Monday, March 31, 2014

#ESC 2014 MOLDOVA: CRISTINA SCARLAT - WILD SOUL

Moldova staged once again its national final and there was no lack of drama. In the end Cristina Scarlat (33) won ahead of Boris "Let's change songs" Covali and others. She was fourth time lucky winning the national final after being already the runner up in 2013. Cristina is the lead singer of the Presidential orchestra, plays piano and violin and even has time for a family life being a mother of two kids. Her entry Wild soul is heavily staged dark drama...
Robert: When I only heard the studio versions of the Moldovan national selection, Vis by Margarita & Metafora was my favorite. But unfortunately Margarita wasn't very strong vocally on the night of the final. Pity! So in the end the right song won with this power woman with strong voice. Cristina was my second choice to win the ticket before the final, but after I heard them singing it was only Cristina for me. But do not argue with her.... beware!
Blogilkar: Margarita was also my favorite, my only favorite in Moldova. Unfortunately she was ill and hardly able to sing at all, so.... I still haven't got any grip of this Moldovan Wild dances, sorry Wild soul. The staging is rather confusing, her English quite challenged and it's just way too much drama for me.... This will be my toilet break.... If only it was not in English I might like it a bit more.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

BLOGILKAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: VALENTINA MONETTA

This season I did an editorial choice not to do any interviews for various reasons, but there's one I just had to do: my main girl Valentina Monetta, the Sammarinese representative for the third year in a row. The young girl using social network almost emerged from the crisalide last year as a woman but this year, maybe, she will shine like a a pearl in the shell in Copenhagen! What does she think about her past, present and future? And what does kite surfing mean to her? Would she rather hang out with Nina, Raphael or Marco? Find it all out here:

Valentina, here you are again. What's up?
It's good, I'm happy and I go forward, doing what I love the most in life and if I have this ability and luck, I owe it to Eurovision.  
To begin with, let's go back in time. Valentina in 2004. Where was she and what she was doing, what she dreamed about?
In 2004, I was working, dating a police officer and in the evenings I trasformed as a singer ..
Well, now let's go to the future instead. Valentina in 2024?
Good question! Maybe I'll have two sons and a Pygmalion companion? Perhaps I'm producing myself and will produce other talents, too. One thing is certain: I will be still singing. 
Back to the present. Soon you'll be in both Eurovision in Concert and the London Eurovision Party once again. What is the significance of these two fan events for you?
It 's great, in both occasions I felt loved so much and this of course is always a great pleasure, I hope it will be like that this time, too.
What do you expect the most in Copenhagen ? You were already in Eurovision twice and you know the festival better than any other artist this year. Do you think this experience helps you in some way?
It's different every time and it's as if it was the first time, although the logistics are more or less the same but every time you breathe a different air, emotions are always more and more intense, but perhaps easier to manage or perhaps not. You're never too experienced and this is its beauty. Eurovision Song Contest will always be one of the most significant experiences of my career and for both my artistic maturity and humanity.
Your performance in the Party of San Marino in Malmo in 2013 was a success which is still talked about. Are you planning something similar in Copenhagen?
Maybe .. hahaha :)
How do you respond to criticism of your Eurovision choices compared to those songs you sing and write for yourself usually and perform in gigs?
I think it's fun and constructive to test and find that you have resources that go beyond your comfort zone and certainty. For me to work with Ralph Siegel and interpret his songs is a privilege and great study. He is a great professional and composer, and if he saw in me in what we propose to you that is a valid reason and I believe in him. Like it or not, what we are able to transmit with his music, it never happened to me before. This is not to say that my music is worth of nothing, in fact, it is thanks to him that many fans have discovered and are singing ''Una giornata bellissima” for example, and I had the opportunity to write and work on my album “Sensibilità”, which will be released on April 4.
If you were not a singer as a profession, what would you do? Or have you always been sure that one day you will a singer? Childhood dreams?
Yes. Since my childhood I knew I had artistic talent, i was always singing and often preferred to play and listen to music instead of other games and even in my dreams. Maybe I would have otherwise been part of Greenpeace and it is never too late unless the planet definitely turns against us seeing how we treat it...
In your third participation at Eurovision you have many supporters but also, in contrast , detractors and critics . How important criticism is to you, what do you think?
The critic is needed but still I go on my way, hoping to make the best choices just like everyone else.
 

 Had you done TV before Eurovision 2012? And what was your biggest audience pre-Baku 2012?
I participated in several talent shows and worked for some local Sammarinese and Italian TVs but never of this caliber. But it's a fact that if I had not sung in clubs with live musicians for years making my steps, I probably would not be here and would not be able to write and compose songs and be able to give so much to the listener.
When you sing in a small club with a few dozen people, or in the arena of 15,000 people and 100 million infront of the TV screen ... is there any difference in the end?
No, the respect I have for myself, the song and the audience in front of me is so huge, no matter how many they are. 
Nina Zilli , Marco Mengoni, Emma .... who is your favorite ? Who of these three would you do a duet with?
All three are great artists .. with all three but with Nina Zilli we would have so much fun togerher, I think. 
Finally let's talk about something totally different. Kite surfing . How would you describe in a few words what it is and what it gives to you? Many do not have a clue of this extreme sport There are also various types of kitesurfing , freestyle , freeride, downwinders , jumping, wave -riding .....
Hahaha .. kitesurfing you can cherish for many reasons. After I begin to practice this sport it has given me so much .. It helped me overcome my fears and insecurities, and when I'm stressed, it helps me to regain my mental and physical balance. I love the wind and its unpredictability and surf on water or snow (snow kite), driven by a large kite, being caught by his strength, it is an unforgettable experience ..(And sometimes it gives unforgetable moments to passersby, too, read more here) I am still a beginniner and now I am still learning but to do freestyle that is my goal. I've even written a song '' Il vento (Wind) '' that will be in my album "Sensibilità".
And with that I thank you. See you soon in Copenhagen! 
Thank you! ENJOY YOUR LIFE! It's worth it! . .. Kisses, Vale. 
 

#ESC 2014 LATVIA: AARZEMNIEKI - CAKE TO BAKE

Latvia's Aarzemnieki is fronted by German Jöran Steinhauer. He already has Eurovision national final experience from 2008 with Axiina. After a succesful farewell to Latvian lat last year with Paldies Latiņam! this year he and his foreigners have a Cake to bake.
Robert: Latvia, in fact, made me angry. Wrong song won! Not that the winning song of Aarzemnieki is not cute but when you have a super song in your preselection which is also nr 1 in the charts, how can you as a nation not vote for it? It beats me. With Dons and Pedeja vestule, Latvia even had a chance to win the whole thing. However, I predict Cake to bake to go to the final also. YES final.
Blogilkar: Aarzemnieki wasn't my favorite either but somehow I wasn't at all surprised it won. I suspect it will do much better than any fan polls and betting odds indicate. I had several favorites in Latvia, including Dons. MyRadiantU and Mad Show Boys (even if they were rather chaotic live and didn't even make the final). Latvia showed for once and all one doesn't need all foreign composers to have a great line up.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

VALENTINA MONETTA RELEASES SENSIBILITÀ

Valentina Monetta is releasing her third album titled Sensibilità next week digitally. The physical album release is due in early May.  Fifteen new songs including her Eurovision 2014 entry Maybe (Forse) that comes also in Italian and radio versions, title track Sensibilitá (also in English and hip hop version) and already released duet A kiss with Joshua de Cadenex featuring also Corale San Marino choir. Other guests include her brother Vincenzo Monetta, Banda Militare della Repubbica di San Marino, Of Course Big Band, Mirco Moroncelli and Sarah Jane Ghiotti, a very possible future represant in the Eurovision. Listen snippets here.  

BLOGILKAR INTERVISTA ESCLUSIVA: VALENTINA MONETTA

Valentina, ancora qui. Come va?
Benissimo, sono contenta e vado avanti, ma facendo quello che più amo nella vita e se ho questa capacità e fortuna, lo devo anche all’Eurofestival.
Per iniziare, torniamo indietro nel tempo. Dove era Valentina nel 2004 e di cosa faceva, cosa sognava?
Nel 2004 facevo l’operaia, stavo con un poliziotto e la sera mi trasformavo in una cantante ...
Bene, ora andiamo invece al futuro. Valentina nel 2024?
Bella domanda!! Forse avrò’ 2 figli e un compagno Pigmalione. Forse produrrò me stessa e altri talenti, una cosa è certa che canterò ancora!
Torniamo al presente. Presto sarai sia all'Eurovision in Concert che al London Eurovision Party un'altra volta. Quale significato hanno questi due eventi dei fans per te?
E’ fantastico, in entrambe le occasioni mi sono sentita amata tantissimo e questo ovviamente fa sempre molto piacere, Lo spero anche questa volta.
Cosa ti aspetti di piú a Copenaghen? Sei stata all'Eurovision giá due volte e conosci il festival meglio di qualsiasi altro artista quest'anno. Credi che ti aiuterà in qualche modo?
Ogni volta è diverso ed è come se fosse la prima, anche se le logistiche rimangono più’ o meno le stesse, si respira ogni volta un’aria diversa, le emozioni sono sempre di più e più intense ma forse più facili da gestire o forse no. Non si è mai troppo esperti e questo è il suo bello. L’Eurofestival rimarrà’ sempre una delle esperienze più significative della mia carriera sia per la mia maturità artistica che umana
La tua performance nel Party Sammarinese a Malmö 2013 è stata un successo di cui si parla ancora. Stai realizzando qualcosa di simile anche a Copenaghen?
Forse..hahaha:)
Come rispondi alle critiche delle tue scelte Eurovisive riguardo le canzoni che canti e scrivi per te solitamente?
Io penso che sia divertente e costruttivo mettersi alla prova e scoprire di avere risorse che vanno al di là delle proprie comodità’ e certezze. Per me lavorare con Ralph Seigel e interpretare le sue canzoni è uno studio privilegiato... Lui è un grande professionista e compositore e se ha visto in me quello che vi proponiamo c'è un motivo valido ed io credo in lui. Che piaccia o no, quello che sono riuscita a trasmettere con la sua musica, non è mai successo; con questo non voglio dire che la mia musica non valga niente. Anzi,è proprio grazie a lui che molti fans cantano Una giornata bellissima e ho avuto la possibilità di scrivere e lavorare al mio album Sensibilità che uscirà il 4 aprile.
Se non avessi fatto la cantante come mestiere, cosa avresti fatto? O sei sempre stata sicura che un giorno saresti diventata una cantante? Sogni d'infanzia?
Si, sin dall’infanzia sapevo di avere doti artistiche, cantavo sempre e spesso preferivo suonare e ascoltare musica nei mie giochi e nei miei sogni. Forse diversamente avrei fatto parte di Greenpeace e non è mai troppo tardi. Almeno che il pianeta non ci si rivolti contro definitivamente visto come lo trattiamo...
Alla tua terza partecipazione all'ESC,  molti sono i tuoi sostenitori ma anche, di contro, i detrattori e i critici. Quanto sono importanti per te le critiche e perché?
Le critiche servono ma comunque io vado avanti per la mia strada, sperando di fare le scelte più’ giuste come chiunque altro.
Avevi fatto la TV prima del Eurovision 2012? E quel era stata la tua audience piú grande pre-baku 2012?
Ho partecipato a diversi talent show e lavorato per alcune tv locali Sammarinesi e Italiane ma mai di questo calibro. Sta di fatto che se non avessi cantato nei club live con i musicisti per anni con tanto di facchinaggio artistico, io forse non sarei qui e non avrei fatto quello che sono riuscita a fare, scrivere e comporre canzoni e riuscire a trasmettere tanto a chi ascolta.
Quando canti in un club piccolo con qualche decina di persone, o in arena di 15.000 persone e 100 milioni avanti la TV lo stesso tempo... c'è qualche differenza alla fine?
No, il rispetto che ho per quello che sono, che canto e il pubblico che ho di fronte è immenso, qualsiasi esso sia.
Nina Zilli, Marco Mengoni, Emma.... qual é il tuo favorito? Con chi di questi tre vorresti fare un duetto?
Tutti e tre grandi artisti... con tutti e tre ma con Nina Zilli mi divertirei parecchio penso.
Per finire parliano di qualcosa di totalmente diverso. Kite surfing. Come descrivesti in poche parole cos'è e cosa ti dà? Molti non hanno la più pallida idea di questo sport estremo. Ci sono anche varie tipi di kitesurfing; freestyle, freeride, downwinders, jumping, wave-riding.....
Hahaha... il kitesurfing si può amare per diverse ragioni... Cominciare a praticare questo sport mi ha dato tanto.. .mi è servito per superare paure e insicurezze e quando sono in stress, mi aiuta a ritrovare il mio equilibrio psicofisico. Adoro il vento e la sua imprevedibilità e navigare sull’acqua o sulla neve (snow kite) trainati da un grande aquilone preso dalla sua forza, È un emozione unica... Ho imparato da poco e per ora faccio i miei bordi e basta ma imparare a fare freestyle è il mio obbiettivo. (Kite surfing non è sempre facile e tutto puó succedere, imparazzante e/o divertente, leggi here.)
Ci ho scritto persino una canzone Il vento,  che sarà nel mio album Sensibilità. 
E con questo ti ringrazio. Ci vediamo presto a Copenaghen!
Grazie a te!  ENJOY YOUR LIFE ... Kisses, Vale

#ESC 2014 GREECE: RISE UP FOR EUROVISION MEDLEY!

I must admit I never really cared so much of Freaky Fortune and their RiskyKidd. But this fantastic Eurovision medley changed it all. After hearing this, seeing them perform it I want to like them! Can I say their likability did #RiseUp like 200%? Enjoy this dose of fabulousness here. Running scared never sounded this good.....

#ESC 2014 ICELAND - POLLAPÖNK - NO PREJUDICE

Iceland chose No prejudice by Pollapönk. The song comes with a message but is hidden under a comedy act so it may be lost to European audiences, despite its change of language from Enga fordóma. In Iceland the band is liked by kids and adults alike, has won awards for their work against prejudices and they have a long history in various bands and combinations as mucisians. The line up is Haraldur Freyr Gislason, Heidar Orn Kristjansson, Arnar Thor Gislason and Gudni Finnsson. Backing singers are Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (of metal band Skálmöld) and a Member of Icelandic Parliament Óttar Proppé.
Robert: Although I kinda like the winning song of the Islandic preselection by Pollapönk, I totally fell for Guðbjörg Magnúsdóttir's Aðeins ætluð þér but what happened here? It totally came last!!!! Yes, it is a traditional schlager song but hey, what is wrong with that in 2014?:) Am I getting old fashioned here? Or did it get last because it was written by Swedish comppsers? No final for Iceland.
Blogilkar: I totally agree with Robert: Wrong song won! But my favorite for that was Amor by Ásdis Maria . One of my favorites of the whole season. Pollapönk may have an important message and all that, but it's performed in a way that makes it seem just another novelty act and they may be as famous as they can in Iceland, in Europe they are just a bit sad old gentlemen with questionable fashion sense. My only hope is it won't take a place in the final from someone who deserves it much more.....

Friday, March 28, 2014

#ESC 2014: KALLAY-SAUNDERS - RUNNING

Andràs Kállay-Saunders is yet another third time lucky in this years Eurovision with Running. His previous attemps (I love you 2012, My baby 2013) made him known and last year he was already a runner up with #1 hit in Hungary with his entry. He's a New York born son of an American soul singer and a Hungarian model. His father started from Detroit and planted the Motown sound to his son, something this blogger has loved already for years. In 2011 András moved to Hungary to be close to his ill granny, saw the ad for the local Idols like talent show and the rest is history!
Robert: Dal, the Hungarian preselection was less interesting for me this year. Previous years, there were many more good quality songs to be found to my taste and Kedvesem of last year was an absolute topper for me. However, Hungary managed to choose the best song of their preselection this year. I like it and expect it to do very well. YES final.
Blogilkar: Once again the Hungarian Dal was a very good selection show and along the way I had a few favorites but Kállay-Saunders was my clear favorite frommthe start. Great song, strong message, different beat and doing well in the polls. Hungary is in with a real change this year and closer to the victory that ever since their debut 20 years ago. Go András!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

#ESC 2014 ESTONIA - TANJA - AMAZING

Kaliningrad born Tanja (Tatiana Mihhailova, 30) isn't a new comer to Eesti laul as she already was a runner up back in 2002 with NightLight Duo and Another country song and took part again in 2003. Since then she has become a household name and much admired person in theater, musicals and TV-shows. Several bands, talent shows and international festivals later she lands Copenhagen 2014 with partly self-penned Amazing.
Robert: Like previous years, a very interesting preselection in Estonia. I like many songs of this Eesti laul like Maiken, Sandra Nurmsalu, Lauri Pihlap, Körsikud, Lenna Kuurmaa and MiaMee but in the end Traffic's song Fur Elise is the best for me. The winning song by Tanja is not at all appreciated by me. No final.
BlogilkarI have to admit I didn't pay much attention to this among the Eesti laul semifinalists. The dancing & singing performance seemed a bit akward and yes, a bit Loreen-ish. The Estonian final was full of worthy songs, like Robert stated above and my favorite at that point was Maiken.  After Tanja's win I noticed however that the song was stuck in my head and by now I already like it. And I think it might just push itself to the final.....

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

#ESC 2014 BELGIUM: AXEL HIRSOUX - MOTHER

Belgium chose Axel Hirsoux (32). He has taken part in several talent shows since 2001 and finally hit gold in the Belgian national selection Eurosong. He's got a great voice, no doubt and this blogger liked his efforts a lot in the selection process. When his entry Mother was revealed, I was less enthuastic....But I seem to be in minority as he is one of the main favorites to win this year....
Robert: There was no better song for me in the disappointing Belgian selection this year. Therefor I chose Axel's song but certainly not because I love it so much. I see that he can attract a lot of votes with his voice, song and presentation and maybe win the whole thing, but in the end we won't understand anymore why we voted for him because the song gets irritating quickly I'm afraid. 
Blogilkar: I agree with my bicycling reporter Robert what he said about the song. Plus I have to admit I find the lyrics so cheesy I can't take them seriously. (Maybe I have some issues in my mother-son relationship? or my years living among Italian mammoni?) But considering the day after the final is a Mother's Day in many European countries and knowing ladies weekness for all these pop tenors this time of the year (the other being Christmas time) there is a danger we will end up with a winner no one wants to hear after the lights are down and party's over. A bit like I wanna..... 
I think the Belgian Eurosong had actually three good enough songs to send to Eurovision: Sil's What's the time in Tokyo, Yass with Need you tonight and Nothing is impossible by Eva Jacobs.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DOUZE POINTS, TWELVE POINTS - A SERIOUS BOOK ABOUT EUROVISION

Douze points, twelve points is a new Dutch book about Eurovision by Geert Willems. It was presented this Sunday in the city of Nijmegen. My bicycling reporter Robert was present in the party - and is present in the book as well!
You can whine and make fun of the Eurovision Song Contest but in The Netherlands (and many other countries) it is a national public entertainment. The final in May last year was the most-watched television broadcast of 2013. The song festival phenomenon deserves serious consideration. Therefore Geert Willems, a journalist of the newspaper "De Gelderlander" came up with the idea to write a serious book about the contest.  Prejudices around and about the festival are rarely based on facts. Douze points, twelve points will change this!
Willems writes about how the festival has played a role in the unification of Europe, the relations between East and West and how the festival plays an important role in the emancipation of the gay scene even today. And also the varying performance of the Netherlands through the years, avid fans, the alleged favoritism in the scoring, politics and the development of the festival are addressed.
Among the guests present were Sietse Bakker from the EBU, Marga Bult (NL 1987) and Eddy Ouwens (lyricist of Ding-a-dong). For now the book is only available in Dutch.

#ESC 2014 AZERBAIJAN: DILARA KAZIMOVA - START A FIRE

Azerbaijan had a long selection process Böyük Səhnə and Dilara emerged as the winner being third time lucky to represent her country in Eurovision. Nothing wrong with that, she's got a lovely voice. Then the Azeri TV did the usual and went shopping for the song abroad and once again it comes from Sweden. Start a fire. Aren't there any musicians and authors among those over 9 million Azeris? Shame on you!
Robert: Disappointing entry for Azerbaijan. Look for some further! No final to my taste.
Blogilkar: With first hearing I thought this is good and maybe the best Azeri entry since Drip Drop, but more I hear it less I care about it. She's good, but the song is bland, going nowhere, heard before (even as an Azeri entry), uninspired and uninteresting. The only attempt to be original is the fire in the title. This little effort does not deserve a place in the final....

Monday, March 24, 2014

#ESC 2014: THE RUNNING ORDER - 12 FOR SAN MARINO, 8 FOR FINLAND

The Danish televiion people have finally made up their minds and here are the running orders for the semifinals. Some interesting choices there....

Semifinal one - May 6, 2014:

1. Armenia - Aram Mp3 - Not alone
2. Latvia - Aarzemnieki - Cake To Bake
3. Estonia - Tanja - Amazing
4. Sweden - Sanna Nielsen - Undo
5. Iceland - Pollapönk - No prejudice
6. Albania - Hersi - One night's anger
7. Russia - Tolmachevy Sisters - Shine
8. Azerbaijan - Dilara Kazimova - Start a fire
9. Ucraine - Maria Yaremchuk - Tick-Tock
10. Belgium - Axel Hirsoux - Mother
11. Moldova - Cristina Scarlat - Wild soul
12. San Marino - Valentina Monetta - Maybe (Forse)
13. Portugal - Suzy - Quero ser tua
14. Netherlands - The Common Linnets - Calm after the storm
15. Montenegro - Sergej Ćetković - Moj Svijet
16. Hungary - Kállay-Saunders - Running

Semifinal two - May 8, 2014:

1. Malta - Firelight - Coming home
2. Israel - Mei Finegold - Same heart
3. Norway - Carl Espen - Silent storm
4. Georgia - The Shin & Mariko - Three Minutes To Earth
5. Poland - Donatan & Cleo - My Słowianie - We Are Slavic
6. Austria - Conchita Wurst - Rise like a Phoenix
7. Lithuania - Vilija Matačiūnaitė - Attention
8. Finland - Softengine - Something better
9. Ireland - Can-Linn (feat. Kasey Smith) - Heartbeat
10. Belarus - Teo - Cheesecake
11. Macedonia - Tijana Dapčević - To The Sky
12. Switzerland - Sebalter - Hunter of stars
13. Greece - Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd - Rise up
14. Slovenia - Tinkara Kovač - Spet / Round And Round
15. Romania - Paula Seling & Ovi - Miracle 

Finalists - May 10, 2014

23. Denmark - Basim - Cliché love song
? Germany - Elaiza - Is it right
? United Kingdom - Molly - Childen of the universe
? France - TWIN TWIN - Moustache 
? Spain - Ruth Lorenzo - Dancing in the rain
? Italy - Emma Marrone - La mia città





#ESC 2014 ARMENIA: ARAM MP3 - NOT ALONE

Aram Mp3 (Aram Sargsyan, 30), a wellknown media person in his home country was chosen to represent Armenia internally. He is a singer-songwriter, actor, comedian, showman... you name it! (And apparently a homo- and transphobic*) He came up with a touching ballad Not alone that builts up towards the end and won instantly over both Eurovision fans and bookmakers and is currently the #1 favorite to win in May (*Update: Let's see if this has some effect on polls...)
Robert: Ok song chosen internally for Armenia this year. Interesting composition. In final? Yes.
Blogilkar: I must admit I was taken by this the first moment I heard it, which was a  cellphone video from a concert. When the official version came out I was even ore convinced. Maybe not an Eurovison winner but a very strong and worthy runner up? In final: Yes!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

#ESC 2014 ALBANIA: HERSI MATMUJA - ONE NIGHT'S ANGER

Hersi (Herciana Matmuja, 24) won the Albanese Festivali i Këngës with Zemërimi i një nate, that is now revamped to One night's anger. This was her fifth attempt to win the contest. She has a dual career going on with pop music and classical music with studies in Rome, Italy. Her entry somewhat embraces both of them and it isn't the easiest piece of cake this year to digest. 
Robert: After listening to all the preselection songs in Albania, I was disapponted with the quality of songs and can only conclude they selected the best among the worst. Hersi's song isn't among my favorites this year. No final.
Blogilkar: I don't totally agree with by bicycling reporter Robert. I think there were a few goodies in the Albanese selection, and I never saw Hersi coming and winning it. Somehow I can't get a grip of the song at all. I would have sent Venera Lumani & Lindi Islami with Natë e pare or Blerina Brako with Mikja ime instead. No final for Albania this year.

Friday, March 21, 2014

#ESC 2014 SAN MARINO: VALENTINA MONETTA PRESENTS FORSE

Valentina Monetta has released also Forse, the Italian version video for her Eurovision 2014 entry Maybe (Forse).  Which one do you prefer?
Her new album Sensibilità will be released in early May 2014....

#ESC 2014: HAPPY BIRTHDAY NON HO L'ETÀ AND NEWS FROM COPENHAGEN

We are now entering the apparently slow month between the national finals and start of the contest in Copenhagen in the end of April with rehearsals and all the rest. Instead behind the scenes it's all crazy for the delegations with preparations, rehearsals, promotion, interviews, recording albums, mixes..... And soon there will be the two important promotion events as well, Eurovision in Concert and London Eurovision.... But back to Copenhagen:
The head of delegation meeting was earlier this week in Copenhagen and finally the last entries were presented, too.
As for the offcial news the premilinary dates for the Eurovision number 60 in 2015 have been set to May 12, 14 and 16. The host country draw its position in the final and picked up a very nice 23 out of 26. The positions for the semifinals will be revealed by DR later this month.
The HoDs also got a sneak peek of the stage and some described it huge, ”Moscow huge”, so good bye to the intimacy of Malmö 2013. Well, the venue gives a change to build something very big, and apparently the Danish are going big at least in the height department! Hopefully it won't fall apart like in Copenhagen 2001 with the worst arena and stage ever. Period. But there seems to be awfully lot of work yet to be done judging the images inside the halls...
The HoDs also got to see some of the postcards that are soon all filmed all around Europe with the artists in the home environments giving us a glimpse of their daily life.
EBU has also released a video of how the voting happens, a kind of Eurovision voting for the dummies. All in line to get the voting more open. As we remember this year the votes of each individual jury memeber will be published, five of them in each country. The names of them, all 185, will be published May 1, 2014.
And today it's exactly 50 years since Copenhagen hosted the Eurovision for the first time, ending with a runaway victory for Italy's lovely Gigliola Cinquetti and Non hol'età, one of the best winners ever if you ask me. Time will tell if she will be present in Copenhagen in May....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#ESC 2014 FINLAND: SOFTENGINE RELEASE MUSIC VIDEO

Softengine, that will fly the Finnish flag in the second semifinal in Copenhagen 2014 Eurovision has also released their music video for Something better . Curiously the live performance from the Finnish UMK final has been uploaded on eurovision.tv. This video may or may not give an idea how it will be staged in May....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#ESC 2014 AUSTRIA: RISE LIKE A PHOENIX

Today finally also Austria unveiled its entry. Conchita Wurtz will sing Rise like a Phoenix in Copenhagen 2014 Eurovision.  I guess we were expecting an uptempo disco anthem, instead we get a melodic ballad, very musical style. But who's complaining? Now place your bets how many points he gets from Russia.....
Update: Here's the live performance

Monday, March 17, 2014

#ESC 2014: RUSSIA SHINES?

It seems the Russian entry, sung by the Tolmachevy Twins is titled Shine. As much as originality as is the writing team: Philip Kirkorov, Dimitris Kontopoulos, Gerard James Borg, John Ballard and Ralph Charlie. Makes me wonder once again do these people have anything else in their career going but writing Eurovision songs to any random countries that accepts them? Were they the only ones desperate enough to shine on Eurovision stage in this delicate situation once again, despite all? This said I hope the Russian song will get a fair treatment but I suspect there will be a lot of booing and voting boycotts, no matter what. And in a way it's right (even if it isn't).
Meanwhile let's have the other Shines the past five years: Shine1, Shine2, Shine3.Shine4.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

#ESC 2014: AXEL HIRSOUX FOR BELGIUM

Belgium had some goodies to choose from and they went for this? Mother,  it would have been rather horrid in Sanremo 1984 and even cheesier in Eurovision 2014. Anyways, Axel is a great singer, no doubt about that, but I just dislike the song (or rather the text) with passion. Can't help it. Maybe my relation with mother is a bit confused, but... no. And no further comment.
Ruslana was there and made a statement of today's fixed voting in Ucraine and Crimea. No further comment on that either.
International jury votes:
 Final result:


#ESC 2014: FOUR FINALS THIS WEEKEND: PORTUGAL, MOLDOVA, NORWAY, BELGIUM....

The national selection season is coming to an end. This weekend the last four national selections and Azerbaijan will reveal its song Sunday as well. Then we have only Austria left for Tuesday release. The one big question mark remains Russia?! ....


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Norway - Final - MGP 2014
19.55 CET - Webcast - read more -

Moldova - Final - O melodie pentru Europe 2014
19.00 CET - Webcast - read more -

Portugal - Final -  Festival da Canção
23.15 CET - Webcast - read more -

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Belgium - Final - Eurosong 2014
20.30 CET - Webcast - read more -

Azerbaijan - Song presentation
17.30 CET - Webcast

#ESC 2014: SUZY FOR PORTUGAL!

Portugal entertained us tilmthe early hours with their 50th anniversary show in Eurovision. Sadly most every previous entry presented in one way or the other during the night was better than any of the songs in competition tonight. This blogger wishes nothing more than a Portuguese win in Eurovision but it is not going to happen in 2014 either. The final was like a 1982 final, time stood still. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the songs weren't that good. Or rather original. One reason is some of them were written by the usual writers who seem to send their songs to anyone who will accept them hoping for a spot in the national selection. Unfortunately two of these made the top-3.... Leaving Zana out. But all is good in the end as Suzy won leaving them home :-). Hooray Portugal for choosing a local product!

1. Suzy 41,56% - Quero ser tua 
  2. Catarina Pereira 23,58% - Mea culpa
3. Rui Andrade 14,56% - Ao te encontro

Saturday, March 15, 2014

#ESC 2014: SILENT STORM FOR NORWAY!

Norway also selected their entry tonight. There was a Golden Final with the top four and strangely the four I thought did make the final, even if for me there was only one worthy winner: Carl Espen. It's different, touching, authenthic and special the way Marija Serifovic was. I remember hearing Molitva for the first time among the Serbian semifinalists back then and thought "if this wins here, it'll win the whole thing". I got the same feeling hearing Silent storm's snippet. And yes, it won :-)
Carl Espen - Silent storm
 Linnea Dale - High hopes
 Mo - Heal
 Knut Kippersund Nesdal - Taste of you



#ESC 2014: CRISTINA SCARLAT FOR MOLDOVA

So, it happened. Boris Covali didn't win this time either when Cristina Scarlat snapped the victory from him helped by the jury with Wild soul.
Televotes:
Jury votes:


Friday, March 14, 2014

#ESC 2014 SAN MARINO: VALENTINA MONETTA THIRD TIME LUCKY, MAYBE?

In June 2013 San Marino RTV announced that Valentina Monetta had been asked to perform for the third time in a row for San Marino at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Copenhagen. 
The Story started right after Malmö:
Carlo Romeo, Director General of San Marino RTV, was so disappointed of the totally unexpected Semi-final result that he asked Valentina Monetta right after Malmö 2013 if she would perform and try it again for a third time in Denmark 2014. After serious and long consideration, Valentina and her producer Ralph Siegel agreed to give their best and take part one more time.
In July Ralph Siegel and Mauro Balestri started to write another song for Valentina and she was invited to record the demos in Forte dei Marmi, Italy, at the end of August. One month later Ralph Siegel finally recorded seven songs with Valentina in his studio in Munich. In the meanwhile, Valentina Monetta also wrote and produced 9 songs in San Marino with a little help of her many musical friends and different artists. Finally the new album Sensibilità was finished and the decision to choose the entry for Copenhagen was not easy. A great variety of potential songs were produced and many of them could have been the song for Copenhagen.
After a long research with colleagues, professionals and friends, the clear and final decision was made and the song Maybe (Forse) was chosen. The song is in English, so everyone in Europe and all over the world can understand the wonderful lyrics by Mauro Balestri. The Italian version is also released, as well as a Dance-version for the Euroclub to enjoy the song in many different ways.
Then the video was planned, and this took a lot of creative thinking and time. Fabrizio Raggi and a creative team from San Marino RTV started producing the video in English and Italian.
Valentina Monetta is one of the most talented jazz and pop singers in San Marino and the whole country keeps the fingers crossed, hoping that she will be third time lucky. She really deserves it.
Good luck to Valentina Monetta for her historic three-in-a-row and San Marino! Remember, it's a positive maybe.









#ESC 2014 MOLDOVA: THE FINAL LINE UP

Among all that's been going on the past few days I completely forgot about the Moldova. Anyways, tomorrow's their final and these eight songs qualified; one of my favorites is out and the other qualified only thanks to a televoting wildcard.... Not looking good. But I still stick to it. Vis is by far the best song among these.... pronunciation challenged efforts by most.

Diana Staver - One and all
Doinita Gherman - Energy
Boris Covali - Perfect day
Tatiana heghea - I'm yours
Lucia S - Frozen
Margarita & Metafora - Vis
Ana Cernicova - Dragostea divina
EDICT - Forever
Flux Flight - Never stop no
Aurel Chirtoaca - Urme de iubiri
Paralela 47 - Fragmente
Diana Brescan - Hallelujah
Mikaella - Follow your dreams
Curly - Your recovery
Christina Scarlat - Wild soul
Felicia Dunaf - The way I do


#ESC 2014: THREE SONGS OUT TODAY: GEORGIA, ARMENIA AND SAN MARINO

Today's another busy day in the Eurovision world. No semifinals or finals but three countries will present their internally selected entries. First thing in the morning we can expect the Georgian entry. The Shin & Mariko will premiere their video for Three minutes to earth
In the evening it's time for Armenia and San Marino. Armenia has chosen Aram mp3 and the song is apparently called Fight for love (or is it Not alone?). You can follow the presentation show here from 19.00 CET.
Later tonight all eyes are on San Marino. Valentina Monetta will unveil her third consegutive entry, Maybe, once again written by Ralph Siegel. The presentation show will be broadcasted also here from 21.10 CET.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

#ESC 2014: ELAIZA FOR GERMANY! IS IT RIGHT?

The German national final has just ended and the newcomers and wildcard Elaiza beat the megastar Unheilig in the superfinal with Is it right? Santiano and MarieMarie also qualified for the top-4. So, I got 3 out of 4 right and suspected the Elaiza win since their first performance as they always got a huge applause. 
Emmelie de Forest was there, as was Emma from Italy, presented as "the face of Michele Hunziger and the voice of Gianna Nannini". Sadly I have to say Emma was far from convincing; shouty and out of breath vocals, far from flattering facials, no staging whatsoever.... Sigh. I was hoping she would give a proper polished premiere of her entry but no.... 
But back to Germany. Good show overall, some good songs, interesting winner even if Unheilig won me over during the show but I preferred the first song that didn't get to the superfinal to be honest.
And Jan Ola Sand, Christer Björkman and Nicola Caligiore were there, too, the latter declaring "Eurovision cliché is long gone!".

Gadget

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