In 1956, a war-torn Europe created a night of musical unity that was intended to bring the countries back together. This past weekend, Sweden hosted Eurovision’s 58th Annual Song Contest. The theme was “we are one” and sought to highlight the cultural diversity and influence of the participants.
The idea behind Eurovision is simple. Each country submits a song to be performed live on television and at the end of the night, they vote for another country’s performance to declare a winner who will host Eurovision the following year. While Eurovision is a strictly European event, several participants have gone on to be worldwide phenomenons. Sweden’s ABBA won Eurovision’s 1974 competition and went on to international stardom.
A total of twenty-six countries participated in this year’s contest and in true Eurovision fashion, the acts varied from classic and patriotic to downright bizarre. Because the winning country is required to host Eurovision, countries in financial crisis will sometimes send absurd acts to ensure that they don’t win. For instance, Greece performed a song called “Alcohol is Free” in what was likely an attempt to guarantee their failure.
Aside from the free Greek alcohol, there were enthusiastic Belgian dancers, vikings, sexual tension between a singer and a man in a glass box, Sweden’s half-time show of stereotypes, and Romania‘s dubstep vampire opera. In the end, Danish Emmelie de Forrest’s “Only Teardrops” took home first place with an impressive 281 points.Google+