Music for coexistence

Israeli-Palestinian Duo Takes First Eurovision Semi

Israel’s winning song, “There Must Be Another Way,” which is performed by a Jewish singer and a Christian Arab, was greeted by one of the most exuberant groups of fans, who waved Israeli flags and inflatable hammers and sang along word-perfect.

13 May 2009

By Anna Malpas / The Moscow Times

There were tears, rubber hammers and an inflatable pink tank on Tuesday night, as 18 contestants were narrowed down to 10 in the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Going through to the final are performers representing Israel, Sweden, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Malta, Armenia, Turkey, Romania, Finland, Portugal and Iceland.
Meanwhile, contestants from Bulgaria, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Belgium, Montenegro, Macedonia and Andorra  had to part with the dream for another year.
The show featured pop duo t.A.T.u. performing their hit “Not Gonna Get Us” with the deep-voiced Alexandrov army choir filling in the chorus line. The stage was decorated with a inflatable pink tank and military jet. “Don’t tell me that’s not political,” one fan commented.
The Eurovision contest is supposed to be a nonpolitical event. The Georgian entry was disqualified this year for a song which played on the name of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Channel One host Andrei Malakhov and model Natalia Vodianova provided a hyperenthusiastic commentary throughout the night. “I’m all covered in goose bumps,” Malakhov said as they pressed a large button to reveal the names of the finalists. “I’m about to faint,” Vodianova topped him.
The acts also got into the spirit. Portugal’s singer Daniela Varela disintegrated in tears at the end of her act. “I got something in my eye,” she said later.
Israel’s winning song, “There Must Be Another Way,” which is performed by a Jewish singer and a Christian Arab, was greeted by one of the most exuberant groups of fans, who waved Israeli flags and inflatable hammers and sang along word-perfect.
“We’re proud of our nation. It was unbelievable,” said one fan, Moshe Melman, who carried a giant hammer with the Star of David. He said about 50 supporters had flown in from¬† Tel Aviv.
“We want to show the coexistence of Jewish and non-Jewish people in Israel,” Melman said. “There must be another way, as in the words of the song.”
“We feel our victory is not only for both of us and for our song, but also for what we represent,” Tel-Aviv-born singer Noa told journalists after the show. “We represent hundreds of thousands of people who are moderates, who choose life over death.”

Among the others, Romania was seen as the biggest surprise entry to the final.
“The sexy but completely mediocre singer Elena [Gheorghe] from Romania with her blatantly bad English and song about Balkan girls went through by a miracle,” Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote.
Others, though, have called her scantily clad performance, in which she sang “My hips are ready to glow,” one of the sexiest this year.
“I believe in God and I think God can really help you,” Gheorghe told journalists after the show.
Malta’s entry, Chiara, the most persistent of all the entries, having competed in Eurovision twice already, was the happiest to be in the final. “It’s like I started something and I never finished it,” she told journalists after the show.
The second semifinal starts late Thursday night, with the final on Saturday. The metro will remain open until 2:30 a.m. on Thursday and 3:30 a.m. on Saturday so that fans can get home.

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