May 21, 2006
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Eurovision Song Contest

I missed it again! The Finns, it seems, have won the Eurovision Song Contest, though apparently the Russians think that the Finns benefited by receiving protest votes.

What the voters were protesting is not entirely clear.

I first heard about this song contest over beers -- many beers -- at a Hypertext Conference. The Southampton Crew was rooting, at I recall, for Scotland in the World Cup, and to skeptical Americans the explained that their partisanship in football was nothing like the annual Eurovision Song Contest. A few years later, by chance, we turned on a TV in Brussels, mostly to demo our cousin's nifty new media center, and found ourselves watching a group from Croatia drift slowly and inexporably off key, to the horror of my cousin the opera singer.

People bet on the outcome. Israel and France were 150/1 underdogs. If Keren Ann were performing, would the odds be better? And would she be Israeli or French?

The contest attracts an astonishing amount of news coverage. I wonder what happens to the bands? Do the winners get to retire to Branson?