АЛСУ  Crude Oil and Rock-n-Roll

Before ALSU won second place at the Eurovision 2000 singing contest on May 5, we had a few ideas on the outcome. As it is, they, for the most part, have come true. When members of the Russian jury...

Before ALSU won second place at the Eurovision 2000 singing contest on May 5, we had a few ideas on the outcome. As it is, they, for the most part, have come true.
When members of the Russian jury were shown grimacing over the ORT television broadcast of the Eurovision singing contest and implicitly complaining about the "artistic level" of the performers in quesion, they were merely discovering their total lack of understanding of the event itself, and the role of such a television spectacle in general.
The Eurovision contest ended up as a parody, though unobvious, of many institutions of European society and show business.
It's a parody of the dominating style categories: here are the Brittany Spears-like nymphets, here are the local "boy bands," here is "ethnic pop," etc. This year we even saw a parody of Ilya Lagutenko in the form of the soloist of a Latvian group, Brain Storm. On top of that, all the artists are not very well known, and their imitating capabilities are visibly awkward.
This is a parody, though, not only on European society that includes differences based on love and friendship, but on the more complex relationships between nations and people. This year, for example, it was obvious that the contest was arranged among countries of Northern Europe and the Baltic States, whereas the South and the West were minorities.
Finally, the contest is a parody on competition. After all, it really is more interesting to wait for the ballot results than it is to listen to the performances- the results always came as a surprise if only for their lack of logic.
To win at Eurovision really depends on the interaction of several different factors.
Politics: ALSU would be a very typical and effective choice: not Slavic, sings in English, lives in London, and on top of that her relatives supply Europe with black oil.
Music: absolute mainstream, made with the highest quality in the West, complementing the freshness of the singer.
Etiquette: meeting of all the European rules, good preparation for the broadcast, politeness with the organizers and the broadcasting union.
Money: here our participant beats all other competitors. And this is a very serious factor.
However, despite all that, ALSU could not win. Russia is still new in the contest, and there's still that war with Chechnya. (Then again, if the contest included Chechen participants, they also wouldn't have won anything.) And first place couldn't have been taken by anyone else but those old men representing good old Danish rock-n-roll and all the old European values along with it- they were the ones that stood up against half naked girls and the young men with questionable sexual orientation. Realistically speaking, the fact that ALSU won second place is not a victory for Russian music, but the result of all these geopolitical, stylistic and diplomatic factors and influences. And you shouldn't underestimate the role of an oil provider.

По материалам: www.zvuki.ru

17.05.2000, Анна АРУТЮНЯН (ЗВУКИ РУ)