As Eurovision celebrates its 60th anniversary, its most controversial moments …

22 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Australia in Europe’s Song Contest? In a word, yes..

Ireland’s Molly Sterling with last year’s winner Conchita Wurst Singer Maria Olafs from Iceland Monika Linkyte and Vaidas Baumila representing Lithuania The singer wowed the audience with her performance of ballad ‘Playing with Numbers’ at Vienna’s Wiener Stadthalle, but for the second year in a row Ireland failed to qualify. “I’ve had the time of my life,” she said last night. “To be in the final would have been a bonus but to get to Eurovision and represent my country in the first place has been a privilege.” RTE’s head of delegation Michael Kealy added: “I think I can speak for the whole country when I say how proud we are of Molly.Conchita Wurst, the bearded Austrian drag queen who took out last year’s competition, started the opening ceremony, dressed in a ravishing white dress.

In this May 20, 2015 photo Australias’s Guy Sebastian performs the song ‘Tonight Again’ during a dress rehearsal of the Eurovision Song Contest in Austria’s capital Vienna. It was an absolute pleasure to work with this talented young songwriter and it goes without saying that she has a fantastic future ahead of her.” “There are so many great songs this year.

In a disturbing, almost “Backstreet Boys gone bad” style song, Eduard didn’t hold back, surrounded by dancers clad in revealing leather police uniforms, the pop song sending the crowd into raptures. But all 27 nations contesting the top spot Saturday after surviving the elimination rounds have at least a theoretical chance of walking away the winner. The jerky (literally, they just kind of jerked around the stage with strobe lights on), performance was given roars of approval from the excitable crowd.

Still, Australia’s participation is this year’s buzz at the extravaganza, which catapulted into world consciousness last year with the win of bearded Austrian diva Conchita Wurst. The Netherlands’ Trijntje Oosterhuis followed Belgium’s monochrome performance with the mother-of-two’s song, Walk Along, embracing flowing black robes and emotive, long looks with the camera.

Dressed in glittering full-length dress with a plunging neckline, the singer sported blonde locks blown back by an invisible fan as she blew the crowd away with a powerful voice that rivalled Celine Dione. The Aussies are already stoked, or as Sebastian put it, “bitten by the Eurovision bug.” Australian delegation head Paul Clarke attributed the huge interest among his countrymen in part to the country’s “incredibly strong European presence.” Delayed TV broadcasts of Eurovision contests have been shown for 30 years in Australia and Eurovision parties are common there. The couple also went with a monochrome start – a style becoming quite a trend for this year’s performers – using long shadows to get across their soulful tune.

This year it will be shown live in Australia’s early morning hours — and like citizens of other nations vying for the win, Australians can vote for their candidate. With backup singers, who all looked like security guards in dark trenchcoats and sunglasses, Kajmakoski bounced from one leg to another – hopefully in a stylistic dance technique rather than a “I need to go to the toilet” move. Organizers expect a television audience of about 200 million to tune in globally to the spectacle taking place in Vienna’s sprawling Stadthalle, which has been outfitted with the latest stage and light technology. Huge public viewing screens have also been set up in key locations throughout the city for those brave enough to ignore Saturday’s predicted cold and windy showers. The annual competition is supposed to be removed from politics, and fittingly, this year’s theme is “Building Bridges.” Even so, the Ukraine crisis is making its presence felt.

So Vienna has gone all out: Dozens of pedestrian-crossing lights in the city have been reprogrammed to replace the usual gender-neutral Go/Walk figures with gay and lesbian couples holding hands. With many in the West viewing Moscow as the aggressor in the Ukraine conflict, Russian contestant Polina Gagarina is raising some eyebrows with her pacifist-themed song, “A Million Voices.” And in Russia, where propagating homosexuality is against the law and many view Wurst as a threat to traditional family values, the Orthodox Church already is warning of the consequences should Gagarina win, since the winner’s nation usually hosts the next year’s contest. Looking more like a Swede than a Russian, Gagarina seemed to be unable to move in a flowing white dress but that didn’t stop her from an awe-inspiring song. Tass and other Russian news agencies quoted Patriarch Kirill as saying her victory would bring the contest to Russia “with all those bearded female singers.” Acts such as Wurst’s promote values “repulsive to our soul and our culture,” he declared.

The invisible fan came into play again – does the concert hall have airconditioning issues? – helping Dani finish up her power ballad with the necessary climax. While each competing nation pays for its own stage shows, it’s down to the host city and national broadcaster to take on the cost of the venue, cleaning, security, power facilities etc. Even without a change of continents, contest horizons can be further widened this year with a triumph by Polish contestant Monika Kuszynska, who is partially paralyzed and performs from a wheelchair. But hopes of a breakthrough by the Finnish punk band PKN — consisting of one autistic member and three others with Downs Syndrome — were eliminated in a qualifying round. That means Eurovision will rely this year on its usual mix of eclectic, sometimes vapid and often overwrought techno beats, love songs, ballads and pop tunes.

The overspending came in to the tune of 100 million Danish kroner ($15 million) for a total of $50 million and triggered an external review of the poor money management. But this year, it’s been given a one-off chance on two grounds: First, its cult Aussie following — it’s been screened there for more than 30 years and was last year seen by a record 2.7 million viewers.

It is our way of saying let’s celebrate this party together!” pronounced Jon Ola Sand, the exec supervising the contest for the European Broadcasting Union, in a grand announcement. Australia is this year represented by one of the country’s most popular performers and X Factor judge, Guy Sebastian, who’s comfortably positioned to make it within the top five, according to bookmakers. But remember, the Eurovision is meant as a song contest, and not a talent show, so in theory it really comes down to how well the Europeans welcome his “Tonight Again” song. “My mother has already sent me Australian flags to wave while I’m there,” London-residing Aussie Warren Veljanovski, who’s going to the contest — again — told MarketWatch. If “Tonight Again” racks up the most points Saturday, next year’s competition won’t be hosted by Australia, as the contest is always held in Europe.

Not a forum for geographical or political-connected countries to shoulder pat each other to make them look better in the eyes of their bigger/cooler/more powerful neighbors. Due to the historical and cultural context, Russia is always guaranteed to do well because of support from the former Soviet states, such as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Armenia and Georgia. And if the ex-Soviets failure to honor Mother Russia, it’s worse for themselves — in 2013 Moscow-Baku relations soured because Azerbaijan awarded no points to Russia.

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