Europe lights up for Eurovision 2010

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SBS co-host Julia Zemiro is off to Norway for the biggest, campest pop festival of all!

Life is so hectic for Julia Zemiro, this year she will touchdown in Norway just in time to cover Eurovision and then jet back to Australia to resume her commitments. There's barely enough time for a Nordic spa.

"Because I'm doing the RocKwiz tour I'm trying to fit in Oslo within that tour. So it will basically be arriving a day or two before the two semis and the final and then straight back unfortunately," she said.

"Last year we said, 'Right, next year we're gonna make sure we get there really early and maybe stay on a bit longer and go for a bit of a visit', but I can't do that."

Zemiro is once again commentating the Australian broadcast for SBS along with ADbc host Sam Pang. Both return to Europe's favourite pop contest with the experience of Moscow 2009 behind them, when Norway's Alexander Rybak won with the biggest ever lead over the contest.

"We're certainly going to be ready this year if there is such a huge margin of a winner with some more stuff to say, because it can be quite boring to watch [the voting] and I think at one point I just started eating a packet of chips!"

Zemiro's affection for Eurovision harks back to growing up with international music in her household, and an appearance in Eurobeat - The Musical. She also owes a lot to her mother.

"I suppose my personal connection with it is I'm French and I was born there and my mum was pregnant with me when she was watching it in 1967 when Sandie Shaw won with Puppet on a String," she says.

"Here was this Australian girl who had gone to France and just wanted to lap up everything French and it was just one of the popular culture elements, certainly not the only one. She was a lot more interested in just French music itself. But she's been keen to kind of tune into it.

"Ever since we've been in Australia and since SBS started it's always been the station in our house and we would come across it. I've always liked foreign music."

This year she tips Iceland as a hot contender, with its driving dance number "Je Ne Sais Quoi" and Netherlands to be a potential last place with the sing-along "Ik Ben Verliefd (sha-la-lie)".

As much fun as the night is for viewers, it's also a night of work for Zemiro. Media are relegated to tiny commentary booths somewhat removed from the festivities on stage.

"You are quite a distance from the atmosphere of it. It's like having a corporate block and I hate them, because you've got glass between you and them often or you can go out to the open area," she says.

"But during the dress rehearsals, Sam and I were on the floor just to be up close and see all those amazing performances and see them sweating and seeing if they were nervous. And then during the actual semis and the finals we would take turns to run out between songs and actually take in the atmosphere.

"I'd much rather be on the floor!"

The Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals air 7:30pm Friday and Saturday on SBS ONE, with the final airing 7:30pm Sunday night.

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