EuroScience, the Science in the EuroVision Song Contest

Since 1956, European nations have been participating in EuroVision, a live, televised competition for the best musical performance. Yesterday's competition in Copenhagen was a surprisingly science-heavy lineup of music, for a sufficiently arm-waving definition of science.

Illustration for article titled EuroScience, the Science in the EuroVision Song Contest

If you're willing to indulge in some exuberant hand-waving along to the music, read on for the most science-reliant entries for this year's competition.

Cake to Bake by Aarzemnieki

Baking is science for hungry people. It sounds trite, but ask any chemist about their day-to-day labwork and you'll quickly realize they're following recipes of how to combine ingredients with careful measurements, exact temperatures, precise methods of mixing. Looking at it from the other direction, every baker is an experimentalist, testing recipes to test out a vegan alternative or to use on-hand ingredients to substitute for something exotic on the formal recipe.

Moving on from that, this upbeat entry from Latvia tackles changing climates from melting ice caps to bringing rain to a desert, a bit of astronomy, and playing with antigravity. If that's not enough, the opening verse also includes a reference to the most logical of pop-culture heroes, Sherlock Holmes.

Cake to Bake came in 13th in the first semi-finals, and in the words of my brother, is a Cascadia hipster anthem waiting to be discovered.

To The Sky by Tijana

This entry from F.Y.R. Macedonia is impatient for more crewed deep space missions. Where? Who cares, as long as we get off-planet and start exploring the stars with more than robots.


To the Stars came in 13th in the Second Semi-Finals.

Hunter of Stars by Sebalter

Why is whistling so catchy? Using stargazing as the central metaphor, this song includes a reference to evil satellites. Given my current preoccupation with space-junk, how could I resist?


Hunter of the Stars came in 4th in the second semi-finals.

Tick-Tock by Mariya Yaremchuk

The entry from the Ukraine is a tribute to the inevitable progression of time, with a tiny shout-out to geology.


Tick-Tock came in 5th in the First Semi-Final and 6th in the Grand Final.

Cheesecake by Teo

The entry from Belarus advocates for learning geography, even if it misses out on the complex protein restructuring necessary for a smooth, delicious cheesecake.


Cheesecake came in 5th in the Second Semi-Final, and 16th in the Grand Final.

Coming Home by Firelight

While electrifying bones would be far more unpleasant than implied in the opening verse, the rest of the lyrics in this folk-pop entry from Malta contain a satisfyingly accurate description of linking observations to weather patterns.


Coming Home came in 9th in the Second Semi-Final and 23rd in the Grand Final.

Three Minutes to Earth by The Shin and Mariko

Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos jump lasted around 10 minutes and still wasn't actually in space, so a sky diver's space jump would probably last substantially longer than 3 minutes. However, I have a soft spot for mixing space science and skydiving, so they get a pass on the accuracy of their lyrics.


Three Minutes to Earth came in 15th in the Second Semi-Final.

Rise like a Phoenix by Conchita Wurst

The entry from Austria contains more about the malleability of biology than physical science, but it won, so I'm including it anyway.


Rise Like a Phoenix came in 1st in the Second Semi-Final and 1st in the Grand Final.



Random thoughts and opinions:

"Cake To Bake" was absolutely adorable. I could definitely hear it becoming popular among certain circles in Williamsburg (also possibly myself)

"To The Sky" was ok, although I could not help but notice it is one of the first music videos I have seen in a very long time to feature more scantily-clad men than women. Is this a more common thing in Europe in general? Either way, nice to see that for a change.

"Hunter of the Stars" was great. Certainly my favourite here. I might have to get a copy. I'm listening to it again right now.

"Coming Home": What instrument is that guy playing? Is it just a very oddly shaped Electric guitar? Also I liked the theme of the video - I get the impression that sometimes we seem to forget that WWI even happened, save that it was the precursor for WWII.

"Three Minutes to Earth": Is that John DeLancie on guitar? Or perhaps his long haired, Georgian, long-lost twin brother.

"Rise Like a Phoenix": Did not really like this track, but each to their own. Plenty of talent, but a wee too reminiscent of Cher for my taste.

Also: All these songs are in English, but not from countries where English is the primary language. Is this just to reach a larger audience? I wonder how often these bands write popular songs in their native tongue.

Anyway, I enjoyed this foray into Europop. As tenuous as the description of "about science" may be, I probably would never have given them a listen otherwise... so Thanks!