Is it Anyone’s Race This Year?

Last night my LA friend and I attended the dress rehearsal of the Grand Final, and the high quality of the entries makes it hard to pick a winner. Russia, Australia, Ukraine, France, Sweden and Armenia are crowded at the top of the betting, and a credible case can be made for any one of them to win the contest.

Meanwhile, Eurovision is making news this year for this year’s surprise interval act, Justin Timberlake debuting his new Max Martin-composed single.  Although for arcane reasons this segment is the ONE part of the show that will be blocked out from the US telecast, American JT fans can watch him on the internet streaming version of the show.  I am also sure that after the show his song will be burning up YouTube.

Great Eurovision Interval Acts: 2010 Flash Mob

Flashmobbing for Eurovision

Flashmobbing for Eurovision

The Oslo 2010 Eurovision Song Contest was one of the smoothest, most technically adept in recent years. The show went off without a hitch, the production values were great, and the spectacular numbers were only topped by 2009’s massive Moscow arena and its break apart circular band of LED screens above the stage.
Madcon "Glow"

The flashmob music for Eurovision 2010

But one of the most memorable parts of the show was a wonderwork of planning, preparation, and execution. The month before the event, an instructional youtube and written instructions were released to Europe of a song and dance routine set to “Glow”, music by Norway’s own Madcon. sent out the call:

Want to take part in the interval act? You can! (Oslo, Norway) –
Did you ever dream of taking part in the interval act of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, it’s possible! Join the dance and take part in the biggest ‘flash mob’ ever! The organizers of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest are inviting thousands of people in ten cities across Europe to dance with them. For the first time in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest… YOU CAN BE PART OF THIS!

Here you can see the dance instructions broken down into four parts for prospective participants.

With instructions in hand all over the continent, from small private parties to city squares and shopping mall courtyards, plans were set for dozens of simultaneous flashmobs of locals to dance along to the Madcon TV performance during the voting interval of Eurovision.

The results were spectacular, as hordes of jubilant flashmobbers (18,000 in the Oslo arena plus televised groups in ten European cities) joined in to perform the “dance all over Europe”:

Great Eurovision Interval Acts: 2007, Apocalyptica

After the songs are sung and the votes start coming in, there is a 10 or so minute gap to fill in Eurovision. After that you go around to the various countries and tally up the votes and crown the winner! So the host country tries to choose an act that will wow the arena crowd and home viewers and keep the momentum high. Often they choose a local act with a great combination of talent and edge (or at the very least a lot of one or the other). Ireland, for example, debuted a showy troupe called Riverdance in 1994 that almost overshadowed the Contest itself.

Since the interval act can have all the elements that an actual entry only dreams of, like a massive orchestra, chorus, or dance troupe, huge special effects that spill out into the arena, and any combination of live and prerecorded music and vocals the heart can desire, it can and should be spectacular.

In 2007 Helsinki and Finland were hosting the contest for the first time, and wanted to show the world the kind of music Finns really like, dark, edgy rock! So they enlisted local ensemble Apocalyptica, a cello group with a twist–they were famous for performing their rock/classical take on the hits of Metallica. Their 2007 interval act combines music, art, performance, costume and special effects to showcase Finland as a center of new and creative entertainment!