No, Eurovision Isn’t Going Through Its Cool Era, The UK Is Just Late To The Party

People who mocked Eurovision in the past are now finally seeing it for what it is – a spectacular TV event and a wonderful community.
The UK's Eurovision entrant for 2023, Mae Muller
The UK's Eurovision entrant for 2023, Mae Muller
Anthony Devlin via Getty Images

It’s pretty bizarre to be a devoted Eurovision fan in the year 2023, as we prepare for a Song Contest in Liverpool.

Following years of begging friends to come to Eurovision screenings, attending national pre-parties alone and getting weird looks for insisting that the fourth place Belgian entry in 2015 was an all-time great Eurosong, my hobby has suddenly become everyone else’s too.

You can’t get a ticket to the Eurovision final for love nor money (well, you can pay £4,000 for a box). Eurovillage tickets sold out in minutes. People I’ve previously seen moaning on Twitter about political voting and the UK never winning because of Brexit are suddenly pledging allegiance to Mae Muller. Much like Formula 1’s ascent to the girlies’ hobby du jour, Sam Ryder coming second for the UK made Eurovision cool again.

Well, to the UK mainstream, that is. Because for those of us who have been repping this ridiculous, glamorous, over-the-top contest for years, Eurovision has been cool all along.

I have loved Eurovision ever since I was a kid, when Ireland (where I am from, and I now live again after seven years in London) were still very, very good at it, and I would get to watch the final each year with loads of sweets and an ice cream float. I lived for Turkey’s 2003 winner Everyway That I Can, and I rocked out to Lordi while babysitting. But my obsession really kicked in properly in 2012, after Loreen won for Sweden with the eternal banger Euphoria.

Loreen won Eurovision in 2012, and is returning to the contest to represent Sweden this year
Loreen won Eurovision in 2012, and is returning to the contest to represent Sweden this year
Jeff Spicer via Getty Images

I began to watch national finals like Sweden’s Melodifestivalen and Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin. I listened to every country’s fallen acts and final choices, ranking them in the months leading up to the contest and poring over odds, fan theories and drama.

Then comes that mad week in May. Every year, I would try in vain to get people to watch the semi-finals with me, insisting that this is where the most bonkers entertainment lies (I’m still gutted for anybody who missed out on the immortal line “Instead of meat, I eat veggies and p***y” from the Latvian entry last year, simply because they only watched the final). I would try and convince people that there were really good songs, and that anybody could win, and political voting is just a myth people tell themselves to lie about the fact their country has put in no effort. But instead, I would find comfort and community with other Eurofans, culminating in me actually getting to go to Eurovision in Turin 2022.

And what an experience it is. Sure, the last two years have made “real” music fans sit up and take notice, thanks to the global success of Måneskin and the spectacle that was last year. But it’s always been special.

Eurovision 2021 winners, Italy's Maneskin
Eurovision 2021 winners, Italy's Maneskin

You get to soak up cultures you would never usually have access to, meet people from all around the world, party your ass off, and listen to some great music. And when I say great, that includes proper songwriting alongside total lunacy. Where else do you get to listen to ballads about lost love and scathing critiques of the Serbian healthcare system in one night?

Eurovision has been laughed at over the years as a stupid, outrageous collection of bad songs set in different decades, but it has been changing and modernising by the year and becoming even more of a magical place. You can have a giggle at bonkers costumes, and maybe just find your new favourite act from Moldova.

That doesn’t mean I want to gatekeep Eurovision. I am so glad that people who mocked the contest in the past are now seeing it for what it is – a spectacular TV event and a wonderful community. It deserves to be the cool new thing. It’s like loving the Premier League – there are casual viewers who might tune in for a big match and laugh at anyone getting upset over it, and there are diehard fans who stand in the rain for every 0-0 disaster and openly sob with strangers over goals.

Eurovision is here for everyone, and I’m delighted that people are now seeing how fun, inclusive and, yes, cool my hobby is. I hope that even a third of the enthusiasm on home turf continues on until next year, wherever that contest may be.

But to all the UK newbies coming to the party – Eurovision isn’t just for Christmas, or Liverpool, and it’s not just about winning.

If Mae Muller doesn’t come top three, that doesn’t mean that Eurovision is bad, and it’s all politics. It just means that another song did better. Stick with the contest rain or shine, and you too may end up falling in love with the greatest show on earth.


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