There’s nine hours of Eurovision on Australian screens this weekend. Are you up for it? If you are, you’ll need Crikey/Daily Review’s 2014 Eurovision drinking game.
The two semi-finals air on SBS Friday and Saturday nights, with the big kahuna final airing from 7.30pm Sunday. True fans will need to maintain a cone of silence from Sunday morning, which is when the final actually happens on Copenhagen’s Eurovision Island (true story). Bury your smartphone, turn off all radios and hide from the world. Eurovision is here.
Crikey has peeked at the dress rehearsals and can assure you that in fine Eurovision tradition, there are key changes, wind machines, zany use of drums, made-up languages and a smattering of ethnic dress and instruments.
This is also the year of the giant prop, outlandish dance moves from back-up singers, whistling, baking themes (yes, really), boring love ballads (some of them in foreign, which is even worse), and P!nk-inspired power songs from the women of Europe.
And believe us when we say that Celine Dion, who won the title in 1988 clad in the traditional Eurovision “bride” outfit (all white) casts a long shadow. There are plenty of Celine imitators gracing the Copenhagen stage.
And even Australia has a presence this year. In the semi-final airing here on Saturday night, singer Jessica Mauboy hits the stage as an hors concours entertainment act. SPOILER ALERT: it involves an astronaut and an Aboriginal flag (no comment).
Sadly, the magnificence of Eurovision — truly odd acts, biting commentary from Terry Wogan, awful originality from obscure post-Soviet nations — is dimming. More and more acts are from youths who came third in their country’s version of X-Factor. Bland songs are written for them, a few pretty back-up figures in black are added, and hey presto. Well that gets nul points from Crikey. But there’s hope — this year’s entries from Georgia, Austria and Ukraine are something different.
So lay on the smorrebrod, charge your glasses with pilsner or akvavit and print out Crikey’s Eurovision drinking game (there’s a printer-friendly version here). The rules are simple. Divide your audience into teams and give each team an item or two from the “team-based drinking regime”. For the top list, everyone drains their glass.
Use of oversized props: it’s hard to miss that giant parachute/hamster wheel/trampoline. The moment the prop is used, drink.
“The bride”: if anyone is in all white, including man-brides, you skol. And if there are two brides on stage, remove a garment. Better dress warm …
The classic key change: drain your glass. If you’re feeling frisky, why not try for that high note yourself?
The Mary: any reference to — or sighting of — Princess Mary of Tasmania/Denmark, please be upstanding and skol. Anyone who remains seated will feature prominently in the next day’s Hobart Mercury.
“Nul points”: it’s every entrant’s worst nightmare, so the least you can do is drink in sympathy every time the hosts mention “nul points”.
TEAM-BASED DRINKING REGIME
Marshalls, divide your audience into teams and give each team one or two of these little numbers. Each team has to drink every time their event happens.
1. If you couldn’t locate this country on a map, or thought it was made up, take a sip (be honest now).
2. Whistling is a thing this year. If it happens on stage, drink.
3. Lead singer points at the camera, reaches for the stars or does similar one-armed gesture. Please drink, then imitate said gesture.
4. “The toilet break”: the moment you decide this ballad is really dull, take a sip and sit back.
5. “What the …?” if a chorus is sung in foreign, wet your whistle.
6. Creative/zany use of drums. Believe me, it’s coming.
7. Use of indigenous/ethnic dress or instrument.
8. Baking or cake reference. Yes, really.
9. The classic reveal. As someone on stage whips off a garment, take a slug.
Check out SBS’s coverage here and tune in from 8.30pm Friday. Let’s hope we’ll see Denmark shine like it did in 1985 (see below).