Eurovision has become SBS’s biggest event, with 420,000 viewers tuning in for this micro-political cheese-fest.  Somehow, every year, these apparently otherwise sensible countries lose all sense of perspective and submit, for the world’s approval, multi-coloured tele-tubbies, glitter-encrusted glamazons and arm-waving stilt-dancers.

As the competition expanded to include tiny fragmented Eastern European countries with full voting rights, Eurovision fell to voting blocs. Now, only a handful of carefully placed countries can ever round up enough votes to win. But who cares? Bring on the wind machines and have a crack at the Eurovision drinking game.

Given the likelihood that you will be drinking quite a lot, according to these rules, we would recommend a low-alcohol beverage.  Passion Pop mixed with lemonade to taste is ideal. You may also want to consider a perversion of the national drink of your favourite team. How you interpret “sip”, “gulp” and “skol” are, of course, up to you.

Sip for:

  • Any all-white ensemble (skol for a full white tuxedo)
  • Glitter or rhinestones
  • Hair or headgear bigger than the wearer’s face
  • Face paint
  • Any song actually sung in the native tongue of its country (France excepted)
  • Any song you believe to be sung in the native tongue of its country, but that then turns out to be in English
  • Shirtless beefcake dancers or bikini-clad tottie
  • Any points actually received by the United Kingdom
  • Tenuous ring-in competitors from other countries (see: Celine Dion)
  • Off-key singing
  • Stage junk: fake instruments, performers who aren’t singing, dancing or playing anything,
  • Any instrument onstage that nobody in the room can identify.
  • Any appearance by an accordion.
  • As a special tribute to 2009’s winner, any gratuitous string accompaniment (the saxophone solo of the new century)

Gulp for:

  • Costume perversion of national dress
  • Any performer who arrives on stage through a means other than their own feet (e.g. stilts, motorcycle, lowered from ceiling on glittering camel)
  • Any outfit so ridiculous that you feel the need to drink to make it go away
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Oversized novelty anything
  • Onstage disaster of any kind
  • Human pyramid
  • Any item of clothing ripped off during a performance, accidental or intentional

Skol for:

  • Gratuitous inclusion of a celebrity (See: Celine Dion)
  • Wardrobe malfunction
  • Made-up languages
  • Yodelling
  • Veiled references to fascism
  • France sings in English

If the United Kingdom still has nil points at the end of the show, finish your drink.

The Eurovision Song Contest Final airs on SBS at 7.30pm on Sunday May 24, with semi-finals at 7.30 on Friday and Saturday.