Read, Write, Run, Roam

Springtime for Singers in Germany


It’s officially springtime in Europe. How do I know? It’s not because I see trees blooming in courtyards. It’s not the well-dressed people strolling along cobblestone streets. And it’s not because sidewalks are losing territory to cafe tables. I know it’s spring because the media is dominated by one word: Eurovision.

Eurovision is an international song contest. Each country chooses a person or group to sing on live television and receive votes from other countries. The most popular song wins the competition, evoking national pride and heavy airplay. It’s a cross between the Olympics, the United Nations, and American Idol on LSD.

Serbians are justifiably attentive to Eurovision. The first time Serbia entered the contest as an independent country in 2007, it won. This allowed Belgrade to host Eurovision 2008, increasing Serbia’s international profile and attracting tourist dollars.

Even if you don’t like the music (and trust me, you probably won’t) Eurovision is worth watching for the crazy sets and performers. Here’s Jedward, representing England:

England's approach: Max Headroom redux

Then there are the more colorful performers, like this guy from Moscow in 2009. Sadly, he didn’t make it to the semi-finals. I guess they don’t give many points for amazing mustaches.

The gentleman below is a Spanish contestant who performed at the semi-finals last year. I think I’ve had nightmares similar to this image. The guy in the black t-shirt crashed the performance, but I barely noticed him next to the zombie/jester guy.

In addition to crazy outfits, there’s political intrigue as well. This year, Greece complained that Macedonia’s song was too nationalistic; Armenia was accused of stealing part of its song’s chorus; and according to Belarusian bloggers (I love this term) Belarus’ entry sounds remarkably like another song by a Russian rock band.

Serbia will participate in the first of two semi-finals on May 10th in Dusseldorf, Germany. I plan to admire the insane costumes and performances while I cheer on Serbia’s Nina, who (I presume) will perform this surprisingly retro, jazzy tune.

Who knows? Caroban could be the winner of this year’s Eurovision, keeping company with other winners like ABBA and Celine Dion. At the very least, when this song becomes European elevator music, you’ll be able to recognize the tune.

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