Geopolitics, below the kitsch of Eurovision

by Anne-François Hivert

Posted at 1:03 pm today, updated at 1:03 pm.

Stockholm, Saturday 14 May 2016. For two weeks, the Ericsson Globe, a sports hall in the shape of a giant golf ball south of the Swedish capital, vibrates to the rhythm of Eurovision. It’s time for the final. Fans arriving from all over Europe are expected to be in for a surprise. We are here on conquered ground: the Swedes love and adore Eurovision. Beginning with ABBA’s victory at Brighton in 1974 waterlooThe Scandinavian Empire has won the competition created six times in 1956. Each year, the national candidate selection event, Melodifestivalen, easily attracts 3 million visitors to this country of 10 million residents.

At 9 p.m., the first notes of Te Deum H. 146 by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, composer of the XVIIAnd century. And we go on to the four-hour show… 20 of the 43 nations entered made it to the semi-finals. Six are automatically qualified: the bigpoch – France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain – as well as the host country, Sweden, therefore. Artists parade on stage. According to the rules established by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the organizer of the competition, each performance should not exceed three minutes.

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One of the most watched non-sporting events in the world

Nothing to miss: rhinestones, sequins, vivid decorations … A mixture of styles: pop, rock, folk. Some sing in English and some in their own language. In a light blue ruffled dress, bow tie in hair, the German candidate seems straight out of a manga, while the Cypriot rockers, in a cage, float above a cloud of smoke. In a flashy Miss en Abbey, the evening’s two presenters, Mans Zelmerlo, winner in 2015, and comedian Petra Mede go on a frenzied parody titled love, love, peace, peacewhere they make fun of all the kitsch flaws of Eurovision, one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the world with 200 million viewers.

For the intermission, Sweden made a big splash: Justin Timberlake traveled to Stockholm, where he had the world premiere of his new hit, Can’t stop feeling it!, Co-written with Swedish songwriters Max Martin and Shellback. American Star brings glamor and a touch of modernity. We’ll almost forget the diplomatic controversies that have been going on for weeks: the banned flag case, the branded banner by a very outspoken candidate, a song that enrages Russia…

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About the Author: Rusty Kemp

Tv ninja. Lifelong analyst. Award-winning music evangelist. Professional beer buff. Incurable zombie specialist.

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