Today, the 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Malmo, Sweden and the world (or all of Europe) will be watching.
So what are the rules? Honestly, I’m still trying to figure them all out. As far as I can tell it’s a combination of American Idol and The Hunger Games (the five nations who give the most money to the event get preferential treatment and automatically make the finals), but set in Europe.
So why is it so important? For Europe it’s like the Olympics of pop music. It invokes cultural pride–and sometimes national embarrassment. Oh, and in 1974 an unknown group called ABBA sang a song at Eurovision comparing love to the Napoleonic Wars and suddenly became one of the most popular, important and famous pop groups of all time.
But to be honest, it doesn’t really matter who wins or who loses. The reason why Eurovision is so splendid is because you will inevitably get exposed to some weird, some wacky and some weirdly good pop songs you’d never hear otherwise.
After going through every song submission (YES WE DID THIS), we zeroed in on the ten videos you absolutely can’t miss from Eurovision 2013. There are men in glitter vests rapping while playing the keytar, a guy skydiving and singing in a inhuman falsetto, and a surprisingly catchy song from Denmark that could believably crack U.S. charts-even though it features tin whistle*.
*There are traditionally a lot of tin whistles, bagpipes, plaid and celtic drums as well as glitter, dance beats and Nordic looking people in Eurovision since Ireland and Sweden are considered the most successful acts.
[Photo Credit: Eurovision]
1) Best Use of Glitter + Keytar + Rap
Song: “Here We Go”
Performed By: PeR
Why You Need To Watch It: Drum pads, glitter jackets, and a keytar alone would be watch-worthy, but these Latvians just had to add rapping to the mix.
2) The Highest Falsetto Of Them All
Song: “It’s My Life”
Performed By: Cezar
Why You Need To Watch It: Race cars? Check. Skydiving? Check? Balls? We don’t know. We just don’t know.
3) Oddest Couple
Song: “Pred Da Se Razdoni”
Performed By: Esma and Lozano
Why You Need To See It: First you’re just watching a perfectly nice enough dude with a perfectly nice enough voice sing in what I believe is Macedonian. Then, SHE walks in.
4) The Most Sensitive Viking Warrior
Song: “Ég á Líf”
Performed By: Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson
Why You Need To See It: If you recently watched Vikings on History Channel, you might get the impression that all long-haired and bearded Nordic men are badasses, but this guy is a complete softie. Not to mention it’s a pretty song. Also, you can’t tell if he’s singing to the fish he’s gutting or an animated memory of his father.
5) The Girl Who Wants To Be A Gay Icon or Ke$ha or Both
Song: “Marry Me”
Performed By: Krista Siegfrids
Why You Need To See It: 1) This video is bonkers. 2) This song is trying to be a typical American pop song, but comes off as a inadvertently brilliant satire of a Katy Perry jam. 3) Someone remade this song as a Gay Rights message and Siegfrids has gone along with it and performed a lesbian kiss on stage to show her solidarity with gay rights (and drum up publicity).
6) The Blast From The Past
Country: United Kingdom
Song: “Believe In Me”
Performed By: Bonnie “TURN AROUND” Tyler
Why You Need To Watch It: Remember how much you love (or love to hate) “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”? You probably won’t love this as much, but it’s her!!!!!
7) Alcohol + Kilts = GREEK POLITICS????
Song: “Alcohol Is Free”
Performed By: Koza Mostra & Agathonas Iakovidis
Why You Need To Watch It: Look, I’m down for a ska anthem about how alcohol should be free, but this weird Greek political jam is not it. It is quite…uh…interesting, though.
8) The Twee-est Song In The World
Performed By: Gianluca Bezzina
Why You Need To Watch It: If you thought America had the monopoly on twee (I mean, we did create Zooey Deschanel and the ukelele is native to both Hawaii and Brooklyn), you would be dead wrong. Malta has literally created the twee-est song and music video on the planet.
9) The WTF-iest
Song: “Who See”
Performed By: Igranka
Why You Need To Watch It: Men in hazmat suits. A woman writhing on a chair in her underwear. The weirdest rave ever.
10) The Most Weirdly Good
Song: “Only Teardrops”
Performed By: Emmelie De Forest
Why You Need To Watch It: It begins with typical Eurovision cheese: over the top lighting effects, a tin whistle, a girl singing into a wind machine… However, the song is actually really, insanely good. Why? Well, it’s catchy and when you listen to an acoustic version (I did this. Shut up.) that strips most of the Celtic battlefield vibe out of the mix, you hear a legitimately beautiful pop song. Not to mention, Emmelie De Forest isn’t your typical Eurovision chanteuse. She’s lovely, understated and looks just like Emily VanCamp. And if you think I’m crazy, “Only Teardrops” came in first place in a Eurovision fan vote. Like, hardcore Eurovision peeps also enjoy this song.
So, there you have it. The ten must see performances and videos from Eurovision 2013. And we didn’t even show you the world’s craziest sideburns (from Italy) or the French Courtney Love or the 95 year old bassist from Switzerland!
Who will the winner be? Will any of these acts go on (or return) to glory? Does any of it matter? Basically, Eurovision is a wonderful thing filled with song and spectacle and silliness and occasionally, stars, and we should enjoy it as such.
And we should always remember ABBA.