Any news article on Eurovision usually begins with saying how it's totally famous all over Europe and no one knows about it in the US. I for one can say that I hadn't heard about it before coming to Europe. It's a competition, each country sends one songwriter with a new song. It's been criticized as cheesy and campy, but it's fun and occasionally there's some really good songs that come from it.
Last year, Alexander Rybak from Norway won. Here's a picture from an article on him in the nytimes. link. Because Norway won last year, Norway got to host the event this year.
So tonight we joined the rest of Europe in sitting down and watching a wonderful competition taking place in Oslo. 24 finalists gave an entertaining 90 minute concert, and then we saw highlights as the judges made their decisions and we phoned in our votes. For 5 kr. you could phone in a vote for any country except your own. Pam voted for Russia. I voted for Spain. We both loved Belgium. A panel of jurists in each country decided 50% of the countries votes, and the phone-in pay votes determined the other 50%. At the end, each country in turn awards points to the other countries – very exciting to watch the votes come in. Maggie and I sat with a map, learning about.... Azerbaijain? Moldova? Belarus? Where are these places? Now we know.
At the end of the day, a spunky teenager from Germany won. And we had a lot of fun. Thanks, Eurovision!