Carrie Underwood thinks we wait all day for Sunday night; I wait all day and night and YEAR for the Eurovision Grand Finals**. This year, I’ve split up our Eurovision coverage between the top and bottom 13, so that we can spend more time with each act. For example, I really needed to cover the hell out of the yodeling, and the gorilla. Yes, I said gorilla. I highly recommend watching the Logo livestream — you can skip ahead, and plug your ears whenever Ross Mathews talks between acts — or hitting up Google to see if there are any videos (specify “Grand Finale” when you search, so you get the live stuff).
** For the unfamiliar: Eurovision is an annual original-song contest involving… well, “Euro” isn’t quite right, because the likes of Russia and Australia participate. But it’s MOSTLY Europe, and each year’s winning country hosts it the next — which means, I think, that some countries still want to show off a bit but don’t actually have any desire take it home because hosting because it costs more than they make from it. And there is a lot of alcohol and a LOT of drama, and usually widespread use of bonkers staging, bad costumes, and above all, pyrotechnics.
One thing it’s not supposed to be is political, which is why last year Russia freaked out because Ukraine won with a song about 1944 events involving the USSR and the Crimea:
[T]he first words out of her mouth are, “When strangers are coming, they come to your house, AND KILL YOU ALL.” I’m serious. She then chases that with things like, “Humanity cries,” and, “You think you are gods but everyone dies,” and then a refrain of, “I couldn’t spend my youth there because you took away my peace.” Now, I’m not saying that’s pointed, but if you had to choose between that and a freshly sharpened chef’s knife to cut your meat, I’d choose those lyrics.
Russia threatened to boycott, but instead after they chose their contestant — a girl who’s been in a wheelchair since childhood (Russia has made no secret of REALLY wanting to win this thing) — Ukraine banned her from the country for three years because she illegally entered the Crimea in 2015. Now Ukraine is under threat of a ban by Eurovision organizers for its actions, and Russia refused to participate remotely. DRAMA.
[Photos: Logo Livestream, Getty, Andres Putting/Eurovision.tv]