I had vaguely heard about this tradition when living in the U.S. It did not prepare me for the fervor that I experienced. It is an annual TV show where each country in Europe has a group singing and dancing. For some reason though all the groups are notoriously bad. What passes for high fashion in one countries culture is laughed at in another and modern dance and singing has the same problem. So watching the show with people from different countries led to everyone defending their own country quite loudly. All this was happening as the same time as a birthday party I was at. So there was a group of people huddled around the TV screaming or cheering at it for 3 hours during the party. Then the voting starts.
The voting is a total sham because it is all political. Half the total score comes from each country has a judge that can vote for 12 different countries except their own. To give you an idea, Eastern Europe always votes for each other. Apparently the first year that the U.K. joined the Iraq war no other countries would vote for them. The other half comes from phone-in votes. Again you people can't vote for their own country so people have been known to cross country lines so their cell phone will register in a different location.