Saturday, May 16, 2009
Eurovision is upon us
Yep, it's that time of year again. The two semi-finals took place earlier this week, and we now know the 20 countries (Greece amongst them - yey!) that will join the "Big 4" and hosts Russia at the final. Later tonight, an estimated 105 million viewers will tune in to watch and vote for their favourite act. Not bad going for a lightweight competition that's been taking place for over 50 years already.
I'm very excited about the Greek entry this year. Sakis Rouvas is well known and much loved in Greece, a great performer and easy on the eye too. My personal claim to fame is that my friend Alex used to go to school with Sakis back in Corfu. I know it's not much, but hey, it's better than the six degrees of separation, and way better than anything my friends can claim (well, apart from Georgia, but she doesn't count as she works in the music industry and has an unfair advantage).
The countries participating in this year's final are: Lithuania, Israel, France, Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, Iceland, Greece, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Moldova, Malta, Estonia, Denmark, Germany, Turkey, Albania, Norway, Ukraine, Romania, UK, Finland and Spain. Last year the winner was Russia (also this year's host - I bet they're gutted about their bad timing, economic crisis and all), and before that it was Serbia, Finland, Greece, Ukraine, Turkey and so on. Seems like the winners come from all over Europe, despite accusations of "political voting" - made primarily, but not exclusively, by the Big Four, who effectively buy their way into the final every year. Ahem.
Still, this year will be different, as each country's public vote will be moderated by a jury vote. We'll know the new system has worked when France comes first. OK, that was a joke. If France wins I'll eat my hat. Norway is supposed to be this year's hot favourite. The song isn't quite my cup of tea, but to be honest, in the current economic climate, it's only fair that a rich country wins. I reckon they're in with a chance too - their song is upbeat and its placement at the final should work in their favour. I personally quite like Denmark and Estonia, and Sweden is fast growing on me too.
But most of all, I like Sakis. Please forgive the shameless plug. I draw the line at publishing his semi-nude (very artistic) photos that my friend Kathy mailed me the other day, so count your blessings.
Good luck to all the participating countries and may the best man (or, indeed, woman) win!