Armenia 2015

Eurosong.be is publishing a series of 30 posts looking at how prepared the #escdk participants are to host Eurovision 2015 in the event of a victory in Copenhagen. Posts published Mondays and Thursdays – we’re still  one country behind! Below is a translation of Armenië 2015.

the Karen Demirchyan concert hall, Yerevan
the Karen Demirchyan concert hall, Yerevan

Armenia has already organised one contest, Junior Eurovision in 2011. So the national broadcaster has experience of putting on a live TV show, plus there are hotels and a venue. The country is ready, although we still have a few reservations.

The 56th General Assembly of the EBU on 8 July 2005 in Dubrovnik was a milestone in Armenian media history. From that moment the national broadcaster was a full (and active) member of the union, and one year later the country made its debut at Eurovision.

A good record

Since then Armenia has participated every year except 2012, when the contest was held in neighbouring nemesis Azerbaijan. Each time they have thrown Olympism overboard and gone all out for victory. And the country has not done badly – six of their seven entries have advanced to the final and five have ended up in the top 10. The Armenians came closest to victory in 2008 when Sirusho finished fourth with Qele, Qele.

Proven expertise

National broadcaster APT organised Junior Eurovision in 2011. As we know, the junior version of the contest is not necessarily organised in the winning country of the previous year, but selected by the EBU from the broadcasters who put themselves forward as candidates – the fact that Armenia had won Junior Eurovision in 2010 was just a coincidence. But it must be said that the Armenians pulled off an entertaining and professional show – watch the full broadcast.

Some doubts

There are some parallels with Albania. As EBU member, APT has the rights to broadcast Eurovision, the most watched programme in the country, but commercial broadcaster Armenia TV has a much larger budget. This is reflected in their programming, which includes the Armenian versions of popular international formats.

Last summer the EBU urged APT to modernise their production facilities, for which they received money from the Armenian government. The move to HD and 16/9 only took place in 2013 – for Junior in 2011 APT had to rely on an external audiovisual services company (HD Resources from Sweden), while problems with power left half of Yerevan without electricity during the broadcast.

No competition for Yerevan

After an Armenian Eurovision victory the choice of host city would probably be quick – the capital Yerevan. The mayors of Gyumri (population: 146,000) and Vanadzor (pop: 105,000) might consider putting in bids, but these would be rejected due to lack of hotel capacity.

One of the oldest cities in the world with 1,120,000 inhabitants and home to a third of all Armenians, Yerevan would be a worthy host city. Plus its nickname is ‘the pink city’ – not for the reason a large proportion of the Eurovision audience might hope, but due to the colour of stones used in many of its buildings.

There are plenty of hotels in Yerevan, if often at somewhat excessive prices, so the EBU might have to insist rooms across a full price range are on offer.

Further downsizing

Junior Eurovision 2011 was held in the Karen Demirchyan Complex., probably also the venue of any adult contest held on Armenian soil.

Although the largest indoor concert venue in the country, the choice of this hall would continue the downsizing which the EBU stated was desirable after the 2011 contest. While the  hall can accommodate an audience of about 10,000, once cameras, commentator booths etc are in place this would probably be reduced to about 8,000.

Keeping up with the presenter

The search for host would probably not last very long either. TV personality, fashion designer, actress and model Kim Kardashian may have been born in California, but her father is Armenian and his daughter is very proud of her Armenian roots – the family actively campaigned for President Obama to recognise the 1915 Armenian genocide. Kardashian was the highest paid TV personality in 2010 with an income of $6 million, but would doubtless offer  the Armenian broadcaster a reduced rate.

Exit Turkey and Azerbaijan

After Greece and Cyprus (the divided island had a score to settle with Turkey) Belgium was one of the first countries to recognise the Armenians genocide. Hence a warm welcome would probably await the Belgian delegation in Yerevan, but it would be a contest without Turkey and Azerbaijan.

It’s also unlikely these countries would broadcast a contest with Armenia as host country, which could lead to a two year suspension – although the requirement that a participating broadcaster must have broadcast the previous year’s contest was abolished in 2013, to make – ironically – a Turkish return in Copenhagen possible (which didn’t happen).

In conclusion, the Armenians would be delighted to win the contest and would find it a great honour to organise it. As things stand, APT would still need to rely on an external service company for production – the experience of Junior in 2011 would undoubtedly help, but the adult contest has three times as many participants and three live broadcasts rather than just one.

So Yerevan is ready – and if they can upgrade the power grid maybe everyone can watch this time!

It’s strictly no contest for our favourite entry from Armenia at Eurovision. A Karen Kavaleryan lyrics fest with a Kardashian inspired opening from the tall lady, interpretive dance by a Sonny (without Cher) lookalike and Gor out of Dorians on backings: 

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