Moscow

A magnificent show is what Russia is offering us tonight. An imposing opening featuring Dima Bilan performing last-year’s winning song. So far we’ve heard 8 songs, most of them deserving to win. Who is going to win tonight? Hang on till after 12.00 CET, when the winner will be announced.

The Finnish hard-rock nation decided to take a considerable turn in their Eurovision taste: this time round they are sending to Moscow a pop band – the famous Waldo’s People. Tampere saw a huge party last Saturday, when the song Lose Control got almost half of the votes of the audience and won the ticket to ESC 2009.

Waldo’s People got really popular across Europe in the late 90s. You will probably remember them with the hits of the time Feel So Good, It’s About Time and Move Your Body, as the band split 8 years ago, to come back together last year. They have four albums under their belt and enough confidence to challenge Eurovision.

Finland’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest dates back to 1961. For the 48 years of its participation it possessed the trophy only once, in 2006, when Lordi simply smashed the competition with their Hard Rock Hallelujah. These are moments that history remembers well.

How can you never give up participating in Eurovision?! There are people, who are always back in the game, willing to do their best and bring the trophy to their country.

There is such a person (we know he’s not the only one), who cannot leave Eurovision and keeps on producing songs for it. This is the beautiful and well… talented Sakis Rouvas, who will represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. The song to be composed specially for the show in Moscow, will be written by the prominent composer Dimitris Kontopoulos, who’s also behind Sakis’s hot summer hit Kai se thelo (I want You).

sakis-rouvas

sakis-body

You will remember that Mr. Rouvas participated in the 2004 Eurovision, when he finished in the top 3, and came back on stage as a host during the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens. Now, let’s see what’s going to happen in Moscow this spring.

By the way, Greece was the first country to select its entrant this season. Perhaps hoping that the early bird will catch the worm…

Yesterday, at a special ceremony in Moscow’s GUM shopping mall, the mayor of Belgrade Dragan Dilas handed over the symbolic keys to the «Eurovision» Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov. “Heavy burden!”, Mr. Luzhkov said assessing the weight of the Eurovision symbol. “But, we will keep it!

The mayor of the Serbian capital, Dragan Dilas handed Moscow’s mayor the symbolic key emphasising that he was pleased to bring the key to a congenial city, which Moscow is. The ceremony of handing over the key first took place in Belgrade, and was initiated by Helsinki, the 2007 host city.

The final of one of the oldest European music contests will take place from 12 to 16 May in the capital’s Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex. The Russian government already assured the city of Moscow that it will make sure to fix the potholes on the roads in the capital till May next year. Twenty-two hotels in Russia’s main city have already been booked for the Eurovision week.

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest has become a highly debated topic. Fans and professionals from all over Europe and around the world discuss this event massively. I am constantly amazed to find out that serious reserachers like Oxford scientists and students make extensive research on Eurovision and publish papers on it. It seems like this European event plays a major role in the cultural life of the old continent.

Much discontent has been voiced over the televoting procesure, which was introduced just several years ago. In fact, the major changes came after 1993, when fresh former Yugoslav republics emerged on the political and Eurovision map. 2004 competition in Istanbul also saw many changes as more and more countries showed interest in the Contest. There was the need to centralise the event, which gave ground to the appearance of a centralised voting system.

Block voting, as it is called, could only appear with the new countries taking part in Eurovision. Many experiments, however, show that even if the results of the post-1993 countries (the participants who took part after 1993) are not taken into account, the final ranking will still be the same. According to Julian Vignoles from RTE, who made a so-called ‘pre – ’93 Experiment’:

Leaving out the votes of mainly Eastern ‘new countries’ who joined from the early 90’s, the 2007 result would have been:

  1. Serbia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Turkey
  4. Russia
  5. Bulgaria

instead of : Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria

So, what did it take for Russia to win this year? Even with the neighbour voting, this would have brought Dima Bilan only 72 points form the “kindest neighbours” – Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. This is a far cry from what got Russia to the top – 272 points coming from 36 countries. In fact, this is the number of countries supporting Russia last year as well. So, if it’s neigbour or diaspora voting, why does Ireland, Turkey, Norway, Andorra, and Spain gave Russia 5 points each. I don’t know many Russians living in Romania too, or in Serbia, Cyprus, or Montenegro for that matter. Greece also supported the winner with 7 points, just like Slovenia and Malta. Hungary voted for Russia as well, giving it second place (10 points).

Numbers can go on forever, and perhaps many Russians live all over Europe and click on their mobiles like mad during the televoting window. But many other nations do it as well. I don’t feel like discussing the quality of “Believe” or Bilan’s performance. Even if it were only for Plyuschenko that many people voted for, I, as a modest viewer, thought that if the Russian team brought these professionals on stage, then they respect the audience.

We are definitely about to experience a huge show in Moscow next year, don’t you think?