Long before American Idol — before Star Search, even — there was the Eurovision Song Contest, which started way back in 1956. The United Nations of talent competitions, with participants representing countries from all across Europe, the U.K., and Australia, it is one of the most-watched broadcasts on the planet, a beloved global TV tradition, with an average annual audience of 200 million.
Eurovision is perhaps the only televised talent show more over-the-top than The Masked Singer or RuPaul’s Drag Race, seemingly untouched by time or taste, with contestants wearing Spandex-'n'-sequins outfits and busting out variety-show dance moves that wouldn't have been out of place during the famously career-launching 1974 Eurovision number by Swedish winners ABBA. An actual drag queen, Austria’s "Bearded Lady" Conchita Wurst, even won Eurovision in 2014.
Obviously, Eurovision is absolutely the sort of escapist entertainment the world needs during these dark and uncertain times. And we can at least look forward to Will Ferrell’s 20-years-in-the-making comedy, simply titled Eurovision, coming to Netflix this spring. But, like many other events that have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, this year’s actual Eurovision — which was supposed to take place in the Netherlands starting May 12 — has been called off for the first time in the competition’s 64-year history. This year’s contestants will reportedly be invited back in 2021, but sadly, their 2020 entries (which can all be heard here) will be ineligible, so they will have come up with new tunes.
So, we here at Yahoo Entertainment have decided to host #EurovisionAtHome, curating the 10 most exhilarating Eurovision 2020 music videos that best represent the ESC aesthetic. Watch all of our finalists, vote your favorite on the ballot below, and who knows? Maybe one of these contestants can still become the next ABBA.
Daði & Gagnamagnið, “Think About Things” (Iceland)
Is it too soon to declare Iceland the totally robbed Eurovision 2020 winner? The mutant Minecraft keytar/saxophone thingies, the Gumby-green Devo boiler suits, the overall Revenge of the Nerds Tri-Lambs-at-the-talent-show vibe… this is perfection. The song is cool as Ice(land), too.
Efendi, “Cleopatra” (Azerbaijan)
This video is a crazy kitchen sink of ‘70s disco glitter and ‘90s henna-tattoo ink. Efendi doesn’t seem to know if she’s starring in the Spice Girls’ “Say You’ll Be There,” Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love,” Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls),” Grimes’s “Genesis,” or Madonna’s “Frozen,” but that’s OK, because the song is kind of a bonkers bop.
Go_A, “Solovey” (Ukraine)
There’s something strangely soothing and mesmerizing about this Ukrainian incantation. If you’re feeling stressed right now, put down that Calm app and just groove out to Go_A instead.
Hurricane, “Hasta La Vista” (Serbia)
Hey, it’s the Serbian Pussycat Dolls! Don’t cha wish all Eurovision contestants were hot like them?
Hooverphonic, “Release Me” (Belgium)
This is the most sedate video of our top 10, but we’re so delighted to get reacquainted with this Belgian trip-hop group from the 1990s’ electronica golden age (remember their MTV Amp high-rotation hit “2Wicky”?) that we’re giving them a shot. The video could use a lot more glitter and mirrorballs, though.
Little Big, “Uno” (Russia)
If YouTube views counted as votes, then Little Big’s entry, with a whopping 36 million spins to date, would be numero uno in this competition. “Uno” has even inspired reaction videos! Serving Deee-Lite disco realness, this English-Spanish banger by the Russian ravers is the new world clique anthem.
Athena Manoukian, “Chains on You” (Armenia)
Iceland’s Hatari made it to 10th place last year with their BDSM-themed, gothic-industrial “Hatrið mun sigra” (translation: “Hate Will Prevail”), possibly the raciest performance in Eurovision history. “Chains on You” is more S&M-lite, with the Greek-Armenian temptress doing that sleepy-slurry Rihanna shtick while flanked by a fleet of Gimps from American Horror Story. More like European Horror Story, amirite?
Montaigne, “Don’t Break Me” (Australia)
Send in the clown. Let’s face it, this cobalt-haired harlequin’s vocals wouldn’t inspire a single even a one-chair turn on any country’s version of The Voice. But the unironic earnestness, Halsey-wannabe interpretive dancing, and Scary Monsters-on-a-budget styling (is she wearing a child’s ballet recital tutu around her neck?) earn Montaigne a few pity points on our leaderboard.
The Roop, “On Fire” (Lithuania)
If Saturday Night Live’s Sprockets entered Eurovision, it would look a lot like this. If you’re impatient, skip about 90 seconds in to witness some killer dance moves that’ll provide some good ideas for at-home workouts. The Roop, the Roop, the Roop is on fire, indeed.
Senhit, “Freaky!” (San Marino)
Here’s some more continental kink-lite for your viewing delight. Polyamorous underwater makeout sessions, leatherboy lapdances on inflatable exercise-ball chairs (probably not a good idea), all against a backdrop of Flying Toaster-era screensaver graphics? Freaky stuff indeed.
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