The Olympics of Cheese

A Continent's Best Bad Music Battles It Out at Eurovision

Sadly, some think Eurovision's glory days are long gone. Globalization has brought on a certain homogenization, and the songs don't have as much local distinctiveness as before. Technical progress has also seriously cut down on the endearing problems that regularly plagued the simulcast. But the contest can still throw the odd curveball, like Israeli transsexual Dana International's victory in 1998. So the show is as popular as ever, so uncool it's cool. This year the hip Parisian label Tricatel was approached by Hologramme—"four very nice young people," says the label manager, "who dreamed to enter the Eurovision, and could we please help them. And they had never sang before!" Inexplicably, Hologramme didn't survive the French elimination process.

Despite Hologramme's absence, Eurosong 2000 looks auspiciously dazzling. How could it not, when it's going to feature Estonia singing "I'll be an angel in disguise/'cause I'm 17 only once in a lifetime"? Best of all, the U.K.'s entry is provocatively titled "Don't Play That Song Again," which by the end of the evening may have replaced "Norway: null points" as everybody's favorite mantra. Once again, kitsch will overcome mad-cow disease and NATO disagreements to act as Europe's great unifier.

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