100 Posts: A Milestone, a Heat Wave, and a Finished Object

Not long after I published my most recent post, celebrating my 100th follow on this blog, I looked at my stats on my WordPress app and realized I had published 99 posts to date. Knowing that my 100th post was just around the corner, I knew I had to get going on the final stages of a project that has been in the works since late last year, so I’d have something to show off in my milestone 100th post.

Before I get to that, though, here’s what’s been going on lately around here.

The big story as of late around here has been the weather. While the central portion of the United States has been hounded by all sorts of storms and deadly tornadoes 🌪 (due to a collision of cold air from the northwest and warm air from the southeast, which has made the Plains and Midwest states a hotbed for severe weather in recent weeks), the Southeast (including Florida) has been bombarded by heat. And not the humid kind, either. (That usually comes in during the summer.) We have been bombarded by dry heat. It’s the kind of dry heat that blasts you in the face and keeps you wanting air conditioning for the entire day. We’ve had highs in the mid and upper 90s Fahrenheit for well over a week! Our grass has started to turn brown from the lack of rain, and the temperatures have been so hot and dry that in recent days it’s stayed in the 90s right until sunset 🌅. The pavement keeps its warmth well after sundown, and the heat has certainly sent my sweat glands into overdrive! Thank goodness our AC is currently functioning! We had an issue with a hum yesterday in the inside portion of our unit, which Dad checked out yesterday, but the hum disappeared after the unit was shut off briefly. He also cleaned off the coils in the outside part of the unit when he got home this morning in order to improve the cold air flow into the house. Our house isn’t ice cold (that would add extra to our energy bill), but it’s definitely much cooler inside than it is outside. Unfortunately, we don’t see any relief coming any time soon, rain chances are expected to be 30% or lower into next week.

One upside to all this heat: the sun has made for wonderful lighting conditions when it comes to showing off my finished projects! You saw that with my LoveWave shawl earlier this month, and now I have a new finished object…and it’s a major one.

I’ve finished the Bambina Baby Blanket! 🥳🎉🎀🧸👶🏻

It took me seven months to finish, and I missed my deadline by nearly three months, but I finally finished it! I have yet to meet The Bambina in person, but I’m glad that when I finally do (hopefully sooner rather than later), I will have a finished object to present to her parents!

Let me introduce you to The Bambina’s finished blanket.

Pattern: My own personal pattern, based on a 25-stitch small mitered square / Border uses elements of the Ten Stitch Blanket by Frankie Brown (pattern, which will be linked to, is available as a free download from Ravelry), adapted to work across 6 stitches to form the border.

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver in Perfect Pink, Baby Pink, and Soft White. It took about a skein and a half of each of the pinks and less than a skein of the white.

Needles: US #6 (4.25 mm) needles. I started with straight needles, but switched to circular partway through to handle the weight of the blanket and also to speed things up.

I used my dad’s trailer to hold and pose the blanket in these pictures, and the pictures were taken around 7:00-7:30 pm, about an hour before sunset this time of year. Though the bed of it isn’t completely flat, it does allow me to spread out what I am trying to set up on it for pictures.

I plan on presenting this blanket to my brother and sister-in-law the next time we see them, which I hope is sooner rather than later. My oldest niece, R., will be turning 3 years old a week from today, on June 6th, while The Bambina will mark 3 months since her birth in just a few days, on June 1st. It will still be a few more months before The Bambina gets to the crawling stage, but I think this blanket should make for a nice crawling mat when the time comes. (This is especially since their house doesn’t have carpet; they opted for hardwood floors instead for most of the house.) I have a feeling they’re going to love it.

Thank you so much for sticking with me for these first 100 posts. It hasn’t been a quick journey to 100 (posts or followers), but I’ve gotten here, one post at a time. You’ve been with me through my very beginnings, my attempts to produce meaningful writing, my experiences and experiments in trying to grow as a blogger/writer, seeing my family expand to include a whole new cast of characters that I could have never imagined being in my life even five or six years ago, my various works of art that just happen to be made of yarn instead of paint and canvas, and my return to being a habitual reader. I hope the posts I make as I continue with this blog are interesting, engaging, and inspire you all, whatever it is that they spark.

Here’s to the future…whatever it may bring!

100 Followers!

A few days ago, I got this notification from WordPress that has taken me over two years to get to.

I have officially reached 100 followers for my blog after two years online! (I know my Follow Me field on my blog’s sidebar says 200-something, but there was something going on last year where someone was registering dozens upon dozens of fake email addresses that it seems that WordPress has since clamped down on, so it inflated my email followers count.)

You don’t realize how amazing this is for me. I’m not an influencer or a professional blogger in the slightest. I’m just an average woman writing about her own little corner of the planet and letting people in her life and her mind just a little at a time. I don’t blog for fame or glory or money, I blog for the sheer enjoyment of it and the enjoyment I get from my little community that’s formed because of it.

Some of you have been with me from the very beginning. Many of you came along a little later. Some of you followed because you liked my knitting, and others decided to follow because you liked my writing and my take on writing. And some of you may have the same taste in books that I do. Whatever your reason for following me, I just wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of you for your interest and dedication. It’s taken a long time for me to get to just 100 followers, and I appreciate each and every one of you.

For me, it’s never been about the quantity of followers, it’s always been about the quality. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and here’s to continued quality blogging!

You’re Like a LoveWave

Today marks the Grand Final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, where 26 countries (out of 41 who entered) will throw it down onstage for the chance to be named Europe’s best new song of the year and also for the right to host the 2020 Contest. The Netherlands’ 🇳🇱 entry, “Arcade” by Duncan Laurence, is heavily favored to win, but it is far from having this Contest in the bag. It’ll be interesting to see who actually ends up taking this year’s title. But I’ve talked more than enough Eurovision in my last two posts.

This is about my latest finished object, a shawlette that I wanted to do as my Eurovision project to be done in time for tomorrow’s Grand Final. I got two cakes of the yarn I used for it as a sort of Valentine’s Day present to myself, but only ended up using one. (The other is currently being used to make an asymmetrical triangular shawl that I hope to eventually showcase here at some point.) And while I’ve documented some of the difficulties I had with the lace sections with this shawl on this blog, I did eventually work my way through them and I am proud to say that I now have a finished object that just got in one day before the deadline.

I actually finished the knitting portion of this project back in March, but I decided to hold off on it in order to focus on finishing the Bambina Baby Blanket (which is going well, I am just working on the border, and then it will be finished). Earlier this week, I decided to pin out my shawl to prepare it for steam blocking (as the yarn was a wool/acrylic blend).

The shawl pinned out on my bed for blocking.

My bedsheets were in need of a wash anyway, so I took the opportunity during my dad’s work week this week (when I wasn’t going to be sleeping in my bed anyway) to wash my sheets and block the shawl. The steam blocking went all right. The garter stitch along the long edge still curls a bit, but I like what it did to the drape of the lace.

Just a weaving in of the ends yesterday, and I was finally able to present my finished project.

Readers, I give you…LoveWave!

I decided to call this project “LoveWave” for two primary reasons: 1. I did this as my Eurovision project, and it is named after Armenia’s 🇦🇲 2016 entry, “LoveWave” by Iveta Mukuchyan, who is an Armenian-born singer primarily based out of Hamburg, Germany. The song itself finished 7th overall with 249 points, while that year’s Contest was won by Ukraine. And 2. This project’s name combines the pattern name, “Wavedeck” (which I will link to shortly) and the theme of the colorway’s name “Aphrodite”, which is named after the Ancient Greek goddess of love.

So, here are the details:

  • Pattern: Wavedeck by Kate Atherley (available as a free pattern at Knitty)
  • Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Cakes in “Aphrodite” (all the colorways in this line are named after figures in Ancient Greek mythology)
  • Needles: US # 6 and #7 circular (I used two different sizes because I purl looser than I knit, so the smaller needles were needed in order to keep my stockinette stitch even-looking, using the #6 needles for the purl rows)

My shawl ended up coming out to more of a shawlette size, but it’s perfect for Florida weather, especially when it gets a little cooler in the fall, and the wool in this yarn should do nicely in keeping my shoulders warm if needed.

Here are a few more pics of LoveWave in the Central Florida late afternoon spring sun.

Kinda looks like a wing here, doesn’t it?

On my pavement just outside the front door.

Don’t mind my squished up face…focus on the shawl.

Before I end this post, as always I try to provide a source for title references when I make them, and this is no different. Here is the music video for “LoveWave” by Iveta Mukuchyan.

So, What is This “Eurovision” Thing, and Why am I Obsessed? – Part Two

When we last left off, I had just finished giving a pretty detailed rundown of what Eurovision is and how it works.

Now, it’s time to talk about my personal experience with it.

The Beginnings of an Obsession

The year is 2003. A year earlier, I had watched the very first season of American Idol and I had also been introduced to the wonders of the Internet within the last couple of years, although at that time I had kept my surfing to, primarily, a fan site dedicated to the actor Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter fan site Mugglenet, and CBBC’s Newsround site (it was basically a news show for kids, but it was my primary source for news online at the time). And it was this exact picture that got my attention in the spring of that year, and it was on the Newsround website for a very dubious reason.

The United Kingdom’s 2003 representative, Jemini.

It was the British pop duo Jemini, made up of friends Gemma Abbey and Chris Cromby (in other words, “Gem and I”…get it?). I learned they had been selected to represent the United Kingdom at something called the Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “Cry Baby”, and ended up giving the U.K. its worst result ever: 26th and last place in the Grand Final, and it had failed to get a single vote on the leaderboard, scoring 0 points (or what is referred to in Eurovision fan circles as the dreaded nul points or nil points, both pronounced in French, although these terms are not officially used by the EBU). It was the first time the U.K. had ever finished last at the Contest and the first time the U.K. had failed to receive a single vote, and thus any points (although it has happened twice since then, in 2008 and 2010, and in both those instances the U.K. did receive votes.) Some blamed this on backlash against the U.K. getting involved with the U.S.-led Iraq War that year, but once I finally got a chance to actually watch the performance several years later, the more likely reason for Jemini’s last-place finish became pretty obvious and it had nothing to do with politics. Warning: your ears may be offended by this performance.

As you can hear, the singers (especially Gemma) sang way off-key, by the sound of things (to my ears) at least a half-step sharp.

The news of this duo was my first-ever introduction to Eurovision.

Fast-forward three years to 2006. I was 19 and I hear of this heavy metal band from Finland who had just qualified to the Final with a song called “Hard Rock Hallelujah”.

Mr. Lordi, the frontman of Finland’s Lordi, winners of Eurovision 2006 with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”.

I remember watching video of the band’s semifinal performance and saying to myself, “This band has to win this year. Their song is too awesome.” The name of the band was Lordi, and as it turns out, they did in fact end up winning the 2006 Contest.

Over the next few years, Serbia 🇷🇸, Russia 🇷🇺, Norway 🇳🇴, and Germany 🇩🇪 all won (“Molitva” by Marija Serifović, “Believe” by Dima Bilan, “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak, and “Satellite” by Lena, respectively), and the last Eurovision winner I had heard before my self-imposed sabbatical from anything to do with computers was Azerbaijan’s 🇦🇿 first and only winner to date, “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki. Little did I know over those next few years, the Contest would produce a few gems.

Marija Serifović, center, accompanied by her backing singers during her winning performance of “Molitva” at Eurovision 2007. This performance gave Serbia a win in its debut as an independent country. It had previously won once before as part of Yugoslavia in 1989.

Emerging from a Hiatus

I went into a self-imposed sabbatical from computers and the internet that lasted about three years, from May 2012 to May 2015. It began right after Eurovision 2012 (but I didn’t follow it that year) and ended right after Eurovision 2015. During that time, though, I did hear about Conchita Wurst’s victory for Austria at Eurovision 2014 through The Graham Norton Show (yes, we know who Graham Norton is here in the States: his show airs weekly on BBC America, and he is thoroughly entertaining and sets up a fun environment for his guests). Graham even had Conchita come on as a musical guest on his show and, of course, Conchita brought down the house.

For those of you unfamiliar with Conchita, Conchita Wurst is the drag persona of Austrian singer Thomas “Tom” Neuwirth, who first rose to fame finishing second on an Idol-like show called Starmania (which is not an official Idols series in Austria; its run ended a decade ago and Austrians are currently allowed to compete on Germany’s version of the Idols format, Deutschland sucht den SuperStar). After some time spent in an Austrian boy band called Jetzt Anders! (which consisted of finalists from Starmania), Neuwirth re-emerged on the music scene as his drag persona, Conchita Wurst. Conchita was noted for being a “bearded lady” character, and after coming second in Austria’s national final in 2012, the Austrian broadcaster selected Conchita to represent Austria at Eurovision 2014 with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix”. After advancing to the Grand Final, the song won Eurovision 2014 with 290 points, marking Austria’s first win in nearly 50 years (its first victory was in 1966, “Merci, Chérie” by Udo Jürgens).

When I made my return to technology in 2015, Måns Zelmerlöw had just delivered Sweden 🇸🇪 its sixth Eurovision victory (now one win away from tying Ireland’s 🇮🇪 record of seven wins). The following year, I finally got to watch a Grand Final when Eurovision broadcast the first of three Grand Finals in the United States on the cable channel Logo, and I got to see Jamala win for Ukraine 🇺🇦, Salvador Sobral for Portugal 🇵🇹, and Netta win for Israel 🇮🇱. Sadly, it looks like Eurovision will not be broadcast on American television this year, but I hope the internet will provide a source for me to watch it anyway. Although American Eurovision fans are few and far between, we do come in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and orientations. One of my favorite fan sites to go to is Wiwibloggs, which covers the Contest and its alumni year-round with correspondents from all over the world. I’ve also recently discovered a YouTuber named Alesia Michelle who has an entire channel dedicated to her love of Eurovision and I hope to get a chance to check out her videos in depth.

Eurovision’s Wackier Moments

Finally, I can’t go without mentioning some of the stranger performances and moments that have taken place in Eurovision’s history. While Eurovision was presented as a straightforward song competition for much of its history, in the last two decades, it has become known for being a visual spectacle (especially after the live orchestra was discontinued) in addition for the songs competing in it. Although one notable moment did come about before then: Bucks Fizz, Eurovision 1981. This moment is really best experienced in motion.

That infamous “skirt rip” caused quite a stir for the British pop group, but it ultimately helped the group win that year’s Contest with their song “Making Your Mind Up”, and the skirt rip is still considered an iconic moment in Eurovision history.

And some other memorably wacky moments in Eurovision history:

Montenegro’s Slavko Kalezić whipping his braid around while performing “Space” in 2017; sadly, he did not make the Final. He later tried out for The X Factor UK (after previously being a contestant on the Balkan version), getting cut at the Judges’ Houses stage.

Slavko Kalezić of Montenegro performing “Space”.

Or German comedian Stefan Raab famously asking in joke German “Wadde hadde dudde da?” (“What is it that you there have?”) at Eurovision 2000 while in this getup:

Stefan Raab of Germany performing “Wadde hadde dudde da?”

A few years before Conchita’s victory, the Austrian rap duo Trackshittaz (yes, the EBU let them compete with that name, even though it technically contains a profanity) failed to advance from their semifinal in 2012 while telling us “Woki mit deim Popo”, which is colloquial Austrian German for “Shake Your Ass”, along with the accompanying booty shaking.

Austrian rap duo Trackshittaz, with backing dancers, performing “Woki mit deim Popo”.

In 2010 a meme was born when Moldovan saxophonist Sergey Stepanov (one third of the group Sunstroke Project) made a few dance moves and became the Epic Sax Guy during their performance of “Run Away”

Sergey Stepanov of Sunstroke Project in 2010…

…and then brought back his Epic Sax Mojo when Sunstroke Project returned for Moldova 🇲🇩 in 2017 with their song “Hey Mamma”…and made it all the way to 3rd place 🥉, giving Moldova its best Eurovision finish ever.

…and in 2017.

In 2014, Romania 🇷🇴 featured this as part of its performance of “Miracle” by Paula Seling and Ovi.

Ovi and his circular piano during Romania’s performance of “Miracle”.

In 2012, the Buranovskiye Babushki (The Grannies from Buranovo) managed to touch Europe’s adorable granny nerve and got all the way to second place 🥈 with their song “Party for Everybody”, losing out to Loreen’s mesmerizing performance of “Euphoria”, which gave Sweden its fifth Eurovision win.

The Buranovskiye Babushki at Eurovision 2012.

And one of my favorite joke acts was when Ireland 🇮🇪 sent a literal turkey 🦃 (actually, a puppet called Dustin the Turkey) to Eurovision 2008 and poked fun at the whole shebang (and Ireland’s more recent Eurovision flops after winning the Contest seven times, including a run of three consecutive wins in the 1990s) with “Irelande Douze Pointe”. True to Dustin’s name, the performance was a turkey (one of a few slang terms we use in the States to refer to a flop), and he failed to advance from the semifinal.

Dustin the Turkey performing “Irelande Douze Pointe” at Eurovision 2008.

Who knows what memorable, crazy, or wacky moments we could be in for this year? The Grand Final is set to take place this Saturday.

So, What is This “Eurovision” Thing, and Why Am I Obsessed? – Part One

The following post is quite long and detailed, but it is about something I have grown quite passionate about. So bear with me.

So, you may have heard me mention something called “Eurovision” on here from time to time. For my readers outside the USA and North America, most are probably thinking, “So, it’s no big deal, it happens every year and it’s just a part of our cultural zeitgeist.” But I imagine many of you in the U.S. and Canada are like, “What the hell is she talking about?”

Well, this year’s Contest is beginning with today’s first semifinal, and I feel like now is a good time as ever to talk about what has become my biggest pop culture obsession since…well, the obsession it’s overtaken in recent years, American Idol. Actually, the Idols format itself owes a lot to Eurovision. But before I talk about Eurovision’s effect on me, here’s a primer on the Contest itself (and since Eurovision’s full name is the Eurovision Song Contest, I always capitalize “Contest” when referring to Eurovision directly).

Eurovision: A Primer for North Americans

In order to understand the Eurovision phenomenon, we must first look at its roots, and there are two important factors behind the genesis of Eurovision: World War II and Sanremo. Europe was left heavily damaged both physically and emotionally after the horrors of World War II and in the decade following the war was looking for a way to heal and come together. In early 1955, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), based out of Switzerland, held a meeting in Monaco and came up with an idea based off of Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival (which had been founded a few years earlier in 1951), where different countries around Europe would submit original songs and then perform them in one big contest to be simulcast live across Europe (remember, the first artificial satellite was not launched until 1957, so television transmissions by satellite were a long way off; in the early days the EBU would rely on microwave transmission for the Eurovision broadcasts). In October 1955, the idea was brought to a wider vote from the full EBU, and it was approved, with the first Eurovision Song Contest Grand Prix (as it was known in English then) to be held in spring 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland 🇨🇭.

The inaugural Contest was held on 24 May 1956, with seven countries taking part: host nation Switzerland 🇨🇭, the Netherlands 🇳🇱, Germany (more specifically, West Germany; Germany would not compete as a unified state for the first time until 1991) 🇩🇪, Belgium 🇧🇪, France 🇫🇷, Luxembourg 🇱🇺, and Italy 🇮🇹. For this Contest only, each country submitted two songs. After all the songs were performed, two jurors from each country cast a vote for their favorite song (although it has always been against the rules for a country to vote for itself), and the song that got the most votes was crowned the winner. This ultimately went to the song “Refrain” by Lys Assia of Switzerland 🇨🇭 (who actually sang both of Switzerland’s entries that year, although not all participating countries were required to send just one singer). And even though the winning song was in French, Lys was actually a native German speaker, from the German-speaking Canton of Aargau (her other entry was sung in German). We don’t know the full results of the 1956 Contest, as only the winner was announced, but the 1956 Contest was enough of a success that a second Contest took place in 1957, and has been held every spring since then.

Lys Assia, the winner of the very first Eurovision’s Song Contest in 1956.

Beginning with the 1957 Contest, each participating country submitted just one song. Although the rules of the Contest have varied over the years, the basic rules are as follows:

  • Countries in the EBU are eligible to participate (and do not necessarily need to be located in Europe, which is why countries like Turkey 🇹🇷, Israel 🇮🇱, and even Morocco 🇲🇦 have been allowed to participate), although the EBU does reserve the right to invite Associate Members to participate if it so chooses (which is why Australia 🇦🇺 has been allowed to participate since 2015; Kazakhstan 🇰🇿 is also an Associate Member but has only competed in Junior Eurovision to date).
  • Each participating country submits only one song.
  • All participating songs must be completely original (with no interpolations or samples of other existing songs); have no profanity, religious, commercial, or political content; and may not be released publicly/commercially before 1 September of the year preceding the Contest.
  • Songs must be no longer than three minutes in length (instituted in 1958 after Italy’s 1957 entry, “Corde della mia chitarra” by Nunzio Gallo, lasted 5 minutes, 9 seconds). However, there is no rule limiting how short a song can be. (Finland’s 2015 entry, “Aina mun pittää”, holds the current record for shortest-ever Eurovision entry, clocking in at 1 minute, 27 seconds.)
  • All participating songs must have vocals. (The 1995 winner, “Nocturne” by Secret Garden from Norway 🇳🇴, was mostly instrumental, but got around this rule by having vocals at the very beginning and the very end.)
  • Lyrics can be in any language, including artificial languages, but this has not always been the case. From 1956-1965 and from 1973-1976, there was no restriction on language, but from 1966-1972 and again from 1977-1998 entries were required to be performed in one of the participating country’s national languages. In 1999, the national language rule was lifted for good, and since then, only two winning songs have been performed completely in a language other than English: “Molitva” (Serbia 🇷🇸 2007, Serbian) and “Amar pelos dois” (Portugal 🇵🇹 2017, Portuguese).
  • All vocals must be sung live, no live instruments allowed (instrumentalists must mime to a backing track; this has been the case since the live orchestra was dropped in the late 1990s; prior to that, each country provided its own conductor to conduct the live orchestra for their entry; interestingly enough, Sanremo still uses a live orchestra in its festival).
  • No more than six performers (including singers, backing vocalists, instrumentalists, and dancers) are allowed onstage during their Eurovision performance.
  • Performers must be at least 16 years of age on the date of the Contest (also called the “Sandra Kim Rule”, named after the Belgian singer who won the 1986 Contest who, despite singing she was 15 in her song “J’aime la vie”, was later revealed to be just 13; this rule wasn’t instituted until 1990, after it was revealed that two performers in the 1989 Contest were just 11 and 12 years old). Since 2003, though, the EBU has held a separate Contest for kids aged 9-14 called the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
  • Five to six countries each year automatically qualify for the Grand Final: the host nation (if not one of the “Big Five”) and the five biggest financial contributors to the EBU, or the so-called “Big Five”: Germany 🇩🇪, France 🇫🇷, Spain 🇪🇸, Italy 🇮🇹, and the United Kingdom 🇬🇧. All other countries must participate in one of two Semifinals, where the 10 countries with the most votes/points qualify to the Grand Final. Each of the automatic qualifiers is required to broadcast and vote in one of the two Semifinals (along with the countries participating in each semifinal). All participating countries (regardless of qualification to the Final) vote in the Grand Final.
  • The winning country gets the right of first refusal to host the following year’s Contest, but is not obligated to do so. (This was common after this was first established in the late 1950s, but the most recent time a winning country declined to host the following year’s Contest was 1980, when reigning champ Israel 🇮🇱 withdrew from the 1980 Contest after winning both 1978 and 1979, citing financial strains from hosting the 1979 Contest and the coinciding of the date of the 1980 Contest with the Israeli version of Memorial Day, which is always a very somber day in Israeli culture. The 1980 Contest was awarded to The Hague, Netherlands.)

And while the voting system has varied over the years, it basically works as follows, using the rules of the current voting system implemented in 2016:

  • There are currently two sets of votes cast by each country: the Jury vote (which is cast by five member juries of music professionals representing each participating country) and the Televote (which is cast by members of the viewing public either via telephone, text message, or through the official Eurovision app in each participating country, with the exception of San Marino; San Marino uses 100% Jury voting because it has no independent phone system due to its small size and thus piggybacks off of the Italian phone network). In the event of a televoting failure, a separate eight-member backup jury is used.
  • Each country cannot vote for itself.
  • The jurors rank all remaining songs (other than their own country’s) in order from first (for their top-ranked song) to last, with the top 10 songs getting points from that particular jury. The songs are allocated points based on rank from that Jury: 10th gets 1 point, 9th gets 2 points, 8th gets 3 points, 7th gets 4 points, 6th gets 5 points, 5th gets 6 points, 4th gets 7 points, 3rd gets 8 points, 2nd gets 10 points, and the top ranked song gets 12 points. (The 12 points, in a throwback to when results were announced in English and French, is often referred to as a douze points or “DOOZ PWAHN” and even now will typically see the host announce the 12 points for each country in the Grand Final in French; for example, the Netherlands getting 12 points from a Jury would be announced as “Pays-Bas douze points!” in French.)
  • The Televote points from each country are awarded in the same manner, using the televoting percentage ranks to determine which ten countries receive points from that particular country. The same points for ranks apply as the ones used in the Jury voting, with the country winning a particular country’s televote getting 12 points (for example, if the Netherlands won the televote in Germany, Netherlands would get 12 points from Germany in the televote).
  • The Jury points are presented individually in the Grand Final, with a spokesperson announcing each country’s 12 points while the rest of the points given by that particular country’s Jury are automatically added on the leaderboard in real time. For example, Eurovision 1978 winner Izhar Cohen (who gave Israel 🇮🇱 its first victory with “A-Ba-Ni-Bi”, which is from the Bet/Hebrew “Pig Latin” for “I Love You”, ani ohev otach, which reads in Bet as a-ba-ni-bi o-bo-he-bev o-bo-ta-bach) will be presenting Israel’s Jury points during the 2019 Grand Final.
  • The Televoting points are presented aggregately (or in total) in the Grand Final; from 2016-2018 this was done in order from fewest televoting points to most, but for this year will be presented in the same order as the participating countries finished in the Jury voting, from fewest to most.
  • The country with the most overall points wins the Contest. (And is not required to win either set of voting; in 2016, Australia won the Jury vote and Russia won the televote, but both countries finished much lower in the other set of votes…this ended up giving the 2016 Contest to Ukraine, who had finished second in both sets of votes and got the highest total score.)
  • And there are tiebreaker procedures in place in case of a tie. (This was instituted after the 1969 Contest ended in a four-way tie for the win, and no tiebreaker, which resulted in four winners: the UK 🇬🇧, Spain 🇪🇸, France 🇫🇷, and the Netherlands 🇳🇱. A tiebreaker has since only been used to settle a tie for first once, in 1991 between Sweden 🇸🇪 and France 🇫🇷, which was eventually awarded to Sweden, although the tiebreaker used for that Contest is no longer in use, which relied on counting on the number of votes worth 12 points each of the tied countries received and on downward if still tied. The current tiebreaker procedure begins by determining which of the tied countries received more overall votes, or how many countries actually awarded points to each of the tied countries.)

Eurovision’s Cultural Impact

Eurovision, in its six decades of existence, has sort of become the entertainment world’s version of both the Super Bowl and the World Cup. It’s always been a source of light entertainment (which was desperately needed in the wake of World War II), and as technology and cultural tastes have evolved, it has also acquired a reputation for being camp (corny, kitschy, and a bit cheesy) and has acquired quite a following in Europe’s LGBTQ+ community, so much to the point that it is sometimes nicknamed the “Gay Olympics”, but still has a bit of a family-friendly vibe as well due to the songs being relatively clean in subject matter.

Eurovision has proven to be a launching pad for many internationally known acts throughout the decades of its existence. In fact, it only took two years after the first Contest for one of the songs to cross over into international popularity, including in the United States. Following the 1958 Contest, Domenico Modugno of Italy 🇮🇹 released his Eurovision entry, the third-placed “Nel blu dipinto di blu”, as a single internationally, including in the United States. It debuted at #54 on the very first Billboard Hot 100, and jumped to #2 the following week. In its third week on the chart, it dethroned the very first Hot 100 #1, “Poor Little Fool” by Ricky Nelson, and began its reign of five non-consecutive weeks at #1. To date, it is the only Italian language song to have topped the chart. So many covers have been made of the song over the years, that it is now popularly referred to by the first word of its chorus, “Volare”.

Domenico Modugno of Italy became Eurovision’s first international crossover star after placing third in 1958.

In the years since, many artists have become internationally known since appearing in or even winning Eurovision, including:

  • Lulu (won for the U.K. in 1969 with “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, also had a number one hit in the States with “To Sir, With Love”)
  • Olivia Newton-John (represented the U.K. in 1974, finishing fourth; she would go on to have several Top 40 hits and number one singles in the United States, including “Hopelessly Devoted to You”, “I Honestly Love You”, “You’re the One That I Want” from the Grease soundtrack, “Physical”, “Magic” from the Xanadu soundtrack, and “Have You Never Been Mellow”)
  • ABBA (who had a top 10 hit with their Eurovision winner “Waterloo” and several top 40 hits, capped off with the #1 hit “Dancing Queen”; they are also the only Eurovision act to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as part of the Class of 2010, thanks in no small part to the strength of Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ songwriting partnership)
  • Céline Dion (who won the 1988 Contest representing Switzerland, despite being Canadian, with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi” in the closest non-tie finish in Eurovision history by finishing just one point ahead of the U.K.’s entry; she has gone on to have tremendous success in both the English language and Francophone markets, has amassed four #1 singles on the Hot 100 and a bunch of top 40 hits, and also is about to conclude the second of two hugely successful residencies in Las Vegas that have lasted a total of about 14 years)

Not to mention artists that have become known as Eurovision legends for memorable and/or multiple appearances in the Contest:

  • Dana International (who won for Israel in 1998 with the song “Diva” and became the first transgender performer to win the Contest; Dana identifies as female, transitioned in the early 1990s and received her gender confirmation surgery in 1992)
  • Verka Serduchka (the drag persona of Ukrainian comedian Andriy Danylko, who gave Ukraine a runner-up finish at Eurovision 2007 with the song “Dancing Lasha Tambai”, with only Serbia finishing ahead of the song)
  • Johnny Logan (the only person to win Eurovision three times, all representing Ireland: his first victory was as a performer with “What’s Another Year?” in 1980, his second as a performer/songwriter with “Hold Me Now” in 1987, and his third victory came as a songwriter for “Why Me?” in 1992, sung by Linda Martin)
  • Lena Meyer-Landrut (or simply Lena; she won representing Germany in 2010 with “Satellite”, and then opted to defend her championship in 2011 with the song “Taken By a Stranger”, being the first to do so since Corry Brokken of the Netherlands in 1958…Lena finished 10th in her second shot, much better than Corry’s last place finish in 1958)

Olivia Newton-John represented the UK at Eurovision 1974, placing 4th.

ABBA won Eurovision in 1974 with “Waterloo”, giving Sweden its first of six wins.

Lulu, representing the U.K., was one of 1969’s FOUR winners (tied for first) with “Boom Bang-a-Bang”

Céline Dion gave Switzerland its second win in 1988, and still holds the record for closest margin of victory (not tied), winning by one point over the UK.

Verka Serduchka gave a legendary performance for Ukraine in 2007 with “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” and almost won.

Lena gave Germany its second victory (its first after reunification) with “Satellite” and a year later became the second winner to defend their win (finishing 10th in 2011).

Eurovision’s status as a major pop culture event and its evolution from song festival to music’s equivalent of the Super Bowl is an interesting study in how pop culture has evolved in the last six decades.

Stay tuned for a post all about my personal experience in becoming a Eurovision fan and why it’s become such an important part of my own pop culture consciousness; all that and more in Part Two!