Monday, February 29, 2016

ESC 2016 FRANCE: AMIR HADDAD FOR FRANCE

February 29 update: It is now confirmed. Oui oui!

It seems France has revealed tonight (February 25) - unexpectacly and way ahead of time - their repressant in Stockholm 2016 Eurovision. It's apparently Amir Haddad, known for being finalist in The Voice. He's of Israeli, Tunisian, Moroccan and Spanish origin but born in France. He's entry is  J'ai cherché a bilingual pop anthem. He participated already in the Israeli Kokhav Nolad and released one album in 2011. The in 2013 he was in France and finished third in The Voice behind Kendji Girac and Maximilien Philippe. The news spread in the French media like fire but it seems there's no formal conrimation yet....

Sunday, February 28, 2016

ESC 2016 LATVIA: JUSTS WINS WITH HEARTBEAT

All as predicted, Justs (20.720 votes) won in the end even if second placed Catalepsia (18.914) was causing some heartbeats by getting too close during the voting.....MyRadiantU (6.651) third and Marta Ritova (5.041) with her solar panels on stage fourth.

ESC 2016 FINLAND: YLE REVEALS VOTING DETAILS AND EXPLAINS THE VOTING

YLE's heads of civil juries (among them Krista's bf on left, Jaana Pelkonen and Hanna Pakarinen behind the kid)

Today, the day after, media and people dealing up with the surprise result (by some) of the #UMK16 final outcome. Cristal Snow has thanked his fans and says it's bitter. He has taken a bank loan to do #umk and it didn't maybe quite pay up. Saara Aalto is lamenting of unfair treatment by the Media civil jury that gave her a big flat zero. Mikael Saari has graciously kept silent except thanking his fans for this adventure - that gave him a second Fan Award by the Finnish Eurovision fans. And Sandhja is singing it away all over television and radio.
It also seems people didn't understand how the televotes were made up as indeed, Roope and Krista didn't explain that to the television viewers. I didn't even think about it until I saw the rerun this afternoon as it's a familiar way of giving votes in Melodifestivalen among others, and even in Eurovision itself this year. Finns better get used to it! (And YLE, having the detail on the website only isn't a good idea when grannies and non fans watch the tv show)
Here are the voting details:




ESC 2016 LATVIA: SUPERNOVA FINAL TONIGHT

Also Latvia's Supernova comes finally to an end. Four songs remaining. Justs is the big favorite and for once I agree with the masses. It's great, and I wasn't even a huge Amianata fan! I also like MyRadiantU and the other two are just for extra flavour here. It's Justs or nothing. Latvians would be fools to send anyone else. 

Justs - Heartbeat
Catalepsia - Damnation
MyRadiantU - We will be stars
Marta Ritova - Not from this world

ESC 2016: YET ANOTHER SUPER WEEKEND - FINALS IN FINLAND, MOLDOVA, HUNGARY, SLOVENIA, NORWAY! AND LATVIA

February is coming to an end so are the national finals. This weekend we will get at least seven new entries, and other selections are still going on in Israel, Sweden and Lithuania. All this after having had the pleasure to discover the German and British entries in the last days (and maybe the French, too). And it's not over: during next week we will discover Armenia, Israel, Australia, Romania, Netherlands, Montenegro, Estonia, Poland and Russia! But let's enjoy this weekend and it's offerings first!
This post will be updated while things happen so do come back and check the links. Have a lovely weekend!

Saturday, February 26

18.40 Moldova - O melodie pentru Europa - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here and here

19.40 Hungary - A Dal - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here and here

20.00 Finland - #UMK16 - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here, here, here, here LIVE BLOG and here

20.00 Slovenia - EMA 2016 - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here and here

20.00 Sweden - Melodifestivalen - Semifinal 4
Watch here - Read more here

20.00 Lithuania - Eurovizijos - Show 8
Watch here - Read more here

20.55 Norway - Melodi Grand Prix - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here and here

Sunday, February 27

20.25 Latvia - Supernova - FINAL
Watch here - Read more here

ESC 2016 FINLAND: WHO IS SANDHJA?

Sandhja came and sung it away and blew off the competition and fan favorites and ended up with the ticket to Globen in May and the Eurovision song contest in Stockholm for Finland. International and Finnish fans are sour as their pets didn't win blaming the voting system. I say: Get real. This year the voting system was what it was and she finished first with the juries and third with televoting (Mikael was second in both and Saara first in televotes but third in jury votes, so it could have been either way). Sing it away and enjoy the ride!
Sandhja Kuivalainen will be 25 in Stockholm. Her father is a Finn, and her mother Guyanan Indian. She's nurse like Sandhja in Jorvi hospital in Espoo. She says she was raised to be aware of her roots but feels she's just a regular girl from Espoo. Sandhja's roots are in India but her family was forced to go to work in Guyana and her musicality comes from her greatgrandmother who was a wedding and funeral singer. Every weekend she would leave her 11 children and hard work in the sugarcane plantage to go and sing wherever anyone would pay her. Sandhja has written a song about her, Ladaria, in her debut album.
Sandhja started singing and writing songs at early age. At 18 she met her producer and they prepaired her debut album Gold well. She had no rush to release it but let it ripe well. When released in May 2014 it was loved by the critics but big audience still didn't quite find it. It all changed now thanks to #UMK16 and Sing it away.

ESC 2016 NORWAY: AGNETE WITH ICEBREAKER FOR NORWAY

Agnete took an easy win in the Norwegian Melodi grand prix tonight. Funny how her song and look is similar to Ylona's Blazing fire in #UMK16.... But that's another story. Ylona was amazing anyways, she should have been in the #UMK16 final. Anyways, this is co-written by Gabriel Alares, who also won in Modova tonight. He's becoming a regular Eurovision writer now. Last year he was co-writing the Russian runner-up and this year for example Krista Siegfrids' Melodifestivalen entry.
And let's not forget Agnete is a MGP winner, the Nordic Junior Eurovision original version....
Check out the other top songs after the jump

Saturday, February 27, 2016

ESC 2016 SLOVENIA: MANUELLA FOR STOCKHOLM WITH RED AND BLUE

ManuElla has won the Slovenian final with Red and blue. She beat Raiven with Črno bel (Black and white) in the superfinal so it was all about colors tonight.They were chosen for the superfinal by a jury and then people televoted about these two. It was really really close: 3.865 votes for ManuElla and 3.738 for Raiven! Or 50,8% vs 49,2%! Happy little country tune over something more exciting.
But all in all sadly a very medicore selection of songs, and the winner respects that perfectly. 
Check out the other songs after the jump

ESC 2016 MOLDOVA: LIDIA ISAC WITH FALLING STARS TO STOCKHOLM

One of the favorites, Lidia Isac won in Moldova tonight. She won televote and jury ranked her third - the exact opposite what happened to Sandhja in Finland btw - and won. Jury's favorite was Valeria Pasa but televoters ranked her only 6th. It was a very close run in the televotes: 8.362 for Lidia and 8.267 for DoReDos. (2.631 for Cristina so it was a two horse run). 96 votes more for DoReDos we would have had a 3-way tie on top! I don't know the Moldovan rules who would have won then....

ESC 2016 HUNGARY: FREDDIE WITH PIONEER TO STOCKHOLM

After Finland more good news: Freddie won in Hungary :-) He beat Gergö Olah, Kállay Saunders band and Petruska in the superfinal. Oh wait, that was my top-4!!! :-) And I totally agree with the winner. Kállay Saunders Band somehow lost the momentum (and voice) after initial enthuasism. Gergö would have been propably a bit too exotic and Petruska just not strong enough. Hungary is once again reaching for the trophy big time. 
Check out the other top videos after the jump

ESC 2016 FINLAND: SANDHJA SINGS IT AWAY FOR FINLAND

After a great night this blogger is very happy. Sandhja, a nurse from my hometown Espoo won ahead of fan favorites Saara Aalto, second again (LOL) and Mikael Saari left third this time. 
Sandhja was and is amazing on stage, the song is very catchy and atypical for Finland. Now I'm looking forward to Stockholm with greater confidence and pride. Go Finland!

ESC 2016 FINLAND: #UMK16 FINAL - THE LIVE BLOG

Finland has its #umk16 final tonight and the winner will be our 50th Eurovisison entry. Roope Salminen is hosting the show from Helsinki with 2013 entrant Krista Siegfrids and Eurovision 2007 hostess Jaana Pelkonen will be there, too. Eurovision 2006 winner Lordi is performing and celebrating the 10th anniversary of their win and also last year's participants Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät grace the show with their presence.
For the first time for a very long time, or ever, the polls give no clue who will win. Pre-contest favorite Saara Aalto is not doing so well in the polls, and the fan favorites Mikael Saari (He won the Finnish fanclub's Fan Award again) and Annice & Kimmo don't seem to appeal to the masses, nor Tuuli. Eini is doing well with general puclic, critics love Sandhja and Barbe-Q-Barbies is picking up speed. Being the only rock entry will surely be an advantage when the masses start to vote tonight, same goes for Eini having the only song in Finnish. Cristal Snow has a lot of fans and has emerged a contender in the last minutes after losing a bit after being also a pre-contest favorite. This is exciting! More than ever! Can't wait!

------ LIVE BLOGGING FROM 9PM CET ---------

Here we go! First a bit relax with a trip to Nuuksio national park! Lovely day in the nice cottage in the snow..... but what will happen next? Quite funny, Krista and Roope are flirting with the artists and Eini is gets draamaa for the outdoor toilet.... Krista, who has "psychic skills" saw something.....!!!??
Lordi!!!! The years after. OMG! How time flies when you are having fun! Hard rock hallelujah tiúrns into cutting Krista in two and Roope in pieces, lol! Now that's a way to start a show! Bood! Welcome to Finland! LOL
And after NSFW show starter on to the show! It's time for the 50th Finnish entry time! Post-modulators remind this is the tightest UMK ever as we have no clue who will win tonight. There are about 6 out 9 who can end up with the ticket to Stockholm! 
Cristal Snow – Love Is Blind
Same staging as in the semis. He starts of vocally very weak and in the video clip he confessed being very nervous. It has been said this would be a great entry but the weakest link is Cristal or rather his vocals. Indeed. Shame. I suppose him fanbase won't be enough for him tonight.
Stella Christine – Ain’t Got Time For Boys
Unlike Cristal she said she has no presssure, getting this far was already such a surprise all after this only bonus. She's vocally good, relaxed. Two backing singers with smooth movements and a dancing couple complete the act. But despite being the dark horse tonight I don't think it's enough.
Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom – Good Enough
Nope. They still didn't have chemistry. Boring. Yawn. And watching three minutes of people watching themselves in mirrors, who's idea was that?  Dark and did I say boring? Plastic 100%. Not even good enough.

In greenroom Cristal is very satisfied with his performance. "I'm no Celine Dion, rather Madonna" LOL. He says he got all out and now the story is told. Stella is also happy with her performance and says it was the best one yet.

Eini – Draamaa
Eini said it was unbelievable she qualified and it took her a moment before it sunk in. It has all been only positive so far and her gig calender is filling up like there's no tomorrow. She's done a huge comeback! A bit shaky vocals at first. And later. That may have cost her the surprise win tonight. Her dress is shorter and legs longer if possible. The cougar looks awesome with her toyboys.

Barbe-Q-Barbies – Let Me Out
Barbies went for beers and sing karaoke after their qualification in some local pub in Helsinki. Except the lead singer who is heavily pregnant, of course. Standard rock performance with pyros and flashing lights. Maybe not so strong as in semis?! A potential compromise winner though.

In greenroom Roope is with Annica and Kimmo who preaach love, unity and Eurovision! Eini was very very happy on stage and thanks the audience who are so wonderful. She hopes that trasnmitted the drama pain to the home sofas, too :-)

Tuuli Okkonen – Don’t Wake Me Up
She's very happy to be able to sing her song again, and who knows maybe for the third time? (Ed,note nope) She says she's got to much good feedback from Europe she thinks it would do well in Globen (Ed.note nope) She starts off with a false note but gathers herself soon. She's a bit off later on but maybe it's the falling rain, or rain of fire that distracts her? Or the wind machine that blew the words away?

Back in greenroom with Barbe-Q-Barbies. They say they get aong well, since they are friend forever. Maybe.
Krista is pregnant. Maybe :-)

Sandhja – Sing It Away
She really wants to win and even if she doesn't this has given her already so much she can't be but thankful. Some experimetal camerawork by YLE that was a bit distracting IMHO but she sung very well, as did her backing singers. She had also a new easier look to accept. Very very good. But good enough to win?

Tuuli in greenroom now. Tuuli says she felt good, and thinks her performance was very peacful and relaxed. But now it's over and she can have a drink of champagne, paid by taxes. Sandhja wonders what happened on stage, she's still out of breath but overjoyed.

Saara Aalto – No Fear
Saara says she has built the most pressure herself. She is here because she wants to do Eurovision. Period. But is she going to be 2nd again? :-) The staging is the same: the wardobe gimmich, bare chested male singers, falling snow and long notes. And Ruslanaesque finish. Meh. But vocally she's good. No doubt about.

Roope asks Krista how does ti feel to win UKM and she says it's wonderful. Fantastic. Especially if you beat Mikael Saari.....

Mikael Saari – On It Goes
He says he would like to keep the staging as minimal as it is here whould he win, maybe change something in the keychange. This is all hard, rough, stressful and ... wonderful! And the staging is minimal like in the semi, with a lot of close ups. Mikael also delivers a few false notes this time. But I can't keep my concentration and head to the chips bag midway..... yawn.... "Modern dance about domestic violance" and no refrain....

Back to greenroom with Saara. Roope asks if she has already practised the face to make if she comes second again? And she says she's so used to it it comes naturally. LOL. She has discovered self irony I see. Next Mikael aka  #mieskarkki or #mancandy. He says he is ready to win Eurovision and brig it to Lahti. Ok.

After post-modulators gave their opinions and checked what's going on in social medias it's time for the last recap. The voting closes shortly.

Next is a look at the back stage and all that with the UMK house dancers..... and all the props used and Krista's crazy outfits.

Voting...... first jury votes....
Before the all important televotes some choir music...... and PKN
Next Krista remembers our first entry Valoa ikkunassa in 1961.....
ha ha ha ha, Saara is SECOND AGAIN!!!!!!

Sandhja wins! :-)

ESC 2016 FINLAND: LAST MINUTE #UMK16 POLLS

YLE's competition, commercial television MTV3 has also run its poll about the #UMK16 entries for its website readers. And like everywhere else (except Finnish Eurovision fans who are all still listening Mikael Saari's previous entry it seems... see the chart at bottom) it's very tight. Anything can happen tonight! Follow my live blog tonight!

Cristal Sow   16,98%
Eini   16,64%
Barbe-Q-Barbies   16,37%
Saara Aalto   16,11%
Sandhja   10,65%
Annica & Kimmo   8,56%
Mikael Saari   8,15%
Tuuli Okkonen circa 3%
Stella Chrisitine circa 3%

Fans voting:

ESC 2016 HUNGARY: THE FINAL TONIGHT

After three heats and two semifinals it's time for the A Dal final. Eight songs have made it this far thanks to jury and televoters. This time the jury picks up four songs to the superfinal, and then televoters alone pick up the winner among these. Biggest favorites seem to be Freddie, Kállay Saunders band and Petruska. If Hungarians feel ethnic vibe we have also Gergö Oláh to consider.... Either of these winning will put Hungary again in the winning battle. Below are the finalists in my order. I wil be very happy with any of the three first, fourth is fine, fifth is great on studio version but live was rather weak. The rest.... no way. 

Freddie - Pioneer
Gergö Oláh - Gyöz a jó
Kalláy Saunders Band - Who we are
Petruska - Trouble in my mind
Olivér Berkes & Andi Tóth - Seven seas
Mushu - Uncle Tom
Parno Graszt - Már nem szédulök
André Vásáry - Why

ESC 2016 NORWAY: THE MGP FINAL TONIGHT

Norway has its final tonight as well. Ten songs in the running. From irresistible Laika with to Moscow marching lesbians to chrystal clear musicalesque vocals in Traces, 60's girl pop in Stand up, summer hit sounding Feel da rush that will sound propably amazing when a bit tipsy and sunburned, mysterious Afterglow, boyband pop of Anna Lee in real Satin Cirkus style and Icebreaker that sounds first like a perfect package but is it in the end? Quite frankly I'd be very amused to see Laika winning, but I doubt that will happen so let it be Icebreaker or Anna Lee. Or even Feel da rush

The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan – Laika
Stage Dolls – Into The Fire
Stine Hole Ulla – Traces
Makeda – Stand Up
Pegasus – Anyway
Freddy Kalas – Feel Da Rush
Laila Samuels – Afterglow
Elouiz – History
Suite 16 – Anna Lee
Agnete – Icebreaker

ESC 2016 MOLDOVA: THE FINAL TONIGHT

Moldova's O melodie pentru Europa 2016 comes to the final tonight. Sixteen songs survived the two semifinals earlier this week (here and here). There will be 50-50 televote and expert jury.
I haven't really listened so much of these and have no real favorite so I'm only hoping they will pick up something decent.... and I don't mean something irresistible made in Sweden but something more authentic like Uzun. 

Valentin Uzun - Mine
Maxin Zavidia - La la love
Doinita Gherman - Irresistibile
Lidia Isac - Falling stars
Big Flash Sound - Cand vrei
Che-MD - Voda e cu noi
Andrei Ionita & Onoffrei - Lie
Cristina Pintilie & Alex Calancea band - Picture of love
Nadia Mosneagu - Memories
Rodica & Ivan Aculov - Stop lying
Emilia Russu - I'm not the same
DoReDos - Funnyfolk
Max Fall feat Vozniuc Dan & Molloy - Game lOVER
Valeria Pasa - Save love
Felicia Dunaf - You and me

ESC 2016 SLOVENIA: EMA 2016 FINAL TONIGHT

Slovenian EMA 2016 final takes place tonight. Ten songs in the competition. First a jury will pick up two of them for the superfinal, then televoters will choose the one. I have only heard the short snippets so no further comment. Let the best one win! Two Eurovision veterans in the running, Nusa and Regina!
Anja Bas – What If
Anja Kotar – Too Cool
D Base – Spet ziv
ManuElla – Blue And Red
Nusa Derenda – Tip Top
Raiven – Crno bel
Regina – Alive In Every Way
San Di Ego – Brez tebe
Sebastijan Lukovnjak – Tales Of Tomorrow
Zan Sercic – Summer Story

ESC 2016 LITHUANIA: MORE PRE-SEMIFINAL ELIMINATIONS TONIGHT

Lithuania finally put the two categories together; those with their own songs and those that were given songs submitted. Two will be eliminated tonight, and eight will continue to the semifinal. Some day they will arrive to a conclusion.....  The Lithuanian jury has already voted, and Donny boy took the lead again, followed by Aiste and Erica while Ruta is losing ground. But we have to add the telvotes and the international jury votes and only then we will know...

Catrinah - Be Free (7.)
Ruslanas Kirilkinas - In wy world (6.)
Milda Martinkenaite - If tomorrow never comes (9.)
Erica Jennings - Leading me home (3.)
Saulene Chlevickaite - Strong (10.)
Aiste Pilvelyte - You Bet (2.)
Valdas Lacko - Stay tonight (8.)
Ruta Sciogolevaite - United (4.)
Donny Montell - I’ve been waiting for this night (1.)
Ieva Zasimauskaite - Life (5.)

ESC 2016 SWEDEN: MELODIFESTIVALEN SEMIFINAL FOUR TONIGHT

Sweden's Melodifestivalen has reached the last semifinal before Second chance round and the final. Two big fan favorites here; Molly and Linda, one Eurovision veteran Martin and a couple of Melodifestivalen veterans: Dolly Style and Panetoz. After the leak fiasco with Molly's song all the others were published too for 24 hrs or something similarly stupid. Watching the rehearsal snippets it looks like Panetoz and Linda have just recycled their previous stagings if not the song, too, and Martin makes me only sing along to Whiter shade of pale.... I don't care who qualifies as I will hardly ever listen to any of these again but it would be kinda amusing if Martin and Frans would qualify. Or Eclipse just for the fun of it. Melodifestivalen 2016 has been a real Mehfestival. 

Eclipse - Runaways 5th
Dolly Style - Rollercoaster 2ND CHANCE
Martin Stenmarck - Du tar mig tillbaks 6th
Linda Bengtzing - Killer girl 7th
Frans - If I were sorry FINAL
Panetoz - Håll om mig hårt 2ND CHANCE
Molly Sanden - Youniverse FINAL

Friday, February 26, 2016

ESC 2016 UK: JOE AND JAKE TO STOCKHOLM!

BBC hosted it's first national final since forever and six acts took the stage. No frills simple staging for everyone and a lot of weak vocals. In the end the best vocals were by Joe and Jack, and Karl did well, too, but the rest.... A bit surprisingly Joe and Jake then won it, too, with You're not alone.
Here's a photogallery by EurovisionJack on the spot. Enjoy!
Bianca didn't win

Darline should have won.....
...Karl had good vaocals but meh song
Matthew James was meh altogether
Måns was there
So was Katrina who was boombastic with her Love shine a light!
Moments before the results....
The End.

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