Yeah, I'd never heard of it either.
But I'll tell you what, when Europe gets together to put on a show, the sky's the limit.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been going on for like sixty years. Forty-three European nations compete, but only twenty-five are permitted to perform in the final televised extravaganza. Musicians from the twenty-five countries perform their songs one after another in a marathon concert with no commercial breaks. The concert is held in the country that won the contest in the prior year. This year, Serbia.
After all the songs have been performed, the viewing public call in their votes (sound familiar, Simon Cowell?). But (major twist!) you can't vote for your own country. We voted for Latvia. Of course.
After fifteen minutes, the polls are closed and the real fun begins. Turns out, ALL forty-three participating countries get to report their top ten results. Representatives in each country were standing by to read their nation's scores via live satellite feed, and to enjoy their fifteen seconds of fame. It takes a long time.
This was the scene at Andy's house about three hours into the Eurovision Song Contest 2008.
The show was saved by the acerbic commentary of Terry Wogan. His snide observations kept the whole thing just ridiculous enough to stave off pity and just funny enough to keep watching.
According to my British friends, Eurovision is no longer a song contest, but a political popularity contest, with countries voting for their neighbors regardless of their performance. This was the explanation for the UK tying for rock-bottom last. They had a good song, but no love from Europe.
Russia won with a saccharine ballad about believing in yourself.
Here's a clip of the Best European Song.
Yup. That's an ice skater.
Naturally, we capped the evening off with a rousing game of Bible Trivia.