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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

One Love

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.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Since you like them so much I won't disappoint you... :) Please don't read too much into this... I assure you I am as far removed from the scene as peace is from the Middle East... but I happen to take umbrage when my intelligence as a reader is insulted... academics do not hold exclusive rights to intellect... or the expression thereof :) Well, to continue with your line of writing, then: Cheers :) I'll buy you a margarita if we ever meet... 

    4:11 PM, May 20, 2008
    Blogger Athena said...

    I'm having a whale of a time, as always. I think Azerbaijan is my new favourite country:-) Haven't laughed so hard in ages, to be honest. I'm kinda bummed we can't vote tonight in the UK though... we get to vote on Thurs and I'm off to watch Indiana Jones then, because well... I can't resist Indy:) Anyways, hope you're having a good time in Belgrade and I'm actually dying to hear about performativity when you're back. I might bug you via email later! 

    9:47 PM, May 20, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I usually enjoy reading your blogs especially when you rubbish some flavour of the week piss artist....but "fellow academics" reeks of self proclaimed aesthetical superiority....that's a no no.....reminds me of the way "left" leaning politicians seem to exude some sort of moral superiority....bollocks.....please don't turn into some sort of politically correct faggot. 

    1:34 PM, May 21, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Anonymous... I guess that it's his way of satisfying his eurovision craze without actually admitting it. "Hey I'm here but I'm doing it because I'm an academic, and not because there are loads of beautiful half-naked girls strutting their stuff" :) Come on Toni let us the truth... the eurovision aint no academic material... it's just a freak show financed by taxpayers. 

    8:12 PM, May 21, 2008
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    sorry but this is not a fair competition evryone has ears to hear and eyes to see dont tell me turkey is a nice song and more this is all scracth my back and i scracth yours . 

    11:23 PM, May 22, 2008

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