Blindfolds, Grannies, and Jokers
Kultuur 19 May 2012  EWR
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This year’s crop of Eurovision acts from the East is a bit tamer, but there’s still plenty to puzzle over.
Stephen Underwood and Barbara Frye, Transitions Online 16 May 2012
Surely, as many people tune in to the Eurovision Song Contest each year to see how weird it can get as to look for an unsung talent or to root for their own country’s avatar of pop tackiness.

Earnest ballads sit oddly on the Eurovision stage, which is invariably all neon and klieg lights. It’s a place for electrified kitsch, and many acts happily embrace the spectacle. Remember cross-dressing Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko/ Verka Serduchka, who represented Ukraine in 2007 and finished second singing Dancing Lasha Tumbai? (Did it mean “goodbye Russia,” “whipped cream,” or nothing at all?)

When this year’s contest gets underway on 22 May in Baku, the choices from the former Soviet Union will be a bit less outlandish than Danylko, but then what isn’t? There’s still a good selection of the strange, the sweet, and the simply inexplicable.

From Russia, Buranovskiye Babushki, or the Buranovsky Grannies, are an unusual act, but not in that Eurovision way. Most of the women in the group are in their 70s, and 76-year-old Natalya Pugacheva has the distinction of being the oldest ever Eurovision participant.

According to their Eurovision profile, the Grannies came to Russia’s attention in 2008 when they were featured in a television program. That was the first of many TV shows and concerts in which they would cover pop songs by the Beatles, Queen, and other famous acts in their native language, Udmurt.

Continue reading here and also access videos of the five quirkiest Eurovision competitors, including two from the Baltics, Latvia and Lithuania:
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