Eurovision holds a special place in many Australian hearts, with over 2.7 million of us tuning in over the course of the weekend screenings of the 2014 contest, and our household contributing to the total on all three nights. It doesn’t matter that it’s not screened live here, as so much of the fun now comes via participating in the social media streams about the event. #eurovisionSBS was trending on Twitter as soon as the show went to air last year, and there was no shortage of lively conversation and debate on my Facebook feed as many friends share my passion for what is truly an event like no other.
I think my love for Eurovision has its origins in my love for Abba, who of course shot to stardom after winning Eurovision in 1974. Abba held a special place in my childhood, they usurped Mum’s previous fave Nana Mouskouri and we eagerly awaited every new release and played those tapes relentlessly in the car and at home. An absolute prized possession was the giant Abba Arrival poster which graced my sister and my bedroom wall. I desperately wanted one of those white jumpsuits.
Bucks Fizz were another childhood favorite, after winning in 1981 with ‘Making Your Mind Up:’
And few remember that Celine Dion’s big break came after winning representing Switzerland in 1988.
In more recent times I’ve introduced my children to the joys of Eurovision, and anticipation starts building a week or so before the event as we review the songs and pick our early favorites.
We’ve not proven to be particularly successful so far; in 2013 we were sure that Romania’s bedazzled falsetto vampire, Cezar, was unbeatable
Although we did have a soft spot for Greece with their catchy ‘Alcohol is Free’ number, with its defiance of their country’s perilous state in the Eurozone.
Last year we cried ‘robbed’ when our favorite ‘Cake to Bake’ from Latvia failed to get through the first semi final, but happily cheered on Conchita for the overall victory, graciously overcoming my jealousy over the figure he cut in that stunning dress and his perfectly executed smoky eye.
This year is shaping up as potentially the most exciting Eurovision ever, with our country’s passion for the event being rewarded with our own contestant. In honour of the 60th year of Eurovision, Australia has been granted a wildcard entrant and Guy Sebastian has been given an express pass straight to the grand final. Not only that, his song is an absolute cracker and in a year dominated by ballads, ‘Tonight Again’ is currently ranked as one of the top three favourites to take out the competition.
The other favourites include Italy, who we’re not that concerned about as I just can’t see another opera number getting up, but the Swedish entrant Mans Zelmerlow with Heroes is a real worry.
We have faith that Guy will bring his experience in delivering for a voting audience to the stage and this, combined with a Eurovision-appropriate level of bedazzlement, mean he’s bound to be in there with a cracking chance. Bring on Eurovision 2015!