Monday, January 31, 2011

Euroviisut 2011 running order revealed

YLE has announced the running order for the Euroviisut 2011 final in Turku, the European city of culture 2011. As usual the final will take place in Caribia Hotel-Spa. There will be televote only and first round will pick up the top-3 that will go for another round, the superfinal. Jaana Pelkonen, hostess of Helsinki 2007 Eurovision is hosting for the 7th year in a row but she has a new co-host, Tom Nylund. Linda Lampenius will be the interval act with the Swedish group Gemtlemen. Hard to say if the running order has been drawn or decided as it is a bit weird, Eveliina starting again and Stala & So. finishing again.

Eveliina Määttä - Dancing in the dark
Sami Hintsanen - Täältä maailmaan
Milana Misic - Sydämeni kaksi maata
Paradise Oskar - Da da dam
Cardiant - Rapture in time
Johanna Iivanainen - Luojani mun
Father McKenzie - Good enough
Marko Maunuksela - Synkän maan tango
Saara Aalto - Blessed with love
Stala & So. - Pamela

The final takes place on February 12, 2011. Next Saturday YLE will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Euroviisut instead.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Je vecht nooit alleen for the Netherlands

The Dutch have chosen and indeed they picked up the best out of those five. Mostly pleasant and nice songs but Eurovision winners? Hardly. Winning song could turn into a catchy poprock hit with a little re-arrangement and English lyrics. The singer's fine, the song has a little bit of U2 vibe in it once it gets going but the other two guys shouldn't look so miserablöe and serious all the time! The blondie looks sullen and in pain and the older chap just half asleep.... Wake up, this is Eurovision!

Tonight: The Netherlands pick up the song - UPDATE

Tonight it's the decision ttime in the Netherlands. 3Js was chosen to represant the country already last year and they have written five songs for the occasion and the winner will be picked up by 50-50 jury-televote. Against the previous news it seems like the winning entry will be translated into English and if it's any good will be performed as such in Germany. The show starts at 21.20 CET from Hilversum. Previous Eurovision stars Hind and Rene Froger are amogst the jury. Judging the snippets my favourite might be Nooit alleen.

   1. De stroom (The stream)
   2. Je vecht nooit alleen (Never alone)
   3. Ga dan niet (Then don't go)
   4. Toen ik jou vergat (When I forgot you)
   5. Weelderig waardeloos (Luxuriously worthless)


UPDATE:  Ok, I wasn't planning to watch the show but I am watching it after all.... :-) The show started with the most boring song of them all, Ga dan niet. It just didn't go anywhere. The followed De stroom, a uptempo pop number in Scandinavian way, much better. Then Toen ik jou vergat, a very atmosphere in Italian kind of way. Then I was lost in Weeldering waardeloos, sweet and smooth. Like a lazy summerday in the sun's warm, butterflies flying... But I don't think it or Toen ik jou vergat would go very far in Eurovision. Then last but not least Je vecht nooit alleen, clearly their and audience's favourite. Or the one made such. Somehow I wasn't so impressed with it after all but maybe it's the best choice for Germany. In English. (Mind you, I love to listen Dutch!)
And so it is. I'm pleased the televoters agreed more with me than the jury in the rest.... :-) Je vecht nooit alleen for the Netherlands!

Belgium: We have the finalists

Belgium took one step further in their selection process and after a radio semifinal with the 30 songs that qualified from the internet we have the 14 finalists left for the TV. Internet, radio, Tv - now that's involving all medias if we could also have a good old fashioned postcard round, too! Some of my favourites made it, some didn't. I still like for some reason Steve Linden's song but would it be the best choise? They say Witloof Bay's the big favourite but accapella never did well in Eurovision. On the other hand if France tries with operapop again they haven't learned a thing either! The Belgian final will take place February 12, 2011 and there will both jury and televoters choosing the song for Germany.

1. Chloé - Just One Chance
2. Alexandre Deschamps - Elle Merveille
3. Syla K. - Simple Love
4. Thayss N' Bau - Somewhere With You
5. The Blazing - Our Way
6.  J Cool - Dans Ma Chanson
7. .fen - Yes I Know
8.  Nelza - Be My Friend
9.  Steve Linden - C'est La Musique
10. Clac et Les Portes - Claquer Les Portes
11. Sarina - Rien En Apparence
12. Kaptain Oats - Reset
13. Gautier Reyz - Addiction
14. Witloof Bay - With Love Baby

Blue for the UK!

UK may have picked way wiser than France choosing the boyband Blue for Eurovision 2011. They were together from 2001 to 2005 releasing three albums and scoring 11 top-10 hits. They reunited in 2009 and in 2006 also Antony Costa of the band tried his luck in Eurovision already with It's a beautiful thing ending second behind Daz Sampson. Lee Ryan took part as composer in 2005 UK final with Andy Scott-Lee performed Guardian angel, and Duncan James gave the British votes in Eurovision 2009 so the band's been flirting with Eurovision all along.
f the song Blue is going to perform is strong enough I'd say UK is back on track. The song's called I can.

UPDATE: Apparently this is big enough news for Finnish tabloids to publish it, too. The last one might have been Patricia Kaas....

Tonight: Third semifinal in Iceland - with the memory of Sjónni Brink - UPDATED

Tonight the third semifinal takes place in Iceland and you can follow it live on RÚV's website as usual. Tonight it's a solid back, all male cast and two of the biggest names are in; Magni Ásgeirsson and Jógvan Hansen and the delicate matter of Sjónni Brink's song. I have not written in this blog about his sudden and sad death at the age of 36 just a couple of weeks ago but it doesn't mean I haven't cared. I have. I have always liked his songs in the Icelandic selections and he will be missed. His song will now be performed by his friends, by the request of his family. Let's see if the Icelandic will vote the song all the way to Germany out of respect? I like all the songs tonight and can't pick up my favourites. Listen yourself here. I will update this post with results later.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tonight: Third semifinal in Norway - UPDATED

Like Iceland Norway is having its third semifinal tonight coming from Skien. As usual you can follow it live on NRK's website. And there's a little bit of everything from rockabilly to heavymetal, from boyband to ballad and etno. And even The Blacsheeps, the winners of the Nordic Junior MGP. The girls have grown up a bit. You can listen to the songs here.I will update this post with the results later.
  1. Susperia - Nothing remains-> Last chance
  2. Noora Noor - Gone with the wind
  3. Girl Happy - SOS
  4. Grethe Svensen - Like dreamers do
  5. The BlackSheeps - Dance tonight-> FINAL
  6. Stella Mwangi - Haba haba-> FINAL
  7. The lucky bullets - Fire below-> Last chance

Spain: How the karaoke night went....

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:
 TVE promised a night full of surprises and indeed it was since they kicked out Maria Lopez and qualifying to the final two teenage deja vu pop bands and someone so called a crooner unable to perform decently "Estando Contigo". Seems likes teens and housewives collapsed the Spanish votes tonight. Gio and Lucia Perez also move to the final, leaving behind Maria Lopez,  neither the public nor the jury picked her after an outstanding performance of "Vuelve Conmigo". She is beautiful and she can sing, she can really sing but looks like TVE is not looking for an overwhelming voice...seems like we are looking for keep being the 20th.

The first gala of Destino Eurovisión took place last night in Barcelona. The stage was convincing, not the jury or the public. Anne Igartiburu conducted a fresh and dynamic show, as she usually does, with Daniel Diges being in the backstage. The jury was part of the show with funny comments, tips and impressions far from being clever; including Boris Izaguierre - one of the Spanish gay icons in the last decade. His histerical attacks were far from being clever and should have stayed also in the last decade. Only Merche and the exceptional Reyes del Amor, which is really a Eurovision specialist and columnist from the website eurovisionspain.com, seemed to know what was this about.

The artists wer divided in four groups of three each. One of them was be kicked out by the jury after their performance.

David Sancho called himself a crooner and wants to be compared with Michael Buble, so do I but there is a differnce in knowing how to perform in one stage. He performed "Estando Contigo", not a difficult song but it was for him. He was out of focus, nervous and did not get the tones at all. Roima Duran has been really enthusiastic with the Eurovision experience. She chose Wilde Dances as she already won an award performing the song. Her looks´reminded this girl from the suburbs going to the city to party, so was her performance: poor. Finally Da Igual who picked "Bailar Pegados", they are just an imitation of "El Canto del Loco" and were far from being convincing. The jury announced Roima to leave the show, she was a bit shocked and back to the suburbs.

The second lot started with Lucia Perez. She is a established singer with plenty of success in North Spain and already some song contest experiences; she performed Non ho l'età. She knows how to sing and her voice is captivating. She could be a good candidate for Spain but too classic from my point of view. Auryn were the absolute favorites. The boy-band profie has been moving fans from all over Spain and Latin-America, but  they need to improve their English, they really do. Their performance of "Fly in the winds of love" as average and let me indifferent but was obvious they will make it. Finally we had a second class cabaret show with Las Miranda performing Ding a Dong. They wished they would have left their life performing in some motorway bars, but it will not be the case, the jury selected them to leave the show and go back to bar where they could keep on winning singstar contests.

Third round. Tsunami is a rock group which name can start anything but their own name, just an indie local rock band from the block. They performed Gwendoline and I decided to make a trip to the loo. Gio was the next. It was his 3rd trial and second time in the stage of TVE. He is fresh, creative and genuine, he also has a great voice but I still do not understand the rap he introduced while singing Satellite. He also introduced a choreography, his looks were a mix between a clown and The Ark, he needs to improve a lot if he wants to make it and show the talent his got. The jury, more specially Boris Izaguirre praised him after his performance, gay communitiy common support. Guadiana had to perform Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi and she was a disaster since the beginning. She started late the song, made mistakes with they lyrics and her shoes gave her problems. I have never seen anyone destroying Ne Parte Pas Sans Moi like this and I am a frequent visitor of the local Eurovision karaokes. Merche pointed out all her issues, specially recommnded her to learn how to walk with 11 centimeteres heels before stepping out the stage. Tsunami flew out, I coud have eliminated the whole lot.

The fourth and last rond was the stronger one, at this point this was not difficult at all. Maria Lopez open the group with Vuelve Conmigo, a big challenge trying to emulate Anabel Conde. When she started performing the room went quiet, she did not emulate Anabel. She gave us a great performance with her personal touch, she was incredible and the jury praised her. I started believing in hope. Baltanas was the only boy in the group and he performed Fairytale. He should have done Believe or My Heart is yours, something that has to do with singing and not dancing. He was not spontaneous, everything was calculated and he was just following without giving any feelings. He also had a small choreography and luckily for him and for us the camera did not capture that moment.
Paula was the last performer of the night, she looks for me like thie green young politicians and she performed, Tu te reconnaitras but she had to leave first.
The eight survivors moved to the televoting cut and while people were calling (not a joker unfortunately did call) Soraya performed her last and fantastic single "Live your Dreams", Pitingo and the jury member Albert Hammond also contributed to animate the wait.

First the three artist picked up from televoting were announced. Javier Sancho, the Crooner (housewive vote), Lucia Perez and Auryn made it to the next round. The jury had to select two from the five  left, Gio was the first one to breathe in peace, a more than obvious decision since the jury bowed for him, and then it came the end to my hopes, "Da Igual" completed the list. Maria Lopez is out. Well let's not be eurotalifan and respect the solution of the public and the jury, it is not about us, it is about the contest and not seeking for a victory, just for a 20th place. Jokers please call!
Stuff on the Spanish karaoke show coming up..... tomorrow morning!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Euroviisut 2011 - we have the finalists

So, after the third semifinal and YLE's surprising wildcard we have the ten finalists for the Finnish final on February 12, 2011 in Turku, the European capital of culture in 2011. And there's a little bit everything from gospel to glamrock, metal to acoustic pop, radiopop and powerballads. All three qualifiers from the internet selection got to the final making way to the big changes next year in Euroviisut. Six songs are in English now and Iivanainen, Hintsanen and Misic have said they will sing in English should they win so only Maunuksela is left in Finnish, and he has said it stays in Finnish no matter what. Two big fan favourites didn't make it, Jimi Constantine and Tommi Soidinmäki and YLE's wildcard went to Eveliina Määttä instead of them. Weird. I guess I'm now for Paradise Oskar and Stala & So. With Johanna Iivanainen (in English) as the black horse...

Saara Aalto - Blessed with love
Cardiant - Rapture in time
Father McKenzie - Good enough
Sami Hintsanen - Täältä maailmaan
Johanna Iivanainen - Luojani mun (Skylarks in the breeze)
Marko Maunuksela - Synkän maan tango
Milana Misic - Sydämeni kaksi maata
Eveliina Määttä - Dancing in the dark
Paradise Oskar - Da da dam
Stala & So. - Pamela

LIVE: Euroviisut 2011 - Semifinal 3

Live from Tohloppi studios in Tampere the third and last Euroviisut 2011 semifinal. Get ready for a black and white evening with a hint of red! Also YLE's wildcard to the final in two weeks time will be revealed along with the three qualifiers. Come back for live blogging at 20 CET and watch the webcast here.

The show has just stared again and Tom and Jaana are on stage welcoming the audience and explaining the prodecure. Tom has a wild hair tonight and Jaana a wild dress: turquoise leopard! Hmm....
Hanna Pakarinen presents the first act tonight.

EVELIINA MÄÄTTÄ - DANCING IN THE DARK
First of the black acts tonight, lighten up with some neoncolors designed by Teuvo Loman. Very 1980's act in everyway, she sings ok, the choreography's nice enough but most likely the neon vampire act won't get people voting her and she will follow the fate of other dance acts this year and won't qualify. We will see.
Anneli Saaristo presents the next act.

SAMI HINTSANEN - TÄÄLTÄ MAAILMAAN
He is wearing a casual shirt and worn jeans and looks like he forgot this is live TV and not the rehearsal. That aside he sings very well, strong and tender at the same time making good eye contact with the cameras but then he's a professional TV show host. He also has one of Waldo's People's backing singers with him. Hmm... me thinks he will qualify after all with the granny vote. And after all it is Antti Kleemola ballad.
Katri Helena aka The Cougar is presenting the next royal act.

TOMMI SOIDINMÄKI - SEIS!
Tommi sounds and looks very good in his black and blue outfit and hair. Well presented in look and staging and the song's a perfect Eurovision standard by Petri Laaksonen but is the time of these kind of songs over? And it's not Sata salamaa, Eläköön elämä or Oot voimani mun unfortunately. Still, a sure qualifier for the final. Biggest applaude tonight so far. And as he is a tango king he has a real tango queen with him on stage, Jenna Bågeberg. And two dancers.
Markku Aro presents the next one.

SAARA AALTO - BLESSED WITH LOVE
She's a real Eurovision fan and at it for the fourth time but for the first time as solist. And with a self penned song and she qualified from the open internet selection. Big vocals from her and her backing singers, too, and this song has a lot of fans but I wouldn't be surprised if it won't make it to the final after all (wildcard?). A ballad without a memorable hook but some high notes and Saara's somewhat strange facials at times... We'll see! Ami Aspelund presents the last act for tonight.....

STALA & SO - PAMELA
Ex-Lordi Stala and his glamrock group set the stage on glitter fire with boas and it's very good! He succees where Jimi Constantine went all wrong. The song's a insanely catchy 1980's glamrock song with strong chorus and even if vocally he isn't the best of singers he can make it up with the show factor. Me likes. This must qualify.

Therem it is. Time for the recap.And then we remember a bit Helsinki 2007 Eurovision..... Did you know Hanna Pakarinen's act was supposed to include rain at some point but they had to skip it for the lack of time. Erik Saade and Melodifestivalen, where did you get the idea?? :-) And now time for the dreadful "humour act" (read: toilet break...)

Now it's time for the famous lightbump. Green or red? First Sami Hintsanen.... green! Next Eveliina Määttä... red! Stala & So next.... green! Then Saara Aalto.... green! Tommi Soidinmäki is out!? Must be the lyrics that put me off the song as well....

Time for the wildcard......It is Eveliina Määttä??? Now I'm puzzled....

Portugal picks up the 12

Portugal's 12 finalists have been voted out from the 21 (or originally 24 but three were disqualified). The final will be on March 5, 2011 with 50-50 televote and jury. Homens da Luta took an early lead but the others catched up quickly and indeed it's a very close call with less than a thousend votes separating the 2nd and 12th. The final will be ineteresting....

01. Homens da Luta – A Luta é Alegria (17.374 votes)
02. Wanda Stuart – Chegar à tua Voz (14.394 votes)
03. Inês Bernardo – Deixa o meu Lugar (14.105 votes)
04. Ricardo Sousa – O Mar o Vento e as Estrelas (14.062 votes)
05. Filipa Ruas – Tensão (14.058 votes)
06. 7 Saias – Embalo do Coração (14.056 votes)
07. Carla Moreno – Sobrevivo (13.868 votes)
08. Henrique Feist – Quase a Voar (13.844 votes)
09. Nuno Norte – São os Barcos de Lisboa (13.817 votes)
10. Rui Andrade – Em Nome do Amor (13.656 votes)
11. Tânia Tavares – Se esse Dia Chegar (13.592 votes)
12. Axel – Boom Boom Yeah (13.448 votes)

Tonight: Third semifinal in Finland

I will be blogging live as usual from the Euroviisut 2011 third semifinal. It's the last one and features a couple of fan favourites and in the end also YLE's wildcard will be revealed. If the fans are right Stala & So featuring ex-Lordi member will win hands down tonight followed by Tommi Soidinmäki whose song is written by Eurovision veteran Petri Laaksonen (1985, 1987) and Saara Aalto (check her music video here) would be the third qualifier. She qualified from the open internet selection. Sami Hintsanen doesn't convince the fans but he has a lot of fans himself because of his TV-show so who knows?. And Eveliina Määttä is unknown and may well remain such after tonight as well.
I'm all for Stala & So tonight, my only favourite.But as we learned last week everything can change live. But I think the wildcard is Jimi Constantine's.

Join me tonight at 20.00 CET

Tonight: What to expect in Spain

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:

 Update for Destino Eurovision

The first images of the stage for Destino Eurovision can be seen already in the TVE site, they also gave us the list of the participants and even some of the songs they will be performing and surprisingly it is not that bad. Tonight at 22.15 Auryn, Baltanás, Da igual, David Sancho, Gio, Guadiana, Las Miranda, Lucía Pérez, María López, Paula Marengo, Roima Durán y Sunami will be on stage looking for the first five tickets to the next round. Roima Durán and Gio will perform the same song as they did in their auditions, Wild Dances and Satellite, TVE stated in their website both are performing such a personal version of the songs and even Gio is adding a small rap to Satellite, both also get good praise a more than two lines in the Spanish public televisio website...isn't that suspicious? Baltanas will perform Fairytale, two songs will be performed in French; Guadiana - Ne Partez pas sans Moi and Paula Marengo - Tu te reconnaitras while Maria López will do the great Vuelve Conmigo!!!; Finally the group Auryn who were the most voted on the site poll and are currently recording their first studio album this week, will perform Fly on the Wings of Love.

TVE ensure us a night full of surprises, no please! Is there even place for more.

Stay tunned for the review after the show

SPAIN: Jokers on the line? Hallo?

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:
 Last news! TVE waiting for a joker call

TVE is keeps on complicating the seek for the Spanish Eurovision song for Düsseldorf. They had inserted an add on the website calling for jokers. Those who has interest to represent Spain needed to call to the number 913 464 293 or 913 469 127 if they are interested in representing Spain in the next Eurovision Song Contest. To make it even cheaper they deadline for receiving calls was yesterday 12.00AM. Is that a joke? The producers and organized had big hopes on someons to call. During the press conference held on Wednesday they stated: We really hope that someone will call within the next days, so far no one has called yet (how? if the deadline is Thursday 27th) The current Director of contents and programs from TVE added. We are really suprised that no one had even asked about the songs or called! (I am also surprised she hoping people to call to a number instead of them calling artists). Gestmusic, production company who is in charge or the show, and TVE are highly interesed in a stablished talent artist to call (so we are!!!!).

The candidate/s will have a direct ticket to the final and will sing only one song (instead of three like the rest of finalists), it has to be an artist with at least one album in the market and a career behind (well Esmeralda Grao has four albums so Lucia Perez...).

So, let's hope someone picked up the phone and called to TVE not only them, half of Spain is waiting for it.

Spain, the mess starts tonight

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:

The final details for the Spanish pre-selection were presented to the media in a press conference. Spain goes back a similar process as in 2007 when NASH got their ticket to Helsinki, however this looks still a mess for me.

The public TV-channel will (apparently, remember what happened two years ago) provide four galas in the next forthcoming Fridays, starting tonight at 22,15. The 24 artist will be divided in two semifinals where they will perform classics from the Spanish history of Eurovision or absolute #1 from the contest and this is where this got scary. What is a #1 for TVE? Song that won the contest? Or songs that hit the charts? This seems not fair to me since it is not the same to perform Congratulations as to perform Bandido or Modlitva. Either the performers picked their own song or this has been assigned to them (which I suspect) has not been clearly communicated; nevetheless TVE stated  that everybody is really excited with the experience and we are sure they are going to do great, we want to have the best Spanish songs and th absolut #1s of Eurovision There are plenty of ways to sing Congratulations (which is not a winner by the way). I still have the hope we could see singers performing same titles as they did during the casting, but knowing TVE and the people behind this ...I have doubts.

The first two galas will have 12 performers each, the jury will eliminate four of them and the survivors will be judged by the audience who will provide the first three tickets to the next round. Finally the jury will provide two more wildcards having 10 participants qualified to the second round. The third gala will have 10 performers only as not as we expected, they will not be singing two from the 20 selected songs each. Here we are again with Eurovision classics, it could have been worst to force them to sing with Karina, Massiel or Rafael. The best three chosen by the jury and the audience (how we do not know so far) will move to the final, where each of them will have to sing three songs, which makes a total of nine. Why selecting 20 songs if only nine are going to be sung? Who chooses which songs move to the final?.Again jury and audience will pick the next Spanish representative in Düsseldorf.

On a more positive side it has been confirmed that Daniel Diges will be presenting together the gala with Anne Igartiburu. The Spanish jury members are: the Venezuelan journalist and former jury from "Dancing with the Stars" Boris Izaguirre, the singer Merche "who was Luna in the Spanish final 2001", the expert in Eurovision Reyes del Amor (who is this person and why is he/she called specialist?) and finally the singer and composer Albert Hammond.

The list of 24 bidders are: the duets Alazán and Las Miranda; the male vocal group Auryn; the bands, Da igual, Don Johnsons, Sometimes and Sunami; the male singers, Baltanás, David Sancho,Gio, Pau Quero, Sebas and Sergi Albert and the females singers, Esmeralda Grao,Guadiana, Lorena Rosales, Lucía Pérez, María López, Melissa, Mónica Guech,Paula Marengo, Roima Durán and the mexican singer Valeria Antonella

I am wondering why TVE makes this mess full of questions instead organizing a simple process like last year on the same way as in another countries. Is it really that complicated? Lack of transparency and clarity.

Get ready for the show tonight on TVE.

#1 in Finland this week: Petri Nygård - Selvä päivä

Britney Spears stayed at number one only for one week and is replaced by humour act Petri Nygård singing about the joys of alcohol in Selvä päivä. I think we will have a new number one next week, too. Or I hope so! In albums Jenni Vartiainen returns on top!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Battiato: Many collaborations but Alice is the best

Franco Battiato (66)  is having a pause from his own recording career but he appears regularly lately in albums of other people. He did Il tempo stesso with Tiziano Ferro, Svegliami domani with Cinzia Fontana, La strada with Franco Renga, La stagione dell'amore with Mango, then we have Versus, Carmen Consoli, Milva....  "I'm asked all the time and I'm too soft. If they keep asking eventually I say yes" he tells. 
Soon we will see him in Sanremo. "Luca Madonia is a dear boy. He so wanted to go to Sanremo, I don't know why,  and Morandi & Mazzi who pick up the songs for the festival told me it would be much easier if I was involved. So I picked up L'Alieno amongst the songs Luca offered me and sent it. But I enter the song only after three minutes! I don't feel I'm competing but just helping a friend who's in competition. I feel quite like the alien as the song suggests there. I think I will have more fun conducting the orchestra on the evening dedicated to the 150th anniversaty of Italy. I arranged La notte dell'addio, a very underrated song originally by Iva Zanicchi. I think Luca will make wonders with it." When asked about his own future recordings he says: "I'm having a moment of pause at the moment. I have only written one song recently, Eri con me, for Alice's next album. I'm very pleased she will sing it, she just gets better and better."
Their latest collaboration is Come un sigillo from 2003.

Ram tam tam in Fyrom!

FYR Macedonia has announced the names for 2011 and amongst them we have some familiar national final names like always. FYR Macedonia will be one of the countless countries having its final on February 26, 2011.

Izveduvač - Naslov Na Pesna
Riste Tevdovski - Ne Se Menuva Ljubovta
Zdravka Mirčevska - Ludost
Ile Spasov - Tura Si
Olivera Gorgovska - Na Kraj
Natalija Slaveva - Ne Mi Trebaš
Boban Mojsovski - Te Krade Toj
Goran Kargov - Lažeš Deka Ne Ne Boli
Emilija Gievska - Paranoja
Offside - Sekon Dej
Vlatko Ilievski - Rusinka
Angelina Stojanoska - Znaeš Li
Skipi i Trajzi - Ostavi Politika I Projačaj Ton
Martin Srbinovski - Ram Tam Tam
Filip Jordanovski - Sekogaš Nekoj Proveke Vredi
Ivan Jovanov - Kockar
Lidija Kočovska - Bažji Patek
Dule i Koki - Neka E So Pomin
Nade Talevska - Vo Mojot Svet Imaš Dom
Vodolija - Ne Vrakaj Se

What France has to offer...

France just has announced its Eurovision artists for 2011 and I'm still speechless. They would have so much to offer like these NRJ Music award winners like Joyce Jonathan, the newcomer of the year. Or Jenifer, the female artist of the year beating names like Shy'm and Mylène Farmer. Or the male artist of the year M Pokora. Or Christophe Mae, David Guetta. Or Christophe Willem. Emmanuel Moire. Or almost anybody.... Mind you the opera guy could turn out to be great but I'm a bit sceptical....
And of course the purpose of this post was just to showcase some of my favourite French singers :-)

Toše Proeski is not forgotten

Toše Proeski remains in the headlines in FYR Macedonia, and not only. The president of the Balcan country honored him recently with a medal for his work for the Macedonian culture and his humanitary work in UNICEF. Also a memorial museum for him has been opened. Tose represanted FYR Macedonia in Eurovision 2004 with Life and was to do so again in 2008 but his sudden death in a car crash in late 2007 put stop to those plans. He was working on a new album in English back then and that album The hardest thing was released in 2008 scoring #1 hit all over Balcans with the titkle track. The same happened when in 2010 single Jos uvijek sanjam da smo zajedno was released. Now in 2011 two unreleased cover tracks have been made public: Light of my life and Can you feel the love tonight.

Mārtiņš Freimanis dies at 33

Mārtiņš Freimanis, the Latvian Eurovision star died today. He was taken to the Infectology Centre of Latvia last week with severe respiratory inflamation. He was only 33 and follows Sjónni Brink, the Icelandic singer who died recently at only 36. I hope this 2011 season will prove wrong the old saying about twos and threes.... He represanted Latvia in the homeground in 2003 as part of F.L.Y and also wrote the more succesful entry in 2005.

Amaury Vassili for France

France surely surprised us this time again. Amaury Vassili? Oh dear.... I have always hated with passion all these fake Italian tenors (with the exception of Josh Groban) and when I saw Vassili in Finnish TV last summer I switcehd channel in about 20 seconds. Let Italians do the Italian arias, or at least learn to sing them in proper Italian (like Josh Groban for example). Never in a million years I would have thought he would next time come to my attention in Eurovision! I have no words....

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big5? Blame this!

The status of Big4, or Big5 as it is now when Italy returned has divided the fans and public alike ever since its introduction in 1998. It all started when in 1996 there were suddenly 30 countries wanting to take part in Eurovision but the show could handle only 23. So, an audio semifinal was held and all of sudden Germany's entry was left out. Germans were outraged as the song was seen as a favourite - and indeed it might have done well if it made it to Oslo 1996. EBU was troubled as it's biggest economical contributor at the time was out. Finns on the other hand were very surprised we made it through the semi (and eventually came last in oslo but that's another story). Anyways, it was Leon's technopop Blauer Planet - the only German entry that has been left home in the history,  making 1996 the only year when Germany haven't been present. That's a record.I think he would have done well in Oslo.... if he ever got that far.
And Leon? He tried again in the German selection 1997 but came only second with Schein (meine kleine Taschenlampe. He has released only two albums but he has been putting out singles with exotic names ever since, the latest being C'est fini, ma cherié in 2009. And he's got a new haircut, too.

Busy weekend culminating in the Netherlands!

A busy weekend ahead. On Friday we have the third and last semifinal in Finland and the first gala in Spain. Saturday the trio of Norway, Iceland and Croatia continue with their semifinals. On Sunday we will find out who of the newcomers made it all the way to teatro Ariston in Sanremo and in Belgium the radio selection starts. But most importantly we will have another entry chosen: The Netherlands.
3JS was internally chosen to represant the orange nation this year and they have penned five songs to choose from. The voting will be 50% televote and 50% jury made of René Froger, Daniël Dekker, Annemieke Schollaardt, Eric van Tijn and Hind.

01. Vecht nooit Alleen (Never Fight Alone)
02. Ga Dan Niet (Don’t Go Then)
03. De Stroom (The Stream)
04. Toen Ik Jou Vergat (When I Forgot You)
05. Weelderig Waardeloos (Luxuriously Worthless)

You can listen a bit of each song here.

Estonian songs online - Hopa'pa-rei!

Estonia has once again the most alternative national final. The 20 songs this year either don't include bubbly europop nor schlager but all sorts of weird stuff. And unlike the other years none of the songs emerges as a favourite for me this time. If I have to pick up one that would be Ithaka Maria's Hopa´pa-rei! If performed well live this could become something rather catchy and dangerous, in Shakira kind of way.... Tiiu Kiik is also interesting as well as Söpruse Puiestee & Merili Varik.
Listen to all songs here.Estonia is one of the six (so far) countries choosing their song on February 26, 2011.

  1. Rolf Roosalu (Rolf Junior) - All & now
  2. Victoria - Baby had you
  3. Noorkuu - Be my Saturday night
  4. Jana Kask - Don't want anything
  5. Ithaka Maria - Hoppa-pa-rei!
  6. Outloudz - I wanna meet Bob Dylan
  7. Meister ja Mari - Unemati
  8. Uku Suviste - Jagatud öö
  9. Elmayonesa - Kes ei tantsi, on politsei
  10. Andur - Lapsed ja lennukid
  11. Kait Tamra - Lubadus
  12. Tiiu Kiik- Second chance 
  13. Sofia Rubina - My melody
  14. Sõpruse Puiestee & Merili Varik - Rahu, ainult rahu
  15. Getter Jaani - Rockefeller street
  16. Mid - Smile
  17. Shirubi Ikazuchi - St. Cabah
  18. Mimicry - The storm
  19. Jaan Pehk - Valss
  20. Marilyn Jurman & Karl Kanter - Veel on aeg

YLE Teema goes Eurovision!

This year Finland celebrates its 50th anniversary in the Eurovision song contest and for the occasion YLE2 is not only broadcasting the three semifinals and the final, but a documentary on the 50 rough years in the contest on Saturday February 5, a week before the final. 
But YLE's Teema channel will beat its sister in that. On April 30 a brandnew Australian documentary The Secret history of the Eurovision song contest will be broadcasted (repeated in two parts on May 10 and 17). Marion Rung, Kojo and Mr Lordi have collaborated to this programme. On April 30 YLE Teema will also re-broadcast the Eurovision song contest 2006 from Athens when Lordi won it for us.
But that's not all. On April 26 we will see again the Finnish national final of 1973, won by Marion Rung and then bringing us the best placement until then and until Lordi´s win, 6th. Along with that an interview with conductor Ossi Runne. A week later on May 3 we will have a chance to see again the 1974 national final. Such fun!

Carola's suspicious mind

Carola has digitaslly released the second single off her coming Barbra/Elvis album (release March 23, 2011). It's Suspicious minds by Elvis Presley, following Barbra Streisand's Woman in love released last year. Besides this album in autumn 2011 her gospel concert in Circus in 1994 will see the release in both CD and DVD.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BLOGILKAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: MIODIO

Nicola Della Valle aka Niko, the lead singer of Sammarinese band Miodio sat down with Blogilkar for an interview talking about the band’s past, present and future, Sanremo and Eurovision.

It’s finally here, your debut album! Tell us a bit about it.
Avantgarde is a result of six long years of experiences and feelings. It’s an album that includes different faces and changing colours. It’s electro-pop that hides a deep soul, sometimes fragile and delicate, sometimes cutting and aggressive. We have taken care of every little detail and I have to say the result is all that we expected and more. Every detail has been tought carefully and we have worked hard in studio, and Avantgarde became a modern pop album – easy to listen to but not calculated and stupid. The cover sleeve is designed by Andrea Zonzini, a young neo-pop artist who has really captured the essence of our sound. It’s a simple image but a leaves strong impact. It’s exactly what we wanted. I invite all the readers and fans to dive deep into our album – you won’t be disappointed!
It’s not your first release however. You did release an EP earlier, didn’t you? Are there any songs in Avantgarde from it?
It’s true, that first EP included five tracks and four of them are on Avantgarde, too. They are songs that are very dear to us. They still are amongst our favourites. Credo for example is a song that will always remain in our hearts because it contains our five souls. We have managed to form into music the feelings of the period of our beginning.
You have gone a long way from winning San Marino festival: Eurovision, Budva, Romania…. Can you tell us a bit about those experiences?
They have been three marvellous experiences in three very different places. Events and great people that have helped us to grow up in every sense. In Montenegro we have performed just a few meters from the sea with an orchestra next to a castle lighten up, it was really suggestive. The audience was very mixed and our song It’s OK became very popular with the younger crowd… so popular that the day after we heard it on radios along the beach!
Cerbul de Aur takes place in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, Brasov. In that occasion we have covered the beautiful song by Dan Bittman and  Holograf, Dincolo de nori (Romanian Eurovision entry 1994 btw) and I have to say it really went well down with the audience. We knew we could manage well covering that kind of song, it was very easy and a great track was created. It’s a track that has been also included in our album. And Eurovision? I can only say it’s something beyond imaginable! J
One must ask what you think about San Marino’s and Italy’s sudden return to Eurovision. What was your reaction when you heard about it?
It is a great opportunity! It was for us in 2008 and I believe it will also be for the artist who will represent our little republic. We know how much our TV worked to make it happen three years ago; we also know the artist who will do the job in 2011 for San Marino won’t have much to do with our state or Italian language either. Despite that we are thrilled that San Marino will be back in Eurovision. For Italy it’s a bit different. The recent years they have totally ignored the event, letting it be forgotten by the people. It goes without saying Eurovision is an opportunity to make your artists and your music known abroad, to reach new music markets – and I say that from my own experience! Surely in 2011 Italy and it’s artist will have everybody’s attention and we will support for sure our cousins.
The rumour is San Marino is hiring some big international star this time around. What do you think about that if it happens? What do you think in general that for example a Swedish singer sings for Estonia a song written by Americans produced by German? Do you think some nationality should count??
What can I say? Eurovision can and should be an occasion to make not only music but also culture known of the country in question. Unfortunately this event year by year is getting more uniform, just look at how many song there are in English and this also takes down a lot of the speciality of the Eurovision song contest. But on the other hand it’s nice to see “open borders” and always more nations that choose as their entries singers and bands not their own. For example… it would have been interesting if a Sammarinese band would have represented… for example… Switzerland ;-)
Yes indeed. You tried your luck in Switzerland this year. How come?
Switzerland has been always open for everybody; as San Marino RTV was undecided until the end we decided to try this altenative way… with a strong and catchy song like I feel, also included in our album Avantgarde!
Tell us something about Belgrade we don’t know! Something that happened we don’t know, good or bad!
I could tell you so many things… Some censored and unsuitable for minors! But I can tell how we got lost after a party and the whole delegation was preoccupied and looking for us… the day after we had the dress rehearsals and our bodyguard was already ready to call the police to start searching us. We met some girls and followed them to a party at the beach… we returned at 4am wet as dogs as it was raining cats and dogs, too! We really had fun in Belgrade, after all we are a group of friends first, band only after and those two weeks we have had some unforgettable moments!
You have proved that last place can be turned into something positive (who remembers the second to last?) going from one success to another. How did you feel when you didn’t qualify, did you expect it? (I think it was very very unfair!!) And how about when the results were published and you came last with mere 5 points…?
When we did the first interview for Eurovision they asked us: What result would you like to get in Eurovision? and we answered: It is enough for us to have one person get moved when listening our song Complice. In a long run our expectations have gone far beyond and for this we have to thank each and every one who wrote to us and supported us. You don’t need to get A levels to be satisfied for something composed, written or painted. Art is not like that, music is another athing. We got 5 points? So what? Our song Complice remains always in the history of Eurovision and is remembered by those you liked it. I believe this matters much more than five points!
What is your next goal? Making it big in Italy? Getting to Sanremo? Going back to Eurovision for Italy?
We are working on different fronts. We are concentrated on promoting our album Avantgarde in Italy. For the occasion we have prepaired two different sets; one acoustic and the other more elettronic to be able to perform in different venues. A few days ago we finished recording in studio with Viktoria Voronina, ex-singer of Russian pop group Propaganda with whom we are collaborating. Sanremo… maybe. In 2012.
Your new single Rock’n roll robot is a cover of Alberto Camerini from 1981, how that happened?
Rock’n’roll robot is a track with incredible energia. In those years one used/abused a lot of elettric sounds. This one’s one of our favourites, simple but very effective. We have covered it in a modern way mixing elettric sounds with rock sounds. The result is very strong. Live we really have great fun performing it and when we play it people just go crazy. For this reason we have chosen this track and also as the lead single off the album.
What’s planned for 2011 in Miodio’s agenda? Concerts, tour, pr?
2011 has started with a bang. We are getting ready for a great summer, full of shows and concerts. And gigs abroad are not exluded, that would be really great and we have had several invitation, especially from Russia. What to say? You can ask more by writing us at  info@miodio.eu or visit our new website www.miodio.eu . Greetings and a sincere thank you to you all.
Niko - Miodio
Thank you for the interview and all the best for the future!

Monday, January 24, 2011

SPAIN: The confusion starts on Friday

Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:


Spain is not being clear with their intentions and selection formula but TVE finally announced the names of the 24 artist bidding to represent Spain in Düsseldorf, although my previous scepticism, once I watched and heard the auditions the options could have been worse and it is still too early to judge since the selected songs have not been auditioned yet.

TVE is not giving any hints about what they are looking for, taking in consideration the different kind of artists selected. Newbies, old classics, one hit wonders, popstars as much as duets, groups, crooners, nostalgics, flamenco pop, r&b, international voices (what does exactly mean?), (apparently) black voices and even a boy band. As I said All Kinds of Everything.

It is not even clear if the jokers are still to come or all already there as TVE is highliting among the finalists "some of the artist are already known from our viewers like Alazán, the singer Esmeralda Grao and Sonia & Selena (who did not pass the first cut)". To this group we have to add Lucía Perez with already four published albums, as many as Esmeralda Grao. As a matter of fact (a suspicious one): some of the artists performed their song reading the lyrics on a paper while singing and even some of them did not know the lyrics at all like Mónica Guech (Dime) or Las Miranda (My number one). I have never been myself to a casting of any type but I guess I would have prepared a bit more my performance. Nevertheless they made it to the final.

Something positive to highlight is the great variety of songs performed, among the finalists there ain't bailar pegados, la la las or vivo cantandos while some of them performed: Je ne sais quoi, Wild dances, My heart is yours or Dum Tek Tek.

In the group of known artist we have Alazan, which now is a duo formed by the younger sister and the niece of Azucar Moreno They did not perform Bandido which for starters is a pro, although they needed the help of a paper with the lyrics to perform Dile que la quiero. It is their second try, they finished 5th in 2000 with Alcanzarás la Luna being a trio, and I believe it is a good option since they could bring back some Spanish-Latin style similar to the one Melody tried two year ago. Esmeralda Grao was one of Mikel Herzog singers in 1998, therefore she performed Que voy a hacer sin tí in her audition. Could someone be less original than this? Closing this chapter we have Valeria Antonella. She has already a version in Youtube of Save your kisses for me but in the audition she tried with Enseñame a Cantar (teach me how to sing) which definetely she needs since she did not get any note right..but again there she is. She is Mexican, with a Mexican face, a Mexican haircut and sings like Paulina Rubio trying to be a Lena wannabee.....Is this another joker?

There is a big group of female singers. My favorite so far is Lorena Fernández, she was more than great performing Dum Tek Tek with her dance crew, brave performance and election for such a casting. Rocío Jimenez (who changed her name to Roima Durán) performed Wild Dances who says she likes to dance and she showed it to us with a gracious and fresh performance. The third artist I would like to review is María López, with a wide experience in musicals performed Nacida para Amar, she was impeccable.

Among the guys, Gio/Sergio Bermejo is there for the third time. He withdrew last year and entered the big final being saved by the jury back in 2008 in the group Divine. Gio is talented and talented was his performance of Satellite, creative and innovative -  exactly what Spain needs. Baltanás tries again. He did first in 2007 not qualifying to the semifinals and in 2008 not being able to make it to the TV-Gala. He is cute, he can sing and he looks really Spanish. He performed My heart is yours and Believe and I hope this time will work for him. The "crooner" David Sancho is the other singer I would like to save. He sang in Michael Bublé style Estando Contigo and could be the Spanish Roger Cicero.

Only one group took my attention and it is the vocal boyband Auryn that really needs to improve their English after what they showed performing Fly on the wings of love . Hidden in this group we have Blas Cantó who tried solo last year and the Eurojunior participant of 2006 Daniel Fernández.
They are leading the current poll which results can be seen  here. You can see all the performances here and and some others here.And here.

The show starts next Friday at 21.30 CET and I will let you know again how it went. 

UPDATE: RTVE has now announced that entablished artists can apply until January 27 and they will be granted a place in the final directly as wildcards.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moldova: From 90 to 60 to 25

TRM has selected 60 songs from over 90 sent in - listen here - and 25 will make it to the national final on February 26, 2011 after a jury has heard and seem them live. Amongst them Zdob si Zdub with So lucky. Will they be lucky enough to make it again, without the granny? And there are many familiar names listed, too. Like Natalia Barbu! One of the nicest persons in Helsinki 2007....

Adriana Volonsenso - I can win the game, Alex Belenki – Keep Me Strong, Aluzia – Rămii, Anastasia Denisiuc – What are you want from me, Anișoara Balmuș – You and I, Alexandru Șaptefrați – Сон, Aurel Chirtoaca – Inca indragostit, Boris Cavali & Cristina Croitoru – Break it up, Ionel Calalb – Mama, Carolina Gorum & Mircea Gutu – True Love, Constantinova – Insane, Corina Cuniuc – Si tac, Cristi Cuculescu – Don’t give up, Dana Marchitan – Lucky you, lucky me, Daniliuc Veaceslav & Andrei Hadjiu – Summer is following, Danu Boian – I don’t now, Diana Staver – Love Song, Doinita Gherman – Viata, Dyma – Crazy, El Pepino Feliz – A peace of luck, El Radu – Tell me why, Elena kondoraki – Take me, Group Ion, Krasnopolski – Cu fanfra pina dimineata, Gloria – The best thing in my life, Tatiana Heghea – Save me nothing, Ianna Novac – The cave of life, Ionel Istrati – Hot Girl, Irina Coval – Nu cred, Janet Erhan – What you say, Karizma – When life is grey, Katrina – Solo por tu amor, Katy Rain – Boy, Denis Latisev – It’s my first dance with you, Mariana Mihaila – Mi rey!, Mariana Damaschina – Goodbye, Mary Popins – Life goes on, Milenium – In memoriam, Missa – Take my hand, M-Studio – Night reflection, Nadejda Kara – Moving on, Natalia Barbu – Let’s Jazz, Natan – Daca dragoste mai e, Nicole – Just your friend, Odry – Doina, dor nemarginit, Pasha Parfeny – Dorule, R.Mike – Now or never, RoMan – Listen Close, RoMan – Dim the lights, Romanita – Hold me, Ruslan Taranu – Lumina mea, Christina Scarlat- Every day will be your day, SereNado – Shuga Girl, Serghei Abalin – You rule my world, Sergiu Caruntu – Faith, Soician Dumitru – Ma pierd cand o vad, Stela Botan – Step Back, Tavis Kent – Tok of the world, Vadim Luchin & Tamaz, Djgarcava – Always, Valeria Tarasova - This is my life, Zdob si Zdub – So lucky

Tonight: Croatian Dora 2011 starts... UPDATE

Not only Norway and Iceland are doing wonderful Eurovision things tonight, also Croatia starts its elimination rounds tonight - lenghty system explained here - and tonight we have the first 12 acts and only six of them will move on to the next level. Fun starts 20.20 CET here

The 12 are in tonight:
Artemija Stanic, Damir Kedzo, Ivana Brkasic, Tina Vukov, Miro Tomic, Mila Soldatic, Valentina Briski, Jelena Vanjek, Sabrina Hebiri, Mario Sambrailo, Dora Benc and veteran Jacques Houdek. 

Update:  And the show goes on for Damir Kenzo, Miro Tomic, Dora Benc, Jacques Houdek, Sabrina Hebiri and ... err, the sixth one will be announced next week? Ok....


Update 2: HRT announced the day after that there has been problems with the v ote and actually Jelena Vanjek qualifies to the next step instead of Damir Kenzo....

Tonight: Second Icelandic semifinal - UPDATED

Iceland continues its search for the Eurovision perfection and in this heat we have also  lovely Yohanna, who came second in Eurovision 2009 behind Alexander Rybak and indeed she's got yet another fine ballad and should qualify easily. As I got it all wrong last week I say no more about the others except Matthias and Erlan deserve a special mention for their crazy song! Listen to all songs here.

Update: I'm on fire tonight, got the both qualifiers right! :-)

  1. Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir - Nótt -> FINAL
  2. Bryndís Ásmundsdóttir - Segðu mér
  3. Kristján Gíslason & Íslenzka sveitin - Þessi þrá
  4. Rakel Mjöll Leifsdóttir - Beint á ská
  5. Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir - Eldgos -> FINAL

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tonight: Second semifinal in Norway - UPDATED

The Norwegian MGP 2011 travels tonight to Florø and once again seven hopefuls will fight for the free passes to the final, two more will get the last chance later and three says goodbye. This week I haven't listened the songs at all and will watch the show with open eyes and ears. And will update this post later. Here's the offers for tonight:

Update:  One can only admire the Norwegian camerawork! Solid pack of songs and enjoyable show as always. I predicted while watching songs 1,2 and 6 as the contenders while Marika is just fabulous! But I think she won't make it this time either.... In a moment the results down here:

  1. Pernille & Marius - I'll be yours
  2. Babel Fish - Depend on me> FINAL
  3. Marika - Hungry for you (Gipsydance)
  4. Isabella - Sand
  5. Endre - Oh oh (Puppy love)-> Last chance round
  6. Hanne Sørvaag - You're like a melody -> FINAL
  7. Mimi Blix - Allergic -> Last chance round

Change of the scene in Slovenia

Expert in Slovenian EMA affairs Marco Mosca reports:

Many debuts this year at Ema. But if the international audience knows Omar Naber (ESC 2005) and Nina Pušlar (2nd place last year; Ogae Second Chance), the bands are very well known in Slovenia, above all among the young people. Tabu and LeeLooJamais, in particular, boasted many successes in the last few years, and no one imagined to see them at the festival. TV Slovenia really made a "sprememba scene (change of the scene)", as Kalamari and Ansambel Roka Žlindre said last year in the lyrics of Narodnozabavni rock
The commentaries are all very positive about the amazing cast: Maja Keuc was second at Slovenia's Got Talent so she's got a huge popularity in this moment; April is a new singer also called the Slovenian Lady Gaga; Sylvain is a dance deejay; Rock Partyzani are a very famous band from the 1970's with variable members; Feliks Langus are a new band; TimeToTime are for sure among the favourites for the winning ticket, they are a little piece of the very famous chorus Perpetuum Jazzile, the director Tomaž Kozlevčar, with sons Nino and Samo.
So the competition will be very hard this year! And interestingly a jury will choose the two superfinalists and only then the televoters have a chance to vote the winner between those two.

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