Armenians have picked the participant that will represent their country at a popular pan-European song contest to be held in Norway in May.
Eva Rivas, a 22-year-old native of Rostov-na-Donu in southern Russia, won the Eurovision-2010 national selection final that took place at the Opera House in Yerevan Sunday evening.
Rivas’s upbeat Apricot Stone song was chosen as the best among the songs performed by the nine contestants of the show broadcast live by the Armenian Public Television. The final selection reflected the opinion of a professional panel of judges and the SMS vote by the TV audience.
Rivas’s main rivals, the duo of Emmy and Mihran, bowed to the audience and quickly walked off the stage following the announcement of the contest outcome. Their team later cried foul as some of Emmy and Mihran fans claimed their numerous text messages had “failed to go through.”
Some claimed that the win by the tall Russian-Armenian brunette with a model’s look was a foregone conclusion given the heavy support that she enjoyed from a powerful Diaspora production team in Moscow.
“Our text messages were not going through. There is no turning art into a bargain. The problem is not with Eva Rivas’s persona, but with people who stand behind her,” said one disgruntled fan.
Vartan Grigorian, a representative of the Emmy & Mihran PR Group, claimed that 5,000 votes had been given in Rivas’s favor already 30 seconds into the announcement of the SMS vote. “And then the server went down. Doesn’t Emmy have a great following in Armenia that she got only 1,400 votes?” he said in an interview with RFE/RL.
At a press conference following the show Rivas’s producer Valery Saharian brushed aside the rival allegations of foul play.
“One should also be able to accept a defeat in a dignified manner,” the Moscow-based producer told RFE/RL in a clear reference to the reaction that came from Emmy’s team. The flamboyant singer (full name Emmy Bejanian) unsuccessfully contested Armenia’s Eurovision spot also in the past.
“Let’s rally around the winner,” added Saharian.
Armenia’s public broadcaster, Public TV, has not yet published the breakdown of the vote.
The Eurovision-2010 finals in Oslo, Norway, in May will be Armenia’s fifth time in this contest that brings together singers from around Europe. Armenia, which traditionally enjoys the support of Diaspora communities around Europe in tele-voting, showed its best Eurovision result so far in 2008 when its representative finished in the fourth place.
Eva Rivas: Apricot Stone