Thursday, May 31, 2012

SCISSOR SISTERS WOULD LOVE TO DO IT. EUROVISION THAT IS!

"I would go to Eurovision. Totally." told Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters on BBC Radio Five live. "If I was asked I would gladly do it for you. I'd be happy to!" So, after BBC asked Jason Donovan and apparently Hurts this year and ended up wwith Engelbert Humperdinck and 25th place, maybe they should not look any further than this. Scissor Sisters would actually be pretty perfect for an Eurovision stage, especially in Sweden. They might be American (but so is Katrina of The Waves) but they call the UK their spiritual home and have a following in Europe. This could also be of course only a publicity stunt as their new album Magic Hour hits the stores this week.... The latest single is Only the horses and other hits include I don't feel like dancing, Any which way and Fire with fire. They could surely stage one Eurovision cliches filled 3 minutes! In a good way...

RONA NISHLIU RETURNS TO CELEBRATING ALBANIA

Albania's Rona Nishliu who came 5th in Baku with her groundbreaking Suus, was welcomed home as a hero. She scored the best result for Albania to date and it adds to the the fact she won the 50th Festivali i Këngës and Albania celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence! A huge crowd was waiting for her and she also met with the prime minister of Albania Sali Berisha. 
Not only does Rona have incredibly voice, also her song is very special. Or you get it, or you just think it's endless screming or "woman in agony giving a birth to a baby" as someone described. I love it. I get it. Enjoy it again - or try to get it - here. And read her exclusive interview here. And don't forget the English jazz version!

CALL ME NONA. NONA ZILLI

Nina Zilli is back in Italy where many expected a victory but she came home with a respectful 9th place, or "nono posto" and it's that what she has now taken as her new nickname, Nona Zilli, 9th Zilli. "I knew I was considered a candidate for the victory but it didn't come. But it's ok, I'm happy anyways. I managed to make my music known in many, many countries and everything went well, that's all that matters. I have played basket ball for many years and I know how to take defeat. You win and you lose. You just have to level with it and go on." 
She also tells she prefered in Baku the old town to the new town but unfortunately she had to spend more time in the new one. "From my hotel room I saw the Flame towers and a boutique with all the luxury labels but just around the corner was the old city, alleys from the 6th century, echoes of the minarets, people who love Italy and like in Italy, those you have little are easier to share the little they have. I preferred that part of the town but I had to spent most of my time in the sparkling new city and Crystal Hall, that is a stunning piece of architecture.
She also comments on the other songs: "I didn't like much the winning song from Sweden as it really isn't my genre (well, nor did other Italians in general as Italy was the only country to give Sweden nil points!) but I met her and she's nice, talented and also very beautiful even if she hides herself behind that hair most of the time! I liked the German song by Roman Lob, the old grooner Engelbert Humperdinck and the Danish Soluna Samay."

ESC 2013: STOCKHOLM IS OUT OF QUESTION

One thing is now clear. It is very unlikely Stockholm city will host the Eurovision song contest 2013. The Globen arena is occupied by the Ice hockey World championships and the building of Stockholmsarenan (30.000 seats) next to it has been delayed and will be ready only in summer 2013. All this due to the manufacturer of the concrete plates Betongmästarna Sverige AB that has had delivering problems and in fact went bankrupt earlier this week. The city of Stockholm is suing the main builder Peab for 11 million euros for damage. 
Friends Arena in Solna, a city next to Stockholm now gets all the support from the city of Stockholm. This arena is also in the building right now, will have a capacity of 50.000-67.500 and should be opened on October 27, 2012. Also Melodifestivalen 2013 final will take place here. If it will be here we will be calling it Eurovision 2013 in Stockholm but it's really in Solna instead. Greater-Stockholm yes, but not Stockholm.
Solna is a town of less than 70.000 people. Three of the Swedish royal palaces are there, and it also has a church from the 11th century. 
And we still have a strong competition from Göteborg and especially Malmö who also want to organise the ESC 2013...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ESC 2012 WITHOUT FRIENDLY VOTING?

Every year we talk endlessly about the blocks, neighbors voting for each and such. The guys over at 12points.tv have done an interesting count how it would have gone without that in 2012. And guess what, it doesn't change much! Have a look here.
And have you wondered about Azerbaijan's success the past few years? Have you noticed they are voted by neighbors and small European countries mainly...? 12points.tv investigates also that here
Are you suffering from P.E.D.? They also give useful tips how to cope with that here

DICTATORSHIPS OUT OF ESC 2013?

The Nordic countries Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland along the United Kingdom and Austria are apparently demanding new rules for the Eurovision song contest with new ethics excluding the dictatorships or the countries without proper democracy and/or the countries without proper human rights. That means Belarus and Azerbaijan, and maybe even Russia and Ukraine, Armenia and Georgia. EBU should discuss the matter in their meeting in late June. This incident seems to have been the last drop to NRK and others in Azerbaijan.
It also seems Sweden has chosen the human rights as the theme of Eurovision 2013 already.

ESC 2012: TERRORIST ATTACK NEARBY?


Dutch nu.nl reports: Azerbaijan claims to have terrorist attacks occur during the Eurovision Song Contest. The Ministry of Security in the country said on Wednesday 40 members of a group of suspected conspirators have been arrested. The Contest took place last week. The terrorist group was planning attacks on the Crystal Hall where the contest was held, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Alijev, police buildings, hotels, mosques and other religious places. They were in possession of tickets for the contest, let the Ministry know.The security forces seized the members of the group during operations in Baku, Ganja, Sumgayit and other regions of the country. One of the conspirators was slain. A spokeswoman for the TROS, the Dutch delegation sent to the contest, said nothing of an impending attack to have noticed. 


ESC 2012 IN FINLAND: VIEWING FIGURES DROP 57%!

The Eurovision song contest final 2011 was watched by 1.323.000 Finns making it the 5th most watched TV program of the year (only Ice Hockey world championship games and TV news related to them went ahead, and Finland won by the way!). 
This year the final was watched by 558.000 Finns, slightly more than the first semifinal (505.000) and the second semifinal (300.000). The drop in line is comparable to the flop of UMK final's 454.000 viewers instead of the usual nearly one million. The semifinals were watched by less than 300.000 thus not making the top-20, when in 2011 they were watched by some 500.000. 
And YLE is still planning to go ahead with UMK in 2013. No further comment. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ESC 2013: MÅNS AND SARAH AS HOSTS?

The stage in Baku's Crystal Hall hasn't probably yet been completely taken down when in Sweden the guessing for the future Eurovision 2013 hosts are being discussed in a serious matter. At the moment there are two front runners, namely Måns Zelmerlöf and sarah Dawn Finer. Both singers with Melodifestivalen experience. Måns also has gone a long way from Cara mia to become Sweden's hottest male host in TV, and Sarah of course charmed the nation and not only as one of the hostesses for Melodifestivalen this year. And what to say about her alter ego Lynda Woodruff who gave out the Swedish votes in Baku? Could she take it over?
But there are about two dozen other names in the talks from Gina Dirawi to Jovan Radomir, from Charlotte Perrelli to lena Philipsson, Carola, Mark Levengood and Petra Mede. Just to name a few. 

LOREEN CELEBRATED IN STOCKHOLM TODAY

Loreen was officially welcomed home this evening in the center of Stockholm when thousands of people gathered to Hötorget where she performed on the rooftop. Watch it here.  It's not quite like Lordi's homecoming, is it? Here. :-)

EARTHQUAKE IN ITALY: NINA ZILLI HELPS

As you may know, there was another strong earthquake in the northern-central Italy hitting the areas that were damaged already 9 days ago. Today we had at least 15 victims and serious material damage. Nina Zilli put this message to her official Facebook

ogni tanto la natura ci ricorda chi è che comanda e a noi non resta che AIUTARCI. usate questa pagina per linkare aiuti, info e tutto quello che vi pare per far fronte alle disgrazie di tanti esseri umani. un abbraccio grande, sono con voi. stay soul z

sometimes the nature shows us who's in charge and all we can do is HELP US. please use this page to link help and useful information and anything you want in this misfurtune of so many human beings. a big hung, i'm with you. stay soul. z

And indeed there is a lot of information; which hotels are offering free accommodation for those in need, what to do to help people use Skype where phones are not working and so on. The initiative continues. Brava Nina!

PERNILLA'S HOME COMING...

If Arlanda's airport was packed when waiting for Loreen's return (here), no one noticed that at the same time also Finland's Pernilla arrived to Helsinki airport. Not a single fan was expecting her and only one media was there to welcome her home. Truth to be said her flight was some five hours late. How come most everyone I hear have sent hours and hours in Istanbul airport both going to Baku and coming back...?
Pernilla told she was very tired but had a great time in Baku. After Tuesday's semifinal where she placed 12th and also got 12 points from Hungary, she stayed in Baku and followed the rehearsals and other shows. After all she's a true Eurovision fan!

BEATEN & THREATENED BEHIND THE SCENES IN BAKU ESC 2012

The Eurovision 2012 is over and most everyone has left the city and Azerbaijan, the winner Loreen has just arrived home, Nina Zilli just tweeted she had a long sleep and woke up at 8pm, Tooji's back home, too....
But did you know it didn't go all so well for a Norwegian delegation, when one of them ended beaten up, threatened, and amused causing Norway almost to pull out from the contest. 

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) almost pulled Tooji out of the competition before it even started on Saturday, to protest the treatment that an NRK team received upon departure from Baku. NRK reported that they were detained at the airport, threatened and abused by Azerbaijani police, apparently because the Azerbaijani authorities were provoked by the content of material broadcast by the team, which included a Norwegian-Iranian comedian who works for NRK’s channel P3.“But we chose to go ahead (with Tooji’s performance),” said NRK’s program director, Per Arne Kalbakk. “Pulling Tooji out of Eurovision would have caused bigger problems for the arrangers, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and the artists. We decided it would have been the wrong reaction.”
With statements like “Don’t be fooled by these glass and gold buildings” in Baku and references to local attitudes against homosexuality, officials in Azerbaijan and local media reportedly found the NRK P3 team’s programs offensive and an insult to their country. When the NRK team was leaving the country, they were stopped by police at the airport security checkpoint. “We don’t know whether this was a real police action or  whether this was a group of police who decided to act like thugs,” Halvorsen told NRK’s own website. “But for Amir, it was an extremely uncomfortable experience. He was taken to a hearing room, threatened and forced to remove his clothes.” Asgharnejad told NRK’s late-night national newscast that he also was harassed and forced to kick an Iranian flag on the ground, even though he resisted because he found that an offensive act. He said the police filmed their harassment of him. All four team members were on assignment for NRK and accredited to cover Eurovision. EBU had secured guarantees from the authorities in Azerbaijan, known for harassing their own journalists, that all journalists would be well-treated and be allowed to work freely.

Read the whole story here. There are rumors EBU would take action and Azerbaijan might risk expulsion of the contest and maybe even EBU itself.  I would like to remind you about the Belgian member of delegation who was robbed and beaten by a taxist on early days in Baku and had to fly home and be replaced by someone else, too. What else will we still learn...?

THE QUEEN HAS ARRIVED ... Or Loreen's homecoming

Loreen landed in Arlanda airport tonight around 22.25 and one hour later she met the press and a few hundred fans waiting for her. While waiting the fans kept singing her Euphoria. The homecoming was webcasted live by both Aftonbladet and Expressen! Tomorrow the big party in Hötorget in Stockholm. That will be broadcasted live on TV2 (19.00-19.30 CET). Move out Carola and Charlotte, Sweden's got a new schlager queen!

Monday, May 28, 2012

EUPHORIC CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN

Christer Björkman is one happy man. Sp happy that he jumped to the pool fully cloathed after the final. Loreen went to bed instead, btw. As you can read in Blogilkar's exclusive interview with the man here Eurovision means a lot to him and I have a feeling he won't retire. At least for a year! 
Meanwhile the Swedish delegation is expected back home tonight 22.25 at Arlanda airport while already today there's a meeting in SVT to start preparing the Eurovision 2013. Three cities seem to be fighting over the right to organize the contest: Stockholm, Malmö and Göteborg

LOREEN: ALBUM ONLY IN AUTUMN

Loreen's winning entry Euphoria is #1 all over iTunes and one would think it's a perfect time to release an album but no, it will only come in September 5, 2012. She will release a new single late July-August, then the album. He record company is telling they really want to do things well and prove Loreen is more than one song and will make a world star. She won't lack songs as it seems everyone wants to write for her and be on her debut album in Sweden and beyond.
Prior Euphoria Loreen has only three singles to her credit; The snake in 2005 after Idol, and My heart is refusing me from Melodifestivalen 2011 that was produced by Måns Zelmerlöv who actually started a record company just to be able to sign her! Last year she also released Sober. Here's some more of her.

PUTIN GOT HIS EYE ON BURANOVSKIYE BABUSHKI


The Russian president Putin doesn't miss any good publicity stunt and now he's got his eye on the Russian grannies. His office has sent this message to the press and he plans to visit Buranovo soon, also to check out if it true they have only one TV in that village of 650 souls, at the rural council's office! 

“I sincerely congratulate Buranovskiye Babushki who came second at the Eurovision contest. 
I am amazed by the talent and enthusiasm, with which Buranovskiye Babushki performed their song. Performing songs, including in Udmurt, is a wonderful popularization of our multicultural country. Hopefully soon many people in Russia and  Moscow will be able to listen their live performances. 
I will make a trip to Udmurtia in the very near future and personally meet the grannies, 
visit their village, see how its occupants live." 

ESC 2013: ARMENIA RETURNS

The lights have hardly been turned off in Crystal Hall when the first announcements of those who will be in Sweden 2013 are coming in. Armenia in the front line. But also Belarus and Albania didn't waste time to say yes and also Hungary, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Switzerland, Ireland, Bulgaria, France, Romania and Spain are going to be back. Let's see if Sweden and EBU's new plans of a shorter and smaller scale Eurovision will attract the missing children of Andorra, Czech Republic, Monaco and Poland back and keep the others participating, most of all San Marino, Slovakia and Italy. And will Kazakhstan and/or Liechtenstein make their debut?

LOREEN'S SECRET WEAPON

Or actually not. She told she has been taking beta blockers, often used by sportsmen to improve their performance when you need good nerves and steady hand. It is forbidden in some sports like shooting. However she tells she didn't take it for the final. "I watched the video of the rehearsals that I had been taking it and something was missing, the connection. I decided not to take it and it went much better!" She told also that her mother was her best support in the end. Loreen, who is a little hermit by nature and prefers to do yoga in silence rather than go to parties went through a very tough two weeks when in Baku. She had to deal with the pressure of being almost the only favorite to win, the critic by the other contestants and organizers, problems with her voice and the tight rehearsal schedule, not to mention the balancing between being a private person with political views and opinions on human rights in Azerbaijan and the artist who could not say a word in that matter. But all is well that ends well... And yes, that's Loreen in the picture in 2004 :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

STOCKHOLM: THE ROYAL EUPHORIA!

Today even the royal guards had an euphoric performance to the delight of the tourists! :-) Here.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER TALKS EUROVISION

Eurovision made for Americans. Or rather how The Hollywood Reporter, world's leading entertainment magazine wrote about it: 

“BAKU, Azerbaijan – Swedish singer Loreen won the 57th Eurovision Song Contest in the early hours of Sunday, easily outdistancing a field that included a Russian folk group made up of six dancing grandmothers and 1960s and 1970s crooner Englebert Humperdinck.
Television and online viewership estimates ranged from 100 million to as many as 160 million viewers, nearly twice the audience of the average Super Bowl. The event, which first starting pitting singers representing different countries against each other in 1955, is by some measures the world’s most watched non-sporting event.
Loreen won the title just days after angering local Azerbaijani authorities by meeting with civil rights activists protesting ahead of the gala event. Those protests and the resulting police crackdown somewhat marred the glitzy — and often quirky and kitschy — acts.
This year’s contest featured many superlatives: it was the farthest east the contest was ever held (because of the three time-zone difference between Baku and central Europe, the event got underway at midnight local time and lasted well into Sunday morning, so that it could take place during prime time in Europe). With 26 acts, the finals also featured the largest Eurovision field ever.”
Another very good look to the Eurovision from Brooklyn. Here. :-)

LOREEN TURNS iTUNES EUPHORIC

The times have changed. Not so many years ago we had the physical singles and charts based on them. Today the entries are not necessarily printed as singles at all (Hello, Finland?) but we have iTunes charts and it seems Loreen's Euphoria is taking over that in all over Europe and not only. Isn't it nice that you can just download an anonymous file on your computer and help creating #1s in a flash just like that? Call me old fart but I'm old school. I want to go to a store and buy the single and hold it in my hands... :-)

Anyways, Euphoria went to iTunes #1 (when writing this) at least  in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Austria, Greece, Malta, Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal...
 #8 in France, #15 in Australia, #22 in Italy, #52 in Poland, #158 in Mexico #169 New Zealand....

I will update this as new information emerges....

SWEDEN 2013: ESC VS. ICE HOCKEY!

What is SVT to do? Sweden is hosting jointly with Finland the Ice Hockey World championships in Stockholm  on May 3-19, 2013. This year the semifinals and final was played in Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, the venue of Eurovision 2007 while half of the earlier games in Globen, Sweden. In 2013 it will be the other way around. And don't underestimate this as this is for us Nordics this is like the football world champs. So, it takes the full effort of the TV-crew, equipment and stuff of SVT. 
The preliminary dates of Eurovision 2013 are set to May 14, 16 and final on 18. I doubt they can manage both at the same time. My guess is the dates will be changed two weeks ahead meaning the final would be only on June 1, 2013 or/and it won't be in Stockholm.... We will see. This is getting interesting now....

NINA ZILLI PEAKS IN RAI2!

Nina Zilli's performance in the Eurovision song contest 2012 had a peak in the viewing figures in Italy when over 2 million Italians or 9,1%  turned in to watch her belt it out on stage of Crystal Hall in Baku. Otherwise the show was watched by over 1,4 million viewers and 7,51% making it the 6th most watched TV program last night. Not excellent but maybe better than expected... She finished at somewhat disappointing 9th place besides being one of the hot favorites...
If we look at the minute by minute share Rai2 was leading briefly during the voting reaching almost 15% share!

THOMAS G:SON - FINALLY A WINNER WITH HIS 62ND EUROVISION SONG!

Swedish Thomas G:son has finally won the Eurovision song contest with Euphoria. He can also be proud of his Quèdate conmigo that finished 10th. But how many times has he tried before?

2001 Sweden - Listen to your heart beat - Friends (5th)
2006 Sweden - Invincible - Carola (5th)
2007 Norway - Ven a bailar conmigo - Guri Schanke (18th/SF)
2007 Spain - I love you mi vida - D'NASH (20th)
2010 Denmark - In a moment like this - Chanée & Thomas N'Evergreen 
2012 Sweden - Euphoria - Loreen (winner)
2012 Spain - Quédate conmigo - Pastora Soler (10th)

Besides that he has 32 songs in the Melodifestivalen in Sweden since 1999, six songs in the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix since 2003, three songs in the Danish Melodi grand Prix since 2010, four songs in the Finnish Euroviisut since 2002, 12 songs in the Spanish national selection since 2007, one in Latvia, Belgium, Romania and two in Poland. That's the total of 62 songs!

ESC 2012: THE FULL RESULTS AND ANALYZES

Ok, let's have a look at how the countries did with calm after last night's euphoria. 

In the first semifinal the winner was Russia as expected with surprisingly Albania close second. On the other hand only Albania didn't give it any points. One could say these two songs are the extreme ends of styles this year. Montenegro scored 12 from Albania and 8 from San Marino and nothing else! Austria came last.
Finland gave 12 to Russia, 10 to Iceland, 8 to Denmark, 7 to Ireland, 6 to Moldova, 5 to Albania, 4 to Hungary, 3 to israel, 2 to Belgium and 1 to Cyprus. Ireland got its only 12 from San Marino.
Finland received 12 from Hungary (!!!), 8 from Denmark, 6 from Latvia, 3 from Ireland, 2 from Israel and one point from Albania, Belgium and Switzerland, a total of 41 points and 12th place. Full results here

In the second semifinal Sweden and Serbia were clear favorites with Sweden winning. Sweden got points from everyone, Serbia everyone but Turkey! Surprisingly Lithuania came third! Of the "weird" votes we have the 12 from Ukraine to Belarus and the other way round. Croatia scored 12 from both Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia, 8 from Slovenia, 7 from Macedonia and not much else really. Norway and Bulgaria tied for the 10th place. Norway was voted by 11 countries against Bulgaria's 10 thus made the final. Slovakia came last. Full results here.

In the final Sweden scored 18 times the full 12 points, a new record! She beat Alexander Rybak got 16 times 12 in 2009. Rybak still holds the total amount of points as Loreen was 15 points short of that record. Italy was the only country NOT to give Sweden any points. Swiss didn't warm up to the Russian grannies and left them without points while they got something from every other country! Serbia was left without points in 10 countries but the other liked it more as it was 14 times in the top-3. Italy made the top-3 only in Malta! Greece and Cyprus, Moldova and Romania exchanged their 12 points as usual Full results here.

Albania scored its best placing to date. Russia its third 2nd place. Azerbaijan its 4th top-5 in a row. Spain its best placing since 2003. Macedonia its second best placing. Lithuania its third best placing. Ukraine its second worst placing. Cyprus its best placing since 2004 - after all! Greece missed the top-10 for the first time in 9 years. Ireland's Jedward fell 11 places down the scoreboard... splash! Iceland is stuck on 19-20th place for the third year in a row - where also Jónsi was back in 2004! Malta got their best result since 2005 :-) France failed once again with their overproduced nonsense on stage. UK failed as well but for all the other reasons. Denmark got its worst placement since 2002 when they came last (with a song I liked as I liked this one! Me and Denmark....) And Norway got its 11th last place in the final! :-o

If we look at how the semifinalists did in the final itself we see there are no big changes in the first one. Moldova climbed from 5th to 3rd, Cyprus from 7th to 5th while Romania, Greece and Ireland dropped.
More changes in the second semifinal where Lithuania dropped from 3rd to 6th and Macedonia climbed from 9th to 5th. Bosnia & Herzegovina and Malta dropped as well while Estonia and Turkey climbed a little. But all in all no dramatica changes this year!

It's also worth noting three songs sung in other than English made the top-6* and all six of them made the top-18, where also the ones from Russia, Italy and Romania are that used English mix. That's 9 out of 18! :-)

FINAL RESULTS VS. SEMIFINAL RESULTS

01. SWEDEN   372 (1st, 181 points)
02. RUSSIA   259  (1st, 152 points)
03. SERBIA   214 (2nd, 159 points)*
04. AZERBAIJAN  150
05.  ALBANIA   146  (2nd, 146 points)*
06. ESTONIA   120 (4th, 100 points)*
07. TURKEY   112 (5th, 80 points)
08. GERMANY   110
09. ITALY   101
10. SPAIN   97*
11. MOLDOVA   81 (5th, 100 points)
12. ROMANIA   71  (3rd, 120 points)
13. MACEDONIA   71 (9th, 53 points)*
14. LITHUANIA   70 (3rd, 104)
15. UKRAINE   65 (8th, 64 points)
16. CYPRUS   65  (7th, 91 points)
17. GREECE   64  (4th, 116 points)
18. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA   55  (6th, 77 points)*
19. IRELAND   46  (6th, 92 points)
20. ICELAND   46 (8th, 75 points)
21. MALTA   41 (7th, 70 points)
22. FRANCE   21
23. DENMARK   21 (9th, 63 points)
24. HUNGARY   19 (10th, 52 points)
25. UNITED KINGDOM   12
26. NORWAY   7 (10th, 45 points)

PS. And do we want to talk about the OGAE voting? It got the winner right and 6/10 in the top-10 but the top-10 also included three songs that finished 20-26, one of them even in top-3. So, is Iceland this year's Kate Ryan? Or Norway? Or even France? Or all three of them?

ESC 2012: THE FINNISH VOTES

YLE has published the votes Finland gave and who were in the jury. The Finnish jury was Anni Hautala (radio speaker), Kristiina Wheeler (singer), Freeman (singer), Maki Kolehmainen (composer, producer) and Leri Leskinen (musicians, producer). They gave the following points:

12 points to Sweden + televotes = 12
10 points to Estonia + televotes = 10
8 points to Denmark + televotes = 5
7 points to Spain + televotes = 3
6 points to Russia + televotes = 8
5 points to Iceland + televotes = 7
4 points to France + televotes = 0
3 points to Germany + televotes = 1
2 points to Albania + televotes = 6
1 point to Norway + televotes = 0
0 points to Ireland + televotes = 4
0 points to Serbia + televotes = 2

ESC 2012: HERE ARE THE RESULTS

So, Sweden took its 5th victory after 1974, 1984, 1991 and 1999.  Zeljko Joksimovic has now 2nd and 3rd place as a singer plus 3rd and 6th as a composer! Albania got its best placement ever with Rona Nishliu and UK, France, Cyprus, Norway, Ireland and Iceland must be very disappointed. I'm so happy for Albania, Estonia and Macedonia doing so well. Not so happy for Italy and especially Azerbaijan's 4th place. And who would have thought Lithuania ends up 14th??!!
In my prediction I got 8 right :-) Sweden, Russia, Serbia, Estonia, Romania, Macedonia, Hungary and France. A few others were a close call.
22 countries managed to score the top-3 marks. Sweden got the most 12s with 18 (a new record; Rybak got 16)  followed by Albania, Azerbaijan and Serbia with four. Macedonia, Greece and Cyprus got two and Turkey, Moldova, Russia, Lithuania, Spain and Romania one. Serbia got most 10s (9) folloed by Sweden, Russia and Germany (5), Azerbaijan and Estonia (3). Russia got the most 8s (8) followed by Macedonia, Turkey and Estonia (4). So, in all Sweden got 26 top-3 placings, Serbia and Russia both 14, Azerbaijan 10, Albania 9 and Estonia 8. Sounds like a fari game, doesn't it?

1. SWEDEN  372
2. RUSSIA  259
3. SERBIA  214
4. AZERBAIJAN  150
5. ALBANIA  146
6. ESTONIA  120
7. TURKEY  112
8. GERMANY  110
9. ITALY  101
10. SPAIN  97
11. MOLDOVA  81
12. ROMANIA  71
13. MACEDONIA  71
14. LITHUANIA  70
15. UKRAINE  65
16. CYPRUS  65
17. GREECE  64
18. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA  55
19. IRELAND  46
20. ICELAND  46
21. MALTA  41
22. FRANCE  21
23. DENMARK  21
24. HUNGARY  19
25. UNITED KINGDOM  12
26. NORWAY  7


Marcel Bezençon Awards

  • Press Award - Given to the best entry as voted on by the accredited media and press during the event: Sabina Babayeva (Azerbaijan)
  • Artistic Award - Presented to the best artist as voted on by the commentators: Loreen (Sweden)
  • Composer Award - A jury consisting of the participating composers vote for the best and most original composition: Thomas G:son & Peter Boström (Sweden)

SWEDEN WINS EUROVISION 2012!

Loreen did it. She managed to keep up the hype and collect votes from all over Europe in unison - I think only Italy left her pointless? 18 times 12, 5 times 10 and 3 times 8. Russian grannies second, Serbia third :-) And I'm so happy for Albania, Estonia and Macedonia! How come it takes always a Nordic country to break records? First Finland with Lordi (296), then Alexander Rybak for Norway (387) and now Loreen nearly overpassed Rybak with 372 - if Italy had given her 12 it was done!
And Finland came 12th in the first semifinal.

Results of the semifinals:

  1. Russia - 152
  2. Albania - 146
  3. Romania - 120
  4. Greece - 116
  5. Moldova - 100
  6. Ireland - 92
  7. Cyprus - 91
  8. Iceland - 75
  9. Denmark - 63
  10. Hungary - 52
  11. Switzerland - 45
  12. Finland - 41
  13. Israel - 33
  14. San Marino - 31
  15. Montenegro - 20
  16. Latvia - 17
  17. Belgium - 16
  18. Austria - 8


    1. Sweden - 181
    2. Serbia - 159
    3. Lithuania - 104
    4. Estonia - 100
    5. Turkey - 80
    6. Bosnia - Herzegovina - 77
    7. Malta - 70
    8. Ukraine - 64
    9. FYR Macedonia - 53
    10. Norway - 45
    11. Bulgaria - 45
    12. Croatia - 42
    13. Portugal - 39
    14. Georgia - 36
    15. NEtherlands - 35
    16. Belarus - 35
    17. Slovenia - 31
    18. SLovakia - 18

Saturday, May 26, 2012

ESC 2012: MR LORDI IS READY!

Mr Lordi is ready and waiting to give out the Finnish points! Mr Lordi giving 12 points to Buranovskiye Babushki will enter the Eurovision history..... ;-)

ESC 2012: THE PREDICTION!

Ok, the moment of truth. I keep repeating myself as this is so hard this year. I would like to forget the diaspora and the draw and all that but I have tried to take that account here as well. A little at least! And my heart cries when I look the countries that I have placed as 21st-26th as I like them all. In fact I like ALL the final songs but someone has to end up last unfortunately. This said, probably I get it all wrong but that's the beauty of Eurovision! You never know.... I have divided the countries in groups of five as I couldn't possible put them in order for a prediction as I can't even put them in order of my own preference! Here goes:

1st - 5th - Italy, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden
6th -10th - Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Malta, Ukraine 
11th-15th - Germany, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Turkey
16th-20th - Albania, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom
21th-26th - Bosnia & Herzegovina, France, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova

In comparison here are my votes for these songs from * to *****:


***** Italy, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Estonia, Macedonia, Albania,
****   Russia, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Germany, Denmark, Norway, UK, B & H, Hungary, Iceland
***    Greece, Romania, Turkey, Lithuania, Moldova
**      Ukraine, France
*        Azerbaijan

ESC 2012: THE VOTING ORDER AND SPOKESPERSONS

The order for the voting has been determined  by the results from last night's Jury Final. An algorithm has been created to try and make the voting as exciting as possible. Remember how Italy was nowhere in the beginning and then slowly started its raise to the top and runner up? 
Among the spokespersons many familiar names and faces and even one winner, Finland's Mr Lordi! The former contestants Paula Seling, Dmitry Koldon, Safura, Amaury Vassili, Matthias Matthiasson, Getter Jaani, Sopho along with national finalists Sarah Dawn Finer and Aleksey Matius and last year's hostess Anke Engelke are just some of them!
  1. Albania - (Andri Xhahu)
  2. Montenegro - (Marija Markovic)
  3. Romania - (Paula Seling)
  4. Austria - (Kati Bellowitsch)
  5. Ukraine - (Aleksey Matius)
  6. Belarus - (Dmitry Koldun)
  7. Belgium - (Peter Van de Veire)
  8. Azerbaijan - (Safura Alizadeh)
  9. Malta - (Keith Demicoli)
  10. San Marino - (Monica Fabbri)
  11. France - (Amaury Vassili)
  12. United Kingdom - (Scott Mills)
  13. Turkey - (Ömer Önder)
  14. Greece - Adriana Magania)
  15. Bosnia & Herzegovina - (Elvir Lakovic Laka)
  16. Moldova - (Olivia Fortuna)
  17. Bulgaria - (Anna Angelova)
  18. Switzerland - (Sara Hildebrand)
  19. Slovenia - (Lorella Flego)
  20. Cyprus - (Loucas Hamatsos)
  21. Croatia - (Nevena Rendeli)
  22. Slovakia - (Mária Pietrová)
  23. FYR Macedonia - (Kristina Talevska)
  24. Netherlands - (Vivienne van den Assem)
  25. Portugal - (Joana Teles)
  26. Iceland - (Matthias Matthiasson)
  27. Sweden - (Sarah Dawn Finer)
  28. Norway - (Nadia Hasnaoui)
  29. Lithuania - (Ignas Krupavičius)
  30. Estonia - (Getter Jaani)
  31. Denmark - (Louise Wolff)
  32. Ireland - (Grainne Seoige)
  33. Latvia - (Valters Fridenbergs)
  34. Spain - (Elena S Sánchez)
  35. Finland - (Mr Lordi)
  36. Georgia - (Sopho Toroshelidze)
  37. Italy - (Ivan Bacchi)
  38. Serbia - (Maja Nikolić)
  39. Germany - (Anke Engelke)
  40. Russia - (Oxana Fedorova)
  41. Hungary - (Éva Novodomszky)
  42. Israel - (Ofer Nachshon)

LOREEN: THE COUGH

The news about Loreen coughing during her jury final performances has made the rounds around the world today and some are speculating if that may have cost her the victory. We will know in few hours. But maybe it was the first time we hear a cough in Eurovision. But no really, it wasn't as we didn't. That was a rehearsals that we are not even supposed to be watching, lol. But here it is anyways. 
And I have always been wondering how they manage singing with the fake snow, smoke, wind machines, smoke from pyros and god knows what else there is going on stage these days... But I have to say after relistening this performance that fake snow moment wasn't her only trouble. She was off several times before it and after, too. The dancing was a bit off, too, at times. Clearly not her best performance in my books. Cough or no cough. 

ITALY NOT SO READY TO WIN AFTER ALL? TWEET TONIGHT!

The Italian fans are in outrage after the head of RAI entertainment Giancarlo Leone tweeted "Eurosong tonight. Nina Zilli as a favorite. Who wins organize the next year say the rules. But it's not obligatory." Past days various comments have made us believe RAI is in it for real and is ready and willing to organize Eurovision 2013 should they win, and even the city of Torino has popped us a hot favorite for the occasion. Leone, who is knows to be very anti-Eurovision has now pulled the rug under the hopes of the fans who are ready to say their mind by tweeting him back @giankaleone. Why don't you tweet him as well?
And after making Eurovision with #Escita the number one in Twitter trending topics last Tuesday the fans tonight they are ready for another attack so all readers all over Europe and world, join and tweet! Also #eurovision will do.
Forza ragazzi, ce la possiamo fare! Uniti, uniti! 

TONIGHT: EUROVISION SONG CONTEST 2012

Here it is again, what's another year? In semifinals we have said good byes to Montenegro, Latvia, Switzerland, Belgium, Finland, Israel, San Marino, Austria, the Netherlands, Belarus, Portugal, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia, Georgia and Slovakia - no big surprises there really. Tonight the grand final at 21 CET for the 57th time. The biggest favorite of them all to win this is Sweden followed by Russia and Italy, but we can't rule out United Kingdom, Spain, Germany and Serbia either. And what about Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Romania? I guess we can't rule out Ukraine, Estonia and Iceland either... Can Sweden keep up with the hype and win it after all? Or will the Russian grannies melt the hearts of the juries as well? Or will Nina Zilli boom boom her way to the top and give RAI something to think about? Tonight we will know...

01. UNITED KINGDOM - Engelbert Humperdinck - Love will set you free
02. HUNGARY - Compact Disco - Sound of our hearts
03. ALBANIA - Rona Nishliu - Suus
04. LITHUANIA - Donny Montell - Love is blind
05. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA - MayaSar - Korake ti znam
06. RUSSIA - Buranovskiye Babushki - Party for everybody
07. ICELAND - Gréta Salóme & Jónsi - Never forget
08. CYPRUS - Ivi Adamou - La la love
09. FRANCE - Anggun - Echo (You and I)
10. ITALY - Nina Zilli - L'amore è femmina (Out of love)
11. ESTONIA - Ott Lepland - Kuula
12. NORWAY - Tooji - Stay
13. AZERBAIJAN - Sabina Babayeva - When the music dies
14. ROMANIA - Mandinga - Zaleilah
15. DENMARK - Soluna Samay - Should've known better
16. GREECE - Eleftheria Elefhteriou - Aphrodisiac
17. SWEDEN - Loreen - Euphoria
18. TURKEY - Can Bonomo - Love me back
19. SPAIN - Pastora Soler - Quédate conmigo
20. GERMANY - Roman Lob - Standing still
21. MALTA - Kurt Calleja - This is the night
22. MACEDONIA - Kaliopi - Crno i belo
23. IRELAND - Jedward - Waterline
24. SERBIA - Željko Joksimović - Nije ljubav stvar
25. UKRAINA - Gaitana - Be my guest
26. MOLDOVA - Pashan Parfeni - Lăutar

PS:Predictions coming up later...

Friday, May 25, 2012

ESC 2012 - THE JURY FINAL

The second dress final, also known as Jury final has just started in Baku's Crystal Hall. The juries will cast their votes based on tonight's performances and that's 50% so it counts. There will be fireworks and flying men in the opening and then Eldar and Nikki take the stage to sing once more their winning entry from last year, Running scared. Many people have been running scared in Baku there past weeks but for different reasons. The female presenters have to start the show alone after Eldar recovers from his duties as a singer and joins them. One thing that I have spotted already in the semifinal: This year the camerawork excludes the crowd almost completely. All we see is the stage and when the shots include the arena itself it is very dark and you can't really make out the crowd. Oh well, I guess they have their reasons for that....
... What? Did Loreen just swallow some fake snow and cough?!
The interval act is of course the president's son-in-law Emin.... only in Azerbaijan!
It's just 24 hours and I still have no prediction made out and not much of clue how it will go. I will try to work out one tomorrow. This is the time when heart tells different from your common sense. I do have my own favorites that I would love to see do well tomorrow; Estonia, Macedonia, Albania most of all but I also like most of the poll favorites namely Italy, Serbia, Russia, Sweden and Serbia. And what about Moldova, Bosnia & Herzegovina, United Kingdom or Romania, Norway, Ireland or Iceland? Or the other for that matter. See it's not so easy?
Meanwhile, why don't you enjoy some of the great interviews Robert did while in Baku? Here:

ESC 2012: SOME NUMBERS AND STATISTICS AND SEMIFINAL TRIVIA

So, who do we have in the final this year? 
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Russia, Romania, Greece and Ukraine are in again. They haven't missed one finalsince the semifinals were introduced, just like the host country Azerbaijan.
Iceland is in for the 5th time in a row, so is Denmark. Moldova does 4th year in a row. Norway and Turkey return after missing the final last year and Italy is trying to better they excellent return last year after 13 years of absence and scoring a 2nd place. 
Hungary, Albania, Lithuania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Cyprus, Romania, Malta, Macedonia and Moldova are hunting their first win. 
Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Spain, Macedonia and Serbia sing in their own language (6),
Russia, France, Italy and Romania a mix of English and something else (4) and the rest (16) in English.
We have 12 female artists, 9 male artists, 3 bands and 2 duos.
In the first semifinals the juries and televoters agreed on eight songs. Then both pushed one song to the final .
In the second semifinal they agreed only on six entries and the 10th place even was a tie! According the rules the country that gets points from more countries gets ahead. If it's still a tie we start checking on 12s, 10s and so on until those Siamese twins have been separated and one of them emerges as the qualifier. Out of those four two got in to the final thanks to the juries and two thanks to the televotes so it has been very equal match then. 

Blogilkar exclusive: ROMAN LOB INTERVIEW


Here it comes, the interview number 20 from my flying reporter Robert who I wish to thank here publicly and I hope we can do this again! :-) But to the business. German hope Roman Lob had a chat with him, too and they talked his music taste, holiday plans and how does it feel to be a sex symbol? Read it here:
Who is Roman Lob besides the singer we know? Hobbies, interests..?
Who is Roman Lob? Me and myself and I! My greatest hobby is singing but I like also extreme sports, snowboarding, biking and... that's all I guess.
Did you concidered stydying after high school or was it clear that you would go for the music business right away?
No, I have done studies, industrial mechanic. But I have been singing since I was 13 and it's cool, I like it a lot.
What kind of music do you listen to yourself?
I like heavy metal music, hardcore, deathcore... but I like also pop, rock'n roll, electro.... bands like Kiss, AC/DC, Metallica....
So we can maybe expect different kind of music from you in the future?
Yes, of course! My debut album is called Changes and there are different elements in the songs; up tempo, ballads, acoustic songs...
How do you deal with your instant fame in Germany? You're very popular at the moment.
Yeah, it's great! I like it, people in Germany are very chilled, relaxed.... I like it.
Was it your dream to become a star?
Of course! It's great, I like it! It's awesome :-) And it's great here, the stage is huge, the sound is good, it's great!
How was your album received in Germany?
It was #1 in iTunes as well as the single Standing still. And the critics was good... and not so good, but it's ok!
Are you planning an international career or will you focus on the German speaking market?
International would be great, it certainly is an option and Eurovision can surely help in that.
Will work more with Jamie Cullum who co-write your song?
Why not? I will ask and if Jamie is up for it we're gonna do it.
How do you like to be a sort of sex symbol? Many girls and a lot of guys, too, like you a lot!
Sex symbol??!! :-o Oh yeah, hmm... I like it! It's cool! Yeah!
Is there someone special in your life right now?
…. (long silence)... No.
And what are your plans for summer?
I will play some festivals, make music, write new songs, release another single.... and some holidays, too, by the sea of course!
Now that you have become a part of this Eurovision tradition, do you have any favourite among the previous German entries?
The first one I saw was 1998, Guildo Horn. I was 8. I liked it. He's so crazy. And Stefan Raab as well.
Thank you Roman for this interview and best of luck on Saturday!

ESC 2012 FINAL: WE ARE 38,5% SWEDISH


So, it happened. All the songs made in Sweden in the semifinals made it to the final where they join the other four so there will be ten songs among 26, or 38,5%. I'm not sure what I should think about this really....

01. United Kingdom: Engelbert Humperdinck – "Love Will Set You Free" Martin Terefe, Sacha Skarbek.
08. Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – ”La La Love” Alex Papaconstantinou, Björn Djupström, Alexandra Zakka, Viktor Svensson.
10. Italy: Nina Zilli – "L'Amore È Femmina" Nina Zilli, Christian Rabb, Kristoffer Sjökvist, Frida Molander, Charlie Mason.
12.Norway: Tooji – ”Stay” Tooji, Peter Boström, Figge Boström.
13.Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva – "When the Music Dies" Anders Bagge, Sandra Bjurman, Johan Kronlund, Stefan Örn.
16. Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – "Aphrodisiac" Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström, Dajana Lööf.
17. Sweden: Loreen – "Euphoria" Thomas G:son och Peter Boström.
19Spain: Pastora Soler – ”Quédate conmigo” Thomas G:son, Antonio Sánchez Ohlsson, Erik Bernholm. 
21. Malta: Kurt Calleja – ” This Is The Night” Kurt Calleja, Johan Jämtberg och Mikael Gunnerås.
23. Ireland: Jedward – ”Waterline" Nick Jarl, Sharon Vaughn.


.




LOREEN CLOSE TO BEING DISQUALIFIED

Or so the Swedish tabloids write today. All this because if that sensitive question in last night's winner's press conference. Margarita Antidze of Reuters Georgia asked about Loreen's political activities and her visit to meet the opposition in Azerbaijan. The EBU's spokesperson stepped in and asked the journalists to ask only questions relevant to the Eurovision song contest before Loreen answered she has two sides, the private one and the artists one. Here and now she is the artist one and would like to keep the good energy going they have created in the contest and in the press conference. Had she answered with a political response, according the rules she might have been disqualified from the contest. (Really?) End of story. 

Blogilkar exclusive. PASTORA SOLER INTERVIEW


My flying reporter Robert chatted a bit with Pastora Soler the other day. Read about her initial reaction to TVE's proposal and her plans after Eurovision here:
Pastora, thank you for this interview! You are pretty much an estasblished artist in the Spanish speaking countries. What do you wish to gain with this participation?
I wish to enjoy this experience. I think this is a very imporatnt event in Europe and for me it's very important stage to sing in and to promote my music not only in Europe but in Latin America, too.
I hope to cross over to the non-Spanish speaking markets and release my music there, too.
Did you concider Eurovision before or is this the first year when you thought it might be a good idea?
No! I never thought to go to Eurovision before. Never in my life! It was a surprise when TVE asked me to do it and first I was a bit afraid as it's also a risk but then I thought it will be a wonderful experience and here I am.
What are your plans after Eurovision?
I will be touring until October-November in Spain and then I'm off to America. Miami and Mexico. I'm quite popular in Florida among the Cuban people and Eurovision is also rather popular in countries like Venezuela, Mexico and many other countries in Latin America and I see these days people are following me very closely there.
What has been your nicest experience in show business so far?
I have been in this business for 17 years and I have a lot of good experiences. But my very first concert... and many great moments with my fans who are supporting me and singing with me.... even on this last tour when they were singing Quedate conmigo with me in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla... It has been a very special moment for me!
A group of interational stars made a version of your song that is a big hit on Youtube right now. Have you heard it?
Yes! And I cried! It was very emotional, it's beautiful!
Do you have some other activities besides singing?
Yes, I have studied art history in the university, I love the arts. I love the sea, sports, nature so I just love to spend some time in Sevilla, my city. I'm always working and touring so when I have a chance to be in Sevilla with my friends and family, that's how I relax.
Last question: What's your favourite Spanish entry?
Eres tu. (… and here Robert and Pastora start singing.....:-) ). Bailar pegados. And Vuelve conmigo.
Gracias Pastora for this interview and good luck in the final!

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