YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s entry in a popular pan-European song contest this year will engage in the competition for one of ten final spots tonight in a semifinal also featuring performers from Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia.
Russian-Armenian singer Eva Rivas (born Valeria Reshetnikova-Tsaturian) will perform an English-language song, “Apricot Stone”, during a Eurovision show in Norwegian capital Oslo on Thursday night (starting at midnight Yerevan time).
The 22-year-old native of Rostov-na-Donu in southern Russia will be the number two semifinalist appearing on stage. The total number of the second Eurovision semifinal participants is 17, including Azerbaijan’s Safura, Georgia’s Sofia Nizharadze and Turkish rock band maNga.
Well-known Armenian duduk-player Jivan Gasparian will accompany Rivas’ performance. Those in charge of Armenia’s show in Oslo promise to illuminate the performance with fireworks and a small solo dance. The show, they say, will end in a ‘magic’ as a tree will grow from an apricot pit placed on the stage. During the performance Rivas, a tall, long-legged stunner with waist-length hair, is likely to be wearing an apricot-color top, jean pants and come on stage barefoot. She wore those clothes at the dress rehearsal.
The top ten finalists from the second day of the competition will be decided through a combination of a telephone-based public voting and a jury vote. They will join the other ten finalists decided on Tuesday and four singers representing the Eurovision founding nations, France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany, as well as host Norway, for a Grand Finale on Saturday.
Armenia, which is participating in the annual contest for the fifth time, traditionally enjoys strong support from the SMS-ing public not least due to the presence of large Armenian communities in European countries.
Last year, Azerbaijani citizens who had voted for the Armenian song in the Eurovision contest, were called to the Security Ministry to explain their vote after the national telecommunications company offered its phone records to the authorities. That led to an investigation by Eurovision officials and eventual rule changes concerning telephone records.