Eurovision, the delightful annual summit that pits (mostly) European countries against each other in a bonkers singing competition, was cancelled earlier this year, along with basically everything else, due to the pandemic. I love anything that is countries competing against each other, and I firmly believe all geopolitical issues should be solved with international competitions. (Like, sure England, you can do Brexit, but only if you win Eurovision.) Summer 2020 was going to be lit because it was supposed to be the Olympics AND Eurovision, which is like a double-fudge sundae of international competition. Instead, 2020 is a pile of sh-t we can’t scrape off our shoe and we have nowhere to project our corporatized patriotism and strong opinions on synth-pop.
If we can’t experience the real Eurovision, at least we have the next best thing—a Will Ferrell movie set in the world of Eurovision. Titled Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (whew), the movie is slated to drop on Netflix on June 26, and it stars Will Ferrell as Lars Erikssong and Rachel McAdams as Sigrit Ericksdottir. I assume they are…brother and sister? Based on Icelandic naming conventions, I think Lars and Sigrit are related, but I don’t trust anything in a Will Ferrell spoof. Remember the weirdly horny skating siblings in Blades of Glory? Anyway, the trailer for Fire Saga is just a music video for “Volcano Man”, as sung by Lars and Sigrit. It is…really something. Check it out:
Last year, Prem wondered if this movie would be embraced in 2020, especially as Europeans seem primed to hate it on principal. While it’s true no movie could write characters better than the real-life musicians in Icelandic band Hatari, “Volcano Man” captures both the over-the-top theatricality of Eurovision performance, with the frequent cheesiness of Eurovision songs, and still seems affectionate toward the whole thing. There is not a strong mocking vibe here. This is sincere, like people who love Eurovision getting to do the ultimate Eurovision cosplay. You know what this reminds me of? The performances in Pitch Perfect. Those movies understand the inherent silliness of a cappella as a group sport, while also embracing a sincere love of a cappella performance.
What if Fire Saga is Pitch Perfect but for Eurovision? Yes, it will be goofy because Eurovision IS goofy. But goofy isn’t bad, and it is possible to make jokes about a thing and still sincerely appreciate it. And yes, I assume it will play better to Americans who are largely unfamiliar with Eurovision, but most people don’t know the world of competitive collegiate a cappella and they still embraced Pitch Perfect and bopped along to the songs. If Fire Saga can thread the Pitch Perfect needle and mine comedy from something that is, admittedly, silly, while still having genuine affection for the thing in all its silly glory, maybe Fire Saga will be the thing that makes Eurovision an American obsession, too.