When reading Dyck and Johnson’s article I was particularly drawn to the ideas of the bizarre. It is currently selection season for Eurovision which is a treasure chest of performances which fit the “so bad its good” mould, however, one in particular I want to draw your attention to is I Love You (Teflon Brothers x Pandora, Finland, 2021). Lyrically, the song details the performers’ struggles with expressing feelings in a foreign language, with lyrics of feeling shamed and laughed at for only speaking Finnish. With the simple, repeated English phrases representing the limited knowledge of the language and ability to communicate feelings. However, the live performance lost all meaning when met with questionably bizarre staging and costume. The stage designers took these ideas of alienation in language and communication and dressed the performers in quite literal costumes – with Pandora performing on top of a spaceship and the Teflon Brothers painted in heavy blue cosmetics. When met with the over-the-top and uncomfortably static performance, questionable vocals and excessive gimmicks, the performance loses all serious meaning and instead feels nothing but entertainingly bad. This aesthetic failure is what makes the performance bizarre and strangely entertaining:
“Artistic failure produces a particular kind of bizarreness… There is a clash between an artwork’s intended effect and its actual effect. And this clash makes those works particularly bizarre.”
And yet, no matter how “bad” the performance was, the song was successful, placing 2nd in the contest. Again, this is something Dyck and Johnson’s article draws on when they say “bizarreness commands our attention as viewers.” The performance did not have the intended purpose of being “good” or meaningful, but rather the spectacle of poor choices allowed viewers to enjoy the performance as a comedic object.
I Love You – Teflon Brothers x Pandora (Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu, Finland, 2021)
John Dyck and Matt Johnson. “Appreciating Bad Art” in Journal of Value Inquiry (2017). Vol. 51, No. 2. Pp. 279-292.
 John Dyck and Matt Johnson. “Appreciating Bad Art” in Journal of Value Inquiry (2017). Vol. 51, No. 2. Pp. 279-292.
 Dyck and Johnson. Apprechiating bad art… p. 283.
As a side note:
Sadly, I Love You came second so we won’t be seeing Pandora and the Teflon Brothers flying into Rotterdam on their spaceship in May, however, if you’re looking out for so bad it’s good or camp songs and performances this year, I’d highly recommend the songs selected for San Marino, Norway and Australia.