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! Y’all know, when I am not boycotting it, I always revel in it.
I know it’s between Sweden and… it’s probably Sweden this year. While I am not euphoric about, I wouldn’t cry foul if Loreen conjured up another Nordic victory. Going into the Grand Final, the field is uneven without surefire contenders besides Tattoo-oo-oo. However, that makes the show even more appealing as Eurovision fate rides on the strength of a live performance. Here is a six-video guide to this year’s edition featuring the Post-Paris favorites based on the winning combo of music and style.
ITALY / Marco Mengoni – Due Vite
Last year, I was Team Italy. Mahmood & Blanco finished sixth, but Brividi was the second most-listened to track on my Spotify Wrapped. This year, I am almost Team Italy again. Mi scuso, ragazzi, I cannot help but melt under the dolce vita influence of a power ballad sung by a shining specimen of toxic masculinity allegedly reformed. Marco’s stylist Lorenzo Posocco keeps things richly monochrome tapping into that 50-shades-of vibe between longing, aversion, and denial. “If this is the last song before the moon explodes…” Well… Ciao, Luna!
CYPRUS / Andrew Lambrou – Break a Broken Heart
This is the one gunning for my televote. And not because I lost virginity on the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, so this sounds like a middle finger salute to that lucky ex… Ok, maybe
partly because of that. In all seriousness (or as much seriousness as you can muster for Eurovision), the song delivers an empowering message of resilience and defiance in soaring vocals against the backdrop of water, fire, sex appeal, and crucifix earrings. Its drawback is that it plays a little too “by the book.” Andrew’s styling partner is No Fear, a rather generic streetwear brand currently in partnership with H&M. Fast fashion for Eurovision? I guess that fits. Ahem.
ARMENIA / Brunette – Future Lover
How often do you think of your future lover(s)? Do you think of any-one at all? “Oh my lord, my pain, my panic attacks” … Uff, indeed. Designer Narek Jhangiryan found the elusive fine line between brutalism and sensuality and then he cut right along it. Amid early social media crackle of cultural appropriation, Pussy Riot’s Lusine Djanyan came to the rescue of a fellow Armenian artist and her choice of traditional Caucasus hairstyle. Eurovision has always been intended as a classroom of sorts. Let’s hope this pop incarnation of Mother Armenia teaches us all “to be good, do good, look good.” This will be on the test.
SLOVENIA / Joker Out – Carpe Diem
Slovenia is in my fan-heart forever or at least for a thousand years 🙂 Now, 2023. While the idea of a dance party in an elevator/lift gives me vertigo and fomo in equal measure, this year’s Slovenian entry accomplishes two rare Eurovision feats. 1) A cool song not-in-English that is strong enough musically to move a multilingual audience. In words of Georgina, the Honest Vocal Coach: It’s a bop! 2) Stylist Damir Raković Ponorelii manages to wrangle a whole band into cool outfits that actually make one want to look up brands featured in the video. Wearable is not always a priority for the Song Contest fashion choices. I’d carpe-diem with these lads, tbh. A few times. Clothing optional.
CROATIA / Let 3 – Mama ŠČ!
This is what makes Eurovision irresistible trainwreck television. The inexplicable smorgasbord of what-the-fuck lyrics and visuals in this year’s Croatian entry could be astute satire or straight up mockery of the Song Contest’s peacekeeping intentions. It’s a song about a mother who bought a tractor works as great product placement for Husqvarna Hrvatska automaker until it switches gears into a ditty about an old cunning psychopath who starts a war… Kitchen sink styling by Lana Letović Perčin and Manuela Paladin Šabanović adds to the glorious mayhem.
And now, the moment y’all been waiting for…
The 2023 PostParis.com WHITE BRICK AWARD for Cultural Appropriation & Cringe at Eurovision goes to Switzerland.
Switzerland / Remo Forrer – Watergun
Read the room. According to Oxford Dictionary the expression means “to understand or be sensitive to the mood or feelings of a group of people that one is addressing or engaging with”. Unfortunately, White Imagination does not do that. Switzerland did not read the room. Excuse me, I cannot take seriously a white man from a notoriously “neutral” nation (whose singular military priority since 1506 has been protecting the Vatican) as he croons teary-eyed about not wanting to be a soldier because he doesn’t want to become a bodybag. Jesus Toblerone Christ! Sit this one out, Switzerland. And divest that Nazi gold. Thanks. Danke. Merci. Grazie.
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BONUS / The [Queer] Politics of Eurovision
While this is not an entry… I recommend starting your Eurovision evening with this 40-minute deep-dive by the terrific Verity Ritchie looking at the history of othering and pinkwashing at the world’s biggest non-sporting televised event. I learned A LOT about a show I thought I knew A LOT about.