You know I love Eurovision, but…
…seriously? Australia COMPETING in Eurovision?
Unlike many other Eurovision tragics I didn’t greet the news of Australia’s one-off participation in this year’s 60th anniversary of the song contest with joy. Instead I felt dismay.
It’s just not right.
Obviously, the first big issue is the elephant in the room – the geographical position of Australia in the world. Yes, we do have a rich history of European occupation and immigration but, sorry to break it to you folks – WE ARE NOWHERE NEAR EUROPE! Sure, this hasn’t stopped other countries participating when it’s clear they are not part of the European continent (hello Israel) but this sets a precedent which is quite troubling.
Just think about all the other non-European nations who could be called upon in future years. Like the US of A – could they be next? Could you imagine? Goodness, I have palpitations at the very thought…
My next gripe is the fact that Australia’s participation will seriously crowd my enjoyment of the spectacle. I love kitsch. I love crazy songs in languages I don’t understand. I love piano accordions. I love the liberal use of smoke machines, pyrotechnics, soaring key changes and the obligatory costume reveal. Most of all, I love taking the piss out of the more unfortunate acts, safe in the knowledge that my country can’t be similarly treated. With Australia participating that all changes.
Australians have performed before – most notably Olivia Newton-John and Gina G for the UK. And Jessica Mauboy performed at one of the semi-finals last year as part of some bizarre segment rewarding long-time Australian Eurovision viewers for their loyalty over the years. The only reward I received during this segment was a big dose of cultural cringe that I could have done without and a sub-par performance from Mauboy who was clearly suffering from nerves and nowhere near her normally assured self.
I suspect this will also play havoc with my TV schedule. I deliberately partake in a social media blackout over the course of the Eurovision contest so I don’t come into contact with spoilers and can enjoy the shows in primetime with thousands of other Twitter-loving, Eurovision-worshipping Australians. With Australia competing and being allowed to vote for the first time, it appears I’m going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice and get up at some ungodly hour in order to watch the spectacle live and cast my vote. Where’s the fun in that SBS?
And don’t get me started on the other part of the joy of Eurovision. The voting. There is much amusement every year watching the same countries allocate their points to their neighbours or allies. Bloc voting is fabulous to watch – nearly as fabulous as watching the UK never being the beneficiary of bloc voting (or any votes usually). Australia has no hope – who are we going to bloc vote with? Our loveless ‘motherland’? And who’s going to vote for us? Please don’t let us sit languishing on 0 points – particularly if we end up with even less points than Mother England…
While we’re on voting, here’s another thought. Who’s going to be our host, the person given the grave job of sending greetings to Vienna from Canberra? This is another source of joy during the telecast with much awkward banter and long pauses between the show hosts and each country’s host. Not to mention the often strange costume choices that abound. Will our representative go ocker, complete with broad Australian twang, stereotypical akubra and hanging corks? Or will we try to be serious, classy and Canberra-boring? As hard as I try I just can’t imagine Wayne from Canberra calling Vienna with the result of the Australian televote.
I love Eurovision. I love it all. There is a part of me that lives for those three nights each year where I can sit with my wine and my laptop while watching the SBS coverage and share the unfettered joy of dissecting each act. Applauding the good and mercilessly tearing apart the truly bad. Spending time online with others who love the spectacle as much as I do. Being part of my tribe – those who truly “get” what Eurovision is all about.
I’ll still watch Eurovision 2015 (as if I wouldn’t!) but a part of me will be mourning the loss of innocence and anonymity as Australia takes the plunge and makes history as the first truly non-European country to take part.
All I can hope for is that our act doesn’t try to be clever and end up making us all cringe with utter embarrassment. Better that we go the whole hog and take the piss out of ourselves – that would truly show the good old Aussie spirit!
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