Friday, April 28, 2017

SLOVENIA: OMAR NABER SINGS TAM NEKJE, SLOVENIAN VERSION OF ON MY WAY

One more for tonight. Slovenian Eurovision entry On my way was performed tonight by Omar Naber in native Slovenian as Tam nekje (Somewhere). OMG how I miss the native languages!!!

MALTA: CLAUDIA FANIELLO RELEASES BREATHLESSLY IN ITALIAN, PERDERSI

Not only Estonians, but also Claudia Faniello from Malta has released her Eurovision entry in Italian, titled Perdersi, even in two different versions! And unlike Koit and Laura Claudia has no problem with Italian pronunciation being of Italian origins.....
Listen to the ballad and the more rhythmic radio version here

ESTONIA: VERONA GETS SIMIL ITALIAN VERSION, AND A MODERN TALKING ONE!

Koit Toome and laura have been busy delivering new versions of their entry Verona in true Eurovision style. First of all there's a 80's mix that sounds more Modern Talking than Modern Talking itself ever did. But the rea curiosity is the Italian version. It must have seemed like a wonderful idea on paper, and indeed many fans have welcomed it with pleasure. Italians and those who know Italian like this blogger have been more confused and perplexed.... some might even call it a parody but then again.... One gets used to everything, even to this. Let's just be happy it's been recorded, ok?
The Italian version is included on Laura's worthcoming Greatest Hits album, and the other remixes of the song in the vinyl EP that you can order here

ESC 2017: AUSTRIA, HUNGARY, CYPRUS AND NORWAY - VIDEOS AND REVIEWS

ESC 2017: AUSTRALIA, BULGARIA, SLOVENIA AND IRELAND - VIDEOS & REVIEWS

ITALY: FRANCESCO GABBANI RELEASES MAGELLANO

Today's the day we all have been waiting for all spring: Francesco Gabbani releases his third album Magellano. (That you can hear already in Spotify at least in Italy....)
Update noon: The album is already #1 in iTunes. Quel surprise!
This blogger is already in love with the graphics and photoshoot style he has opted for the promotion! The album includes nine songs, including obviously Occidentali's Karma and also Foglie al gelo, released already last year. 
The international version of the album Magellan includes also Amen, his winning song in the Sanremo Newcomers 2016. And the new single off the album is Tra le granite e le granate to be released as a video shortly, but you can already hear a bit of it here.
TRACKLIST
01. Magellano
02. Tra le granite e le granate
03. Occidentali's karma 
04. A moment of silence
05. La mia versione dei ricordi
06. Susanna, Susanna
07. Foglie al gelo 
08. Pachidermi e pappagalli
09. Spogliarmi

Check out the videos after the jump:

ESC 2017: MALTA, ALBANIA, GEORGIA AND ARMENIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


ESC 2017: LATVIA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND AND LITHUANIA - VIDEOS & REVIEWS


Thursday, April 27, 2017

EUROVISION 2017 BROADCASTED LIVE IN THE USA AGAIN

EBU has confirmed moments ago that the Eurovision song contest 2017 final will be broadcasted again in the United States by Viacom's Logo, just like last year. Michelle Visage and Ross Matthews, from RuPaul's Drag race will be the American commentators. But that's not all, www.logotv.com and their mobile app will also show the winner's press conference right after the show. 
After Russia was kicked out/withdraw and is not broadcadting the show EBU is in need of all possible vewers to reach the magical 200 million....

ESC 2017 REVIEW - ITALY (01): FRANCESCO GABBANI - OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA


Pictured is Italy's national flower lily


Italy used Sanremo festival again as the platform to choose its entrant.The winner of the festival had the first choice to accept the challenge, and should the artists in question decline the offer it would go to the runner up, then the third etc. Francesco Gabbani took a somewhat surprise win, and gladly accepted the offer - it even looked a bit like he was waiting for it tbh - and Occidentali's Karma, written by himself with brother Filippo, Fabio Illacqua and Luca Chiaravalli, became an Youtube sensation overnight and took Italy by storm becoming a phenomenon that would be breaking all possible records in weeks and months to come....

Francesco Gabbani (34) grew up in a music shop as his family owned a shop for music instruments. He learned to play drums, guitar, piano and bass, and has also done mixing and sound engineering so he knows his stuff. In his late teens he was in Trikobalto band and they released two albums and got to perform in some major festivals and got their videos on music channels. They also toured in France and opened Stereophonics concert in Italy. 
In 2011 Gabbani goes solo and released his solo album that includes a few singles that are more liked by the critics than great public. By 2015 he's ready to concentrate on songwriting for others than dreaming of being a star himself. However he has a lot of material and almost as a joke and with Whatever attitude his team sent a song Amen to Sanremo 2016 newcomers.... The rest is history. He wins, scores a hit album, comes back to Sanremo. Wins the main category - first time ever back to back - and sells multiplatinum, gets the most watched Eurovision video ever, is among the top-10 most watched Italian videos ever.... (Check out after the jump for detailed record breaking news by Gabbani....). Meanwhile hid odds to win are the lowest ever (even below 2) and his scoring a new record in the OGAE Fan poll - 29 out 33 clubs have placed him first so far...

What can I say? I liked Amen last year. It was my favorite. The expectations were high for Occidentali's Karma and it was love after a few first lines. I was so hoping he would win even if it wasn't at all likely when the festival started, not even midway the festival. Not even seconds before Carlo Conti annonced it. But he did it. This song is perfect in every aspect; the lyrics, the arrangement, his voice, the performance, even the video. Can't find a fault anywhere. I wouldn't change a thing. Gabbani comes across as a genuine and wonderful person, his stories have deeper sense. His music comes out from a real songwriting inspiration. He's amazing live performer. A well deserved, welcome and worthy winner of Eurovision song contest 2017. If he doesn't win..... I will be so disappointed and Italy's rapidly growing interest in Eurovision might just vanish in the air again..... But at this point, how could he not win? Only the juries could do that and by doing so they would just be more hated than ever....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

ITALY: OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA GETS OFFICIAL REMIXES!

Today's Gabbani daily: Ten top deejays have remixed Francesco Gabbani's Occidentali's Karma and those official remixes have been distributed to the radios last week. One can only hope the remixes will be also available for us common morals at some point. The remixes are by  Benny Benassi & Mazz, Marc Benjamin & DNMKG, Addal, Dj Ross & Savietto, Molella & Valentini, Tyro Maniac, Simon from Deep Divas, Ken Holland vs Mess and Wlady as well as Gabry Ponte that you can hear below.
Meanwhile his new album Magellano will be released this Friday!

ESC 2017 REVIEW - PORTUGAL (02): SALVADOR SOBRAL - AMAR PELOS DOIS

Pictured is Portugal's antional flower lavender

Portugal has been in the Eurovision since 1964 and their best placing todate is 6th. They have long ago surpassed Finland as the worst, and they must have frustrated themselves as they decided to skip last year's edition and think it allover for a year. This year Festival da Canção was back and fans were expecting some modern eurotunes maybe as there was even a freedom of language. RTP again chose the composers and they chose the artists and submitted whatever they felt suitable. The result? At first glance nothing had changed: unfitting songs to Eurovision, most of them in Portuguese and having no chance at all impress the Europeans. All was forgotten when Salvador Sobral took the stage with a song his sister Luisa had written, Amar pelos dois...

Salvador Sobral (27) came to public light when participating in the Idols 2009, where he placed 7th. Also his sister took part earlier and placed third btw. Salvador has lived in the United States and Spain. He released his debut album last year and has released a couple of singles before. A lot has been talked and gossiped about his health condition and the fact is he will skip the technical rehearsals in Kyiv, and will arrive just in time for the dress rehearsals. After the Portuguese semifinal he was rushed to the hospital for hernia operations, and the rumours say he's suffering of a severe heart condition or needing a new heart asap. But nothing is confirmed and it's all about his song instead. That's very admirable as they could milk the pity here if they wanted to....

I have always liked the Portuguese music and their take on Eurovision, or rather the national final. Real songs and real Portuguese music not trying to please the Eurovision taste. I loved Amar pelos dois as soon as I got over Salvador's somewhat weird performance - but thinking about it now, having suffered hernia myself I can't even imagine how he managed to perform at all! The song is timeless. In a good way. It could have won Eurovision already in the 1950's or 1960's, and could win it in the 2010's more than in the 1990's I think. If there wasn't Italian gorilla involved this year this would be clearly my favorite to win it and I wish more than anything that Portugal would finally win it. But then as I said, there's the gorilla is there to mess things up..... And is it coincidence my top-3 are all non-English songs?  Can we have a joint winner? 10/10





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - HUNGARY (03): JOCI PÁPAI - ORIGO


Pictured is Hungary's national flower tulip


Hungary continued with the highly succesful A Dal concept for the 6th time and once again managed to gather a very high class and variable lot of artists and songs. This year the process was made even more professional as all the artists had to have already a recording contract and a label, at least one album alreayd released or their music being played on Hungarian radio and television. 30 entries made the cut and through three heats and two semifinal we were down to eight finalists. Joci Pápai won the final round with televotes, having qualified on each step purely thanks to juries. His Origo is written by himself.

József "Joci" Pápai (35) is Hungarian singer, rapper and guitarist of Romani descent, and for the first time Hungary will bring their gipsy minority into spotlight in Eurovision, a fact that these times and days isn't so obvious. Joci interested in music at young age thanks to his brother and came to fame already 2005 in the reality series Megasztár, even if he didn't get that far in the show. The year after he was featured in rapper Majka's hit single, and the collaboration continued over the years with several singles and Joci was featured also in other collaboration with Caramel. 

Now this was love at first sight. Or hearing. I'm a sucker for some ethnic vibes and here they are perfect. This in exciting, interesting yet modern and catchy. I don't understand a word but it doesn't matter as I still believe every word and feel the pain. He's voice is hypnotic, the beat is fresh and even the rapping fits in and sounds great and not at all out of place or annoying. Love it. Every second of it. So much that this is the only song I was listening a lot already way before the Hungarian final but honestly I never thought it would win and that it would only remain my own national final favorite. How wrong I was!  10/10

Monday, April 24, 2017

ITALY: 100 MILLION TIMES OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA

The counter keeps going wild and this afternoon passed the 100 million mark. 
Now it's already way past it: 100.236.343 when writing this.... But that's not all. 
The live video from Sanremo festival is at 6.585.481 and the Eurovision version video 978.186. That's altogether
107.800.010
Alè! Namaste!


ESC 2017 REVIEW - MONTENEGRO (04): SLAVKO - SPACE

Pictured is the national flower of Motenegro, mimosa

Montenegro is seeking for their third final place this year with something else. They internally chose Slavko Kalezić and his outrageous character and song Space, written by  Adis Eminić, Iva Boršić and Momčilo Zeković. This seems to be the most divisive entry of the year, but at least it won't go unnoticed....

Slavko Kalezić (31) is actor, singer and songwriter. He has studied in the Academy of Perfmorning arts and is part of the Montenegrin national theatre. He has appered both on stage and in film in various productions. His singing career started in 2011, and two years later he tried his luck in X Factor Adria. He made it all the way to the judge's house mentored by Eurovision veteran Željko Joksimović assisted by another veteran Toni Cetinski. This didn't stop him and the year after he released his debut album. A few singles has followed and now he's here. Clearly he has created a character in true Lordi/Verka/Silvia Night style....

Where to start? The first reaction to this was giggles. And then wanting to hear and watch the video again. And again. The song itself is incredibly catchy and horny. As in having those horns in the arrangements that I love. Divine and retro. The very broken English in the first line might be intentional just to annoy and displace us as it disappears once the chorus kicks in. The video is wonderfully over the top and this whole affair is one big Eurovision cliché, in a good way. But... after seeing him live in various promo events (he has been literally everywhere!) the performance has been even a bit too over the top. I hope he keeps it under control in Kyiv and gives us an amazing staging and a bit more seriousness in the performance, less outrageous is more, and we might have a surprise in our hands. I must say I'm rather puzzled how come this is doing so bad in various fan polls, I thought they'd love it. Oh hang on, ah yes.... this is not the Swedish entry. If it was it'd be on top battling it out with Italy. Now it's just some random Montenegro.... Sad. 10/10




Sunday, April 23, 2017

EUROVISION COMPETITION GIVEAWAY: WIN SAN MARINO'S PROMO SINGLE!

Now it's your chance to win San Marino's promo single Spirit of the night by Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson. The single includes Radio version, ESC version and Club version + video, photos, inks and artists and songwriters biographies, and yrics of the entry.

To win your copy you simply has to answer the following easy questions and send the answers and contact details by commenting this post below (your answers won't be visible to others) by April 30, and like and follow my Facebook and follow my Twitter. The winners will be notified by email.

1. What is the Sammarinese cake Tre Monti made of?
A - sponge
B- wafer
C- ricotta

2. What color are the Sammarinese zebra crossings?
A – red and yellow
B – white and yellow
C – white and blue

3, What is the motto of San Marino?
A - Libertas
B - Humanity
C - Aeternum

4. What is San Marino famous for?
A - footballers
B – race drivers
C – crossbow shooters

5. How many times has Valentina Monetta represented her country?
A - 3
B - 4
C - 5


ESC 2017 REVIEW - SAN MARINO (05): VALENTINA MONETTA & JIMMIE WILSON - SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT

Pictured is the national flower of San Marino, cyclamen


San Marino once again used the internal selection and after a long process the final decision was made just a couple of weeks before the headline with a phone call to the one and only Valentina Monetta. She will be joined on stage with American born, Germany based Jimmie Wilson for this black & white disco duet penned by Ralph Siegel with Jutta Staudenmayer and Steven Barnacle. This is La Monetta's 4th Euroviison, Ralph Siegel's 24th. Maybe next year they make Valentina's 5th making her the ONLY Eurovision artist with five participations, and Siegel's 25th?

Valentina Monetta (42) seems to be the oldest artist this year (!!!) but she seems to be having the most fun of it. After Copenhagen she's been doing her own thing, singing jazz and r'n'b in clubs and living in London for some time. Jimmie who comes from the original Motown city Detroit, has studied in Hollywood, played in a musical produced by Michael Jackson before moving to Germany to star as Barak Obama in another musical. He has released a few singles and his debut album will be released shortly.

After three participations this time Valentina seems to be letting it all out and just having fun after the stressful Crisalide affair as one of the hottests fan favorites, and then the miracle of Maybe. Spirits of the night are dancing it away while Valentina lets it all out and musical star Jimmie is trying to keep up with her. And together they really work the stage and make the song come alive. Some say it's old fashioned and typical Ralph Siegel song aka dated and bad. I don't agree. It's vintage disco and their voices blend together, and even better when live and it is this song's natural habit (unlike some others like Belgium and Azerbaijan to start with...) as they both are experienced and great vocalists as we have seen in various promo events from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam and Madrid. Their live performance makes you even forget its slight repetitiveness that maybe can get to you when listening only the studio version. Valentina sings better than ever and has the sparkle in the eye like never before and their smiles can melt butter. This is fun and catchy and deserves to qualify. I might be slightly biased (cough cough) but  9/10 and a jump of 10 places in the last minute just for the fun of it. Go Vale!


ITALY: OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA ENTERS ALL TIME TOP-10 ITALIAN VIDEOS

Francesco Gabbani's hot Eurovision winning candidate Occidentali's Karma is still gathering an average of nearly 900.000 daily views on Vevo and has entered already the all time Italian music videos top-10 (besides being the already the most watched Eurovision video ever in overal) with over 99 million views when writing this on Sunday midday April 23. At this rate he will be the number one by midsummer but as the average views will surely be more during Eurovision and right after it, it will most propably happen sooner.... :-)
But how have the other Italian entries featured in this chart? Here are their positions when writing this:

#9 Occidentali's Karma - Francesco Gabbani 99.020.953 (daily average 879.250)
#11 Grande amore - Il Volo  86.970.984 (64.929)
#19 L'Essenziale - Marco Mengoni 48.200.124 (32,655)
#64 Nessun grado di separazione - Francesco Michielin 25.594.696 (11.756)

Marco Mengoni has two videos with more views than L'Essenziale, and a total of 9 videos in top-200. Also Francesca Michielin has one video doing better than her Eurovision one. Emma has a total of 8 videos included, but not her Eurovision one. Il Volo has 4 videos (all in top.100)

LAURA VOUTILAINEN HITS TOP-10 AGAIN WITH MÄ EN KESTÄ

Laura Voutilainen has been in the business and one of the most popular and chameleon Finnish female singers since early 1990's. She's always been big in radio sporting over a dozen radio play top-10 hits over the years, but now she's scoring her second official single's chart top-10 with Mä en kestä at #6 when writing this (also #6 in download and #38 on radioplay going up) following the success of Miks ei last year (#4 in download, #10 in singles, #9 radios). 
Of course this is also to do with the new way of making the charts but its refreshing to see some oldtimers making it among all the teenage idols and rappers. :-) Well done Laura!


ESC 2017 REVIEW - ESTONIA (06): KOIT TOOME & LAURA - VERONA

Pictured is cornflower, Estonia's national flower 

A recordbreaking 242 songs were submitted to the annual Eesti laul, 20 were selected for the semifinals, including a string of previous Eurovision veterans (Ivo Linna, Elina Born, Lenna Kuurmaa, Laura, Koit Toome). Ten songs made it to the grand final in sold out Saku Suurhall. In the end veterans Koit & Laura won, after a rocky road: in the semifinal the jury placed them only 5th, televoters 2nd. In the final's first round the jury kept pushing them down, now only 5th but they won the televote getting double the votes of runner up Kerli. Three songs made it to the superfinal where only televote ruled and they took a convincing victory (55%)  and slapped the jury's face with Verona, written by another veteran, Sven Lõhmus.

Koit Toome (38) started his career in a hit duo Code One before going solo with Eurovison 1998 and Mere lapsed placing 12th. Since then he has released albums and singles, won Dancing with the stars, dubbed animated films, done countless musicals. His uncle was the prime minister of Estonia, and he's to become father for the second time later this year.
Laura Põldvere (28) started her career in Eesti laul 2005, where she won with the girlband Sunstribe (and finished 20th in the semifinal, her solo would surely have done better ->). But she also came 2nd with her solo Moonwalk. Two years later she came 3rd with Sunflowers. In 2009 she was again 3rd with Destiny. And last year 2nd with Supersonic. She has studied music in Berklee Collage in Boston and has released two albums (plus one compilation) so far, and over a dozen of singles. 

If you haven't already guessed I adore Laura! Verona might be only 6th at this ranking but it also could be 2nd as the top is so even. I love Laura's voice, and Koit has his charm, too, and is a familiar name to this blogger and they work well together. The song is a weird mix of old and new, 80's dress and beat, 90's Europop, drama and nonsense but it works. It's incredible catchy and I want to believe whatever they are trying to tell me. One of the few songs this season I heard before the national finals I thought must win and do well in Kyiv. 9/10

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - FRANCE (07): ALMA - REQUIEM

Pictured is the national flower of France, iris

Once the Eurovision superpower France has been struggling big time in the 2000's culminating in the the last place in 2014 and second to last in 2015. It was a time for a total makeover and in 2016 they did it. Amir was chosen internally, scored 6th place in the final and became one of the biggest hits of the year in France, and in Eurovision general. His success changed apparently also the French public's interest and if it works, don't change it. Stick to Amir's inner circle:  Requiem is written by Nazim Khaled. Just like Amir's J'ai cherchè

Alma or Alexandra Maquet (28) is a singer-songwriter. She started with music already as a child and has lived in both Miami and Brazil. She started releasing her own songs few years ago and slowly made her way to television and touring with Amir among other things. Requiem is her third official single since 2014, and her debut album will be released shortly. The song is revamped for Eurovision with additional English lyrics (check the original after the jump...)

I loved Amir's entry last year and Alma is great, too. A bit of an ethnic vibe that makes me think of deep south, Spain and gipsies even. Alma's voice is very French and her r's very strong. It's catchy and fresh, a perfect summer hit in a style between Amir and Kendji Girac (who would be an Eurovision wet dream) so how could I not like this? I must admit I preferred the original non-English version but then again, one gets used to everything, even to those lines. France is on a right track and Edoardo Grassi will make them pround sometime very soon. Third time lucky? 9/10

EUROVISION 2017: A WEEK BEFORE THE REHEARSALS START - THE STAGE

How time flies! Already in a week, next Sunday morning, April 30, the first country Sweden will have its first rehearsal (read more here) on the Eurovision song contest 2017 stage in IEC in Kyiv. By then a lot is done on stage already; the dummy rehearsals with the local students have performed the songs over and over while camera and lightning crew has been fixing and fine tuning their part of the show. Once all this done, the real divas walk in and want all possible changes of course and the real work starts :-)

 This angle reminds me of Helsinki 2007 really.....
 Is that a medusa?
Pastel colors are in
 Just for some comparison....

ESC 2017 REVIEW - SWEDEN (08): ROBIN BENGTSSON - I CAN'T GO ON

Pictured is the Swedish national flower, linnaea borealis aka twin flower

Sweden once again used Melodifestivalen, the mother of all national selection marathons to select its song. 2.478 songs were submitted, more were invited and in the end 28 were chosen for the semifinals and six weeks later after the usual four semisi and the second chance round we had lost three previous Eurovision winners in the process, as well as Finland's ex-entrant Krista Siegfrids and Robin Bengtsson was vrowded the new king with his I can't go on, written by David Kreuger, Hamed 'K-One' Pirouzpanah and previous Eurovision entrant Robin Stjernberg. He was the clear favorite of the international juries, but Swedish televoters placed him only third....

Robin Bengtsson (26) started his career back in 2008 in the Idols, where he placed third behind Maltese Kevin Borg, and Alice Svensson who also took part in this Meloifestivalen (but didn't make it past her semi). Then he did WipeOut and and got to Melodifestivalen last year and placed 5th. He has released one album to date, but a string of singles since 2008, both soo and as featured artist. He has also participated in a couple of charity singles. 

What to say? This might be a bit too high on my ranking but I do like this. The staging works wonders and this will be an awesome opener for the Eurovision 2017 when he starts ti backstage and emerges to the stage later and starts running with his dancers/singers. This is Sweden so they have already fixed any lack of vocals by changing two dancers to ones with a voice plus he will have a back up singer who concentrates only on that and leaves the running to others so no worries in that department. Not the best song in the universe, but it's catchy, memorable and great arrangement. I wouldn't be surprised if Sweden scores another medal this year.... Nothing less than top-5 would be surprising. 9/10


Friday, April 21, 2017

ITALY: GABBANI, MENGONI, EMMA AND MICHIELIN NOMINATED FOR MTV MUSIC AWARDS

Francesco Gabbani is not only hosting the Tim MTV Music Awards Italy in Rome in the end of May but he's also niminated as the best male artist alongside another Eurovision veteran, global star Tiziano Ferro and Sanremo 2017 revealtion Michele Bravi.
But that's not all: two Eurovision veterans Emma and Francesca Michielin are nominated as the best female artist with Alessandra Amoroso and Levante. Marco Mengoni gets also another nomination in the best fans category.

ITALY: RADIO FESTIVAL FOR EUROPE CHANNEL OPENS

Oh my, how times change! A few years ago Italy wasn't taking part in the Eurovision song contest and in general public's mind it was just a memory of something in the past..... Now after hitting the top-10 year after year (well, almost...) and being the hot favorite to beat this year Radio 105 has launched an Eurovision radio! I was thinking it's April 1 all over again when I read the news..... You can also listen to it by clicking the image on your right.....or

or

ESC 2017 REVIEW BELGIUM (09): BLANCHE - CITY LIGHTS

Pictured is the national flower of Belgium, poppy

Belgium's French speaking television is in charge this year and as usual selected internally their artist. This time it's Blanche, yet another artist for The Voice Belgique. Her song City lights was also internally selected among the songs she was working on for her debut album. It's written by Pierre Dumoulin and Blanche herself. 

Ellie Delvaux (17) aka Blanche for the artistic life. She entered The Voice Belgique last year but unlike previous Eurovision starts Roberto Bellarosa and Loic Nottet she didn't get that far in the competition, but her special dark voice left a mark. She won't pass unnoticed at the Eurovision either for sure and with some luck might have an international hit in her hands.

I have to stress again I'm writing these reviews mostly before the live performances in the promo events. It seems the fans have been a bit disappointed by Blanche's stage presense and vocals, but even if I repeat myself: the only two performances that matter are the jury final and the live broadcast. So she has all the time in the world make it work in Kyiv and get those points rolling in. I loved this song since the first hearing. Her voice is very special and very French. I'd love to hear this one in French really! Mysterious, haunting yet catchy and atmospheric and even radio friendly. A weird combo that works. Maybe not an Eurovision winner in the end but one of Belgium's finest ever for sure. 9/10


Thursday, April 20, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - FINLAND (10): NORMA JOHN - BLACKBIRD

Pictured is lily of the valley, national flower of Finland

Finland used once again Uuden musiikin kilpailu aka UMK. This 6th time however was the most revamped of them all so far (there have been minor changes every year): no more semifinals but just one grand final. As usual the songs and their videos were published way ahead of the final and in theory people were familiar with the songs before the big night. In the end Norma John took a very convincing win with both the international juries and the televoters ahead of some fan wanks with their Blackbird, written by themselves.

Norma John is vocalist Leena Tirronen and pianist Lasse Piirainen. Norma John has existed in some form already almost ten years, but Leena and Lasse go back even longer, as they have been friends and musical soulmates since teenage years. Leena (32) first came to spotlight when she placed 3rd in the X Factor 2010 and released an album after that. (Nobody has a glue who the two infront of her were btw. Gone by 2011). Lasse is a pianist, who has been working in music for ages, and recently also a lot in television. This spring he's been one of the two pianists an team leader in a hugely popular musical quizz show BumtsiBum! based on an Irish format The Lyrics Board.

What can I say? I might be a bit biased (but then again I may not, I placed Finland 2015 dead last without hesitation) but Finland is here at number 10. The Top-12 or so could be in any order depending on my mood but this is clearly one of the best songs this year musically, if not the best along with Portugal. And both are curiously rather un-Eurovisionary. Leena's voice is magic, and her pronunciation adds to the mystery. Lasse's piano solo is out of this world. This is an entry I am proud of no matter the final outcome, but I hope they will get at least a Softengine like finish. They deserve that. As minimum. But then again like in life, in Eurovision everything isn't fair. But one can live in hope. Amazng song and if and when they stick to the UMK staging (check it out after the jump)  it will be wonderful hauntingly beautiful three minutes in Kyiv.... 9/10

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

ITALY: FRANCESCO GABBANI WILL HOST MTV MUSIC AWARDS

After Sanremo, multiplatinum selling single, Eurovision victory in sight and new album coming out next week, tour selling out fast for next summer Francesco Gabbani is taking on another challenge: He will be hosting the Italian MTV Music awards, taking place this year in Rome! The date is May 27 and that's all we know so far..... but do we know more? He's there.
Meanwhile Occidentali's karma is at 96 million......

ESC 2017 REVIEW - SWITZERLAND (11): TIMEBELLE - APOLLO

Pictured is Switzerland's national flower edelweiss

Switzerland has been the last in the semifinal for two years now. Only two finals in the ast two years, and even in one of them last. No wonder they decided to revamp the whole selecton process and instead of each broadcaster selecting their own entrants they joined forces already in the first phase. 160 songs were submitted and they had to have a connection to Switzerland - instead of the previously insane open internet submission to anyone. A special jury chose around 20 entries to the live auditions, and then six were chosen for the national final, where only televote ruled. In the end of this Timebelle won with Apollo, written by Elias Näslin, Nicolas Günthardt and Alessandra Günthardt.

Timebelle, who already was a runner up in the Swiss selection in 2015, currently is a trio made of Miruna Mănescu (vocals), Samuel Forster (drums) and Emanuel Daniel Andriescu (multi-instrumentalist). The band was originally a five piece boyband, and Romanian Miruna was added later and is now leading the project. They have released one album so far and three singles before Apollo

Thank heavens Swiss had the common sense to change their selection method. I like this. Period. The melody is catchy and captivating. I like her voice and her way of singing fits this song perfectly. She's stunning also in the looks department. The whole affair sounds familiar and reminds me of many artists and songs, but yet it is kinda original and I simply can't put my finger why and where it sounds familiar. This could, and should be heading to same kind of result as Sebalter in 2014, or even better. And to be honest, I think these two are the only two decent songs from Switzerland for ages. 9/10

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

ESC 2017: ONUKA JOINS JAMALA AND RUSLANA AS EUROVISION INTERVAL ACTS

One more piece in the Eurovision song contest 2017 puzzle has been revealed: Ukrainian band ONUKA will be the interval act in the final. Previously it has been announced both Ukrainian winners Ruslana and Jamala will also be performing in the shows as interval or opening acts. Check out some ONUKA videos below.

ESC 2017 REVIEW - BULGARIA (12): KRISTIAN KOSTOV - BEAUTIFUL MESS

Pictured is the national flower of Bulgaria, rose

Bulgaria returned to Eurovision last year after a break and scored their best result to date. Therefor they are using the same success recipe this year: internal selection for the artist and then finding him an international hit song. And they got the youngest artist of the year, barely 17 year old Russian Kristian of Bulgarian and Kazakh origins. Last year's succesful songwriters Borislav Milanov, Sebastian Arman, Joachim Bo Persson, Alex Omar and Alexander V. Blay have written Beautiful mess for him. 

Kristian Kostov (17)  has already done The Voice Kids Russia and X Factor Bulgaria. In Kids he was mentored by Eurovision winner Dima Bilan and he reached the final. In X Factor he was the runner up. Born in Moscow he is fluent in Russian, Bulgarian and English. As a recording artist he has released one solo single and has been featured in vocals in another. 

If Macedonia is the song that has moved down the most on my list this is the one that has went up the most. Well produced with some originality in the arrangement, well sung and catchy enough this wil go far in May. He might even beat Poli's last year's 5th place now if the Russian dispora votes are aimed at him instead of missing Russia. Despite his age he's very convincing and I do enjoy the song everytime I hear it. Hopefully it won't be ruined with overpowering staging. This is 12th in my ranking but the then again, in my top-12 the songs are quite even... this could as well 5th.  9/10. Check out the music video after the jump....

Monday, April 17, 2017

ITALY: FRANCESCO GABBANI WILL WEAR ALESSANDRINI AGAIN

Francesco Gabbani will be wearing Daniele Alessandrini also in Kyiv, just like last year in Sanremo and most of all this year. 
His colorful jumpers made headlines and the orange image was glued to the minds of Italians forever. Light blue one followed, and even the red one.... 
Also all the outfis in the Occidentali's Karma video are by Alessandrini - nearly 95 million views already. 

"Francesco wanted to wear something different, be young, who had nothing to do with the classic tuxedos on the stage of the Ariston with the risk of remaining anonymous," says Matteo Alessandrini. "I knew that Francesco would sing a song that speaks in an ironic way of the Eastern habits and orang is the color of Buddhist monks."
The night of the final, however, even Gabbani has not given up the tuxedo or smoking. "Yes, but it was a special smoking" explains the designer from Forli. "For the good luck we never prepare in advance outfits for the last night, so when I learned that Francesco was among the finalists I rushed to Sanremo with three choices. Two were normal smokings. I showed them to him all then I told him: "Last year you won wearing a star jacket. This year, do an encore wearing the same fantasy". So he opted for a tuxedo of stars. One of the two that we had discarded, was worn by the monkey during the last performance. "

Daniele Alessandrini brand was founded in 1983 in Bologna and now has shops all around Italy and also in Belgium, Greece, The Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. If you want to look as sharp as Francesco you can buy most he was wearing in Sanremo and in various promotions photos and in the video here

SAN MARINO: VALENTINA MONETTA IS THE QUEEN OF MINIPOP ICONS

She already hold the record of being the only artists having three minipop icons to her credit but this year she's pushig it even further with the fourth one. These icons by Ben Morris and Europops are ever so popular and you can buy a lot of things made of them from Redbubble for example. 

Gadget

This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...