— ManeskinOfficial (@thisismaneskin) May 22, 2021
Most people in the United States probably never heard of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), but if you support LGBTQ+ rights and love music, this might be your jam.
Europe is celebrating this competition since 1956, making it the longest-running televised music competition in the world.
To get the idea behind this event, I highly suggest watching the hilarious movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” with Will Ferrell playing a singer from Iceland who dreams of participating in the ESC.
And you might even know a few artists who started their career by competing in the ESC: ABBA, Celine Dion, and Julio Iglesias.
But besides all that, the competition has a bad reputation for trashy outfits, being too political, and mainly targeting fans of folk music. Let’s take a closer look at that.
The basic concept is that every country sends one artist or band to perform a song—and that’s it: four hours of live music without any commercial breaks or other distractions.
Some sing in their own language, but most choose to perform in English. After everyone played their song on a live broadcast, the audience gets to vote for their favorite act—and for obvious reasons, you can’t vote for your own country. Every country has a jury and a public vote determining the winner of the event.
Since the early 90s, the ESC became more and more an event attracting fans from the European LGBTQ+ community. And even before that, it was one of the first internationally broadcasted events celebrating diversity (without openly saying it)—leading to several controversies among older viewers.
On top of that, the event offers a wide variety of different music styles. This year, France had a chanson-style song, Eastern European countries celebrated their infamous Eurodance, and Finland represented themselves with a heavy metal band—what a mix.
And for all of those who think that the ESC is mainly for old folks, check out this year’s winner: Måneskin.
When I heard their song for the first time, I loved it straight away but had no idea about the lyrics because I don’t speak Italian. But I was feeling that dude; I was connecting with his vibe and voice.
The next day, I took the time to look up a translation of the lyrics. I found out that it is about young people who don’t trust the conservative establishment and feel misunderstood (it almost sounded like the 2021 version of the lyrics from my old punk rock band I played in 15 years ago).
Or, as the band states, “The title is referring to a cathartic angry, our angry transformed into something positive, which leads to change things”—it probably sounds smoother in Italian. Still, we get the idea: it’s about being of benefit.
There are casting shows like “American Idol” all over the planet, but no competition comes anywhere near the diversity of the ESC. I don’t know any other music show that features folk music, heavy metal, chanson, and electronic music. I haven’t heard of many non-sports events that are watched by people of different ages, nationalities, and sexual preferences.
And I have good news for my friends in the United States: NBC just signed a contract to start an American version of this event in 2022. Let’s see how that turns out.
But until then, I hope you enjoy watching the winning song of this year—or maybe even checking out a few more songs of the competition—if you love music, it’s definitely worth the time.