In the first panel debate held by the Eurovision Research Network this morning at the Litteraturhuset in Oslo, many aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest were discussed. Amongst the highlights was a wide agreement that the competition needs a winner that can go on to launch an international career after winning. It was said that Sweden's Anna Bergendahl has the best chance of achieving that this year.
The panel debate featured Karen Fricker of the Eurovision Research Network, Dr. Milija Gluhovic (School of Theatre Performance & Cultural Studies, University of Warkick and BBC Correspondent for Serbia), Paddy O'Connell (UK Commentator), Barry Viniker (manager of esctoday.com) and Igor Kovalov (Russian Cultural Ministry, Moscow). The topics covered included 'New Europe', 'Voting patterns', 'The voter profile' and 'The future of the Eurovision Song Contest'.
The most striking discussion came when the panel were asked who should win. The broad agreement was for Sweden, with Anna Bergendahl representing the best chance of an international career launch after the event and helping to raise the profile and credibility of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The Eurovision Research Network was founded to consolidate existing scholarship, journalism and broadcasting about the Eurovision Song Contest and to generate new writing and activity around the competition. The ERN serves as a central access point for information and writings about the contest. They will hold a second event tomorrow at the University of Oslo with papers and symposium presentations. Kjell Ekholm, Executive Producer of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki and former Eurovision Reference Group member will be a guest speaker. More information can be found at www.eurovisionresearch.net .