Last night, a nieve and unsuspecting American, I watched the Eurovision competition for the first time.
A year ago a friend had explained the hype to me, underlining its traditional, cultural significance. Unfortunately our plans didn't work out, so I was left with the idea created by my imagination--that is until yesterday, when I was invited to partake in some Telepizza and watch this year's concert with friends. I arrived completely green and eager, expecting an epic show of the latest cutting-edge developments in European music and identity, something like the Olympics meets Battle of the Bands.
However, as I found myself enveloped in a conversation about whether or not Bonnie Tyler was completely hammered, I found my face contorting into one of those internet memes I never really understood. [Insert rage face here.]
In case you'd like to share in some commiseration (or maybe some enlightenment!) here's a rundown of Eurovision's greatest perplexities for the (or at least this) expat.
Not all of the countries are in Europe.
Wait, what? It's called EUROvision.
"Why isn't Portugal participating?" I asked--which seems like Europe 101, right? "That would be too many countries." But, isn't Azerbaijan in Asia? See also Russia, Armenia, Cyprus, Israel...
(And now that you mention it, why is Georgia considered Europe?)
The music is not hip or representative of the country it's representing.
I've got no beef with Bonnie Tyler or Cascada, but they're hardly cutting edge. And Celine Dion (1988)? She's from Canada!
How do they even choose these bands?
Seriously, how do they select these bands? After a downward spiral of questioning my friends, the Internet has since revealed to me a complicated broadcasting network conspiracy selection process, though as of yet I have found no logical explanation for taste.
The voting process is more complex (and time consuming) than a Rubik's Cube.
For an event so seemingly arbitrary, the voting process is like a sophisticated electoral college system. You can't vote for your own country. Okay, I guess that makes sense... But you can vote more than once. Wait a minute... That's questionable, but it's easy to overlook while your jaw is dropping when, a half hour into the tallying process, they announce that country 9 of 36 is about to weigh in.
But don't worry, there's always the animated butterfly to console you as you wait.
It all comes down to the fact that Eurovision is ridonkulous, and everyone knows it (especially England, it seems).
I absolutely don't get it, but I'm looking forward to watching again next year!