This year’s Eurovision contest will be presented by Graham Norton (pictured) in Lisbon tomorrow when the UK will be represented by SuRie
It is the definition of kitsch, featuring bearded ladies, sequins and singers on unicycles. But, love it or hate it, the Eurovision Song Contest actually could improve our national happiness.
Avoiding the dreaded ‘nul points’ can raise life satisfaction, according to scientists at Imperial College London. For every ten points higher we finish on the leader board, people are 4 per cent more likely to be satisfied with their lives.
This year’s contest, the 63rd, takes place in Lisbon tomorrow when the UK will be represented by SuRie.
But those calling for a ‘Eurovision Brexit’ when we leave the EU should know that even countries which finish near the bottom have a 13 per cent higher chance of life satisfaction than those that don’t enter.
British researchers analysed survey data from 160,000 people in 33 European countries, collected around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest between 2009 and 2015.
They say that despite Britain’s ‘consistently terrible performances’, the happiness jump could be similar to the national boost we get from major sporting events.
Lead author Dr Filippos Filippidis, from Imperial’s school of public health, said the research emerged from a ‘jokey conversation’ at work. ‘Our department has people from lots of countries,’ he said. ‘We were chatting about whether the competition could affect a country’s national wellbeing, looked into it and were surprised to see there may be a link.’
The research is based on a survey called the Eurobarometer, which is conducted several times a year by the European Commission and records life satisfaction.
The study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, states: ‘The good news for any country entering the contest is that it is not necessary to win to improve the population’s life satisfaction.’