Up until 2 years ago if someone had said Eurovision to me I would have thought of Terry Wogan… Gina G at a push. I hadn’t paid that much attention to the naff European contest, and I am European. That was until I moved in with a bunch of Australians in London in 2008 and I attended my first Eurovision party. We all had to be a country, I was Azerbaijan, I think mostly because I just liked saying it – loudly. I laughed a lot that night and really got into the zanny, happy party of Eurotrash fun.
Strangely, it was when I moved to Australia I discovered even more passion for the contest and met some true fanatics. Like anything fun, I went along with it to see what the big deal was all about and, I was certainly not disappointed. (A tip from my Australian Eurovision education: the albums should absolutely feature on any roadtrip soundtrack, they have instant mood lifting effects, perfect for smiles on the open road.)
I figured it must be one of those things about Europe that Australians just seem to appreciate more than us Brits, just like Oktober Fest. Another event that was brought to my attention by my shocked Aussie flatmates in Battersea who couldn’t believe I’d never heard of it.
However, it seems my theory of Eurovision being a strange Australian passion was proved wrong this morning. I woke up on a sleepy Sunday morning to the UK’s Saturday night still alive and loud on my Twitter newsfeed. It was an explosion of Eurovision! Not since X-Factor had I seen so much chatter from my UK chums. People I would have never had down as Eurovision fans were getting amazingly passionate with the hashtag. What was going on?
Could it be that the Aussies, in their shared houses in London and curiosity of all things European figured out how much fun this contest could be as a shared event before the rest of us? And now, with the wonders of the social web everyone has the opportunity to get involved. Having a say on the side stepping backing choir or comment on Moldova’s crazy make up. Real time critiques on outfits, song choices and politics in a way that Terry would be proud. Could Eurovision be another example of something made better through social web sharing?
Catching up with one mate on Skype tonight from back home, I asked her if it was just me who had noticed the difference. She confirmed my suspicions. “No, I would never normally watch it – because everyone was tweeting about it, it just made it so much more fun”.
It’s been around as long as I can remember. But giving it the social factor, and getting everyone sharing and joining in with the event seems to have given good old Eurovision the attention it probably always deserved and I’m also very curious to see what effect it’s had on viewing figures, both here and back home.
It’s undoubtedly good fun, I’m going to bed happy, and judging by the sound of my Irish neighbours pelting out the tunes next door – sounds like they will be too.
My personal fav from tonight – Moldova