Switzerland sends Salvation Army to Eurovision gig
In this picture, made available Dec. 16, 2012, members of the Swiss 'Heilsarmee' (Salvation Army) perform during the Swiss Song Contest Selection Show in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, Saturday Dec. 15, 2012. The band won with their song 'You and Me' and will represent Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest in May 2013 in Malmo, Sweden. (AP Photo/Keystone/ Walter Bieri)
GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland is putting its faith in the Salvation Army to win the Eurovision Song Contest when it is staged in Malmo, Sweden, next year.
Television viewers chose one of the Christian missionary group's Swiss chapters, whose bass player is 94 years old, from among five national finalists late Saturday.
The Eurovision contest is a kitschy fixture on the European cultural calendar watched by more than 100 million people across the world.
Viewers and juries pick the winner from an eclectic mix of bubblegum pop and rock acts representing each European country.
Political songs are forbidden and Swiss media have speculated that the Salvation Army's Christian aims might still fall afoul of the rules.
Switzerland hasn't won the contest since Canadian singer Celine Dion represented the country in 1988.