I plugged into Eurovision last night to see what it was all about. The concept is similar to American Idol. The European countries plus Israel competing in a singing competition. It is a little more theatric than American Idol relying more on dancers and back up vocals whereas American Idol is more about individual talent. I am not a big American Idol watcher and like many people I usually only tune in when they do the initial shows that show the highly entertaining "try outs". Though I have gotten roped in a season or two I, hesitatingly, admit.
However, I found the concept pretty cool. Between acts they would show families from the countries in their apartment living rooms so it showed a little of how they lived. Sometimes they were dressed in traditional clothing (Ukraine) and sometimes they would show the different foods they were snacking on while watching Eurovision and rooting for their country. They would show the different flags and for a non-European all that is sort of fascinating.
The way it worked was that no country was allowed to vote for themselves and they had a sliding scale of points to give out. The largest block being 12 votes. It was funny to watch most of the former Yugoslavian countries vote for each other and the former Soviet satellites pretty much did the same. Old animosities seemed to live through the votes also. Israel gave the Germans exactly zero votes and the German singer was never very popular with the Russian voters despite the fact that she was the clear favorite.
Europe has become so much more Americanized since my last visit here. There was still a lot of that hokey Euro-ness but there was some good stuff. I was leaning heavily towards the acoustic John Mayerish sounding guy from Belgium when the German contestant came on and she was incredible. Light years above the the others, she easily blew the rest away. And she was so, so un-German, just watching her made you happy. Congratulations to 19 year old Lena, 2010 Eurovision winner.