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  • Writer's pictureLushmuddled

The Eurovision Drinking Game

Updated: May 19, 2021

Oh, it's the most wonderful time of the year...


Eurovision is nigh. We've all heard of it, even if we've never watched it. I've been watching since 2011 after my wife, who has been a Eurovision fan all her life, got me hooked. One of the things I've come to love most about it is that you can watch it seriously or embrace its inherent absurdity. As much as I want to say that I watch it ironically, every year I find myself rooting for some bizarre performance (Moldova was robbed in 2011. And again in 2017). An essential part of of watching Eurovision is drinking with Eurovision. Sometimes, given the year, the hosts or the performances, you simply need to.

The slogan for 2020 was "Open Up." Awkward.

If you've been living under a rock and don't know much about the Eurovision song contest, here is a brief run down. Typically, the contest takes place in May. The semi-finals are held over two nights and approximately 15-18 countries perform on each. The winners move on to the Grand Final along with the 'Big Five' founding countries - the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany. Since 2016, voting is a mix of tele-voting, which is presented country by country, and professional jury votes. The winning country gets to host the contest next year. Throughout the performances, you can expect costume changes, outrageous hairstyles, bizarre back up dances and absurd props. As you can imagine, this has spawned several drinking games. Over the years, my wife and I have developed our own drinking game and Eurovision routines. It is, after all, the event of the year. Here is what we do.


1) PREPARE

This is more of a week long thing. In the days leading up to Eurovision, revisit some of your favourite performances to get in the right mentality. If you're new to it, you could easily put on a Spotify playlist but, and I cannot stress this enough, visuals are big part of things. Songs which will be high on my rotation will be Dancing Lasha Tumbai from Ukraine, Alcohol Is Free from Greece and So Lucky from Moldova. But there are plenty of non-ridiculous songs to choose from if you want to ease into it. You can try Only Teardrops from Denmark or Fairytale from Norway. Waterloo is, obviously, the classic. Be warned, the rabbit hole is deep.


#myfirstgenever

2) PAY HOMMAGE TO THE HOST

This is perhaps the most important part for us. Your evening needs to respect the host country. This year, Eurovision is being hosted in Amsterdam so I've ordered a bottle of genever for the occasion. This is Amsterdam's national drink and is 'grandfather' of gin. Apparently it's also the origin of the phrase 'Dutch courage' too. If it was in Greece, we'd have ouzo. It doesn't have to be alcoholic - if you're a foodie, make the cuisine of the host country. When Azerbaijan hosted, my wife made their national dish of plov. Europe is a rich continent and every country has a smorgasbord of options.


3) GET YOUR DRINKING GAME

There are a lot of Eurovision drinking games. I cannot stress this enough - pick wisely. I've had some rules which left me much worse for wear. A good drinking game will pace you out and not destroy your liver. A combination of sips and shots works well. Over the years I've found the following rules work. It's a mix of typical Eurovision drinking rules as well as some house rules we've created. For sipping, use beer, cider or wine (any low abv drink, really) and a liquor or liqueur for shots.


Take a Sip If...

- You're not sure if the lyrics are in English

- The hosts mention how excited they are or make a terrible joke

- ABBA is name dropped

- There are children backup singers or dancers

- A presenter thanks the host country before announcing their points


Finish Your Beer/Cider/Wine If...

- France sings in English (actually, have two drinks)

- Greece does not give full points to Cyprus (and vice versa)

- The UK gets a grand total of 0

- A streaker gets onstage

- A presenter announces their points incorrectly


Take a Shot When...

- An obscure, traditional instrument is used

- The singer fails to hit the high note or their voice breaks

- A magic trick performed on stage, including costume changes

- A routine includes acrobats or circus performers

- A duet ends with a kiss

- One of the Big Five clearly have put in no effort

- A presenter does not thank the host country before announcing their votes


Circus performer - drink!

Optional Extras:

The Elements

This can get very much out of hand depending on the year (so again, tread carefully). Pick an element and take a shot whenever it is represented on stage. Pyrotechnics and smoke machines for fire, wind machines for air, water features, rain and ice for water and barefoot singers for earth.

Grab a Tinnie

I'm not one to tell you what to drink, but get some Tooheys Extra Dry. Their 'Proudly Ordinary' campaign was the most Australian thing I've ever seen. Take a slug whenever Australia is mentioned. If you can't get any TEDs, VB, XXXX or Fosters will have to do.

Breaking Ranks

Take a shot if a former member of the Soviet Bloc makes a veiled attack on Russia. Eurovision is officially apolitical but there are always some things which sneak past. Keep your ears and eyes peeled. Did Verka say "lasha tumbai" or "Russia goodbye"?


Remember that this is all supposed to be for a good time! If you need to stop and rest, there is no shame in hitting the pause button on all this. Eurovision is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure there is plenty of water and food for you and any guests. Drinking can be fun, but being drunk never is. Drink responsibly.


Let the Eurovision Song Contest begin!

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