One of the strangest things I have ever come across while living in Europe is the Eurovision Song Contest. During this competition, each country in Europe sends a representative artist to a location where they each perform and people in Europe vote on who should win. Sounds normal enough, right? What’s not so normal is the hype and the craziness surrounding this competition. The contest consistently pulls in the highest ratings each year in most European countries. It attracts more European spectators than World Cup Soccer. Some of my former colleagues in Madrid used to bet on the competition and stay up late into the evening to watch the end to see who won.
This obsession with the European countries to constantly be at odds with each other to determine which is “best” at something is ridiculous. European countries compete with each other in sporting events, musical competitions, television programs (they all have their own versions of the same programs) and culinary competitions. For a continent that is supposedly stable and peaceful, this is a very confusing situation. I will never understand why each European country feels so inferior that they need competitions like the stupid Eurovision Song Contest to make themselves feel better than the rest.
This year, Austria won the competition. If there’s any country that deserves an inferiority complex it’s Austria. They don’t even have their own language! Many people in the world still confuse them with Australia. Their entry into the competition this year was a transvestite singer who dresses as a woman, but has a full beard. He describes himself as “2 hearts beating in the same body.” His “alter persona” even has a backstory and fictional life.
The Austrian entry won the competition this year, not because of his talent, but because of the novelty. I “Youtubed” his performance and, while not bad, it wasn’t really song-competition-winning material. He has a decent voice, and you would have bet your life it was a woman singing, but it wasn’t good enough to win a competition. His life story and his problems growing up (leading to his “feminine” persona) are what won him the votes….not his music.
This, then is where the Eurovision Song Contest fails. It ceases to be about the actual music and it becomes more about the people, or countries they represent. There is always some veiled political undertone that puts a damper on the competition (this year the coordinators weren’t sure what to do with the votes that came from Crimea….they eventually counted them as Ukrainian votes). Most of all, I am perplexed by the amount of value and time the European people give to this competition. It’s like the country that wins is best (feeding the inferiority complexes of the other European countries). Well, I say “all hail, Austria, the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, with a transvestite with a beard!”