It is nearly time for the glorious camp fest that is the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.
If you don’t know your Abba from your Azerbaijan, then Gay Star News is here to help ahead of the final, televised around Europe, tonight (26 May).
We’re here to tell you what every gay (and occasional straight viewer) needs to know about Eurovision.
The international pop competition, hosted this year in Baku, Azerbaijan, has been broadcast every year since it began in 1956. Worldwide viewing figures are reported to range from 100 to 600 million, making it one of the most watched television programmes every year.
Each European country submits an original song to be performed on live television, and then the continent votes for its favourite.
The only catch is nations are not allowed to vote for their own songs, although this has led to ‘clique’ voting among neighbouring countries.
Eurovision is known for its treasured tropes and traditions, and parties everywhere celebrate them by engaging in (responsible) drinking games.
Here are our favorites:
- Family Performers: Lots of singers hope to be the next Von Trapp family as they sing with their relatives. Hyperactive twin brothers John and Edward Grimes, known as Jedward, will be representing Ireland this year for the second year in a row.
- Props on stage: Armenia’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 was a song called ‘Apricot Stone’. The performance began with a prop of a large stone on stage, and ended with the stone sprouting a large apricot tree. Of course.
- Traditional national costumes: In 2012 the crowd are going to love folk group Buranovo Grannies who will represent Russia. The six grandmothers will be wearing traditional Udmurtian dress while performing their song ‘Party For Everybody’.
- Unnecessary special effects: What is one way to wow an audience? Finnish band Lordi from Eurovision 2006 decided to appear on stage in monster masks backed by fire displays. The group ended up winning the contest with a record 292 points.
- Overuse of violins: Ever since the cute folk singer Alexander Rybak stormed to victory in 2009, the 26-year-old has influenced many other countries to include strings in their performances, like this year’s UK entry Engelbert Humperdinck.
- Obvious (and unfair) voting: While GSN is not one to subscribe to conspiracy theories, sometimes certain countries will vote for each other. Neighboring countries such as Greece and Cyprus, as well as the Baltic states like Estonia and Latvia, are well known for giving each other the full 12 points. We’re sure it’s just a coincidence.
- Nul Points: The one French phrase no Eurovision performer wants to here: Nul points. It means the country has scored nothing in the vote. The ‘nul points’ club only has 14 members, the latest being United Kingdom’s entry Jemini in 2003.
According to betting site BetVictor, Sweden stands the best chance to win. Will Loreen follow Abba’s success in 1974?
Here are the current odds:
- Sweden 5/4
- Russia 6/1
- Serbia 7/1
- Italy 11/1
- Romania 16/1
- United Kingdom 18/1
- Ireland 18/1
- Denmark 25/1
- Ukraine 25/1
- Spain 28/1
- Cyprus 33/1
- Germany 40/1
- Norway 40/1
- Greece 40/1
- Turkey 50/1
- Azerbaijan 50/1
- Iceland 66/1
- Estonia 66/1
- Malta 66/1
- Moldova 80/1
- Albania 100/1
- Bosnia and Herzegovina 100/1
- Lithuania 150/1
- FYR Macedonia 150/1
- France 150/1
- Hungary 200/1
If you send us a message via our Twitter @gaystarnews with the country you think will win Eurovision, you could win a mixed case of wine. If you are right you may be the lucky winner we pick out of a hat on Monday (28 May).
Let us know your favorite Eurovision song this year on our Facebook page. Follow @gaystarnews on Twitter and keep an eye on GSN for the latest Eurovision news from our correspondents reporting live from Baku.