Eurovision, the over 60 year old singing contest involving nearly the whole of Europe is finally coming to the US airwaves.
What the heck is Eurovision, you ask? What, did you think American Idol was original or something?
So, for those of my readers who are old enough to remember the early 90s, do you all recall when there were people going around preaching how the World Wide Web was going to bring the world together and bring us all peace and harmony? That this interconenctedness would somehow bring an end to world war, and peace in our time, that information and entertainment would be free and available to anyone anywhere? Of course, none of that turned out to be true, and the internet wound up also bringing us the Kardashians, Trump and gamergate. But there was a time when people believed it would be different.
For my readers who are even older, perhaps you are old enough to remember the last time a technology so radical became a household standard that folks thought it was bring the world together. Perhaps you’re old enough to remember when these same sorts of future perfect predictions were said about television. They too failed to see that it would bring us the Kardashians, Trump and FOX News. But before those terrible things arrived, a group of Europeans decided in 1956 to get together and use this medium to bring countries together in friendly competition using something that peoples of any language could understand: music.
And for decades Eurovision has sort of done what it was supposed to. It is a continent wide event, years and years before the eurozone ever became a reality. From the late 50s through today, like the World Cup is in the sporting world, this was a way countries could compete with each other, without it having to descend into war. It is still the world’s most watched live non-sporting TV event (sorry Oscars!), attracting nearly 200 million television viewers worldwide.
One of the byproducts of the internet was the widening for the world, so that something like Eurovision, which most Americans were utterly ignorant of, has in the last decade become something known, and moreover, something we’re aware we’re being left out of. Part of this is in thanks to American Idol, the spin off of the UK’s Pop Idol, which in itself was based on a much narrower, nationalist version of Eurovision. It’s not an accident that the places Idol took off the hardest–Canada, America, India and Australia–are not a part of Eurovision. But with musical competitions now a part of our regular TV landscape, it seems almost insulting that Eurovision is only available in the US for those savvy enough to have learned to stream YouTube on their TVs.
So perhaps it is not surprising that finally, Eurovision will come to the US. Not that we are allowed to compete , mind you, though as the popularity takes of here, perhaps we, like Australia last year, can get a “Special Guest Invite.” Not that Eurovision is going to be found on American network TV either. Perhaps showing our continuing prejudices here when it comes to all things Euro, the show will air on the LBGT friendly channel Logo.
For those of us who don’t get Logo, sticking to watching the show via YouTube stream is probably still the best recourse. This is one of the few times I would not recommend watching via BBC, or streaming via any euro channel, as the commentators are clearly biased. The UK is one of the worst offenders, as they have not taken the title since the mid 80s, and are rather bitter about it. (See also: creating their own nationalist version, Pop Idol.) Also, Logo is only broadcasting the Grand Final–the only way to watch the semi finals that determine which countries get to compete against the Big Five for the title is YouTube streaming. (Germany, the UK, Spain, France and Italy are all given a free pass straight into the grand finale.)
We, of course, will be covering both the semis (May 10th and 12th) and the Grand Final on May 14th, as we have done in years past, here and on Twitter. We hope you join us for all the hilarious fun.