It’s almost time for Eurovision again! This is Europe’s favorite song contest! Every country elects its best performers and sends them to the international song contest. Within the country, there is a series of national TV song contests where viewers can vote for their favorites via phone calls or text messaging. Of course, the best songs become instant hits and the bands become amazingly popular (often times young and unfamiliar bands participate). The goal is to elect the band/signer that will represent your country in front of the rest of Europe.

The Eurovision finals are broadcasted live on every national television in Europe! This makes us all simultaneous viewers of a one grand song contest! And we love it! During the show, you vote again for whomever you like most (except your own contestants). Finally, the individual votes from each country are calculated and each country gives points based on the vote; 12, 10, or 8 points are awarded to the top three favorites (points below 8 are not that exciting to follow).

Of course the show is spectacular!! And it is very emotional too because there is so much national pride involved. Certainly one of the most entertaining things about Eurovision is the geopolitical voting. Basically, countries tend to vote high for nationalities whom they fancy (most often, their neighbors) and vote low for the ones they don’t like. Minorities and immigrants also strongly affect the outcome because they always vote for their country of origin. For example, historically Bulgaria gives many points to Turkey because we have such a big Turkish minority and many points for Serbia and Macedonia because they are “our Slavic brothers”. In return, we get votes from Spain and Greece because so many Bulgarians work in these countries. On the other hand, Romania rarely votes for us because they know our wine is better (wink!:) and because our cultures and languages are very different. Cyprus and Greece, UK and Ireland, and Portugal and Spain always award each other because they have similar culture and languages.  There is also the Nordic block: Finland, Norway, Litva, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia  and the former USSR block who always vote for each other.

 So the best part of Eurovision for me is exactly the moment of guessing each country’s vote! Dad and I watch it and, having in mind where nations have diasporas and what their historical relations are, we guess what their vote will be seconds before the telehosts announce it! And we are pretty accurate!!

Still, Eurovision is a spectacular event! It has introduced stars like ABBA and Julio Iglesias to the world. And while we are waiting for the May 2010 contest in Oslo, Norway, let me show you  what I think was the  best song we haev ever presented on Eurovision. It’s Elitza Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov’s “Voda” (“Water”) from Eurovision 2007! (In this case, the voting system played a bad joke on us and we ended up only fifth; but i trust you will love the song anyways!)

And just because I really like them, here is a second song by Elitza and Stoyan!