Eurovision 2016 is airing in the United States live for the first time on Logo, and so far it’s been everything anyone could have hoped for—a modern-day reincarnation of the Tournament of Shadows that will inevitably lead to a continent-wide conflagration. Slate tried to warn us, but honestly, there’s no way to prepare for this sort of thing, especially on a bright Saturday afternoon. It’s the television equivalent of walking out of a casino and realizing the sun’s come up, you lost the cab money, and Treasure Island is firing cannons right next to your ear. In other words, it’s fun, especially in retrospect.
The musical acts were mostly the Europop the contest is known for, but a few countries made wan attempts to branch out, from Cyprus’ Killers–sound-alike schtick to Georgia’s dreadful whatever that was. (The band was called “Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz,” if that helps clear things up.) Each country did its best to send acts that perfectly embodied their culture, from Italy’s “Katherine McPhee” to the Netherlands’ Duowe Bob, who played a country song and somehow managed a less authentic Southern accent than Kevin Spacey. As television, Eurovision seems calculated to outdo the music in glorious tackiness; for one night only, Stockholm has more cranes than Dubai. Logo’s broadcast features color commentary from Carson Kressley and Michelle Collins, as well as the hosts Petra Mede and Mans Zelmerlöw, so if you’re a fan of Oscars patter, it’s Christmas morning. Plus, Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi!
As of this writing, there are still 15 minutes to go, so nonepileptics, get to your televisions or Logo’s livestream before the winner is announced. If you’ve already missed the show, Slate’s set up a special livestream of the 1957 contest right here. Will the Netherlands’ heavily-favored Corry Brokken win with “Net Als Toen” (“Just Like Then”) or will Austria’s Bob Martin ride “Wohn, kleines Pony?” (“Where to, Little Pony?”) all the way to the championship? Only time will tell: