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Spiegel OnLine: Eurovision Song Contest - Camp and Controversy in Moscow: The Eurovision Extravaganza Heats Up

For the complete report from the SPIEGEL ONLINE click on this link

Eurovision Song Contest - Camp and Controversy in Moscow: The Eurovision Extravaganza Heats Up

Moscow promised to host the most lavish Eurovision Song Contest ever. But as the weekend approaches, controversy may be brewing. What, one wonders, could be a greater honor than playing host to a collection of outrageously campy music acts from across Europe, all gathered for a frenzy of televised flamboyance that seems to get more frivolous by the year? Moscow, for its part, has taken the responsibility seriously and has pledged the most lavish show ever when the grand finale of the Eurovision Song Contest hits the stage there this weekend. They have spent €30 million and have booked Olimpiyski Indoor Arena in downtown Moscow for the show. Still, controversy threatens to torpedo the hosts' best efforts. The narrowing of the field is already well underway.

A number of acts were sent home on Tuesday, with Belarus, Bulgaria and Belgium all getting the boot, along with a handful of others. Fifteen of the 25 finalists have now been chosen, with pop perennials Sweden making the cut along with Iceland, Israel, Romania, Armenia and Malta, among others. Turkey emerged as the favorite among 10 countries moving on to Saturday's final. Turkish pop singer Hadise, who grew up in Belgium, sang "Düm Tek Tek" in English and performed with belly dancers. Five countries -- defending champion Russia, France, Britain, Spain and Germany, whose act includes stripper sine qua non Dita von Teese -- qualify automatically. It is their money that makes the event happen. The annual competition is one of the most-watched television events in Europe, with nearly 300 million viewers around the world. In its 53-year history, the colorful contest has even helped launch careers -- like those of international pop acts Abba and Celine Dion.

One can expect an exiting and colorful evening with great songs, lots of spectacular choreography and drama as usual.

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