Watch the Eurovision this year. Trust me, you need it.

Matthew Joyce

You might look at the title and see the word ‘Eurovision’ and instantly want to turn all your devices off and remove yourself from society. But for this once, please don’t.

I didn’t think that my first opinion piece as the new Editor-in-Chief would be about Eurovision, but I also should have expected it. Maybe I’ll weave it into my editorials when the paper edition returns next year.

I should have expected it because I absolutely love the Eurovision Song Contest – an annual smorgasbord of All Kinds Of Everything that brings us Together to create some Euphoria in a time where we wish that Alcohol Is Free.

If you did not understand what on earth I just said in that last sentence, then consider yourself one of those who should be removed from society.

All joking aside, one of the hardest jobs for a Eurovision fan is trying to explain to an outsider (such as one who just watches the Grand Final on the Saturday without any prior knowledge of the contenders) what it really is, why it still exists 66 years on, and why it’s actually an amazing way to bring everyone together.

Back in 2016, when Sweden held the Contest, hosts Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlow tried to explain just that.

“This Contest was created in 1956 to unify a continent torn apart by war, and right now Europe is once again facing darker times. That reminds us just how important this night actually is,” Mans said.

“Because tonight we set aside any differences we might have, and unite through our love for music. This is what is so beautiful about this Contest, and exciting,” Petra said.

That was during the migrant crisis that arose as people tried to cross the Mediterranean to get to safer Europe. Now, we’re facing darker times with potentially dire consequences for Europe and the world. That’s why I feel this Contest next month is going to be monumental in deciding whether or not Europe will survive.

Russia was banned from this year’s Contest because of their invasion of Ukraine, and Ukraine (thankfully) is still taking part. Their song is being hailed as an anthem for Ukrainians to keep going despite the extreme hardship they’re under, and it appears to be translating across the continent.

As it stands, Ukraine is favourite to win the Contest. However, I am going to need to burst that bubble, unfortunately. I mean no ill will as I say this but I do not think they will win. Bookies, as far as I can tell, base their predictions solely on how popular it is with the public. However, it is important to remember that the public only has a 50% say in who wins – not 100%.

I am predicting right now that the professional juries will not be as generous as the public.

Back to my main point – Eurovision was created to unite a continent – and it worked. Eurovision has grown extremely popular not just in Europe but worldwide, even resulting in the US creating their own spin-off – an 8-week long ‘American Song Contest’.

It exists 66 years later because, in my opinion, Europe needs it to survive. It’s like the cup of tea you need after a hard day’s work. If you don’t have it, you feel like you won’t survive. At least that’s what I’m told, I don’t drink tea.

Europe needs that boost, especially after the horrific two years we have had.

Last year’s Eurovision was not the ordinary Eurovision, and I’ll admit this years won’t be either. But at least this year it won’t just be Dutch people in the audience like last year – it’ll be people of every nationality, finally being able to travel to Italy again.

So if you’ve gotten to this part of the article and not thought this was a pointless 2-3 minutes of your life, then please watch it this May.

Trust me, you need it. You’ve been through a lot. Let your hair down and watch Ireland fail to qualify again!

Matthew Joyce