May 1, 2008
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Fashion's Gaultier to turn Eurovision commentator

May 1, 2008

Jean Paul Gaultier - Photo : Pierre Verdy
PARIS, May 1, 2008 (AFP) - Jean Paul Gaultier, bad boy of French fashion, is to turn TV commentator for a day for the May 24 Belgrade finals of the Eurovision song contest, the network airing the show said late Wednesday May 1st.

The choice of non-conformist ground-breaker Gaultier to comment on a show sometimes brushed aside as low-brow pop kitsch appears to underline that the France 3 network is aiming to give the contest a trendy makeover.

Already its choice of French contestant, eccentric electro-pop sensation Sebastien Tellier, has triggered ripples of discontent across France.

Tellier, 33, has come under attack from conservative politicians as well as trade unionists for planning to perform his song "Divine" with almost exclusively English lyrics, instead of sticking to his native French.

Speaking ahead of a Tellier concert in Paris, Gaultier, best known for his love of sailors' stripes and for bringing back the corset, said acting as commentator for the Europe-wide event was "a pleasure and almost a childish dream."

"I have watched Eurovision ever since I was a child," he said.

Waving aside criticism of the event as kitschy, Gaultier added: "In France we are a bit snobbish. Eurovision has become kitsch but in earlier years it was simply popular music."

He said he had dressed several Eurovision contestants in past years, including Israeli transsexual Dana International in 1998 and Greece's Anna Vissi in 2006. But he would not be dressing Tellier, a bearded musician with a taste for slinky suits.

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