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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Eurovision Song Contest, the long-running annual televised popular music show watched by millions of viewers around the world, was first broadcast in the United States in 2016, six decades after its founding in 1956. This considerable delay reflects the musical tastes of American audiences, but even more significantly, it reveals how ideals of national belonging and expressions of patriotism operate very differently in the United States than in contemporary Europe. Through its songs, performers, and rituals, Eurovision plays with notions of the nation-state in ways that call into question conventionally heteronormative and particularly American experiences of national identity and patriotic feeling. Considering Dana International’s 1998 win for Israel, the drag acts of Sestre for Slovenia in 2002 and Verka Serduchka for Ukraine in 2007, Marija Šerifović’s win for Serbia in 2007, and Conchita Wurst’s victory for Austria in 2014, this chapter explores how Eurovision enacts an alternative patriotism through a deliberate crossing and queering of national and sexual identities. This dynamic of “queer patriotism” is one reason that this song contest is so often dismissed by those who resist a more progressive and inclusive notion of global belonging.

Keywords: Europe, Eurovision, Europop, song contest, nationalism, patriotism, sexuality

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