Dates and times:
Semi-Final 1: Tuesday May 14th, 2100 Central European Time (CET), 1500 Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) 1200 Pacific Daylight Time (PDT)
Semi-Final 2: Thursday May 16th, Same Time
Grand Final: Saturday May 18th: Same Time
So I was reminded a few minutes ago that the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is about to begin in a few hours. A quick search revealed that I'm evidently not the only one to be taken by surprise seeing how we apparently have no thread for it. Considering that I'm Swedish and that we are the exalted hosts for the year, it's pretty much my patriotic duty to grab your attention (I'm not kidding - the ESC is Serious Business in Sweden) so I'm not allowing such a travesty to stand, and here it is. What on Earth is the ESC, you ask?
Oh, are you in for a treat! This thread will teach you everything you ever wanted to know but was too afraid to ask: live streams, previous entries - the works!
Officially, the ESC is an annual musical competition held between the European countries (and some hang-arounds) that decides which country is the bestest country in music. Unofficially it's one of the most insane entertainment spectacles in the world: mix one part nationalism, two part C-grade music with an ethnic flair and three parts over-the-top spectacle and you have the ESC. But don't take my word for it: here are a few previous noteworthy entries!
Let's start off on an easy note; the Pride of Sweden: last years winner Euphoria. Feel the glory (of the crab walk) Nothing too crazy, just some decently competent Europop with a catchy refrain. WMG doesn't allow embeds for this one, so off to Youtube you go.
Okay, that's done. All senses still intact? Good. On to the really good stuff. Last years Turkish entry, AKA "The Manboat"! A personal favorite. (The Manboat takes shape at around 2.20 during the bridge by the pirate/vampire bat- hybrid back-up dancers joining forces, Voltron style)
Last years entry from Russia, showing the world that the ESC isn't just for the young crowd: Party for Everybody! A beautiful display of how best to lure someone in with a soothing Russian lullaby and then club them over the head with Europop so you can force-feed them cookies, baked in the convenient on-stage oven.
And last but certainly not least, we have ESC-veterans Jedward from Ireland doing their best fabolous space-knight impression, also from last year.
And all of this from just last years competition! I could go on and show you clip after clip of awesome insanity from previous years, but I got off to a late start because the first semi-final begins in little over an hour as i write this. Crazy, I know! So how do you watch, you may ask? Well, if you're in Europe it's easy enough: there is a channel in every European country tasked with broadcasting it live. But thanks to the glory of the internet age, all of you non-Europeans - who probably enjoy it more anyway - can tag along on a live stream!
The official ESC stream: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/webtv
The BBC stream: this one's region coded, but if you already know a way to get to it it's an excellent choice, simply because it usually features some beautifully snarky commentators: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv/bbc_one_london/watchlive
I'll see about up-dating it with some background information tomorrow. For now: if you got the time, don't hesitate to take a look at the stream. Trust me, you won't regret it. Alcohol is recommended: the best way to watch the show is with some equally bemused friends, a drinking adds to the pleasure but can easily spiral out of control. In any case, this will easily be the craziest thing you've seen this year purely because of the absurd scale of it.