Corny = When someone or something tries to be cool, but is ultimately very uncool and often even extremely embarrassing (source; Internet urban dictionary).
That pretty much sums up an annual event that takes place within the continent of Europe also known as Eurovision. Not many people outside Europe knows of its existence and most people within Europe (or with strong European roots and connections) often talk about it with great embarrassment.
The competition started back in 1956 with only 7 countries participating, and each participant had to sing a homegrown song in their native language. It was a live broadcast on TV where each song was judged at the end of the show.
Over the next few decades the amount of participants tripled and the show spread like wildfire in Western Europe; Iceland to Israel and France to Greece. It almost became a European championship in corny songs, interesting hair, more interesting dresses and multi-hour live broadcasts.
Since the late 90’s, when Eastern Europe opened up, many of these countries joined this awesome competition and devised their own corny songs … some take this to the next level of corniness and some attempt to dress as skimpy as possible. Everything goes!
I remember growing up in rural Denmark and families huddling around the only television we had to see the entire Eurovision. We even had friends coming over for Eurovision dinner and drinks, and then festivities followed in front of the TV.
My sister and I, and the other kids there, had a blast. We kept score on homemade charts, ate sweets, drank soda and eventually fell asleep on the floor in front of the TV, of course missing the grand finale.
Back then, each country had to sing their song in their local language, which made it even funnier, but today (since 1999) a country can decide to sing in English if they want. And, most chose to do so. I guess they don’t realise how funny the lyrics sounds in English, after they just do a word-by-word translation.
These days most people I know are, when we talk about Eurovision, objecting to the fact that it should even exist and some even denounce the artists that participates or represents their country. There’s almost a sense of embarrassment in even knowing much about Eurovision.
BUT, funnily enough, everybody seems to know when the Eurovision is on, who won last year and by how many points, give out about last year’s results, slagging of Eastern Europe for voting only for eastern European countries (keeping up the old political allies), only to ignore that Western Europe have the same voting system.
We sit happily through 3-4 hours of horrific dances, strange songs, stranger hosts and prolonged voting. To this day, the votes are still said in both English and French. I guess the old colonial powers of Europe still rule Eurovision. Each country votes and the country with the most votes obviously wins – simple!
Denmark, one of the smallest countries in Europe and not necessarily known for it’s fantastic music skills on the World stage, managed to win in 1963. We had to wait 37 years for another win and we got our third win this year (2013).
- In 2000 I witnessed Danish Eurovision history being made from a shitty apartment in Dublin city, the capital of Eurovision winners.
- In 2013 I witnessed Danish Eurovision history being made again, this time from a nice house in New Jersey, and a country completely unaware of this bizarre music event.
Although I might not necessarily admit it publicly, there’s something special about winning the Eurovision. The ability to beat 39 countries to the top, even if the song is corny and perhaps not achieving U2‘s levels, is phenomenal.
Why the innocent reader might ask?
To start with, this is a multi-million Euro industry and the country that hosts this event can expect to profit immensely most of the year. That means Denmark should see an increase in tourism in 2014, again benefiting the local economy.
I guess it’s just part of being proud of the country you are from. I left Denmark many years ago, but that doesn’t make me less Danish. I super proud of my heritage. On the World map we are small and insignificant, not much bigger than a finger nail, so when we achieve something amazing, then this becomes 10 times as fantastic for me.
If my friends ask, then I don’t watch Eurovision, just like they don’t watch it either 🙂