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This Saturday, May 26, is the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. For those readers from Europe, this is probably no news to you. To those unfamiliar with this media institution (mostly North Americans, I’d wager), imagine if after Kelly Clarkson won American Idol, she then, armed with a brand-new song, went up against singers from every other country in North America… and let’s add South America, too, since North America doesn’t have that many countries in it. The whole thing (two semi-finals and the Grand Final) is broadcast live continent-wide, and everyone calls in and votes for their favorite song – with the twist being that you cannot vote for your own country. The song with the highest score wins, and the winning country gets to host the show the next year.

I’ve only been watching for the last two years or so, and I find it fascinating the kinds of acts each country will send… and which acts Europe sends to the final. (Moldova’s 2011 entry, I’m looking squarely at you.) This year’s contest is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan, and after getting acquainted with most of this year’s contestants, I’m already excited to see who’s going to win, especially since I don’t have a horse in the race, so to speak – I get to root for whichever country I want, even if I don’t get a vote. This year I also get the added bonus of introducing my sister to the ways of Eurovision…

If you’re interested, you can join us by logging in to eurovision.tv on Saturday. (The link will take you to what I hope will be the webcast.) The contest starts at 9 pm Central European Time, and you can find your time zone here to find out when you need to log in.

One week later kicks off the four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK, complete with the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on June 3, a parade of boats of all shapes and sizes potentially surpassing anything seen on the Thames in centuries. I haven’t found out about any streaming web coverage, but I hope they’ll release some information soon – mostly because I really want to watch it. In the meantime, you can check out more about the pageant at their home page.

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