Mapped: who votes for whom in Eurovision? A guide to political voting

23 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 Russian Artists Who Lit Up the Eurovision Song Contest.

The reigning champion is thrilled at Australia’s involvement this year for the contest’s 60th anniversary, with the grand final airing on BBC One on May 23. “I think that’s great. Countries in Eurovision vote by drawing up a list of their ten favourite songs – giving 12 points to the first, ten to the second, and then eight, seven, six and so forth to the rest.This year’s contest takes place Saturday in Vienna, which won the right to host the contest after Austria’s Conchita Wurst claimed top spot with her performance of “Rise Like a Pheonix” in last year’s final.“Don’t patronise me Nikolaj, I’m 51 not dead!” – Graham on the Eurovision host’s suggestion that some viewers may not understand hashtags (2014) “‘We are Slavic girls, we know how to use our charming beauty, now shake what your mama gave you.’ It’s essentially a feminist anthem.” – Graham gives his damning verdict on Poland’s raunchy Donatan & Cleo (2014) “Oh look it’s the Eiffel Tower!

A YouGov poll in 2013 showed Britons have the strongest conviction that “it’s all political.” Sir Terry Wogan famously stepped down as UK host in 2008 for this very reason, claiming that the event was no longer a music competition. Regarding the likes of Dickens and Shakespeare, my expertise is limited to what was compulsory at school and what I’ve picked up through Gwyneth Paltrow movies.

Russian singer and actress Polina Gagarina will be hoping to follow in Conchita’s footsteps by winning over the public and judges alike with her song “A Million Voices,” which she will perform in English rather than in her native tongue. All eyes will be on Guy Sebastian singing Tonight Again as he lines up against some hot competition. (Should he win, next year’s competition will be held in a European city.) Forty countries have competed in the two semi-finals in the Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna including Sweden’s Mans Zelmerlow singing Heroes, Austria’s the Makemakes with I am Yours, Germany’s Ann Sophie with Black Smoke and Britain’s Electro Velvet with Still in Love with You. (Australia did not have to go through the qualifying rounds to get to the grand final.) One of Vienna’s contributions to this year’s theme “building bridges” is to have traffic lights show male or female gay couples in red for stop and green for go, instead of the standard solo man — at least it may improve road safety. Without it we would never have seen Russia in uproar over an Austrian drag queen, been introduced to Finnish death metal in its purest form, or witnessed the Irish attempt to win with an act called Dustin the Turkey.

I would love to have the whole world involved in this beautiful concept of the Eurovision Song Contest,” she said. “I love Eurovision because once a year, it’s the biggest music event on the planet. SBS hosts Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang will be ringside to report all the action and interview artists, and last year’s controversial winner, Conchita Wurst, will host the green room.

While these aren’t exactly Game of Thrones-style warring factions, certain groups of countries tend to score each other’s acts favourably on the night, and are therefore known as voting blocs. One of the first names that comes to mind when talking about Russia’s Eurovision successes has to be Dima Bilan, who won the contest with his song “Believe” in 2008 — two years after finishing as a runner-up with the song “Never Let You Go.” Bilan, who was 24 when he first appeared in Eurovision, was awarded 248 points for “Never Let You Go,” but it wasn’t enough for him to beat Finnish hard rockers Lordi who garnered 292 points to take the title. Most important to me, you can come as you are, you can do whatever you want on stage. “If you want to come as a bearded lady, there’s no one in the entire Eurovision family who will say you’re not allowed to do so. Since then, it has awarded more than twice as many points to Russia as to any other country, with almost a third of them going to either Russia or Ukraine. Two years later, Bilan was back in action at Eurovision when he was joined on stage for his performance of “Believe” by Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton and Russia’s Olympic champion figure skater Evgeni Plushenko.

If that doesn’t sound like much, remember that the voting system forces each country to spread many of its points across fourth, seventh and tenth preferences. Since he first burst onto the Eurovision scene in 2006, Bilan has had a successful music career in Russia, releasing five albums and recording several number one singles. EF Benson’s comic novels were first adapted for television in the 1980s starring Geraldine McEwan as haughty widow Emmeline “Lucia” Lucas and Prunella Scales as the duplicitous Elizabeth Mapp.

Far away from the Wiener Stadhalle and the preparations for tomorrow night’s Grand Final, Canadian researcher Sean Hutchins is studying the elements behind innate musical talent at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. “We tend to find prodigies, people who are just naturally more gifted, when it comes to particular instruments like the piano or the violin,” he says. “Singing’s actually very different as everyone can produce a sound. I can’t understand it because I’m just me and I’m not the Dalai Lama,” she admitted. “It’s a huge honour that people think of me as an icon or a role model, but I don’t see myself that way. Then, one fateful Friday night, channel surfing and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon took me to the city of Malmo in Sweden, where the loosely defined countries of Europe (i.e. including Israel) were taking to the stage. Faux lesbian pop duo t.A.T.u. were already established names when they represented Russia in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, going into the competition as the widely-tipped favorites to win. Even if people don’t learn the technique behind how to sing, you use your voice for the purpose of speech so everyone’s reasonably adept at controlling it.

But Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina caused controversy before the contest had even begun, reportedly calling German entry Lou “a witch” and suggesting that they would easily win the competition. The key thing which separates good singers from bad isn’t so much natural talent, but getting the training to use it in the right way.” We’re all actually far more musical than we perhaps think. You have to sell your car to get a pint.” – Graham introduces Greek act Koza Mostra and Agathonas Iakovidis (2013) “This will put fear into your heart – she’s a devoted experimental jazz musician.

The duo, who shared a brief kiss during the performance, eventually finished third — just three points behind winners Turkey and two points behind Belgium, which came in second place. Around 2% of the population have a pitch perception deficit which impairs their ability to detect the fine differences between musical notes, but the remaining 98% of us are all pretty similar in our ability to perceive music and judge whether it’s in or out of tune. She can do extraordinary things with her voice…not pleasant things but extraordinary.” – Graham presents Albania’s Eurovision entry Rona Nishliu (2012) “He looks like a nice boy who’s fallen in with the wrong lot, doesn’t he?” Graham reacts to Eric Saade’s performance of “Popular” for Sweden (2011) “It’s an unusual Eurovision this year. I also say stupid things.” “And the only goal I had for myself was to enjoy it and collect experiences, getting inspired and this definitely happened.

Vocal ability largely comes down to largely comes down to being able to control the pitch of the sound and the main reason why some people appear to be poor singers comes down to lacking the right motor control. “You can think of music production and singing in particular as a physical skill,” Hutchins explains. “It requires the ability to sync up what you’re intending to do with what you’re actually doing. This two-part drama doesn’t add much to the story of the investigation into the murders of seven backpackers in NSW in the 1990s but it does string together the story of how NSW Police Unit Task Force Air set about finding the killer.

Here in part two, Superintendent Clive Small (Geoff Morrell) heads up the investigation, which has just one solid piece of evidence to work with: Ruger rifle ammunition left at the crime scene. Indeed, in a broader world where music is becoming more and more like pornographic processed cheese (Hi, Beyonce), Eurovision celebrates the niche and unexpected. People who’ve grown up singing along to their favourite songs will probably be better singers than average as they’ve practised hearing and reproducing those sounds.” Controlling pitch requires a series of physical processes to be synchronized at the same time. Kirkorov has enjoyed a successful career spanning more than two decades, and in 2008 he was awarded the title of “People’s Artist of the Russian Federation.” But despite an extremely rousing performance, Pugachova did only slightly better than her husband, finishing in 15th place out of a total of 25 entries.

To my mind, the jury is out on whether it is too soon after these hideous crimes to be making a television series about it. “I didn’t want to do it but I knew I had to and I knew I had the internal means to do it,” says physics professor John Vincent Atanasoff, the inventor who in 1937 set about designing the first digital computer. It’s a highly intricate co-ordination between how fast the air is moving out of your lungs and how tightly your vocal folds are positioned so that the air passes through them, causing them to vibrate and create a pitch. While Pugacheva may not have brought Eurovision glory upon Russia, she is a hugely successful singer in her own right, releasing dozens of studio albums throughout a career that has spanned almost five decades. For example, a 2014 study conducted by UCL and Imperial College grouped the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia with the former USSR, forming a giant bloc which they said split into two more-or-less random groups each year.

In his 2008 study into Eurovision voting alliances, Dr Derek Gatherer identified six countries who are still generally considered to be unattached to any kind of vote exchange: Monaco, France, Israel, Switzerland, Portugal and Germany. No one had heard of Atanasoff until 1967 when a young patent lawyer, Charles Call, discovered a reference to him in a book while researching a case involving Honeywell. While it seems clear that countries vote positively for their neighbours, this doesn’t necessarily mean that other European countries, such as those in the West, are being actively discriminated against. Beyond bearded transvestite Conchita Wurst’s winning performance last year, the 2007 runner-up was a Ukrainian drag queen who marched about in silver Dolce & Gabbana, hollering a gibberish folk-techno track. Hailing from the village of Buranovo, which lies to the east of the Ural mountains, the group said they would use any cash raised from their performance to help rebuild a local Russian Orthodox church.

This Canadian documentary includes archival interviews with Atanasoff (who died in 1995, but not before being recognised by president George HW Bush) and Call. In 2010 they entered Russia’s song selection process, but finished third with their song “A Very Long Birch Bark and How to Make a Headdress out of It.” I have a strong enough sense of self-preservation not to suggest that the music is a standout part of Eurovision (admittedly, at times, it can be the worst). In a first for an Australian professional ensemble, a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra of the grandest Viennese music (including Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven) feature spectacular scenes of Vienna projected on to the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

The Greatest Hits from Vienna concert and multimedia event was held on February 4; catch it here if, like me, it passed you by at the time. “The greatest threat today in the world is the keyboard. And along with the endless songs about broken heartage, the Eurovision canon includes artists examining topics like Facebook, passwords and free booze. Today we see that level of capability being exercised by individuals using keyboards rather than bombs,” says Sean McGurk, former director of the US Department of Homeland Security’s control system security program.

You can learn to adjust your vocal tract to gain the type of timbre you’re aiming for.” Our vocal timbres vary because the cavities inside of your mouth and nose act like a cathedral hull, setting up places for the sound waves to bounce off. For 2+2 = 3 reasons, this is to celebrate 60 years of Eurovision and the fact that Australia is such a great mate of the contest – with so many faithful viewers every year.

Turkey and Croatia are the first and second most popular pieces, and Serbia is the fourth – indicating different groups still vote for different countries. So this weekend, when the finals air on our TV screens, we can’t just sit on the sidelines and giggle about the lady who inexplicably sings opera-style in Armenia’s act. Millions of viewers around the world have followed the wildly successful historical drama series Vikings, based on the legendary Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok. Acts who are already well known tend to do well in the competition, and performers are bound to be familiar in the countries close to where they are from. In this three-part series Scottish historian and archeologist Neil Oliver seeks out the real story behind the Viking age of migration, war and conquest from prehistoric times to the empire of Canute.

Hutchins’ research has found that many people struggle with singing simply because they believe they’re a poor singer. “The psychology involved can make a very big difference,” he says. “I’ve given talks where a number of people have come up to me afterwards and said that a teacher had told them they didn’t have any musical ability when they were young and they should just mouth the words in the school choir. While there was some concern that Australia stumped for Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian – and not someone cooler – to sing its song, three thoughts are comforting on this front: It is easy to view Eurovision as a cultural pestilence with an expensive light show: the musical equivalent of the Logies.

In the first of three episodes, he is in Scandinavia where he encounters the remains of weapon-filled war boats and long-haired Bronze Age farmers, plus the Swedish site of gruesome pagan ritual. Her performances at festivals and events in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia meant she already had a following in these countries, and therefore received more points from the Balkan bloc. Back for a third season, this lively comedy game show hosted by Lawrence Mooney with Brooke Satchwell and a panel of guests dissects the week’s news and the people grabbing the spotlight. Dirty Laundry sends it all up mercilessly in this live, spontaneous take on what’s behind the fascination and why anyone would care about a bunch of mostly B-grade wannabes. When the UK tried a similar tack, organising a European tour for 2009 entry Jade Ewen, it worked out well, Ewen came in at a respectable fifth place, a big improvement on our last place performance in 2008.

Or it is for something like the Olympics that takes up two weeks of your life and provides just as much heartbreak and disappointment as it does happy victorious moments. William Adams, founder of Eurovision news site WiWi Bloggs, suggested “Russia could show up without a song and they could still make the final”, such is the unwavering nature of the ex-Soviet vote.

According to the Bible, 3000 years ago a beautifully carved chest containing the stones on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed was constructed following God’s command. Set in Los Angeles circa 1967, this attractive retro cop series stars David Duchovny, best known as Fox Mulder from The X Files (which also is being revived next year). This means that Electro Velvet has a stronger chance of getting high scores from their unconventional bloc buddies, as they cannot vote for each other.

Nordic countries on the other hand may find it hard to get those top scores, as more countries than usual from the Scandinavian bloc find themselves in the final.

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