Armenian viewers open the way

by Cem Yalcinkaya 87 views

The Eurovision Song Contest that was held last year in Athens had a newcomer from the �far east� of Europe. The young singer Andre represented Armenia with his cheerful up-tempo song Without Your Love and received a decent 8th place in the final. The gate to Eurovision was opened for other Transcaucasian countries Georgia and Azerbaijan.

When the Istanbul 2004 and Kyiv 2005 contests were broadcast in Armenia, no one knew this would change the future of the Eurovision Song Contest. By email and telephone, an enormous quantity of Armenian viewers expressed their wish for their country to participate in the Contest. Yet it was not that easy for Armenia to participate. According to the rules of the European Broadcasting Union, television channels must not only have broadcast the contest the previous years, they must be active members of the broadcaster's union to enter the competition. Armenia could not participate in the Contest until they were accepted into active membership during the EBU General Assembly in Dubrovnik (Croatia). This opened the door for Armenia and other Transcaucasian countries to participate in one of the world’s biggest television events: The Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2005 together with Georgian Tele and Radio Broadcasting, the Public Television Company of Armenia became an active member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). A year later young Andre was sent to Athens to represent 3 million Armenians. According to many Armenians that was an important milestone in the country’s history. They saw Armenia’s participation in Eurovision as the opening of gates to Europe. This year the Eurovision Song Contest is welcoming Georgia with its debut. Georgia is realizing its Eurovision dream by sending the young singer Sopho Kalvashi to Helsinki, who will be performing the song Visionary dream.

Next year the Contest could welcome Azerbaijan. The Azeri Television became an active member of EBU in January 2007. The country’s membership was accomplished too late to be able to participate this year in Helsinki. Azeri’s should be able to realize their Eurovision dream next year, in…. Well, that location will be the surprise for Azeri’s and millions of Eurovision viewers.

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