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Lesbian Kiss, Greek Politics Hit Eurovision

Greece_Eurovision_2013_Agathon_KissEurovision, the pop-schmaltz-saccharine-kitsch song contest that is known for bad taste and fantasy tunes that avoid the real world, has had a taste of gay marriage and Greek politics thrown into the mix for this year’s final in Malmo, Sweden on May 18.

In the second semifinal on May 16 – where Greece’s entry was the last selected to go on – Finland’s Lady Gaga-flavored number Marry Me by Krista Siegfrids, popular with the country’s gay marriage campaigners, emerged as one of the acts to advance and sizzled with a big smack on the lips between the two lead female performers.
That set the stage for the competition’s first lesbian kiss at the final – which could prove controversial in eastern European countries where authorities in recent years have cracked down on gay rights.
Greek and Turkish newspapers have already reacted negatively towards Siegfrids’ kissing one of her female dancers during the routine, Swedish media reported.
Greece at least is going on while Cyprus was eliminated in an earlier semi-final. Despina Olympiou performed, An Me TKohimasai (If You Remember Me) and ranked 14th in the first semifinal
Greece’s entry, Alcohol is Free, sung by the group Koza Mostra and noted Rembetika player and singer Agathon Iakovides makes plenty of reference to the era of austerity in Greece, where pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions have people so worried about survival they’re more likely to sing the blues.
Alcohol is Free is a fusion of electronic dance with rembetiko and features the noted Agathon in the center of a group of young men in kilts playing guitars, horns and other instruments and jumping around the stage.
A take-off on the Greek economic crisis, it describes their dream night in a Corfu beach bar but the up-tempo song uses metaphors to describe the plight of the crisis-stricken country.
Greece had initially said it wouldn’t be able to take part in the Eurovision Song Contest this year, citing steep budget cuts at national public broadcaster ERT. A private broadcaster stepped in to finance the production of the country’s national final.
Romania’s It’s My Life by Cezar ensured the camp music fest will feature one of its signature bizarre performances, after the opera disco song – performed in a vampire-like outfit – also made it to the final. Looking like Vlad the Impaler at a N.Y disco in the 1970’s, the singer keened high notes that could break a glass chandelier.
The 26 countries competing in the final are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Ukraine and Britain. Denmark’s Only Teardrops by Emmelie De Forest is the bookmakers’ favorite so far.

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