Saturday, March 31, 2012

ITALIAN EUROVISION TROUBLE: AMICI FINAL ON MAY 26

It's not looking very promising for the Eurovision 2012 in Italy. RAI is hoping to increase the interest and get the viewing figures up after last year's failure but the competing channel Canale5 will have its very popular reality show Amici's final on the same night at the same time. A huge show is planned live from the Arena di Verona (built in 30 AD). Not only the talent show's finalists will be on stage to battle it out but also the previous winners or other success stories of Amici, including three of the latest four Sanremo winners Emma, Valerio Scanu and Marco Carta. Also Karima, Virginio Simonelli, Annalisa Scarrone, Antonella Amoroso, Antonino Spadaccino and Pierdavide Carone will be there. Needless to say the Italian youngsters- and not only - will tune into Canale5 instead of Raidue on May 26 night. Shame. 

KATI WOLF GOES FRENCH

Last year this time we were all talking about Hungary and Kati Wolf's fabulous entry What about my dreams. As we know it didn't go so well in the end but she still made a mark and now in a distance of a year we can finally listen the French version of the song which also has a different more laid back arrangement. Dix pas cent pas still works and yes, it's a great track in any language!

JEDWARD GOT EUROVISION TATTOOED

Jedward who are trying to win the Eurovision for the second year in a row have showed their devotion for the contest with tattoos. Edward got his Eurovision logo on his back while John got his on his lower arm. Now let's see if the devoted fans will follow them? And do they have to pay for the use of the trademark? And did they really do it :-) Watch the video here
Eurovision and tattoos are nothing new though. Heikki Paasonen, then the Finnish commentator and multi-Euroviisut host got his HRH 2006 tattoo on his leg for real within days after Lordi won the 2006 Eurovision with Hard rock Hallelujah. And such a cool tattoo it is I might consider it myself...

Friday, March 30, 2012

VALENTINA MONETTA, PROUDLY SAMMARINESE

Valentina Monetta, the Sammarinese entrant in Eurovision 2012 in Baku is living busy times. The fairytale that started from her family's restaurant in Riccione some time ago will culminate on the stage of Crystal Hall in Baku on May 22 when she enters the stage as number 11, right after Finland's Pernilla Karlsson  and just before Israel's Izabo. "I have watched the 2011 edition on DVD, talked with the guys of Miodio that I know for several years already and we have given concerts together as well. I'm more than ready!" she tells happily. "They told me not to worry about the result, or the number I'm singing in the line up and such things. Just to make a "bella figura" and proudly be Sammarinese. To show that we are small but able. At the moment I'm working with the chorists and Ralph Siegel and I'm learning a lot. We had a great feeling from the start, Ralph and I. I liked the song from the start, the text and the melody. Working with him I have learned what a great professionalism he has. I'm pretty sure there's a chance we will collaborate after Eurovision for an album."
She also tells she's very proud to share the stage with names like Anggun and Engelbert Humperdinck. And Nina Zilli. "We both are funky ladies. I have several Nina's songs in my repertoire and I can't wait to meet her and shake her hand!" And fly the Sammarinese flag up high in Baku 2012.
There's also a behind the scenes footage of the shooting of the video for The social network song. Here. If you thought it was shot in Valentina's bedroom you were wrong!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

WELCOME #204: LIBERIA!

New countries found Blogilkar's Life after Helsinki. This time another African country, Liberia! A very warm welcome!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ESTONIAN SUPERSTAR OTT LEPLAND

Ott Lepland will represent Estonia in the 2012 Eurovision in Baku with his self penned Kuula. He will celebrate his 25th birthday in Baku but he's no newcomer to the scene. As a kid he already released four albums, and then as a grown up he took part in Eesti etsib supestaari 2010 aka Estonian idol and won. Soon after he released his self titled debut album with songs like Otsides ma pean su jälle leidmaSüte peal sulanud jääLäbi öise Tallinna,  Öö and Kohtume jälle. He also recorded a duet Sinuni with Lenna Kuurmaa, who he beat in this spring's Eestilaul. His second album was released in 2011 under title Laulan ma sind including Tunnen elus end and his Eurovision entry Kuula. he has also starred in High school musical and took part in a TV-show Laulupealinn that he won with his team for his hometown Kärdla. So far he has won pretty much everything he has taken part in, will the story continue in Baku?
I think this is one of the most underrated entries this year by the fans. Ott himself describes his song as this millenium's My heart will go on and indeed, it has all the ingredients. So far there is only the Estonian version available and for once I would love to hear the English one... or Italian. Or Spanish....

THE VOICE OF FINLAND: KAROLIINA OUT, SAARA STILL IN. WHAT ABOUT IDOLS-DIANDRA?

There is a battle of reality formats in Finland at the moment when both The Voice of Finland and Idols are running at the same time on competing channels. Both should gather about one million in front of the screens weekly and while the Idols features totally new artists, the Voice has some familiar names. Unfortunately Karoliina Kallio of Waldo's people fame, Selja Felin of UMK and Idols fame and Anfisa Proskuryakova of Euroviisut and Idols fame are already out but a TV format regular Saara Aalto is still and one of the main contenders for the win. As we remember she was the runner up in Euroviisut 2011. Will she become the Voice? In the Idols the main favorite at this point is Diandra Flores, only 17 but with an incredible voice. This spring is set to be a fight between these two voices.... I wouldn't be surprised to see them on Eurovision stage sometime soon.... These two programs have succeeded in what UMK failed: the make people watch, talk and vote.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MADONNA GONE MDNA

A step out from the Eurovision music for awhile. Well, not really as the new Madonna sounds very much like it could be in Eurovision. Girl gone wild's video has already been banned from underage in Youtube. No surprise. To me it's a nice mix of Erotica period's videos, a bit of Vogue and Celebration thrown in . She seems to be familiar with Kazaky's work as well, but then she's always been a master of finding what's hot, up and coming anyways. The song sounds very familiar being a mix of her previous works but this is how I want my Madonna. MDNA is her 12th studio album and for the 30th anniversary in business her previous albums, all 11 of them have been put together into a box title The complete studio albums 1983-2008. Seven have been #1's, Ray of light and Erotica stopped at #2 and Bedtime stories at #3. The debut, Madonna, went to #8. She can add further eight top-10 albums from her various compilations, sound tracks and live albums. I will get the new album and the box for the weekend and spend some quality time with her while waiting for the summer gig in Helsinki Olympic Stadium. It's going to be another Madonna filled summer!

Monday, March 26, 2012

VILLE EETVARTTI RELEASES DEBUT ALBUM

As it often happens the runner up takes the real prize. While the UMK winner Pernilla Karlsson has pretty much disappeared from the scene and will probably reappear only in May in Baku for a moment, the runner up Ville Eetvartti has scored a #3 radio play hit with his entry Lasikaupunki and has finished his debut album already. Kirkasta will be released on April 25, 2012 and the night before he will have his album release gig in Helsinki. His second single will be Tie that you can listen here on Wednesday March 26 at 13 CET. He has also been selected as the Finnish represent at the annual OGAE Second Chance contest. 
Ville Eetvartti has kindly included my post on him in his links (Kiitos!)

ESC 2012: We are 23,8% Swedish

Eurovision 2012 is more Swedish than ever. Would it be ironic if once again a Swedish song will win but not being the Swedish entry? We will see in May. This year there are ten songs out of 42 that are written or co-written by Swedes it seems: Sweden itself, Norway, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and quite stunningly four out of the Big5+1: Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Azerbaijan. Luckily in most of them at least apparently a local author is included in the list. If they all make it to the final which is a possibility, the percentage rises to  38,5%. Makes you wonder....And on top of that we have an entry sung in Swedish that is not Sweden either but that's another story....

Semifinal one:
03. Greece - Aphrodisiac - Eleftheria Eleftheriou
( Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström, Dajana Lööf)


12. Cyprus - La la love - Ivi Adamou
(Alex Papaconstantinou, Bjorn Djupström, Alexandra Zakka & Viktor Svensson)


18. Ireland - Waterline - Jedward
(Nick Jarl & Sharon Vaughn)


Semifinal two:
04. Malta - This is the night - Kurt Calleja
( Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås & Kurt Calleja)


11. Sweden - Euphoria - Loreen
(Thomas G:son & Peter Boström)


16. Norway - Stay - Tooji
( Tooji, Figge Boström & Pelle Boström)


Final:
01. United Kingdom - Love will set you free - Engelbert Humperdinck
(Martin Terefe & Sacha Skarbek)


10. Italy - L'amore è femmina (Out of love) - Nina Zilli
(Nina Zilli, Christian Rabb, Kristoffer Sjökvist, Frida Molander & Charlie Mason)


13. Azerbaijan - When the music dies - Sabina Babayeva
(Anders Bagge, Johan Kronlund, Sandra Bjurman, Stefan Örn)


19. Spain - Quedate conmigo - Pastora Soler
(Antonio Sánchez, Thomas G:son & Erik Bernholm)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Heli Kajo gets under your skin

Remember Heli Kajo? The huge fan favourite in Euroviisut 2010 with Annankadun kulmassa? Her long awaited album is finally ready and currently in the mixing table and will be released this spring. The first single is Jos mä kuolen nuorena (here in a live performance in a pub) (If I die young). But she's already all over the place. There's a new kind of reality at the moment on MTV3/Sub channel, called Iholla (translates to Under my skin freely). Six women of different ages and status were asked to film their daily life and talk to the camera about their thoughts and feelings and the episodes started airing a couple of weeks ago. Heli is one of them and it is interesting to follow as these six months coincide with her recording period and her search for the soulmate and boyfriend. "I was first like what? Me? How? Am I interesting?" she tells when they gave her a videocamera and asked to start taping her every day life. You can watch it online here
She has also made headlines as it was revealed both her parents are millionaire business people, a fact that didn't come out during her Euroviisut period.

Umberto Tozzi's yesterday and today

Good news for all Umberto Tozzi fans. He releases tomorrow his greatest hits in all new arrangements and recordings titled Yesterday. A double with 36 singles from the mid-70's to 2012, including a brand new duet with Francis Gabrel in Petite Marie. Available in Spain, Belgium and Switzerland at first. But that's not all. In May he will released another double in all markets under title Yesterday, today that includes twelve new songs and another CD with 17 of his biggest hits. The Spanish edition of the later includes also duets with Sergio Dalma (Tu) and OBK (Falsa moral).
Umberto Tozzi is a million sellers whose songs have been worldwide hits by himself but often also my other singers like Laura Branigan (Gloria, Ti amo) and recently by Sergio Dalma and David Civera. And then there's Carola. But his originals are the real thing: Tu, Ti amo, Gloria, Eva, Si puó dare di piú and Gente di mare

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kaliopi remixed

Today's Video of the day (right on top of the page) is Kaliopi's Crno i belo and with a twist of fate a dance mix of the song emerged on Youtube and it is fa-bu-lous! I must have played it a dozen of times in repeat. Here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who is Pernilla Karlsson?

Pernilla Karlsson won the UMK final and therefor presents Finland in the coming Eurovision song contest 2012 in Baku. She's a totally unknown newcomer to the music scene and her song När jag blundar was written by her brother Jonas (who is having success at the moment with his project Elokuu which Pernilla admits of being a huge fan) for their mother's 50th birthday last summer. It's almost two months she won the final but she is still a totally unknown. I have come across only one interview in printed paper (I may be reading wrong medias but then, I don't think so), namely CITY magazine and here's what she had to say: "I'm think there will be other totally inexperienced artists in Baku and we can get excited together on the spot. I will take two pieces of luggage but as I don't have any I have to buy them first." Cool. She also tells she had difficulties to find out how and where to send their song with her brother on UMK's web pages and were not even sure it was ex-Euroviisut - which tells us a lot about UMK. And yes, she would have participated even if it was called Euroviisut, new name didn't it more inviting. The irony of that is that YLE wanted with the name and format change attract "artists who wouldn't want to participate in Euroviisut to take part". Yep. And more irony is in the fact the probably most Eurovision-like song won. Contrary to all expectations they had. 
Soon after the victory the tabloids were suggesting the song is a plagiation of Yona's Pilvet liikkuu, minä en (and if the song was out already in October, how come it took nearly four months to notice that?). How many times has Pernilla listened to that song? "Once last year. I don't even know how she looks like but I hope to meet her one day. I'm not interested in media hype." And about the language choice: "I could also sing in English, but not this particular song. It was written for my mother and I sing it of course in my mother tongue." She believes her chances to win are 4 in the scale of 1 to 10 and she doesn't sing in the shower as the water gets into your mouth. And now she labels herself as a hand ball playing singer instead of singing hand ball player. And yes, she's an Eurovision fan. "When I was a kid my mom used to make us scoreboards and we were comparing our favourites!"
Pernilla Karlsson was born in 1990. In 1995 she started playing hand ball and a year later got her first kiss from a boy in a kindergarden. At 8 she starts playing piano. At 15 she wins Världens minsta schlagerfestival aka The world's smallest schlagerfestival singing contest. and six year's later she represents Finland in Baku. 
And now we know her a little bit better, don't we?

Kirka Vs Chamillionaire

The Finnish hiphoppers were in for a surprise when the new EP by American artist Chamillionaire was released. In his All mine all of sudden late Kirka comes in and sings loud and clear, in Finnish! The song they sampled is Kirka's break through hit from 1967, Hetki lyö. Typical to the time, it's actually a cover version of Beat the clock by The McCoys but for Kirka and Finns it's a real evergreen and karaoke favourite. One can only wonder why Chamillionaire has preferred to sample Kirka's Finnish version instead of the original. Maybe he took liking to the language when visiting here twice?
Chamillionaire has one USA Hot-100 #1 hit to his credit so far, Ridin' from 2006.

#1 in Finland this week: Jukka Poika - Älä tyri nyt

Loreen drops to #3 this week with Euphoria and we have a new #1: Jukka Poika's Älä tyri nyt brings him his second #1 single and confirms him as the king of Finnish reggae. Especially when his new album Yhdestä puusta went straight to #1 this week as well. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Marino and Social network

The Satirical song aka Facebook Uh Oh Oh turns into The Network song (Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh). Music stays the same - to horror of many fans - but I don't agree. I think it's happy, funny, groovy and incredibly catchy if you just let yourself like it. The lyrics do not mention anymore Facebook (or Mark Zuckerberg for that matter) as it has been replaced by various Oh ohs, Beep beeps and hellos. Well done. 

Italian HoD invokes the fans

Nicola Caligiore, the Italian HoD for Eurovision 2011 and 2012 has felt necessary to react on the complains and whining of the Italian fans on Facebook. I was about to write, or rather complain about the Italian fans myself yesterday but didn't quite know how to formulate my post. And then all of sudden I saw the post by Caligiore himself. But before we go to the post he wrote, I must say I don't understand the Italian fans. I thought I had learned to know how Italians work but this has gone way beyond. Now that Italy is back - after they had been complaining and whining for 13 years why Italy is not taking part - nothing is good enough. I don't even start about the criticism last year for choosing Raphael Gualazzi - before the results of course - but now they complain about Nina, her change of song, her too many words in English in the Eurovision version. Or even her English pronunciation which is rather ridiculous when knowing how an average Italian speaks English but that's another story. And after poor Nina dared to joke about Eurovision on a comedy radio show some were already ready to withdraw and never come back. Or at least Nina should shut up, resign and never be heard again. (And do we want to talk what they are saying and how they are treating Sammarinese Valentina Monetta?) In conclusion I think some people are taking this all a bit too seriously. A bit like Finns pre-Lordi days I would say. And did that do any good to us? No.
Anyways, here is what Caligiore wrote yesterday and I totally agree and thank him for his interference! Italians, relax and enjoy the show and stop complaining! (And no, neither I or Caligiore is accusing every fan I believe. All is generalized and there are exceptions.

"As Head of Delegation RAI and as a fan of the festival it seems I'm reviewing our (Italian) politics in a small (with which I'm already fighting enough at work every day) .. All evil speaking, arguing, making absurd and sometimes arrogant comments with words like "disgusting", "Italy sinks" etc.. etc. ....

You do not have the slightest idea of ​​the battles that we are doing internally to carry out this project, you do not know in most cases the contingencies that lead to certain choices, compromises we have to do, budgetary difficulties for a project that, alas, does not passionate Italians and thus is considered, understandably, marginal.

In two years, while being in charge mainly in RAI of other things, I worked that Italy would be represented with dignity, style and with respect for our traditional music, and the only thing I read in most of the hard core fan blogs is complaints .....

For goodness sake, everyone is and should remain free to express their opinions, and I certainly did not arrogantly think that what we can please everyone, but I confess that I envy my colleagues, head of the delegations of other countries because the type of support they get from fans is anything but ....

Instead of standing to complain if the song has a verse in English in more or less, if you liked Per sempre more and with this another song Italy will go to hell, please support Nina, even if she at times gives interviews that may not be to your liking. ESC needs time to be understood, and to be overwhelmed by his magic .... Try to do what fans are supposed to do: support a project, sustain a TV that invests in an idea despite the difficulties, support the many professionals, stay above the gossips. They are not there by chance and they choices have reasons that they don't need to share with non-professionals.

Sorry for the outburst, I hope you don't take it bad , but it was really hard to keep quiet."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Emin Agalarov as interval act

Why am I not surprised? Because I wrote this already last September and look, what happened? Emin didn't get to represent his country but will get the worldwide exposure by doing some amazing interval act number after all. And without the pressure of the competition. Smart. Very smart. This said, he is not bad, listen Falling for example. I'd like to think his marital relationships and father's billions might be more of a disadvantage than a benefit for his serious career.... 

Nina Zilli is Out of love

Italian entry for the Eurovision 2012 in Baku has been presented in its Eurovision bilingual version. L'amore è femmina turns into Out of love and it fits like a glove. There was no doubt in Nina's linguistic skills what comes to English, and it is worth remembering the song was actually in English in its original form before Nina decided to record it and wrote the lyrics in Italian for it herself. Three minutes of retro summer and good vibes!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

From Montenegro to Ireland, and from Serbia to Lithuania

The Eurovision 2012 running order draw took place today in Baku as a part of the delegations meet. Finland and Ireland got the wildcards in the first semifinal to choose their starting position and not surprisingly both took the latest possible, Finland 9th and Ireland 18th. Ukraine and Lithuania got them in the second semifinal and chose 7th and 18th again. Amongst the Big5+1 Spain got it and chose 19th. Montenegro will kicks of the semifinals. Serbia starts the second one and United Kingdom the final. Here it is how it's going to be:

FIRST SEMIFINAL:

  1. Montenegro
  2. Iceland
  3. Greece
  4. Latvia
  5. Albania
  6. Romania
  7. Switzerland
  8. Belgium
  9. Finland (wildcard)
  10. Israel
  11. San Marino
  12. Cyprus
  13. Denmark
  14. Russia
  15. Hungary
  16. Austria
  17. Moldova
  18. Ireland (wildcard)
SECOND SEMIFINAL:
  1. Serbia
  2. FYR Macedonia
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Malta
  5. Belarus
  6. Portugal
  7. Ukraine (wildcard)
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Slovenia
  10. Croatia
  11. Sweden
  12. Georgia
  13. Turkey
  14. Estonia
  15. Slovakia
  16. Norway
  17. Bosnia & Herzegovina
  18. Lithuania (wildcard)
FINAL:

01. United Kingdom
09. France
10. Italy
13. Azerbaijan
19. Spain (wildcard)
20. Germany

Monday, March 19, 2012

Love will set us free

Engelbert Humperdinck's entry for the UK is Love will set you free. Hmmm, a pleasant surprise I would say. Rather classy song. Graceful and pure I'd say. And all considered this could even be a winner....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

San Marino's song to face changes

SMTV announced tonight that The Reference Group meeting in Baku asked to change a song presented by them. The inclusion in the text of the word "Facebook" "was found to be against the rule 1.2.2.g of Eurovision Song Contest 2012, though - as motivated by SMTV San Marino - it was a parody, with reference to the world of social-networks and Facebook has been and remains the most famous one. The right of satire is internationally recognized and on this San Marino has based and  presented its song. However, a decision will be respected peacefully. By the date fixed by the Reference Group or by March 22 next, required changes will be made. 

A beautiful song from Latvia

One of this blogger's favourites this year, Latvia's Anmary has also presented the video for her Beautiful song and it's in a remixed version. Anmary has been singing since she was a child and through reality show The Talent factory, musicals and collaboration like this has made it to the Eurovision stage so she has to put her day job as voice teacher aside for awhile and be a star! And maybe she will meet Johnny Logan in Baku 2012? 

20 years of CatCat

Oh yes, it's already 20 years since the Kätkä sisters Virpi ja Katja or CatCat started their career as a sort of page three girls and became the hottest thing on earth in Finland in spring 1994 with Eurovision and Bye bye baby. With ups and downs, breaks and comebacks it's been twenty years and they are here again, with a new compilation album that you can sample here and order here for the price of ... 5 euros! How could you not order it? As there is also another Eurovision track included.....


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tonight: Belgium! A song for Iris

The very last national final of the season takes place tonight. Well, can you call it a national final when there ae only two songs in the running? Anyhow, 17-year-old Laura Van den Bruel aka Iris was internally selected ages ago, they received hundreds of songs for her and we will hear the two they thought best tonight, namely Safety net and Would you. Two ballads. The show starts at 20 CET and you can watch it also on eurovision.tv. the result of the televote will be announced around 22.50 CET.
UPDATE: And the winner is Would you. 53%-47%. Shame. Safety net would have been much classier choice, and would propably have done better in Baku. Would you will be lost in the circus.

This is Kurt's night video

The Maltese entry This is the night has been a real grower in my books. How can you not like it when seeing  Kurt Calleja perform it with such pleasure every time, that sparkle in his eyes and smiling from ear to ear? And now here's a matching video which is also a pleasure for tired eyes. Shot in Radisson Blue resort and Spa's Chicago suite and the parking lot of St. Luke's hospital the video features besides Kurt and his band sixty dancers making it their night. The song itself has been re-recorded and mastered in Germany in meanwhile. 

Albania's 3 minute Suus out

Albania has unveiled their entry's video and final version. Suus was the second song selected last December and it's a relief to see it has stayed in Albanian. And this time the song hasn't had a total makeover like they often do but sounds still the same, just shorter. And the long note is there, too! I also hope Rona Nishliu will bring this squared dress to Baku 2012 as well! Beautiful graphic video.

Azerbaijan: When the music dies

Azerbaijan, the host country has just released the song they will have on home stage in Baku 2012. Sabina Babayeva will sing When the music dies. The song is once again written by Swedes Stefan Örn and Sandra Bjurman with Anders Bagge and Johan Kronlund. Stefan and Sandra wrote the last year's winning song Running scared. With the first hearing.... oh well. I guess I wouldn't be so sad if this music died prematurely. I was hoping the Azeris would bring something of their own to the contest for a change - no, a couple of local instruments aren't enough. 

San Marino - what's the deal?

While the Sammarinese entry Facebook, Uh oh oh (A satirical song) is making the rounds in world media faster than the Russian grannies did (like here and here just to name a few examples) and parodies already emerge (of some sort) the hardcore fans are hating it, which is sad. Can't anyone see the sarcasm and irony in it? The additional title A satirical song isn't there for nothing. And it's a fact most fans seem to be against Ralph Siegel and wouldn't publicly like anything he does. Can't they just give him a break?!
Anyways, the question of mentioning Facebook itself remains and we will see if that's ok with EBU or will it be replaced like they did with Sweden 1987 when Coca-Cola turned into Boogaloo. On the other hand I'm pretty certain Ralph Siegel and Tim Touchton know what they are doing. I doubt they would throw their money away like this as they are funding the whole affair, it seems. Certain fans are sure they have a plan B. We will know by Tuesday.
On the positive side of events, this has really got everybody's attention, and will do so in May as well. Which is much better than being just there and be unnoticed and ignored. I think this is a brilliant analyses of the world we live in, sung well by Valentina, with a nice retro arrangement that somehow sounds fresh at the same time. Mi piace!


"Wanna find out what this books about?
Then how bout press log out?
Facebook
Now I'm gonna make real friends
Goodbye Facebook fans
This is how the story ends"

Friday, March 16, 2012

San Marino goes Facebook

So the song is called Facebook. How weird is that? Maybe more than weird, up to date! With a lot of sarcasm. Where do we spend way too much time these days? Where the news come from? Where we find long lost friends, or (re)connect with people or even flirt and fall in love? Yes, in Facebook. It has changed the life as we knew it, one can't deny that. Probably you ended up reading this thanks to Facebook as well, didn't you?

And uncle Ralph is back. This is Siegel's 20th Eurovision entry and 5th country (or 6th if count also Malta 2004) after Germany (14 entries), Luxembourg (3). Switzerland (1) and Montenegro (1). besides that he has had songs in national finals in Ireland, Portugal, Moldova and Ukraine, at least. He has also gathered one win, three runner ups, two third and two fourth places over the last 38 years. In short out of his 31 national finals songs 20 have won. Who can beat that? Yes, right. No one. Certain G:sons, Babics and Borgs - just to name a few - have a long way to go....

And no, the lyricist isn't Bernd Meinunger this time but Timothy Touchton and José Juan Santana Rodriguez. Timothy grew up in North Florida and graduated from Florida State University in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a triple minor in psychology, advertising and photography. In 1971 he signed with CBS records and toured the US and Canada with the Bobby Gentry show. He moved to Germany in 1972 to perform the role of Pontius Pilot in Jesus Christ Superstar. He has co-written 11 top 40 English language hits in Continental Europe and England including 3 top 5s in Germany. As a lyricist he delivered multiple sound tracks for major, International motion pictures and title songs for German TV series. His lyrics have twice been featured on American Idol ... America's number one TV show. As a copywriter for English advertising campaigns he has conceived and written numerous International brochures for Siemens and other major companies. He is also a professional vocal coach, speaker and music publisher.

José Juan Santana Rodríguez is already a familiar name in Eurovision. He was born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Spain) and is translator and interpreter, journalist and Spanish language teacher. He started with the music in 2004 writing lyrics for the Spanish representative in the Mediterranean Song Contest held in Turkey. After this he started to work with several singers and in the musical industry. In 2007 his song “The queen of the night” become second in the Spanish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest and the song was also released in other countries as Serbia and Montenegro. He has worked with artists from Spanish reality shows as Operación Triunfo and X factor. In 2009 he formed part of the International team with Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinuger representing to Montenegro in the Eurovision Song Contest and the same year he had a song in the Andorran final. Last year he got the second prize as author in one of the most important national festival in Spain

And for the record, Valentina's Facebook is here. Click I like! As she is fabulously bubbly and simpatica!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

#1 in Finland this week: Loreen - Euphoria

Yes! Loreen went straight to #1 in Finland this week. I may be wrong but I think it's a first for an Eurovision song of any kind ever in Finland. Well done, Loreen! Euphoria

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Here's Korake ti znam

After the confusing Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina offers a classic ballad with beautiful orchestration. Maya Sar has recorded the song in Rome with Italian musicians of Roma Sinfonietta orchestra directed by Adriano Pennino, a Sanremo veteran. The song will be performed in Bosnian in Baku 2012, or Korake ti znam, but both English and Italian versions have been also recorded. The song could easily have been a Sanremo song, one of the best ones. 

Montenegro: Here's Euro neuro

Rambo Amadeus presented his Euro neuro tonight. The entry for Montenegrro in Eurovision 2012 in Baku. It certainly is different to say the least. I save further commenting after I have digested it a bit. Here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

San Marino: Valentina's fairytale

It wasn't ment to be Valentina. Sammarinese tv started looking for the artist for Eurovision 2012 last fall and had three names in consideration. Three selected ones that disappeared one after another for a reason or another and last Thursday they were left with no one. One week left to find someone else. Here enters destiny. Carmen Lasorella, the SMRTV's boss happened to spend evening in the same place in Riccione where Valentina was performing that night. "She was exactly what we needed" she tell. "Sammarinese, good singer, young. We did audition, casting,  recording, video everything in a hurry and here we are.For Valentina it's like a fairytale but so it is to us. Now we can only cross fingers and see how it goes in Baku 2012!" No wonder they managed to keep their secret so well... :-)
Valentina is backed by an international team and recording contract. The promotion will be done mostly on social networks in a modern and youthful way. The rest of the secret will be revealed on Friday night 21.40 CET, also on eurovision.tv. Stay tuned.

Little bravehearts Kate Ryan and Charlotte Perrelli

Two Eurovision fan favourites and failures in the result table have joined forces for this rather infectious little dance number, Little braveheart. Has Kate dumped another failure Soraya has her home girl? (*"failure" is used here with all love and admiration. They all should have done better!)

ESC 2012 - The story so far. All the artists out!

Switzerland - Sinplus - Unbreakable - live - video
Albania - Rona Nishliu - Suus - live
Denmark - Soluna Samya - Should've known better - live video
Cyprus - Ivi Adamou - La la love live
Belarus - Alyona Lanskaya - All my life live disq.
Belarus - Litesound - We are the heroes live
Belgium - Iris - Would you live
Iceland - Greta Sálome & Jónsi - Mundu efter mér live
Montenegro - Rambo Amadeus - Euro neuro video
Hungary - Compact Disco - Sound of our hearts live
Israel - Izabo - Time sound live video
Latvia - Anmary - Beauiful song live
Austria - Trackshittaz - Woki mit deim Popo live video
Ireland - Jedward - Waterline live
Finland - Pernilla Karlsson - När jag blundar live
Russia - Buranovskiye Babushki - Party for everyone live
Romania - Mandinga - Zaleilah live video  
Moldova - Pasha Parfeni -Lautar live 
Greece- Eleftheria Eleftheriou - Aphrodisiac live video
San Marino - Valentina Monetta - Facebook video

Malta - Kurt Calleja - This is the night live
Norway - Tooji - Stay live
FYR Macedonia - Kaliopi - Crno i belo live English remix bilingual
Serbia - Zeljko Joksimovic - Nije ljubav stvar live English
Bosnia & Herzegovina - Maya Sar - Korake ti znam
Turkey - Can Bonomo - Love me back live
Croatia - Nina Badric - Nebo live
Gaitana - Be my guest live
Georgia - Anri Jokhadze - I'm jocker live
The Netherlands - Joan Franka - You and I live
Slovenia - Eva Boto - Verjamem live
Bulgaria - Sofi Marinova - Love unlimited live
Estonia - Ott Lepland - Kuula live
Lithuania - Donny Montell - Love is blind live Georgian
Slovakia - Max Jason Mai - Don't close your eyes sound
Portugal - Filipa Sousa - Vida minha live 
Sweden - Loreen . Euphoria live 
Armenia - withdrawn

Spain - Pastora Soler - Quédate conmigo live
France - Anggun - Echo (You and I) video live
Azerbaijan - Sabina Babayeva - When the music dies sound
Germany - Roman Lob - Standing still live video
Italy - Nina Zilli - Per sempre - L'amore è femmina sound
United Kingdom - Engelbert Humperdinck - Love will set you free video

Valentina Monetta for San Marino

Giornale.sm has released the news this morning that Sammarinese Valentina Monetta will represant the tiny state in the Eurovision 2012 in Baku. With a song in English written by Ralph Siegel. Listen her sing Let it be here. Somehow this feels a bit anticlimax, doesn't it? But let's wait for the confirmation at noon and the song on Friday..... maybe this is another stunt by them, after Nicola di Bari with Andrej Babic :-)

UPDATE: Valentina it is. Siegel is not so sure. Let's see and wait. Besides, apparently Giornale.sm has violated the agreement with the SMRTV not to publish the news before the end of the press conference, and in the heat of the moment this blogger among others did the same. I apologise. I didn't know. Here's Una giornata bellissima.

Anggun releases Echo (You and I) video

Here it is, one of the most anticipated videos of the season. And indeed there's something for everyone: boys and girls, straight and gay, those with a fetish, sponsors and animalists. And a storyline that makes no sense whatsoever if not to show handsome guys and Anggun in various states of undress - but who's complaining? Here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

San Marino's rumour mill in full speed

San Marino's TV has managed to keep the secret until the end it seems and the speculations goes wild on internet. The latest "sure" name mentioned is Valentina Monetta - whoever she is as for me she is totally unknown. A few days ago there was the spectacularly managed hint on Nicola Di Bari but what if it is true after all? From this year's Sanremo festival the names of Noemi, Erica Mou and Marco Guazzone have been mentioned. And further more or less unknown names like Antonella Di Coco, Daniela Pedali, Monica Hill, Alessandra Bisignani along with the return of Miodio, with or without Lavika. But also Eurovision veterans Glen Vella and Roberto Meloni have been mentioned. And the always present L'Aura and Paola & Chiara. It's no secret this blogger would love to see the Iezzi sisters in Eurovision but tomorrow we will know... 

Change in Italy: L'amore é femmina for Nina Zilli

It's not Per sempre but L'amore è femmina in the end for Nina Zilli and Italy for Eurovision 2012 in Baku. Apparently the international bosses of Universal Music preferred that song which is also the title track of her latest album. And the song could become the summer hit in Italy. And maybe in Europe, too? Love is female, right? And the song includes the classic Eurovision Boom boom booms and Tic tacs. A bilingual version will be prepaired for Baku.

Gadget

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