Spotlight on: Our beloved Eurovision song contest
1980 & 1987: Johnny Logan
1992: Linda Martin
1993: Niamh Kavanagh
1994: Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan
1996 Eimear Quinn
As inevitable as summer blockbusters and farmer's tan, the Eurovision has arrived to give the halfway point of our year the injection of silliness we (begrudgingly) love it for. Eurovision 2014, taking place in Copenhagen, will be the 59th installment in a competition that has gone from humble beginnings into a TV juggernaut.
This year is significant for both Sweden and Ireland. It's 40 years since ABBA triumphed with Waterloo and also the 20th anniversary of Riverdance's interval act debut.
Ireland's entry Heartbeat from Can-Linn and Kasey Smith is picking up solid notice in the pre-competition press. Ending up in last place in the 2013 competition doesn't seem to have hurt our national ego and in a post-Jedward world we seem keen to support our own. From our 90s heyday of multiple wins to sending You're A Star winners in the early 00s and the Dustin debacle, Ireland's own history with Eurovision is fraught at best.
Spectacle will be as de rigueur as ever, but could it be even more political than ever this year due to unrest in Eastern Europe, as opposed to the usual accusations of block voting?
Eurovision is frequently viewed as out of touch with current pop music, a myth that recent winners are disproving with ease. Loreen's winning song Euphoria in 2012 became one of the biggest Eurovision hits ever, enjoying a healthy chart life post competition.
Switzerland's entrant Sebalter cites nu-folk stars The Lumineers as an influence. There's over the top dance fare too and many entries trying to combine the two genres to win over everyone.
There's already been plenty of ridiculousness (as ever) from Latvia's folk-pop ode to baking a cake and Belarus giving us an R&B themed number about being someone's "cheesecake" and Austria's controversial drag performer Conchita Wurst offering a very 2014 take on the bearded lady to look forward to.
Eurovision continues to be a ratings draw worldwide and once Saturday rolls around you can expect the ironic (and not so ironic) parties to kick off and the frenzied live tweeting to commence. It's hard to resist the lure of TV's silliest contest, one that always nabs douze points for entertainment value. Our semi final is tonight so let's hope we make it through - scarlet for us if we don't. Check it out from 8pm on RTE2.
CONOR BEHAN (@platinumjones)
First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent