It has been hard to get around the past week: the Eurovision Song contest. Personally, it is a guilty pleasure for me. The entire event can get very bad or cringeworthy, but those attributes, along with that the happiness that comes with it makes the contest great in my opinion. This year the Netherlands won, for the first time in 44 years, which means that next year we get to host the competition.
Eurovision is, in my opinion, one big joke. It is a joke as the quality of the music might not always be great, whereas the acts can be phenomenal. It is a joke because supposed impartial national juries who reward points to other nations are not, in fact, impartial. You can often guess to which countries a jury will award points to. For example, Greece and Cyprus always seem to give each other points, which can be expected as they are politically close. The countries from the Balkans also seem to give an awful amount of points to each other. Furthermore, the entire show that is being put on is very blown up, with a lot of filler talks and presenters who think they are being funny, which they often are not.
These may be the negative opinions about the contest, but you could still argue that these aspects add to the entire spirit of the festival. It may not be the actual best song contest with the greatest songs and singers, but you can be sure that you will have a fun time. Furthermore, the commentators who talk over the presenters of the programme as well as the filler seem to take the contest less seriously than I do, as you can hear some commentators like Graham Norton making snide remarks about everything he sees on stage. But to me that is the attitude you should have while watching this show: you do not need to take everything seriously. Once a year a whole bunch of people choose to make fun of themselves and their countries, so you might as well laugh at them.
Now for the costs. Because we won the competition, next year the Eurovision Song contest will be held somewhere in The Netherlands. Other countries had costs of between 15 and 60 million, but these costs depend on how big you want the spectacle to be. Furthermore a large amount of the budget is spent on infrastructure as well as the building of a venue, but The Netherlands already has a good infrastructure as well as multiple options for the venue. Nevertheless the costs will be in the millions, and will have to be payed by the public broadcasting company, the NPO. Prime Minister Rutte has said in an interview that he is not planning to fund the company more than he would in a normal year, so it might be a bit hard to acquire all the money. Nevertheless the Prime Minister is a fan of the show, as he also said he was watching the entire show, and he even called the winner afterwards. He also jokingly said that immediately after Duncan Laurence’s win, he was texted by multiple Mayors who asked him if next year’s contest would be held in their municipality.
All jokes aside, there are of course benefits as well. All of the visitors will spend money on food, accommodations and tickets for the contest. It will be free promotion for go on a holiday in The Netherlands while they are still there. As an additional bonus, we also do not need to bother trying to get through the semi-finals next year, as the organising country gets a free entry to the finale, so that is also something.
After the one week of the year that the contest is held, I mostly forget about it. It is the one week of the year I actually care about things like this, but this year may be different, as throughout the year we will have news dripping in about the organisation of next year’s event. It does seem interesting to wonder which people we will have present the contest, as well as who will perform throughout the show. But then again, whatever happens, we will just have to see in time.
By: Merijn van der Leeuw