Sunday, April 30, 2017

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: PORTUGAL FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Now this is a bit tricky to comment as instead of Salvador Sobral we have his sister and song's author Luisa on stage instead. What we can see that she and eventually he will be singing in a forest. But the song speaks to itself and he certainly won't be dancing around the stage with it so I guess one steady spot and a lot of close up is what it's going to be. And that's all it needs. Maybe Portugal finally betters its best placing so far, 6th. I hope so. 


ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: AZERBAIJAN FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Finland is really nicely squeezed between Montenegrin circus and Azerbaijani props staging to stand out even more (thanks Christer & co!) Dihaj has her own little space on stage with horse headed man, chalkboards. It's dark and artistic. And will surely look quite different on television than what I can judge now from home. Sure qualifier and most likely to do very well. 

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: FINLAND FIRST REHEARSAL

 
As expected nd promised Norma John didn't go changing the winning staging and performance but just adapted it to a bigger stage and bigger show. Coming after the Montenegrin circus this is heaven. Finland's goal is to get to the final first, and then anything is good. Everything was perfect already for the first run through so Finns are happy. I am happy. And I'm firmly predicting a Softengine like result....

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: MONTENEGRO FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Now we are talking. Slavko pulled out all the tricks from his blue skirt to glittering skin tight body and his tail flying in every direction almost becoming his duet partner. He also has images of himself in the backdrop and even on the floor - apparently at some point his laying down on floor in his own mouth or something. This has it all really. But the vocals. If he delivers when it matters then it's ok but for now.... then again so much is going on maybe televoters won't notice the vocals at all..... Stil one of my favorites but I'm afraid they might miss the final and that is a shame as this would bring some much needed kitchy madness to the line uo Eurovision is known for....

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: BELGIUM FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Oh dear, Belgium. I have been trying to keep hope up and believe she can make it. But judging the first rehearsal adding to what we have seen in the previous promo events Belgians will be very disappointed come final - if they even make it at this rate. From a Top-3 pre-contest favorite to a total mess on stage. And whatever happened to the great video footage? Their backdrop is kinda nice, but not for this song. Blanche seems very lost on stage and nervous and her voice seems to be left home in belgium, too. Not really sure what to think.... I'm just sad. 

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: ALBANIA FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Lindita brings her music video live on stage and there's a lot going on, Her four backing singers are standing around the stage and she will be wearing something white and fabulous to match her long notes, and there's not doubting her vocals. In this first rehearsals she was rather casual. I'm still not a fan of this song but it's much better when you see the performance rather than only listen to it so for me it's a borderline qualifier. Could it end up 11th?

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: AUSTRALIA FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Also Aussie Isaiah has fallen victim of this rather stupid no socks fashion. But that aside Australia brings again a staging that will lift a song and oerformance. He's on turntable, the backdrop features mostly himself and there are some clever camera tricks and it all works to perfection. If some where doubting Australia's chances they are proven wrong. This is a sure qualifier and Top-10. And the song alone deserves it. 

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: GEORGIA FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Georgia has dropped apparently the newspaper clips and anti-Russian news - among other tragedies and world disasters - from the backdrop and instead goes for the similar runway feel Sweden was sporting right before. I still don't think this deserves to qualify for the final but then it's Georgia.... Very low key rehearsal for her, she will reveal the dress and look only later, and really let that voice out. A voice you either like or you don't..... 

ESC 2017 KYIV - DAY 1: SWEDEN FIRST REHEARSAL

 
Sweden was the first one to rehearse on stage for the very first technical rehearsal of the season. As expected the staging is pretty much the same as in Melodifestivalen, just with updated backdrop and two of the dancers on treadmills have changed into dancing backing singers, still wearing their suits and fashion model attitude. And no socks and way too short pant leg...
Sweden is firmly in the final, and propably Top-5 there.....

OGAE: ITALY WINS OGAE POLL 2017 - 37 TIMES 12 POINTS!

Italy has scored an overpowering win in the OGAE Poll 2017. Out of 43 possible 12 points Italy scored 37. Only Hungary, Latvia and Macedonia placed Italy second, Belarus and Russia third and Armenia 4th. Think about that Loreen, Rybak & co.
Even if the results have been rather questionable in this pure fan voting Italy is also overpowering favorite in the betting odds and generally everything. If Italy won't win this year, something really weird must happen.... and I'm so pleased to see Finland at 10th place. Similar result is possible come the final night tbh.

Italy: 497 points
Belgium: 335 points
Sweden: 308 points
France: 277 points
Estonia: 242 points
Portugal: 122 points
Bulgaria: 120 points
FYR Macedonia: 107 points
Israel: 102 points
Finland: 64 points

ESC 2017: FINLAND - VIDEO & REVIEW

Finland review

ESC 2017: SAN MARINO - VIDEO & REVIEW


ESC 2017: MONTENEGRO, ISRAEL, GREECE AND FRANCE - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


ESC 2017: ITALY, MOLDOVA, ROMANIA AND SPAIN - VIDEOS & REVIEWS

Saturday, April 29, 2017

ESC 2017: ESTONIA, DENMARK, POLAND AND SERBIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


EUROVISON 2017: FAMILIAR NAMES IN THE JURIES

EBU has released the jury members for the Eurovision song contest 2017 as always there are dozens of familiar names from the national finals, both artists and authors/producers etc but also plenty of real Eurovision veterans, have a look at the list below. Among other names this blogger is very pleased to see San Marino's Fabrizio Raggi :-) See the full list on eurovision.tv

Albania 2008: Olta Boka
Austria 2016: Zoe
Estonia 2011: Getter Jaani
Finland 1987: Vicky Rosti
Germany 1982: Nicole
Israel 2001: Tal Sondak
Malta 1998, 2005, 2009: Chiara
Moldova 2009: Nelly Ciobanu
Norway 1974, 1976: Ann Karine Strom
Poland 2011: Magdalena Tul
Slovenia (1995, 1999): Darja Svajger
Spain (2001): David Civera
several from Switzerland:
 Daniela Simons (1986), Michael von der Hiede (2010) and Ivan Broggini (of Sinplus) (2012)
and also from Romania:
Luminita Anghel (2005), MIHAI (2006), 
Cesar Florin (2013), Paula Seling (2010, 2014)




GREECE: DEMY RELEASES GREEK VERSION ÓSO ZO

Greek Demy pretty much underlines the fact most everyhting sounds better in native. This is love is such a bland useless pop song that are 13 in a dozen but as soon as she sings it in Greek it almost becomes interesting and much, much better. As long as I live aka Όσο Ζω I am all for the abolishing the free language rule....


ESC 2017: BELARUS, CROATIA, PORTUGAL AND UKRAINE - VIDEOS & REVIEWS

ESC 2017: AZERBAIJAN, BELGIUM, CZECH REPUBLIC AND UNITED KINGDOM - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


ESC 2017: THE NETHERLANDS, GERMANY, ICELAND AND MACEDONIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


Friday, April 28, 2017

SLOVENIA: OMAR NABER SINGS TAM NEKJE, SLOVENIAN VERSION OF ON MY WAY

One more for tonight. Slovenian Eurovision entry On my way was performed tonight by Omar Naber in native Slovenian as Tam nekje (Somewhere). OMG how I miss the native languages!!!

MALTA: CLAUDIA FANIELLO RELEASES BREATHLESSLY IN ITALIAN, PERDERSI

Not only Estonians, but also Claudia Faniello from Malta has released her Eurovision entry in Italian, titled Perdersi, even in two different versions! And unlike Koit and Laura Claudia has no problem with Italian pronunciation being of Italian origins.....
Listen to the ballad and the more rhythmic radio version here

ESTONIA: VERONA GETS SIMIL ITALIAN VERSION, AND A MODERN TALKING ONE!

Koit Toome and laura have been busy delivering new versions of their entry Verona in true Eurovision style. First of all there's a 80's mix that sounds more Modern Talking than Modern Talking itself ever did. But the rea curiosity is the Italian version. It must have seemed like a wonderful idea on paper, and indeed many fans have welcomed it with pleasure. Italians and those who know Italian like this blogger have been more confused and perplexed.... some might even call it a parody but then again.... One gets used to everything, even to this. Let's just be happy it's been recorded, ok?
The Italian version is included on Laura's worthcoming Greatest Hits album, and the other remixes of the song in the vinyl EP that you can order here

ESC 2017: AUSTRIA, HUNGARY, CYPRUS AND NORWAY - VIDEOS AND REVIEWS

ESC 2017: AUSTRALIA, BULGARIA, SLOVENIA AND IRELAND - VIDEOS & REVIEWS

ITALY: FRANCESCO GABBANI RELEASES MAGELLANO

Today's the day we all have been waiting for all spring: Francesco Gabbani releases his third album Magellano. (That you can hear already in Spotify at least in Italy....)
Update noon: The album is already #1 in iTunes. Quel surprise!
This blogger is already in love with the graphics and photoshoot style he has opted for the promotion! The album includes nine songs, including obviously Occidentali's Karma and also Foglie al gelo, released already last year. 
The international version of the album Magellan includes also Amen, his winning song in the Sanremo Newcomers 2016. And the new single off the album is Tra le granite e le granate to be released as a video shortly, but you can already hear a bit of it here.
TRACKLIST
01. Magellano
02. Tra le granite e le granate
03. Occidentali's karma 
04. A moment of silence
05. La mia versione dei ricordi
06. Susanna, Susanna
07. Foglie al gelo 
08. Pachidermi e pappagalli
09. Spogliarmi

Check out the videos after the jump:

ESC 2017: MALTA, ALBANIA, GEORGIA AND ARMENIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


ESC 2017: LATVIA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND AND LITHUANIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


Thursday, April 27, 2017

EUROVISION 2017 BROADCASTED LIVE IN THE USA AGAIN

EBU has confirmed moments ago that the Eurovision song contest 2017 final will be broadcasted again in the United States by Viacom's Logo, just like last year. Michelle Visage and Ross Matthews, from RuPaul's Drag race will be the American commentators. But that's not all, www.logotv.com and their mobile app will also show the winner's press conference right after the show. 
After Russia was kicked out/withdraw and is not broadcadting the show EBU is in need of all possible vewers to reach the magical 200 million....

ESC 2017 REVIEW - ITALY (01): FRANCESCO GABBANI - OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA


Pictured is Italy's national flower lily


Italy used Sanremo festival again as the platform to choose its entrant.The winner of the festival had the first choice to accept the challenge, and should the artists in question decline the offer it would go to the runner up, then the third etc. Francesco Gabbani took a somewhat surprise win, and gladly accepted the offer - it even looked a bit like he was waiting for it tbh - and Occidentali's Karma, written by himself with brother Filippo, Fabio Illacqua and Luca Chiaravalli, became an Youtube sensation overnight and took Italy by storm becoming a phenomenon that would be breaking all possible records in weeks and months to come....

Francesco Gabbani (34) grew up in a music shop as his family owned a shop for music instruments. He learned to play drums, guitar, piano and bass, and has also done mixing and sound engineering so he knows his stuff. In his late teens he was in Trikobalto band and they released two albums and got to perform in some major festivals and got their videos on music channels. They also toured in France and opened Stereophonics concert in Italy. 
In 2011 Gabbani goes solo and released his solo album that includes a few singles that are more liked by the critics than great public. By 2015 he's ready to concentrate on songwriting for others than dreaming of being a star himself. However he has a lot of material and almost as a joke and with Whatever attitude his team sent a song Amen to Sanremo 2016 newcomers.... The rest is history. He wins, scores a hit album, comes back to Sanremo. Wins the main category - first time ever back to back - and sells multiplatinum, gets the most watched Eurovision video ever, is among the top-10 most watched Italian videos ever.... (Check out after the jump for detailed record breaking news by Gabbani....). Meanwhile hid odds to win are the lowest ever (even below 2) and his scoring a new record in the OGAE Fan poll - 29 out 33 clubs have placed him first so far...

What can I say? I liked Amen last year. It was my favorite. The expectations were high for Occidentali's Karma and it was love after a few first lines. I was so hoping he would win even if it wasn't at all likely when the festival started, not even midway the festival. Not even seconds before Carlo Conti annonced it. But he did it. This song is perfect in every aspect; the lyrics, the arrangement, his voice, the performance, even the video. Can't find a fault anywhere. I wouldn't change a thing. Gabbani comes across as a genuine and wonderful person, his stories have deeper sense. His music comes out from a real songwriting inspiration. He's amazing live performer. A well deserved, welcome and worthy winner of Eurovision song contest 2017. If he doesn't win..... I will be so disappointed and Italy's rapidly growing interest in Eurovision might just vanish in the air again..... But at this point, how could he not win? Only the juries could do that and by doing so they would just be more hated than ever....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ITALY: OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA GETS OFFICIAL REMIXES!

Today's Gabbani daily: Ten top deejays have remixed Francesco Gabbani's Occidentali's Karma and those official remixes have been distributed to the radios last week. One can only hope the remixes will be also available for us common morals at some point. The remixes are by  Benny Benassi & Mazz, Marc Benjamin & DNMKG, Addal, Dj Ross & Savietto, Molella & Valentini, Tyro Maniac, Simon from Deep Divas, Ken Holland vs Mess and Wlady as well as Gabry Ponte that you can hear below.
Meanwhile his new album Magellano will be released this Friday!

ESC 2017 REVIEW - PORTUGAL (02): SALVADOR SOBRAL - AMAR PELOS DOIS

Pictured is Portugal's antional flower lavender

Portugal has been in the Eurovision since 1964 and their best placing todate is 6th. They have long ago surpassed Finland as the worst, and they must have frustrated themselves as they decided to skip last year's edition and think it allover for a year. This year Festival da Canção was back and fans were expecting some modern eurotunes maybe as there was even a freedom of language. RTP again chose the composers and they chose the artists and submitted whatever they felt suitable. The result? At first glance nothing had changed: unfitting songs to Eurovision, most of them in Portuguese and having no chance at all impress the Europeans. All was forgotten when Salvador Sobral took the stage with a song his sister Luisa had written, Amar pelos dois...

Salvador Sobral (27) came to public light when participating in the Idols 2009, where he placed 7th. Also his sister took part earlier and placed third btw. Salvador has lived in the United States and Spain. He released his debut album last year and has released a couple of singles before. A lot has been talked and gossiped about his health condition and the fact is he will skip the technical rehearsals in Kyiv, and will arrive just in time for the dress rehearsals. After the Portuguese semifinal he was rushed to the hospital for hernia operations, and the rumours say he's suffering of a severe heart condition or needing a new heart asap. But nothing is confirmed and it's all about his song instead. That's very admirable as they could milk the pity here if they wanted to....

I have always liked the Portuguese music and their take on Eurovision, or rather the national final. Real songs and real Portuguese music not trying to please the Eurovision taste. I loved Amar pelos dois as soon as I got over Salvador's somewhat weird performance - but thinking about it now, having suffered hernia myself I can't even imagine how he managed to perform at all! The song is timeless. In a good way. It could have won Eurovision already in the 1950's or 1960's, and could win it in the 2010's more than in the 1990's I think. If there wasn't Italian gorilla involved this year this would be clearly my favorite to win it and I wish more than anything that Portugal would finally win it. But then as I said, there's the gorilla is there to mess things up..... And is it coincidence my top-3 are all non-English songs?  Can we have a joint winner? 10/10





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - HUNGARY (03): JOCI PÁPAI - ORIGO


Pictured is Hungary's national flower tulip


Hungary continued with the highly succesful A Dal concept for the 6th time and once again managed to gather a very high class and variable lot of artists and songs. This year the process was made even more professional as all the artists had to have already a recording contract and a label, at least one album alreayd released or their music being played on Hungarian radio and television. 30 entries made the cut and through three heats and two semifinal we were down to eight finalists. Joci Pápai won the final round with televotes, having qualified on each step purely thanks to juries. His Origo is written by himself.

József "Joci" Pápai (35) is Hungarian singer, rapper and guitarist of Romani descent, and for the first time Hungary will bring their gipsy minority into spotlight in Eurovision, a fact that these times and days isn't so obvious. Joci interested in music at young age thanks to his brother and came to fame already 2005 in the reality series Megasztár, even if he didn't get that far in the show. The year after he was featured in rapper Majka's hit single, and the collaboration continued over the years with several singles and Joci was featured also in other collaboration with Caramel. 

Now this was love at first sight. Or hearing. I'm a sucker for some ethnic vibes and here they are perfect. This in exciting, interesting yet modern and catchy. I don't understand a word but it doesn't matter as I still believe every word and feel the pain. He's voice is hypnotic, the beat is fresh and even the rapping fits in and sounds great and not at all out of place or annoying. Love it. Every second of it. So much that this is the only song I was listening a lot already way before the Hungarian final but honestly I never thought it would win and that it would only remain my own national final favorite. How wrong I was!  10/10

Monday, April 24, 2017

ITALY: 100 MILLION TIMES OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA

The counter keeps going wild and this afternoon passed the 100 million mark. 
Now it's already way past it: 100.236.343 when writing this.... But that's not all. 
The live video from Sanremo festival is at 6.585.481 and the Eurovision version video 978.186. That's altogether
107.800.010
Alè! Namaste!


ESC 2017 REVIEW - MONTENEGRO (04): SLAVKO - SPACE

Pictured is the national flower of Motenegro, mimosa

Montenegro is seeking for their third final place this year with something else. They internally chose Slavko Kalezić and his outrageous character and song Space, written by  Adis Eminić, Iva Boršić and Momčilo Zeković. This seems to be the most divisive entry of the year, but at least it won't go unnoticed....

Slavko Kalezić (31) is actor, singer and songwriter. He has studied in the Academy of Perfmorning arts and is part of the Montenegrin national theatre. He has appered both on stage and in film in various productions. His singing career started in 2011, and two years later he tried his luck in X Factor Adria. He made it all the way to the judge's house mentored by Eurovision veteran Željko Joksimović assisted by another veteran Toni Cetinski. This didn't stop him and the year after he released his debut album. A few singles has followed and now he's here. Clearly he has created a character in true Lordi/Verka/Silvia Night style....

Where to start? The first reaction to this was giggles. And then wanting to hear and watch the video again. And again. The song itself is incredibly catchy and horny. As in having those horns in the arrangements that I love. Divine and retro. The very broken English in the first line might be intentional just to annoy and displace us as it disappears once the chorus kicks in. The video is wonderfully over the top and this whole affair is one big Eurovision cliché, in a good way. But... after seeing him live in various promo events (he has been literally everywhere!) the performance has been even a bit too over the top. I hope he keeps it under control in Kyiv and gives us an amazing staging and a bit more seriousness in the performance, less outrageous is more, and we might have a surprise in our hands. I must say I'm rather puzzled how come this is doing so bad in various fan polls, I thought they'd love it. Oh hang on, ah yes.... this is not the Swedish entry. If it was it'd be on top battling it out with Italy. Now it's just some random Montenegro.... Sad. 10/10




Sunday, April 23, 2017

EUROVISION COMPETITION GIVEAWAY: WIN SAN MARINO'S PROMO SINGLE!

Now it's your chance to win San Marino's promo single Spirit of the night by Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson. The single includes Radio version, ESC version and Club version + video, photos, inks and artists and songwriters biographies, and yrics of the entry.

To win your copy you simply has to answer the following easy questions and send the answers and contact details by commenting this post below (your answers won't be visible to others) by April 30, and like and follow my Facebook and follow my Twitter. The winners will be notified by email.

1. What is the Sammarinese cake Tre Monti made of?
A - sponge
B- wafer
C- ricotta

2. What color are the Sammarinese zebra crossings?
A – red and yellow
B – white and yellow
C – white and blue

3, What is the motto of San Marino?
A - Libertas
B - Humanity
C - Aeternum

4. What is San Marino famous for?
A - footballers
B – race drivers
C – crossbow shooters

5. How many times has Valentina Monetta represented her country?
A - 3
B - 4
C - 5


ESC 2017 REVIEW - SAN MARINO (05): VALENTINA MONETTA & JIMMIE WILSON - SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT

Pictured is the national flower of San Marino, cyclamen


San Marino once again used the internal selection and after a long process the final decision was made just a couple of weeks before the headline with a phone call to the one and only Valentina Monetta. She will be joined on stage with American born, Germany based Jimmie Wilson for this black & white disco duet penned by Ralph Siegel with Jutta Staudenmayer and Steven Barnacle. This is La Monetta's 4th Euroviison, Ralph Siegel's 24th. Maybe next year they make Valentina's 5th making her the ONLY Eurovision artist with five participations, and Siegel's 25th?

Valentina Monetta (42) seems to be the oldest artist this year (!!!) but she seems to be having the most fun of it. After Copenhagen she's been doing her own thing, singing jazz and r'n'b in clubs and living in London for some time. Jimmie who comes from the original Motown city Detroit, has studied in Hollywood, played in a musical produced by Michael Jackson before moving to Germany to star as Barak Obama in another musical. He has released a few singles and his debut album will be released shortly.

After three participations this time Valentina seems to be letting it all out and just having fun after the stressful Crisalide affair as one of the hottests fan favorites, and then the miracle of Maybe. Spirits of the night are dancing it away while Valentina lets it all out and musical star Jimmie is trying to keep up with her. And together they really work the stage and make the song come alive. Some say it's old fashioned and typical Ralph Siegel song aka dated and bad. I don't agree. It's vintage disco and their voices blend together, and even better when live and it is this song's natural habit (unlike some others like Belgium and Azerbaijan to start with...) as they both are experienced and great vocalists as we have seen in various promo events from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam and Madrid. Their live performance makes you even forget its slight repetitiveness that maybe can get to you when listening only the studio version. Valentina sings better than ever and has the sparkle in the eye like never before and their smiles can melt butter. This is fun and catchy and deserves to qualify. I might be slightly biased (cough cough) but  9/10 and a jump of 10 places in the last minute just for the fun of it. Go Vale!


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