EDINBURGH Trite lyrics, camp dance routines and
half a tonne of sequins -- it is time to celebrate all that is
tacky in the Eurovision Song Contest.
"Eurobeat -- almost Eurovision" mercilessly sends up the
kitsch contest every night at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
where flag-waving, wolf-whistling fans take audience
participation to new heights of surreal lunacy.
Eurovision is mocked for its mishmash of power ballads,
ethnic rhythms and bubblegum pop with critics complaining that
tactical voting by East Europeans is skewing the results.
Once an elegant black-tie event, the televised annual
contest was launched in the 1950s as the flagship of the
European Broadcasting Union's light entertainment programming,
but is now widely derided in Western Europe.
Swedish quartet Abba were its best known winners, Ireland's
Johnny Logan won it three times -- twice as a singer, once as a
composer -- and Spain triumphed with a song using the word "La"
The stage show is a battle between 10 countries for top
Italy's Vesuvia Versace faces off against Britain's Rain
and Shiner crooning "Love to Love to Love" and the KG Boys from
Russia, who proudly boast "We are the new kids on the Eastern
British TV personality Mel Giedroyc revels in the role of
co-host Boyka, a former Olympic pole vaulter and night-club
singer whose half-time showstopper is her moving rendition of
"I'm Sarajevo ... Taste me."
She has no doubt what the essential ingredients are for
Eurovision, including a big, belting voice and dreadful lyrics.
"It is essential that at least one item of clothing gets
ripped off, either by yourself or ideally by someone else. You
need wobbly lips and your costume has to be 89 percent
sequins," she told Reuters after the show.
The show's Australian writer Craig Christie, who took the
Eurovision tribute around Australia on tour, hopes London will
be its next stop. Promoters from Scandinavia, Germany and
Ireland are also showing interest, he said.
"I've always been amused by it. Eurovision is very popular
in Australia where it gets shown on TV the night after it is
staged. All we needed to do was reproduce it and turn up the
volume. This is a loving tribute," he added.
"It has always been enormously camp. It has had
trans-sexuals, transvestites, trans-continentals, basically
everything with a 'trans' in front of it."