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Raise a glass to the Eurovision that never was

by | May 16, 2020

Raise a glass to the Eurovision that never was

by | May 16, 2020 | Eurovision, Featured |

It’s Eurovision Day!

Except, of course, it’s not. And it’s still weird.

I should have been in Tenerife with the usual gang right now, sunning myself at our poolside “press centre” and putting on some last, ill-advised bets after overanalysing the final running order. Many of you would have been at the actual press centre in Rotterdam, or enjoying the fresh air in the host city and taking in some performances by national final failures at the EuroVillage. Or perhaps you’d have been at home, sticking little flags into canapés ahead of your party guests arriving in the evening.

But as we all know, the C-word put an end to all that (and we don’t mean Carola, though it would probably be within her powers too).

Ever since ESC 2020 was cancelled and the lockdown kicked in around Europe and the world, the Eurovision fan community has been excelling itself, as it so often does. Most publicly with the Eurovision Again movement on Twitter, which has established itself as a weekly highlight and even gained the endorsement of the official Eurovision channel – though if we’re talking rewatches, we have to give a special shout-out to the nightly rewatches of old contests on the messageboard of our partner site ESCNation, which we’ve been joining in with in our #esc chat. Knowing there’s always something to watch with friends after a particularly shitty lockdown day has been a real blessing at this strange time.

A whole bunch of fan sites also collaborated on the Eurostream project, while on the official front, the BBC Newsbeat documentary was almost unbearably poignant and the Eurovision Home Concerts have thrown up some brilliantly improbable highlights (as well as showcasing some fascinating home furnishing choices). All of that culminates tonight, with the Europe Shine A Light show that’s being broadcast across the participating countries in the slot that should have been occupied by the grand final of ESC 2020, flanked in many cases by local content. And, of course, we’ll be gathering virtually to watch it together and celebrate those unfortunate 2020 entries one last time.

It can’t replace ESC, of course. Nothing could. But it might help us to finally internalise the fact that we’re not getting “our” contest this year. To quote a conversation from our chatroom, tonight feels like a funeral you really need to go well. In the best case, it’ll give us some degree of catharsis, ideally accompanied by a decent buffet.

That might not be setting our sights especially high, but what else can we do? There are bigger and more important things happening in the world right now – so let’s just hope this goes down as a unique blip, an asterisk in the long and storied history of Europe’s greatest television spectacular, and appreciate the way in which the contest brings us all together even when it’s not actually happening.

Raise a glass tonight to the 2020 contestants. But above all, raise a glass to yourselves, the amazing community of fans who keep this contest going year after year. Even in adversity – perhaps, as it turns out, especially in adversity – you’re a pretty awesome bunch.

Stay safe and stay well. Cheers from all of us at escgo!, and here’s to better times ahead.


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