Pride Culture Comforts: Eurovision

The Eurovision Song Contest final is Gay Christmas.

It’s camp, glittery, and flamboyant; it’s a spectacle and, with the legendary commentary from Graham Norton, it’s a gift. For many reasons, the LGBTQ+ community gravitates towards this event and form a large proportion of its hardcore fanbase – one such reason being the competition’s central values of unity, tolerance, and diversity (or, as Måns and Petra put it, ‘Love, Love, Peace, Peace’). Drag queens have graced the stage for years, etching themselves into Eurovision history with unforgettable performances such as those from Conchita Wurst and Verka Serduchka. Finland’s 2013 entry ‘Marry Me’ featured an onstage lesbian kiss, and in 1998 transgender singer Dana International won the competition. And this is by no means an exhaustive list of queer involvement and inclusion within the show itself. It definitely says something when rainbow flags are spotted in the audience every year.

Eurovision is a thrilling mix between actual bangers like ‘Euphoria’, ‘Heroes’, and ‘Fuego’, emotional ballads and backstories, and absolutely unhinged madness in the forms of: interesting dancing, gorilla suits, person-sized hamster wheels, trampolines, sensual butter-churning, Russian grannies, treadmills, Epic Sax Guy, and even a vampiric singer rising out of a coffin that is actually a piano with an attached staircase that bursts into flames (peak Eurovision, thanks Ukraine 2018). It is utterly bonkers, but the contrast between acts makes the contest uniquely special. You’ll undoubtedly fall in love with genuine talent – like Alexander Rybak, whose record-breaking win with ‘Fairytale’ in 2009 earned him the heart of every Eurovision fan. Still incredulous? Think about the 1974 winning entry from Sweden that helped catapult a group to global fame… Yes, you have Eurovision to thank for ‘Waterloo’ and ABBA. Iconic.

Though COVID-19 has prevented Eurovision from blessing our screens, the popular consensus is that Iceland are the 2020 champions with the ridiculously catchy ‘Think About Things’. Despite my bitterness over this year, I can’t wait for May 2021 when Eurovision is back in my life in all its insane glory.

Katie Burdon

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