This year marks the first time the 61-year-old international phenomenon known as the Eurovision Song Competition was broadcast in the good ol’ U.S. of A. A quick primer for those who may have not caught the dizzying spectacle: Take American Idol. Multiply it by a factor of four. Now add a beauty pageant element. Great—we’re getting close. Now just mentally and physically prepare yourself and maybe read this more-specific cheat sheet on the spectacle that’s fit for feathers, belters, and dreamers equally.
This year was another chalk full of crazy costumes, outrageous songs, and general WTFery. Because what is Eurovision if not an excuse to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of good taste? It was a tough to pick just a handful, but here are 10 of our favorite gloriously cheesy moments from the madness last Saturday.
Every year the winner is slowly revealed as each nation is called upon to reward 1-12 points to each country. Eurovision mainstay Iceland must have been made angry about not qualifying for the finals, since they sent nothing short of a grinning Bond villain in to do the honors. White jacket, white dog was hard not to imagine him muttering, “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die…and 12 points to Croatia.”
Look Australia, we get it. You really really like Eurovision. But your presence (for the second year) in the European-based competition just feels like pandering. (Or else someone mixed up Australia and Austria when issuing the invitations.) Maybe it’s just the jealousy talking, but either open up the show to nations around the world, or reserve the honor of competition strictly for the Eurozone. But hey, well done on briefly convincing everyone they might have to get up early if you won the fest and hosted it down under in 2017.
What’s Dutch for, “stone cold fox?” There’s no argument that Douwe Bob has got it going on—or that “Slow Down” was a legitimate song (as much as anything in the annual schlager fest can be called legit). But Bob’s 10-second mid-song camera stare down was nothing short of bedroom eyes run amuck.
And just in case you forgot that Eurovision was being broadcast in the U.S. for the first time, Justin Timberlake was there to remind you. The pop star brought the sexy back to the broadcast, performing singles “Rock Your Body” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” So, uh, remember when we said Australia’s presence was pandering? Yeah, sorry about that. We take it back.
Was that Weird Al or did someone slip something in our pierogi?
The spiritual heir of Sweden’s graphics-heavy, 2015-winning entry was Malta, which staged its anthemic tune “Walk on Water” against1990s visuals reminiscent of liquid. Anyone else craving a Fanta now?
We’re not totally sure what Germany was singing. We couldn’t hear a word of Jamie-Lee’s song over her costume—a loud explosion of Asian influences, clearly brought to you by the Hello Kitty vomit collection.
Yes, we get it Stockholm—you are chic, hip, and whatever the Swedish word is for “avant-garde” is. But the opening catwalk strut, featuring the toilet paper king just made us second-guess volunteering as tribute.
Nope. Can’t actually mock this one.
We’re willing to overlook Cyprus’ stage design—which involved several men in cages (#BecauseEurovision), but what was up with the mid-song zoom? The only thing the moment lacked was Wayne and Garth shouting “EXTREME CLOSEUP!”