Comedian and Host Joel Creasey Explains How Eurovision Is Different in 2021

It’s that time of year again when performers from all over Europe and, for some reason, Australia, don their most flamboyant costumes and compete to win a glass trophy shaped like a microphone.

That’s right, it is Eurovision time after the iconic event was cancelled in 2020. This year, the competition is taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands with Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey once again hosting SBS’s 65th Eurovision coverage — albeit this time from home soil.

Speaking to The Latch, Creasey explained that even though many of the elements of this year’s events will be virtual, the show itself would remain largely the same.

“Myf and I won’t be interviewing each artist and all that regular colour and movement around the host city. But the show itself is still all about putting on a flashy, beautiful, at times ridiculous show. And not even COVID can stop that,” the comedian said.

“I’m sad not to physically be in gorgeous Rotterdam though. It’ll be a spectacle! So do not fear. The Dutch are TV broadcast experts… Big Brother, The Voice and Deal or No Deal originated in the Netherlands… they know their stuff!”

The usually annual extravaganza is being mounted as a COVID-safe event with all 39 participating countries and their delegations tested before they can enter the venue. Around 3,000 fans will be in attendance and will also have to show a negative COVID test upon entry.

The pandemic restrictions of course mean that Montaigne — this year’s Australian delegate — had to submit her rendition of Technicolour via a live-to-tape format. Despite delivering an electric performance of the song, the Aussie artist sadly did not make it past the semi-finals, with many speculating that her inability to be physically present in Rotterdam had worked against her.

When asked whether Australia had ever truly had a shot at winning (or should even be allowed to compete given that we’re not, you know, European) Creasey said, “Look, is Australia EVER in with a shot?!” before adding, “We have been embraced very warmly but will we always be the new kid at the party? Personally, I don’t mind as I think the party is just as fun.

“However, I understand that performers want to win and I get that. I’ve personally always truly believed Australia can win Eurovision.”

Given that the event was cancelled in 2020, many of the artists have had an extra year to hone their performance, with some even changing the song they were originally going to present.

“They had the time to test the pool of public opinion with the first song and perhaps have gotten a little more of a grasp on what people like and don’t like,” Creasey said in reference to how the year off has upped the ante for the competition.

“But I truly can never understand the pressure these performers put themselves under on that stage. I’m so glad I’m safe in the confines of our commentary box. However, at the same time, the performer in me is still insanely jealous.”

For the record, that performer has some ideas as to what he would perform at Eurovision given the chance, saying, “Every time I hear This Is Me from The Greatest Showman I always think what a great Eurovision song it would make.

“And then I spend a good deal of time thinking about what minute of the song Eurovision would have to cut seeing as all entries must be 3 minutes.”

It would be remiss not to ask The Project panellist what some of his favourite Eurovision performances have been over the years — the wackier the better — he confessed, “We’ve witnessed so much weird… stuff… on that stage that Myf will mention a particularly bizarre act to me and I’ll say ‘oh my god that’s right I completely forgot about that!'”.

He continued, “However, the performances that instantly spring to mind be it for good or bad reasons, have been Eleni Foureira’s Fuego (my all-time favourite) from Cyprus, Francesco Gabanni from Italy with his dancing gorilla, a guy singing a power ballad to himself from Croatia in a suit vertically halved into a half-suit, half-tracksuit “look” and basically anything San Marino ever enter.”

So, which country does Creasey believe will take home that glass microphone trophy and the honour of having their country host the next version of the event?

“I’ll say I DO think France and Italy might battle this one out and it’s such a classic battle so I’m here for it. Naturally, I’m mad for Cyprus as always.

“And then perhaps Croatia as a slightly more outsiders chance – it’s a fun, kooky song.”

SBS’s coverage of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, hosted by Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst, will be broadcast from May 19-23.

Scroll below to watch Creasey’s favourite performances over the years.

Eleni Foureira, Cyrpus, 2018

Francesco Gabanni, Italy, 2017

Jacques Houdek, Croatia, 2017

Serhat, San Marino, 2019

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