Thursday, March 31, 2016

FLASHBACK: GALI ATARI & MILK AND HONEY WIN EUROVISION ON MARCH 31, 1979

Today, back in 1979 Israel won for the second time in a row the Eurovision song contest at homeground, in the International Convention Center in Jerusalem. The song was originally offered for Habini group who turned it down (but would represent Israel in 1981). Israel also turned down the opportunity to host the 1980 contest (and Haag in the Netherlands took the job). 19 countries participated while Turkey withdraw, due to the pressure from Arab countries. They even had selected their song Seviyorum and had been drawn in the running order as 11th. 
It was a close run with Spain's Su cancion, the rule for the minimum age didn't exist at the time and stage was filled with kids. Spain was the last to vote and leading, with Israel one point behind. Spain however awarded Israel 10 points and thus handed over the victory and Betty Missiego played a good sport. The 1973 winner Anne Marie David was back, this time for France and finished third. It was also a rich year of returning artists as also Xandra (NET), Anita Skorgan (NOR) and Peter, Sue & Marc (SWI) were present.
The winning song has become an evergreen and a modern Jewish standard known also in the US. There are countless cover versions in various languages, like this one


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

ESC 2016 FINLAND: SANDHJA SINGS IT AWAY ACCAPELLA. AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM IN THE SOLD OUT HARTWALL ARENA.....

While the other Eurovision 2016 stars are running from one promotional event to another in April, Finland's Sandhja is putting finishing touches to her second album to be released in the end of April and guess what? She's also back to work as nurse! She did took some time off for UMK and all that but yes, she's back at nursing people and most likely singing it away.
She has been doing some press and appearances in TV like this one (singing starts at 54'45) where she belted out the accapella version with two of her home girls. 
And this Saturday she will be singing in the sold out Hartwall Arena, the venue of Helsinki 2007 Eurovision. And nothing less but the national anthem before the boxing worldchampion game of Robert Helenius, a Finn Vs. Frenchman Duhaupas.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

FLASHBACK: LULU, LENNY, SALOMÉ AND FRIDA WIN EUROVISION ON MARCH 29, 1969

The crazy Eurovision year 1969! The final in Teatro Real in Madrid ends up in tie-break with four songs! There were no rules like today how the solve the problem so they were all declared the winners. One can't really compare the situation but if today's rules were present France would have been declared the winner. Nine countries had voted both France and Spain (and 8 voted UK and only 7 the Netherlands), but France got twice 4 points compared to Spain's highest being 3 times 3. As said, the voting and points system was different than today (Each country had 10 votes to divide)  so this is not quite comparable. 
Salomé recorded her entry in eight languages and has continued to release albums, the latest being from 2014.  
Lulu was and still is a big star and continues to record and perform. She recorded her song also in German. 
Lenny Kuhr continues to record and perform. She recorded her entry in six languages. 
Frida Boccara sadly passed away in 1996 but her music lives on dozens of compilation albums that have been released since her death. Her entry is recorded by her in five different languages. 

R.I.P. ROGER CICERO (ESC 2007)

Sad news from Germany today. Roger Cicero, who represented the country in Helsinki 2007 Eurovision has died. He was only 45. R.I.P. Roger, it was nice meeting you in Helsinki. Your wonderful music lives on.....



FLASHBACK: JACQUELINE BOYER WINS EUROVISION ON MARCH 29, 1960

This day in 1960 Jacqueline Boyer wins the 5th Eurovision song contest held in London's Royal Festival Hall with her song Tom Pillibi for France, beating UK' Looking high, high high and Monaco's Ce soir là, and the other 10 entries. 
Jacqueline recorded the song also in English and in German. Her singing and acting career continues to this day, after a full stop in the late 1960's after a car accident. In the 1980's she moved to New York and restarted her career as ... Barbara Benton

Monday, March 28, 2016

ESC 2016: THE YOUNG AND THE OLD, FEMALE VS. MALE - THE FACTS OF THIS EDITION

The facts are out (mostly*). Sweden's Frans is the youngest this year (born December 19, 1998) followed by Germany's Jamie-Lee (born March 18, 1998) and San Marino's Serhat is the oldest (born October 24, 1964).
The 1990's dominate the decades with 25 artists born in that decade, followed by 1980's with 22 - that's 94%. *
In the 1970's we have only Ireland's Nicky Byrne (born October 9, 1978), and in the 1960's besides beforementioned Serhat Macedonia's Kaliopi (born December 28, 1966)*
Surprisingly October is the month with most births (9) followed by the spring childs: March (6), February (5) and April (5) but strangely no one celebrates birthday in May!*

Male dominate with 38 vs 26 artists (including the bands from Georgia, Cyprus and Greece).
We have 22 female vocalists against 14 male, but out of the six groups and one duo five have male vocalists so it's in the end 22 vs.19 plus two mixed group vocals (Bosnia & Herzegovina and Greece). This could be the most even set ever for male/female, am I mistaken? As Eurovision tends to be usually very female lead vocally.....

*Please note the data from the bands from Greece, Georgia and Cyprus in not included as not found. If you have those dates, please let me know :-)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

HAPPY EASTER!

Happy Easter to all my readers who celebrate it.... for all the others: Have a lovely day!
And thank you ALL for following my posts day after day, month after month, year after year....

ESC 2016 SAN MARINO: SERHAT RELEASES ITALIAN VERSION NON ERO IO

Here it is finally. The Italian version of I didn't know with lyrics by Mariella Nava. Non ero io aka
It wasn't me

Friday, March 25, 2016

FLASHBACK: VICKY LEANDROS WINS EUROVISION MARCH 25, 1972

This day, March 25 Edínbourgh's Usher Hall hosted the Eurovision song contest back in 1972. Greek Vicky Leandros won for Luxembourg with her, now a classic and evergreen, Après toi ahead of the UK entry Beg, steal or borrow and Germany's Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben and 15 other songs. 
Vicky Leandros already participated in 1967 and finished 4th with L'amour est bleu, another classic. She recorded her winning entry also in English, Italian, German, Spanish, Greek and Japanese, and several other languages versions were made all over Europe, and the covers keep coming to this day.

ESC 2016 ITALY: FRANCESCA MICHIELIN PRESENTS NO DEGREE OF SEPARATION

It's fnally here, Italy's entry Nessun grado di separazione, retitled for the occasion as No degree of separation, cut to three minutes and with the added English lyrics. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ESC 2016 MALTA: SKORPION WILL DANCE AROUND IRA LOSCO

As already seen on the video for Walk on water, the incredibly flexible dancer Skorpion will be on stage with her also in Stockholm. This is a nice add to his CV that already includes dancing with and choreographing for names like Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, Madonna and Cinrque du Soleil, just to name a few random names. 
Ira's song isn't perfect but it's ok me thinks, and Skorpion will bring in some welcomed disruption from noticing the song is kinda messy.... I hope he will include in the choreography his signature scorpion walk moves ;-p

Monday, March 21, 2016

ESC 2016: SAN MARINO GOES DISCO! CHANGE OF VERSION

Now this got interesting! After the fans hated the original ballad version of I didn't know, San Marino has now decided to present on stage in Stockholm the disco version, welcomed with open arms by fans. Serhat does Cher and has the sound of the 70's disco. Bring out your discoballs and afro wigs! Will it work? Will this now become the new fanwank? Time will tell...
After various remixes we can still expect the Italian and French versions of the song.....

ESC 2016 BULGARIA: IF LOVE WAS A CRIME IS HERE. FINALLY

Last but not least Bulgaria has released their entry, If love was a crime by Poli Genova. It's a radio friendly well performed and arranged pop number that enters one ear and goes out the other....

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST GOES ASIAN - PACIFIC NEXT YEAR

EBU has finally agreed with Australia SBS the launch of the Asian-Pacific next year. The first song contest will be held in Australia next year. Is it that Australia and China have been also studying the event the past two years? Will Australia leave Eurovision or continue to take part in both (back in the day Finland and Yogoslavia took part in both Eurovision and Intervision song contests....)?
The area includes over 40 countries and territories so it could develop as big as Eurovision in theory. I suppose we can count Australia, Banghladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam in, maybe Mongolia, Myanmar and a few islands. How cool would an entry from Nauru or Vanuatu be?
And we can't forget in large this term also includes Russia, Canada, USA, Mexico and Peru! And will they reach out for Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan and others?
For sure we will get a show mixing Bollywood to K-Pop and J-Pop along with some other musical realities and a few hundred million viewers .-)

ESC 2016 BELARUS: NAKED WITH WOLVES?

Today's funniest Eurovision related story comes from Belarus. Some sources claim Ivan wants to perform on stage naked and with live wolf or wolves. It surely would be a first on Eurovision stage! We have seen some forgotten underwear over the years, and some cardbox animals though..... Is it time to take things a bit further? 
No, according the rules live animals are not allowed, and Eurovision being a family show nudity won't do either. (It seems to be ok to be half naked if you are a dancer though..... )

Sunday, March 20, 2016

ESC 2016 GREECE: TRADITIONAL DANCES AHEAD

The news from Greece tell Argo loses one singer, that is Elias Kesides, and will be replaced by a dancer Vasilis Roxenos. Expect some torso twisting line dancing and opa opas! Poor Elias will be watching the show from Greenroom instead. 
The Greek song seems not to be favored that much by the fans, and expecially by a certain website but this blogger welcomes it with open arms compared to some plastic fake ethnicity Greece has sent a bit too many times already. For all this I hope it will do much better than the polls suggest. Just to annoy some people :-)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

ESC 2016: STOCKHOLM TAKES FANS TO THE HEIGHTS

Fans are able to really get high in Stockholm 2016 Eurovision. A 81 meter high viewing tower (just 3 meters shy of Globen's 84 meters) aka City Skyliner will be erected in the middle of the Eurovision Village in Kungträdsgården. Up there you will have a stunning view to the city center and over Gamla Stan to Globen and beyond. Up to 60 persons can take it at time and for the modest cost of 100 kroner. The Village itself is free and open to everyone.
Nearby will be the Euro Fan Café. It will have two floors and three separate spaces with four bars, including an open terrace. Right attached to it is EuroClub, that is twice the size of that in Malmö, now housing 3000 fans, delegates and journalists. Shirley Clamp and  Velvet will be hosting the EuroClub. 

ESC 2016: A CLEAR MÅNS EFFECT, SAYS CHRISTER BJÖRKMAN

The Heads od delegation meeting is over in Stockholm and now Christer Björkman and SVT's team have all the material they need to work on the running order and staging of the entries the best possible way in Globen next May. 
"Now we have all the material from the 43 entries and have big creative meetings where we go through every single song and detail and also the technology, the colors and the patterns of graphics we should have. We go through every detail. There is a clear Måns effect with a lot of technology to be used. There are a lot of projections and different kinds of help with technology needed to give the act a stronger impact. You want to approach a music video of thinking rather than just ask a performer on stage" Björkman says. 
But there is at least one country that is going strongly against the trend: Sweden itself.  Frans staging is minimal and stripped down compared to Måns Zelmerlöw's last year. 
"It's interesting. We've put a lot of effort in the staging for the past five years and have been a pioneer in many things. To maintain this position we must also be the first to move on. We really do it with Frans. If it is a miss or a stroke of genius remains to be seen. I'm very proud and impressed at how the Swedish people voted in Melodifestivalen. The jury backed Oscar and Frans, who are both courageous acts, and that they do it, I can understand. It's their job to find comtemporary acts of 2016. But that the people voted also these two progressive contributions to first and second place is impressive and really cool!"

Friday, March 18, 2016

MENGONI, EMMA AND MICHIELIN TONIGHT AT TIM MUSIC ONSTAGE AWARDS

Tim OnStage Music awards takes place tonight in Italy. The show is live on Rai2 from 9pm and is hosted by Malika Ayane and Nicola Savino. Performing on stage are among others Eurovision stars Marco Mengoni (2013), Emma (2014) and Francesca Michielin (2016) but also likes of Nek, The Kolors, Subsonica and Clementino.
The awards are given in various categories concentrating on live music only including Best Italian tour, Best performer, Event of the year, Best live anthem in a concert, Best Fan base and Best future star and a few interantional awards as well. The voting has been online and at the moment there are almost 900.000 votes given...
Francesca Michielin is nominated for the Future Star award, and Marco Mengoni rules the nominations having five - basicly every one he can be nominated in: Best Performer, Best Italian tour, Best live anthem (Essere umani), Best Fan bas and Best Look....

Update: Mengoni won Best performer and Best Italian tour awards. He lost the anthem award to Negramaro very narrowly (31.378 votes against their 31.720!). He came also second in the other categories losing both to The Kolors.
Francesca Michielin had no chance in her category won also by The Kolors.

MARCO MENGONI KEEPS ON TOURING..... ALSO IN EUROPE!

Marco Mengoni has since long sold out all of his spring tour that starts on April 28, but that's not all: it's been announced a second leg of the tour starting in November and including also an European tour. Most Likely more dates will be added later. 
This follows his triple platinum selling second album within a year, Le cose che non ho. Meanwhile he has also released his first album for the Spanish market. Liberando palabras, the Spanish version of triple platinum selling Parole in circolo, his first album in 2015He's also having a concert in Madrid on May 25 among other European dates.
Check out the dates after the jump.....

Thursday, March 17, 2016

ESC 2016 MALTA: HERE'S WALK ON WATER. IT'S FAR FROM #WOW

I was prepaired to badmouth Malta's new song for Eurovision 2016 after all bullsh*t they went through the change it. I was afraid I would have to lie and pretend not liking it once it comes out. But hey, I don't have to. Walk on water is bad. I mean BAD. No melody to talk about, just sound after another in a nonsense arrangement that doesn't go anywhere. This lands easily in my bottom 10 and I don't even have to lie. At least Chameleon was melodic and catchy, not some random Melodifestivalen reject. 
Poor Malta. I hope you won't make the final, as you really don't deserve it. Not with this song and this way. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ESC 2016 Vs. ESC 2012: A TRIS OF ARTISTS MEET AND COMPETE AGAIN

In a funny twist of fate three of the returning artists this year all competed in the 2012 edition in Baku, and all of them also made the final. Do you think they can do better than four years ago? 

Kaliopi for Macedonia did the best, finishing 13th with her Crno i belo
And this year she is giving us Dona
Just one point behind was Lithuania's Donny Montell finishing 14th with Love is blind
This year he's singing I've been waiting for this night
Iceland's Gréta Salóme dueted with Jónsi in Never forget finishing 20th. 
This time she's solo with Hear them calling

*We have three more returnees this year: 
Ira Losco (Malta 2002), Deen (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2004) and Poli Genova (Bulgaria 2011)

ESC 2016: SHIRLEY CLAMP AND VELVET IN CHARGE OF THE EUROCLUB

Melodifestivalen veterans Shirley Clamp and Velvet will be the hosts of the EuroClub that will situated in Skeppsbron in front of the Royal Palace in Stockholm in coming May 2-14. They will host live show every night during the Eurovision nights with special guests, among them of course most every participant this year and new and ole veterans of both Eurovision and Melodifestivalen. 
Both ladies have a lot of experience with Melodifestivalen having been first chorists (even in Eurovision) and then trying their luck as artists several times both. Shirley has been also a commentator for SVT. 
"We are very proud and make sure this will be the highest level and the best party ever!" says Velvet. 
EuroClub is where the delegations, media and accreditated fans party and mingle together. EuroFanCafé will be also situated in the same place. 


Monday, March 14, 2016

ESC 2016: EUROVISION - THE PARTY AT TELE2

Oh, I already forgot this. It's just what I thought they would do when it was said months ago Tele2 Arena will be somehow involved with the show this year. While the next door Globen is sold out and the Eurovision song contest 2016 final is on air Tele2 will be filled with fans watching it on 300 m2 screen, with live feed from the backstage with Sanna Nielsen who will be also in the greenroom. Likes of Eurovision winners Carola and Loreen will entertain the people before the show, and the after show will surely feature many a contestant. Even the Swedish jury votes will be delivered from the Tele2. The only kick up: One must be 20 years old to attend.... Tickets go on sale this Friday at axs.com. More info here.
Free for all public viewing will be available at Eurovision Village, while accredited can also watch it at EuroClub

18.00 Doors open
19.30 Show on stage with Carola, Loreen, Danny Saucedo, Panetoz etc
21.00 Live show on megascreen
00.30 Afterparty
04.00 Party's over

ESC 2016: HOD MEETING IN STOCKHOLM, WE'VE GOT DATES, NUMBERS AND POSITIONS

The 43 Heads of delegations come together in Stockholm with EBU and SVT handing over their entries. Or at least all SVT needs to set up the staging and live performance for them, with special requests and all the ideas they have. 
Bulgaria has been granted a permission to present their entry If love was a crime only on March 20 for reasons known only to themselves. Croatia, Malta and Iceland will also present their official preview videos on March 17. 
The postcard have been/will be shot in every country giving us glimpse of both their personal and artistic lives. These are shot in 3-4 different places in every country. 
The running order will be decided by the producer by the end of March. Once they know what every country has planned and what kind of effects they are using in their staging. We don't want five songs with pyros one after another do we? But one thing is already known: Sweden will perform as number nine in the final!
The preliminary dates for Eurovision 2017 are May 16, 18 and 20. 
The CD will be released April 15 and the DVD June 17.

ESC 2016: NEW EUROVISION VERSIONS: THE GOOD AND THE VERY BAD

The entries have been handed out in Stockholm to EBU and SVT and one by one the Eurovision versions of the songs are being delivered and revealed to us.
Let's start with the good ones. Israel has done something to Made of stars and it has turned out very intense and classy indeed. The best ballad thingy along with Serbia this year by far! I don't miss Ella D at all!
France has cut the beginning anf the end to make it a three minute one, and apparently made it also softer and faster. Great job!
Also Spain has changed a few thing but nothing major. I may have liked the original a bit more for it's heavier beats and a bit more amateurish sound.... But this isn't bad at all!
And then the bad. Albania what have you done? Gone is the drama, the atmosphere, the mystery.... All is left is Eneda's voice, far more less convincing in English. From ok that could have been pretty good to one of the worst. Unlistenable. 

ESC 2016 MALTA: IRA LOSCO WILL SING WALK ON WATER

She's no longer chameleon nor invincible. She'll be walking on water like Edsilia Rombley and someone else back in the day. This is so wrong in so many ways.
Ok, there was an option in the Maltese national final that the winner could change the song afterwards, but then why did they bother at all? Why have a national final if it served only to pick up the singer? And if that was the purpose why wasn't it made very clear from the beginning? Why the artists in that case had to sing new unreleased songs, potential Eurovision entries if it was to be changed anyways? Why couldn't they just sing an old hit or a cover to showcase their talents at maximum? Why on earth did Ira Losco have TWO songs? Again, if Maltese broadcaster wanted her so bad why didn't they just have a selection with her and drop the whole national final thing? Why-ay-ay-ay?
If I were one of the other 18 competing artists in the Malta Eurovision song contest 2016 I would feel very cheated and mislead. They should all stand up and protest next year. Let them just have an internal selection and that's it.
The new song was selected among ten songs, incuding the original winner Chameleon (Invincible) and those were judged by an international jury. That feels so much of cheating. And wrong in so many levels that I am hoping that Malta will drop out in the semifinal. Justice! 
This whole farce of selection beats even Belarusian behaviour in the past. And that's something indeed!
And yes, you guessed it. It's a song made in Sweden.....
Anyways, the new song will be premiered this Friday. Let's see how the public and fan wan reaction will be..... 


ESC 2016 ITALY: NO DEGREE OF SEPARATION FOR FRANCESCA MICHIELIN

Italy has finally confirmed that Francesca Michielin will indeed sing Nessun grado di separazione, her runner up in Sanremo 2016 festival, and the biggest hit from the festival so far in the charts and radios - she's been #1 already 3 weeks. The song will be cut to three minutes and the last chorus will be in English, and the whole affair is retitled No degree of separation. This new version will be released in coming days....
She explains in her FB: "I'm excited and honored to represent my country in Europe. I wanted to enter with my song fro Sanremo as it is a song that wants to cancel all geographical and cultural divisions and invites us all to embrace the one and only direction. We are Italians, we are French, German, Lithuanian, Swedish... We are blonds, brunettes, redheads... No! We are people with hopes and joys, dreams and delusions. We are all the same. In love and freedom. And I want to sing this in Italian because it's my language and it's a beautiful language, but also in English so that it can be shared with everyone, and it's an universal language."

Read the Eurovision version lyrics after the jump:

Sunday, March 13, 2016

ESC 2016 AZERBAIJAN: HERE'S THE MIRACLE

As expected it's a thingy made in Sweden. Very generic and standard perfect pop song. The real miracle is they didn't bother to make a proper video nor hire a make up artists or stylist for poor Samra, who looks rather worn out and tired. But it's not gonna take a miracle this ending up in top-5 in May. For all the wrong reasons.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

ESC 2016 SERBIA: ZAA PRESENTS GOODBYE

Tonight also Serbia and ZAA aka Sanja Vučić released their song and it's a classy ballad titled Goodbye. Makes me think of Nina Zilli and Sanremo for some reason..... Very nice. Shame it's not in Serbian though as then it would be awesome. 

ESC 2016 LITHUANIA: DONNY MONTELL HAD BEEN WAITING FOR THIS NIGHT

Donny Montell has won the Lithuanian selection with I've been waiting for this night. He won both the televoting and the jury voting tonight. He will be yet another returnee to the contest after he finished 14th in 2012.
More info coming up.........

ESC 2016 SWEDEN: FRANS WINS WITH IF I WERE SORRY

No surprise in Sweden. Frans won the televote and was second in internationla jury votes. Pre-contest favorite Molly - until we heard her song that is - got her constellation prize when Danny boy proposed her during the final. Girl's got at least something to celebrate! (If she said ja that is). And i just don't get how Wiktoria finished 4th. Why??? My three favorites in top-5, now that's a first!

01. Frans – If I Were Sorry – 156 
02. Oscar Zia – Human – 132 
03. Ace Wilder – Don’t Worry – 118 
04. Wiktoria – Save Me – 114 
05. Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Prize – 83 
06. Molly Sandén – Youniverse – 76 
07. Lisa Ajax – My Heart Wants Me Dead – 56 
08. Panetoz – Håll Om Mig Hårt – 53 
09. SaRaha – Kizunguzungu – 47 
10. Boris René – Put Your Love On Me – 41 
11. David Lindgren – We Are Your Tomorrow – 39  
12. Samir & Viktor – Bada Nakna – 31 

ESC 2016 SWEDEN: MELODIFESTIVALEN FINAL TONIGHT

The reigning Eurovision nation and this year's host Sweden will have its final tonight. The most overrated and most fan wanked event on planet. This blogger has been thinking already for years it's just getting worse year by year - gret show but songs that I don't care to hear ever again once this holabaloo is over - and this year is no exception. The semis were filled with songs that only made you think why?! but then it's only one song that you need. Sweden may not have the winner in this lot this year, no matter how much Christer Björkman wants to equal the Irish wins but there are a few that even this blogger would be glad to have in Globen come May.... Oscar, Frans and Robin that is. 
As always there are stagings that leave you mouth open and you don't even notice how medicore the song is (Ace this year, Måns last year) and word gimmicks (Youniverse) and wardrobe gimmicks (Wiktoria)
Molly Sanden was the biggest pre-contest favorite but the song is so dull she's lot ground big time and after Frans delivered his song it's been topping all the charts. Indeed it's been like fresh air in the musty MF. Could it be he's not sorry once this is over?
The international juries this year are from Australia, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Slovenia. They will provide half the votes as usual. 
Check out the entries and performance videos after the jump.....

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