The cancellation of Eurovision this year left a crystal-microphone shaped hole in the hearts of its legion of fans. Eurovision is an event like no other; the epitome of extreme camp, glamour and technological wizardry. But while nothing can replace the real thing, SBS will attempt to fill the void with a week of Eurovision specials.
Beginning on May 10 with Road To Eurovision 2020, the program will then feature full replays on successive nights of each of the five contests Australian has competed in. The climax will be the SBS presentation, Eurovision 2020: Big Night In! on May 16, and the pseudo-Eurovision event, Europe Shine A Light, direct from The Netherlands on May 17.
Big Night In! is being hosted by Eurovisionaries Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst and promises surprises, guest appearances and audience participation. Viewers are encouraged to send Tweets and images using #Eurovision #BigNightIn.
Plus, Montaigne, Australia’s entrant this year, will premiere the performance she would have given in Rotterdam.
Joel Creasey has hosted Eurovision with Myf Warhurst since 2016.
“The fact that I even get to do the gig is very much a pinch myself moment because I grew up loving Eurovision,” says Creasey. “Often I’ll be sitting in that commentary booth above the arena and there’ll be twenty thousand people, someone performing on stage and Myf and I live to Australia it’s a wild experience!”
He describes Warhurst as one of the greatest humans he’s ever known.
“She’s so wonderful and really grounded and intelligent and hilarious. We did our first Eurovision together in Ukraine three or four years ago and bonded over our love of junk food.”
While he’s very excited about the upcoming Big Night In! special, Creasey says there’s nothing quite like being at Eurovision in the flesh. By the grand finale the 20,000 strong audience pretty much knows every lyric to the favourite songs.
“Hearing the crowd cheering and singing along is so exciting because we have a commentary booth above the arena – and it’s a bit scary because sometimes it rocks,” says Creasey.
Creasey and Warhurst conduct backstage interviews with contestants, which itself can become quite a competitive exercise.
“Sometimes trying to grab one of the favourites can get a bit tricky and a bit political and you have to go and suck up to their PR agents – it’s good fun,” explains Creasey.
“Because there are so many artists, the backstage is not remotely glamorous and each artist gets assigned to these little kind of like office cubicles that are fluorescent-lit. And there’s one catering truck backstage.
“It’s quite funny because you’ll see like Sweden, who are tipped to be the favourite queueing up to buy a crappy sandwich and a soft drink.”
Creasey describes how he and Warhurst like to sit back in the beanbags (“they always have beanbags backstage!”), eating Twisties and watching the artists queue.
Asked to give a hint about any surprises we can expect during the Big Night In! , Creasey says he is unable to.
“I’m the last person they ever tell because they know what a big mouth I’ve got!”
But he’s pretty sure they’ll have some past Australian representatives and, of course, the sensational performance by Montaigne.
Europe Shine A Light will showcase all the songs that would have appeared in this year’s Eurovision contest, but in a non-competitive format.
“They say it’s going to be non-competitive, but with social media and people being able to Tweet along […] it becomes competitive. I reckon it’s going to be Eurovision as we normally know it: Cyprus will love Greece’s performance, Greece will love Cyprus’s performance, we’ll all love Sweden’s performance. I think it’ll be same old, just no trophy at the end.”
SBS did however, conduct a poll, inviting fans in Australia to vote for their favourite song – excluding Australia’s entry, as per normal Eurovision rules.
The results will be presented Eurovision style during Big Night In!
“They have this amazing technology that we’re gonna be using on the set that I’ve not seen used before in Australia,” says Creasey. “They’ve got this amazing animatronics system that we’ll be using on the night.”
Creasey was excited about going to Rotterdam and about The Netherlands hosting Eurovision.
“The Netherlands is so good at reality TV, like I believe The Voice started there…so I think they would have done a spectacular Eurovision, I think it would have been a well organised, well-executed program.”
They will be hosting again next year, although not necessarily in Rotterdam. For this year, fans can travel to Never Netherland via the magic of technology.
“It’s going to be great fun… I hope people pop-on a costume and send us a photo because we love seeing that. And Myf and I will certainly be wearing costumes because we love it!”