Sunday, September 26, 2010

Elista's American Idol - Межрегиональный Фестиваль-Конкурс

This past weekend was full of events.  On Friday night, I bought a ticket to a concert and was invited to watch, what I assumed was going to be a series of dances, songs, perhaps poetry, etc about Kalmykia, in Kalmyk, etc in honor of the Day of the City, which was happening the next day.  What instead happened was, in a way, much more enjoyable, at least from a pure entertainment point of view.

This concert turned out to be the "American Idol" of Southern Russia.  It was the "Inter-regional Festival-Competition" and there were 13 contestants from all over.  There were contestants from Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Volgograd Region, Kalmykia, Stavropolskii Region and a few others I can't remember.  Anyways, each person sang two songs and as far as I could tell, one was a traditional song (either Russian or from their region) and the next was a song of their choice.

Some the songs were slightly more than ridiculous, as was part of the contest in general.  Every so often, from one back corner of the stage a smoke machine would go off making it look more like there was a small, constant fire in the back that couldn't be put out rather than the mesmerizing effect I'm sure they were going for.  Some of the contestants were hilarious as well, particularly this one group of three women and a guy who was very ABBA-esque.

This guy was full of emotion and I don't really think he could sing that well.  His choice of Ricky Martin's "Mama Maria" may not have been the best Ricky Martin choice he could have made, but then again there's the fact he chose to sing a Ricky Martin song in the first place.

Another guy was also somewhat ridiculous, but actually my favorite contestant.  His name was Ruslan (Руслан)  He had a good voice and for his optional song he decided to sing Sinatra's "My Way", a great choice.  Check him out.

Finally, there was a local Kalmyk girl who ended up winning the contest the next day (I'll explain more in a bit).  She had a good voice (her optional song was Beyonce's "Halo" - haha) and this song is in the Kalmyk Language.  It was sort of a pop song, but people seemed to know it and sing along.  The guy on the left is playing the guitar for the song and the guy on the right is beat boxing and he did it quite nicely.  Check out this video!

As I said, this last girl ended up winning the next day.  This concert, it seemed, was just a warm up.  All the contestants performed the same songs the next night at the Day of the City Concert and it was there they were awarded their prizes and places.

So Dear Readers, while I may not be a Simon Cowell fan and I most certainly cannot stand Ryan Seacrest, I rather enjoyed this competition and found it extremely entertaining!

*Unfortunately, my internet here is too slow to upload videos to the internet, whether to my blog or elsewhere.  I'll keep trying, but in the meantime I apologize for not having video.*

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