Thanks to Howard Lake for spotting this interesting bit of news!
Switzerland’s entry for the May 2013 Eurovision contest is a very catchy rock song written and performed by the Salvation Army of Switzerland, Austria & Hungary (Heilsarmee). The Heilsarmee won 37.5% of the overall vote (more than double the votes of the second-runner up) to make them Switzerland’s official representatives to the upcoming contest in Malmö, Sweden.
The six-member Heilsarmee rock band includes 94-year-old “self-confessed ‘old crock’” Emil Ramsauer on double-bass! Check out the video for “You and Me”:
The pick is not without controversy, however. Some media reports wonder if Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation may violate the rules of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) which produces Eurovision. EBU contest rules specify that “political” or “commercially promotional” songs are not allowed.
Heilsarmee acknowledges this concern in a statement on their website:
Martin [Künzi, Salvation Army Head of Marketing & Communications] says he disagrees with the EBU but admits that there is ongoing dialogue to ensure Heilsarmee can take part in a way that represents the original concept of presenting a true face of The Salvation Army.
‘For us,’ he says, ‘it is not a question about uniforms and the name as such but that if we have to change them it will disrupt our concept. We were authentic as The Salvation Army – no wild choreography, a band that can perform the song in the streets. If the uniform is removed the concept will be affected. Therefore we want the EBU to rethink the restrictions and let us create a concept that works.’
Switzerland has not won Eurovision since Celine Dion represented the country in 1988. (She really did!) The first semi-final is May 14, 2013. Will you be voting for “You and Me”?
The Salvation Army of Swizerland, Austria, Hungary (Heilsarmee)