The tackiest night in Irish television is upon us once more.
Every year, we send an act to some European capital to sing and dance onstage alongside the rest of the EU in the hopes of taking home the trophy and hosting the same thing the following year in our capital.
We've won the thing a record-breaking seven times (and three years back-to-back which is INSANE) and although the last few years have seen our luck dissipate, we still enjoy a good Eurovision party every May.
This year, however, isn't like any other.
The 64th edition of the competition is set to take place this Saturday in Tel Aviv, Israel.
So what exactly is the boycott and why is it happening?
It centers on Israel's alleged human rights abuses towards the Palestinian people, with Gaza-based Palestinian Artists Association has since accused Israel of using the event to “perpetuate oppression, promote injustice or whitewash a brutal apartheid regime”.
There has been a petition signed by many famous faces who say that by letting Israel host the Eurovision, we are supporting the violation of Palestinian human rights.
Among those who have signed it are band Wolf Alice, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters while a counter-letter has been penned by Stephen Fry, Sharon Osbourne, Marina Abramovic, and Scooter Braun.
The letter states that ''Spirit of togetherness is under attack by those calling to boycott Eurovision 2019 because it is being held in Israel, subverting the spirit of the contest and turning it from a tool of unity into a weapon of division.''
I dunno who needs to hear this but if you’ve convinced yourself watching #Eurovision2019 tonight is harmless then you’re wrong. The Palestinian people have asked us to boycott in a show of solidarity and it’s the absolute bare minimum someone can do. #BoycottEurovision2019
— Ciara McShane (@Ciara87C) May 14, 2019
The crux of the whole thing boils down to the fact that those who are for the competition to go ahead are saying that they are so because the contest is not supposed to be political in any way and they are not performing for politicians.
Instead, they are for putting on a show for the people, the audience, for entertainment and unity.
It will be broadcast by both RTE and BBC and both stations have issued statements to this effect.
RTE said, ''As a long-running non-political, entertainment event, the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is designed to bring audiences and countries together. RTÉ is confident that the European Broadcasting Union and the host broadcaster will take all necessary steps to safeguard the non-political character of the event throughout the organization of the competition.''
BBC meanwhile echoed a similar sentiment.
They said, ''The competition has always supported the values of friendship, inclusion, tolerance, and diversity and we do not believe it would be appropriate to use the BBC’s participation for political reasons. Because of this, we will be taking part in this year’s event. The host country is determined by the rules of the competition, not the BBC.”
"Hundreds of Palestinian children are detained, prosecuted and subjected to torture and ill treatment by the Israeli military court system"
— Ciaran Tierney (@ciarantierney) May 8, 2019
The irony here is why their point might be seen as acceptable where the host country is involved in minor conflict or political unease when it comes to the case in Israel, it's not the same.
Rory Cowen of Mrs. Browns' Boys' has been vocal on social media and tv in his support for the contest taking place in Tel Aviv and he tweeted, ''We were there in Russia, in Turkey, in Azerbaijan, in the UK, etc. We went to perform in many countries that were involved in conflicts. It would be discriminatory to single out just one not to go to'' to which he received a reply saying, ''Israel is not involved in a conflict. The Israeli regime is involved in the systematic extermination of the Palestinian people. Quite a different thing altogether.''
Ireland's entrant Sarah McTernan is getting ready to take to the stage for tomorrow nights second semi-final.
The Clare native, who will sing 22, had to hit back at the massive backlash she has gotten for going to Tel Aviv.
She said, ''Everybody has their opinion on the issue, which is totally fine, but we’re about the music, and about spreading the love and the music, and that’s what Eurovision is about. We’re here, and we’re loving it.''
There is a really strong for-against that appears to be happening in the media.
Madonna, who is set to perform at the live final this Saturday, is determined to perform despite the loud callings for a boycott.
The numbers are low for fans travelling from Ireland to Tel Aviv – Diarmuid Furlong, president of Ireland’s Eurovision Fan Club confirmed that there would only be 30.
And overall, there will only be 5,000 or so foreign fans in Tel Aviv, much less than hoped for by organisers…these figures speak for themselves.
What will you be doing this Saturday – tuning in or blocking it out?