Eurovision final: hopes on Vissi’s ‘Everything’

Today Athens is reliving something of the atmosphere generated during the heady days of the 2004 Olympic Games, as Europe’s youth converges on the Greek capital and the unecognizably converted Olympic basketball stadium tonight for the 50th Eurovision Song Contest. The country is hosting the event after winning last year’s contest with Helena Paparizou singing «My Number One» in a mini-skirt to the accompaniment of a Pontic lyre. This year, all the bets are on pop star Anna Vissi with a song by Nikos Karvelas «Everything,» with Sweden’s Carola hot on her heels for the winning slot, then Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Finland – with the monster Lordi – and Russia with the «swans» from the «lake.» After Lithuania’s surprise with «We Are the Winners,» perhaps we should place a bet on them for their persistence. For those who really will place bets, don’t forget Turkey’s Sibel Tuzun, whose sweet voice and daring apparel (get ready for a belly dance) will certainly raise the roof. In Thursday’s semifinal, Armenia qualified for Saturday’s final with Andre singing «Without your Love» as did the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, whose brunette Elena Risteska leaves the blondes for dead with «Ninanajna.» The list of 24 countries competing tonight are the following, in order of appearance: Switzerland, Moldavia, Israel, Latvia, Norway, Spain, Malta, Germany, Denmark, Russia, FYROM, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lithuania, Britain, Greece, Finland, Ukraine, France, Croatia, Ireland (Brian Kennedy is excellent!), Sweden, Turkey and Armenia. Cyprus’s entry, Annette Artani and the ballad «Why Angels Cry» did not make it to the final, but Greece’s 12 points will go to another country, perhaps Turkey or Britain. Tonight Greeks will be up until the morning hours awaiting the winner. Greek state media broadcaster ERT along with its co-organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, would really like Greece to win in order to keep the Olympic spirit alive in Athens for yet another year.