I’m sure we can all agree that the Swedish are old hands at hosting The Eurovision Song Contest having won and hosted the competition 6 times in their 56 years of participation. However, the final in Stockholm 2016 will go down as one of the most fabulous shows in Eurovision history. The formidable presenting tag-team of Måns Zelmerlöw and Petra Mede ensured that the evening went without a hitch. The surprise of the evening, and my “Favourite Eurovision Moment of all Time”, came during a satirical look at Eurovision entrants past and present.
“Love, Love, Peace, Peace”
The slogans for multiple Eurovision Song Contests highlight the ethos of ESC and the importance of bringing Europe together through music – “Celebrate Diversity” in Kyiv 2017, “Come Together” Stockholm 2016 and “Building Bridges” in Vienna 2015. Even those of us who are not fanatics of Eurovision are aware that it’s all about “Love” and “Peace”. This is no secret.
“Mans and Petra seamlessly link…”
During the show in Stockholm, Måns and Petra seamlessly link to their musical number. The excitement builds as they tell us the formula to creating a winning song for Eurovision. Step 1: a powerful, majestic start to get the audience’s attention, as the music starts and a horn belts a catchy tune. Step 2: Drums…there has to be drums… Step 3: Show your country’s ethnic background, Step 4: Violin – we see Alexander Rybak (winner in 2009) expertly playing his violin, Step 5: A DJ, Step 6: Costumes, Step 7: Song should be about Love or Peace. Måns and Petra then delve into a wonderful world of Eurovision surrounded by dancers, lighting, fireworks and some very familiar faces. Together they sing one of the catchiest and funniest Eurovision tunes ever and I really do believe that if Europe could have voted for it, this performance would have received 12 points from every country. The Eurovision references are impossible to keep up with. The number comes as a welcome treat for those with fond memories of some of the more extravagant Eurovision entries over the years.
There are overt references to
A burning piano like that in – The Makemakes – I am Yours (Austria) 2015
A Russian man on skates – Dima Bilan – Believe (Russia) 2008
Grandma’s making bread – Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for Everyone (Russia) 2012
The churning of butter – Donatan & Cleo – My Slowianie (Poland) 2014
A man in a hamster wheel – Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick Tock (Ukraine) 2014
…in fact, there are too many references to reference.
“an amazing level of self-awareness”
This production shows an amazing level of self-awareness by the team involved. Yes, there are many mushy love, love, peace, peace kinda songs in Eurovision and yes, there’s some pretty crazy stuff: lyrics and performances that seemingly make no sense…but just look how amazing Eurovision is!! It’s really important that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. While Eurovision does represent something greater than simply a music competition, we should still be able to have fun. If we don’t mock ourselves, I know plenty of others who will happily do it for us.