Queens' bar celebrated Eurovision with some themed cocktailsAmelia Huntingdon with permission for Varsity

College JCRs and bars across Cambridge celebrated Eurovision on Saturday (13/05) with watch parties that brought together scores of students.

The Cambridge University Liberal Association (CULA) took over Lucy Cavendish’s bar, which sported European colours for the event. Christ’s offered free pizza to attendees of their watch party, with their Entertainments Officer reporting that Finland’s “human centipede-esque” performance received by far the most comments and applause. In response to the UK’s act, which ranked a disappointing 25th out of 26 contestants, one attendee said that “Eurovision is not coming home.” The Queens’ JCR had their viewing interrupted by a fire alarm.

The Cambridge Union also hosted an event, with a cocktail bar and projectors set up in the debating hall. In true Union fashion, a mock vote was held which ranked Israel in first place with Sweden coming third. For the real vote, there were groans when the UK only finished with 24 points and gasps when the televote carried Sweden over the line to win for the seventh time.

A student watching at the Union described the whole watch party as a “fantastic night”. When asked about the UK’s performance he described it “as forgettable as expected”. A former fellow said he was “very disappointed that France and Britain had done so poorly”.

Cambridge was well-represented in the live event itself with Trinity alum Mel Giedroyc co-hosting alongside Graham Norton. Footage of her alma mater featured on the postcard preceding Poland’s Blanka. The competition was hosted by the UK in Liverpool, in place of 2022 winners Ukraine, who could not host due to the current conflict in the country.

Eurovision fever had been building in the city throughout the week. Varsity spoke to local musician Anna Starushkevych who hosted a ‘UKrainian 90s hits’ club night at Mash to coincide with Eurovision. The club night raised money for the charity British-Ukrainian aid and provided temporary refugees with an “opportunity to dance” after a difficult year. She said student support for the event had been “really great” and alongside Eurovision showed a united “cultural front between Great Britain and Ukraine”.


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Reflecting on the controversy surrounding the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) decision to block a speech by President Zelensky at Eurovision, Starushkevych said that the EBU was “trying to pretend Eurovision is not political”. The EBU justified the decision by saying they want to protect the “non-political nature of the event”.

Students watching the contest also weighed in on the controversy. One student disagreed with the decision and said that Eurovision was already “politicised, especially after the banning of Russia from the competition”. Another believed that allowing Zelensky to give a speech to an audience of over 160 million would “let people hear the Ukrainian voice”.