As expected, my presence at the Eurovision Song Contest is not easy to explain. Thankfully, the main thing I find interesting in this annual event is finally beginning to crystallize into a performance theory, which I'm slowly articulating into a plan for what will probably surface as an academic paper. The more I see of the media circus that goes on behind the scenes courtesy of the European Broadcasting Union, the more I see the wealth of performance studies angles available for close scrutiny. It's very pleasant to be able to share such thought with fellow academics in a place where most people wouldn't expect to see beasts like us.
I'm sure that's not what most of the readers of this blog are expecting to hear from me at this point. I was speaking with some media people from Malta just a few moments ago and noticed that I have little more to say than what I've already said in Sunday's blog entry. The only thing I would add is that it looks as if a novelty song could win the contest this year. By "novelty song" I mean an unusual act in the sense that it's not just another song like many others before it. We'll know better after Thursday's semifinal, once the thumb-wrestlers of Europe have spoken and made the telecom beneficiaries several thousand euros richer.
The weather in Belgrade is too warm and muggy to make sightseeing for long hours pleasant, even if the public transport system in this city is most efficient and affordable. This is how I find myself picking the top 10 songs I'd like to see make it through to the final from the first semifinal round, set to hit the stage at the Belgrade Arena this evening (in order of appearance).
DISCLAIMER: There's a personal agenda (slightly hidden, for now) guiding my choices. To avoid any unpleasant misunderstandings, I hasten to add that my agenda is purely academic.
Moldova: Geta Burlacu - A Century Of Love
Anyone looking for a non-Eurovision song (whatever that is!) needs look no further than this.
San Marino: Miodio - Complice
This small nation's Maria l-Maltija makes me want to see more from this country.
Belgium: Ishtar - O Julissi
A song in a language specially invented by the lyricist.
Azerbaijan: İctimai - Elnur & Samir - Day After Day
It takes some doing to be this theatrical on a Eurovision stage.
Ireland: Dustin the Turkey - Irelande Douze Pointe
Finally! A Eurovision singer that's an actual puppet.
Bosnia & Herzegovina - Laka - Pokušaj
Laka is the sort of performer I'd love to see in a full concert rather than just singing one 3 minute song.
Finland: Teräsbetoni - Missä Miehet Ratsastaa
What could be better than heavy metal in Finnish at the Eurovision? Not even Lordi managed to pull that!
Romania: Nico & Vlad - Pe-o Margine De Lume
Anything this old fashioned is bound to attract votes from the (possibly) millions of old fashioned Eurovision viewers.
Russia: Dima Bilan - Believe
Hats off to the guy who came second in 2006, right behind Lordi.
Greece: Kalomira - Secret Combination
Wouldn't it be lovely to go back to Athens next May?
My top 10 will obviously not be the top vote receivers tonight. There are a few songs not on my list which I think will actually make it to the final. These include: Israel (does Dana International want to win the contest as a songwriter?), Andorra (just because Gerard James Borg knows a thing or two about Eurovision song titles), and Armenia (the bookies rank this only second to Russia for the first semifinal round).
Please feel free to comment below. I'm particularly fond of anonymous comments meant to discredit anything I have to say about the Eurovision...they're like the words of a drunkard, close to the truth but often a sad reflection of something more important.