Move over Eurovision: A 22-year-old from Kyrgyzstan has won Turkish state television’s first-ever “Eurasia Star” pop music competition, held in Istanbul, returning home with $30,000.
After two weeks and six rounds of performances, a unanimous panel of judges, and fans voting by text message, chose Guljigit Kalykov the winner on January 14. Thanks to his victory, the next Eurasia Star contest will be held in Kyrgyzstan.
Singer Gulnur Satylganova, who holds the state-conferred distinction of Popular Performer of the Kyrgyz Republic, said “the victory by our compatriot, particularly in the first year of such a project’s creation, raises the level of Kyrgyzstan’s live musical performance and art in the eyes of the international musical community as a country that can give birth to and nurture stars on an international scale.”
Uzbekistan abstained from the contest, which included most other Turkic-speaking lands, specifically: Azerbaijan (whose capital, Baku, will host Eurovision later this year), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Northern Cyprus, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
In at least one case, Eurasia Star’s selection process faced criticism for being only as democratic as the country in question. A November entry on the blogging platform Neweurasia.net complained that Turkmenistan’s vote lacked transparency because judges were government-appointed artists and text-message voting was tallied by the state-run telecom monopoly, Altyn Asyr: “This was a lost opportunity to experiment with electronic direct democracy. There wasn’t any transparency to this process, i.e., to confirm that our votes were really obeyed — something we’re used to in Turkmenistan,” wrote blogger Annasoltan.
Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, has had something of a knack for producing pop sensations lately. In November, 21-year-old Atai Omurzakov from Karakol won the Czecho-Slovakia’s Got Talent contest with his “robot dance,” which is well worth watching.
via Kyrgyzstan Wins First Pan-Turkic Pop Contest | EurasiaNet.org.