It’s big. It’s glossy. It’s full of flag-waving Europeans. Brits love the Eurovision Song Contest, but how do you make a parody of something which is already a send-up of itself? Can Eurovision be made any funnier? The answer here is clearly, yes. Eurobeat works because it is done with love. There is no criticism of the form, apart from a few jovial remarks about rules and the Morocco entry; it is all wonderfully inclusive and no country is given any less of a sweeping national stereotype. They are all cruelly comic and equally un-PC.
Hosted by Moldova, these Eurobeat finals are presented by ex-KGB member Katya Kokov (played with impeccable comic timing by the amazing Rula Lenska, who also shows how to rock a uniform) and multiple reality TV star, Nikolai Nikovsky (Lee Latchford-Evans proving his comic and character acting talent) with banter, costume changes and sufficient Euro-puns to make Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw green with envy. The audience is encouraged to text vote; proceeds go to the Dickens Legacy and to Edinburgh based hepatitis and HIV charity Waverley Care.
The production is part factual too, with reminders of past moments of sheer lunacy and the perils of live broadcasting. The well-crafted songs are delivered by an impossibly gorgeous and fit cast, each performing multiple roles in multiple costumes. It’s all here; the pseudo-folk song, the over emotive power ballad, the 50s sugar-pop harmony, the over-zealous production covering the terrible song/poor performance and the one that always goes on for a little longer than the vocal energy of the singer can manage. There is also a Bucks Fizz-type reveal from a most unexpected place and obligatory key-changes in ways true to the spirit of Eurovision.
Perhaps given the recent Brexit vote, the scriptwriters have missed a topical trick; the nature of the show is more cheery spoof than sharp satire. Nevertheless, it is an hour and a half of good value lovable fun, served with hearty dollops of inappropriateness and smothered in warm, comforting cheese. Pure, unadulterated Euro-pleasure.