Tonight, Saturday 13th May will see the much awaited final of the Eurovision Song ContetThe Ukrainian capital Kiev has been able to put on a real visual spectacle for the two semi-finals so the conclusion of the event is bound to be a great spectacle.
This year’s event was in the news well before its start first because of the delays in the preparations and the official tickets release and then more recently when Russia decided to withdraw from the contest, following the ban on their chosen performer, Julia Samoylova, accused of having entered in occupied Crimea via Russia (and having performed there) - which is illegal according to Ukraine’s law.
Without Russia, the remaining 36 countries not getting automatic admission to the final (the ‘big 5’ plus the host country are pre-qualified) competed in two semifinals last Tuesday and Thursday and the final lot of 26 finalists is now getting ready for tonight’s soiree.
The controversial entry for Montenegro Slavko Kalezic, with its explicit lyrics did not make it to the final, possibly because of a lacklustre performance on the night. However the very handsome Imri gained a place in the final for Israel. The extremely cute and huggable Nathan Trent also secured a place in the final for Austria. Compared to last year’s exceptional performer Dami Im, Australia’s choice for this year wasn’t so remarkable, however they managed to secure a place in the final. Overall, this year’s entries have been noticeable for the large number of ballads and a lot fewer upbeat and dance tunes. However an exception was the very danceable “This is Love” by Greece’s Demi and “Hey Mamma” from Moldova’s Sunstroke Project.
A controversy has been raised about Croatia’s entry, Jaques Houdek, who is on record for having said, in a 2005 interview that ‘the gay and lesbian population cannot be equal with other citizens because it means a return to Sodom and Gomorrah’. The singer has since denied being homophobic and denied that he actually made such statements. He even added that he has ‘gay friends’ - a pretty lame excuse, which we’ve all heard before to polish away any whiff of homophobic statement
The 20 qualifiers will tonight perform with remaining 6 pre-qualified countries. The big 5 have this years pulled all the stops and feature some really good numbers. France is competing with the delightful Alma and a fantastic song Requiem, which will transport viewers in a sparkling Paris. Germany’s Levina is also a strong contestant with her song “Perfect Life”. The UK’s entry, Lucy Jones with her song "Never Give Up on You” is probably one of the best entries for the country in years. And then there’s Italy’s Francesco Gabbani with his ‘Occidentali’s Karma”, which is still the bookies favourite to win the contest, at 1.75, though it appears France is gaining momentum.
In the end, it may well be that the competition will be decided by the quality of the performance on the night. We can’t wait.
||I Feel Alive
||Story of My life
||Running on Air
||Fly With Me
||Lights and Shadows
||Where I Am
||Amar Pelos Dois
||Don't Come Easy
||This Is Love
||Do It For Your Lover
||Grab The Moment
||Never Give Your Up
||Ilinca ft. Alex Florea
||I Can't Go On
The Montenegro contestant for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Slavko Kalezic has ruffled a few feathers in his conservative home country.
On May 9, Kalezic is slated to perform Space, an uptempo pop-dance number, in the first semifinal of the glittery show best known for camp song-and-dance routines, which many countries see as a forum to promote their national identity and culture to the rest of the world.
Kalezic’s thinly veiled song about sex, his meter-long ponytail, shimmering clothing, and the 31-year-old's proclamation after winning the nomination that he is the country's "drag queen" have been applauded by some, abroad in particular, for challenging stereotypes.
But not so much at home, where more than 70 percent of people identify as Orthodox Christians. There, Kalezic’s entry has been met with as many, if not more, criticism than plaudits.
Kalezic is a well-known singer and actor in the tiny coastal nation of 622,000 people and he has regularly performed in the Montenegro National Theatre, as well as in the local X-Factor TV programme.
He makes no apologies for his artistic interpretations, onstage or off, and says he has no time for those who criticise his flamboyant costumes and style as symbols of Western decadence.
"I've been onstage for 10 years, with my style and direction. I'm very pleased that there are many people who like what I do," he told RFE/RL in an interview. "If we need to talk about polarisation, intelligent people really understand what I do as an artist."
Montenegro is under pressure to protect human rights in order to advance toward membership in the European Union. For example, there is no legal recognition of same-sex couples in the country, and the constitution bans same-sex marriage.
The 16th edition of Maspalomas Gay Pride has been inaugurated on Friday, with a special event, which started with a Priscilla Queen of the Desert homage.The Pride event, which is becoming more and more successful year after year, will continue until 14th May and over 150,000 people are expected to attend, with a tourism boom for the island calculated in 100 million Euros.
This year Maspalomas Pride will also see the coronation of Mr Gay World, in conjunction with Madrid.
There will also be the traditional pride parade on Saturday 13th April, with the participation of 27 floats.
Sadly the event has also seen an unfortunate incident: on Friday a 27 year old British man disappeared after going for a swim with his partner at Playa del Ingles. He went missing around 1:30pm local time, but his body was found three and a half hours later.