If you live in America, you are surely familiar with the extreme popularity of the television show called American Idol. This televised singing contest is a spin-off of the British talent search called Pop Idol. And the American version is not, by any means, the only successful spin-off. In fact, there are a total of 42 different territories around the world that have their own singing shows with an Idol format. People all over the globe enjoy watching regular Joes, just like you and me, rise to pop star status and fame.
But did you know there is another singing contest that far preceded the popularity of the Idol shows? It’s called Eurovision, and 2010 marked the 55th year of the contest. So really, you could consider Eurovision to be a parent to the Idol contests.
Eurovision is a song contest that takes place between the countries of the European Union. Each year, a theme is proposed, and a representative from each participating country sings an original song that represents that theme.
This year, Oslo, Norway was the host of Eurovision, and 39 different countries participated, performing songs to fit the theme Share the Moment. One of the unique things about Eurovision is that each contestant is a representative for his or her country. So while contestants in the Idol series are all from the same country, Eurovision is a uniquely international and multicultural experience. The contestants are scored by a jury made up of representatives from each participating country, as well as by votes made by phone calls from television viewers. The winner of the 2010 Eurovision contest was Lena Meyer-Landrut from Germany, who sang a song entitled Satellite. To listen to see the official video for her song, click here.
Despite the fact that Israel is not geographically located within Europe, it is a contestant in Eurovision because it is located within the European Broadcasting Area. Israel’s entry was performed by a charismatic young man by the name of Harel Skaat. To view a video of him singing the song Milim, please click here.
Israel made its first appearance in Eurovision in 1973. Since then, it has participated in the Eurovision contest 33 times, and has won three times: in 1978, 1979, and 1998. Israel also hosted the contest in both 1979 and 1999.
Watching Eurovision gives you the neat opportunity to see an variety of Israeli performers sing in an evolving array of styles. Among some of the more popular performances are Avi Toledano in 1982 and Ofra Haza in 1983. One of the most memorable Israeli performances was in 2000 when a group called Pin-Pong performed a disco act. The song itself did not go over particularly well, but the group’s efforts to condone peace reconciliation in Western Asia were highly noticed and talked about.
For more information about the upcoming 2011 Eurovision song contest, visit their official website here.