It's that magical time of year again: when only the biggest hair, most vacant stares and bloody massacrings of the English language will deliver pop musical dominance to one triumphant European nation. Australia may be the lucky country but if there's one thing we lack, aside from the appropriate recognition of pickles as an essential burger ingredient, it's eligibility to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.
SBS TV have broadcasting rights to the telecast and they've got some excellent online resources for those of you preparing for your annual Eurovision party. This includes recipe suggestions, costume advice and talking points about past Eurovision controversies just in case the conversation gets stale.
The beauty of Eurovision is its no-holds-barred enthusiasm. In the quest for Eurovision glory, there is simply no holding back the tide of passion and performance. If you like your entertainment subtle, you've come to the wrong place. At Eurovision, emotions are spackled onto faces in five centimentre thick slabs of make-up and body glitter. Hair defies gravity, spurred on to celestial heights by quantities of hairspray that are positively suicidal given the amount of pyrotechnics on show. Costumery is either exaggeratedly traditional, or eurotrash slutbonanza; occasionally, the twain shall meet. Eurovision's empire is built upon the carcasses of outfits that make Bjork look like a timid dental assistant. There may be live animals. There will probably be accidental nudity. There will definitely be back-up dancers doing things that have nothing to do with the lyrics of the songs; but that's another great thing about Eurovision - no one seems to know, much less care, what they're singing.
The contest has a storied history, far too long to go into here. But suffice to say that my personal favourite was the year Finland's Lordi controversially took out the top honour, with their delightful facial prostheses and timeless classic "Hard Rock Hallelujah":
But, back to Oslo. The Eurovision website has done some excellent investigative journalism on the costumes for tonight's second semi-final, which I believe will air on SBS Friday night Australian time. You can thank me later when you've perused the awesomeness for yourself, but here are some of the highlights:
Slovenia have gone bleeding edge and combined traditional folk costumes with rock outfits, ie Beatles T-shirts and ripped jeans. I'm not sure whether the mullets belong to column A or column B.
Croatia's entry this year consists of three comely ladies; notable only for their collective stagename, which is FEMMINEM.
But I do like the sound of Turkey's entry. They are called "maNga", which seems to be Turkish for "stripping cyborg":
“We have a lot of stage costumes. For every rehearsal, we're adjusting something in the costumes. Our name is maNga, so we have to live up to that. We also have a cyborg girl on stage, who throws off her robot clothes stage by stage and becomes human. We want to say that we all can be the same. It's hard to perform with all the props and details, this is probably our hardest stage show ever.”
And their costume may appear simple, but Lithuania's InCulto have a secret weapon... and it may give you an "emotional explosion" in your pants.
“Our lead singer took the final decision, and we had help from a Lithuanian designer. It's just good-looking pants. We only use them for this song. The glittery boxer shorts are an extra spice – it's the Eurovision Song Contest! We did the same trick in the national selections, and it worked. We wanted some kind of emotional explosion. The women likes it, and some guys like it too, so it's a good decision to get the crowd.”
It's a WTFestival of randomness, and lends itself to drinking games better than any other television event in my humble experience. The only downside is that Stylus Magazine (RIP) are no longer around to do their hilarious online recaps. Here they are from 2006 and 2007 for your giggling pleasure.
So get yourself to a Eurovision party this weekend. Your eurodisco needs you.