Eurovision isn’t the most popular song contest in Singapore. In fact, most of my friends have barely heard of it. One of them mistook my first semifinal livetweets to be about football. I can’t fault her on that. I mean, I also yell a lot on Twitter about misfires and disappointments throughout the Premier League season.
Before I stumbled upon a rather colourful gifset on Tumblr a couple of years ago, I had the vague impression that Eurovision was another campy TV programme that only Europeans cared about.
I was wrong, obviously. Not about it being campy—that’s mostly true—but the latter part about it only being popular in Europe. According to Eurovision.tv, there were a total of 2.6 million live streaming sessions in 196 territories across the three shows online in 2016.
Stuck in a time-sucking YouTube vortex of Eurovision classics such as Verka Serduchka’s 2007 performance of Dancing Lasha Tumbai, I was hooked. This was not an ordinary song contest and I fervently craved more of the kookiness it had to offer.
Although some of the craziness of the older iterations have since evaporated, Eurovision remains entertaining. The staging, the lighting, the talent, the costumes, the song itself, and even the country politics serve as endless fodder for discussion and memes.
This year’s Eurovision is no different.
I’ll be rooting for my top 5 favourite acts, Hungary, Portugal, Moldova, UK and Italy (special mentions: Bulgaria and Romania), and shake my computer-mediated fist at Europe and the jury if they are robbed of the standings they deserve.