Pop Culture Mondays/5.16.22

The “UKRAINE EUROVISION” Edition

Welcome to my brain…

Hello, my pop culture junkies and welcome to another Monday. I would usually start this with a HAPPY MONDAY but it’s hard to do when we face the aftermath of yet ANOTHER mass shooting at the hands of another racist white teen with easy access to a gun. WHILE at the same time, we had protests all across the country this weekend for women’s rights due to the PRESUMED loss of Roe V. Wade. When faced with all of this, I cannot help but think back to a time when so many of us were filled with hope and promise and blown away with the progress we had made as a society:

I will not assume all of you reading this voted for Obama and that’s ok. But you have to admit when he was elected as President, there was electricity and excitement that is indescribable. I remember thinking how beautiful the future would be from that point on. AND ALAS….here we are.

BUT this is not a political newsletter or one that is meant to be a downer so thank you for indulging me. BUT, the hypocrisy is A LOT. Pro-life means anti-abortion but pro-guns and anti-mask. IT is a headscratcher. But let’s put this aside ever so briefly and catch up on the other events taking hold of the cultural zeitgeist…This is a short and sweet one as I am recovering from the most beautiful wedding weekend of my niece Heather Hammerling (a GODDESS) and I am off to Europe in a few short hours so let’s GET IN IT.

If you are new here, welcome! Grab your headphones and say goodbye to a FEW brain cells. AND PLEASE listen to my new podcast! I sat down with the INCREDIBLE EMMA FREUD last week to talk about sausages and Wagatha Christie and Johnny Depp’s jars of cocaine…

XO…

Americans are confused

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 101:

SO there are a lot of subscribers who will roll their eyes at this little summary as they are avid Eurovision viewers, voters, participants, and fans. BUT for many of us, mainly Americans, we really have no idea what any of this is. And for ME, I have always been sort of aware of its existence as I knew Abba was one of the winners many moons ago and there was that Will Ferrell movie last year that sort of explains it:

So the first thing you need to know about Eurovision is….not all countries in it are in Europe! LIKE Australia, for example. So that’s already confusing. Eurovision has been around since the 1950s and launched superstars LIKE ABBA and Celine Dion who actually won for SWITZERLAND even though she is Canadian. (Another headscratcher). Here is an official summary from the Eurovision site:

Each participating broadcaster that represents their country chooses their performer (maximum 6 people) and song (maximum 3 minutes, not released before) through a national televised selection, or through an internal selection. Each country is free to decide if they send their number-1 star or the best new talent they could find. They have to do so before mid-March, the official deadline to send in entries.

The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest will be chosen through 2 Semi-Finals and a Grand Final.

Traditionally, 6 countries are automatically pre-qualified for the Grand Final. The so-called ‘Big 5’ — France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom — and the host country.

The remaining countries will take part in one of the two Semi-Finals. From each Semi-Final, the best 10 will proceed to the Grand Final. This brings the total number of Grand Final participants to 26.

Each act must sing live, while no live instruments are allowed.

After all songs have been performed, each country will give two sets of 1 to 8, 10 and 12 points; one set given by a jury of five music industry professionals, and one set given by viewers at home. Viewers can vote by telephone, SMS and through the official app.

Out of fairness, you cannot vote for your own country.

Only those countries who take part in the respective Semi-Final vote, along with 3 of the 6 pre-qualified countries. Which countries take part and vote in which Semi-Final is determined by the so-called Semi-Final Allocation Draw in late January.

In the Grand Final, juries and viewers from all participating countries can vote again, after the 26 finalists have performed.

Once the voting window has closed, the presenters will call upon spokespersons in all participating countries and ask them to reveal their jury points live on air.

Next, viewers’ points from all participating countries will be added up, and revealed from the lowest to the highest, culminating into a climax that will eventually reveal the winner of the 64th Eurovision Song Contest.

The winner will perform once again, and take home the iconic glass microphone trophy. The winning country will traditionally be given the honour of hosting the next Eurovision Song Contest.

ANYHOO…here are a few throwbacks for you…

Celine in 1988:

ABBA in the year of my birth, 1974 which explains me in a nutshell tbh:

And the stuff of nightmares for ME was this winning one from Finland in 2006:

One of my fave performances was from Israel’s Netta in 2018. She didn't win but she has become huge nevertheless. Incidentally, Isreal did not make the finals this year.

OK so let’s get to THIS YEAR. The WINNER was UKRAINE and that means they will be the HOST country next year which Zelensky has promised WILL happen. (Incidentally, Russia was NOT allowed to perform this year because…OBVIOUSLY.) ANYWAY…here is this year’s WINNING song from Kalush Orchestra called “Stefania” which is obviously about the war happening right now:

Obviously a very moving and meaningful win. BUT as it unfolds on the socials, some are pretty upset because they think they won for political reasons, not for the right reasons. MANY believe the UK winner should have won — he came in second — and there has been a lot said about the UK being punished due to leaving the EU but it is ANYONE’S guess…here is SAM RYDER who came in 2nd:

OK, so before we wrap this up, let’s see how some creators on TikTYok tackled Eurovision:

Mika wore the same suit in multiple colors:

The UK really had fun this year:

The Russian response should have been shocking but alas…:

OK so if you want more just Google. Also here is a good look at this year:

AND NOW FOR SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (OR SOME OF THE DESPICABLE ONES…)

As I said, this is a speedy one this week. But here are a FEW other things that hit the socials this week:

  • The shock. The awe. The AUDACITY to card Anna Wintour. Anna literally had no idea what to do at this moment:
  • Kendall Jenner is a beautiful girl from a beautiful family. Everything is done with intention IN my opinion. She knew her assignment…and as I am guessing they knew, her cucumber cutting “skills” went viral:
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus had the BEST sign this weekend at the “BANS OFF OUR BODIES” March in NYC. This is a quote from her show, “VEEP”:

From here:

  • Baby Yoda came back to SNL this weekend basically as a dude from LA:
  • Honestly, Patti Lupone scares the shit out of me. Like I would cry if this were me she was yelling at but it wouldn't be because I wear my masks properly and without incident. BUT Miss Patti went OFF:
  • And SPEAKING of the theatre, actor Jesse Williams stars in the new Broadway play, “Take Me Out” which I gather takes place mainly in a locker room of a professional baseball team and the all-male cast tackles a series of issues including homophobia and racism. Jesse also appears totally nude in one scene and some theatergoer snapped a photo of him naked and shared it and it went viral which opened up an entire conversation around consent. I am not sharing here as we should all go see the play and see it for ourselves. The theatre is upping its security to try to prevent more people from taking photos. The lesson here is, that a lot of humans suck. But damn, the TikToks are funny:
  • I am a. HUGE fan of interspecies friendships which I have discussed here a few times. Like when a lion and a puppy are besties. Or a monkey and a kitten. Or a horse and a piglet. I am HERE for it. Very much applies to Versace and Fendi…they became besties and FENDACE WAS BORN. This is real:
  • Speaking of fashion, this hilarious trend is happening on TiukTok where people make everyday people into fashion models:
  • A passenger who had never flown before, landed his plane when the pilot of the small plane passed out. CAN YOU EVEN??
  • Yeah so I say despicable as a catch-all for some things each week and this takes the cake. A young white boy comes banging on the door of a Black family demanding to see their young daughter and he proceeds to whip the house? Yeah hard to imagine but thank you RING:
  • And lastly, I am late to this but I LOVED THIS SHOW SO MUCH:

THAT IS IT my darlings…

OK, that is that. I am off to Europe and if you follow me on socials, I apologize in advance for the abundance of content that is about to drop. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

AND…please do check out the POP CULTURE MONDAYS ON THURSDAY podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Brooke Hammerling

Brooke Hammerling

Talk to me about tech, pop culture, cheese or dogs.

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