Excerpt from Eurovision Song Contest 2011 Winning Entry by Ell/Nikki, "Running Scared"
While it may have been far from the mind of the average American, last night's Euro mega TV event, the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, was an extremely big deal to those on the other side of the Atlantic. Now in its 56th year and with 43 countries participating, last night's evening-long, live televised Eurovision Song Contest drew an estimated 100 million viewers, many of whom had bet money on this year's two hotly tipped favorites, Ireland and the United Kingdom, winning this year. Those gamblers lost when the small country of Azerbaijan took this year's Eurovision title! Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov, who go by the name Ell/Nikki, earned the most points for their pop ballad "Running Scared."
UK entry in 2011 Eurovision Song Contest: Britain's Blue "I Can" came in #11
The Eurovision Song Contest is an American Idol like contest with a dash of soccer fan enthusiasm thrown in the mix. Unlike Idol, all songs are new original compositions. But like Idol and similar TV music contest shows, many in Europe are quick to dismiss the glitzy, much hyped pop music TV event as irrelevant "rubbish." Regardless, a hundred million devoted European viewers tuned in to last night's contest. And it's been estimated that up to 600 million view worldwide in virtually every country but the US. Last night's contest was broadcast from a sold-out stadium in Dusseldorf (Germany hosted because they won last year with singer Lena's song "Satellite"), where 36,000 enthusiastic fans screamed along and proudly waved their countries' flags. Last night's final followed two weeks of festivities plus two semifinals and a kind of dress rehearsal, a jury final, on Friday evening.
Dusky Diana, an American RnB/hip-hop vocalist living in Dusseldorf reported to the Amoeblog this morning that, "It was a bit crazy. Many people wearing their flags and yelling but not too bad, not like when there's soccer or Karneval."
The Eurovision winner is chosen after every country votes points for their favorite entries (countries cannot vote for themselves) and last night the most votes went to a country that many had never heard of, Azerbaijan, with Nigar Jamal and Eldar Gasimov (aka Ell/Nikki)'s song. Meanwhile, the two favorites, Ireland's Jedward and the UK's Blue, came in eighth and eleventh, respectively, in the contest of 43 countries. Next year's Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Azerbaijan.