It’s that time of year again, and even if the UK getting exclusively ‘nul points’ is a given (maybe), it doesn't mean we still can’t enjoy the show (not least since actual Madonna is performing!).
Here’s our guide to the places in the capital to watch, dance and sing like Celine for Switzerland during this year’s Tel Aviv-based Eurovision Song Contest. And only one of them is in Waterloo.
The massive one
Eurovision superfans are in for a particularly trashy treat at the Rio cinema’s huge Eurovision Party London, which is laying on Eurotastic cocktails, Israeli nosh and a karaoke competition to celebrate the finale of the world’s largest singing competition. The night finishes up at 3am, which is plenty of time to throw some shapes to the best that Bucks Fizz and Gina G have to offer. Rio Cinema. Dalston Kingsland Overground. Sat May 18. £18.
The Scandi one
Get ready to feel old. It’s been 13 years since Finnish metallers Lordi claimed the ESC crown with their rousing ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. Celebrate their achievement, and the region’s eclectic mix of other entries, at Nordic Bar’s Eurovision Party!. You’ll see that there’s more to Scandi music than the girls who sang ‘Mamma Mia’. Nordic Bar. Goodge St tube. Sat May 18. £10.
The famous one
The Water Poet may be no more, but its legendary Water Poet Eurovision Party lives on just over the road at sister spot The Crown and Shuttle. As is tradition, the event is fancy dress. This year’s theme is ‘toys’, in honour of 2018 winner Netta’s song 'Toy'. Prizes are up for grabs for best costume, while special cocktails will be on offer from the bar. The Crown and Shuttle. Shoreditch High St Overground. Sat May 18. Free entry.
The big one
LGBT+ superpub/club The Glory is, of course, going all-out for Eurovision, describing the annual song contest as ‘gay Christmas’. At its two-floor screening party expect massive screens, live acts and the chance to dance till 3am. The Glory. Haggerston Overground. Sat May 18. Free before 7pm, £10 after.
The fabulous one
One of Soho’s most beloved drag queens is bringing her annual Eurovision knees-up to Ku Bar’s basement once more. Run by Eurovision fanatic Lady Lloyd, Ku Bar’s Eurovision Party will be putting the ‘Boom Bang-a-Bang’ into proceedings, warming up the crowd with hits (and not-quite hits) from the competition’s history before the main event. Expect plenty of bunting, boozing and booing every time the UK is shunned. Ku Bar & Club. Leicester Square tube. Sat May 18. Free entry.
The one that’s actually in Waterloo
Where better to celebrate the biggest music event in the world than in the (spiritual) home of Abba’s 1974 European conquest? At the Windmill Eurovision Party there’ll be drinks, confetti and, most importantly, the chance to guess the scores with your own scorecard – for real prizes. The Windmill. Waterloo tube. Sat May 18. Free entry.
Think you could give the contestants a run for their money? Here’s our guide to the best places for karaoke in the city.
Find more great things to do this month with our May guide.