The Eurovision Song Contest, the gloriously kitsch paean to Eurotrash pop music, might get shaken up this year if a punk band is selected to represent Finland. As Death and Taxes reports, “PKN (Pertti Kurikan Nimipaivat) is a four-piece punk band whose members all have Down Syndrome—some are also autistic. They’ve been playing together for the last six years and were the centerpiece of a 2009 documentary called “The Punk Syndrome,” which explored the band as a vehicle for self-expression and raising awareness about Down Syndrome.” If they get into Eurovision, it will make last year’s Austrian transsexual winner seem old hat.
If you’re not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, it’s almost impossible to describe the sheer awfulness of what you have been missing, although several years ago the New Yorker‘s Anthony Lane wrote this wonderful primer. As the title suggests, it’s a song competition open only to Europeans. It makes American Idol look classy. It’s been running for more than fifty years. Very few of the acts are memorable or gain success outside of their own countries (with the exception of ABBA, which won the contest with “Waterloo” in 1974 ). The Irish comedy Father Ted parodied the contest rather brilliantly (Ireland has the embarrassing habit of winning the Eurovision quite often). For all its faux-glamour, though, the contest has a certain endearingly tacky charm. And as forgettable as the songs are, they’re all generally pop. A punk song by PKN would really make this year’s contest memorable.