May 21, 2006

Young and old rockers had their day at last on Eurovision Song Contest

The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is a big thing for some people over here in Europe; mostly because some participants and winners went on to make gigantic careers in the music business. ABBA and Celine Dion are two of these examples off the top of my head. "Waterloo" was anything but prophetic for the Swedish band in the early 70's when they won. Celine represented Switzerland (if memory serves me right) back in her stepping stone years (early 80's) when eyebrow tweezers didn't constitute a necessary accessory in her handbag.

I'd be lying to you if I told you I'm not an avid viewer of the ESC. On a mature level, I don't endorse the whole shebang because the songs and participants seem to all be morphing into English-singing MTV pop music look-alikes with a rare musical ethnic characteristic here and there. Nevertheless, my adolescent subconscious finds it highly amusing trying to guess the winner and spot a prospective international hit.

So, last night I found myself plopped on the couch in front of the TV to watch the 2006 ESC which was hosted in Athens because last year Greece finally won first place after 26 years of participation. (The winner hosts the whole affair, which boosts tourism according to the ESC regulations. I have serious doubts that the Greek hosting committee can balance out the expenses of such an expensive party). Anyway, my favorite entries for 2006 were Norway (a beautiful ballad sung in Norwegian and one of the few songs in native language), Ireland (Brian Kennedy in an inspiring ballad which the Irish ESC entries are famous for), Finland (a hard rock song that would have gone unnoticed had the group not had a "KISS" concept), Ukraine (a bouncy young lass with good breathing and spunk for such a fast song) and last but not least Lithuania (six famous Lithuanian male artists with a befooling, singy-songy one-line repetition of "We are the winners of Eurovision"). I've got to hand it to Lithuanians they have a great sense of humor and I wish they had won if only to ridicule the over-played grandness of the ESC.

I immensely enjoyed the outcome of the contest. Lordi, the horror rock/metal Finnish band not only managed to make all of Europe take notice of their appearance but they also managed to sweep in the votes from every and any kid (and adult) who likes hard rock music; myself included. Finns had never won the contest for over 40 years and had given up hope of ever bringing home the ESC. Finland sent the group as a surrendered attempt to poke fun of the ESC's pop-idol victors. Well, look who's having the last laugh. I heard one granny on the news say, "Sure, the Finns won, by the time I could send one vote on my cell phone, my grandson had voted 10 times already for this group". Young and old rockers had their day at last on Eurovision Song Contest.

p.s. The highlight of the after-contest press interview was when the Finnish band leader (Mr.Lordi) sung the Lithuanian entry "We are the the winners of Eurovision". Quite amusing.