Bring your sparkles! It is Eurovision 2018!
May 12, 2018 8:11 AM   Subscribe

FanFare Everyone's favorite battle of the nations is hosted in Portugal this year. With Cyprus and Israel polling as early favorites, tonight's competition should be, as usual, glittertastic.

Live viewing/comments are probably best within the FanFare post. Semi-final FanFares here.
posted by k8t (50 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Eur missing a country.
posted by Pendragon at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2018 [6 favorites]

Plug for the unofficial official Eurovision Song Contest drinking game.

Openreach have managed to bugger up my internet for the past few days so I'm strategically planning ways to cast iPlayer from my mobile to my TV....nothing shall get in the way of Eurovision!
posted by sektah at 8:47 AM on May 12, 2018

I get that English is the language of Pop Music, but I'm very intrigued by the Cypriot entry using a Spanish word for its chorus. And thinking on it for a while I feel like a lot of these entries are inspired by "Despacito", a song that was so insanely popular last year you maybe are happy to have forgotten about it.
posted by dis_integration at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oooh. I have a totally boring housekeeping chore that I need to do today, and it's perfect for watching Eurovision. Very excited! I have almost three hours to line up my snacks and stuff.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2018

The Armenian entry this year sang exclusively in Armenian. This is probably why he didn't make it to the finals.

In the past the Armenian entries have done a nice job adding some national/local flare to the songs - a word or two in the chorus, some local instruments, etc. But this time they went too far, many say.
posted by k8t at 9:35 AM on May 12, 2018

If Netherlands wins with their Toby-Keith-esque, stadium-rock-country I am going to laugh hard and then suggest they just hold next year's ESC in Nashville.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ok, my friends and I have collectively gathered:

German sausages
Swedish herring
Italian antipasti
Irish cheese
British quince paste (to go with cheese)
Instant borscht from somewhere in Central Europe
Turkish kibbeh
Croatian fig balls (smokvenjak)
Greek/Turkish baklava
Portuguese custard tarts

Let's do this.
posted by Pallas Athena at 10:21 AM on May 12, 2018 [11 favorites]

My party's small this year, so I didn't go as all-out as you, Pallas Athena, but I definitely got a bag of Takis ("fuego" flavor) which is as Eurovision 2018 as a Mexican-American snack can get :)
posted by LSK at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

OK, people are arriving and we've also got:

Dutch salted licorice
Polish ???cheesy crisps of some sort (I mean they have a picture of cheese on the front and they look pretty crunchy)
Spanish and Italian olives
and some pumpkin seeds from the Polish deli, labeled "Iranian pumpkin seeds" in English and Turkish, that say "packed in the UK".
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:18 AM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

And thinking on it for a while I feel like a lot of these entries are inspired by "Despacito", a song that was so insanely popular last year you maybe are happy to have forgotten about it.

There are roving accordion players in Toronto who are trying to change that.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is the best in Euro music? Autotune, electronica, and chicken clucking?

I’d rather be sitting in a pub in Doolin, nursing a pint. Turn that crap down! And, get off my lawn.
posted by sudogeek at 11:37 AM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

My salad and hotwater bottle is ready. And yes, off my lawn now.
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on May 12, 2018

With Cyprus and Israel polling as early favorites

*looks at map*
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

Well, when you get right down to it there's no meaningful way to draw any boundaries around "Europe" that isn't immediately problematic in at least twelve different ways.
posted by Kattullus at 12:34 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Fair enough. But surely...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is the best in Euro music? Autotune, electronica, and chicken clucking?

No, it's the best Eurovision music, which, after 6 decades of twisted evolution, is something very different indeed.
posted by howfar at 1:16 PM on May 12, 2018 [17 favorites]

i can tell so much of the back story of the KILLARNY EUROVISION
posted by Wilder at 1:18 PM on May 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I'm kind of impressed by Finland's singing while spinning on a wheel like that. That's got to do weird things to your breathing.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:29 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

if Cyprus is a favourite, please kill me now and put me out of my misery.

Israel, on the other hand, is at least fun silly pop. Best clucking ever.

(France's entry is actually a beautiful song - but in French, so that will never win.)
posted by jb at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

The pacifist Vikings from Denmark are really growing on me - good song (really like the harmonies), good singers (just listened to the acoustic version).
posted by jb at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2018 [7 favorites]

Oh, I liked the Armenian song. It's weird for that article to pin its lack of success on the language, though, considering that other native-language songs made it through just fine (Hungary's metal thing for instance).
posted by inconstant at 2:22 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Hell yes, Israel!
posted by asperity at 3:43 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

That was fun! The winner was a pretty perfect Euro-song - excellent chicken noises and I liked her frock. I'm now planning a party for next year, although I will have probably forgotten all about it until the day before, like I usually do. If I do though, I'm definitely handing out printouts of that drinking game.

Oh, and for all the presenter's whinging the UK didn't do too well because their song was poor.

N.B. for the purposes of Eurovision, I'm Irish because their entry is usually better than the UK one. This year's Irish entry was sweet, but a bit eclipsed by it's dance routine.
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:11 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Highlight of the afternoon for me: the child, during the voting, shouting, „What? Austria wieder?“

Already learned the cardinal rule of ESC in our house: No cheering for your home country. Usually easy because, well, Germany/Austria.

Also, I warned my partner before we started this Cultural Experience that they need to be careful what they say, because they usually get really sweary during the voting.
posted by frimble at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

To put in a plug for a related work, Cat Valente's latest book Space Opera is kind of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision. From the summary:
A century ago, the Sentience Wars tore the galaxy apart and nearly ended the entire concept of intelligent space-faring life. In the aftermath, a curious tradition was invented—something to cheer up everyone who was left and bring the shattered worlds together in the spirit of peace, unity, and understanding.

Once every cycle, the great galactic civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Species far and wide compete in feats of song, dance and/or whatever facsimile of these can be performed by various creatures who may or may not possess, in the traditional sense, feet, mouths, larynxes, or faces. And if a new species should wish to be counted among the high and the mighty, if a new planet has produced some savage group of animals, machines, or algae that claim to be, against all odds, sentient? Well, then they will have to compete. And if they fail? Sudden extermination for their entire species.
And from the NPR review:
Look, I'm not gonna convince you to read a book where alien invasion looks like billions of identical, electric blue flamingoes appearing before every human on earth simultaneously and explaining to them (in the beloved voices of dead parents or half-remembered children's cartoon characters) about the Metagalactic Grand Prix. I'm not going to convince you to read a story about how one omnisexual and gender-fluid former glitter-punk messiah (plus his former bandmate, Oort St. Ultraviolet) saves the world with song. That has to either be your cup of tea or not, you know? You gotta want something that is pure, un-cut brain cocaine adulterated only with a smattering of proper nouns; that is a non-stop amusement park ride made of clever things done with the English language.
posted by Lexica at 4:37 PM on May 12, 2018 [8 favorites]

I like Netta's attitude and she clearly has a strong, versatile voice. I don't love some of the things she did with her voice for this particular song, but I'm glad to know who she is, and I'll look forward to seeing where she goes as an artist.

Even though I found her song annoying, it was definitely not boring. And I do love to see a larger woman victorious, especially in a field like pop music where body-fascism is so prevalent.

I was glad to see Denmark (VIKINGS) and Ukraine (flaming piano vampire) getting some love via the popular vote. I also liked Bulgaria for sheer fuck-it value. Finland had a good singer; I wish the song had been better.

It will all have been worth it if we get Dana International hosting next year. Viva la diva!
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:46 PM on May 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

I wrote a thing about this.

One observation: Finland's “Monsters” c. 2018 < Finland's monsters c.2006. They really wrote a cheque they couldn't cash by naming a song that and making it an otherwise bland Eurovision electropop number.
posted by acb at 6:11 PM on May 12, 2018

Just snapped a quick video of the celebrations in Tel Aviv
posted by alon at 6:13 PM on May 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

The vote breakdown for every country has been posted on the Eurovision website, both semifinals and the grand final. I’ll note without comment that the lowest scoring of all was the Icelandic entry.
posted by Kattullus at 12:37 AM on May 13, 2018

There is a LOT of pushback on the Israeli song on my timeline, due to the various elements of cultural appropriation/orientalism.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:40 AM on May 13, 2018

Child: When will there be another singing thing like that?
Me: Next year.
Child: Too long. Let's have another today, OK?
posted by frimble at 4:18 AM on May 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

Pop music is nothing but cultural appropriation, and the world is far jollier for it. Eurovision QED.
posted by Devonian at 7:48 AM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

What a terribly European thing to say.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:07 AM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Really? The list of cultural appropriations - or 'influences', if you prefer - in something like K-Pop is vast and eclectic, to give one non-European example, and the evidence is quite strong that its intended local consumers do indeed find it very jolly.
posted by Devonian at 10:53 AM on May 13, 2018

I don’t think you understand the concept of cultural appropriation.

Nor, for that matter, of jolliness. Just because you like pop music doesn’t mean it doesn’t make the rest of us want to blow our brains out. Hell, K-Pop is literally used as a weapon against North Korea, ffs.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:55 AM on May 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

From the wiki link: Cultural appropriation is a concept dealing with the adoption of the elements of a minority culture by members of the dominant culture. It is distinguished from equal cultural exchange due to the presence of a colonial element and imbalance of power.

I won't say Israel isn't being an occupying colonizing force in Asia, but it's not doing it on the Japanese. Japan is a bigger economy than Israel, too, so I personally would call the presentation *orientalist*, but not an example of cultural appropriation.

Besides, the dress (crappy as it was) was more wa lolita than kimono and then we have to consider if a wafuku-styled subtype of a fashion subculture that began as a Japanese interpretation of rococo and Victorian fashion is cultural appropriation when Westerners do it.
posted by sukeban at 12:36 PM on May 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Mod note: Oh my GOODNESS are we not having an Israel fight in the Eurovision thread.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:36 PM on May 13, 2018 [8 favorites]

I don't see what people are complaining about. If you compare Netta's dress to this historical Israelite outfit you can see where the inspiration came from.

(saw this on Twitter but now I can't find the original, sorry)
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 PM on May 13, 2018

I am just so glad Cyprus didn't win. I don't know what the juries were thinking.

And the UK was somewhat shortchanged - it was really quite a good, stirring song - as good as Austria or Germany (which both did very well with the juries). The interruption was unfortunate, but she recovered well and brought the energy back.
posted by jb at 6:46 PM on May 13, 2018

("Toy" and Netta are both delightful - and I'm not sorry they won - they were my favs out of the top songs - but it's no "Molitva" or "Rise like a Phoenix").
posted by jb at 6:47 PM on May 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

And the UK was somewhat shortchanged - it was really quite a good, stirring song - as good as Austria or Germany (which both did very well with the juries). The interruption was unfortunate, but she recovered well and brought the energy back.

The UK has had mostly dire results since we invaded Iraq in 2003 (when we came last with zero points). I'm sure Brexit is hardly endearing us to Europe either.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:15 AM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

No one's going to mention the Soy Bomb of the event: When SuRie had her mic snatched out of her hand by someone who climbed on the stage? At my viewing party, we were impressed by how strongly she finished the performance. Apparently, Eurovision offered the chance to perform it again but she declined, seeing as how she already killed it.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 2:28 AM on May 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Netta reminded me of Bjork. I'm still processing how I feel from a cultural appropriation angle.

The tune is catchy and I more or less like what the lyrics are about, and it was a refreshing and yet also very Eurovision entry.

Ireland was symbolically great, a hetero performer singing with a gay couple dancing a beautifully choreographed performance in the background. Suck it, China!

I really hated Sweden's entry and hated how much the judges liked it. I describe him as a Dollar Store Justin Timberlake. Ditto Cyprus which was Dollar Store Shakira performing the opening credits for a low rent Bond film.

Best UK entry in years! They were never going to do well vote-wise but I think SuRie can be really proud of that performance.

And I'm sorry for everyone who could not watch the UK broadcast because Graham Norton's commentary are a delight and a treasure.
posted by like_neon at 5:49 AM on May 14, 2018

You know, I actually really liked Israel's Eurovision song and though I was rooting for Austria, I wasn't disappointed with Netta's victory. That being said, the super-Asian/Japanese staging was kinda uncomfortable to watch. Like, I'm not super outraged but I have some thoughts?

I was 17 years old when I first moved to Europe. First, I lived in Germany where some friends of my boyfriend had this pesky habit of referring to me as "China Girl" and "Ting Tong".

When I was 18, I moved to the Netherlands. There, strangers on the street were fond of shouting racial slurs at me without provocation. I started dating a guy and his friends made comments on a very public Facebook post referring to me and my "sideways vagina", a reference to a very peculiar rumour about Asian women and the orientation of our genitalia.

I moved back to Washington and lived there between the ages of 20 and 22. My life, for the most part, was refreshingly free of white people making jokes about my pussy being sideways or shouting racial slurs at me in the street. (Would it be so in Trump's America? That's a tale for another time.)

When I was 22, I moved to the UK. On a few occassions, people drove past me on the street and shouted "CHINK" or "NI HAO" at me. My ability to speak English has been constantly questioned by motherfuckers who can barely string a sentence together. I once mentioned to a service user that I am American, and he said, in earnest, "I assumed because of your face that you would not be someone from America." Once, my husband pissed off some assholes on the Internet so they found his Facebook, saw his profile picture with me in it, and they made some jokes about me being a mail-order Thai bride.

Maybe these things are small things on their own, but over years, it wears you down. Through my late teens and early 20s, I despaired because no matter what I did or how I acted, I could not transcend my lack of whiteness. I was and I still am very visibly an Asian person, and this is something that has been weaponised against me for a long-ass time. For years--and to this fucking day--symbols of my heritage have been used to mock, belittle and diminish me. East/Southeast Asian culture performed by East/Southeast Asian people is treated with mockery or disdain.

Was I super offended by the staging of Israel's Eurovision performance? Not tremendously.

Do I think that whoever designed that set meant any harm with this particular aesthetic choice? Nahhhh.

But the people at my internship who called me by the name of the other Asian intern they'd had years before? They also didn't mean any harm. The people who asked me how I learned to speak English so well? They also didn't mean any harm. The people who shouted "Ni hao" and "Konnichiwa" (I KNOW IT'S TWO DIFFERENT LANGUAGES. THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT EXTRA HILARIOUS) at me when I was walking in the park? They actually probably meant some harm, but I'm not a mindreader.

It is still not possible for me to exist as an Asian woman in Europe without having to experience racial microaggressions on a steady basis. For white Europeans to look at that staging and be like, "It doesn't look like anything to me" is kinda irritating and speaks to the same kind of blissful yet malignant ignorance that also empowers assholes to shout slurs and giggle at me in public streets in the 21ST FUCKING CENTURY.

So if you hear a bunch of Asian-Americans or Eurasians voicing some discomfort about this, maybe chillax for a second before you dismiss everything we have to say? Yeah, it's one little thing but it's one little thing that doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's one little thing that exists in a world where there's still hella anti-Asian sentiment. People looked at that set and that costuming, and they probably thought it was cute and they laughed--but not in the same way that they laughed at me when I was young, vulnerable and desperate for acceptance of my non-white existence that has yet to come.
posted by quadrant seasons at 11:44 AM on May 14, 2018 [18 favorites]

I didn't mean to make light of cultural appropriation or orientalism; I think it's amusing that Netta's outfit and pose in one screenshot closely resembles a publicity photo of Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments, but yes: the producers were clearly going for an orientalist effect.

Here's an article about her that includes a (non-orientalised, non-Eurovisionary) performance of Toy that to my ears is vastly superior. You can find other songs on her YouTube channel but they share a certain feel imposed by the TV talent development machine. This one, from the start of the ladder, is very natural though: A-Ba-Ni-Bi, which was Israel's winning Eurovision entry from 1978. It's a cute, simple song, but she really brings something to it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:01 PM on May 14, 2018

Dutch state TV’s spoof of Israeli Eurovision song was anti-Semitic, critics charge
A Dutch state-funded television show spoofed Israel’s winning Eurovision song, prompting protests by critics who said the parody features anti-Semitic cliches about Jews and money.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 PM on May 22, 2018

Netta Barzilai signs global distribution deal for ‘Toy’
Israel’s winning song broke the record as the most-viewed video on the Eurovision YouTube channel.

posted by infini at 1:29 PM on June 1, 2018

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