Eurovision 2012: What’s in a title?

It’s that time again.  European readers do not need any additional information, but Americans, especially my local neighbors, still need to know why they should become obsessed (or at least interested) with the Eurovision Song Contest. 

Exhibit A.  Last year’s entry from Moldova: three foot conical hats, unicycles, monocles, and intercontinental ballistic gnomes.  It is impossible to ask for more.  Few of the other acts were as consciously absurd, but unconscious absurdity is almost as good, and between absurdity and breathtaking emptiness (like last year’s winner), Eurovision is a damn fine show. 

Exhibit B. The list of artists for 2012.  It’s very hard not to want to watch a musical show with artists such as

  • Rambo Amadeus,
  • Sinplus,
  • Compact Disco,
  • Trackshittaz,
  • Jedward,
  • Litesound, and …
  • Engelbert Humperdinck (yes, the Englebert Humperdinck, of “After the Lovin” fame).

Exhibit C.  The song titles (and hopefully the songs themselves) occupy the full spectrum from banal to ridiculous.  Imagine the insights into human love and life that must be contained in songs such as

  • You and Me,
  • Echo (You and I),
  • Black and White,
  • The Sound Of Our Heart

But there are also some on the inexplicable side like

  • Euro-Neuro,
  • Woki mit deim Popo

Others opt for the full sentence approach.  Together these tell a story (though not a good one).

  • Would You.  Be My Guest.  I Believe. Love Will Set You Free.  Isn’t Love Something?  These Steps I Know. This Is The Night.  We Are The Heroes.

Of course it’s hard to take this too seriously since another song title insists

  • I’m a Joker.

Another set of songs appear to identify things you will not get during the 3 hours spent watching this competition (or might actually end up losing):

  • Beautiful Song, Euphoria, Aphrodisiac, Heaven, Party For Everybody, My Life, La La Love, Love Unlimited, Time.

And some of the entries read like pleas to viewers to reject and keep watching despite their natural inclinations:

  • Stay, Stay with me, Don’t Close Your Eyes, Listen, Love Me Back, Love Is Blind [and, with any luck, deaf].

And there are other songs that appear to describe how viewers actually feel:

  • Standing Still, Out Of Love, When I Blunder, Oh Oh-Uh-Oh Oh (The Social Network Song). Never Forget.

Perhaps the best advice about watching the show, given in retrospect, is that of Denmark’s Soluna Samay’s:

  • Should’ve Known Better.

Fittingly, the best description of the show overall—at least the ten years of it that I’ve now seen—is that of defending champion, Azerbajan, whose entry Sabina Babayeva has will be singing a song called:

  • When The Music Dies.

And that’s why anybody who lives in the Detroit metropolitan area should show up at my house on Saturday the 26th to watch:

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