Eurovision organizers in image-conscious Latvia are worried that the Russian lesbian pop duo Tatu might ambush the annual festival of glitz and kitsch. Tatu, whose sexually provocative music videos featuring the pair in school uniforms have led to the duo's being branded as "pedo-pop," is widely tipped to win the contest, which is renowned for its unique blend of steely ambition and uneven talent. The teenage Russian stars have promised to put on an "outrageous" performance for the 48th Eurovision Song Contest.
"There's a lot of hype and rumor surrounding Tatu, but this is a family event, and we would not allow anything to jeopardize that," said Aline Ingwersen of the Swiss-based European Broadcasting Union, responsible for the show. "We don't know what they will do onstage--you never know with this group," said spokeswoman Solvita Vevere. "But we will have a taped performance from the dress rehearsal, so we can always switch to that if need be."
Eurovision has launched superstars like Sweden's ABBA, who won in 1974 with the disco classic "Waterloo," but most contestants are remembered as pop wanna-bes famous only for bizarre lyrics, quaint stage shows, or the sour note of the partisan votes they receive. It is all part of its enduring popularity for the 160 million Eurovision viewers.
Tatu's "Ne Ver, Ne Bojsia, Ne Prosi," which translates to "Don't Believe, Don't Fear, Don't Ask," is an aggressive guitar-based song in contrast to the usual bland Eurovision offerings. The duo will stick to Russian, although contestants are allowed to sing in English to reach a wider audience. Tatu's song tops the ranking on the Eurovision 2003 Web site. With the winner to host the show next year, Eurovision 2004 could be set for Moscow. Other favorites include Spain's Latin-inspired "Dime" by Beth, Latvia's F.L.Y. with the futuristic "Hello From Mars," and Turkey's Sertab Erener doing "Every Way That I Can," an explosion of rhythm and belly dancing. Iceland's Birgitta is also seen as a potential winner with "Open Your Heart."
Lena and Julia of Tatu are confident of victory. "We want to do this because we are Russians, body and soul," Lena told The [London] Sun: "We want to blast everything that's gone before with our sexy act."