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Germany Last as Voters "Run and Hide"


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Germany Last as Voters "Run and Hide"

Germany's entry in the 50th Eurovision Song Contest finished last with four votes as Greece took the crown at the celebration of kitsch in Kiev on Saturday. Gracia's song "Run and Hide" had voters turning off.

Germany's Eurovision Song Contest hopes were more than dashed on Saturday night; they were thrown to the floor and stamped on by every stiletto and Cuban heel on show at the 50th gala of kitsch in Kiev.

Gracia Bauer, a former talent show also-ran who had courted controversy over her involvement in a chart-rigging scandal just weeks before the competition, garnered a woeful four points with her song "Run and Hide". It seemed like the voters took her words as sound advice as Germany scored one of its lowest totals in the history of the competition.

The dubious accolade of Eurovision winner went to Greece as singer Helena Paparizou thrashed the competition, triumphing over contestants from 23 other countries with her song "My Number One." The news was greeted with scenes of joys in Athens, where hundreds of people celebrated on the streets of the Greek capital.

Greece celebrates Eurovision victory

In Athens, Paparizou fans, who had watched the contest on a giant screen late Saturday in front of the Zappeion palace, went wild when the Greek victory was announced. Brandishing Greek flags, they danced and embraced to the beat of "My Number One," written by Christos Dantis.

"Many congratulations to Helena," said Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis, who was on the scene. "It's a unique moment that we deserve ... Athens is ready to welcome Eurovision in 2006."

Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko, who attended the songfest with his family, handed Paparizou the Eurovision award. Yushchenko handed Paparizou a golden trophy inspired by jewels crafted by the Scythians, an ancient people that once inhabited the territory of present-day Ukraine.

"This is a Ukrainian prize for best European song, for Europe's best singer (handed) in the name of a united Europe," Yushchenko said after giving Paparizou a peck on the cheek.

Clad in a short golden dress, Paparizou, who was born and raised in Sweden, gave an energetic performance which included elements of a traditional Greek national dance. Paparizou, who was elected by television viewers from 39 countries, won with 230 points, 38 points ahead of Malta's Chiara, who placed second with the song "Angel." Romania's Luminita Anghel and Sistem placed third with "Let me try."

Controversy surrounds Ukrainian song

Last year's winner, Ukraine's Ruslana, opened the competition with a performance of one of her songs, "Fire".

This year's Ukrainian candidate, the Greenjolly group, placed only 20th. Its selection to represent the former Soviet republic had sparked controversy, as had its choice of song, "Razom Nas Bahato" (Together We Are Many), the hymn sung by demonstrators against former president Leonid Kuchma's regime in Kiev's Independence Square during last year's "Orange revolution."

Greenjolly was largely unknown before the revolution and its last minute choice unleashed an avalanche of criticism of the new government which was accused of manipulating the vote that picked the group.

To deflect criticism, Greenjolly was obliged to modify the lyrics of the song, removing mention of the current president's name.

Song contest a political opportunity

Ukraine's authorities saw the Eurovision contest as a way to showcase the country as 100 percent European, while Yushchenko has made no secret of his hope to see Kiev eventually join the European Union.

"Ukraine has always been a harmonious component of the (European) space," the Ukrainian leader said a few days before the songfest began. "It has been made up not only by politicians, but also by peoples, their common values, their history and their culture. These days in Kiev, you will be able to feel this once more," Yushchenko said.

The contest was held under tight security, as some 4,000 police stood by to make sure the 50th edition of the annual kitsch-fest did not get out of hand.

Before entering Kiev's Sports Palace, an arena capable of holding an audience of up to 8,000, spectators had to submit to strict security checks and file under a metal detector.

Celebration of kitsch goes from strength to strength

The Eurovision Song Contest, first held in 1956, is often associated with music of questionable merit, bizarre costumes and marked political bias in the voting. Yet all these elements have contributed to its enduring popularity.

Eurovision was a launch pad for the careers of such internationally famous performers as Swedish disco group Abba in the 1970s, or, later, French Canadian singer Celine Dion, who represented Switzerland, where she was living at the time.

Author DW staff / AFP (nda)

http://www.dw-world.de © Deutsche Welle


Edited by ShiningKnight
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Germany comes last in Eurovision song contest

23 May 2005

KIEV - Germany's representative Gracia came last in the 50th anniversary Eurovision 2005 Song Contest on Saturday, gaining only four points.

Greek singer Helena Paparizou won with the tune 'My Number', a hot song-and-dance performance.

Paparizou defeated golden-voiced Chiara from Malta, whose melodious ballad 'Angel' came in second in international viewer voting by SMS message. A total of 39 nations participated in the competition.

Romania's Luminita Anghel placed third with a high-energy rock and kettle-drum number. Israel's blond, big-voiced Shiri Maimon took fourth.

Paparizou's strength in the competition was clear early in the voting. She

ultimately scored 230 points, well clear of her nearest competitors.

The evening was second-time lucky for Helena, who had represented Greece and placed third at Eurovision 2001. She had been considered one of the favourites going into this year's competition.

It was Greece's first victory in the contest. Street celebrations were reported in Athens shortly after Paparizou's victory.

Paparizou is a gold-record winner in Greece and began her solo career two years ago. She is under contract to Sony music.

Big-market acts failed badly in this year's competition, with Spain, Great Britain, France and Germany coming in twenty-first to last place, in that order.

The Ukrainian be-bop band Greenjolly was the hands-down favourite with the studio audience, bringing down the house with a jazzed-up rendition of 'Razom nas bahato' ('Together we are many'). The song was the unofficial and wildly popular anthem of the country's Orange Revolution late last year.

Moldovan Zdob (shi) Zhub also had the home audience standing in the aisles with a unique weave of punk, rockabilly and percussion by the lead singer's grandmother banging on a Bessarabian folk drum. They scored a surprise sixth place.

More than half of the Eurovision 2005 acts offered pop music with an ethnic twist, backed up with folk instruments, central European riffs or peasant tambourines and drums.

Ukrainian singer Ruslana won last year's contest with a precedent-setting mix of foot-stomping dancing, Carpathian drums, and mountain horns.

Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko led the list of VIPs present at the proceedings, accompanied by prime minister Julia Timoshenko and most of the country's cabinet.

Yushchenko was spotted watching the proceedings in his shirt sleeves, while the stylish Timoshenko was attired in one of her signature designer dresses. Yushchenko later put on jacket and tie to hand Paparizou her victory award at the end of the voting.

World heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, who began his fighting career in Kiev, was on stage as the competition voting manager.

The five-day competition ran well despite sometimes dark predictions that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, was not up to managing an international-class television show.

The three-hour programme, held in a converted sports arena, went off without a visible hitch, the evening's 25 acts smoothly following one another at one-minute intervals. An estimated 150 million people watched Eurovision 2005, organizers said.

Programme producers filled time between acts by flashing on television screens hundreds of glossy images of Ukraine's most attractive people and locations. The themes of youth, grain, water, and nature predominated.

Ukrainian organisers aimed the often-dazzling picture display squarely at Eurovision's massive audience, in a conscious attempt to improve the country's image abroad. Ukraine is best known in Europe for widespread corruption and the Chernobyl nuclear power accident.



Edited by ShiningKnight
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