ARTS & LEISURE

Eurovision fever hits Düsseldorf

43 countries take part to see which song will be crowned King or Queen of Europe on Saturday 14th of May at the Fortuna Düsseldorf arena.  Germany has gone big this year with over 24,000 people attending the two semi finals and final.

Once again I will be following Romania’s Hotel FM to see if they can better Paula and Ovi’s 3rd place last year in Oslo.
The band arrived in Düsseldorf on Monday and their first rehearsal is on Wednesday.  There have been great local support and even Ger­man TV station ERD had a film crew follow the band around all day.

This year the Romanians have an Englishman joining Gabriel Baruta and Alex Szuz  in the shape of former bin man from the North east of England. David Bryan who went to Romania in 2006 to do some charity work. His story is a real fairytale: he was discovered singing karaoke in a bar and on Saturday night will sing in front of a TV audience of over 100 million. In a private chat with David after the press conference, he told me that he has settled well into Romanian life and has fallen in love not only with the country but with a local girl as well. He also said that perhaps one day he would like to represent the UK at the Eurovision song contest.

There is no doubt that Romania has a chance this year and Head of press Mariana Rusen said that there is a huge football stadium with a roof that would accommodate the Eurovision if it comes to Bucharest. So all the band can do now is sit back and relax because there in the second semi final which takes place on Thursday night.

The Romanian delegation has been very pleased with the way the show has been organised.  But before they can lift the trophy they are up against some strong opposition, the UK are sending  their best entry in years.

Ireland have taken a gamble this year: they have send twins John and Edward known as Jedward who took part in the UK version of X factor in 2009, they are very big in UK and Ireland but not so well known across Europe but are a pair of cute boys with one of the strangest haircuts you will ever see at Eurovision. Israel have sent 1998 winner Dana international  with a song she penned herself called ding dong and Germany sent last years winner Lena who romped to victory in Oslo and is hoping to repeat that on home soil. I took in the Israeli press conference with 1998 winner Dana international and despite what she says, she is definitely a diva who else would take eight  dresses to the contest and I bet she claims she still hasn’t a thing to wear.

One of the favourites and are almost favourites every year are the United Kingdom. Blue had there first rehearsal today and I can see why, polished professional  and is the contest heading to Manchester 2012.

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