Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Olivia Lewis - 4th time lucky?


Olivia Lewis has a record in the Eurovision world (as far as I know at least): she has been the runner up in the past three editions in Malta. She came 2nd in 2004 with "Take a look", 2005 with "Deja vu" and last year with "Spare a moment" - and she isn't giving up. This year again she is amongst the favourites with her "Vertigo" from the Eurovision hit factory Vella-Borg. And indeed, it is a great track. If she doesn't win my vote goes to Claudia "Fabrizio's lil sister" Faniello with "L'Imhabba Ghamja" or Trilogy's "Starlight"

Rest in peace, Kirka


Kirka died unexpectedly last night at his home in Helsinki. He was only 56. He has had amazing career that started already in 1962. He won Euroviisut in 1984 (and holds the record of songs performed in Euroviisut over the years: 22) and Syksyn Sävel 1988. His album Surun pyyhit silmistäni is the third best selling album in Finland ever. He was supposed to perform in Euroviisujen parhaat concert in Espoo February 8, and take part in Tanssii tähtien kanssa-series next month. Kirka is only the second Finnish Eurovision star to pass away after Laila Kinnunen in 2000.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Feeling nostalgic? Dig the archives...


YLE's "Living archives" has a nice Eurovision section, that features most Finnish entries as performed in the national finals from 1961-1994. They even have the long lost 1982 video, even if in bad quality (I thought someone in YLE had destroyed it after the Big Fat Zero in Harrogate...). Also, Sata salamaa's and Bye bye baby's original arrangements... See how Laura prepared for 2002 contest and how Lordi's Athens adventures were featured in TV-news before and after the triumph. Bad hairdos, gloomy television studios, outrageous dresses and interesting eyewear, it's all there! In good and in bad. Check it out at http://www.yle.fi/elavaarkisto/?s=s&g=4&ag=75

Katragate over


The second "scandal" of Euroviisut season is over. Katra's song Tietäjä was accused of being a copy of Within Temptation's Jillian by some over eager fans (?) in Youtube with fancy clips mixing both songs together. YLE took the bull by the horns, so to speak, and had a 4 man strong jury to check the matter and their conclusion of the affair can simply be put "similar = same". Both songs are filled with clichés anyway, borrowed from many other songs in that genre that mixes opera voiced females with metal/hard rock bands... End of story. Katra brings Tietäjä to Turku on February 17th.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Euroviisut - third radio preview


YLE played the next six songs in various channels and here's what I think... This week we have fragile voiced Johanna with two wonderful songs that are not for Eurovision of these days, shame. Kentala proves he was one time lucky two years ago when his Deck of cards came 2nd, that was one groovy song. This year he has nothing to offer. Lovex is a pre-contest favourite with a huge fan base, hit single in Germany and one good solid song and join Hanna and Humane as a favourite at this point.

Johanna Kurkela: Olet kaunein uneni****
Beautiful ballad, romantic lyrics and very nice indeed. But no chance with televote.

Kentala: Merry-go-round*
Annoying half-Rednex thing including banjo.... good grief!

Lovex: Anyone anywhere****
Symphonic intro and catchy radio heavy. One to watch out in the final! Hope he manages to provide decent vocals live though...

Johanna Kurkela: Jossain metsäin takana****
A little poppier than the first one but very beautiful, this one, too. Nice lyrics, fragile vocals and all very tender.

Kentala: Left my heart behind**
Starts nicely but goes nowhere and very boring already half way through.... yawn.

Lovex: Wild and violent**
Not even anywhere near as good as the first one.

You can hear these and all the previous songs on YLE's website: http://www.yle.fi/eurovision/main.php?id=1944

Rumours and two Dimas



The rumour is Dima Bilan (left), who came second last year for Russia, is thinking of giving it another go now that the monsters won't be in his way. If he does, he must have to fight it with another Dima (right): Koldun from Russia, too, singing under Belarus flag. Many say he is the improved version of the original Dima... Will it be battle of Dimas who are not Dimas at all but Victor (Bilan) and Dmitry (Koldun)? We will see if Bilan has the ball(s) to beat Koldun!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Humane Guests



Johanna Sandell and Tom Nyman are the guest vocalists on Humane's Plane away. But who are they?
Tom Nyman was born in Vaasa and this season sings in the Finnish National Opera. He has been singing professionally since 1989 in Finland, Germany, Russia and Scotland, and has also recorded for example Finnish folksongs and Benjamin Britten songs besides being the soloist on many choir albums.
Johanna Sandell comes from Kauniainen near Helsinki, and has been singing backing vocals for many dance artists like K-System, Mighty44 besides being a part of two girlgroups Ms Mj and F2F. She also sings demos for many artists while studying in Helsinki Pop and Jazz Conservatory. She nearly got to go to Kyiv with Geir Rönning in 2005. She also sang vocals on Humane's latest album.

Humane (Eurovision Finland 2007 SF 2)

Stella does Youtube 2

Stella does Youtube!

Here are the Greek hopefuls and the best Eurovision mommy in the cyberspace Stella taking pics at 1 min 50 secs xxx

Euroviisut - second semifinal 27.1.


All fine so far. Each artist had their better effort going to the final. The highlight was of course Humane's Plane away (here pictured from left to right: Tom Nyman, Kim Herold, Johanna Sandell). Plane away beat Bubble shell with 79%. Jukka Kuoppamäki qualified with Levitä siivet and Katra with Tietäjä. They themselves both favoured these songs, too. Katri Helena appeared as guest star with ever wonderful Tule luo (ESC 1993)
Oh, and the graphics worked this time! :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Laura - Moonwalk (Eurolaul 2005)

Here is Laura's runner up in Eurolaul 2005. A bit shaky performance but I love the song anyways

Sunflowers for Estonia?


As I presented Koldun's Work that magik as my early favourite before it was chosen for Helsinki (add sarcastic comment on Belarus selection here) so I will try doing the same with Estonia and campaign for Laura's Sunflowers. Sunny, lovely pop songs and Laura murmurs through it like there was no tomorrow. All honey. Sun. Flowers. Her Moonwalk didn't take her to Kyiv in 2005 when she ended up 2nd in Estonia but maybe she will now cross the 100 kms to Helsinki instead?

Evridiki + Dimitris = Helsinki 2007


Finally it is confirmed: Evridiki for Cyprus in Helsinki! And she will bring her boyfriend Dimitris Korgialas along this time. Seems like the couple has been doing some beautiful music together for some time now. It's the first for Dimitris, but sixth for Evridiki who was one of the backing singers for Cyprus in 1983, 1986 and 1987 before going solo in 1992 and 1994. The song is rumoured to be in Greek-French.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Euroviisut CD - finally!


It is happening finally. The various record companies have buried their war tomahawks and agreed to get this CD done. The CD will be released february 28. Last year the initial failed thanks to a label who didn't let their artists be on it until May or something. Hey hallo? Final was in February, who cared about it in May when the real thing was going on?? Let's credit this to post-Lordi era as well...

Yet another book!


Petri Kaivanto has been inspired enough to get together all 40 Finnish entries with their notes and lyrics both in Finnish and English. A karaoke must!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Roger Cicero all the way, please!


Ok, the German entries are out. We have a boring up-tempo soul number by Monrose called "Even heaven cries". The girls can sing, it seems, but hey, Precious anyone?? Then we have a funny old guy wearing bad eyewear, Heinz Rudolf Kunze, singing Die Welt ist Pop. Ach ja? He sounds like a Mick Jagger demo. Sorry. Then we have Roger Cicero (scroll down for more) who offers a jazzy big band number. Not an Eurovision winner but could do well, just think about Michael Bubblé and Robbie "Swing while you're winning" Williams...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Koldun for Belarus


So, Dmitry or Dima Koldun worked his magic and easily won the Belarus selection in a marathon show that had not only the three songs still in the running (including hunky males wearing huge angel wings, artists hanging from the ceiling and such Eurovision gimmick) but also the Belarussian Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2005 winner, and the runner up of the same in 2006. One by one all the less fortunate Belarussian "the real thing" artists: Alexandra & Konstantin, Angelica Agurbash and Polina Smolina... followed by Cosmos and Marie N from Latvia, Carola from Sweden struggling through some Russian lyrics and hanging from the ceiling, and finally the original Dima (Bilan) from Russia. "Work your magic" will rock Helsinki and clearly the best song selected so far! (Well, it's the third one but still!)

Euroviisut - second radio preview


Here we go with another six offerings this week. The first semifinal songs were pretty solid, here the matter gets complicated. Jukka Kuoppamäki presented two songs that aren't bad but not so great either (at this point I prefer Jani & Jetsetters if I want something very Finnish), Katra was like Thunderstone: both songs rather similar and hard to tell yet which one is better, while Humane's first offering was just ok, while the second one blew me away! First with a nice surprise when the female vocals enter and by the end when the tenor walks in! Wow!

Jukka Kuoppamäki: Levitä siivet (Spread your wings) **
Typical Finnish "adult pop" song with a touch of country thrown in

Humane: Bubble shell ***
Midtempo thythmic campfire kind of pop song with 80's feeling

Katra: Tietäjä (Wiseman) ***
Ethnomystic opera rock that unfortunately makes one think of Tarja Turunen too much

Jukka Kuoppamäki: Pikajuna (Express train) **
Finnish up tempo schlager with a touch of 60's nostalgia. One of his better songs.

Humane: Plane away *****
Starts off with a piano, then enters Kim, enters the female vocalist. The songs grow until as a surprise a tenor enters out of nowhere and wraps it up perfectly! Wonderful!

Katra: Vaaratar (Lady of danger) ***
Very (too?) similar to the first song but maybe this is the better one?

Sebastian - Naj svet zakriči

So here's Sebastian in action!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

First semifinal Saturday: Iceland

Oh well... Iceland. They made me recover quickly over my feelings of shame for Euroviisut. Eight songs on a dark stage with nothing. The Silvia Nótt interview was in complete darkness. Eight songs, each one more boring than the others ... Honestly, I wouldn't mind if I never heard any of them again so I wish and hope the Icelandic winner wasn't in this semifinal!! But at least they had a webcast (until it was down)! Did I mention the Norwegian webcast worked fabulously?

First semifinal Saturday: Norway




Norway's MGP made me ashamed of Euroviisut. They are really catching up with the mother of all national finals and semifinal hulabaloo: Sweden. Great in between songs videos, everything looked good and professional, big and very Eurovision. And no surprises with the songs that went on to the final: Infinity with "Hooked on you" and Thorhild Sivertsen & Funky Family with "Love on the dancefloor", both dance tracks. The middle of the road pop/rock ones went on to the second chance, including the cutest of them all - Blue Moon Band with "Goodbye to yesterday" (pic on top)- and the ones I liked most are out of the running: Marika Lejon (left)with "Perfect sin" and Marianne Solberg (middle) with "Livets så stjerner".

First semifinal Saturday: Finland


It was a Nordic weekend in Eurovision world tonight. Finland, Norway and Iceland all had their first semifinals. Finland or YLE also made history: for the first time ever the semifinal was also live on the internet! The show was a typical YLE production, both good and bad. The camera work and lighting had improved from previous years, Jaana & Heikki were the same and the final voting mess was unforgivable. It looks like the votes were given for songs 1 and 2 instead of 1 and 4 for Jani & Jetsetters, and for songs 3 and 4 instead of 2 and 5 for Hanna before someone noticed everything was wrong, and Hanna's Leave me alone was declared the one to go to the final after all and then we had to wait for the Thunderstone results.... Sigh... Anyway, I'm 2/3 happy. Hanna and Jani got their better songs to the final but Thunderstone and I would have preferred "Forever more" in the final.

L'oiseau Et L'enfant Marie Myriam

You can blame it on Marie Myriam. I am a Eurovision fan. It all started in 1977 and now it's the 30th anniversary. For me. For France (as they haven't won since even if they do have 5 victories). Marie, you are coming to Helsinki, right?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Books! Books! Books!



Two new books have been published and Asko Murtomäki's "Finland 12 points! Suomen Euroviisut" is the long awaited complete history of the rocky Finnish path in Eurovision from 1961 until Lordi's victory in 2006. The other one, "Euroviisutriviaa vuosi vuodelta" has more of a yellow press approach to the subject covering both the international final and Euroviisut with the scandals and gossips and a lot of useless details we all love to know!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Work that magik, Belarus


Ok, I have an early favourite. It hasn't even won the national final, and might not even be running for all I know, but the usual weird Belarussian selection known for changing songs at the last minute and so on has delivered this year Dmitry Koldun's "Work that magik"(yes, with a "k"). And it's fabulous! I hope it wins and comes to Helsinki! But will it change Belarus' rather rocky path in Eurovision? They débuted in 2004 with Alexandra & Konstantin and "My Galileo". The weirdest English ever heard on stage but I loved it. Europe didn't: only 10 points and 19th or 4th last place in the semifinal. The following year they sent the self proclaimed disco diva Angelica Agurbash and her milionaire husband to drive around Kyiv in limos and so on but Europe didn't love her enough: "Love me tonight" gathered 67 points but only came 13th in the semifinal and was not in the final. I'm not ashamed to admit it's fabulous! Finally, last year I fully agree with Europe. Polina Smolova's "Mum" came 2nd to last in the semifinal with 10 points and that's 10 too much! But now in 2007 things look rather magical for Belarus.... Maybe!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Slovenian delight: Saucy Sebastian


Well, the season has only just started and if Croatia's Severina steamed up the gossip mags and internet last year with her "home video", Slovenian hopeful Sebastian has made "an artistic calendar" for 2007... whether it makes him win for Slovenia with "Naj svet zakrici" remains to be seen & heard! (Wonder what he is (not) wearing in May?)

No Hatzigiannis for Greece after all. Enters Sarbel & Co







The messy - as usual - Greek national selection finally seems to have settled. After a lot of rumours, confirmed and then denied news, today's news should be the correct one : Tamta, Sarbel and Christos Dantis will be the singers and Hatzigiannis is not writing the song. Dantis already won the contest as a writer for Greece in 2005 with Elena Paparizou's "My number one". Now he must fight for the ticket to Helsinki with Georgian Tamta and Cypriot-Lebanese Sarbel (pictured left)

Marija for Bosnia-Herzegovina


Marija Sestic will sing for Bosnia-Herzegovina in Helsinki following last year's successful concept of choosing the singer/song internally when Hari Mata Hari took Serbian Zeljko Joksimovic penned "Lejla" to a respectable third place in Athens. Marija, 19, has already participated in many festivals and seems to have scored some sort of award every time. Will she continue filling up her awards vitrine in Helsinki?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Euroviisut - first radio preview


The first radio preview is over and the real thing starts on Saturday. YLE even managed to get that previews show online after all. After a very confusing hassle on their website: First with links that never lead to the radio show. Then they were off for awhile before emerging again in the "Listen & View" section. Anyway, better late than never. The show can be heard on www.yle.fi/eurovision with the wonderful Sanna Kojo presenting.

Here's a little preview of my thoughts right after the show. I'm known to have a weird taste so I repeat it is just my personal thoughts and nothing more. I don't even try to predict the outcome!


Jani & Jetsetters offer two songs true to their style. Both will probably be radio hits in Finland and their fans will be happy, but is it suitable stuff for Eurovision? No, I don't think so! Way too Finnish. (Way too much Finland 1996 and we all remember how that ended up!)

Etupenkillä ** Musta sulhanen ***




Hanna Pakarinen offers "the ballad and the other one" as she said before. The ballad has a little country flavour to it (well, I think so) and is pleasant enough. The other one is rather rock but are her songs strong enough? Hmm.... I'm a bit disappointed at this point but support Hanna anyways! I know my expectations were too high!

Tell me what to do *** Leave me alone ****




Thunderstone is the surprise. Not a fan of metal or hard rock and almost anti-Thunderstone before tonight, I must admit they offer two solid numbers and I can't choose which one's the better of the two. Are they suitable for Eurovision? Maybe not, but then what IS after Lordi?

Forevermore **** Face in the mirror ****

Anonymous for Andorra


Andorra is taking a change of direction. After three ladies singing more or less up tempo ballads with bad results for three years they will send to Helsinki a group of 4 teenagers whose idols are Blink182 and Sum41. More than this, their debut single was called "Shit sucks" but in Eurovision they will "Salvem al món"("Save the world")... I miss those ladies already!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sanremo grows OLD!




I was very happy to hear a few months ago that Pippo Baudo (71) would be back as the artistic director (and dictator some might add), as his editions of Sanremo in the 1990's were wonderful. We may thank him for finding Giorgia, Laura Pausini, Andrea Bocelli and Eros Ramazzotti just to name a few. This year, however, the list is rather odd. We have Johnny Dorelli (70), Gianni Bella (61) with his sister Marcella (55), Roby Facchinetti (63) with his son Francesco (27), Al Bano (64), Fabio Concato, Nada and Paolo Rossi (all 54), Antonella Ruggiero (55)... Stadio group and only God knows how old those guys are! And prima donna Milva makes a come back at tender age of 68 to the Ariston stage. Only two Eurovision artists involved this year: Al Bano and Antonella Ruggiero (ex-Matia Bazar)
The young ones aren't so young either. Aforementioned Francesco and Leda Battisti (36), Simone Cristicchi (30) and Paolo Meneguzzi (31) are the fresh ones....
Even my eternal favourite Mango (51) is growing old. I hope he wins finally! Or Milva. One true diva!!

Full song list of the Campioni:
Al Bano: Nel perdono, Leda Battisti: Senza me ti penterai, Gianni e Marcella Bella: Forever, Fabio Concato: Oltre il giardino, Simone Cristicchi: Ti regaleró una rosa, Johnny Dorelli: Meglio cosi, Francesco e Roby Facchinetti: Vivere normale, Amalia Gré: Amami per sempre, Mango: Chissá se nevica, Piero Mazzocchetti: Schiavo d'amore, Paolo Meneguzzi: Musica, Milva: The show must go on, Nada: Luna in piena, Paolo Rossi: In Italia si sta male, Antonella Ruggiero: Canzone fra le guerre, Daniele Silvestri: La paranza, Stadio: Guardami, Tosca: Il terzo fuochista, Velvet: Tutto da rifare, Zero Assoluto: Appena prima di partire

Roger Cicero - German hopeful


He is one of the three hopefuls in the German selection and at this point my vote goes to him. (No, not with this lovely song but one called Frauen regieren die Welt!

(Update: Where did the YouTube video disappear???)

Teapacks for Israel







IBA apparently offered the job to Har'el Ska'at of Idols fame and best selling male artist in Israel 2006 (pictured left) but he refused so Kobi Oz & Teapacks (the other pics) will come to Helsinki instead.... Oh well... If Kobi & Co will refuse we will welcome Liel Collet, who already sang in Six4One for Switzerland last year. Teapacks is a sort of fusion group mixing west and east, young and old and indeed does look like an interesting group of creatures....

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Welcome back Michalis, too!


Helsinki 2007 seems to become a real get-together of ex-Eurovision stars. Also Michalis Hatzigiannis joins the reunion, even if only as the composer of the Greek entry. Shame he isn't singing it himself but at least he will come by anyway. Since his "Genesis" in 1998 he has grown into one of the biggest stars in Greece and Cyprus. A kind of star to sing in the Athens Olympics ceremonies, touring Greek colonies in the USA and elsewhere.

Welcome back Evridiki!




Another very welcome comeback to the Eurovision stage besides Edsilia for the Netherlands is Evridiki for Cyprus. I loved both her entries, "Theriazoume" in 1992 and "Ime antropos ke ego" in 1994. Both deserved better, so all fingers crossed she will be third time lucky! Great artist and wonderful voice with credibility and a CAREER behind her. Fabulous choice!

Jann walks the Rose Avenue out of Euroviisut


UPDATE: Ok, it looks like YLE has gone tender and gives these guys time til the end of month to come back with two new songs. If they manage to get them together they will participate, if not then it's goodbye!
So, today's been a day of good and bad news. Good news, in my opinion, is that Jann Wilde and his Rose Avenue gang are out. The songs have been doing the rounds of the internet since last summer and they both (Soft is selling and Lover, lover, lover are very bad! Sorry, nothing personal but I won't be missing you. Bye bye!

Euroviisut 2007: Songs & Guests & Stage!







So, here it is. The stage design! And the songs!

First semifinal 20.1.2007

Jani & Jetsetters: Etupenkillä/Musta sulhanen
Hanna Pakarinen: Tell me what to do/Leave me alone
Thunderstone: Forvermore/Face in the mirror

guest stars: Ann Christine and Taiska

Second semifinal 27.1.2007

Jukka Kuoppamäki: Levitä siivet/Pikajuna
Humane: Bubble shell/Plane away
Katra: Vaaratar/Tietäjä

guest stars: Katri Helena and Kim Lönnholm

Third semifinal 3.2.2007

Johanna Kurkela: Olet uneni kaunein/Jossain metsäin takana
Kentala: Merry-go-round/Left my heart behind
Lovex: Wild and violent/Anyone anymore

guest stars: Päivi Paunu & Kim Floor and Anneli Sari

Fourth semifinal 10.2.2007

Beats and Styles: See the signs/Take it back
Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue: Soft is selling/Lover lover lover
Laura Voutilainen: Kosketa mua/Take a chance

guest stars: Jari Sillanpää and Sari Kaasinen

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Vanha goes EuroClub!


So, it is Vanha, as Finns know Vanha Ylioppilastalo (or the Old Student house) the EuroClub. A historic building in the very heart of Helsinki built in 1870 and a famous site for big parties and special evenings. In an excellent location 500 meters from the main railway station - from where the local trains to Hartwall Areena leave - next to the statue of "Three smiths" that is considered the central point of Helsinki center, in front of Scandinavia's and the Baltic's biggest department store, Stockmann. All is within walking distance of Vanha: main hotels, Lasipalatsi with its Viisukuppila.fi's activities and cinema showing the shows live, Con Hombres Eurovision bar, Hercules and Mannstreet gayclubs playing a lot of Eurovision music. And what IS EuroClub? It is already a tradition in Eurovision host cities: the official hang out for people involved in Eurovision. Artist, authors, journalists, fans with accreditation - they all hang out there. Also the opening party and the after parties will be held here. It is THE place to be from May 3 to May 12!

Gadget

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