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All about Eurovision 2014

Published May 5th, 2014

Thinking of a holiday to Europe? There's no better showcase of all things European than the annual songfest that is Eurovision 2014. Here's some things you probably didn’t know about the Eurovision Song Contest:

 

You don’t even have to be an European country to compete.

Australia is going. Yep, Jessica Mauboy will be representing Oz as a ‘guest artist’. Officially, all active members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) can take part. Members also have to be within the designated European Broadcasting Area, which also takes in Northern Africa and parts of the Middle East. Other countries with entrants in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest that are nowhere near Europe: Israel.

 

The winning country gets to host the contest the following year.

So, that would be Denmark in 2014 after Emmelie de Forest took the crown last year with the song ‘Only Teardrops’. This year the venue is B&W Hallerna in Copenhagen, a former industrial shipyard.

 

37 countries will be taking part in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Plus the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU go straight through to the final with the host nation: Germany, UK, Spain, France and Italy. Over 125 million viewers across the world will tune in to the three shows with two semi-finals and a final to get through before the winner is revealed.

 

Previous Eurovision winners include ABBA, Bucks Fizz, Celine Dion and Katrina and the Waves.

This year’s contestants include a bearded chanteuse from Austria called Conchita Wurst; Teo, a maracas-wielding Belarus singer; Polish pop duo Donatan & Cleo with a catchy ditty about being Slavic; and four bearded guys in primary colours from Iceland.

 

The voting process is part geo-political, part cultural and part historical.

The famous ‘douze’ points! Other than the curious costumes, strange song choices and general linguistic challenges, the voting process is one of the most fascinating aspects of Eurovision. Viewers in participating countries and a professional jury determine the winners with 12 points awarded to the most popular nation, although you can’t vote for the country you represent. Plus this country won’t vote for that one because they invaded them in the 17th century, allied nations vote as blocs and similar cultural ethnicities trade points. Surely that’s what happens at G20 summits too, right?

 

And there’s a drinking game...

Take a sip of your drink every time a commentator says how amazing a song/contestant/show is or makes a snarky remark about the voting process. Take a sip of your drink for every fashion infraction (dodgy mo, cleavage display, costume change); overwrought singing, rhyming or daggy dancing; or use of a wind machine. You should be drunk within 30 minutes otherwise you are just not paying attention!

 

See all the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest Copenhagen 2014 action on SBS 2 from May 5 to 10 with the final on SBS One on Sunday, May 11.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.