No matter what your opinion of Giorgos Alkaios and the grunting goodness of “Opa!”, Greece thankfully dodged a bullet Saturday night by placing 8th and it’s probably best if it doesn’t win Eurovision in years to come.
Despite the fact Eurovision is one of the longest-running TV programs in the world, the annual competition that pits EU nations against each other in a week-long contest of kitsch and song has become a financial burden on the winning country.
Norway, last year’s winner and this year’s host, told Reuters they spent $32 million and cannot afford to host again if they won. Russia spent $43 million last year, and the government and taxpayers absorbed $30 million. The last country to turn a profit was Greece in 2006, when Helena Paparizou brought Eurovision to Athens and commercials were permitted during the show. The latter is no longer true.
I understand that far more people care about Eurovision than Euro elections, which is why I don’t have a choice but to hear the show via balconies and living rooms around me. But did we forget that we are still paying for Athens 2004 and standing knee-deep in austerity?
Perhaps we should fight the urge to be #1 and be content to revel in Helena’s “My Number One.” Ah, the good ol’ days of denial.
“Eurovision song contest feels the pinch” — Reuters
“Greek academic sees crisis nationalism in his country’s entry” – Sydney Morning Herald
“Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest”