision final. The winner of the final is crowned that year’s champion, and the country that wins gets to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Sounds like American Idol or X Factor, but with a key difference: Eurovision is silly, absurd, over the top, and hilarious. My British-American friend introduced me to this bonkers competition a few years back, and I have followed it since then. To help you, the unacquainted public, get in the Eurovision spirit, we present a guide on how to properly enjoy the insanity of this epic TV event:
EMBRACE THE ABSURDITY
Unlike other singing competitions, Eurovision goes all out from the start. There are two categories of performers during the song contest: the serious and the silly. Some, like England, have legit pop stars representing them with carefully crafted tunes. But come on, where is the fun in that? Luckily, most of the performers know what the people want. Eurovision has had some of the most ridiculous performances of all-time. In 2012, Russia was represented by singing grannies. No, really. That happened. And they came in second place.
Other incredible, unbelievable performances include a gypsy punk band full of circus performers (Moldova 2011), a giant rubber puppet turkey (Ireland 2008), and a man dressed as Dracula surrounded by semi-nude dancers (Romania 2013). No performance can match 2006’s best group, though. Lordi, the death-metal band representing Finland, was crowned the champions of Eurovision that year. A crowning achievement for predator look-alikes everywhere.
GET YOUR TWEET ON
The best part about watching Eurovision is the snarky commentary. #Eurovision stays at the top of Twitter trending topics for most of the day, with folks around the world tweeting along as they watch. For the first time ever, Eurovision will be broadcast in the U.S. this year on LogoTV (starting at 12pm PST/3pm EST), giving us a chance to get in on the fun. There’s nothing better than watching a song from weird Ukranian vikings while the reactions of your fellow viewers rain upon Twitter like a flood of insanity. The Brits especially revel in Eurovision kitsch, providing a constant flow of clever banter and jokes.
TURN YOUR VIEWING INTO A GAME
Most of my friends abroad have turned the Eurovision final into a Saturday night event in their homes. Snacks are made, decorations hung, and party games prepared. There are endless drinking games revolving around the competition that add an extra layer of fun to the proceedings. Print out your own bingo cards from the gallery below and challenge your friends to see who can get five in a row first. Happy Eurovision viewing!
Will you be watching Eurovision this year? Drop us your thoughts in the comments below!
Images and video: Eurovision Song Contest
Michelle Buchman is the social media manager at Nerdist. She’s also a huge British TV fanatic. Feel free to follow and chat movies with her on Twitter, @michelledeidre.