Reuters top ten news stories delivered to your inbox each day.
You are here:
Business & Finance
The Great Debate
Do More With Reuters
Make Reuters My Homepage
Support (Customer Zone)
About Thomson Reuters
Gaudy and glitzy, Moscow hosts Eurovision contest
Tue May 12, 2009 9:47am EDT
Email | Print |
| Reprints | Single Page
By James Kilner
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Popular culture and kitsch will merge this week as the Russian capital opens the 54th Eurovision Song Contest, where issues such as gay rights and spats with neighbor countries have risen to the surface.
When pop star Dima Bilan won in Belgrade last year, Russia earned the right to host the annual Eurovision competition, one of Europe's most watched annual shows with a TV audience of at least 100 million viewers.
Now, 42 countries stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea coast are finalizing months of preparation for the lavish talent competition, being held at a stadium built for Moscow's hosting of the 1980 Olympic Games.
"It's one of the world's greatest television events," Terry Wogan, the veteran BBC television presenter who has commentated on Eurovision since 1971, recently told Reuters in an interview.
Local media have reported that the Russian capital has spent about $42 million preparing for the competition, making it one of the most expensive ever Eurovision shows.
The Russian winner of Miss World 2008 advertises Eurovision on posters around Moscow and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin toured the venue on Saturday to check on preparations.
Barry Viniker, who runs the Eurovision fan website www.esctoday.com, said Moscow had dramatically improved the quality of the event.
"Moscow is simply putting on the best Eurovision ever."
As in other years, politics are never far away.
Gay rights campaigners have vowed to ignore a potential ban and will march through Moscow on Saturday a few hours before the Eurovision final.
Russian activists have asked competitors to back gay rights on stage in a city whose mayor Yuri Luzhkov once described gay pride marches as "satanic."
The competition's governing body banned ex-Soviet Georgia, with which Russia fought a brief war last August, from the competition because its entry song -- a veiled jibe at Putin -- was considered too political.
The voting system this year has also changed. Unlike last year's final, half the votes on May 16 will come from professional judges from individual countries, as well as the regular voting awarded by the public.
Pure public voting has triggered accusations that people vote for neighboring countries or historical allies rather than the best song.
Over the last decade Nordic and Slavic countries have dominated Eurovision victories, which started in 1956 when Switzerland hosted and won the first contest. Continued...
View article on single page
Film executives cast hopeful eye on Cannes market
also on reuters
Blog: “Insult to injury” for retailers
Destination weddings see growth despite recession
Video: For Sale: The Berlin Wall 20 years after the fall
More Entertainment News
Economic woes weigh as Cannes film festival opens
Alternate Miss California named as Prejean awaits fate
"Star Trek" weekend box office nudged higher
Singer Yusuf Islam plays first U.S. show in 33 years
"Titanic" stars donate to final survivor
More Entertainment News...
A selection of our best photos from the past 24 hours. Slideshow
Most Popular on Reuters
Hands on: Windows XP Mode works -- but is it worth the trouble?
Toilet snake attack: urban legend comes true?
Pakistan soldiers swoop on Taliban stronghold | Video
California shortfall $21.3 billion if measures fail
HEADLINE STOCKS-U.S. stocks to watch on Tuesday
"Star Trek" weekend box office nudged higher
KFC cancels free chicken deal after Oprah promo
Could Android explode?
New virus could still mutate, spark pandemic: WHO
Accused Nazi guard arrives in Germany to face charges | Video
Most Popular Articles RSS Feed
UN urges Israel on settlements
Glow in the dark puppies debut
Green living with rooftop turbine
Sikhs flee Pakistan violence
Chocolate-powered racing car
Change of command in Afghanistan
Suspected Nazi guard deported
Bomber strikes in Pakistan conflict
Obama pushes for health overhaul
U.S. "heartened" by Saberi release
Most Popular Videos RSS Feed
The global destination for corporate leaders, deal-makers and innovators
Knowledge to Act
Help and Contact Us |
Advertise With Us |
Interactive TV |
Site Index |
Thomson Reuters Corporate:
Professional Products |
Professional Products Support |
About Thomson Reuters |
Latin America |
United Kingdom |
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.