Armenian wins New Wave contest, while co-founder Pauls causes stir

Armenian pop singer Sona Shahgeldyan has won this year’s New Wave (Jaunais vilnis) competition, which began July 27 in Dzintari Concert Hall in Jūrmala, Latvia.

The contest, which is oriented toward Russian and other Eastern European music, was started in 2002 by popular Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls and Russian composer Igor Krutoy.

Two Latvian acts, girl group Lady’s Sweet and beatbox boy group PeR, placed eighth and ninth, respectively, out of the 17 finalists.

During the first day of the contest, according to the New Wave website, singers have to perform a world hit. On the second day, they perform a hit song from their own country. And on the third and final day, they perform an original song.

Ukraine’s Tatiana Shirko was the leader after the first day of competition, while Estonia’s Uku Suviste scored highest on the second day. Shahgeldyan had the best result on the third day and, when points for all three days were tallied, she came out on top—just one point ahead of Shirko.

First prize in the New Wave competition includes a monetary award of EUR 50,000.

This year contest co-founder Pauls caused a bit of a stir when in March he told Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze he would no longer participate in the competition. But earlier this month he reversed his decision, telling television station LNT that if he and jazz singer Laima Vaikule would not be on the jury, then Latvian performers would have a hard time in the contest.

And just days before the competition, Pauls in an interview with Latvian State Television expounded on his thoughts about the New Wave contest, relations with Russia and Latvia’s future.

Raimonds Pauls

Popular Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls is co-founder of the New Wave competition. (Publicity photo)

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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