I just got done watching my first Eurovision Song Contest live! The finals just happened, and Sweden won as I expected but didn’t hope. My favorite this year was Finland. As promised, I will now discuss what it was like watching it.
It was super fun!!! As cheesy as a lot of the show was, it was also oddly charming and served as a great way to root for countries and banter about music. I watched the contest through the Swedish broadcast, which is one of the few that makes the stream publicly viewable worldwide. I will definitely continue watching it in the future; maybe next time, I’ll try using a VPN to catch the German or French broadcast, which would be a cool opportunity to sharpen my skills in their languages. I discussed the contest live on a Discord server focused on… sigh… Homestuck. Yes, everything in my life comes back to Homestuck, whether I like it or not, but that’s beside the point.
I won’t review every song in this post; that’ll be after I have reviewed every contest from 1956 to 2022, probably at least a year from now. I suspect that by then, I’ll write sprawling, overly detailed paragraphs about every song. For now, enjoy some quick and loose thoughts about the highlights!
Semifinal 1 (non-qualifiers)
- Latvia deserved better and should have qualified. However, I mentally prepared myself for the likelihood that their gorgeous indie rock song in unusual time signatures wouldn’t, because it’s pretty niche. Why do they have so much bad luck lately? They haven’t qualified once since 2016.
- Otherwise, all the songs from semifinal 1 that didn’t qualify are ones that I expected not to qualify, though I did enjoy Malta’s a lot. The qualification I least expected was Switzerland, who had a tacky ballad about war that felt rather impersonal.
Semifinal 2 (non-qualifiers)
- Greece’s performance was unintentionally funny. It was a 16-year-old boy singing melodramatic English lyrics about how depressing his life supposedly is, but contradictory to the text, he danced like a goofy teenager at a party. It was pretty adorable.
- I knew from the start San Marino wouldn’t qualify because their lyrics are bizarre animal metaphors for sex. Shame, because I genuinely like their rock song.
- For this semifinal, I had predicted which songs wouldn’t qualify. I got five out of six right; I predicted Cyprus wouldn’t qualify, but they qualified and Iceland didn’t. Not bad, I’d say!
- Austria was a big fan favorite, singing about the unrecognition and low payment that songwriters face with exactly the right balance between comedy and bitterness. And yet, they scored around the middle in finals.
- Portugal’s song was a lot of fun! It feels so extremely Portuguese to the core, with a characteristic Hispanic sound plus lyrics clearly in a Portuguese cadence. Mimicat is a great performer who never broke character once in the song—impressive because once she thanked the audience, she was audibly overflowing with nervousness. How did she keep her composure through the performance?
- In contrast, Poland’s song is obnoxious generic radio pop music with a grating voice, my least favorite of the contest. I don’t know how the fuck it made it into the contest, but I had prepared myself for its qualification. Shows the value of pessimism!
- I had prepared myself for Sweden being the winner, again so that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if it happened, which it did. That’s why I’m not that pissed off about it like so many fans are. “Tattoo” is an alright, marketable EDM song, and Loreen will go down in history as the first woman to win the contest twice…
- … but I think Finland, the runner-up, will go down in history even more. They sent a masterful rap song reminiscent of Gangnam Style, and it was entirely in Finnish!!! Keep in mind that the winner of a Eurovision contest won’t always become its most iconic song. Think of the gorgeous classic “Eres tú” from 1973, the legendary “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” from 2007, “Run Away” from 2010 which became an Internet meme, and “Snap” from 2022, a super-popular radio song. I think Käärijä’s “Cha Cha Cha” will remain a beloved Eurovision classic for years if not decades to come. I hope this makes people who wanted Finland to win feel better—I wanted them to win too.
- Czechia’s song was awesome too! I love how multilingual it is, and the chorus in Ukrainian is my favorite part.
- When Belgium qualified to the finals, I screamed “YES!” louder than I have in years. Their song is so catchy, uplifting, and fun to sing along to with a great 90’s vibe, and I was worried it wouldn’t perform well since I saw people call it “dated”. It was a pleasant surprise to see it reach the top half in finals!
- Norway’s representative, Alessandra, was really funny and cute. She made some goofy gestures pointing at herself in the interludes between songs, as if to say “vote for me! I know I’m your favorite anyway.” Her song was cool too.
- OK, now here’s what I am pissed off about. HOW DID GERMANY GET LAST PLACE AGAIN WHEN THEY ACTUALLY SENT A GOOD SONG THIS TIME????? They deserved so much better! I know Germany has had a rough track record for the past decade or so, but this year they sent a total hard rock banger! And it got last place in the finals anyway for some stupid reason! Regardless of the bad results, this song makes me proud to be (half) German. Lord of the Lost, ihr wart wunderbar.
- Israel’s song would have been my favorite when I was a teenager. I find it extremely cheesy, but undeniably fun, and that dance break made my jaw drop both times.
- In Eurovision, Slovenia seems like the kind of country that doesn’t care about winning, but does care about having fun and showcasing their culture. This year, they sent a charismatic rock band of five guys in their 20s who like to party. Among the boys, they win the cuteness prize. Their song was entirely in Slovenian, intending to adapt it into a language of entertainment that everyone can understand, and it worked so perfectly! It’s a blast to listen to and always puts a smile on my face. I wish Germany in Eurovision was more like Slovenia.
- Holy mother fuck, Croatia’s song was unhinged in the most wonderful way. Their song is shameless political satire in their own language, by a bunch of middle-aged guys who take pride in the outlandish and controversial. Also, the 3D animated ŠČ! on the backing screen absolutely KILLS me.
Who I voted for, if you’re curious
This was the first time people outside of participating countries got to vote, and as an American, I seized the opportunity. Each person got a maximum of 20 votes to spread across contestants, costing a euro per vote. I only used all 20 votes in the finals.
- Semifinal 1: Latvia 2 votes, Portugal 1 vote, Czechia 1 vote, Finland 1 vote (I felt Latvia needed a little boost.)
- Semifinal 2: Belgium 3 votes, Slovenia 3 votes, Australia 1 vote (Oh yeah, Australia sent a surprising banger too. I think they’ll stay in Eurovision for the foreseeable future.)
- Finals: Germany 5 votes, Slovenia 5 votes, Finland 5 votes, Belgium 5 votes (You can sense my increasing investment in this contest from the increasing number of votes I sent each time.)
Well, not so much concluding thoughts as introductory thoughts, since this is the beginning of my journey through Eurovision history.
Every year of Eurovision, there is something, or rather many different things, that fans are going to get salty about, and I’m not immune to that. While I had prepared myself for Sweden winning, an outcome I didn’t want, I did NOT prepare myself for Germany getting last in the finals. Still, I’m going to handle this salt like a mature adult would. *ahem*
I got so mad, was gonna cuss the jury out outside my house for everyone to see.
Wanted to trash their cars, tell the Eurovision fans how cruel they were to Germany…
Instead, I wrote a blog.
OK, in all seriousness, it was tons of fun to follow Eurovision for the first time, and I think I’ll have to accept it as my latest obsession. After all, I have over 60 blog posts about the contest to write! Surely this can’t be bad… right? …
We’ll see, OK? We’ll see.