One of the great things about Eurovision is how each country’s song offers a glimpse into that nation’s psyche. Greece is a perfect example. It has a seriously strained relationship with the rest of Europe, and this is one of the foremost international cultural events of the year. Does it choose to offer something generic in English and try to win some fans? Not even close. That tells you something about the mood in Athens.
Or take Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a country that hasn’t participated since 2012. This year they’re back, and they’re practically beaming with national pride. The music video is set inside Sarajevo City Hall, newly reopened after a decades-long restoration. It would have been perfect, if goddamn Pitbull hadn’t ruined it:
Finally, the UK is suffering a musical identity crisis. They have a rich history of rock and pop, and yet the last couple of decades have brought them nothing but Eurovision humiliation. In recent years they’ve tried falling back on old familiar names (Bonnie Tyler, Englebert Humperdink (!)), and they’ve tried campy gimmicks (last year’s scat singing, which won them a backhanded Overthinking Eurovision Award). This year they’re hitting the reset button with two fresh faces, Joe and Jake.
Of course, it’s not only Eurovision where Britain seems to have lost its status as a world leader. Just listen to Hugh Grant’s Love Actually monologue. So once again, Eurovision serves as a danceable microcosm of the geopolitical landscape.