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Eurovision Reinvented

BYU-rovision packs the house with multilingual performances.

The lights go down and the Celtic tune begins. The audience laughs and claps along to the beat of the mandolin, violin, lute, penny whistle, and more. This isn’t an Irish music festival: It’s BYU’s first-ever Eurovision-inspired song competition.

Eurovision—a major singing competition held in Europe—is a big deal. Every year, each European country sends its best musician to compete for the trophy and grand title of Eurovision winner. For singers like Celine Dion or ABBA, winning Eurovision meant jumpstarting a massively successful career.

The competition has also been a recent staple in pop culture with the release of the movie Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, featuring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as an Icelandic duo who compete. The movie brought about a major cultural phenomenon across the globe.

The rise in Eurovision popularity prompted the BYU Scandinavian Club to host a singing competition of their own geared toward the European language clubs on campus. On November 3, many clubs sent one or two performers or performing groups to represent their countries, including Germany, France, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Norway, and Russia.

The winners won a BYU-rovision trophy to be displayed in the winners’ JFSB department office associated with the club, and, most importantly, bragging rights.

French club members Trevor Smith and Wyatt Brown performed perhaps the most unique act of the night with their song, “Champs-Élysées.” Brown grew up in St. George, Utah, with a desire to become an ice skater. Unfortunately, the climate there didn’t cooperate. His solution? Learn to rollerblade.

Brown skated across the stage and into the audience and even engaged the audience in singing along. The performance won the French duet third place.

In second place came a group from the Italian club, singing “L’italiano,” a song reflecting on what it means to be Italian and to serve the people. Their playful jabs at French cuisine also made the group an audience favorite.

Contrary to Iceland’s loss in the movie Eurovision, a local student band representing Iceland won first place. The group Just Khaki performed a show-stopping rendition of “Husavik” from the movie, featuring students Hanna Eyre’s rich voice and Marty Bodell’s exhilarating saxophone solo. “Husavik” garnered a massive audience response with an immediate standing ovation and wild round of applause.

The playful rivalries united BYU’s European language programs and allowed for an immersive cultural experience. The BYU-urovision founders plan to continue the event in coming years and feature even more talented student performances.

Photo by Wendy Wei