Eurovision acts to watch
Out of 42 contenders, 26 countries will compete in the Eurovision 2016 final at the Globe Arena on Saturday. Sweden and 25 other countries, including the "big five" - France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK - are some of the largest financial supporters of the European Broadcasting Union-TV, which produces the contest.
Here are a few words on some of the most interesting performers:
– Duel between Russia and Ukraine –
Bookmakers are closely watching the Russian-Ukrainian duel between Sergei Lazarev, who will sing “You are the only one”, and Ukraine’s Jamala, who will sing “1944”, a song inspired by her great-grandmother’s stories. Jamala’s song recounts the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Soviet strongman Joseph Stalin. Political leaders in Moscow and Crimea protested against this song choice for, they say, bashing Russia for its annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
– Singing naked with wolves –
Belarusian competitor Ivan, tall and thin with long blond hair, was forced to put his clothes on after rehearsing naked while flanked by a wolf named Shakira. Eurovision, which prohibits the presence of animals on stage and requires contestants to be clothed, has forbidden him from appearing naked. Ivan has agreed to always wear his clothes and he has also agreed to use a holographic image instead of a real wolf.
– The Voice, a Frenchman –
French-Israeli performer Amir Haddad has also been given favourable odds for his song “J’ai cherch?” (I searched). With a range and tone often compared with Enrique Iglesias, Amir was a 2014 finalist in the French version of The Voice, the international television singing competition. Amir, 31, could become the first French performer to win the Eurovision contest since 1977.
– Tiara and lace –
Set to appear in a lace gown and a floral tiara, 19-year-old Austrian Zoe Straub, a former student at the French school in Vienna, will be singing “Loin d’ici” (Far from here), in French. Her song choice should delight Andre Vallini, France’s minister of Francophonie, who protested against Amir Haddad’s decision to sing a small part of his song in English.
– Singing from down under –
Australia will participate as a special guest for the second year running. Competitor Dami Im was born in South Korea, and moved to Brisbane, Australia with her family when she was nine. A classically trained pianist, she learned how to speak English by listening to pop songs.
Dami entered the spotlight in 2013, when she took the Australia X-Factor crown. Her astonishing voice and transformation into a fully-fledged pop performer has won the hearts of the Australian public.
AFP / Expatica