Eurovision is upon us. Gather’ound, ma peoples. It’s time for the annual hot mess of geopolitics, rogue glitter, kitschy costumes and tacky choreography… with a lot of heart! When I am not boycotting it, I always revel in it.
And the 2022 winner will be… UKRAINE!
Or so all the bookies say since Eurovision itself has always been a product of Cold War cross-counter-propaganda since 1956. I mean, cultural diplomacy 🙂 Kalush Orchestra with their genre-bending Stefania and neo-ethno wardrobe would be a solid top 10 finisher in any year, so it’s not just pandering. However, if there ever was a time for the notoriously politicized competition to get even more explicitly political, this is it. Twelve points forever go to freedom!
Politics is aside, here are six other 2022 entries that get 12 PostParis points each. In no particular order:
I lied. There is an order. This duo can get (into) all my points anywhere anytime. But enough about me. The song is a stunning ballad in its own right. It received the highest scores in the history of San Remo Festival, became the fastest selling single in Italy and the biggest Italian streaming debut on Spotify. All before kicking into Eurovision gear. I got to see Mahmood in concert in Madrid earlier in May (an experience perhaps worth a separate post) and I interviewed Susanna Ausoni – Mahmood’s stylist – last year. I am firmly Team Italy this year even if back-to-back wins are rare. But not impossible as four countries managed the feat: Spain, Israel, Luxembourg and Ireland. Making history gives me brividi.
SWEDEN! with Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer
This song took me by surprise. I did not quite get into it at first… However, then something happened… and one thing after another kept bringing me back to this entry. In the end, it is probably my most listened-to track from the 2022 edition, if not my personal number 1. You can discover several cool versions of it in my cover series: Boys Don’t Hold Me Closer.
BELGIUM! with Jérémie Makiese – Miss You
I’ve followed Jérémie ever since he appeared on Voice Belgium. His version of Jealous is one of the best blind auditions for this oft-auditioned ballad. This song (and video) got the grit, the vibe, and the beat to make a stellar live performance which could catapult him towards a top 5 finish.
AUSTRALIA! with Sheldon Riley – Not The Same
I was against Australia joining the show as some kind of misguided idea of decolonization. I still do not think it was a good idea. Imagine my surprise when I caught myself thinking… Eurovision might broadcast from Sydney next year. Riley is also total future Style the Beat hall-of-famer. See: Left Broken.
CZECH REPUBLIC! with We Are Domi – Lights Off
I went a little Prague-crazy last year 🙂 This year they have a strong song with a cool electronica throwback and a fashion-savvy video that speaks to our paranoid times as we fall hostage to technology with each passing day. It may lack a certain oomph, but Eurovision sometimes goes for the understatement from an underdog.
ALBANIA! with Ronela Hajati – Sekret
I keep stanning Albania. For such a small nation, they do epic scale so well. I’m even willing to overlook a bit of queerbaiting in the beginning. This song has all the elements of a Eurovision hit (a diva, the soaring vocals, the searing choreography) and it’s been a while since a small country won. I’d love to see Tirana as a host in my lifetime.
And now, the moment y’all/nobody was waiting for… THE WHITE BRICK AWARD from PostParis.com
Stefan from Estonia is the 2022 and second-ever winner of the non-prestigious WHITE BRICK AWARD for Cultural Appropriation at Eurovision. Stefan Airapetjan dropped his Armenian last name to represent Estonia in the competition. I chose this entry as a fascinating case study in appropriating country music and the Wild West aesthetic both of which themselves are complex genres with roots in the Native American and black American experience as well as the histories of colonized peoples of Latin America. A lot of folks who were skeptical/critical of Lil Nas X belonging on the Old Country Road. Same people would not blink an eye at “Stefan from Estonia” venturing into this musical territory. If Madonna can do it, anyone can?! White Brick Award is a conversation starter, for sure. Thanks, Eurovision! See you in 2023.