Eurovision: the ultimate battle of the bands

Out of this world: Australia has qualified for the final for the fifth time, with a song by Kate Miller-Heidke.

Is Eurovision silly or serious? Tomorrow, around 200 million people will tune in to watch the grand final of the world’s most outrageous singing competition: the Eurovision Song Contest.

What’s happening

This year’s contestants include a figure skating champion, a 19-year-old LGBT YouTuber, and an Australian pop star who soars through the galaxy with the space opera song, Zero Gravity.

That’s right: Eurovision is back. The final will take place tomorrow night in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Find out more

Europe has been holding annual singing competitions since 1956. Much like the European Union, it was first conceived as a way to bring Europe together after the horrors of World War Two.

It has grown much bigger over the decades, drawing in 186 million viewers last year. A whopping 42 countries entered this year’s contest.

The contest has produced some global superstars, including ABBA. However, it is mostly known for kitsch pop, bizarre folk music, and earnest ballads about peace and love.

It is also known for its political arguments. This year, the row centres around the host country. Many people criticise Israel for its treatment of Palestinians. Some have called for a boycott of the event.

Should we take Eurovision seriously?

Some say…

Of course not! Eurovision is supposed to be silly, from the sequins to the songs. Remember last year’s winner, Netta, whose song included clucking like a chicken? As Britain’s late commentator Terry Wogan put it, way back in 1997: “It’s supposed to be bad. And the worse it is, the more fun it is.” We should put politics aside and enjoy the show.

Others think…

There is an important message behind Eurovision: bringing countries together in peace. That is why some people are angry that it is taking place in Israel, a country whose prime minister was threatening military action in Gaza just two months ago. We should not let the glitz and glamour of the competition distract us from something so serious.

You Decide

  1. Can music change the world?

Activities

  1. In groups, write your own Eurovision pop song inspired by the theme of “Dare to dream”. Remember that at Eurovision, the weirder the better!

Some People Say...

“There’s not enough silliness in the world. Eurovision helps to keep it balanced.”

Terry Wogan

What do you think?

Word Watch

LGBT
Lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Israel
A country in the Middle East, founded as a Jewish state after World War Two. It has fought several wars against Palestinians.
European Union
A group of 28 European countries.
Conceived
Invented as a plan.
Kitsch
Deliberately tacky, but enjoyed anyway.
Earnest
Sincere.
Palestinians
People from the Palestine territories which neighbour Israel.
Boycott
Refuse to take part.
Late
In this context, “late” means someone who has died.

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.