Saturday, 29 May 2010

Greece's future lies with Eurovision hope

From stolid Switzerland to madcap Malta, every European country longs for a shot at Eurovision glory. But new revelations show that no one hankers for victory more than Greece - even if it means a win costs them the health of their economy.

A leaked dossier from the Greek Home Office has revealed the true reason behind the country’s multi-billion euro debt: the struggling Mediterranean country has spent a total of 300 billion euros financing its Eurovision efforts over the past 25 years, running over budget by an average of 11 billion euros each year.

As well as bribing officials and wining and dining judges, the Greek Eurovision Agency hired mathematicians and scientists to uncover the secret behind past winners’ successes. But their efforts have netted them just one win since the country first began competing in 1974: Elena Paparizou’s 2005 win with My Number One.

Elena Paparizou wows Eurovision judges in 2005.

A reluctant spokesperson from the agency, who declined to be named, said the department was set up in 1985 to “guarantee” a win for the country. “Each Eurovision winner has brought untold wealth to their country,” he said. “We figured the money would be well spent if we could manufacture another Katrina and the Waves, or a Bucks Fizz.” What the agency discovered, however, is that Greeks have no natural talent. “Apart from Elena [Paparizou], who only won because she showed the judges her knickers, we’re a talentless bunch of no-hopers.”

But as Greece faces up to three years of recession and a monstrous debt, the government is saying enough is enough and funding for the GEA has come to an end. The country’s final hope rests on George Alkaios & Friends, performing their song OPA tonight in the final. If Alkaios wins, the Eurovision prize money, coincidentally 300 billion euro, will fix his country’s problems forever.

No pressure, then. But if anyone’s equipped to deal with this situation, it’s Alkaios. Plucked from his destitute mountain shack in infancy by Greek Eurovision Agency scouts, Thirty eight-year-old Alkaios has been in training for this moment his whole life. The singer was brought up in a clandestine performing arts academy in the Greek mountains. From the beginning, he has been taught to communicate in song and until his first Eurovision audition had never heard a spoken voice.

Most experts agree that the song is "a bit shit," but watch the video and decide for yourself. The Eurovision final screens lives from Oslo tonight.

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