Sunday, March 29, 2015

LONDON CALLING: EUROVISION'S GREATEST HITS, HERE I COME!

I'll be in London for the BBC's celebration of the 60 years of Eurovision..... First of all to enjoy the show, have fun and meet and greet a lot of friends and part of the San Marino 2014 team.... Stay tuned for news, gossip and hopefully photos..... :-)

Friday, March 27, 2015

ESC 2015: THE REHEARSALS START ON MAY 11. THERE'S SO MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE....

The rehearsal schedule has been published for the 2015 Eurovision song contest in Vienna. It is good to know there's so much more than just the rehearsal on stage than most fans and press see in the monitors or in the arena if it's an open rehearsal. This year again the first rehearsals are with closed doors to let the artists and their team to work in peace and quiet, and not have the media attacking every thing they do as often in this phase various options are still being tried out for the camera shots, lights and even the staging in general before they decided how to proceed.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

ESC 2015: ARTISTS FROM FIVE DECADES - 43 YEARS BETWEEN ANITA AND PERTTI

The first Eurovision song contest took place on May 24, 1956 in Lugano. Now 60 years later the 60th edition will be held on May 23, finishing on early hour of May 24 in most of Europe. The oldest participant this year is Finland's Pertti Kurikka, born on Boxing day the very same year 1956. He's 43 years older than the youngest artist this year, San Marino's Anita Simoncini who turns 16 just six weeks before the final in Vienna. The funny thing is the oldest one does punk, the youngest...  well, schlager.

Monday, March 23, 2015

ESC 2015: ORF HAS GIVEN BIRTH TO THE RUNNING ORDERS! SECOND SEMIFINAL

And here we have the running order for the second semifinal, drafted out by ORF and blessed by EBu with the same criteria as the first semifinal.

1. Lithuania - Monika Linkyté & Vaidas Baumila - This time
2. Ireland - Molly Sterling - Playing with numbers
3. San Marino - Michele Perniola & Anita Simoncini - Chain of lights
4. Montenegro - Knez - Adio
5. Malta - Ambar - Warrior
6. Norway - Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - A monster like me
7. Portugal - Leonor Andrade - Há um mar que nos separa
8. Czech Republic - Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta - Hope never dies
9. Israel - Nadav Guedj - Golden boy
10. Latvia - Aminata - Love injected
11. Azerbaijan - Elnur Huseynov - Hour of the wolf
12. Iceland - Maria Olafs - Unbroken
13. Sweden - Måns Zelmerlöw - Heroes
14. Switzerland - Mélanie René - Time to shine
15. Cyprus - John Karayiannis - One thing I should have done
16. Slovenia - Maraaya - Here for you
17. Poland - Monika Kuszyńska - In the name of love

The breaks should be after Malta and Iceland

ESC 2015: ORF HAS GIVEN BIRTH TO THE RUNNING ORDERS! FIRST SEMIFINAL

Today the running orders for the semifinals has been made public. All put together by ORF and blessed by EBU, taking in consideration various topics: song's tempo, female or male, duo or group, special effects and props (that we don't know of yet but they do) and all sort of things. Based of course on the fact the first or second half of the semifinal was drawn earlier. So here goes: The first semifinal:

1. Moldova - Eduard Romanyuta - I want your love
2. Armenia - Genealogy - Face the shadow
3. Belgium - Loïc Nottet- Rhythm Inside
4. Netherlands - Trijntje Oosterhuis - Walk along
5. Finland - Pertti Kurikan nimipäivät - Aina mun pitää
6. Greece - Maria Elena Kyriakou - One last breath
7. Estonia - Stig Rästa & Elina Born - Goodbye to yesterday
8. Macedonia - Daniel Kajmakoski - Autumn leaves
9. Serbia - Bojana Stamenov - Beauty never lies
10. Hungary - Boggie - Wars for nothing
11. Belarus - Uzari & Maimuna - Time
12. Russia - Polina Gagarina - A million voices
13. Denmark - Anti Social media - The way you are
14. Albania - Elhaida Dani - I'm alive
15. Romania - Voltaj - De La Capăt / All Over Again
16. Georgia - Nina Sublatti - Warrior

The advertising breaks should be after Finland and Russia. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! FRANCO BATTIATO TURNS 70

Franco Battiato turns 70 today (Tanti auguri, Franco!) but he's artistically as active as ever. Not so much physically at this very moment after he fell in a concert last week in Bari and suffered a femur fracture. It sure is annoying and will take time to heal but he already looks to the future. He has no plans to celebrate his birthday in his house in Milo in the shadow of Etna vulcano in Sicily, but says there are friends around and they will gather together with him anyways. Despite the accident he says he has a good karma and his future looks very bright and big things are on the way yet.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ESC 2015: MERCHANDISE OUT NEXT WEEK, CD ON APRIL 17-20

The line of merchandise is ready and available next week in the official eurovision shop here. There are the usual t-shirts, mugs, pins, iPhone covers and all the rest, and as a new thing (I think...) the luggage tag that I think is a very nice addition to the line! And how could you live without an Vienna 2015 pillow?! 
The CD including all the 40 songs will be physically released on April 17 in some markets (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Benelux) and April 20 in the rest of Europe. The digital release to download is a week before but only for the whole album. You can only purchese separate tracks after the physical CD has been released. The CD includes the official Eurovision 3 minute and/or bilingual versions of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Romania and Greece that haven't been (mostly) available to purchase yet.

Update: The DVD will be released on June 22 including as usual the three shows and some bnus material. 

ESC 2015 ITALY: IL VOLO POSTPONES THE ARENA OF VERONA CONCERT. UPDATES ON TOUR

Il Volo announced their summer tour in Italy just before Sanremo and even opening the ticket sales and one date looked very strange: Arena di Verona on May 21! (More here). Arena di Verona is a very important stage and now after winning Sanremo and having been conformed the Italian entrants in Vienna 2015 Eurovision with Grande amore, the date has been postponed to September 21. Who knows if they will walk on that stage as Eurovision winners then? You can buy tickets here. Meanwhile their video is nearing 10 million views in less than two weeks!
Here are their confrmed dates on Il Volo - Live tour 2015 so far
(with new added dates Feb 28) (new dates added March 22)

June 12 - Locarno (Switzerland), Piazza Grande
June 22 - Rome, Auditorium Parco della musica
                                June 23 - Rome, Auditorium Parco della musica
June 24 - Rome, Auditorium Parco della musica
July 11 - Trieste, Piazza Unitá d'Italia
August 12 - Torre del Lago, Gran Teatro Puccini
August 13 - Torre del Lago, Gran Teatro Puccini
August 19 - Agrigento, Teatro Valle dei templi
August 16 - Macerata, Sferisterio
August 22 - Taormina, Teatro Antico
August 23 - Taormina, Teatro Antico
September 21 - Verona, Arena di Verona

Thursday, March 19, 2015

ESC 2015 SAN MARINO: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ASK ANITA & MICHELE?

Tomorrow evening SMRTV will have a special edition of Serenissima - The Smallest, The Youngest where they talk about their Eurovision 2015 adventure tomorrow night at 21.00 CET. You can watch it online here. Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola are of course present and interviewed but not only: they will answers questions sent by you!
All you need to do is record a video by any mobile device (such as your smartphone or pads) send you question to eurovision@sanmarinortv.sm in the highest quality possible by noon tomorrow. The show will be of course in Italian but the questions section will be also in English so it will be a lot of fun for everyone!


OUTtv TO HOST EUROVISION TOP-250 SHOWS ON EUROVISION 2015 STAGE

Exciting news! Remember the annual Eurovision Top-250 voting, the biggest Eurovision voting there is? With the marathon broadcast from n.o 250 to n.o 1 on New Year's Eve? It goes to television now!
Jan Geerts will be hosting a total of six shows on OUTtv starting next Wednesday, each with a special theme that you can see below with the broadcast dates. 
OUTtv will also be the first European TV channel to present a TV show on the official stage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015. Before the stage will be moved from The Netherlands to Vienna, OUTtv was able to make a deal that they can use the stage for each episode to host the ‘European Top 250’. In case you can't see OUTtv don't worry, all the episodes will be on Youtube after they have been broadcasted. Aren't you excited yet???

Episode 1: sexy and seducing (25/3 on OUTtv)

Episode 2: hot guys (1/4 on OUTtv)

Episode 3: special outfits (8/4 on OUTtv)

Episode 4: different music styles (15/4 on OUTtv)

Episode 5: gay topics + homosexuality (22/4 on OUTtv)

Episode 6: revealing the top 25 à from #25 to #1 (29/4 on OUTtv)


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

ESC 2015 MONTENEGRO: KNEZ'S ADIO IS HERE

And today also the very last entry has been revealed with audio only, the video should premiere this weekend. Knez for Montenegro was the very first artist announced for Eurovision 2015 and has the very last song to be heard.  Adio is written by Željko Joksimović and you can really hear it. In a good way. I'm a sucker for his style and obviously like this one a lot, too. This is his 5th Eurovision entry and his worst placing so far is 6th, the Serbian entry at home in Belgrade 2008 Eurovision. Will he keep his awesome track record with Knez?

Monday, March 16, 2015

ESC 2015: NEWS FROM THE HEAD OF DELEGATIONS MEETING IN VIENNA

The HoDs or Head of delegations are meeting in Vienna and handing in their entries and deciding on some things, and most of all getting to know each other's entries, visiting the venue Wiener Stadthalle and the Euroclub venue Ottakringer Brauerei (opens only May 17 but before that there will be six theme parties in six different venues) and talking about their stage shows with ORF. It has been also revealed the basketball pitch will be the press conference area, and the handball pitch the press center. The Vienna transport and museums will be for free if you have an accreditation. 
Some things have been decided:

The 2016 contest should take place on May 10, 12 and 14, wherever it will be. The date won't be confirmed until the new host is known etc. This year for example the dates were changed by ORF.

Austria has been drawn to perform at number 14 in the final. The other countries in the final will be sorted out by the producers after they have drawn their first or second half position in the press conference after their respective semifinal, or after their rehearsals in Vienna by the Big5.

Some language choices have also been confirmed. Romania has opted for a bilingual version of their entry instead of the originally expected English one (Hooray for that!), while Serbia indeed goes for full English version (Boo on that!). Also Macedonia is expected to go for full English version.... And I am asking why-ay-ay-ay? This means in the first semifinal only Finland sings in non-English, and Romanian in bilingual (Romanian/English). In the second semifinal only Portugal and Montenegro trust their own language (plus Malta and Ireland but that's English) In the final France, Italya and Spain sing in their own languages (along with United Kingdom and Australia)

Vienna Rathauseplatz will host the Red Carpet ceremony and the delegations' Opening party on May 17. The day after the EuroVillage will open right next to it.

The new Reference group election also has taken place and these lucky ones have been elected for the next two year term: Nicola Caligiore (RAI), Alexander Radic (RTVSLO) and Emile Sickinghe (AVROTROS).

Last but not least.... the artists will be building bridges as they will enter the arena via a magic brigde of light in the final..... What that means we have to only wait and see....


ESC 2015 SAN MARINO: CHAIN OF LIGHTS VIDEO OUT & BACKSTAGE PHOTOS & LYRICS

After the leak yesterday night today San Marino has officially presented their entry with the video for Chain of lights. If you are interested you can see a longer version of it here with some backstage photos and the lyrics of the song. The video has been shot in various places around province of Molise in southern Italy, in regions of Campobasso and Isernia. 
The singers at 16 are young and fresh but the writers are real Eurovision veterans. The song is once again penned by Ralph Siegel with the lyrics by John O'Flynn aka Bernd Meinunger. This is Bernd's 19th Eurovision entry, and Ralph's 23rd. This is also Siegel's fourth consegutive entry for San Marino and they have done better every year and finally qualifying for the final for the very first time (for any microstate) last year. Will Michele and Anita better Valentina Monetta's 24th place in the final last year with Maybe? Maybe or maybe not, what do you think? 




ESC 2015 AUSTRALIA: GUY TO SING TONIGHT AGAIN

Australia has released its entry for Eurovision 2015 in Vienna. Instead of taking a song from his latest album as expected Guy Sebastian has been so inspired by the Euroadventure he wrote a new song Tonight again for the occasion when he had a couple of days off last week. It's soulful r'n'b effort that showcases his vocals and yes, it gives a lot of freedom for a stage show. Australia has all it takes to do very well in Vienna.....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

ESC 2015 RUSSIA: A MILLION VOICES IS OUT

The songs are coming out now in the final rush, here comes Russia. A million voices is sung by Polina Gagarina. And yes, it's another ballad.  And let's see how Polina will be treated in Vienna. Boos are so last season. But then, the song isn't that good, is it?

ESC 2015 ALBANIA: ELHAIDA DANI IS ALIVE

Also Albania revealed it's entry I'm alive, the substitute to Djell that was withdrawn by the author a few weeks ago. And it's totally something different and maybe it's good. I'm alive is quite modern sort of pop song, quite American and Elhaida gets to use her voice quite a bit. Hopefully it also works live. 

ESC 2015 SAN MARINO: CHAIN OF LIGHT FOR MICHELE AND ANITA

Back in November SMRTV announced "the youngest duo in the Eurovision history" will represent them in Vienna 2015 Eurovision. Junior Eurovision veterans (that word used very lightly here) Michele Perniola (16) and Anita Simoncini (will turn 16 in mid-April) will sing together Chain of lights. The faith is this year also Ireland and Israel send 16-year-olds, both of them younger than Perniola but the youngest duo status remains and Anita is still the youngest of them all. 
Chain of lights was presented, or a snippet of it, in SMRTV's news tonight. Tomorrow the official presentation in the head of delegations meeting in Vienna and on both eurovision.tv and smtvsanmarino.sm with all the information on the writers and the rest.

Ok, full song leaked here 

ESC 2015 AZERBAIJAN: ELNUR RETURNS WITH HOUR OF THE WOLF

As rumoured ever since he won the Voice of Turkey Elnur Huseynov has been confirmed  for Azerbaijan with Hour of the wolf, a ballad written by an international team. Elnur is no stranger to Eurovision having represented Azerbaijan with Samir at its denut back in 2008 and scoring 8th place.The video for the song will be presented tomorrow but meanwhile you can listen to it here. This blogger thinks its one of the better ballads this year and I am pleased to see Elnur back. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

ESC 2015 NORWAY: MøRLAND & SCARLET ARE MONSTERS LIKE US

And the last national final is over. After Swedish heroes Norway has chosen monsters or Mørland & Debrah Scarlett with A Monster like me
The superfinal included Tor & Bettan with All over the world, superfavorites Mørland & Debrah Scarlett with A Monster Like Me, another superfavorite Staysman & Lazz with En godt stekt pizza and Erland Bratland with Thunderstruck. So, a very variable top-4. Sweden must make changes to its act before Vienna for sure (those backing vocals at least) but Norway would have been a real trouble with several acts, as there were so many people on stage with even superfinal acts Tor & Bettan and Staysman & Lazz. 

ESC 2015 SWEDEN: MÅNS ZELMERLÖW IS THE HERO

Måns Zelmerlöw won hands down the Swedish final with a total of 288 points against Jon Henrik's 139. Nine out of 11 international juries gave him full marks and he also got twice the amout of televotes as the runner up. Heroes is a combination of a good artist, great staging and a catchy tune. No doubt one of the best songs this year in Vienna. Eric Saade only managed 5th when both juries and televote placed him 4th and Hasse passed him by one point :-) That must sting a bit! Another big loser Magnus Carlsson....

1. Måns Zelmerlöw 288 (int.jury+televote 122+166)
2. Jon Henrik Fjällgren 139 (51+88)
3. Mariette 102 (74+28)
4. Hasse Andersson 78 (10+68)
5. Eric saade 77 (48+29)
6. Linus Svenning 59 (41+18)
7. Isa 56 (38+18)
8. Samir & Victor 49 (29+20)
9. Magnus carlsson 28 (10+18)
10. JTR 25 (21+4)
11. Jessica Andersson 23 (15+8)
12. Dinah Nah 22 (14+8)

Friday, March 13, 2015

ESC 2015 AUSTRIA: THE MAKEMAKES ARE YOURS

The Makemakes has won the Austrian national selection for Vienna 2015 Eurovision with I am yours. It won both the international jury vote and the first round televotes, and then also the second round televotes where they beat Dawa that was also second in the televotes in the first round but only third with the international jury. This blogger is happy, it was also my clear favorite in the end :-)

ÖRF has revealed further detail on televotes. The Makemakes won the first round with 51,15% of the votes! DAWA scored 14,35%, Zoe and Folkshilfe very close with 11,32% and 11,31%, JSB got 8,92% and Celina Ann only 2,94%. In the second round The Makemakes beat DAWA 78-22.
First round results: (total international jury+televotes)

1. The Makemakes 107 - 12+12=24
2. Dawa 79 - 8+10=18
3. Zoe 103 - 10+8=18
4. Folkshilfe 67 - 7+7=14
5. Johann Sebastian Bass 64 - 6+6=12
6. Celina Ann 60 - 5+5+=10

CAROLA TRIUMPHS IN HELSINKI

Carola's Det bästa av mig tour landed helsinki's Kulttuuritalo last night. The venue was sold out and when I looked aroud the crowd before the concert I thought this is going to be one dull evening - mostly middle aged couples. Mostly Finnish speaking. A very few Eurovision fans (those that you see everywhere) and even fewer young people. But how wrong I was! Carola entered the stage with the Orup version of Främling before moving on to Tell me this night is over and by third song, Gatorna tillhör oss she had the audience on their feet, eating from her hand and dancing around. I have never witnessed so many middle aged Finns letting their inner teenager out that way. When she continued with her hits from the early 1980's like Tommy tycker om mig and Mickey I noticed I wasn't the only one knowing stil all the lyrics by heart. Even she noticed that something special was going on and commented from stage "I see this is going to be a very interesting evening!"
She was in top form vocally and came across very funny when talking about her songs and her past. A long introduction and background talk was saved for När löver faller, her missed 2003 Melodifestivalen entry. Her late mother (and father as well) was remembered in Allt kommer bli bra mamma and Oh happy day. Runaway led us to an Eurovision double of Evighet and Fångad av en stormvind before an amazing medley of her early years (Gloria, Säg mig var vi står, Visa lite mänsklighet, Liv, Tokyo, Det regnar i Stockholm, På egna ben, Mitt i ett äventyr, Sanna vänner, Genom allt) and people were already out of their seats and packed in front of the stage. Så länge jag lever and the original version of Främling ended the night as encore. But people were still wanting more but unfortunately it was lights on and show over. From the original set list only All the reasons to live was missing or skipped for all the reasons only she knows.
I went there expecting nothing much but left thinking this was one of the best concert experiences ever! For once a best of tour is exactly that, all the best songs one after another and no last album filer tracks here and there. It was very refreshing to actually know all the songs and remember the lyrics by heart to most of them, even if they were 25-32 years old! I saw her first tour in summer 1983 in Sweden, now I saw her latest one in Finland. It was great to hear so many of those songs again :-)

ESC 2015 NORWAY: FINAL LINE UP AND MY LITTLE REVIEW

Norway has its final this Saturday as well. No semis but only one final, with live orchestra. The songs have been out for ages by now and there are favorites, Mørland & Scarlett mostly by the foreign fans while Norwegians seem to go crazy for the pizza song. 
Erlend opens the show looking like male version of Conchita. The song must have looked perfect on paper but in reality it's not going anywhere. Raylee goes all American and in the genre I can't stand. Veterans Tor & Bettan mix schlager with the Disney sugary power ballad. This could have been nominated for Oscar some 20-30 years ago. Jenny offers us the Norwegian take on the female sung midtempo screamy song with heavy beats. Enough! Ira is just annoying noise mostly, the song never gets going. Contrazt gives us good old schlager. This could have been a favorite back in 1990 or so. Perfection in its genre. Marie sounds very Norwegian with her crystal clear voice. The song is nice. I like it. Staysman & Lazz ... well, what to say? It would be very fitting they win as most countries are going for some weird choises. The video tells all there is to think about it. Hopefully the naked man with the doll will be part of the stage act..... Mørland & Scarlett, the other big favorite follows and is completely different. It's like the darker version of Estonia's entry. Stylish, elegant and a bit mysterious. And dark. It's the Darkvision 2015. And it would be another duet and another ballad capturing the essence of the Eurovision 2015 edition. Who knows how this come across live on stage? Alexandra offers us American pop music but it has a little Europop in it. It's catchy and we need some female uptempo in the line up. If only she can deliver live..... Last but not least Karin. Interesting song and the live performance will be crucial, me thinks. 
So, who's my favorite? I don't know really. Mørland & Scarlett, Alexandra, Karin, Marie.... Any of them winning would do for me, as long as the pizza boys stay home. 

Erlend Bratland – Thunderstruck
Raylee – Louder
Tor & Bettan – All Over the World
Jenny Langlo – Next to You
Ira Konstantinidis – We Don’t Worry
Contrazt – Heaven
Marie Klåpbakken – Ta meg tilbake
Staysman & Lazz – En godt stekt pizza
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me
Alexandra Joner – Cinderella
Karin Park – Human Beings

ESC 2015 ISRAEL: GOLDEN BOY INVITES US TO TEL AVIV

That golden boy Nadav Guedj in the pic is 16. I wonder how he will look when he's actually 26 or even 36..... I'm not sure I want to know. Anyways, Israel presented its entry Golden boy tonight as well. By the rumors some were expecting the uptempo number to save this year's dance moves in Euroclub but instead.... What to say, "mamas" sung here and there like a real Italian mammone would. There's a bit of ethno sounds and it is somehow catchy and ... well.... I need to digest this a bit. And what to make about the lyrics:

You know that my love is bigger, I'm a golden boy
Come here to enjoy I'm the king of fun, 
And before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ESC 2015 ARMENIA: GENEALOGY LINE UP IS FULL AND DON'T DENY IS OUT

Today finally Armenia released their song Don't deny and the sixth artist in the line up. And yes, it's all very political between the lines. And very clever - you can't really finger point anything but it's all there. Let's see if this storm in a glass will become a hurricane. Turkey isn't participating anyways, so....  I find the song a huge let down. A standard Disney ballad with only gimmick being the singers. Six4One anyone? It isn't any better than that I'm afraid. I take no sides nor think about the politics when saying that. But the message could easily turn against them depending how the various commentators and media pick on it. But that won't stop the diaspora all over Europe to vote for it as usual. 
The sixth member is Inga Arshakyan as rumoured from the beginning and this is a return to the Eurovision stage she already shared with her sister in 2009. The other members are French Armenian Essai Altounian (Europe), Tamar Kaprelian (Americas), Vahe Tilbian (Africa), Stephanie Topalian (Asia) and Mary Jean O'DohertyVasmatzian (Australia). 

ESC 2015 SWEDEN: FINAL LINE UP AND MY LITTLE REVIEW

Sweden, the most anticipated national selection by many, comes to an end this Saturday, giving us one of the very last songs for the Vienna 2015 line up. This season in Sweden has been dominated by young male artists and it would be quite a shock if one of them won't win it in the end. As the final is getting nearer all the pressure is building on Måns Z. Let's see if he will be third time lucky!
Samir & Victor propably has a big local hit in their hands but Eurovision? No way. Good opener but that's all it is, one would not even notice it's actually in the competition.... JTR, another act with some following I suppose, next. Another useless filler in the line up. Medicore boyband stuff. Totally uninteresting. Dinah Nah trusts good old la, la, la and it's an okeyish uptempo number. Unfortunately Dinah herself is the weakest link in it with her flat voice and moves. Jon Henrik, first of the favorites offers a screen full of Lappish and Sami exotism (that I see from comments in various chatrooms and comments has been totally misunderstood by some fans. No, it's not indian stuff, nor anything remotely similar. Read what joik is for example here, shouldn't take too long). I love to listen to this, but I don't like the staging. It's a bit too confusing, too much. More sober approach might have done wonders. Jessica delivers a ballad I liked pretty much the first time, but it is already worn out. Especially when thinking that Vienna line up is already filled with female ballads. Next! And it's Måns, the one to beat and it's easy to see why. The staging is something new and innotative in Eurovision and it works. He performs well, the song is memorable and catchy without being banal. Maybe a bit heard before, yes, but then that never hurt anyone. Plagiatism it isn't, just giving the same vibe. Only that they have to create in Vienna that backing choir with only 5 backing singers... We'll see. Linus offers something already heard and seen. Not bad but not very original either bringing back some most used Eurovision staging clichés on stage. Isa is pretty and young, moves well and sings ... well, not so strong. I find the song very boring. Yawn. Magnus sounds like he found some Lena Ph demo from the late 80's and decided to go with it. Not bad, nicely old fashioned and he's a fine singer. Would this work in Vienna? Maybe not.... Eric next. Looks like he has lost a bit of the superfavorite status but we will see how bad he will sting the televoters Saturday night. For me he's saved by the dirty sax in the song. Without it this would be just ordinary. I'm a bit surprised he has such a simple stage routine. The uplifting finish is already sooo old. I read it was altered as he couldn't sing and dance it well enough. Hmm, he's 24. Madonna 56. Do your math. Mariette could be the dark horse by many. Good performance indeed but she'd be (and has been) only compared to Loreen. They aren't the same at all but at first glance; dark, simple, effective, lights... The ingredients are the same. And we don't want another screamy female midtempo to Vienna, do we? Last but not least Hasse. Now that would be a shocker for Vienna! Good in his own genre. If we can send PKN, Sweden can send Hasse. Let's ruin this 2015 for once and for good!
So, I am in #teammåns. Jon Henrik would do as well, but they have to change the staging in that case. Saade would be the third choise but it would do good to his ego not to win. For once I seem to agree with the polls as these three seem to be topping them all..... How ordinary of me :-)

Samir &Viktor – Groupie
Dinah Nah – Make me (la la la)
Jon Henrik Fjällgren – Jag är fri (Manne leam frijje)
Jessica Andersson – Can’t hurt me now
Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes
Linus Svenning – Forever starts today
Isa – Don’t stop
Magnus Carlsson – Möt mig i Gamla Stan
Eric Saade – Sting
Hasse Andersson – Guld och gröna skogar

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ESC 2015 AUSTRIA: FINAL LINE UP AND MY LITTLE REVIEW

Austria selects is own represant and follow up to Conchita Wurst this Friday. Six acts made it to the final and none of them is very Eurovisionesque. The hosts feel no pressure I guess and are ready to risk a bit, which is always refreshing.
Dawa has an acoustic sounding simple "folk" song. It's kinda cute and nice, but is it strong enough? Johan Sebastian Bass isn't nice and cute but more like in-your-face kind of a song. Retro groove and crazy sounding opera singers as backing. A look to match and to remember. This would we bold and surely would stand out in the Vienna line up. Celina Ann is the Austrian Nina Zilli lookalike but that's where the similarities end. The song falls to the "nice" category. Nice only won't take you very far unfortunately. The Makemakes have the quality of making me listen to them and drop everything I am doing. Capturing. Beautiful. A song that I don't want to fast forward Yet I'm not crazy for it, but it makes me to listen to it, to pay attention for some reason. Zoe would be a nice entry for France or Switzerland, but Austria? Pourquoi, mon Dieu? And she's like Anna Rossinelli in blong wig.  Not bad at all but like I said, somehow it's just doesn't fit in. Folkshilfe's singer must be in as much pain as we listeners by the looks on his face during the song. And what an earth are they singing about? I can only make sense to the refrain that is from another song anyways.... Nah. 
So, The Makemakers for me. Or Johan Sebastian Bass for the fun of it.

Dawa - Feel alive
Johan Sebastian Bass - Absolutio
Celina Ann - Utopia
The Makemakes - I am yours
Zoe - Quel filou
Folkshilfe - Who are you

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

ESC 2015 BELGIUM: LISTEN TO LOIC'S RHYTHM INSIDE

Also Belgium has released the audio of their entry Rhythm inside by Loïc Nottet. It's certainly something different and stands out among all the female ballads and duets we have this year.... This blogger yet needs to digest it a bit before decided which way it goes.... And here's the video!

ESC 2015 CZECH REPUBLIC: LISTEN TO HOPE NEVER DIES

The audio of Hope never dies, the Czech entry in the Eurovision 2015 by Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta has been released today ahead of the video release tomorrow. All I can say this is the entry Finland should have sent. It reminds me of The Rasmus, HIM, Nightwish.... the genre Finns do best. if only... It will be curious to see how's the visuals in video and how the staging will be... Meanwhile I just have to listen this again... and again.... Welcome to the final for the first time, Czech Republic, the break has done you good!

Monday, March 09, 2015

ESC 2015 RUSSIA: POLINA GAGARINA FOR RUSSIA

Russia has revealed its cards. Polina Gagarina will sing for them in Vienna, apparently the song is Secret poison written by the usual team of Kirkorov, Kontopoulos & co. Polina lived her early life in Greece and has the usual past in talent reality like Star factory 2 that she won, New Wave festival in Jurmala, winning Golden Grammophone contest twice as well as other awards and nominations along the way. The song should premiere in March 15.

ESC 2015 POLAND: MONIKA KYSZYNSKA POR POLAND

Poland has chosen Monika Kuszyńska with In the name of love. The rumor mill is telling Doda had a fight with the Polish television bosses about something and was dismissed the last moment. Enter Monika who has a long if not very succesful career behind her and her ballad is one of the best this year. So far at least. 
Monika started her career as a singer in a band Varius Manx. Back in 2006 the band had a car accident, in which Monika remained paralyzed from waist down and she uses wheelchair. This hasn't stopped her from doing music and she released her debut album in 2012. Now she's off to Vienna to steal a bit of the spotlight from likes of PKN. At least she has a song to sing, and a voice to sing it!

ESC 2015 SWEDEN: TESTOSTERONEFESTIVAL

Sweden has never won the Eurovision song contest with a male solo artist but this year they are really trying. The final next Saturday (along with the one in Norway) is the last of the season 2015 and it is filled with muscled guys who seem to love parade half naked showing off. Some of them can also sing and perform, some... well, a bit less so. The main contenders seem to be Måns Zelmerlöv and Eric Saade. Then there's Jon Henrik Fjällgren to shake the things a bit. Let's see who wins that fight. It seems both Måns and Eric need to beat Jon first, but then also each other to win. 
Samir Badran and Victor Frisk are also ready for the battle even if they had to make it through the second chance round. They know how to pose but that's just about all it is about... Barking dogs don't bite.
Samir also challenges Linus Svenning with the tattoo department. Linus can deliver, we know that, but Samir ... well, he gives great poses.
And what about the seemingly more modest self displaying Magnus Carlsson and JTR? Magnus is predicted by some as the shock winner but can his sweetness beat those rough guys in the end? JTR can trust on teenage girls votes but Magnus? Who will vote for him?
Not only testosterone, we also have four ladies in the running. Isa, Jessica Andersson, Mariette and Dinah Nah are surely going to use every trick to lure the voters, but can they overcome this year's manly overdose?
Last but not least, we can't forget the ultimate hunk, Hasse Andersson. Will granny power send the loved grandpa to Vienna? Now that would be a fitting end to this Eurovision 2015 season full of (mostly bad) surprises....
Or will we have a happy ending and third time lucky Måns will crash the competition like a wrecking ball? I will review the songs in another post shortly. Meanwhile enjoy the scenery...

Sunday, March 08, 2015

ESC 2015 ROMANIA: VOLTAJ FOR VIENNA

Quite incredible, the only song I tipped for victory did win for once, lol. Voltaj with De la capăt won both televote and the jury vote. Apparently and sadly they will sing the song in Vienna in English as All over again. Luminita Anghel came second and seemed very unamused. During the show I also picked CEJ as my second favorite and the only other song I liked, well performed no fuss song.
Here's the live performance. The song also has an important theme: to bring all those Romanians working abroad to come back to their children in Romania they left behind....

ESC 2015 PORTUGAL: LEONOR ANDRADE TO VIENNA

Leonor Andrade has won the Portuguese final of Festival da Canção with Há Um mar que nos separa. One good news for this night of disasters of various types. The real disaster is Yola Dinis didn't even make the top-3 but Leonor was my second favorite so have to be happy for that little at least. Leonor's song is not bad, it could well be sung by any Italian female singer in fashion, from Emma to Amoroso and Pausini. Tt only needs a better arrangement and a little bit of necessary oomph. 
Teresa Radamento and Gonçalo Tavares made the superfinal as well. 

ESC 2015 UK: ELECTRO VELVET IS STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU

And they may well be but I'm not in love with them. The whole concept is rather boring. Original - in Eurovision circuit yes, not elsewhere - but still heard a million times before, and often better. And what's it with another duo?? Has Europe gone crazy? On the positive note, it's not a ballad..... Still in love with you

Saturday, March 07, 2015

ESC 2015 ITALY: IL VOLO BECOME UNICEF GOODWILL AMBASSADORS - AND GO GOLD AGAIN

No stopping Il Volo. They have officially become Unicef Italy's Goodwill ambassadors and following the gold status of the single Grande Amore this week also their EP Sanremo Grande amore has been certified gold. Both are topping the official Italian charts as well. The video is close to 13 million views already.
Il Volo has been taking part in Unicef's activities for years already, including Unicef Andrey Hepburn Society Ball in Houston, Texas in 2013 and 100% vacciamoli tutti event in Naples last year as well as another one in Venice to help African children in need.

ESC 2015: THIS WEEKEND'S GUIDE - FINALS IN PORTUGAL, ROMANIA, THE UK SONG

Yet another weekend with Eurovision. Portugal will have its final tonight, Romania tomorrow. Tonight also United Kingdom will reveal its song and it's also the second chance round in Sweden. And next week in the ultimate rush we will we hearing new entries almost daily basis! I'll update the news asap as always. Enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Portugal - Festival da Canção - FINAL
22.00 CET - Watch here - Read more here

United Kingdom - Song presentation 
22.25 CET - Watch here  (22.40)

Sweden - Melodifestivalen - Andra chansen
20.00 CET - Watch here - Read more here

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Romania - Selecției naționale - FINAL
22.30 CET - Watch here - Read more here

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