American Idol aficionado that I am, it was surprising that I didn’t take a bigger interest in Eurovision last year. In all fairness, I did listen to it in the background as I was translating at the kitchen table, and it’s all over so fast: after a series of two or three nights, the votes are tallied and semi-finalists, finalists, and winners are all announced on the spot. Idol, in contrast, takes place three nights a week from mid-January to mid-May.
I didn’t keep up with Idol last year, naturally, as I wasn’t able to watch it in Slovenia. Without cable or any signal coming from the rabbit ears on my small television in Connecticut, I haven’t kept up this year either. All for the best, as my former roommate Meleah would say. The 2010 season saw my second cousin as a to 10 finalist on the show–and the last of Simon Cowell. I’ve heard J. Lo and Steven Tyler have made the show better, as its new judges, but I’m content to leave Idol in the past, along with memories of my high school and college years. Adieu to the only television show I ever watched with any sense of regularity.
(Side note: growing up without cable makes you utterly un-interested in most television shows, even later in life. There was never anything of real interest on PBS, so my sister and I ignored the television and instead lined up our dolls and stuffed animals in front of a movie poster for Oliver and Company, popped a bowl of popcorn, and sat down with them to ‘watch’ the movie, which involved staring at the wall for about 15 minutes. “Come watch the real TV, if you want,” my mother would say. “No,” we would answer sternly. “This is more fun.” To think that staring at a wall was more entertaining than television was either bizarre or wise beyond our years. I’ll go with the latter.)
In any case, Eurovision was ever so much more entertaining than Idol, or the new shows, The X-Factor and The Voice. Not in the I-want-to-go-see-Carrie-Underwood-in-concert kind of way. (Did that in 2005). But in the oh-my-God-the-awkwardness-makes-me-giggle-with-glee kind of way. The please-never-stop-this-show-ever kind of way.
To help you understand how and why, and to commemorate the upcoming season of Eurovision (which counts Celine Dion and ABBA among its winners), I shall share with you my favorites from last year:
Irish duo Jedward, which, as the announcer says, is fueled by a “heavy mix of sugary drinks and hairspray fumes”:
Anastasiua Vinnikova’s creative song “I Love Belarus.” Guess where she’s from? Also, why do the backup dancers/singers remain mostly stationary and then spontaneously thrust their arms in random directions?:
And–there was actually a decent one: Maja Keuc, who is called the “Christina Aguilera of Slovenia.” (OK, I’m pretty biased, but compare her vocals to Jedward and Miss “I Love Belarus,” and you’ll agree, I’m sure):
The best thing I may have ever seen in my life, however, was posted on said former roommate Meleah’s Facebook wall today, and features this year’s potential entrant for Russia. Words cannot describe:
Oh, Eurovision. How I wish I could sit at a kitchen table an listen to your strangeness yet again this year.