Hey there, folks! I’ve just spent the last bunch of hours inputting data from ESC ‘12 through to ‘16. It was tedious work, but unleashed a lot of interesting data, not least what today’s statistical map is about - each country’s favourite country (i.e. the country they gave most points to) in the past five years. It looks quite different from the all-time points map - with Sweden and Russia by far the most dominant countries in that timescale. It is impossible to look at this map without personifying the countries a little:
[Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark are ringing Sweden’s door. There is no answer. They continue knocking and ringing - Sweden eventually appears.]
Sweden: Oh, it’s you lot.
Iceland: Hello, Sweden!
Sweden: What do you want? I’m kind of busy right now.
Norway: We just thought you’d like us to hang out with you and give you ALL OUR LOVE. OMG SWEDEN!
Denmark: Yeah, you may make fun of my mouth potato and my pølser, but we think you’re pretty cool despite that.
Finland: *silently nods ever so slightly*
Sweden: Well, it turns out I’ve got company. But there’s always room for more at the Sweden is Great party! Come on in. Take off those shoes first, though!
Iceland: You’re throwing a party?
Sweden: Yeah, and you’re quite late. The people come from far and wide to pay their tributes to me! Some of them from as far as (whispers) Eastern Europe. (Waves to Germany) The most powerful nations of Europe know that they should doff their cap to me in this contest! (Points to an ashen-faced UK and Ireland) Even the fallen kings of Eurovision come to bask in my magic! Some people here (points to Slovakia with eyes) I can’t even remember seeing! But they still come! Do you guys want some akvavit and a form on which you can list your 50 favourite Melodifestivalen acts of this decade?
[Finland’s eyes glaze over and they imagine going to Russia’s party instead.]
[Peering through opera glasses at the crowd outside Sweden’s house]
Italy: Those arrogant Swedes! Serving mindless junk every year but thinking they are God’s gift! It’s time the land of Verdi and Puccini showed them how to sang and write a song that goes straight to the heart. WHO’S WITH ME?!
Malta: Ooh, us! We love you, mum!
Italy: Thank you, dear… (sotto voce) “mum?” (loudly) anyone else? Ukraine? We’d make a beautiful alliance against Sweden and Russia. I’ll give you all my love!
Ukraine: Hard pass, sorry. I got to keep showering my love on Azerbaijan. I’ve almost got him away from Russia!
San Marino: You don’t need her, Italy. I’m with you. Literally. I’m inside you. Right now. So I’m always with you. Forever.
Italy: ….. Creepy.
Albania: Yeah, look closer to home - a brief distance across the Adriatic. You occupied our land for a few years.. but you occupied our heart forever! We’re in!
Italy: Double creepy. Anyone not so weird?
Switzerland: We are extraordinary in our normality. And we support you!
Italy: Two tiny nations, our formal vassals, and some painfully neutral fondue-lovers. What a task force! But hell, let’s do this!
[In the Baltics’ house]
Lithuania: Now girls. For once in my life, I’d like us to go to the same party as Poland. Can I count on you?
Estonia: No problem - as long as Poland’s coming to Sweden’s party. I am a Nordic after all. No matter what you say. (Sotto voce) Or the other Nordics say…
Latvia: Nah, let’s go to Russia’s party. I hear even Spain and Portugal are going to be there to watch her wrestle a bear in the snow. And you know Russia. She can be pretty mean to those who don’t come to her parties. We see her much more often than we see Sweden, so we need to keep her happy.
Lithuania: You’ve both got it so wrong. Worrying about Russia. Crushing on Sweden. They both pay hardly any attention to you! I, on the other hand, treat them both with insouciance - and they love me for it! I’m going to Ukraine’s party. It’s going to drive them both crazy with jealousy!
[In the Balkans’ house, Serbia and Montenegro are hugging.]
Serbia: When we embrace like this, it feels like we never split! Want to join in, Croatia, Bosnia?
Bosnia: Sure, why not? We love you so much!
Croatia: We are the happiest family around!
[Both join group hug. There’s a knock at the door]
Macedonia: Hey guys! I heard you’re having a group hug. Mind if I join?
Serbia: Of course not! Stay here with me forever if you want! It feels like the good old days now. But I feel something is missing. Albania is a lost cause, but where is… Slovenia?
Croatia: Oh, you know she was always an independent spirit.
Serbia: You’re saying she’s not in her house?
Montenegro: Listen dear, she… is fond of you. But really wanted to go to Sweden. Their party lasts six whole weeks, she said. It’s nothing against…
[Serbia is fuming and breaks up the hug]
Serbia: God damn it! I hate this family. I’m going to check on the real Slavs in Russia!
Georgia: Whatever happened to supporting your neighbours? I give my love to Armenia, but she prefers to ogle Russia alongside the warring mother and son, Greece and Cyprus. Romania and Moldova are at different parties too.
France: It’s so sad, Géorgie. I used to be beloved by my neighbours too. Now their reaction to me is pitoyable. Here, here is my love!
Georgia: But… you gave your love to Armenia.
France: Yes. Now you don’t feel alone in loving her!
Georgia: That makes absolutely no sense…
[Australia casually walks by in beach attire despite freezing cold weather]
Georgia: Speaking of which, here comes the one who Sweden loves most out of all of Europe. But I don’t even think you’re European! What are you doing here?
Australia: You’re one to talk, mate! But hey, I’m true blue European! As Euro as they come, mate! It’s just a case of mistaken identity… my real name is Euro McEuropeson!
France: A likely story… so who do you love most in Europe then?!
Australia: (sotto voce) Think fast, mate! Ah mate, think of some country! (normal voice) Er, Belgium!
France: (incredulous) Belgium?!
Australia: Well, Brussels is the capital of Europe… so who would a European love more?!
(France dials 112 to get “suspicious newcomer” removed)