Saturday, May 12, 2007


For those who do not know what Eurovision is, the shortest way to explain it would be simply an annual all-Europe pop-song contest. The country that has won the previous year hosts the contest. Last year was a small revolution because a Finnish hard rock band Lordi won it. This year turned out to be as interesting as 2006. Bookmakers were predicting that Ukrainian Verka Serduchka to take the contest one more time to Kyiv with a song called Dancing Lasha Tumbai, which sounds suspiciously similar to "Russia Goodbye". My native Belarus was also a possible winner with another Filipp Kirkorov's protégé Dmitry Koldun (which is should actually be Zmicier Kaldun in Belarusian) and a song "Work Your Magic". Yet, Serbia's Marija Šerifović and her song "Molitva" ("Prayer") won this year leaving Ukraine and Russia in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Belarus came in the 6th position, the highest ever.

The most peculiar part about the results was the score distribution. As per to the contest's rules, each participating country gives out points according to their selection (in most of the countries it is done through SMS and telephone voting): 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (from best to worst). All Slavic countries from Balkans gave 12 points (the highest) to Serbia, including Montenegro that split-off Serbia just a year ago. That is some very strange coincidence, or maybe they all voted for the strongest local performer just to get the contest to the region. Only Serbia did not give any points to itself because of the obvious rules that no country may vote for itself. On the other hand, Belarus got 12 points from Russia, Ukraine, and Israel (this time the Litvak Diaspora was voting properly). And speaking of diasporas, Estonia gave 12 points to Russia either as a gesture to mitigate the tension after relocation of a monument to Soviet soldiers who died in World War II from the central square of Tallinn to a military cemetery on the city outskirts, or Russians in Estonia decided to spite the government and voted for "ze mazerland".

Summing up, next year Eurovision will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, not in Kyiv, Ukraine, or (sigh) Minsk, Belarus, though thankfully not Moscow, Russia. Taking off nationalist's pink glasses, I can say and many agree with this point of view that Belarus as a whole is not ready to host an event of Eurovision's magnitude. Primarily, we lack the infrastructure to support such an influx of tourists, media, and crews as the contest brings. In addition, for as long as many talented musicians will be banned from having concerts (let alone representing the country on international level) because of their political views, we will be lucky to get the 6th place. Well, let's wait for May 2008 in Belgrade and see what happens. Predictions destroy all the fun and suspense of the contest.

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