Giv mig glitter og guitarrytmer, lad os samles i stedet for at splittes.
A version of the Eurovision Song Contest is coming to the USA – and we need it just as much as Europe does
Give me glitter and guitar rhythms, let’s get together instead of split.
” Whoop , whoop , we won the Melody Grand Prix,” I said to all the colleagues I met on my way into the office. In 2013, I worked at the Scandinavian Institute at the University of Washington as an associate professor, and it came as a shock to me when my American-Swedish and Norwegian colleagues looked at me wonderingly, so I had to explain that Emilie de Forest had won Europe’s big singing competition with ” Only Teardrops .”
There is virtually no one here in the US who knows what the Melody Grand Prix is, but that may change in the near future. “American Song Contest ” is the name of a new show that will run off the stack in 2022.
The television station NBC has bought the rights, and all 50 states as well as the 5 territories of the United States + the capital Washington, DC will be represented. Solo artists, DJs , duos and bands can compete to win “Best Original Song.” The purpose is to celebrate America’s many different music genres.
The idea is quite beautiful: let’s let popular music gather us and create joy and community across borders. This was apparently what was originally intended for the European singing competition.
The United States is experiencing a huge division in these years. After Trump, George Floyd and covid , we need a boost that makes us see that we have more in common than what separates us.
If there’s one thing the United States can do – not including the Oscars this year – it’s to put on a great show. I can just see it for myself. Each state selects for large-scale TV shows its favorite song with small and large private events, where neighbors, friends and bar participants cheer and cheer across the coffee tables and bar counter. In some states there will be palettes and light shows, in others there will be a more subdued grunge mood , all depending on the cultural identity of each state.
In Europe, there is room in the melody grand prix for Russian babushkas , hard Italian rock and toe- crumbling eighties sound with archaic old-fashioned lyrics from Danish “Practice us on each other.” And that’s good – the more diversity and fun and fuss, the more room for identification, debate and engagement in a festive atmosphere.
I look forward to focusing on universal joy, rhythms, and exuberant commitment.
Here in God’s own country we have for far too long found a kind of connection, with the group we have identified our ideological standpoint with, when we have focused on seeing the differences in the other ideological group. We have focused on areas of conflict that we have each been able to hammer out – privately and in the media.
I look forward to experiencing how we can come together across ideological differences and, regardless of differences of opinion, participate in partying and dancing. Maybe it’s naive, but as you know, hope is light green.
I think there are many of us who need a respite from the rhetoric that only seems to get an extra nod in the direction we otherwise normally tell our children to stay too good at.
Just as the countries of Europe have different characteristics and cultures, each state here has its own cultural identity, and if anything, it is expressed on the musical scene. It’s a bit sharply drawn up, of course, but there’s something about the talk. Eg. here in the state of Washington we are known for our rock and grunge , just as Tennessee is known for their country music and Florida for their Latin American rhythms.
I get quite excited at the thought of what kind of music we are going to see represented. There will be artists in cowboy hats and fringed boots singing country and western, we will see singers looking like they are taken out of a fashion magazine singing polished pop songs where glitter and glamor fall from the ceiling that will be soft soul and R&B, hard rap and Latin American rhythms. And maybe all sorts of mixed genres and the music experiment in between .
In other words, the music will be as diverse as the people the country represents. But for once, we want to see the presentable side of each other, not the one that creates heated debate and fights in the media and the streets.
Imagine if it is so simple that with a twist in the hip and a smile on the lips you can find sympathy for your neighbor and for a while forget all that separates us and instead find a common understanding that we are all citizens who, under the harsh rhetoric, basically want the same thing.
It’s probably not that simple, but just as we know the feeling when we sit down in front of the screen in Denmark and watch one country present its song and its country after another, I have thought, if not another one night a year , to dream me away in tulle and taffeta and let rhythms and rhymes seduce me.
I look forward to the show in 2022, because then I invite my neighbors over for drinks and dancing – also him, I do not have much in common with.