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Eurovision Explained, From ABBA To Zorra, As The Israel-Hamas War Overshadows The Song Contest

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Malmö, Sweden – Scores of musicians, hundreds of journalists, and thousands of music enthusiasts have converged in Malmo, Sweden, as the Eurovision Song Contest prepares for Saturday’s jubilant, glitter-drenched finale.

But even Eurovision cannot avoid the world’s divisions. Thousands of pro-Palestinian protestors are expected in the city to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict and criticize Israel’s participation in the event.

Here’s an introduction to what Eurovision is, how it operates, and what to look for.

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What is Eurovision?

The short answer is that Eurovision is a music competition in which performers from around Europe and beyond compete under their national flags for the title of continental champion. Consider these the pop music Olympics.

The longer explanation is that Eurovision is an event that combines pop, partying, and politics, resembling a music festival, an awards show, and a United Nations Security Council meeting. It’s a crazy joyful festival that celebrates music’s unifying powerbut it’s also a venue for politics and regional rivalries.

eurovision

AP – VOR News Image

How does it work?

This year, the tournament will be held over many days in the Swedish coastal city of Malmo, which has entries from 37 countries. The country is hosting after Swedish singer Loreen won the competition last year in Liverpool, England.

After two semifinals, the artists have been reduced to 25, and they will compete in Saturday’s final in front of thousands of fans in the Malmo Arena and a global broadcast audience estimated at 180 million.

In an unusual move, the 26th finalist, Joost Klein of the Netherlands, was removed from the competition on Saturday due to “a complaint made by a female member of the production crew” that is being probed by police, according to organizers.

Nations may enter a solo act or a band. They can perform in any genre or language, but the regulations require them to sing live and limit their songs to three minutes. Staging has become increasingly extravagant, with spectacular pyrotechnics and sophisticated dance. This year is very great for topless male dancers.

After all of the acts have been performed, the winner is determined by a notoriously complex combination of phone and online votes from all around the world and rankings by music-industry juries in each Eurovision country. As the results are announced, countries move up and down the standings, and tensions rise. Ending up with “nul points,” or zero, is considered a national shame.

Eurovision’s musical style has evolved drastically since its inception in 1956. The early years of crooners and ballads gave way to cheery pop, as exemplified by possibly the greatest Eurovision song of all time, ABBA’s “Waterloo,” which won 50 years ago.

Euro-techno and power ballads are popular nowadays, but viewers choose rock, folk rap, and odd, unclassifiable music.

According to bookies, Swiss singer Nemo is a top contender, delivering “The Code,” a beautiful, operatic ballad. Nemo would be the first nonbinary performer to win the contest with a large LGBTQ+ following. A quarter century ago, Dana International became the contest’s first transgender winner.

Another nonbinary singer gaining traction is Ireland’s Bambie Thug, whose song “Doomsday Blue” is Gothic, passionate, over-the-top, and a true crowd-pleaser. They are the only contestants to bring a “scream coach” to Malmo.

Other acts expected to perform well include operatic Slovenian singer Raiven, Ukrainian rap-pop combo Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil, and Spain’s Nebulossa, whose song “Zorra” sparked controversy because its title can be translated as an anti-female slur.

The performer with the most traction is Croatian vocalist Baby Lasagna. His song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim” is classic Eurovision: joyful, humorous, slightly emotional, and immensely catchy. It is already a major fan favorite.

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AP – VOR News Image

WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE PROTESTING?

Eurovision’s tagline is “united by music,” its organizer, the European Broadcasting Union, works to keep politics out of the competition. But it frequently intrudes.

Belarus was kicked out of Eurovision in 2021 for its government’s crackdown on opposition, while Russia was kicked out in 2022 for its full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.

This year, there have been requests for Israel’s exclusion due to its actions in the conflict against Hamas.

Israel is competing but was forced to change the title of its song, which was previously titled “October Rain,” in an apparent reference to Hamas’ October 7 cross-border raid. Eden Golan, a 20-year-old vocalist, now performs the song “Hurricane.”

Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists marched through Malmo hours before Golan performed in Thursday’s semifinal, and another is planned for Saturday. Swedish police have launched a large security operation, with officers from throughout the country joined by reinforcements from Denmark and Norway.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

Entertainment

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

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Charlie Colin | AP News Image

BRUSSELS — Charlie Colin, the bassist and founding member of the band Train, best known for their early-aughts songs “Drops of Jupiter” and “Meet Virginia,” has passed away. He was 58.

Colin’s sister, Carolyn Stephens, confirmed her brother’s death to The Associated Press on Wednesday. He died after slipping and falling in the bathtub while housesitting for a friend in Brussels, according to celebrity website TMZ.com.

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Charlie Colin | NY Post Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

Colin grew up in Southern California and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. After college, he joined the band Apostles, which included guitarist Jimmy Stafford and singer Rob Hotchkiss. After the band broke up, Colin spent a year writing jingles in Singapore.

Colin, Hotchkiss, and Stafford eventually migrated to San Francisco, where they created Train in the early 1990s alongside singer Pat Monahan. According to an interview with Colin and Hotchkiss in Berklee’s alumni magazine, Colin rounded out the quartet with drummer Scott Underwood.

Colin was a founding member of the pop-rock band, appearing on the band’s first three albums: 1998’s self-titled album, 2001’s “Drops of Jupiter,” and 2003’s “My Private Nation.” The latter two albums peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 charts.

“Meet Virginia,” from Train’s debut album, peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, but the band’s sophomore album cemented their fame.

The eight-time platinum title tune “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” featured Rolling Stones session pianist Chuck Leavell and Leonard Cohen’s string orchestrator Paul Buckmaster. It was written after Monahan’s mother’s death. It peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard list and won two Grammys, including Best Rock Song.

Colin departed Train in 2003 due to substance misuse.

charlie colin

Charlie Colin | Reddit Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

“Charlie is one incredible bass player, but he was in a lot of pain, and the way he was dealing with it was very painful for everyone else around him,” Monahan stated to NBC San Diego.

In 2015, he rejoined Hotchkiss to form the new band Painbirds alongside Tom Luce. In 2017, he established the Side Deal, which included Sugar Ray’s Stan Frazier and the PawnShop Kings’ Joel and Scott Owen.

Train posted an homage to Colin on their social media platforms on Wednesday.

“When I met Charlie Colin (front left), I fell in love with him. He was the sweetest and most attractive man. “Let’s form a band; it’s the only reasonable thing to do,” it reads.

“His distinct bass playing and wonderful guitar work helped get people to notice us in San Francisco and abroad. I’ll always have a soft spot for him in my heart. I always attempted to bring him closer, but he had his vision. You are a legend, Charlie. “Go charm the pants off those angels,” the unsigned post added.

Colin documented his stay in Brussels before his death, declaring it “officially my favorite city” in a March Instagram post.

charlie colin

Charlie Colin | NY Post Image

Charlie Colin, Founding Member Of The Band Train, Dies At 58 After Slipping In Shower

Colin also served as the music director for the Newport Beach Film Festival.

“Charlie was a special part of the Newport Beach Film Festival family,” said Todd Quartararo, the festival’s co-founder. “His heart, compassion and creativity will surely be missed.”

He is survived by his parents, sister, and niece

SOURCE – (AP)

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Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

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Friends Star Matthew Perry, 54 Found Dead at His LA Home

Los Angeles  — Authorities have begun an investigation into how Matthew Perry obtained the ketamine that killed him, police said Tuesday.

Los Angeles police are collaborating with the US Narcotic Enforcement Administration and the US Postal Inspection Service to investigate why the 54-year-old “Friends” star had so much of the narcotic in his system, LAPD Capt. Scot Williams said in an email.

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matthew Perry | CBC Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

On Oct. 28, an assistant discovered Perry, 54, face down in his hot tub, and paramedics arrived and confirmed him dead. His autopsy, which was disclosed in December, revealed that the level of ketamine in his blood was within the range used for general anesthesia during surgery. The primary cause of death was categorized as an accident, with no foul play suspected, according to the report.

The coroner cited drowning and other medical conditions as contributory reasons.

TMZ initially revealed the probe.

People close to the star informed coroner’s investigators that he was receiving ketamine infusion therapy. The decades-old surgical medication has experienced a significant increase in use in recent years to treat depression, anxiety, and pain.

However, the medical examiner stated that Perry’s most recent treatment, which occurred one and a half weeks prior, could not account for the ketamine levels in his blood. The medication is normally metabolized within hours. According to the medical examiner’s report, Perry was being treated by at least two doctors: a psychiatrist and an anesthesiologist who also functioned as his primary care physician. No illegal drugs or paraphernalia were discovered at his home.

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Matthew Perry | People Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

Perry struggled with addiction for years, beginning with his time on “Friends,” where he starred as Chandler Bing alongside Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, and David Schwimmer for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004.

In other cases, celebrity deaths caused by drugs prompted authorities to punish those who gave them.

After rapper Mac Miller died from an overdose of cocaine, alcohol, and fentanyl-laced counterfeit oxycodone, two of the guys who gave him the fentanyl were convicted of trafficking it. One was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison, while the other received 10 years.

Two doctors and a manager of model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith were charged with scheming to obtain her prescription medicines before her 2007 death but not with causing her deadly overdose. All accusations against one doctor were subsequently dismissedexcept one misdemeanor fraud charge.

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Matthew Perry | Rolling Stone Image

Matthew Perry’s Death Under Investigation In Connection With Ketamine Level Found In Actor’s Blood

After Michael Jackson died in 2009 from a deadly dose of propofol, a medicine designed for use only during surgery and other medical operations, not for the insomnia the singer wanted, his doctor, Conrad Murray, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011. Murray has maintained his innocence.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

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Combs | AP News Image

NEW YORK — A former model accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of sexually abusing her at his New York City recording studio in 2003, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the latest in a slew of allegations against the embattled hip-hop entrepreneur.

Crystal McKinney, a prominent 22-year-old model, said she met Diddy at a restaurant during Men’s Fashion Week in Manhattan. The criminal complaint filed in New York City states that Combs invited her to his recording studio later that night.

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P diddy Combs | Sky News Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, when McKinney arrived, Diddy was drinking and smoking joints with several other males. According to the lawsuit, she smoked some marijuana and “later came to understand” that it was tainted with a narcotic or intoxicating drug. She felt as if she were floating. Diddy escorted her to the restroom, where the sexual assault occurred, according to the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Diddy escorted her back to the studio, where she lost consciousness. She later awoke in a taxi and discovered she had been sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit.

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Combs | Cheat Sheet Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

Diddy’s reps did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The Associated Press normally does not identify persons who claim to have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly, as McKinney has.

The complaint was filed days after CNN published security footage showing Combs assaulting singer Cassie in a Los Angeles hotel corridor in 2016. On Sunday, Diddy published a video admitting to attacking Cassie in a hotel hallway, stating he was “truly sorry” and his actions were “inexcusable.”

Diddy is not likely to face criminal charges for the incident due to the statute of limitations.

combs

Diddy Combs | AP News Image

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accused Of 2003 Sexual Assault In Lawsuit

Cassie filed a complaint in November alleging beatings and abuse, which was resolved a day later. However, it sparked increased scrutiny of Diddy, with numerous further lawsuits filed in the following months, as well as a federal criminal sex-trafficking probe that prompted investigators to raid Combs’ residences in Los Angeles and Miami.

The claim was filed on Tuesday under a New York City law that allows accusers to initiate civil litigation within a specific time frame, even if the alleged crimes occurred many years ago.

SOURCE – (AP)

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