We have got to stop playing safe if we ever want to win the Eurovision, says Nicole Buckler.
The Eurovision is as camp as a row of tents, we all know that. Sometimes it can be gruellingly boring and horribly gaudy. We all know the votes are rigged as neighbouring countries vote for each other in an almost incestual way (unless they have had an argument about the import duties on vodka). But we love it. We love the idea of it too. It was designed to bring Europe back together after a horrific series of wars.
We Irishers know it is very hard for us to win because we don’t really have any mates who will give us allegiance votes (except the Irish living in the UK). So to win, we have to do something entirely shocking, unusual, crazy, show-stopping, mad and weird (but in a glamorous way, not like, actually weird). This is the only way Ireland will grab it. And we need it. We deserve it. We are crawing our way out from under generations of Catholic Church suffocation, where to be a homosexual or a pregnant single woman made you the most repulsive person in society. It’s the Eurovision that indeed celebrates the misfit, the weirdo, the camp, the unacceptable, and the gaudy.
In Ireland, we finally escaped this cringe-worthy bigoted past to vote yes for marriage equality in 2015. So we should have this Eurovision thing in the bag. We know how to do this. We’ve got this. But we are making stupid decisions when it comes to the Eurovision. We are playing safe.
Let’s look back to 2016. Nicky Byrne represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Nicky Byrne HAD a great career on the stage FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Yes he’s on The Voice, and yes he’s on the radio. But he isn’t a performer anymore, and when he was, he was in a boyband.
Yes Nicky is a good bloke and didn’t embarrass us in the recession by going into bankruptcy, having a string of failed marriages with strippers, or by ending up with a face full of cocaine at an underground bondage dungeon. But this style of act is never going to win Eurovision for us. Letting him walk out onto that stage was only one shade away from the UK resurrecting Engelbert Humperdinck from his grave to wander about the stage in that same year. That was just so desperate and embarrassing for the UK, I can’t even. By dusting Nicky Byrne off and sending him over there, we too made the same stupid mistake as we always do. We played safe.
Just one look at Conchita Wurst will show us what we are doing wrong. Yes there have been drag queens who have been in Eurovision. They probably run the whole backstage department of it. Our own Queen of Ireland, Panti Bliss, is one of the most charismatic drag queens to ever grace the transsexual world. But here’s how Conchita Wurst showed up and wowed: Conchita is a pretty, petite (well too petite, let’s get a steak into her) feminine drag queen with a big woolly beard. It was new; it was strange, it was weird. But we liked it. It worked. It was a whopper show stopper. Her song was crap, but eurovision isn’t about the music. We voted for Conchita, not her song.
Then there’s Lordi, a Finnish hard rock and heavy metal band, known for wearing monster masks. The band made history in 2006 by becoming the first, (and the only) hard rock act to win the Eurovision Song Contest. Let me say that for you again: They are the ONLY Finnish winner EVER. Finland NEVER wins the Eurovision, but they did this time. Why? Because most hard rock enthusiasts would rather have their eyes eaten out of their heads by seagulls than watch the Eurovision. Every European who couldn’t stand the event picked up their phones and voted, as an anti-vote. And it worked. It was crazy, different and weird within the Eurovision context.
It is in light of this that I loved Jedward’s effort with their song “Lipstick.” It didn’t win, but it was the right idea, dammit. It featured annoying, weird, wildly camp barely pubescent boys in glittering red outfits dancing badly like they were doing 17 lines of cocaine from their thumbs. It was the only time in the past ten years that we have got Eurovision right. We understood what it was that year.
But since then, we seem to have gotten a knock on the head by a grumpy librarian or some other strict person.
This is our 2018 contribution. A nice song. But… yawn. YAWNIE YAWN YAWN. HOW ARE WE NOT GETTING IT?
We need to send something new. Something shocking, something topical, something the gays will like, and what we at home would vote for. It has to be earth shattering. It needs to be something along the lines of balloon fetishists, dancing to an orchestra covered in tin foil or cling wrap. Everyone needs to be wearing suicide belts that explode with glitter and love when detonated as a protest for world peace (come on we need to stay current).
It’s kind of like we have given up even trying. And why does it matter? Because Eurovision shows that the only war we need in Europe is one of sequins and strobe lights.
Come on Ireland, let go back to ruling over this party. Let’s smash this.