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. Watch it twice, then try to get it out of your head…I dare you.

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.