Saturday, March 25, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - GEORGIA (43) : TAKO GADHECHILADZE - KEEP THE FAITH

Pictured khinkali, Georgian dubling in absense of any national flower

Georgia was one of the first countries electing its represant and song this season. The national final on January 20, 2017 in Tbilisi featured 25 entries chosen from an open call, and the winner was chosen by international jury-televote.

Singer, songwriter and actress Tako Gachechiladze (34) won with the self penned Keep the faith. She already almost got to Eurovision in 2009 being then part of the winning team Stephane & 3G with We don't wanna Put in, the song that was withdrawn/disqualified in the middle of the Russian-Georgian war and Putin being the prime minister at the time. She also participated in the national final in 2008 placing 10th. She kept the faith and is back now - again with some more or less hidden political statements, in the backdrop at least.

The song is a typical Disney ballad with very American style motivated lyrics, apparently aimed at women to be strong, believe in themselves and not hide behind a veil among other things. She's quite a strong performer as well and maybe can really nail it live when it matters but.... I find this bland and boring, it doesn't touch me at all in any level. Forgettable and uninteresting and therefor from me only 1/10 and a yawn.



Friday, March 24, 2017

SAN MARINO: VALENTINA TAKES JIMMIE SIGHTSEEING

Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson are in San Marino rehearsing and not only, Valentina has taken Jimmie around the tiny country showing him the sights. And of course they posed also under the already iconic poster of Miss Monetta anno 2014. 
While rehearsing Ralph Siegel was present via Skype keeping eye on his latest couple. 
Jimmie Wilson has posted a lot of photos on his Facebook, so be sure to follow him 
as well as Valentina
Have a look at SMRTV news piece on the couple (in Italian) here

UKRAINE: WANNA GROW YOUR OWN JAMALAS?


Tulips that is. The new variery of tulips was presented and baptized by Jamala in the Flower Expo Ukraine ealier this week in the International Exhibition center, the very same that will host the Eurovision song contest in less than two months. The red and yellow beauty is created by the Dutch bulb specialists StoKolex. I think I want a bag of those for my garden......
I don't know why but Jamala and tulips made me think of this......

Thursday, March 23, 2017

EUROVISION 2017: THE RUSSIA VS. UKRAINE SAGA

Oh boy. Poor EBU. Poor Jon Ola Sand. I'm sure he needs a proper holiday once this drama is over. And I'm sure secretly he's hoping some less demanding country will win in May!

Let's start from the beginning. Russia waited til last minute to reveal their cards and whether they will participate at all in Kyiv 2017 and on March 12 announced it's going to be Julia Samoylova with Flame is burning (my review of the song here

It didn't take long the Eurovision fandome ridiculed Russia's decision to send a fragile girl in a wheelchair with a sugary ballad to avoid possible booing and making Ukraine look bad should they ban her.

And that's exactly what happened on March 22: Ukrainian authorities isssued a travel ban on the Russian artist as she had illegally entered the annexed Crimea (in other words entering without passing via Ukraine) and even apparently posted anti-Ukrainian propaganda in her social medias. According Ukrainian law a criminal act.

Russia was ready to call that decision cynical and inhuman and was ready to boycott the contest and not to broadcast it all unless she's permitted to take part. One can only speculate how well planned this all was as all of sudden Ukraine was the evil and Russia the victim. And hours later they had already planned her a Russian wide tour to promote her ahead of Eurovision 2018! As it seems they are ready to send her there next year if this year isn't working out.

EBU stated they are deeply disappointed but have to respect local laws and said they would continue the dialogue with those two countries to get everyone abroad in Kyiv.

On March 23 EBU proposed a solution "to maintain the non-political nature of the contest" to let Julia perform live via satellite. Soon came the answer from Deputy prime minister Kyrylenko stating that tours and TV shows with persons non grata are not allowed in Ukraine. The only solution is the replacement of the participant from Russia. And now that is not allowed in the EBU rules...

Later the same night Channel One Russia has rejected the offer. "We consider the proposal of remote participation strange and reject it, since it, of course, contradicts the very meaning of the event, the strict rule of which is the live performance on the stage of the Eurovision."

At this point we can only say & hope:


Waiting for the next move....

To be continued....


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - RUSSIA (00): JULIA SAMOYLOVA - FLAME IS BURNING

Pictured Russia's national flowe camomille
In light of today's events I can as well publish this Russian review that was ment to be published in coming days along with the other  country reviews.  I haven't modified the text in any way, this is how it was ment to be published sometime next week. Originally this was my number 42....

Russia chose internally Julia Samoylova with Flame is burning ending speculation whether they will participate at all. But the decision to send a singer in a wheelchair was met with disbelief and outrage abroad as it was seen as an attempt to stop booing and critizism. Then came the news Ukraine might ban her as she has performed in the annexed Crimea in 2015.... Headlines guaranteed and the political soap opera goes on.... And poor Julia in the middle of it all victimized. As that's the overal impression I get. 

Julia (27) was born in Republic of Komi and started losing the function of her legs after an unsuccesful poliomyelitis vaccination it seems. At 13 she was diagnosed with spinal amiotrofiya. She's been in wheelchair since childhood and has been getting treatment and operations in Finland lately to better her conditon. She started performing for oil workers in her hometown, later founded a band TerraNova where she sung alternative heavy music (!!!) and studied psychology. She has also taken part in many conpetitions since childhood winning some along the way. In 2013 she took part in the Russian X Factor in Alla Pugatsova's team and finished runner up. 

The song is written by Leonid Gutkin, Netta Nimrodi and Arie Burstein and it's an inspirational ballad of sorts.Very sugary and filled with clichés though, in lyrics and in arrangement. The recording of Julia's voice is also rather irritating with the very broken English. Politics and the fact this is Russia aside, and the wheelchair and all that should make me be more tender with this song... I just don't like it. This leaves me cold in all its standardism, this one is plain bad. The melody is kinda beautiful but heard a million times before, the standard arrangement works but one can't but wonder if Russia is deliberately sending this mediocre nonsense? And is poor Julia only used as a vehicle for who knows what plans they have?  1/10 from me. 


RUSSIA: UKRAINE BANS JULIA SAMOYLOVA

Several new agencies are reporting today that Ukraine’s security service has banned Russia’s contestant from this year’s Eurovision song contest because she performed in Crimea. Samoylova has toured in Russia-annexed Crimea without entering it by going through the border with the Ukrainian mainland. Under Ukrainian law, that allows authorities to block her entry into Ukraine.
Ukrainian Security Service spokeswoman Olena Gitlanska said that the service has banned Samoylova from the country for three years “on the basis of information received about her violation of Ukrainian law”.
Therefor she won't be able to participate in the Eurovision song contest in Kyiv in May. What about Armenian Artsvik?
Russia calls the decision "cynical and unhuman". What about their decision to send her in the first place? Pure provocation. They also promise to boycott the future contests if the organizers don't stand up for the singer. Is that a promise? :-)

UPDATE: EBU has just confirmed the news too.  Can we just now move on and forget Russia exists?

SAN MARINO: THE MAKING OF SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT

Have you wondered how the magic was done in a few days short of the deadline for submitting the entries for the Eurovision song contest 2017 in Kyiv? Here's a Making of the Sammarinese entry featuring the backstage and insight to the project featuring comments from Valentina, Jimmie and others. Enjoy!
And here's the final result:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

SAN MARINO: LIA FIORIO AND GIGI RESTIVO MAKE EUROVISION HISTORY

The Sammarinese commentators Lia Fiorio and Gigi Restivo are making history this year by becoming the ones who have commentated the Eurovision song contest in Italian the most times beating all the Italian commentators and the legendary Swiss one, Giovanni Bertini, who did it 21 times from 1961 to 1983. Lia and Gigi has done it 24 times after this year's season is over, or rather all three nights the eight year's San Marino has taken part.
And as an icing on the cake they will be also this year's spokespersons for the tiny nation!

SAN MARINO: EBU OPENS TO VOTING CHANGES

Alessandro Capicchioni, Sammarinese hesd of delegation, tells eurofestivalnews EBU's Executive Supervisor has apologized how they have handled the proposed voting changes by San Marino (or rather not considering them at all). He says EBU and SMRTV are now talking and when both sides know what the other one thinks and expects some solution will be found in the end. The talks will continue in Kyiv and EBU has provised to consult and inform SMRTV for eventual changes in the future. 
San Marino also candidated itself for the Reference group to look after the other small nations but as we know the three big ones were revoted in for another period. San Marino would have also stressed the economical side of the contest. The big countries and broadcasters manage but the small ones struggle and in the recent years the absenses have been caused just because of the economical problems. Small stations close while the big ones just adjust and make some cuts and survive......
Capicchioni doesn't want to reveal too much about his opinions on the other songs this year but he thinks Italy has all it takes to win: it's joyful, entertaining without being trash. And most of all universal. 

EUROVISION 2017: A VINYL BOX TO BE RELEASED

After several Sanremo artists, including Francesco Gabbani, released their entries as old good 7" limited edition vinyl single, the Eurovision song contest 2017 will be released on a limited edition, numbered box sets! 
For the first time in history of the Eurovision Song Contest, we are presenting a Limited Collector’s Edition ESC 2017 Vinyl Box Set! 
The box set gives you the chance to dive into the music and the artists from the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Here you get hours of entertainment, and for the first time ever you get the chance to listen to the Eurovision songs on your record player as all 43 songs come on 24-bit vinyl of the highest quality. If you prefer CD or download, that’s included too. The set also gives you the possibility to read all about the 43 artists, and dwell on gorgeous photos, while you flip through the beautiful coffee table book. Sounds cool, ha? Get it here. 
Also the Bluray makes a return along with the usual CD and DVD, poster but the annual guide book seems to be missing!? Has it been sacrificied for the coffee table book in the vinyl box?

Gadget

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