There was good news for "proper" music fans this week in New Zealand, with the announcement that the legendary Eurovision Song Contest is returning to kiwi screens after an absence of more than 30 years.
In days gone by, the famous contest used to screen on the state broadcaster (now known as TVNZ), introducing classic songs like Waterloo (Abba), Save Your Kisses For Me (Brotherhood of Man), and Puppet on a String (Sandie Shaw) to New Zealand audiences.
But unfortunately the song contest was dropped by the early 80s, as part of the gradual Americanisation of the small Pacific Nation.
The 54-year old Eurovision Song Contest has less clout these days in launching international music careers, but is still described as "Europe's Favourite TV Show", and is seen as a great promotional tool by singers, bands, and songwriters across both Western and Eastern Europe.
An impressive 42 countries will take part in this year's contest from Moscow's Olimpiysky Indoor Arena, which will be broadcast to over 100 million homes worldwide.
The 2009 Eurovision Final will screen in New Zealand on May 17th, nationwide on the Triangle Stratos satellite channel (Freeview Ch.21 or Sky Digital Ch. 89), and on Triangle Television's UHF channel in Auckland. That's just half a day after the event screens live in the Northern Hemisphere.
Triangle and Stratos are also planning to screen a compilation of last year's two semi-finals on May 3rd. (The Eurovision Song Contest is so popular these days, that only 5 countries directly qualify for the following year's final, while all other countries (37 in total) have to compete in one of two semi-finals in the week prior).
The 2008 Eurovision final (held in Belgrade, Serbia) will screen on May 10th, as a teaser for viewers not used to the kitchy contest.
* Scoop: Eurovision Song Contest on Triangle and Stratos TV
* Eurovision Song Contest - Moscow 2009 (Official Website)
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Posted at 7:40 pm