The 56th Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011

We are now only days away from the competition final of the biggest music contest on the planet. But who will win? Blue say ‘I Can’ but who will be the real victor?

The atmosphere here at Gay Chat Towers is intense. As always I would like to see my favourite win, which this year isn’t the UK (again) – although I know a lot of other people who are routing for Blue. To understand the enormity and importance of this competition we first have to take a short trip back in time. The Second World War ended in 1945 andEuropewas still in pieces. Trying to reunite the people was a daunting and almost impossible task. Television was still in its infancy yet by the 1950s, TV was already becoming the main source to reach people on a global scale.

In 1955 the European Broadcasting Union came up with the idea of a European song competition televised across the lands. Just seven countries took park in the first show back in 1956: Italy, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerlandand The Netherlands. Can you imagine how strange it must have been for countries that had been at war? Killing each other in their thousands just ten years before and now, performing on stage together in a frivolous television programme. These people were true pioneers in uniting the Europe we know today.

The following year, Austria, The United Kingdom and Denmark joined with more following in the years to come, making up the 43 countries we have today.

Nowadays, The Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest competition of its kind, pulling in around 125 million viewers for the live final. It sometimes may come across as being camp and cheesy, but it is never offensive, is always good fun and (especially in the gay world) brings nations together in a celebration of song and dance. Don’t forget, this competition has made some of the world’s greatest pop stars including: Sandie Shaw, Bucks Fizz, Celine Dion and Abba.

This year, Blue are representing the United Kingdom, and after last year’s utter disaster (Pete Waterman – seriously!) the UK really needs to get into at least the top 10. With a well-known pop group and a catchy song, (which I personally think is far too twee and 90s boy band) it is looking very likely that they will be in the top 5 and even have a real shot at taking home first place. The UK hasn’t won the contest since 1997 and after coming last in 2010 we really need this. If we did win, our calendars are going to be pretty full next year as the UK is already hosting the Olympics, the Paralympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and World Pride.

2012 is looking to be a year of non-stop celebration… Bring it on!

Terry Gee

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