It’s that time of the year again, folks! The European cheese-fest, officially known as the Eurovision Song Contest is on tonight, allowing an entire continent of people to get in touch with their inner Barry Manilow. I have great memories of Eurovision: sitting beside my grandfather watching Johnny Logan sing “What’s Another Year” with a lump in my throat, hearing Liam O’Maonlaí sing “Don’t Go” with a lump in my throat, seeing Riverdance and feeling a burst of national pride with a lump in my throat, and watching Dustin hold two fingers (or is that feathers) up to a bloated, smug audience with (you guessed it) a lump in my throat. These days I would be more likely to have a bolus of vomit in my throat rather than said lump. Eurovision has gone to the dogs. Since they let in all these so-called countries from Eastern Europe (the aim of this article is to be crude and offensive — I’m trying to stretch my palate as an author), a little country like Ireland hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Not even if we got Bono himself to sing our song, put Van Morrison on sax, the risen Rory Gallagher on lead guitar, the Corr girls as scantily-clad go-go dancers and crucify an effigy of Angela Merkel during the middle eight. Christ, it’s not even about the songs anymore (not that the vast majority of these were ever up to much): it’s about packing the stage with as many ethnically-dressed Oompa Loompas as possible, throwing in a couple of jugglers (coz they’re big into jugglers in Bratislava) and having pyrotechnics — and lots of ’em.
For what it’s worth (and remember I have seen zero coverage of said competition and have no idea what countries beyond Ireland and Spain have made it to the final tonight, so this whole piece is based entirely on ill-informed personal impressions and prejudices) here are the predictions of the Get Behind the Muse jury:
1. The competition will be won by a Nordic or Slavic country.
2. Turkey will not vote for Cyprus.
3. Cyprus will not vote for Turkey.
4. Greece will vote for Cyprus and vice versa.
5. Greece will vote for Serbia and vice versa (Eastern Orthodox connection).
6. Bosnia will vote for Turkey and Albania and vice versa (Islam connection).
7. There will be at least two entries where a man is dressed as a woman.
8. There will be at least two entries where the female lead singer is disturbingly masculine (to the point of, were ‘she’ an athlete, a sex test would be required) and wearing a long, dress with Angelina Jolie-esque split. One of these ‘ladies’ will come from a Nordic country, the other from the East.
9. The French entry will be an avant-garde, post-punk protest song against man’s inhumanity to vegetables (and will be a tuneless pile of cack).
10. The Spanish entry will also be a tuneless pile of cack, but will have the saving grace of including a flamenco-pop guitar solo.
11. At least two countries (not including Ireland obviously) will have bagpipe-like ‘traditional’ instruments and the band dressed in folk costumes.
12. There will be at least two Cossack/hip-hop dance-fusion ‘moments’ from Eastern European entries.
13. Ireland will get less than 20 points, leading to hand-wringing and self-examination on Liveline on Monday.
14. The Maltese (or insert name of other Mediterranean island and so-called country) singer will fall into the category of ‘extremely beautiful but aren’t the eyebrows a wee bit caterpillar-esque’.
15. No one will vote for the UK even in spite of coaxing Bonnie Tyler out of retirement/cryopreservation to ‘sing’ their ‘song’.
17. You’ll miss the ‘best’ (remember: it’s all relative) song while making a cup of tea/taking a cigarette break/having a dump.
18. You’ll have to look up on Wikipedia where exactly the winning country is and there will be comments floating around of “I didn’t even know X was a country.”
19. The singer of at least one Eastern European entry will be the spit of the Lithuanian bouncer from the disco bar down the road.
20. You’ll have forgotten about it all by Wednesday.