For uninitiated Americans, Eurovision is a fabulous competition involving European nations and a few nations that think they're European, such as Israel. Every country sends singers and elaborate dance routines to the competition, and then people in every country call in to vote for their favorites-- then each country awards points to the most popular acts proportionally.
Countries can't vote for themselves, which means people tend to vote for countries similar to their own... the breakup of the Soviet Union was the best thing that could possibly happen for Russia's Eurovision chances, and sure enough, Russia won last year with the combination of a sappy pop song, a violinist, and an Olympic figure skater pirhouetting around the musicians on a miniature ice rink. Other countries seem to figure that they have no chance of winning anyway, so they go bizarre instead-- I seem to remember seeing dancing parsnips in one Eastern European entry.
Because this is really an international popularity contest, Israel generally doesn't do that well, despite having had last year (in my humble opinion) the best entry: our cochav nolad (think "American Idol") winner, Boaz Mauda. Here was his performance last year. Bear in mind that Israel's most famous transvestite and former Eurovision winner, Dana International, not only wrote this beautiful song but also (I'm guessing) designed his costume and choreography. Despite this, it's an absolutely beautiful song:
Boaz Mauda finished in ninth place, which isn't bad.
At any rate, this year Israel seems to be trying to overcome the knee-jerk we-hate-Israel reaction by submitting a duet between a Palestinian and an Israeli singer. The one who looks like an Arab is the Israeli, Noa, while the one who looks Ashkenazi is Mira Awad, a Palestinian Christian. I think it's a pretty song, and its message is uplifting (and unspecific) enough to appeal to almost anyone. What do you think? Too politically correct, or inspiring?
The actual competition will air mid-May. Get ready!