The Eurovision Movie: A Musical Reference Explainer

Oh hai new Eurovision fan! I’m glad that you enjoyed the Netflix Eurovision movie. It was funny, wasn’t it? But now I bet that you want to know whether all those performances were real! Well, not exactly – unlike Eurovision, they are all lip-synced, rather than performed live on stage. But they ARE all based in actual Eurovision fact.

We’ve gone through the film bit by bit and have a comparison here so you can see that truth really is stranger than fiction (Stranger Than Fiction is an entirely underrated Will Ferrell movie, btw, and I’d encourage you all to watch it.)

Double Trouble/Husavik

The two big songs sung by Fire Saga actually mirror in their tone the best Icelandic Eurovision results in the contest.

The bouncy Double Trouble is like the second-place finishing All Out Of Luck from the 1999 contest, sung by Selma…

…whereas, the ballady Husavik recalls Yohanna’s second place finish in the 2009 with the tearjerker Is It True (complete with a big belt of a note):

And the hamster wheel is an actual thing, making its appearance most memorably in 2014’s competition, where it was used by Ukraine’s Mariya Yaremchuck without any mishaps:

Jaja Ding Dong
Jaja Ding Dong is not a real song, but it is a spot-on recreation of a type of song called Schlager. This genre of music started in postwar Germany and spread across Europe. Germany, Sweden, and Norway still have big schlager scenes, and have sent schlager classics to Eurovision many times. Some would classify schlager as any type of upbeat cheesy pop, but if I were describing it to an American, I’d say it was like a modern-day Sha Na Na – a recreation of 1950s rock and roll with a knowing wink.

Here’s a dose of some Swedish schlager by the band Rolandz, titled Jaja Men:

(I think Rolandz had a better schlager example with Fuldans, but couldn’t resist the title of the previous song.)

Lion of Love
Whooo, Lion of Love is a pastiche of a lot of Eurovision stuff in a single song, so let’s break it down.

First of all, the song is performed by Alexander Lemtov, a character based on Russian impresario and 1995 Eurovision contestant Philipp Kirkorov:

1995 Kirkorov is like a baby Pokemon – not yet evolved to its final flamboyant form. Here’s a better visual explanation of why Kirkorov is the inspiration for Lemtov, dating from 2009, the year Russia hosted Eurovision:

Now, you may note that Kirkorov doesn’t sound like Lemtov sounds in the movie. And that’s because Lemtov is one of the proponents of popera, a solid genre choice. The writerss here were likely inspired by Eurovision’s second best vampire, Cezar from Romania:

So we have the singer and we have the voice – but what about the song? Well, in the past few years, a common theme for Eurovision songs has been bloodthirsty animals. We’ve had Run With The Lions, Hour of the Wolf, The Wolves of the Sea, and Help You Fly (a song that required the singer to record short footage of himself naked and petting a live wolf).

The best example of what the song is parodying is likely a non-Eurovision qualifer – Raylee’s Wild, a finalist for the 2020 Norweigian song contest. If I hadn’t known that they had filmed the movie before this year’s competition, I would accuse them of stealing the staging.

Come and Play – Masquerade
Lots of fans say that Greek sexpot Mita Xenakis is clearly inspired by Cyprian representative Eleni Foueria, and is an homage to her banger Fuego:

However, I disagree. Fuego is a stone cold classic, but it’s not quite as sexually aggressive as Mita’s performance. For that, we’d have to look at robbed Eurovision almost-contestant, Maruv, with her performance of Siren Song:

The hurdy-gurdy fairground style of music in this song (cowritten by Thomas G:Son!) is also akin to the very queer romp of Saara Aalto in her 2018 song Monster (for Finland):

And yes, the astronaut costumes are a real thing. Here’s Igranka with Who See from the 2013 competition:

Running With the Wolves

We’ve already covered wolves and their Eurovision influence here. We know that Running With the Wolves is clearly a Lordi piss-take:

But what you might not pick up is that it also heavily references Hanna Pakarinen’s entry in 2007, the year after Lordi won:

Coolin’ With Da Homies

Look, Sweden has a track record of sending good looking solo males to Eurovision, so Johnny John John fits the bill. What rang sort of false for some Eurovision fans was the emphasis on rap – Sweden usually sends pop, not rap. But don’t forget that Melodifestivalen will usually have some rap in there somewhere, as Anis Don Demina demonstrated in 2020:

Hit My Itch

First of all, the mere presence of San Marino is a nod here to diehard Eurovision fans, who root for this tiny country to make it into the Eurovision finals (most of the time!)

Hit My Itch is the parody of the Justin Timberlake/Bruno Mars neo-soul music that occasionally drops into Eurovision. When it’s done at its best, we get stuff like Guy Sebastian’s masterful Tonight Again from 2016:

But Hit My Itch is more like Basim’s Cliche Love Song from 2014:

Fool Moon

Fool Moon isn’t even a Eurovision song, but an actual song performed by actual indie band Anteros, who masqueraded as a Finnish pop combo.

I know that the producers just liked the song, but contemporary sounds like this do make it into Eurovision each year. Take, for example, this actual Finnish song from 2014 by Softengine:

Or this Slovenian synthpop masterpiece from 2019:

21st Century Viking
While 21st Century Viking barely appears in the movie (and is shamefully not on the Spotify soundtrack), it is a clear parody of the look of Danish Eurovision act Rasmussen, who entered Eurovision 2018 with his Viking-inspired song Higher Ground:

Lyrics-wise, however, it’s got more in common with teen idol Felix Sandman and his please to end toxic masculinity, Boys With Emotions:

(Oh, did you think I was going to write an article about Eurovision and not mention Felix Sandman? HA!)

Anyway, that’s a very very very long way to say that if you enjoyed the music in the Eurovision film, you’ll probably very much enjoy the music of an actual Eurovision!

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