It´s that time of the year again, another event that makes you think, "where did the time go?" and "why on Earth am I watching this?"
The Eurovision Song Contest is in its 52 year of entertaining Europeans, and Israelis, although it is broadcast worldwide, voting and participation is limited to Europe, Israel, and Turkey.
42 countries participate, and send the representative songs to the Eurovision governing board, and from these 42, 28 are sent to the semi-finals. Some countries may pass to the semi-finals, but not to the finals because they did poorly the year before. Four countries though, Germany, France, Spain, and the UK can never be voted out of the finals (because they are the largest financial backers.) From this group in the semi-finals, 20 are chosen to go to the finals, plus the "Big Four," that must always participate.
Previous winners include Celine Dion (representing Switzerland,) Abba with Waterloo, and Katrina and the Waves. Generally, the musicians should not have already received worldwide listner status. Celine Dion was relatively unknown when she won in 1988.
The finals are held on a Saturday night, usually in May. Up to 600 million people worldwide tune in to watch. Although the show brings kitsch to a new level, it is really cool. Some countries chose to go traditional, enter songs in their native languages and keep with traditional music, but some countries sing in English and some chose very progressive music. It is something so very European, it is really enjoyable to be a part of it.
We watched the majority of the show, but missed the entry from Serbia who went on to win the contest. By far, our favorite was the entry from the Ukraine, a band whose lead singer is a transvestite. How much better can you get than a futuristic, Ukrainian Ru-Paul?!!
We also enjoyed the song by the Romanian group, who reminded us of a singing circus act. I was pleased with the Irish entry, they stayed very traditional, and I so enjoy traditional Irish music!
After the entrants perform, each of the participating 42 countries have 15 minutes to call in with votes. Then, to report the votes, a person is chosen as a representative (usually a celebrity from that country.) It is always fun to see how the people in each country celebrate the contest.
In the end, the Ukrainians came in second, behind Serbia. Sadly, there is a lot of political motivation behind the voting, as well as "friendship." The Turkish performers received the most votes from Germany and the Netherlands, the two western European countries with the highest Turkish population. But overall, it is quite an entertaining evening! You can look forward to my post next year, about the Eurovision Song Contest from Serbia!!