The connections between Barbie and the Eurovision Song Contest
The world is currently awash in pink as we await the cinematic release of the movie 'Barbie'.
With all major cultural events, there are often connections with the song contest we all know and love, Eurovision.
We've picked out some of the close (and tenuous) links between Barbie and the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Aqua bring Barbie to the Eurovision stage
Eurovision 2001 was held in Copenhagen after the Olsen Brothers won the Contest with 'Fly on the Wings of Love' the year prior.
The interval act that year featured Danish-Norwegian group Aqua performing a medley of their back catalogue.
Now, it should be no surprise that their biggest hit was 'Barbie Girl'. The 1997 song reached no.1 across the world including in Australia and New Zealand.
When performing 'Barbie Girl' in Copenhagen they caused some controversy by changing the lyrics to include profanities, with lead singer Lene saying "F*ck off Ken!" and calling him a "dirty b*stard".
The song has been incorporated into the official Barbie movie soundtrack, with Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice recording a remix of the song called 'Barbie World'.
2. Barbie wins Eurovision?
Netta won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 with her song 'Toy'.
The song has a message of female empowerment with the (male) songwriters saying in interviews that "Women are not toys”.
The lyrics reference the Mattel doll, with Netta singing:
"Hey, I think you forgot how to play / My teddy bear's running away / The Barbie got something to say / Hey, hey, hey, hey"
The lyrics indicate that Barbie may not be seen in the best light....
However, Netta leaned into the Barbie world a little more in 2020 releasing her own cover of Aqua's classic.
3. Eurovision artists as Barbies
In 2021 a Barbie exhibit was held in Odessa, Ukraine with 36 dolls created for the project: 'Barbie: Ladies of Ukraine'.
Included in the line-up were Eurovision stars Ruslana (who won the Contest in 2004) and Gaitana (who competed in 2012).
Also made into a Barbie was Australia's own Olivia Newton-John who competed at Eurovision in 1974. To celebrate 25 years since the movie 'Grease' was released, a range of dolls were created with several version of Sandy made.
4. Barbie at Junior Eurovision
In 2018, the Albanian entry for Junior Eurovision was called 'Barbie'.
In the song, the young singer Efi Gjika references the famous toy in a similar way that Netta did her Eurovision winning song.
In the English lyrics she says:
"Why you call me barbie doll / I'm a smart girl overall"
While the translations of the Albanian lyrics continue the same thematic:
"Don't judge me for a second / I don't want to think about it / Like a doll with no mouth / Do not tell me what to do"
Efi's empowerment song for young girls finished in 17th.
5. Will Ferrell movie connections
Will Ferrell famously (or infamously depending how you look at it) played the lead role in the 'Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga' movie.
He also appears in the 'Barbie' movie playing what could potentially be a villain, telling Variety:
"I get to play the CEO of Mattel and be that guy who’s just insensitive but weird," he says.
"It’s a loving homage to the brand and, at the same time, couldn’t be more satirical — just an amazing comment on male patriarchy and women in society and why Barbie’s criticized and yet why every little girl still wants to play with Barbie. Boy, when I read it, I was like, ‘This is fantastic.'”
So there we have it, like with most major events, there's always a connection to Eurovision.
Barbie the movie will be released globally on Friday 21 July with some advanced screening as early as Wednesday 19 July.
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