When I first moved to Belfast some 20 plus years ago I had never heard of the ‘Eurovision Song Contest.’

My local friends and family were shocked by this. I had no idea what I was missing, they told me breathlessly. It was. An. Event.

We got out the snacks, the cocktails, the little flags, the fancy dress accessories raided from the kids dress-up trunk. Everyone sat around the TV and cheered for their favs, with each predicting the winner. There was heated debate. Dancing. Derision. Lots of laughter. It was a big production…

The actual contest was a big production too. Huge in scale, costumes, staging and questionable taste – all before a massive audience.

As far as the actual performances, they defied description. I had never seen anything like it. I sat there open-mouthed, unable to decide if it was appallingly bad or the most bizarrely entertaining thing I’d ever seen.

I eventually decided on the latter.

Now, several decades after my first exposure, I find myself disappointed not to be able to watch this year. Its a shame that this unique spectacle has been one of the many events which had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. I feel bad for the performers.

I think this years show would have a great one. There was to be, as usual, a diverse cross section of songs – from kitsch and catchy, power ballads to pop songs, bizarre to tragic. And ironically the UK might finally have had a shot this year…

For the record, my money would have been on Little Big from Russia with their song ‘Uno.’

Just because it is surprisingly catchy and – well, as you can see by the video, – just a shining example of the strangeness that Eurovision embraces.

Equally in the running for the same reasons, was the popular fav from Iceland – hotly tipped by other pundants to have been this years winner – ‘Think about things.’

Sweden’s The Mama’s with ‘Move’ would have been a tough one to beat. Another Close runner up, Azerbaijan with Cleopatra.

And Special mention for Lithuania’s ‘The Roop.’ Apparently the dance that accompanies their video has gone viral and is a big Euro hit already….

You can watch all of what would have been this years spectacular entries in full, on the Eurovision channel on YouTube.

Here’ the link:

I invite my friends and family in North America to indulge in this truly European extravaganza…especially if you’ve never seen it.

Your welcome.

And now, Russia’s entry this year – a glorious and shining example of the weirdness and joy of Eurovision.