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Swiss fail Eurovision Song Contest semifinals
Mélanie René: early exit. Photo: Oscar Alessio/SRF

Swiss fail Eurovision Song Contest semifinals

AFP/The Local · 22 May 2015, 07:54

Published: 22 May 2015 07:54 GMT+02:00

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Geneva singer-songwriter Mélanie René, an expat from Mauritius with UK musical training, was knocked out of the contest’s second semifinal in Vienna as she failed to gain enough support from professional judges and TV viewers.

René’s song “Time to Shine” did not convince enough voters so Switzerland exited the competition, along with the Czech Republic, San Marino, Portugal, Malta, Ireland and Iceland.

René took the comeuppance philosophically.

"I don't know why it wasn't enough, but that's part of the game," she told 20 Minuten newspaper.

"In the end, it remains a competition."

René remains optimistic about her musical career, saying she hopes to put out an album by the end of the year.

"It's the end of Eurovision, but for me it's just the beginning."

The ten countries that qualified on Thursday night for the finals to be held on Saturday night include Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden.

Sometimes described as the world’s most famous kitsch pop competition, the Eurovision competition this year features an entry from Australia among the 27 contestants in the final.

Australia's Guy Sebastian is among those tipped to win the outlandish annual extravaganza, which attracts some 200 million viewers, along with perennial favourites Sweden, as well as Italy and Russia.

Generally, the nation that wins the competition gets to host it the following year.

Austria currently holds this honour as home of the 2014 victor, bearded drag queen sensation Conchita Wurst.

However, this will not be the case if former "Australian Idol" winner Sebastian comes first, with organizers saying the 2016 show will nevertheless be held in Europe.

The competition is, after all, a European affair.

Countries don't need to be in the geographical confines of the continent, but they do have to be members of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), an alliance of national broadcasters from Europe and the Mediterranean region.


Since its launch in 1955, Eurovision has become the ultimate pop platform, catapulting Swedish icons ABBA to worldwide fame, as well as boosting the likes of Celine Dion, Cliff Richard and Olivia Newton-John.

But it is mostly meant as a bit of fun, with many of the songs offering an avenue for the camp, the over-the-top and the downright silly, as evidenced by song titles such as "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley", "Boom-Bang-A-Bang" and "Lalala".

Memorable contestants down the years have included Irish puppet Dustin the Turkey in 2008, transgender Israeli diva Dana International in 1998, German pop band Dschinghis Khan in 1979 and six Russian grannies in 2012.

Under the current rules, songs may be performed in any language but must not exceed three minutes.

Story continues below…

The eventual winner will be chosen by a 50-50 ballot split between viewers at home and professional juries. Neither group is allowed to vote for their own country.

The EBUs' five biggest financial backers — Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Britain —automatically qualify for the final along with the previous year's winner, in this case Austria.

There is of course no scientific formula to winning the competition, but research shows that being female helps: of the 59 past winners, 35 were women.

The total cost of the contest is currently estimated at €36.7 million ($41.7 million), a hefty sum but less than the whopping €60 million forked out by Azerbaijan in 2012.

"We will organize the whole event with a pinch of humour," said Eurovision executive producer Edgar Böhm.

"We don't want to take ourselves too seriously, but present ourselves (Austria) as a friendly country. I hope there will be a lot of laughter."

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

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