Before Britain's Got Talent; before American Idol; before any of these talent shows, there was Eurovision. Founded in 1956, Eurovision is a hugely popular song contest in Europe. Each country submits a song and singer(s) and then the countries vote their favorites (but you may not vote for your own country). The Wikipedia entry states that it launched ABBA's career when they won it in 1974, and also that Celine Dion won it for Sitzerland (I thought she was Canadian?). Whatever, the case, it may well be one of the most popular events you've never heard of
(it's supposed to be one of the most-watched non-sporting events in the
I caught a lot of this year's finals this past weekend, which Russia ran away with. Yes, I'm not sure why Russia is considered part of Europe either. Ditto Israel. The article states that Eurovision can be dismissed as tacky and kitschy. And how. Latvian pirates, anyone? The winning Russian act involved a figure skater skating around the singer. There were some quality acts too but, often, the voting has as much to do with national loyalties as with the talent. For instance, the Scandic countries tended to support their own. The former Russian republics always being sure to vote for Russia in the top 3, which begged the quip that they did so to keep their electricity on the next day.
Great Britain, Germany and Poland all tied for last place. The Reuters article describes how this led to consternation in Germany, which had submitted one of its most popular bands. My theory is that those 3 countries also happen to have participated in the Iraq War.
Given the popularity of the format, they should extend it to other continents and then have a 'world cup' every 2 or 4 years. You read it here first!