Eurovision Song Contest is back with high camp, weird quirks and weird milestones

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After 66 years of high camp and brazen queerness, you might think there isn’t much left for artists in the Eurovision Song Contest that hasn’t been done before.

You’re wrong.

Even ahead of the 2022 Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday in Turin, Italy, this week has already marked two strange turning points. On Tuesday, Icelandic trio Systur waved proudly when they learned they had passed the first semi-final. transgender flag next to their country.

Then, in Thursday’s second semi-final, San Marino singer Achille Lauro gave his first mid-Eurovision performance. boy-boy kiss right on your guitarist’s lips.

Achille Lauro and San Marino’s Boss Domes kiss on Thursday.Filippo Alfero / Getty Images

And that’s monk-supervised hand washing (Serbia), donning wolf masks (Norway), and riding a mechanical bull (San Marino again).

From Israel’s Dana International to Austria’s Conchita Wurst to Dutch Duncan Laurence, LGBTQ artists have always been warmly embraced at Eurovision. Last year, a record five performances at the GrandfFinal were made up entirely or in part by queer artists – the winners being Måneskin from Italy, along with bisexual member Victoria De Angelis and “sexually free” member Ethan Torchio.

This year’s Eurovision Grand Final on Saturday will feature two queer acts – Iceland’s aforementioned Systur and Australia’s Sheldon Riley – and the performances of several other contestants will telegraph strong affirmations of queer sexuality.

with subwoofer
Subwoolfer performs for Norway on Tuesday.Marco Bertorello / AFP – Getty Images

There will also be two beloved gay stars hosting the show: singer Mika, who will be broadcasting live from Turin for global audiences, and Olympian-to-NBC converting commentator Johnny Weir, who will present the special American broadcast of the broadcast. peacock on. (NBC News and Peacock are owned by Comcast-NBCUniversal.)

Systur, a group that counts among its members the mother of both a lesbian and transgender child, will mark another Eurovision Grand Final winner on Saturday. The Brothers group has been staunch advocates for transgender children in their home countries.

“I didn’t realize that not everyone was open to it until my child came out as transgender because I accepted it and I’m really glad that my child was able to break free from the chains he went through.” Sigga Eyşórsdóttir told Australia: JOYEurovision podcast. “I realized how many trans children and trans people suffer from the inability to express their gender, and it really broke my heart.

“I contacted the trans community in Iceland and said, ‘How can I be your voice?’ I asked. And they said, ‘Tell the parents, do what they did: Accept your children and love them unconditionally.’”

Systur members
Systur members from Iceland hold the trans flag as they arrive at the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song contest on Sunday. Marco Bertorello / AFP – Getty Images

Systur’s folk song Eurovision entry, “Með hækkandi sol” (“With the Rising Sun”) is a tribute to the promise of the sun’s warmth and light that overcomes the cold darkness of winter.

Lyrics of Australian contestant Sheldon Riley’s song, “It’s not the same,” also celebrating the light that shines through a broken darkness – and it resonated so strongly with some LGBTQ fans that the song is being hailed as a gay anthem.

“I never wanted it to be an anthem,” Riley said. Netherlands OUTtv. “For me it was a song I wrote when I was just 15 years old.

“I was first diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 6, but I was also brought up in a very religious and introverted family,” she explained. “So the idea of ​​being gay and all these things that Eurovision was proud to be was not acceptable to me, that’s what I was constantly praying for. We pray that Sheldon becomes a real man; We pray that Sheldon is not gay, straight, has a wife and children. We will continue to pray constantly to fix things with you.”