Eurovision’s Fairytale of a Win
The 23-year-old fiddler beat out twenty-four other performers from across Europe with his tune, “Fairytale,” scoring 387 points, the most in the contest’s history. The folksy melody got some help with the accompaniment of an acrobatic dance routine and two female backup singers.
Rybak, who Norwegian media nicknamed “Alexander the Great” and who won a Norwegian TV talent show in 2006, composes his own music and told Reuters the song was his interpretation of a traditional Norwegian fairytale – with a modern twist.
“In Russia they like nostalgia and melancholy. In Norway we’re the happiest people in the world. The mix of them was a success,” Rybak said about “Fairytale.”
Second place went to Iceland’s Yohanna with 218 points and third place went to Azerbaijan’s AySel & Arash with 207 points.
The Eurovision Song winner is chosen through telephone voting and official juries from national broadcasters in 42 nations. This year’s competition featured everything from pop songs to ballads and outrageous performances such as U.S. burlesque artist Dita Von Teese, who straddled a shiny lip-shaped black plastic sofa during Germany’s song, and Greece’s crazy choreography that involved a giant flashing treadmill.
Although Moscow’s mayor Yuri Luzhkov had banned Saturday’s gay rights rally called “Slavic Pride,” gay rights activists showed up anyway, protesting what they say is rampant discrimination against homosexuals in Russia.
Luzhkov has been criticized for describing homosexuality as “satanic” and trying to justify discrimination against gays in Russia by saying they spread the AIDS virus.
Moscow police say 40 people were detained from the rally, but media reports said the figure was up to 80. No injuries were reported.
“Today’s arrests go against the principles of Eurovision, which are about peace, harmony, cooperation and unity between all the peoples in Europe,” said British-based activist Peter Tatchell, who was punched and kicked at a similar Moscow demonstration in 2007.
Things also got a little heated over on the Guardian’s “Organ Grinder” blog after blogger Heidi Stephens made fun of Rybak’s eyebrows and suggested that someone should “poke him in the eye with his violin bow. … Fairytale my ass. This cannot possibly win. I will not allow it.”
Norwegians were not amused. One commentor wrote, “this isn’t as funny as she might hoped. There are a lot of children interested in the song contest and I think it is a shame that they have to read a remark like this. It sounds very violent to poke someone in the eye.”
The post racked up more than 1,300 comments and Stephens was forced to add one of her own, explaining that she was joking and has “no ‘aggressive wishes to attack and hurt him.’ He seems like a jolly nice young man.”
After winning the contest Norway now has the honor of hosting the next Eurovision Song Contest.
Read the Reuters story here.
Read the AP story here.
Read the Guardian story here.