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Archive for November, 2011

Lys AssiaThe 2012 Eurovision Song Contest may still be months away, but internal selections are already beginning to kick into gear. The first truly significant piece of news emerged tonight when it was announced that Lys Assia, the first ever winner, is one step closer to returning to the contest.

Ms Assia won the inaugral contest for Switzerland back in 1956 with Refrain – a stately ballad of the kind that would be much favoured in the early years of the Eurovision. She was thirty years old at the time, and she’ll be 86 by May of next year, when the 2012 event is set to take place. This would make her by some distance the oldest lead performer in the show’s history – the record currently thought to be held by the now sadly departed Kraljevi “75 Cent” Ulice, who represented Croatia in 2008 at the age of 75.

The Swiss entry is to be chosen in a live final on 10th December, with participants being selected by a combination of public votes and a jury from a wider online selection of hopefuls. Ms Assia is the first of six finalists to be announced by German-Swiss broadcaster Schweizer Fernsehen (SF), and she isn’t the only eyebrow-raising contender. Other acts to have submitted entries to the online pre-selection include dance diva Ultra Nate and X Factor finalists Same Difference and Maria Lawson. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if they make the live finals…

So, what are her chances? She’s a Swiss National, which will give her a boost over the many foreign performers. Also, the sentimental vote is a powerful thing, so assuming the Swiss final is largely based on public votes, I can see her becoming a front-runner. Her entry – entitled ‘C’├ętait ma vie’ – is exactly as you would expect a Eurovision entry by an 85-year old woman to sound, i.e. it could easily have competed alongside her 1956 winner. It has a certain weathered dignity, but there’s no way in hell it would win the whole contest. Still, goodwill alone could get it through the semi-finals, and it’s a nice story, so I’m happy to get on-board Team Lys for now. I just hope she hasn’t set her hopes unrealistically high. As Dana International proved when she crashed and burned in the semi-finals this year, past form only counts for so much at Eurovision…

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