Eurovision 2023: A homage to naffness or musical genius? Two writers battle it out

Eurovision 2023: A homage to naffness or musical genius? Two writers battle it out
Weird and wonderful Eurovision performers throughout the years

Millions will be watching as 26 countries go head to head to be crowned champions of the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend – but not everyone calls themselves a fan.

The notoriously weird and wonderful event still divides opinion right down the middle – when it comes to Eurovision, you’re either all in or not.

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We pitched two writers against each other, one who loves Eurovision and one who can’t stand it.

So, whose side are you on?

Kate Plummer: Why I hate Eurovision

Eurovision 2023 hosts Alesha Dixon, Julia Sanina and Hannah WaddinghamDominic Lipinski/Getty Images

What would happen if you brought together all the kinds of musicians who X Factor judges consider passing at the audition stage of the competition - but ultimately decide not to?

What would happen if you asked cruise ship singers to come together and belt out hours of 'tunes' that resemble copyright-free hold music at best, or something your 10-year-old niece cooked up on GarageBand at worst?

The answer, of course, is the gaudy Eurovision Song Contest, that homage to naffness, that yearly nightmare that we are forced to endure.

"But it's fun!" the doltish masses cry. "Look at their outfits," the square-eyed cretins say.

Save it. Like most organised fun and forced merriment (see hen dos, school reunions and anything to do with sport), Eurovision is absolutely awful.

But unlike hen dos, school reunions and anything to do with sport, there is no escaping the tyrannical grip of its regime.

It man spreads over the course of Saturday night telly, it bleeds into every pub, bar and group chat of excitable friends organising their cursed viewing parties. This year, it will even be screened in cinemas. Where is my respite?

I didn't even vote for Brexit but surely the yearly congregation of the worst representatives of Europe is a dividend we could have gained from leaving the bloc?

The 2023 contest is being held in the UK city of Liverpool this week, building up to the grand final on Saturday. Acts from 37 countries are taking part.

So will I be tuning in to see which act has become this year's meme and what 'funny moments' have gone viral on social media? Absolutely not.

After all, 66 contests and over 1,600 songs, there's a reason the only Eurovision act anyone can name is Abba...

Eurovision is completely naff. Count me out.

Harry Fletcher: Why I love Eurovision

Mae Muller is representing the UK in this year's contestGetty Images

There aren’t many things that every single member of the family can sit down to watch together and genuinely look forward to. Eurovision is one of them. It’s a big event in our household, with family members spread around the country heading back up north to watch together.

Why do we love it? The sheer strangeness is certainly a factor. The likes of Käärijä, representing Finland in 2023 with the bizarre 'Cha Cha Cha', are doing a good job keeping it weird and wonderful. But the sheer quality of the entries is more impressive year on year.

The overall standard has increased inexorably and the quality of the songwriting in the strongest entries is always staggering. Crafting a good Eurovision song is an art form, and there are still entries from more than 10 years ago that pop into my head occasionally.

Eurovision also has to be the most welcoming, accessible major event in the UK calendar. It’s for absolutely everyone; it’s a comfortable space, completely free of cynicism.

With Eurovision, you take away all the nastiness that comes hand in hand with X Factor and other formats that invite people to sing before live audiences. Here, there’s none of the sneering at contestants or gawking at eccentric members of the public. Instead, with Eurovision it’s a celebration, and an invitation to be as weird as you like when representing your country.

Eurovision can always be relied on to bring out the best in Twitter, too. When so much of social media is increasingly devoted to negativity and hate, it feels like a throwback to nicer times when it functioned more as a public forum for fans during events like Eurovision.

The contest has changed a lot since I started watching around 15 years ago. There was an endearingly cheap feel about the contest back then, but the production values are outstanding these days. It’s far less of a niche interest than it used to be too; with the event coming to the UK this year, it’s attracted more and more attention. More eyes on this wonderfully odd event, which celebrates diversity, gives us genuinely brilliant songs every year and gives us something wholesome to get stuck into on social media can only be a good thing.

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