Saturday, May 31, 2014

EUROVISION: WHAT IS REQUIRED FROM THE VENUE?

Have you ever wondered what really is needed for a venue to be able to host an event like the Eurovision song contest? There's much more than meets the eye at first glance. 
First of all the venue must be available for six weeks before the final, and even for the visits by EBU people already in January and March. As we know it takes time to build the stage and all the technical stuff but very little to tear it all down - wasn't B&W Hallerne empty by Tuesday morning after the final? It's alwaays kinda shocking to see them start tearing the stage down and things while the last people are still waiting to exit the venue....
There must be space for at least 10.000 people in the audience, on top of the space needed for the stage and all the technics.
The venue must be covered, soundproof and isolated from daylight, have air conditioning and be at least 15 meters high. That rules out all plans for Eurovision taking place in some outdoor stadium, that every now and then popup.....
There must be a minimum of 6000 mq backstage area for catering, dressing rooms, make up area, commentator boxes and all that technical stuff backstage like the infamous viewing room. Sometimes this can be taken care by tents, like in Copenhagen.
There must be also place for a Green room area for minimum of 300 people within or nearby the venue. Now that sounds interesting. Nearby. Well, the trend in recent years has been to have it in the arena itself but of course there are always different solutions. This blogger thinks the Copenhagen solution was maybe the best yet.
The press center must have a capacity of minimum 1500 journalists. Once again one handy solution is a tent.
On top of that there must be a space available for sponsors that can accomodate minimum 100 persons.
But even if you have the perfect venue, a lot is required from the city itself from trasportation issues to number of available hotel rooms. Copenhagen may have had some problems with the trasportation to the venue but the rest was perfect. As for Austria, the accomodation issue might turn out crucial to host city anywhere else but the capital Vienna, even if Innsbruck, Klagenfurt and Grazmight have a suitable venue. But then again, Vienna has two of them: Wiener Stadthalee and Messe Wien.


Friday, May 30, 2014

UMK 2014 ARTISTS HAVE NEW RELEASES

While the winner Softengine is still working on their debut album and is about to release their new single Yellow house shortly, the girls of MIAU have come out with their debut album Trinity. Ten songs including of course their 3rd placed God/Drug
Jasmin Michaela's new single is called Irtokarkkeja following Kertakäyttösydän. Clarissa is out with Lies, following her duet with Josh Standing in Top of the world. Oh, and Madcraft is out with Never had the guts, too. Let's not forget Mikko Pohjola being featured in Jannika B's Sateen rummut while waiting for his new album including of course Sängyn reunalla
Hukka ja Mama are also working on their debut album with Selja. And Lili Lambert has released this fabulous music video for her Let me take you there. Hanna Sky has released a follow up single, too, Softer rain. Lauri Mikkola has been busy with various live shows but it's worth remembering his appearance in Elastinen's Uus. Even Josh Standing is working on some new music with his new hairdo.
It's been a very productive UMK this year, seems like only Dennis Fagerstöm and MAKEA have vanished from the scene.....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

THE COMMON LINNETS: WAYLON HAS LEFT THE NEST

The Dutch Eurovision entry Calm after the storm is proving all but what the name suggests. First it scored an amazing 2nd place in the Eurovision 2014 against all odds and right after stormed the charts all over the world doing even better than the winner Rise like a Phoenix by Conchita Wurst for Austria. Now, less than three weeks later the other half of the duo Waylon as left the duo. Or should I say the band? Anyways, in his statement in Facebook he says it was always Ilse DeLange's project. Instead of riding the success that may include touring the States and promo gigs all over Europe he will concentrate on his solo career and worthcoming album. Time will tell how wise that decision is - it seems fans haven't taken his decision so kindly..... 
Ilse Delange has already performed with Jake Etherigde replacing Waylon this week.... who looks like a younger and prettier version of Waylon really. So, will we miss Waylon?
Calm after the storm is still in iTunes charts in the Netherlands, Austria, Lithuania, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Taijikistan, Estonia, Sweden, Spain, Latvia, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, Norway, United KIngdom, Malta and Hungary.

WHO IS AFRAID OF CONCHITA DUCK?

Life in the Disney's Duck universe centres on the city of Duckburg in the fictional U.S. state of Calisota. Sometimes characters visit the real world and/or meet historical figures. Sometimes characters from the real world go and visit Ducksburg instead. Now the appearance of Conchita Duck has caused a huge row in some circles, forcing the German creators of the character at Ehapa-Verlag to promise she will remain a marketing gag and will not be featured in any of the official Disney comic strips - even if the comic is apparently already drawn up and ready to be published shortly, as announced by the Austrian tv earlier. How can a beard be so judged in this world today, this blogger wonders.... Mind you, it's not the first time Eurovision artists are appearing in the Disney comics; in Sweden likes of Loreen, Carola, Charlotte Perrelli & co were featured a couple of years ago, Lordi has been in the pages of the Finnish comic (only mentioned, not featured sadly) and for example in Italy this spring a special was made for Sanremo festival as well. No one complained, on the contrary. Those issues have become collectables that will be worth of something in the future. What's the big deal? Does the beard make all the difference?
Angry cartoon fans are saying Walt Disney must be turning in his grave (and he was no saint himself, don't forget that) and someone even suggests that "yet another childhood memory ruined forever". What? You must have had a sad childhood, sorry. 
It's worth though remembering the carefully manyfactured image Walt Disney company has created, well documented in this article by AWN: 

"No other Hollywood studio has the well manucured repuration that 
Disney spent years cultivating. As a result when other companies create cntroversial product, nobody seems to care. When Disney does something slightly irreverent, 
conservative family oriented pressure groupd can and will protest. 
The problem is Disney has carefully created an image that is hard to live up to all the time. 
When Disney doesn't live up to its image and press becomes aware 
there is a problem, it is news."


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: ORF IS GETTING READY

Edgar Böhm, Conchita Wurst, Stefan Zechner
Two weks after Conchita Wurst helped Austria to rise like a Phoenix from their Eurovision not so glorious past ORF has already appointed most key names in the Core Team, who will be responsable for the next year's jubilee edition of the Eurovision song contest. 
Edgar Böhm, Head of Entertainment at ORF, will be the Executive Producer of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, thus leading the project at ORF and representing the host broadcaster at the EBU.
Stefan Zechner will be the Producer of the TV Show.
Martin Szerencsi has been appointed to be Legal Advisor.
Stefan Wöber will be line producer.
Claudio Bortoli, who has had the same function already for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, will again be the technical manager.
Roman Horacek will be the Head of Press of the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.
The event manager, to be responsible of logistics, hospitality, and security among others, is yet to be appointed.
ORF has promised to decide on the venue and host city by the end of July. So far Vienna is considered the obvious choice and has several more or less suiable venues. Also Graz, Innsbruck, Klagenfurt, Linz, Oberwart and Vorarlberg have applied but most of them only for the fun of it as they surely don't meet EBU's needs. Wiener Stadthalle in Vienna seems the most obvious venue for 2015. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

A RAW TALENT TO DISCOVER COVERS ITALIAN EUROVISION ENTRIES: DAVID0

Anyone who can sing a bit (and even those who can't) like to try out their own versions. Some of them are very good, like David0 from Italy. This blogger has been following his efforts for a few years now and he's good, very good. One of these days you will see him in Idols, X Factor or similar, just wait and see. 
By my request he did Emma's La mia città for all of you to enjoy, but recently he also did Conchita Wurst's Rise like a Phoenix. What do you think? Good, right? And how about his L'Essenziale by Marco Mengoni that comes with a videoclip? Fits him perfectly, no? But the best of them all is - in my opinion - L'amore è femmina by NIia Zilli. Absolutely fabulously witty version. 
You can find him in Youtube and Facebook. Like him and adore him! He deserves it! And here's as a bonus Diamonds.

FINLAND: UMK 2015 KICKS OFF IN SEPTEMBER - WITHOUT JURY

YLE has now produced three editions of UMK (Uuden musiikin kilpailu) and done better each time. Pernilla in 2012 didn't reach the final and has since disappeared from the scene (making a comeback every year to "judge" the other entries never liking any of them, it seems), Krista Siegfrids did Eurovision historry with her kiss in 2013 and is still all over the place and recording her second album. This year Softengine was knocking the top-10 in the final finishing 11th. They are recording their debut album, charting here and there and have a summer filled with gigs. More importantly every year more artists have gained a recording deal, more visibility and gigs and so on. So, it is working after all.
But in 2015 there will be changes - all broadcasts will be live and there will be no jury! Also the producing team behind the show will partly change.
In nutshell the demos must be sent to YLE between September 1 and 8, 2014. At least one of the writers and main performers must be a Finn or permanently living in Finland, and only one song by an artist is accepted. The song may not be sent to any other national selection for Eurovision. 
More information and the final rules will be published by September 1, 2014.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

FINNISH ARTISTS UNITE FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

As the state failed to collect money to build a new, desperately needed hospital for children all sort of events and fund raising ways has been launched previously. And here finally comes the "ULS17 Live Aid". Nightwish's Tuomas Holopainen wrote the sing together with Simo Reunamäki and Cheek, and 18 artists got together for the recording of the song and the video. A five hour long stadium concert will follow on June 6, 2015 in Helsinki Olympic Stadium with all the artists and the choir of musicians of Finnish National opera and the dancers of the national Ballet. This event should push the donations to pass over the needed sum to start building later this year and the new hospital to be ready in 2017.
The list of artists is quite impressive from top selling artists of the past few years like Cheek, Jenni Vartiainen, Chisu, Jesse Kaikuranta to Lauri Ylönen of The Rasmus and Samu Haber of Sunrise Avenua. And Eurovision stars Jari Sillanpää, Riki Sorsa and Vesa-Matti Loiri. Add Eurovision wannabes Johanna Kurkela and Samuli Edelmann, superstars Juha Tapio and Lauri Tähkä, opera singers Lilli Paasikivi and Matti Salminen, dancer-choreographer Jorma Uotinen, violinist Pekka Kuusisto and actor Peter Franzen. The lullaby-like Lohtu traslates to confort.

CONCHITA WURST DOES LONDON AND G-A-Y: JUST A DRAG QUEEN WITH HUGE SAUSAGE

Conchita Wurst has been very busy since her victory in the Eurovision song contest 2014 in Copenhagen two weeks ago. She's been to London and done various TV-shows, has given a home coming concert in Vienna, she's been honored with a sausage (and ice cream apparently on the way, too, with the taste of.... sausage, bien sur!) and she has also set the catwalm on fire in Cannes film festival besides getting compliments from likes of Elton John, Cher and many others. And she may or may not open for the Lady Gaga concerts - that was apparently all made up but who knows, maybe Gaga got interested and makes it happen?
And how did Ms Wurst comment on her sausage? "It looks good, but I never thought it'd be so huge!" Priceless. Conchita came face to face with tha sausage when visiting her hometown. Butcher Joe Aichinger lives next door to her childhood home in Bad Mitterndorf and created the sausage for her honor. "It's spicy, just like her" he says. And apparently it is selling well. According to reports, village priest Michael Unger is also a fan of her sausage. He said: “I am proud that she stands true to herself."
In BBC Newsnight she discussed Russia and its politicians that are against her. "This is a very big honor for me. Because they think I'm that powerful to burst the whole country so, thank you! ... But you see I'm number on on iTunes in Russia and it's a huge thing for me actually,"
In The One Show she met with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and was really in good spirits, and came up with this fabulous line: "I have to say when famous politicians say I'm the reason Europe is crashing into pieces... I have to say I never received a bigger honor... because they think I'm that powerful. Thank you. I don't want to disappoint you but I'm just a drag queen!"
And last night she did G-A-Y in London singing Believe, That's what I am, Rise like a Phoenix and My heart will go on, could you ask for more? Watch it here. Rather triumphant I'd say!

Friday, May 23, 2014

EUROVISION 2014: AMAZING TANJA FROM ESTONIA

Estonia didn't qualify for the final this year with Tanja's Amazing. Something that surprised many in Copenhagen as it was given as a pretty sure finalist. Tanja sung her heart out while dancing but maybe the televoters were too stunned to remember to pick up the phone and vote while watching her? She was welcomed to the Euroclub like a hero by adoring fans anyways, and the day after she as performing there again as well as in Eurovillage. And boy did she rock the Euroclub the night after! Corny to say but she was amazing indeed. Makes me wonder should she have dropped the dancing acrobatics and perform this way on Eurovision stage instead? Check her out here and here and here





And she was looking fabulous in the welcoming party btw....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

STASERA LAURA: WITH EMMA, MARCO MENGONI AND RAF

There's no doubt Laura Pausini is one of the most succesful Italian singers of all time. She broke through by winning the Sanremo 1993 Newcomers with La solitudine. Since then her record sales are counted in millions all over the world. She has recorded for the US market in English, in Spanish and Portuguese for the Latin market, in French for France. Countless collaborations and duets with world class stars have been her thing all the way.
Tonight RAI 1 will broadcast (21.15 CET) her special show from the magnificient Greek anfitheater in Taormina, Sicily celebrating these 20 years with her. Of course she has also special guests and most importantly the past two Italian Eurovision acts: Marco Mengoni and Emma Marrone. Mengoni gets to do James Blunt's bits in Primavera in anticipo (It is my song) while Emma is featured in Con la musica alla radio with other female stars (Noemi, Paola Turci, Malika Ayane, L'Aura, Syria and La Pina).
Other guests of the night include Pippo Baudo who discovered her for Sanremo, Biagio Antonacci, Raf, Fiorella Mannoia and Paola Cortellesi. The show was recorded on Sunday and is a special edition of her The Greatest Hits World Tour 2013-2014.
The under title for the show is Ho creduto in un sogno - I believed in a dream. This blogger's dream is to see Laura do Eurovision one day soon :-)

Monday, May 19, 2014

EUROVISION 2014 SONGS HIT THE FINNISH CHARTS

Like everywhere else also in Finland the Eurovision songs enter the charts. Not the physical top-20 but the Dowwnload charts where Conchita Wurst enters at #2 while Softengine re-enter at #3 (after being #17 after they won the Finnish selection). Further down we have The Common Linnets at #6, Sanna Nielsen at #7, Carl Espen at #20 and Aram Mp3 at #29.
In Radio Play top-100 only Softengine has made it so far, at # 12, going up from #40.

CONCHITA WURST AND RUTH LORENZO IN DUET - BUT WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SUZY?

Rise and dance like a phoenix in the rain. It was no secret in Copenhagen Eurovision some ladies really hit it off, namely Austrian Conchita Wurst (who ended up winning the contest), Ruth Lorenzo (respectable 10th place) and Suzy from Portugal (just missing out by one point the final). There were rumors of an eventual trio forming for some work together, but now it seems Ruth and Conchita have kicked Suzy out and plan a duet only for Ruth's worthcoming album. In these photos by yours truly the moment they told her is captured below.... (Maybe, lol)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

EUROVISION 2014: A SUCCESS IN CHARTS, EVEN SOFTENGINE ENTERS UK TOP-100!

Eurovision 2014 has been a success. The iTunes in various countries were taken over my the songs right after the final and today we got the new from the official UK charts; 13 songs from the show made the Top-100. The Common Linnets even enter the Top-10, is this a first for a non-winning, non-UK song? Anyways, even Finland's Softengine made it! Something better than that?  Maybe the over one million views of Youtube and over one million streams on Spotify?

EUROVISION 2014: CONCHITA WURST IN EUROCLUB

Eurovision 2014 winner Conchita Wurst from Austria performed also in the EurcoClub in Vega during the Eurovision weeks several times singing her entry Rise like a Phoenix, That's what I am, Believe and even My heart will go on. Here are some photos by yours truly.




Saturday, May 17, 2014

EUROVISION 2014: AN ORDINARY REHEARSAL DAY IN PHOTOS

Eurovision seen by televiewers on TV or by fans on spot in Press center and the Arena is quite different from the Eurovision seen by delegates. These two words collide in Press center, in EuroClub and Euro Fan cafe but inside the venue and Press center there are hidden corners fans and most of the press don't get into. This is a little photo story of an ordinary routine rehearsal day seen from the backstage areas. And if you didn't guess, most of it is waiting. And more waiting. And even more waiting.....
The day started usually with a pick up from the hotel. The only thing that didn't please the fans and press in Copenhagen was the transportation. Same goes for the delegations. Or what do you say about 1h40 mins driving time reserved to the veue when it only took 15 minutes? It did get better after a few days though..... Still, a lot of waiting.....
Arriving B&W hallerne and its tent village was quite an experience the first time. There it was, in the middle of nothing. I do love industrial look but sometimes there can be a little bit too much of it  really. But once you got inside it got better and within days you didn't even get lost in that tent maze of corridors anymore.
Then it was time to bring in some promos to make fans and press happy. Maybe.
And of course the Dress!
And off we went to the long tent corridors towards Delegation Lounge. 
And started waiting. What else?
Then we arrived to the lounge and the spartan dressing rooms.....
Oh, there's an orchid. And Tentacle lamps!
Claus the SoundMan worked his magic! (Here pictured in the hotel lobby though, don't expect marble floors in the dressing room tents!). Why change it if it's not broken?
Time to go. Finally!
First stop In-ear station for Valentina and backing singers Sandrina, Giovanna, Giacomo and Paulo. And of course Mauro and Ralph. 
Fix and mix that sound to perfection......
Ever present eurovision,tv photographer was there,too. This time lovely Sander.
Next step before going backstage is the microphone station.....
Last touch on make up and hair by  Nadja the Fabulous.
This is it. The real backstage where it all comes to place.
Valentina and Fabrizio in good spirits while waiting for our turn
and listening to Moldovan song for the 5th time....
Watching the rehearsal from the Green room.
While other delegations watched in the Lounge, 
and fans and press in the Press center of course.

Next stop the infamous Viewing room where all the changes are suggested, discussed and argued by the delegation and DR people. Camerashots, lights, recaps.... All that matters.

After succesful rehearsal it was time to meet hte press in the official Press conference, 
also streamed live by eurovision.tv
And at some point you may have eaten something in the cantine. A lesson learned: sleep and eat in every given chance. That's what everyone seemed to be doing from singers to other delegates.
Or you could just hang out in the Lounge and see who's doing what. 
Something going on all the time...
Like Mauro giving an interview to the San Marino tv....
And you could of course step to the other side and visit the Press center. I want to take this opportuity to say hi to all those lovely people I met there, friends from years ago I didn't meet since Helsinki 2007, friends I met for the first time in real life, and all the new friends I made. This blogger is very happy for the succesful comeback to the Eurovision world! Can't wait for Vienna and seeing you all again! Don't know how but I will do my best to be there!
And after a very long day back to the bus and hotel. Or EuroClub. Or Euro Fan Cafe ;-p You can make your days even longer. And you do.....
And sometimes you didn't travel alone but with some other delegations. Like France for example!
And that was it. One of those 13 Eurovision filled days in Copenhagen 2014.

Gadget

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