Apr 9th, 2019, 11:08 PM

Eurovision 2019

By Matthias Cloppenburg
Image Credit: MateuszFret1998
It’s the Hunger Games of pop music, as 41 countries are battling it out through music.

On the 14th of May 2019, 41 countries will compete in the Eurovision song contest. The contest will take place for the first time in Israel. Last year's winner, Netta will perform "Toy" in various intervals throughout the competition. 

When: The grand finale is on May 18th, 2019 at 21:00. (There will also be two semi-finals, which will take place on May 14th and 16th.)

Where: Expo Tel Aviv

Who: 41 countries

As a war-torn Europe was rebuilding itself during the 1950s, the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) created a council to look for a way to unite the war-torn nations of World War II of the EBU around a "light entertainment program." Each country sends a representative and submits an original song to be performed on live TV. After the performances, the viewers vote on the other countries' songs to decide the victor. The Eurovision song contest is among the most watched non-sports event on the planet. The contest is able to gather an audience figure between 100 million and 200 million internationally. Each participant performs their original Eurovision song during the Final National Performance before performing their songs at the Eurovision song contest. 

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest can bring long term success to singers. For example, ABBA was the winner in 1974 for Sweden, Bucks Fizz was the winner for the United Kingdom in 1981, and, lastly, Celine Dion was the winner for Switzerland in 1988. All three were able to launch successful careers. 

Who to watch out for in the 2019 Eurovision in Israel: 

Iceland: 

Artist: Hatari

Song: Hatrið mun sigra


Final National Performance of  Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari 

Hatari is maybe the most attractive band this year: leather, spikes, masks, and lots of flesh. Adding a tune that is interpreted in English as "Hate Will Prevail", the youthful trio has been portrayed as an "anti-capitalist BDSM techno band." The trio is a standout among the most widely praised in their own country, having recently won the Performer of the Year award during the 2018 Icelandic Music Award and successfully performed at different festivals.

France:

Artist: Bilal Hassani

Song: Roi


Final National Performance of Roi by Bilal Hassani

Bilal Hassani is a French LGBT YouTube star and a gigantic Eurovision fan. He showed up on France's form of "The Voice Kids" in 2015, singing Conchita Wurst's Eurovision song "Rise Like A Pheonix". The 19-year-old French Moroccan additionally has an expansive collection of wigs and revealed to everyone that his wigs have names, including Paris and Verona. The wig he wore for the final of France's choice challenge is called Stormy. "Roi" is a song about empowerment. The song is also co-written by Madame Monsieur, who represented France in the 2018 Eurovision song contest. The lyrics "When I dream, I am a king", this interpretation means that when he falls asleep he forgets his own problems and is able to take charge of his own personality and identity.

Sweden: 

Artist: John Lundvik

Song: Too Late For Love


Final National Performance of Too Late For Love by John Lundvik

For about a month and a half, from the beginning of February to the end of March, the majority of the Swedish population watched the Melodifestivalen. Melodifestivalen is an annual song competition which eventually chooses its Eurovision representative. This year's winner is John Lundvik, a singer born in London, but adopted by Swedish parents. After moving to the UK, he became an Olympic caliber Swedish sprint champion, before changing career and solely focusing on becoming a musician. Even though he represents Sweden, he additionally co-composed the UK's representatives song for Michael Rice.

Italy: 

Artist: Mahmood

Song: Soldi


Final National Performance of Soldi by Alessandro Mahmood

Italy's song "Soldi" is the most-downloaded track of the contest up until this point. It's performed by 27-year-old Alessandro Mahmood, who was born in Milan to an Egyptian dad, yet grew up with his Sardinian mother. Soldi's verses are self-portraying, with Mahmood disclosing to Italy's Vanity Fair that he has a "reference of a dad figure, however, it isn't exceptionally clear." The Italian jury (made up of musical experts and journalists) picked Mahmood due to the fact that he has the talent to compete in the Eurovision and also because he won the Sanremo Music Festival. A few right winged individuals from Italy's conservative government criticized the selection process and asserted that Mahmood wasn't the public's choice for Italy. This is due to the fact that Mahmood didn't get the majority of the public vote to represent Italy. The matter has not changed, and Mahmood will still represent Italy, even with the criticism of the conservative Italian government.

Finland: 

Artist: Darude

Song: Look Away


Final National Performance of Look Away by Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman

Yes, it's truly him, Darude. The Finnish DJ is in charge of representing Finland for the contest. He is famous for releasing the most notable techno song of the early 2000s, "Sandstorm". In spite of the fact that Darude is not a one-hit wonder, it would be hard to name another one of his songs. The only way you'd know one of his other songs would be if you were a superfan that could reveal another Darude single to you. "Look Away" is one of three Darude songs the Finnish public had to choose from. The vocalist is Sebastian Rejman, a Finnish actor, singer and TV show host.

The Eurovision song contest is a place that, regardless of whether we watch because we cherish the music, or due to the political issues, or the way that it is simply so shockingly terrible, we the people watching Eurovision have, for just one night, something in common. The Eurovision becomes a universal platform, made up of singers wanting social change, equality, which could lead to new kinds of friendships, common song titles, and shared perceptions, and, of course, misheard lyrics.