Moscow countdowns to Eurovision extravaganza

May 17th, 2009 - 1:11 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, May 16 (RIA Novosti) The glitzy Eurovision final gets underway later Saturday night at Moscow’s Olympiyskiy Indoor Arena and promises to be the most extravagant and flamboyant song contest in its history.
Moscow, which has spent an impressive $42 million on the competition, won the right to host the event for the first time when Russian pop singer Dima Bilan took first place in last year’s Eurovision final, held in Belgrade, with his song “Believe”.

This year sees the introduction of new voting rules, involving a mixture of SMS and jury votes to select the most popular acts out of the 25 countries.

Over 100 million people are expected to tune in to watch the live show, which starts at 23:00 p.m. (19:00 GMT), with bookies favorite Norway tipped to win, closely followed by Greece, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Britain.

Russia will be represented by Ukrainian singer Anastasia Prikhodko with her song “Mamo”.

Security has been tightened in the city with over 8,500 police and security officers guarding the venue of the mega event.

RIA Novosti


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