All the latest…
Well, we finally have an answer! After months of speculation from fans and press alike, it seems that the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest will be held at the Esprit Arena in lovely Düsseldorf! This will be the first German-hosted ESC since reunification of the former East and West, and the third overall (after Frankfurt in 1957 and Munich in 1983). The arena will be able to hold about 24,000 spectators, which seems a bit strange, considering that there are only about 23,000 hotel beds in the city. However, it seems that riverboats on the Rhine will be employed as floating hotels during ESC Week, and the city is a major air and rail hub for the area. Knowing that Düsseldorf is a moderately quick train ride from Amsterdam, Cologne, and other cities in the region, I’m seriously pondering making my first official Eurovision pilgrimage! (Readers from Germany…what do you think of the news?)
In other news, Cyprus has kicked off their ESC pre-game. It had been decided that the winner of the “Idol”-like show “Performance” would represent the island nation in 2011 (although the song will be selected at a later time). After all of the votes had been cast, the winner was announced as Christos Mylordos, a virtual unknown. Here’s his winning cover of Robbie Williams’ “Supreme”:
Frankly, after Cyprus’s success with John Lilygreen and the Islanders this year, I’m somewhat disappointed in Christos. Granted, he’s got until May to improve his stage presence, and he might be better served singing in his native Greek, so all is not lost!
Next topic: Austria is officially back in the game! We haven’t seen participation from ORF since the 2007 Contest, where Eric Papilaya’s HIV-awareness-anthem “Get A Life/Get Alive” came in a painfully undervalued second-to-last place. When they officially select their song, I’ll do a full report on their history.
And, continuing on the theme of nations entering or withdrawing, we had a close call for next year. The 2011 Eurovision Song Contest’s dated have officially been set for May 10, 12, and 14. However, there is a major Israeli holiday (Memorial Day) on May 9th and 10th, and performers would not be allowed to rehearse or perform on those days. So, in a special exception, the EBU has decided to allow Israel to have a reserved spot in the Second Semifinal (May 12) in order to avoid any scheduling conflicts that would result in their withdrawal.
All in all, it seems that things are progressing nicely for 2011; Albania, Switzerland, and Romania will decide their entries by the end of the year, and more plans are being revealed by the day. Record numbers of entries have been submitted in some of the public calls for songs…all in all, a good sign for what I’m sure will be a great year for Eurovision.