The 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, that annual European musical event that no one really understands, will take place on May 23 in Vienna, Austria. This year, 40 countries will participate, including, for the first time that country down in the extreme southeastern corner of Europe: Australia. (organizers cite “strong cultural ties” to explain their qualification).

We will use this space to introduce the 40 contestants this year, one-by-one.

It turns out Eurovision has a whole set of rules, and voting doesn’t only consist in countries giving points to their neighbors. But as we’re still not too sure what makes a good Eurovision song, we will rate them according to our own three selected criteria: “Does it make you want to visit that country?”, “Was there enough glitter?” and “Should they actually be in the music business (OK to quit your day job)?”

Our first contestant is Albania and its singer Elhaida Dani, who became famous after winning Star Academy Albania in 2009 and The Voice of Italy in 2013. She will be performing “I’m Alive,” a song about feeling one’s existence and emotions to the fullest through love and pain.

In the video, various women working different jobs can be seen staring at the camera, shedding a single tear before pulling that tear back into their eye and smiling.

Our vote:

Does it make you want to visit that country? 4/10

Was there enough glitter? 3.25/10

Ok to quit your day job? 4.75/10

OVERALL AVERAGE: 4/10

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Geopolitics

Ingrid Betancourt, A Hostage Heroine Reinvented As Feminist For President

Although Betancourt is best known for surviving six years as a hostage of the Colombian terror group FARC, and is considered a centrist politician, her unlikely new campaign for president will be centered on gender issues.

Betancourt in Bogota announcing her candidacy Tuesday

Chepa Beltran/LongVisual via ZUMA
Felipe García Altamar

-Analysis-

BOGOTA — Exactly 20 years after she was kidnapped by the FARC terror group in the middle of her campaign for Colombian president, Íngrid Betancourt is launching a new campaign to lead her nation. She will do so on behalf of her party, Verde Oxígeno, becoming the only female candidate from the Centro Esperanza Coalition (CCE), which for months received a barrage of criticism for grouping only male candidacies and traditional politicians.

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