Saturday, November 30, 2013

MALTA WINS JUNIOR EUROVISION 2013

The show's over for another year and ... well, what can I say? The best bits were Zlata Ognevich. It's no secret I'm not a big fan of this contest but I try to listen and watch it in a way "would I enjoy listening this song once the TV cameras are off" and in this category I would still only put Russia and San Marino. Ukraine and Belarus would come close and no doubt Gaia from Malta has a big voice but the song gives me nothing. This said, it was kind of refreshing the victory went to somewhere else than the ex-Soviets for awhile, for the second time in the past 9 years....
And just for the fun of it, here are some images of ever beautiful Zlata.... and Emmelie was there, too.
PS. If you wann see 8-year-old Gaia belt out Tina Turner's Proud Mary, click here.

ESC 2014: BELARUS - NUTEKI, ALEXEY AND MAX TRY AGAIN.... AND ALSO ONE OF THE 3+2

Yesterday also Belarus revealed its 15 artists for the selection in early January 2014. It's good to bear in mind that the artist who wins maybe eventually won't go  to Eurovision after all, and if he/she/them do not certainly with the song they won the selection with! Unless Lukashenko likes it. Anyways, among these I recognize at least Alexei Gross, Max Lorens and Nuteki. Also Switter Boys has left its mark on world wide web....Oh, and Artem is one of the 3+2!

Matvej Bondarenko
Juri Vashchuk
Alexey Gross
Dariia
Zhanet
Max Lorens & DiDyuLya
Anastasia Malashkevich
Artem Mihalenko
Alina Moshchenko
Napoli
Nuteki
Nataliya Odintsova
Elena Sinyavskaya
Switter Boys

ESC 2014: MALTA - MICALLEFS BACK AT IT. WITH FANIELLO AND MIRIAM CHRISTINE

Malta has revealed its 20 hopefuls for Copenhagen 2014 Eurovision. As always the list is filled with familiar names and songs penned by Gerard James Borg, Paul Abela, Philip Vella, Paul Giordimaina, Fleur Balzan and the Micallef brothers among others. Also among the artists we spot mostly familiar names including two Eurovision veterans Fabrizio Faniello and Miriam Christine. The Micallef brothers seem to have attemps to hide themselves behind new names, Wayne as William and Richard is with the band Firelight including sister Michelle. Keep it in the family! Is  this the year Micallef clan finally makes it? I hope so!
There are even two previous Junior Eurovision participants among these 20: Sophie Debattista (2006) and Daniel Testa (2008). Daniel also holds the country's best showing in that, 4th.
The selection went from over 70 to 50 and then finally 20. The semiFInal is on February 7, 2014 and will cut them to 14 for the final the night after.

Some Kind of Wonderful - Wayne William  
(Wayne Micallef)
City Lady - Ryan Paul Abela 
 (Paul Abela / Joe Julian Farrugia)
Brand New Day - Davinia 
 (Elton Zarb / Matt Mercieca)
Let The Sunshine In - Sophie 
 (Sophie DeBattista / Adam Pakard / Alex Dew)
Hypnotica - Jessika 
(Philip Vella / Gerard James Borg)
Invisible - Raquel Galdes 
(Philip Vella / Gerard James Borg)
One Last Ride - Daniel Testa 
(Stephen Rudden / Lawrence Peter Bridge)
Pin The Middle - Debbie Stivala 
(Peter Paul Galea / Debbie Stivala)
Oblivion - Chris Grech 
(Philip Vella / Gerard James Borg)
Until We Meet Again - Deborah C 
 (Elton Zarb / Matt Mercieca)
Because I Have You - Amber 
(Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)
Lovetricity - Christabelle 
(Magnus Kaxe / Gerard James Borg)
Coming Home - Firelight 
(Richard Micallef)
Safe - Miriam Christine 
(Mark Scicluna / Emil Calleja Bayliss)
Addictive - Romina Mamo 
(Ylva / Linda Persson)
Now and Forever - Andreana
 (Vinny Vella / Karl Spiteri)
Love Will Take Me Home - Franklin 
(Glen / Beatrice Eriksson / M Frenell / Michael J Down)
Ten - Corazon  
(Paul Giordimaina / Fleur Balzan)
Take Me - Pamela 
(Boris Cezek)
Just No Place Like Home - Fabrizio Faniello 
(Johan Bejerholm)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

ESC 2014: TICKET SALES START TOMORROW AT 10AM

UPDATE:  The final was sold out in a few hours while there are still tickets for the other shows. Hmmm...

Tomorrow is the fight day for those wanting to get tickets for the Eurovision song contest 2014. The common people and fans alike, those who are not getting the OGAE tickets. The ticket prices for Copenhagen 2014 are from 13 euros to 52 for the semifinal dress rehearsals, 15-60 euros for the 3rd dress rehearsal aka Family final, 17-93 euros for the Jury final and the semifinals. The final is prices 42-240 euros. 
In the map above you can see the B&W Hallerne in Refshaleøen lay out and indeed the stage is in between the audience as rumored. Not in the middle but the audience however is on three sides of the stage, which is a normal for many concerts but a novelty for Eurovision song contest. And yes, the fan area is a standing one again but fans are getting OGAE tickets also to seated areas, my guess is the area around the stage. And a very nice touch is given my naming the different parts of the arena with the names of the previous Nordic winners: Lordi and Loreen to the sides of the stage, Olsen and Ingmann in the corners and Rybak and Emmelie facing the stage. 
You can get your tickets only here. Only one third of the tickets go on sale tomorrow. The next sales is on January 31 and then the last ones in April after all is set for the stage and how much space there is left still. As we know Sweden will participate in the first semifinal and Norway in the second. The others will be drawn in January 2014.

MF 2014: ALCAZAR REUNITED. WITH SHIRLEY CLAMP, DR ALBAN, ANTON EWALD AND LINDA BENGTZING

Here we have them. The rest of the Swedish hopefuls and it seems it's all laid out for Alcazar finally to make it and Christer Björkman got his wish, they have reunited and they are in! Also rumored dr.alban is in and the vocalist is none other than Jessica Folcker. Nice! Schlager dive and fan favorite Shirley Clamp makes also a welcome comeback and also Linda Bengtzing has been lured in by Björkman. Last year's revelation Anton Ewald is back for revenge and a lot of names I have never heard of.... Among songwriters its rather striking Thomas G:son hasn't got many songs in, only two. But in overall it seems more widespread this year. The song king and queen are Joy and Linnèa Deb along with Fredrik Kempe with four songs. Bobby Ljunggren, Sharon Vaughn and Peter Boström all got three songs in. Now everyone, start practising to pronounce Örnsköldsvik!

Heat 3 - Gothenburg, February 15, 2014

State of Drama - All we are
(Göran Werner, Sanken Sandqvist, Emil Gullhamn, Sebastian Hallifax)

dr.alban & Jessica Folcker -  Around the world
(dr. alban, Jakke Erixson, Karl-Ola Kjellholm)

Shirley Clamp - Burning alive
(Bobby Ljunggren, Marcos Ubeda, Sharon Vaughn, Henrik Wikström)

Ace Wilder - Busy doin' nothin'
(Ace Wilder, Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb)

Outtrigger - Echo
( Joy Deb, Linnéa Deb, Anton Malmberg Hård Af Segerstad)

CajsaStina Åkerström - En enkel sång
( CajsaStina Åkerström)

EKO - Red
( Linnéa Deb, Joy Deb, Anna Lidman, Hannes Lundberg, Michael Ottosson)

Oscar Zia - Yes we can
( Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed "K-One” Pirouzpanah)

Heat 4 - Örnsköldsvik, February 22, 2014

Alcazar - Blame it on the disco
( Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed "K-One” Pirouzpanah)

Ellinore Holmer - En himmelsk sång
( Ellinore Holmer, Vanna Rosenberg, Åsa Schmalenbach, Josefina Sanner, Henrik Wikström, Amir Aly)

I.D.A -  Fight me if you dare
(Albin Nicklasson, Nicklas Laine, Louise Frick Sveen)

Josef Johansson - hela natten
( Peter Boström, Thomas G:son, Josef Johansson, Peo Thyrén)

Janet Leon - Hollow
( Karl-Ola Kjellholm, Jimmy Jansson, Louise Winter)

Anton Ewald - Natural
(John Lundvik)

Ammotrack - Raise your hands
( Jari Kujansuu, Thomas Johansson, Calle Kindbom, Mikael de Bruin)

Linda Bengtzing  - Ta mig
(Nicke Borg, Jojo Borg Larsson)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FRANCE 2014: JOANNA LAGRAVE, TWIN TWIN OR DESTAN?

The French selection committee has come up with the three names and no, they are not the big guns we might have been hoping for. At least I have never heard any of these three. By all meanss it doesn't mean they couldn't be good! 
Twin Twin is made of Lorent Idir and François Djemel with Patrick Biyik. Judging their video By my side we can expect anything....
Joanna comes from a reality, Star Academy 8 and can belt out even I will always love you. Her debut single gives us something more upbeat. So, we can expect almost anything from her, too
Destan is Dean, Killian and Quentin. Or in other words a rather classical boyband, as is their music, like Vole. They even do One Direction covers....
Their eventual entries will be revealed by Natasha St-Pier on January 26 and people can televote until February 23. That counts 50%, the other half of votes is given by a professional jury and the result is revealed on March 2, 2014. This is going to be rather interesting, I suspect...

SANREMO 2014: THE STAGE, THE RUMORS....

Sanremo speculations are running wild and while the names are being dropped, confirmed, denyed on daily basis we get to see the stage design. It's a step back to the classic opera house setting and for the purpose the stage in legendary Teatro Ariston will be deeper than usual and the stage also goes further into the audience where some ten rows of seats have been removed. On the left side there's a staircase, on the right the terrace for the judges. On the back of the stage the orchestra balconies divided by a church like glass window that hides another staircase.
Meanwhile the hosts Fabio Fazio and Luciana Littizzetto are working full time to complete the script of the five evenings, the final artist list will be revealed before Christmas (December 13 at 1.30pm TV News) and the names given sure right now are Giusy Ferreri, Arisa, Francesco Renga, Niccolò Fabi, Cristiano De Andrè, Dolcenera, rappers Clementino and Moreno as well as last year's Newcomers winner Antonio Maggio. And then we have Ron, Alex Britti, Max Gazzè, Mario Biondi, Francesca Michielin, Anna Oxa, Eduardo Bennato, Fabio Concato... Another names rumored are Negramaro, Elisa and Fiorella Mannoia. And many names from the talent shows are rumored as well, most of all Albanian Elhaida Dani who has moved from Festivali i Këngës to the Voice of Italy she won. And then we have the winning couple from 1981 at it again. Maybe. Franco Battiato revealed Alice has been invited and he's supposed to write one of the songs....
As guest we might see Raffaella Carrà, Renzo Arbore, Giorgia with Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Laura Pausini, Jovanotti, Fiorello and Roberto Saviano.

JARI SILLANPÄÄ SINGS FOR THE RUSSIAN ANTI-GAY MASTERMIND

We all know about the recent discriminating anti-gay laws in Russia. We know the father of them, a municipal politician Vitaly Milonov. We also know Jari Sillanpää came out back in 2006 just stating the fact we all knew by then already. The thing becomes absurd when Sillanpää headlines a concert in St. Petersburg under title Our Romance - Dialogue of Cultures, and event that includes also business and politics, and the very Milonov sits in the audience and comes out as a Sillanpää fan being very familiar with his career and songs! Milonov, known to raise scandals wherever anything gay is happening and or even suggested, sat in his place and seemed to enjoy the experience fully. Wonders of this crazy world we live in.... Along the Russian artists also Eurovision 2007 host Mikko Leppilampi performed with other Finnish artists.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ALICE IN SANREMO 2014?!

Alice, who made a welcome comeback to pop world with her album Samsara (2012) with songs written by Tiziano Ferro among others, has been invited by Fabio Fazio to Sanremo 2014. And Franco Battiato should write one of her two songs! All this was revealed by Battiato himself today in a press conference about his latest album, a live one with Antony and the Johnsons featuring also Alice. He said he hasn't had time to write the song yet as he's been on tour and busy all fall, but on the other hand he takes no pressure on eventual success, nor Alice. "I only want to write a good solid song for her" he said. And he excluded his eventual presence in Sanremo along with her.
Last time the couple collaborated for Sanremo they won with Per Elisa in 1981. Alice has also participated in Sanremo 1972 and in 2000. Now, first Sanremo, then Copenhagen?

MARCO MENGONI RELEASES iBOOK

There's no stopping Marco Mengoni breaking records and making firsts. The super fortunate 2013 still provides us new innovations - he comes out now with an iBook! He follow the footsteps of Coldplay and Led Zeppeling becoming only the third worldwide artist releasing one.
 #PRONTOACORREREILMIOVIAGGIO by Sony is a virtual book he can update anytime and is all done by himself the way he wants it reliving this 2013 full of success from Sanremo to Eurovision, to European Music Awards, a sold out 40 gig tour, multiplatinum album, the DVD.... It includes 25 videos, 230 fotos, 45 pages divided in 8 chapters full of stories from the backstage, selfies, in company of friends and collaborators, in private.
You can pre-order it now for 4,99 euros and it will be available from December 3, 2013 at the price of 5,99 for iPad and Mac with OS X Mavericks.
He writes (very liberally translated): "Here I am again to share with you this another step of this journey. Life is a journey and it's great to be able to take wrong turns, turn back, travel with friends, travel day and night with music in your ears. In silence. Travel alone. The most important thing is to be able to tell about it. I like to live my life as a pleasure, knowing every moment is unique that you can't get back. Enjoy it now. Stories. Different cultures. Absurd situations. Joy. Tears. Looks that turn into tears and then wrinkles of expression; that expression of friendship, feeling of togetherness. All this is printed in my mind but I don't always manage to write it into my songs, to tell it to you in that way. This Virtual Book, as I call it, is another pocketful of memories, colors of a year, a journey done with YOU that keeps giving me emotions.... THANK YOU!"

MF 2014: HELEN PAPARIZOU TRIES AGAIN. WITH MARTIN STENMARCK, YOHIO AND SANNA NIELSEN

The first 16 names in the Swedish Melodifestivalen 2014 are out and reading the list gives a little confusing idea: there are the "big" names rumored (Paparizou, Nielsen, Stenmarck) but "big" is relative, none of them has bothered the local iTunes for ages. Then there are a lot of names this blogger has never heard of, like Mahan Moin who actually came third in Idols. In Persia. Alvaro has been dncing behind Danny and Eric, among others. Linus brings in the ink and the piercings this year while Sylvester was already on Eurovision stage in Helsinki 2007 as a member of The Ark. Manda comes from X Factor, as do JEM. Little Great Things include little great things with ABBA heritage, namely Benny's grandsons! And then, among the songwriters we have the usual ones. Sounds a bit of a bland mix so far but then, who knows? 
And we have Helena Paparizou back. Wonder how she will do? Will she end up like the girl? However it made me also thinking, when will be have a first double winner who has won for the two different coutries?

Heat 1 - Malmö - February 1, 2014

Mahan Moin - Aleo 
(Mahan Moin, Anderz Wrethov) 
Alvaro Estrella - Bedroom
 (Jakke Erixson, Jon Bordon, Lauren Francis, Kristofer Östergren)
Linus Svenning - Bröder
(Fredrik Kempe)
Sylvester Schlegel - Bygdens son 
(Sylvester Schlegel)
Elisa Lindström - Casanova 
(Ingela “Pling” Forsman, Bobby Ljunggren, Jimmy Jansson)
Ellen Benediktson - Songbird 
(Sharon Vaughn, Johan Fransson, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren)
Helena Paparizou - Survivor
 ( Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Karl-Ola Kjell Holm, Sharon Vaughn)
YOHIO - To the end 
(Andreas Johnson, Johan Lyander, Peter Kvint, YOHIO)

Heat 2 - Linköping - February 8, 2014

Panetoz - Efter solsken
( Johan Hirvi, Mats Lie Skåre, Nebeyu Baheru, Njol Badjie, Pa Modou Badjie)
Manda - Glow
( Joy Deb, Linnea Deb, Melanie Wehbe, Charlie Mason)
Pink Pistols - I am somebody
( Joakim Törnqvist, Nestor Geli, Per Ivar Hed, Susie Päivärinta, Tord Bäckström)
JEM - Love trigger
( Thomas G: son, Peter Boström, Julimar “J-Son” Santos)
Martin Stenmarck - När änglarna går hem
( Andreas Öhrn, Alexander Bard, Martin Stenmarck, Peter Boström)
Little Great Things - Set yourself free
( Charlie Grönvall, Cristoffer Wernqvist, Felix Grönvall, Adam Dahlstrom)
The Refreshments - Hallelujah
(Joakim Arnell)
Sanna Nielsen - Undo
( Fredrik Kempe, David Kreuger, Hamed “F-One” Pirouzpanah)

Monday, November 25, 2013

WHAT'S BEEN GOING ON IN THE EUROVISION WORLD IN NOVEMBER 2013?

I'm back! During my absense I checked the internet only once or twice and nothing much seemed to had happened in the wonderful Euovision world but now I see actually there's been some major news. Like Agnetha performing live! For the first time since 1982, mind you! Take That's Gary Barlow managed in what the others have failed so far when they sung together the song he penned for her in her latest album, I should have followed you home in London's Children in Need Rocks 2013. Now that she's back on stage, let's start the ABBA reunion rumours, will we?
European Music Awards 2013 went to the usual non-European acts and Marco Mengoni nor Lena took home the trophy for the Best Worldwide act won by... err, who??!!
Montenegro has confirmed Sergej Ćetković as their representative. It seems we will get a real Balcan ballad in Joksimovic style. Now that Serbia and Croatia are missing, will Montengero sweep that vote and finally make impact in the final? Clever move! But more about him later...
Also the Netherlands confirmed The Common Linnets for ESC 2014. Who? None other than the heavly tipped Ilse DeLange and Waylon in the rumor mills that lead to the announcements. Both very well known artists following Anouk. Sounds very good indeed... and more about them later as well.
Almost Serbian Tijana Dapčević will represent Macedonia though. No Balcan ballads from her as her song is supposed to be fast and dynamic, in Macedonian title Pobeda, Victory! It'd be great to see these usually unfortunate Balcan M's do well this time around!
Natasha St-Pier will host the French national selection combined with her show Les chansons d'abord. The guest list for the show is very interesting and impressive so who knows, maybe France will get one of the big guns for Copenhagen? It seems the songs will be presented on January 26 and then people have a month to vote! It means the three songs will be on heavy rotation for a month? Tres bien!
Malta has revealed it's chosen ones and again there are a lot of familiar names, but more about that later. Switzerland has done the same, and it seems all my favorites are out already! How did that happen? But there are still songs I haven't even listened yet so I will get back to that later as well....
The trio Denmark-Norway-Sweden is once again getting special treatment for logical and practical reasons. Just like for Malmö Denmark and Norway were drawn into different semifinals and the same has happened for Copenhagen: Sweden has been drawn to the first semifinal and Norway to the second. I would like they draw the semifis for the others as well as soon as possible for practical reasons, too!
Yet, for that we have to wait for some time still. The Junior Eurovision revolving door has entered the real thing as well. Bulgaria and Serbia join Croatia and Turkey and stay home while Greece will be in with special arrangements, and Bosnia & Herzegovina has applied to take part after last year's break just like Portugal. Meanwhile EBU has extended the date to January 10, 2014. It seems Slovenia and Bosnia & Herzegovina have left the door open, or if they find a sponsor they will participate. Hopefully some other countries that have said they withdraw will use the same and enter after all...
In Rome Valentina Monetta and Roberto Bellarosa had a splendid time with the Italian fans... how I wish I could have been there!  
Oh, and looks (top photo) who's going to perform in Cafe l'Opera in CC Plaza de Maspalomas around Christmas time!
Oh, one last thing, Lesotho has visited this blog becoming #214. Welcome, whoever you are!

Friday, November 08, 2013

HOLIDAY!

This blogger will be on well deserved holidays for some time now. I'll be back by the end of November charged with sun, sea and sand! The 2014 season will be then in full swing and it'll be a very exciting one for sure. A different one for yours truly.  
Meanwhile you can count on Eurovision Jack for the latest in the Eurovision world! See you all!

PS. Don't forget to vote in Eurovision Top-250! Link on the right side ->

ESC 2014 - THE TEAM THAT WILL MAKE IT FOR US

The Eurovision circus moves to Copenhagen's Refshaleøen island and the B&W halls, where not so long time ago ships were built. It will be curious to see how much of that will be included in the show next spring! Being a fan of old hangars and industrial sites that have been given a new life, this blogger can hardly wait! Especially as this time I'll be there in person! The whole team seems very enthuastic and like they've been waiting for this all their career and now it's happening! I have put together some word by them to sum up where we stand right now. Read the full interviews and news here.
Pernille Gaardbo is the Executive producer of Eurovision song contest 2014. "To be able to organise the Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark means the realisation of the ultimate dream for someone with my background", she says. people working for their ultimate dream always give their best, so what else can we ask for?
Kamille Monies is the Head of production. Throughout her 25 years of experience, Kamilla Monies has been behind the production of some of Denmark's biggest TV shows including the highly successful  X-Factor and entertainment show Showtime. As part of her tenure at X-Factor she was behind the production of two of the most tehnically advanced shows in Denmark's history - the live finals from the Parken stadium in Copenhagen in 2010 and 2011. "I hope I can help to push some boundaries on a format that has been around for many years and are of international character. So now I give everything I have. And then I hide away backstage!"
Jan Lagermand Lundme is the Head of show. "Emotions", "closeness", "party" are just some of the words used to describe his vision for the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. "We want to get closer to the people taking part and we want to get closer to the competition". The Eurovision Song Contest is the world's oldest TV format and he wishes to modernise the show whilst still respecting all the traditions. "We can challenge the format by allowing the viewers to get closer. In Denmark we have a particular ability to convey emotions on TV and I hope that we can move the Eurovision Song Contest in that direction", he says. "We are going to get rid of the postcards and produce portraits instead. The viewers will get to know them so they can feel what sort of person is performing and standing on stage. The show will start with looking down on B & W in laser lights and fireworks. With Copenhagen skyline in the background the host or the hosts will welcome everyone to Copenhagen from the top of the 60 metre high venue, before we then go into the arena. Right now we are also working to place the stage right in the middle of B&W Hallern, where the party will take place, because the stage will then become an island and a centre. It is here the participants will shine and here we will come together”, states Lundme. Sounds very good, especially the postcard part. It's good to know the artists a bit better. Well, we fans do but general TV-viewers who have to relay on the 30 seconds the commentators mights say, and usually they say other things!
Claus Zier Rasmussen is responsable for the stage and visual image. For him its a dream come true and he tells:  "I couldn't believe it when I was asked to do the set design for the Eurovision Song Contest. For several days I went around knocking my hand in the table and pinching myself in the arm. It is a dream and I am superproud" Well, it shouldn't have been such a surprise for him as he has been designing the stages of MGP 2009-2013, X Factor and Danish Music Awards 2011-2012..... "It is a challenge to create a dynamic and modern show in those old halls. We will therefore first focus on the history and the physical frames and then slowly move into something more abstract. It will be a visually amazing show. Sounds like a wonderful concet to this blogger!
Per Zachariassen is the show's Senior Producer and will bring in some American know how as that's where he's been working a lot. Per has, in addition to his impressive amount experience in producing large entertainment shows, a rarely seen ability to combine the traditional with the creative. “I am really looking forward to being part of the team behind the Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark. Eurovision is not just one of the world’s biggest TV shows; it is also one of the oldest living TV concepts and an integrated part of Europe’s TV history. I am proud to be able to put my mark on the show and gladly take on this huge challenge." 
Søren Therkelsen will be in charge of partner relations. usually he is the head od DR Events and is now closely working with the others in planning and producing the Eurovision song contest 2014.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

JUNIOR EUROVISION 2013: WILL THE SAMMARINESE SUN SHINE OVER RUSSIAN DREAM?

It's coming again after all, the troubled Junior Eurovision song contest. The 2013 edition is the 11th and EBU has managed to lure in 12 countries, same as last year's 12 but yet far cry for the record of 18 in its second editon back in 2004. San Marino joins in while Albania, Belgium and Israel stay home this time. Macedonia and Malta on the other hand return so one could say there's a real revolving door....
Kiyv is the host city this year and the final's on November 30, 2013. The host will be again Timur Miroshnychenko who did the job already in 2009 when he was joined by Ani Lorak. Now he gets Zlata Ognevich to his side. For the first time it's not happening at 9pm CET but more sensible time slot for the kiddos. Also, for the first time there will be awards for the top-3 and not the winner only. As an added bonus apparently the winner will also be involved in the real Eurovision song contest in May 2014 in Copenhagen somehow... Will that breath life to this contest or not remains to be seen. But once again we will see acts that imitate the grown up version, kids dressed up and made up rather impropriate for the age (it seems Ukraine takes the prize for this this year) doing all sort of things on stage besides singing but some people like that, too. This blogger less, but every now and then there are acts that totally fit to their performers and look and sound their age, like this year's Sammarinese entry. And the Russian entry is actually very good and Dayana comes across likable and sweet. That wouldn't be out of place even in the real thing!
Armenia - Monica Avanesyan - Choco-Fabrik
Azerbaijan -  Rustam Karimov - Me and my guitar
Belarus - Ilya Volkov - Poy so mnoy (Пой со мной)
Georgia -  The Smile Shop - Give me your smile
Macedonia - Barbara Popović - Ohrid i muzika (Охрид и музика)
Malta - Gaia Cauchi - The start
Moldova -  Rafael Bobeica - Cum să fim
The Netherlands -  Mylène and Rosanne - Double me
Russia - Dayana Kirilova - Mechtay (Мечтай)
San Marino - Michele Perniola -  O-o-O Sole intorno a me
Sweden -  Elias Elffors Elfström - Det är dit vi ska
Ukraine - Sofia Tarasova - We are one

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

ESC TOP 250: EUROPE, START VOTING NOW!

What would the New year's even be without the Mother of all countdowns and Eurovision charts, the already legendary Top-250! Is there another way to countdown to a new year (on ESCRADIO), the year of Copenhagen 2014? I don't think so! Start voting here and meanwhile you can check last year's countdown here. This will be the 6th edition and so far the winner has always been a different one, will Loreen be the first ever double winner?  Where will Emmelie finish? Will Mengoni rule here, too? It's all up to you, so vote vote vote!
ESC Top-250 is a collaboration between 12points.tv, ESCRADIO, INFE International, OGAE International, EurovisionBelgium.blogspot.com, SongFestivalweblog.nl and yours truly.

MF 2014: SANNA NIELSEN, MARTIN STENMARCK, DR ALBAN, LINDA BENGTZING...?

The rumour mill is running wild for Melodifestivalen 2014 participants and it seems Martin Stenmarck (ESC 2005) is back while the ladies Sanna Nielsen and Linda Bengtzing are giving it yet another go. Dr Alban might finally make his debut? Aftonbladet also reveals the other possible names: Oscar Zia, Panetoz, J.E.M., Outrigger, Judit & Judit, Eko, Cajsa Stina Äkerström, Josef Johanson that are more or less unknown to this blogger. Christer Björkman is quoted of saying there are still five open slots but negotiations on going with more big names and "the big names are usually the last ones to be confirmed and the talking-them-over period is at full swing right now". It is rumored Avicii, Ola Salo and Lisa Nilsson are some of those Björkman is sweet talking. I hope he has a chat with Sarah Dawn Finer and Darin as well!
SVT will reveal all the names by the end of November 2013.

MARCO MENGONI ALL OVER ITALY - IN CINEMAS!

Namely the Italian cinemas are showing tonight 8.30pm an anteprima of his DVD release #prontoacorrereilviaggio that sums up his amazing year 2013: he has sold 9 x platinum,  he won 7 Wind music awards, 40 sold out concerts with over 100.000 people, Eurovision song contest, winner of Sanremo, L'Essenziale became the longest chart topping single in Italy ever... Artist of the year! You can live again the year to remember with him as the film features besides the full concert in Taormina, Sicily also backstage, interviews and a lot more. 
It may be an end to a chapter but the story continues... October 28 and 29 he has been performing in the USA for the Billboard's HitWeek... and he keeps on running...

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

KRISTA SIEGFRIDS IN THE VOICE KIDS: CAN YOU SEE ME

Krista Siegfrids is one of the couches in The Voice Kids and performs this Sunday with her remaining two girls Rebecca and Molly her latest single Can you see me. And it's pretty stunning. Watch the preview here. She has released also a very beautiful video for this touching ballad dedicated to her late father.

TRAINS OF TOZEUR ARE RUNNING AGAIN - ON A LIVE ALBUM

Alice and Battiato together again on a record! Namely Franco Battiato's project with Antony and The Johnsons features also Alice as a special guest. This live recording from Arena di Verona on September 2, 2013 includes the concert they did together and for Alice & Battiato it's La realtà non esiste and their Eurovision 1984 classic I treni di Tozeur. The other songs are solos or duets by Battiato and Antony. La Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini is the "band" behind them. Battiato's collaboration with Antony started when he covered their Frankenstein in his Fleurs 2 album as Del suo veloce volo, that now gives the title to this special album.
Cripple and the starfish (Antony and the Johnsons)
For today I am a Boy (Antony and the Johnsons)
You Are my Sister (Battiato/Antony and the Johnsons)
Il re del mondo (Battiato)
Tutto l'Universo obbedisce all'amore (Battiato)
As tears go By (Battiato/Antony and the Johnsons)
Crazy in Love (Antony and the Johnsons)
Salt Silver Oxygen (Antony and the Johnsons)
Del suo veloce volo (Battiato/Antony and the Johnsons)
Hope There's Someone (Antony and the Johnsons)
La realtà non esiste (Battiato/Alice)
I treni di Tozeur (Battiato/Alice)
La cura (Battiato)
E ti vengo a cercare (Battiato)
Bandiera Bianca/Up patriots to arms (Battiato)
Inneres Auge (Battiato)

CELINE DION IS LOVED BACK TO LIFE IN CHARTS

It's 25 years since Celine Dion won Eurovision with Ne partez pas sans moi. Since then she's been having due different careers in French and in English; different productions, songs and even style, I'd say. Occasionally, but very rarely those two meet. This ads to the fact she was also a child star and when Eurovision came it was a bit of an ultimatum and deal breaker; or she wins or it's over.... She won, walked into Berlitz school of languages in Quebec and the rest is history as they. Over 200 million albums sold worldwide speak louder than she sings. 
She's has just released her 11th studio album in English, Loved me back to life, the first one in six years. As usual for a global star of her caliber it's filled with collaborations (duets with Stevie Wonder and Ne-Yo to start with) and songs picked from the finest in the industry. The first single is the title track Loved me back to life, and other songs like Somebody loves somebody, and Water and a flame, album's original title track. Some controversy was caused by its writer Daniel Merriweather and it's demo singer Adele (or something like, not quite sure about all the details) causing the delay of albumäs originally planned release this spring already.
Who would have thought that this girl would become such a star?  Even at this point.....

Monday, November 04, 2013

ESC 2014: TELEVOTERS TO DECIDE THE FRENCH ENTRY

It seems France will have an open final this time around with three songs. A special committee will unite on November 26, 2013 to listen all the proposals and pick up three songs to be presented in the popular TV-show Les chansons d'abord presented by Natasha St-Pier. Televoters will then decide on the winner and the French entry for Copenhagen 2014.

UMK 2014: SAME OLD, SAME OLD - BUT WHO'S COMPLAINING?

But in this case same old isn't bad thing at all! Presenters will be once again Ilkka Uusivuori and Anne Lainto. They did a good job last year so why change? The judges haven't changed either so it's Aija Puurtinen, Redrama, Toni Wirtanen and Tomi Saarinen
The selecting process is pretty much the same as before as well (all programmes YLE2):
10.12 names of the lucky 12 artists will be revealed 
26.12 UMK 2014 will kick of with a special showing how the judges selected the 12 lucky ones among the 420 songs sent in. 
28.12 the first six artists perform to the judges
4.1 the other six artists perform to the judges
11.1 first live show with six artists. One of them is voted by combined jury and televote straight to the final, another one is eliminated for good
18.1 same as 11.1 with the remaining six artists
25.1 the remaining eight (two have been eliminated, two have been sent to the final) perform live. Two will be eliminated and there's televote only
1.2 the grand final with eight artists. The winner will be chosen by combined jury and televotes.


Sunday, November 03, 2013

ALBANIA: FESTIVALI I KENGES WITH FAMILIAR NAMES

Albania will have its Festivali i Këngës once again and the final on December 22, 2013. As usual the winner will then go to Eurovision 2014. A couple of Eurovision veterans in the list this year: Frederik Ndoci (2007) and Luiz Ejlli (2006). Other familiar names are on the list as well as The Voice of Albania performers Venera Lumani, Lindi Islami and Klodian Kaçani. More information (and more singers?) in due time.

Besiana Mehmeti & Shkodran Tolaj - Jam larg  
Blerina Braka - Mikja ime  
Etmond Mancaku & Saviana Vierdha - Vetëm për ty 
Frederik Ndoci - Një ditë shprese 
Hersi Matmuja - Zemërimi i një nate 
Klodian Kaçani - Me ty 
Luiz Ejlli - Kthehu 
Lynx - Princesha 
Marjeta Billo - Ti mungon 
Orges Toçe - Jeta në orën 4 
Renis Gjoka - Nuk e di 
Rezarta Smaja - Në zemër 
Sajmir Braho - Grua 
Venera Lumani & Lindi Islami - Natë e pare 
Xhejn & Enxhi Kumrija - Kur qielli qan 
Xhejsi Jorgaqi - Ëndërrat janë ëndërra

WklVids: Geri Halliwell, ByeAlex, Guéna LG ft Bryan Rice, Cher

Out of nowhere comes Spicy Geri Halliwell's comeback with Half of me. Would BBC have a half of sense to consider her for Eurovision 2014? Isn't she after all taylor made for it? Hungarian hipster ByeAlex is back with Csóró itt minden han, another brilliant song that won't maybe open up with the first hearing but has some haunting qualities.... French Guéna LG features one of my favorite Danish voices, Bryan Rice in Stay awake. Quite fantastic club anthem with a nice retro vibe and of course, Bryan's vocals. Me likes! Cher is back with a new album and apparently it's filled with uptempo disco numbers but then there's also I hope you find it. A tender ballad, showcasing once again what a great singer she is. I wish she did this kind of stuff more, like the good old days of Dark Lady....

Gadget

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