Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rocking the contest

As we inch closer to this year's Eurovision Song Contest (May 20-24 in Belgrade), fun news keep trickling in. My favorite right now: Jean-Paul Gaultier is going to be one of the commentators on the French broadcast. Gaultier is clearly on a pop roll, having just done the costumes for Kylie's new tour, and I can't wait to hear what he has to say about the contest's traditionally, er, daring fashion.

I actually think this is going to be a superior vintage for Eurovision. I wasn't feeling it last year but Belgrade is going to deliver the goods.

First of all, there's now so many participating countries that there are two semi finals, each with 19 contestants, in addition to the five countries automatically in the run (France, the UK, Germany and Spain + host Serbia). Considering a large proportion of these entries are from Eastern Europe, which is known for an often dicy relationship with good taste, that's a whole lot of opportunity for hot messes.

But the thing is, lots of countries are throwing caution to the wind this year, and not just the ones from behind the old iron curtain. Just think: Ireland is sending a puppet named Dustin the Turkey (careful this video could make your head explode), Spain a comedian doing the Chiki Chiki dance, France is singing in English for the first time and Belgium just came up with an invented tongue. And of course we have classics: Latvia is sending a bunch of guys dressed as pirates, Finland rocks hard again, Ukraine has selected one of its leggy pop babes, Ani Lorak, with a song titled "Shady Lady" (which somehow seems so Ukraine) while Russia is banking on Dima Bilan with a track produced like Timbaland (also so Russia in its nouveau richness). As for Sweden, it's playing it relatively safe with Charlotte Perrelli, who actually won in 1999 under the name Charlotte Nilsson.

All bets are off!

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