Last night, I posted a piece about an American recording of the song, "Hallelujah," which had won the Eurovision contest in 1979. I wrote it specifically about the couple who sang on the record (I'm not naming them here, in case you haven't read the article yet, which you can see here), and that reason only. I had no idea when this year's Eurovision contest was.
It turns out that this year's Eurovision, which occurs over three days, ended -- tonight! Just hours ago.
If you don't know about Eurovision (and I don't know much), it's sort of Europe's pop music equivalent of the Olympics/World Cup soccer/Oscars -- only glitzier. I'm not kidding. This is the 58th year, and the extravaganza cost $23 million. You didn't read that wrong. Yes, $23 million for pop song contest. And 125 million people watched it worldwide, broadcast from Malmo, Sweden.
And you thought American Idol was a bit much.
"Once again without fail," the AP wrote about the contest, "it produced a mix of bubble-gum pop songs, somber ballads, bagpipes, accordions and bizarrely kitsch musical productions."
How bizarrely kitschy? Third-place finisher from Ukraine was Zlata Ognevich with her song "Gravity." As the A.P. wrote, "Ognevich was carried onstage in Saturday night's finals by the tallest man in the U.S. – Ukrainian-born Igor Vovkovinskiy. Vovkovinskiy – who stands 7 feet, 8 inches – wobbled onstage in a fur and feathers, placing the fairy-like Ognevich on a rock where she stood for the rest of the performance."
Or this about the 13th-place finisher: "Romanian opera singer Cezar gave one of the more remarkable performances. He resembled a Dracula reborn as a high-pitched vocalist, attempting a crossover opera pop number with techno beats and pyrotechnics.
It's all done by country, with numerous rounds and a convoluted point system that makes the Electoral College seem sane and rational. The winning song came from Denmark, 20-year-old Emelie de Forest, whose song was "Only Teardrops."
It's perfectly pleasant, in a snappy way, and nicely performed. But it's hard to think that this was The Best Song in All of Europe. But it won, and this is Ms. de Forest's performance on the final night. Amid the glitz. I think you'll be able to catch a glimpse. And just know that this a totally sedate number.