Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest has won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with her ethno-inspired flute and drum tune Only Teardrops, despite tough competition from spectacular stage shows by performers from Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Juries and television viewers across Europe awarded the barefoot, hippie-chic 20-year-old for the catchy love song that is driven by her deep, Shakira-like voice
Israel’s national broadcast authority has banned the country’s contestant in the upcoming Eurovision song contest from wearing a dress made by John Galliano, citing an anti-Semitic rant by the celebrity designer two years ago.
The Eurovision song contest has always been a breeding ground for some very strange performances. The Ukraine in 2007 sent drag queen comedian Verka Serduchka with Dancing Lasha Tumbai, last year Russia’s oldest girl-group warmed the cockles of our hearts, and there’s also Germany’s Guildo Hat Euch lieb.
In the run-up to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, celebrity contestants dominated the headlines and the bookies’ odds tables. Britain’s boy band Blue who have sold 13 million records worldwide since 2001 flew the British flag.
Being gay is not supposed to be a crime in Russia. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993; six years later, the law that sent gays and lesbians to psychiatric wards was annulled. But Russia would still rather have its homosexual citizenry invisible and silent.
Critics deride the Eurovision Song Contest as a cultural Chernobyl, an ostentatious talent show in which gaudiness and sex appeal have more currency than musical ability.
Dozens of gays and lesbian rights activists planning a parade in southwestern Moscow Saturday have been detained, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. The arrests included Nikolai Alexeyev, a prominent gay activist in Russia and his associate Nikolai Bayev, Interfax said, adding that more people trickling into the location were being arrested without explanations. Officials of Moscow’s gay community had announced earlier plans to rally at Novopushkinsky Park in central Moscow, Interfax said.
Compassion and creativity are often the first casualties of conflict. But in Israel where conflict has become a way of life artistic expression sometimes still manages to transcend even the most brutal realities.