So you want to win the Eurovision Song Contest?

13 May

How to Create the Perfect Eurovision Entry

So you want to enter the Eurovision Song Contest? Here are a few guidelines for producing the perfect entry which will wow the crowds in any of the capitals of little-known European states.

1) Choose a theme. This should ideally be love or peace, or both. Hope, unity and celebration are also acceptable. If singing about unity, make sure you throw in a few phrases in various European languages to show that you’ve made the effort. If, however, these themes are a bit too saccharine for you, it is acceptable to sing about plain old-fashioned sexual attraction. In this case, try and make sure your main singer is reasonably attractive, otherwise it could backfire.

2) Choose your singers. It’s best if they can sing, but don’t worry if they can’t – each year there are a number of entries which are not held back by having tone-deaf performers. Your singers should be as attractive as you can find (unless you’re going for a humorous entry, in which case they should look much like flesh-coloured gargoyles). For the males, try to choose pretty boys rather than ruggedly handsome men. If you can find totally androgynous ones, so much the better, as it will be very effective in the …

3) Costume changes! It is a requirement of the contest that you either have a costume change or outrageously bizarre costumes, but ideally you should aim for both. If you can manage two or three costume changes, even better, but don’t have any more than this as your singers will start off looking like the Michelin man, and there won’t be any time to sing the song. Try to change women’s clothing into men’s and vice versa, which is particularly effective if you have androgynous singers. Make sure there are contrasting colours; your costume change should take less than two seconds, and you don’t want audience members to be unaware that it has taken place if they blink during the crucial moment.

4) Add something extra. Usually this would be an ethnic dimension. This works best if you come from a country which still has a strong national culture and dress, or is so little-known that you can pretend it does without being found out. The ethnic dimension works especially well if used for tragic effect, but this should only be attempted if your country has suffered war, oppression or a significant natural disaster in the last 10 – 15 years. If you come from, for example, Switzerland, you will only lose the audience’s sympathy and try their patience. If the ethnic thing doesn’t work for you, you can also try the weird / gothic angle (although this has been overused in recent years), enter a humorous piece (but be aware that humour doesn’t always translate) or, unconventionally, present a good song sung by a talented singer. If none of these options is available or appealing, you can always go for the old fall-back – a pretty girl in a very short skirt.

Good luck, buona fortuna and paḉ fatë with your entry!*

*Please be aware that these guidelines cannot guarantee a good result in the Eurovision. For that you will need several land borders and political or ethnic ties with further-flung neighbours. If you are serious about winning, please consider moving your country to the Balkans or the former USSR.

UPDATE: Since this post was written, the wonderful “Love Love Peace Peace” was released, a scientific distillation of all the crucial elements of a successful Eurovision Song.

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4 Responses to “So you want to win the Eurovision Song Contest?”

  1. Susan Main May 26, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    I am almost ashamed to admit that I had forgotten the majestic Song Contest was happening this weekend-I very nearly wept when my mother said that we were being represented by Englebert Humperdinck-a. Why? b. Is he still alive? c. Will his lack of being alive hinder our chances of winning?

    • kcmurdarasi May 26, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      I’m not sure whether he’s alive but he does look as if he may have been (over)stuffed. The song is easy listening but not bad. It grows on you. By the 17th playing on Radio 2 I was singing along lustily. Anyway, it’s got to be better than Jedward!

  2. jackiejamxx May 14, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Haha, loved this!

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