Behold the relentlessly optimistic silliness of the ‘AI Eurovision’ winner

Brian Heater

Around two-thirds of the way through “Beautiful the World,” a voice declaratively whispers, “The music of the Earth has arrived.” Created by the fittingly named Uncanny Valley, the three-and-a-half minute track bombards the listener with fragments of relentless optimism, coupled with nearly comprehensible inspirational phrases like, “Dreams Still Live in the Wings of Happiness.”

If that all sounds like it was penned by a robot, you're not wrong. The song is the winner of the first “Eurovision AI,” an event held by Dutch broadcaster VPRO to fill the void after COVID-19 left a Eurovision-shaped hole in the world’s hearts.

While not an official Eurovision event, the AI song contest drew plenty of notice as the world shelters in place. Thirteen international teams competed, and the Australia-based winner racked up a decisive victory among the 12,000 or so votes cast.

Uncanny Valley’s victory song was created by setting machine learning on a slew of past Eurovision winners, coupled with the sounds of native Australian species, including koalas, Tasmanian devils and the kookaburra bird (the latter of which also indirectly inspired this immortal classic). It's a nod to what's been a rough stretch of time for the country's wildlife. 

Per the BBC, a panel of AI judges also gave high marks to Uncanny Valley, but ultimately sided with Dadabots’ entry, which features such lyrics as “It couldn’t be done, I’m committed to band Sherman / that one.” The German team ultimately finished second.