(Originally published at OnePaper.com)
Premier expo Eurovision Song Contest began as a way to rebuild morale in Post-WWII Europe in the 1950’s. The Cold War had an icy grip on the collective soul of the diverse continent when an Italian radio broadcaster was inspired after Italy’s San Remo Festival. Noting resulting revival of the spirit, he suggested that a festival for all of Europe would help to unify the wary nations of the continent. The European Broadcasting Union as well as the media seized the idea, and the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1956 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Pictured: Badar and Benton: Winning Partners! (image from songcontest.com)
As the popularity of the competition grew, rules were developed in order to set the guidelines for entry as the field of 7 initial entries of West Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg grew each year. The 46th Festival was held recently in Denmark (May 12, 2001). National song competitions are held in participating nations, with only their top performers moving on to the international expo. In spite of any unrest or political turmoil, the countries continue to support the Eurovision Song Contest, not missing a year since its inception. In that time, 37 countries have competed, and 800 different singers have had a chance at stardom. Many have gone on to their own fame as a result of the contest.
With Windows Media Player and Flash technology, surfers are invited to view the entries to this year’s contest on a special Web TV page. Here, you will be able to view and hear the award-winning tune.
Representing Estonia are Aruba native Dave Benton along with Tanel Badar and 2XL with an infectious, soca flavored “Everybody”. Tanel had previously participated as part of the backup group for Estonian artist Ines in 2000. This year, Eurovision newcomer Dave Benton joined him to create the winning performance. Benton’s bio is impressive: his body of work includes backup singing and percussion (drums) for stars like The Drifters, Tom Jones, Billy Ocean, Jose Feliciano and The Platters. He now makes his home in Estonia. The combo bested 7 other competitors in their home country of Estonia in order to qualify for Eurovision 2001. The two will continue to perform together and in their own projects in the future.
Special thanks to: Ole Bidstrup, Anne Walbom