There’s something about Eurovision that gives me goosebumps. From Malmö to Tel Aviv, I have reported from Europe’s biggest television event for Monocle since 2013. I’ve spoken to many of the most interesting contestants as well as mayors of the cities hosting the event, such as former professional boxer and mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko. But this year’s event brings with it a timely dose of hope and optimism – and many of the competition’s entrants are trying to capture the mood with songs that make you yearn for a return to the dancefloor.
After taking a break last year due to coronavirus, Eurovision week is upon us once again. Semi-finals start today before the big final show on Saturday in Rotterdam in front of a live (if limited) audience. Sietse Bakker, executive producer of this year’s event, tells me that while hosting this event will, of course, be a challenge, we should expect the usual extravaganza. And the songs will not disappoint. Maltese entry Destiny – one of the favourites to win – is all about female empowerment and will make everyone shake their booties with “Je Me Casse”. Another contestant to watch is The Roop from Lithuania. “For our track this year, we knew we wanted something you could dance to,” lead singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius (pictured) told me. “When you dance, you feel good; by dancing you feel alive.”
Sure, I’ve always enjoyed a slice of Europop but what adds a frisson to this unique event is the fact that nations are in friendly competition. In an increasingly isolationist world, the Eurovision Song Contest serves as a simple reminder that unity – and good pop music – is what really makes the world go round.
Hear Pacheco’s special series on Eurovision, including interviews with contestants, throughout this week on ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle 24.