entertainment

Your ultimate guide to Eurovision 2014.

Note: This is a spoiler free zone. Any comments that try to compromise this will not be tolerated. It’s all fun and games until somebody ruins Eurovision night- don’t be that person!

It’s that time of year once again!

After Denmark’s 2013 win, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Copenhagen, which is great because Eurovision is always better when the country hosting it a) has money and b) is not corrupt. (Yes, Azerbaijan, we all realised when your ‘interval act’ was your President’s son-in-law. This isn’t a backyard wedding. You can’t get away with that here.)

Tonight, 26 countries will perform in the final. Five of those countries – France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK – have qualified automatically as the result of the funding they provide to the European Broadcasting Union, who produce the contest. (Hey, no one said Europe’s most popular talent show was fair.) Denmark has qualified automatically because they are the host nation. The remaining 20 countries have qualified after competing in two semi-final rounds.

There will be pyrotechnics, key changes and bearded drag queens. To help you through it, here’s our Mamamia Eurovision Drinking Game. And, as a special treat, I’ve painstakingly compiled a list of the top 10 acts to watch at tonight’s final.

May the most Eurofabulous entry win.

1. Denmark

The reigning champions are bringing the danceable vibes this year with a song that has just enough nonsense scat singing to transcend all language barriers. It’s called ‘Cliche Love Song’ and is sung by a guy called Basim who obviously doesn’t understand that this is Eurovision and ‘cliche’ is sort of taken as read.

Will they make it two years in a row? Unlikely. Will I play this song at parties without disclosing its Eurovision status? Most definitely.

2. Armenia

Armenia are one of the bookies’ favourites going into tonight’s final.

I honestly do not understand why. Aram MP3’s (yeah, your parents named you after a sound file, we believe you, Aram) first lines are: “You’re all alone, you’re all alone. No shoulder wants you to lean on.” Which is pretty lame lyricism, even by Eurovision standards.

Sigh.

3. Sweden

Luckily, the other bookies’ favourite is a lot better. This is Sanna Nielsen with ‘Undo’, a song that fits perfectly into the ‘blonde Scandinavian lady ballad’ genre that has done well for Sweden over the years.

THAT KEY CHANGE! Stop it, Sanna. You are the greatest.

4. The UK

You know what’s really great? When the BBC convincingly pretends to give half a fudge about Eurovision.

That’s why tonight’s entry is so exciting because, while the UK’s past few entries have been objectively shit (Engelbert Humperdinck – really?), this Molly Smitten-Downes gal is quite good.

Although BBC, in the (likely) event that this song does not see London hosting Eurovision 2014, might I just give one piece of advice? Send One Direction. The teenage girls of the continent will guarantee you a first place. In fact, you might cause a Europe-wide phone outage.

5. Russia

This year, Russia is being represented by the Tolmachevy Sisters. Or, as they prefer to be known, ‘Tolmachevy Sisters’, because definite articles are just one of the many aspects of English language grammar that can be done away with on Eurovision night.

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Anastasia and Maria Tolmachevy will be singing ‘Shine’, the story of two women who get their hair tangled and find themselves stuck on a see-saw with only perspex rods to defend themselves:

Observant Eurovision watchers might remember Anastasia and Maria as Nastya and Masha, the adorable Russian twins who won Junior Eurovision in 2006:

With their child star status across Eastern Europe, Tolmachevy Sisters will be serious contenders for the top title tonight.

Oh, and, look! Here they are singing at Russia’s Victory Day celebrations in 2007:

Damn it, Soviet Russia had some catchy tunes. And human rights abuses. Must. Not. Forget. Human rights abuses.

6. Ukraine

If you’ve been reading this post and thinking, ‘Gee, there aren’t many human hamster wheels at this year’s Eurovision’, never fear! Mariya Yaremchuk from Ukraine has got you covered.

Ukraine is one of Eurovision’s most successful countries, amassing four top three placings since they first entered the contest in 2003. So you should expect big things from Mariya and her hamster man.

7. The Netherlands

The first few bars of ‘Calm After the Storm’ by The Common Linnets sound a lot like the first few bars of ‘Every Breath You Take’ by the Police. Which is unfortunate.

I really like this song and it has ranked in the top 10 of most Eurovision predictions I’ve been (probably giving my computer several Belarusian viruses by) reading on the web. But I just don’t think it’s a good Eurovision song. Where’s the sparkle, the Netherlands? Needs more pyro.

8. Greece

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from Greece’s involvement in the contest it’s that even when a country is down to their last few dollars, their Eurovision domination is a matter of national importance. Which is fine, until they win and we find ourselves watching a live broadcast from Uncle Nick’s house in Athens. BYO Ouzo.

This year, Greece is being represented by Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd with the song ‘Rise Up’.

And yes, that wink at 0:38 was just for you.

9. Belarus

Well, automatic 12 points to Belarus for writing a song that doesn’t have the word ‘Belarus’ in the title, I say. Alas, the title is instead ‘Cheesecake’. Bizarrely, this song was the subject of a fair bit of controversy earlier in the year when singer Teo had to change the lyrics of the song from “running Google maps” to “running all the maps” in order to meet Eurovision regulations for mentioning brand names during the broadcast. A similar change was made to San Marino’s entry ‘The Facebook Song’ in 2012, resulting in the song being renamed ‘The Social Network Song’.

Anyways, here’s Teo and his cheesy dance moves:

10. Austria

… And now for the act you’ve all been waiting for. This year, Austria is being represented by bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst with the song ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’. Austria has easily received the most media coverage prior to the contest, following petitions from Armenia, Belarus and Russia asking that their performance be edited from the broadcast in their countries.

But don’t think that this will see Austria relegated to the bottom of the scoreboard tonight. Far from it. Wurst has a monopoly on the lucrative ‘Western European gay bar’ vote. And it could pay serious dividends.

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