YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s representatives to the Eurovision 2009 song contest, sisters Inga and Anush Arshakyan, finished in tenth place in the final round of the 25-nation contest held in the Russian capital Moscow Saturday night.
Norway’s Alexander Rybak won first place, while Yohanna from Iceland came in second and AySel & Arash from Azerbaijan placed in third. The Armenian duo finished tenth, receiving only 92 points compared to the 387 points scored by Rybak.
Wearing traditional Armenian dance outfits, Anush and Inga performed “Jan-Jan,” a song combining English and Armenian lyrics with a mix of traditional motifs and modern rhythms. The sisters Inga (27) and Anush (28) are graduates of the jazz-vocal department of the Komitas State Conservatory in Yerevan.
Last year Armenia’s Sirusho finished in fourth place, while Andre (2006) and Hayko (2007) finished in eighth place.
In previous years, winners in the song contest were determined by national televoting, with the total votes cast by viewers in each country determining the country’s vote. This year, however, half the total votes that would determine a winner came from televoting. The other 50 percent was determined by national juries consisting of five music-industry professionals in each country helped determine the vote for each of the 42 countries allowed to vote.
Armenia has historically benefited from its large diaspora, as many countries with large Armenian communities such as France and Russia tended to vote for Armenia.
This year, Turkey’s voters gave 12 points (the highest score possible) to ally Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan returned the favor. The maximum of 12 votes from Armenia went to Russia, while another Four went to Turkey. Turkey gave six votes to Armenia. Armenia also gave one vote to Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan gave no votes to Armenia.
According to PanArmenian.net, Armenian Public Television has submitted a complaint to Eurovision 2009, alleging Azeri contest officials of gross violations of Eurovision rules, the Russian RIA Novosti news agency reported on Monday.
According to a group of Azeri Internet users, PanArmenian said, the portion of the screen with the phone number to call and vote for Armenia was hidden in the Azeri broadcast of the contest.
Eurovision fans in Armenia were also disappointed that an image from Karabakh had been removed from the Armenian performers’ final video. The video had shown Karabakh’s 1967 “Tatik and Papik” (“Grandmother and Grandfather”) monument, which has become a symbol for the Republic.
Eurovision’s Russian hosts opted to have the image removed from the Armenian video after Azerbaijani officials protested. Prior to the decision, Azerbaijani media outlets lambasted the monument’s inclusion in the video. One outlet, the news website Day.az, said in a commentary that “the Armenians and their friends from the Eurovision steering committee used this monument [for] provocative political purposes.”
The decision to remove the controversial video segment naturally caused consternation in Yerevan. Armenia, however, found a way to air its protest. As vote tallies were called in from Eurovision’s 42 participating countries, a live-broadcast on Yerevan’s Republic Square featured a large screen with the Nagorno-Karabakh statue. The presenter, Sirusho, raised a clipboard as she spoke which also included an image of the monument.