Saturday, May 16, 2009

Norway in the Eurovision Finals Tonight

Tonight Norwegian Alexander Rybak will compete for the championship in the Eurovision Song Contest, a huge and arguably bizarre annual event broadcast across Europe. Rybak has been widely considered by the Norwegian press to be the heavy favorite in this year’s contest, which is estimated to be the largest non-sporting televised event in the world.

Rybak is a 23 year old fiddle player and singer. Born in Minsk, Belarus, Rybak moved with his parents to Norway when he was four and has been a musician for most of his life. Rybak competed in Norway’s version of American Idol, but became a household name in Norway only this spring when his song “Fairytale” swept the Norwegian qualifying rounds for Eurovision.

Eurovision – called Melodi Grand Prix in Norway – is a yearly contest broadcast across Europe where each participating country sends one artist to perform a song live on television. Viewers then vote through their national stations to determine the winner. The contest is an elaborate, garish media event where showmanship counts at least as much as music.

Europe will decide the winner later tonight, but in the meantime, click here to judge Rybak’s song for yourself.

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