Monday, May 12, 2014

Europe Catches yearly Eurovision Fever

The New York Times has noticed the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest.  It's a tough thing to explain to Americans, so everyone starts by comparing it to American Idol.  That's a stretch, since Eurovision exists to choose the song of the year, not a new artist (necessarily). And just as important as the song and artist is the presentation on stage.  

Since variety shows have disappeared from our tv screens, the only time we get to see big production numbers with music are the three or four that spice up an awards show.  Imagine 26 giant productions with performers singing live, then the whole continent gets 15 minutes to vote and choose the winner.

Hunter Communications has been on site at Eurovision all week, and after the Grand Final, we will present a full photo album and photo of the week.  Going into the finals, it looks to be a race at the top between glamorous pop songstress Sanna from Sweden, bearded drag Conchita Wurst with her massive Bond theme from Austria, the American-sounding country duo Common Linnets from the Netherlands with their simple, flawless roots ballad, and possibly British ingenue Molly Smitten-Downes with her retro anthem "Children of the Universe".  As opposed to recent years, there isn't a single presumptive winner, so the results will certainly be more exciting than usual.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
The New York Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "COPENHAGEN — The crowd of roughly 10,000 fans cheered, and the lights glowed electric blue as a woman in a bright white gown introduced the next act in the giant auditorium here. 'Please give it up now for Albania!' she shouted.

It’s not a line you normally hear on prime-time television. Except this week, which features the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest — about the trashiest, splashiest event on the global pop calendar. On Saturday an estimated 120 million viewers from Iceland to Azerbaijan, more than watched this year’s Super Bowl, are expected to tune in to see which of the 26 finalists will take the top slot and the exposure it provides.

“It’s ‘American Idol’ on steroids,” said William Lee Adams, a journalist in London who founded Wiwi Bloggs, a leading independent site devoted entirely to Eurovision.

A place where soft power meets soft porn, Eurovision offers a view of Europe in microcosm, particularly now, when old fault lines from the Balkans to Russia and Ukraine are surfacing. The competition, which takes place on three nights, is highly political, albeit flavored with a hefty dose of camp.

Over the years, Eurovision has reflected Europe’s social and political changes, and this one is no exception. Along with the requisite scantily clad women and hunky men, an Austrian transgender singer, Conchita Wurst, advanced to this year’s finals, to the consternation of Eastern European social conservatives who have called Eurovision the epitome of the morally corrupt West.

There’s also intense speculation about whether tensions between Russia and Ukraine could split the post-Soviet voting bloc. At Tuesday’s semifinals, the audience booed when it was announced that Russia’s contestants, the wholesome-looking twin Tolmachevy sisters, made the finals.

Mariya Yaremchuk of Ukraine also placed, with her cheery pop song “Tick Tock,” which she sang while a man ran in a giant hamster wheel on stage. Crimea, now annexed by Russia, will still vote as part of Ukraine, which still runs the state broadcaster and the cellphone networks. Eurovision officials say they will monitor to make sure the phone lines aren’t obstructed."

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