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Belgrade Calling

Belgrade called
Monday, may 26th
After a hectic period of bringing you the news from Belgrade, it's over now. It is Hilversum calling again, everybody returned to their homes. That means we close the 'Belgrade Calling' page now. We look back at a wonderful contest. See you next year in Moscow or Saint Petersburg!


Leaving Belgrade
Monday, may 26th
When leaving Belgrade, we were absolutely not alone yesterday. It felt like a complete exodus of Eurovision fans and participants.
When we arrived at the airport, we saw the Estonian delegation. Later they were accompanied by the friendly Boaz Ma'uda from Israel and Armenian Sirusho. Also Dima Bilan and skater Evgeni Plushenko were there. Bilan was unreachable. surrounded by bodyguards. Plushenko appeared to be a rude man, passing waiting people in the row for checking in. Plushenko found himself a VIP and wanted to be treated like that.


Victory for Russia
Sunday, may 25th
For the first time in Eurovision history, Russia won the Eurovision Song Contest. Dima Bilan is the brand new winner with his song "Believing".
The first half of the voting was very exciting, as Russia and Greece stayed very close to eachother.
Dima Bilan already tried to win Eurovision before in 2006. He became 2nd behind Lordi.


Fans of the Russian entry

Sweden saved by backup juries
Sunday, may 25th
Friday, we of Hilversum Calling told you that one country entered the final because of the backup juries. That country was Sweden.
If the backup juries wouldn't count, FYROMacedonia would have gone through.
In the first semifinal, it was Poland that was 10th, but also selected by the backup juries. Hind became 13nd, Ishtar from Belgium 17th.

Last update before the final
Saturday, may 24th
Within 3 hours, the final of the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest will be there. We of Hilversum Calling saw the 3rd dress rehearsal. After that, we are pretty much convinced that Russia will win the show tonight. However, we won't exclude Ukraine, Norway and Portugal. The performances of France and Germany are very weak, they will fight for the last place.
Furthermore, we want to wish all the visitors of Hilversum Calling a wonderful contest.


Sébastien Tellier: not a star on camera
Saturday, 24th of may
The French entrant, Sébastien Tellier, is definitely no good friends with the camera. That's what we learnt from the dress rehearsals.
We saw Sébastien half, we saw his feet only, we saw his chest, we saw him walking away, we saw him looking in the wrong camera.
We of Hilversum Calling are a little bit worried that, with this appearance, he will not get many votes.


Germany wins dummy voting
Saturday, may 24th
To rehearse the voting procedure, every year there is a so-called 'dummy voting'. This year, it was won by German group No Angels.
The group presented the song "Disappear". Germany is not a favourite at all, people even wondered why the girls didn't disappear. In fact, this is no good omen for Germany: the dummy winner is never the winner of the real contest.....


Screaming girls for Russia
Saturday, may 24th
Your reporter just arrived from the Beogradska Arena, where the final dress rehearsal took part. We noted that russia was very popular among a certain group. Screaming teenage girls in the hall cheered for Dima Bilan. Dima is a pop idol, especially in the countries surrounding Russia. However, we also received news from the Netherlands that he is very popular there. Many young girls will vote for Dima Bilan tonight.


Serbians don't believe in it
Saturday, may 24th
Of course they will support their entry as loud as they can. But the Serbian man in the street doesn't believe in a second victory.
Your Hilversum Calling-reporter spoke to several Serbian people. If you tell them Serbia is one of the favourites for a victory they smile at you. Then they tell you that it won't happen. They don't think Serbia can make it for two years in a row. And what is more important: many Serbians we spoke to don't like the song. They are sure it's not a "Molitva".


Bookmakers say: It's Portugal
Saturday, may 24th
In the Sava Press Centre in Belgrade, there is a possibility to bet. The last update was yesterday evening, when Portugal had the first place.
The complete top-10 is 1.Portugal  2.Serbia  3.Ukraine  4.Sweden  5.Greece  6.Israel  7.Iceland  8.Russia  9.Turkey  10.Azerbaijan
Official bookmakers mention Russia, Greece, Sweden, Serbia and Ukraine as possible winners. Note that they all mention Iceland as a possible 'zero points' entry.

Breaking news from the EBU
Friday, may 23rd
Today, we of Hilversum Calling received an email about last night's voting. It contained some interesting information.
In the first semifinal, there would have been no difference with or without one song being  selected by the backup juries. However, in the second semifinal, one song was 'saved' by this backup jury. That means the new rule works!


First dress rehearsal: Rodolfo lost his glasses
Friday, may 23rd
We all know Rodolfo Chikilicuarte has very big glasses as a part of his image. This afternoon, he lost it during the performance of his song.
Suddenly, we of Hilversum Calling noticed his glasses were gone. Furthermore, the appearance was far from perfect: one of the dancers in his group even fell and had to stand up again.

Björn Erichsen: heavily misquoted
Friday, may 23rd
There was some noise about EBU-boss Björn Erichsen recently, as he said some unfriendly words about BBC-commenter Terry Wogan in The Daily Telegraph. Today, Erichsen reacted on the article.
"I am heavily misquoted by the Daily Telegraph", Erichsen said. He told the press he knows what Wogan means for Eurovision in the UK. However, for people from outside it sounds all a little bit strange. Erichsen just expressed he was wondering how to deal with the next commenter if Wogan stops.

Youngest contestant makes it to the final!
Friday, may 23rd
Olta Boka is only 16 years old. Representing Albania, she is the youngest contestant this year. Yesterday evening, she made it to the final.
"My heart is beating so fast right now. I am really so happy for that I am sure we will do our maximum", she told the press. we of Hilversum Calling keep our fingers crossed for Olta.

****hilversum calling****