Bookies predict Australia’s Guy Sebastian is fourth most likely to win Eurovision

22 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Eurovision Song Contest: Live coverage of first semi-final.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on Europe, you’ve probably seen strange things happening: An increase in strobe-pumped stage shows on TV. 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 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. 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. 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 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.

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. Voters can forget the early ones, although last year’s UK act, Molly Smitten-Downes performed dead last, by which time viewers can get a bit jaded and go off to make a cup of tea (or borscht, or Apfelwein). 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. 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. 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. If the PM’s top priority is for the UK to win Eurovision (and it should be), then he may want to rethink his plan to exempt the UK from rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. Eurovision voters don’t always like cheesy, outdated music, as Germany proved in 2010 when Lena Meyer-Landrut won with shiny modern pop song Satellite. 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.

After Jade Ewen sang Andrew Lloyd Webber’s It’s My Time and came fifth in 2009, we scrapped the existing selection process, and came last again in 2010. 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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