Norway - Chris Zeiher

Norway – Melodi Grand Prix 2017        

entry profiles

1.     Kristian Valen – you & I

If you’re expecting this entry to echo Lady Gaga’s jaunty country-infused song of the same title you will be more than disappointed.  Sadly this is a drippy piano-laden ballad from comedian and impressionist Kristian Valen.    Reinventing himself as a serious singer-songwriter Melodi Grand Prix is a great vehicle for this forty-something but the song, accompanied by badly considered thunderclaps, misses the mark.  And yes, the start does echo “The Winner Takes it All”!

2.     ulrikke - places

Head and shoulders above every other entry Melodi Grand Prix is Ulrikke’s to lose.   “Places” is a Zara Larsson lite r&b synth pop jam effectively showcasing former The Voice alum Ulrikke’s contemporary style.  This should easily romp to victory and see Norway take its place back in the Grand Final.    Ulrikke is also on record as saying Loreen’s “Euphoria” is her all-time favourite Eurovision song – makes you like the pop-ette even more.

3.     Elin & the woods – first steps in faith

Bring on the antler-chic.  Creative staging may hypnotise the audience and see this slice of Nordic folk pop materialise into the final round of the competition.   Intriguing and quirky enough not to tip into the comedic this could surprise on the night and is gaining a groundswell of support from many Eurovision fans.   Mark down as “one to watch”.

 

4.     amina sewali - mesterwerk

Sadly this is filler.  Nice enough contemporary pop song but Sewali’s weak vocals don’t really make any lasting impact. “Mesterwerk” starts promisingly and becomes less masterpiece and more piecemeal as it plays out.  Mark this one down as “toilet break”.

5.     ella – mama’s boy

You huff and you puff but the house ain’t never coming down!  This high octane aggressive bit of puff-pop will certainly have Oslo’s Spektrum dancing in the aisles.   And there’s no denying that “run to your Mama boy” chorus is one thick slice of delicious cheese.   But will the Norwegian’s have the appetite for this kind of cheese?      

6.     run run away – rune rudberg band

This straightforward Country entry is pleasant enough but will it have the voting potential to excite the Norwegian public into sending it to Eurovision?  Frankly, no but it’s great to see something of this simple music styling included in the 2017 line-up.

7.     i go where you go – jenny augusta

More quirky Nordic folk pop – this time we’ve Jenny Augusta’s dramatically odd ode to stalking in the attempt to find…poetry.  This out-quirks Elin & the Woods but may be a step too far for the audience and it’s likely they’ll leave Ms Augusta ambling aimlessly in the forest.  Unicorns, dolphins and marshmellows – this is quite bonkers.  File under Jaime-Lee’s “Ghost” from Eurovision 2016.

8.     grab the moment - jowst

The real threat to Ulrikke’s place in the 2017 contest is JOWST’s accessible and contemporary pop piece “Grab the Moment”.   Showcasing The Voice finalist Aleksander Wallman on vocals the lads of JOWST should generate enough votes to see them competing for the chance to sing in Kiev.  Containing a killer chorus the only criticism of “Grab the Moment” is that it does not really build to anything after its initial potential. 

9.     wrecking crew - ammunition

Joke rock band – urgh!  There’s great examples of where this kind of act works (ummm Lordi anyone?) but this is not one of them.  This sadly is a wreck.

10.     nothing ever knocked us over – in fusion

New all female trio In Fusion are the another real contender to represent Norway in Kiev later this year.  “Nothing Ever Knocked Us Over” is the big dance song for this year.  Sadly last year’s big camp disco dance hit from The Hungry Hearts did not make it through the preliminary stage.   These girls will need to sing their socks off to ensure they’re in the running.

Iceland - Nikke Allen

Songvakeppnin 2017 Semi 2

Last Saturday, Iceland held their second semi where the final 6 of the 12 competing acts presented their songs to the public. The top 3 entries decided solely by televoting would advance to the final on March 11th.   I followed the broadcast on the web, and this is what I thought of the 6 songs:


1.  Linda Hartmanns - "Ástfangin"

Linda in a long flowing red dress, is seated at the piano to begin her song.   It's all very subdued and classical and rather ponderous.  Then we get two dancers on stage to twirl around in the background in the gloom, whilst the Miracle Of The Still Playing Piano occurs as Linda gets up from it and moves to the front of the stage to sing.   Sorry, but this always irritates me - either you remain at the piano or you do the whole song standing at the mike!  The song throbs up into a crescendo and then ends rather suddenly with more of a whimper than a bang.


2.   Daði Freyr Pétursson- "Hvað með það?"

Quirky electronic start with light up guitars on the gloomy stageas Daði stands alone at a mike, dressed very casually in a green jumper. As the chorus kicks in, he and his 3 backing singers with the guitars do a side to side dance which I find frankly silly.  Daði seems lacking in charisma and the song is just a dull throbbing continual dirge to my ears, but the audience seem to like it.   Is this one to watch?


3.  Svala Björgvinsdóttir - "Ég veit það"

Dressed in a white trouser suit and with her blonde hair scraped severely back into a ponytail, Svala stands alone in a single beam of light.   The verse is pretty bland but then the chorus creeps up on you, and has a good hook.   A bit of stage mist adds atmosphere, and Svala's vocals are great.   The backing during the verse in particular reminds me of the backing for the Animata song a couple of years ago in ESC.  Nice blue lazer show during the brief bridge!  Her shoes are absolutely ridiculous though.


4.  Páll Rósinkranz & Kristina Bærendsen - "Þú og ég"

A very elegant presentation, the song a light laid-back country-style ditty.   With twangy guitars gently echoing in the background , Kristina, in a long black dress, and Páll in a dark suit, harmonize and interact well with each other.  The song has little impact, but it's very enjoyable.


5.  Sólveig Ásgeirsdóttir - "Treystu á mig"

Oh, this is sweet, and you know it's kinda going to be sweet before she starts singing.  Sólveig stands alone on the stage in a long blue dress as the gentle piano chords and violin open the song, then the song picks up pace and evolves into a very pretty lilting tune.  She is just as sweet as the song and has nice vocals throughout.


6. Aron Brink- "Þú hefur dáleitt mig"

A very young-looking Aron has 4 backing singers/dancers with him on the stage, they are all dressed in white which contrasts nicely with the dark stage.   Aron has rather a small voice, but the great beat on this song makes up for it, and he and his singers move around well on stage to the song.   This is a much-needed uptempo - fresh, happy and feel-good.  The chorus is very catchy, and towards the end of the song the stage bursts into golden colours which is refreshing to the eye.  I could see this at ESC.

After some interviews with the singers in the Blue/Silver Room, and a little interval act where the woman who played Silvia Night sings "Save Your Kisses For Me", the 3 qualifying songs to the final are announced in no particular order:

Aron Brink- "Þú hefur dáleitt mig"
Daði Freyr Pétursson- "Hvað með það?"
Svala Björgvinsdóttir - "Ég veit það"

Then there is the announcement of a "wildcard" entry, and that wildcard qualifying is from the first semi-final - Hildur with "Bammbaramm".

So who will win Songvakeppnin this year and go on to represent Iceland in Kyiv?   All will be revealed on Saturday evening!

 

Austria - Michaela Sowden

Austrian Nathan Trent has finally released his song for Eurovision. Called“ Running on air” , it was supposed to be released on the 28th February, but was leaked earlier by Spotify.. Nathan composed the song in collaboration with Bernhard Penzias.

It has a simple, catchy  tune, is not a ballad and does showcase his voice.  The song has a folksy, soul sound  as to be expected. It is cheerful and playful, and not too long, finishes at 2.48. It is different from the current songs that have been released. Nathan himself says it reflects his Pop / RnB roots.

Do I like it? Yes I do, hoping it will do well. He does have a lot to live up to, as last years Zoe did become the crowd pleaser. I will be playing this song, not just because of my Austrian background, and will be packing that dirndl in support. The good thing is that Australia is in a different semi. If it is a clash between Austria and Australia , I will be supporting Nathan, sorry fellow Australians, his song is more my taste.

Will it make to the finals- I do hope so. In fact would love to see this new comer make it to the top ten, but that will be in the hands of the Gods called the jury and audience.

Australia - Belinda Conn

Seventeen year old Isaiah Firebrace will become the third artist to represent Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev.

Isaiah, who originates from Moama in New South Wales (a town of less than 6,000 people), shot to fame when he won the 2016 season of X Factor Australia – on his birthday! His distinctive deep, warm voice defies his youthful age.

Isaiah is no stranger to Europe. His debut single It’s Gotta Be You was a hit in Denmark (where it went Gold), Norway and Sweden (where it went Platinum). The single has surpassed 50 million streams on Spotify.

In Kiev,Isaiah will be performing Don’t Come Easy, which was composed by DNA Songs. If the track sounds a little familiar, well that’s because DNA Songs were also behind Dami’s 2016 hit Sound of Silence.

Isaiah has big shoes to fill – Australia has had an impressive start to its Eurovision career with Guy Sebastian coming 5th in 2015 and Dami coming 2nd in 2016.

Australia will perform in semi final 1 in Kiev, with hopes of making it to it’s third consecutive final.

Good luck Isaiah!

Israel - Marcus Davey

Israeli National Selection - Eurovision 2017

So, after nearly one and a half months of Israel’s TV show Next Star for Eurovision started (also known as Rising Star), the winner has been selected.

The way that the selections work is the audience votes on their phones and the judges vote.  The artists are behind a screen until their votes reach a certain percentage (it seems to be 75%).  After this the screen comes up and the audience is revealed to the artists.  I’m not quite sure what happens if they don’t meet the 75% 

On the final night, there were four finalists competing for the title or next star for Eurovision (I’ve included the links of some of the performances they made throughout the contest from the Eurovision world website)

Beatbox Element

http://makostorepdl-a.akamaihd.net/SHORT/TV/Programs/The_Next_Star/S04/EP/01/Next_Star4_01_04_beatbox_song/Next_Star4_01_04_beatbox_song_550.mp4

I liked all the pitch perfect movies, and this group was good, but just not sure strong enough for Eurovision

Julietta

http://makostorepdl-a.akamaihd.net/SHORT/TV/Programs/The_Next_Star/S04/EP/03/Next_Star4_03_02_julieta_song/Next_Star4_03_02_julieta_song_550.mp4

The two solo women in the finals have amazing voices.  Julietta’s voice has a certain sweetness to it which I really appreciate.

 Diana Golbi

http://makostorepdl-a.akamaihd.net/SHORT/TV/Programs/The_Next_Star/S04/EP/01/Next_Star4_01_12_diana_song/Next_Star4_01_12_diana_song_550.mp4

As I said above the two solo women have amazing voices.  Diana’s was sultrier and hurt but also very very amazing

Imri Ziv – The winner

http://makostorepdl-a.akamaihd.net/SHORT/TV/Programs/The_Next_Star/S04/EP/01/Next_Star4_01_02_imri_song/Next_Star4_01_02_imri_song_550.mp4

I really feel for the audience on this show.  It was very close between Diana, Julietta and Imri for me. Imri was great especially with his performance of Edge of Glory.

And the winner was Imri.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what song he will be singing in Kiev

 

Romania - Alexandru Badea & Stefan Hadar

Selecția Națională 2017

Yes, its 2017 and the Romanian government finally decided to help TVR and pay its debts back to the EBU. Yes, in case you were wondering, Romanias back in the contest and with a selection stronger than ever. In order to repent its sins after the unfortunate event from 2016, TVR decided that its time for a bigger, better and a more transparent national selection. And this is how Selecția Națională 2017 was born.

This year, the national selection has drawn more than 80 songs in the race for the ticket to represent the country in Kyiv. All of them had to go through the live audition stage and were broadcasted on TVR2 in a unique show during the week of February 5-11, while on February 12, the 15 semi-finalists were announced. Many of them are masterpieces and strong contenders for the ticket to Kyiv, and many are just fillers, unworthy for a place in the final. And the public has the only power to decide who goes to Kyiv, just like in 2016. While the jury decides the 10 finalists, its up to the televote to determine the winner. And all the voters who call or send an SMS are automatically in a race for a car. Yes, you heard that right: a car. Its clear now, that after paying its debt and after the government upping the broadcasters budget by 150 Million Euros, TVR has now money to spend. So, if you happen to be in Romania on March 5, you may be the lucky winner of a car. But lets get back to a serious business and review the songs.

The semi-final aired on TVR1 and online on www.tvrplus.ro, last Sunday at 19:30 CET (you can rewatch it on www.tvrplus.ro/editie-eurovision-2017-543161). The 3 hours and 15 minutes show was everything but exciting, apart from the fact that the beloved Romanian TV personality Iuliana Tudor hosted the show. The semi-final highlights included fake screams, fake applauses, gossipy Green Room hosts, who only wanted to talk about the bad comments the juries made and ask the artists why they think the juries said those things. Ovidiu Anton was the interval act and I think he sung his whole album, as his recital was 30 minutes long. Alas, hopefully the final is better. If you watch the shows from last year you will be amazed by the professionalism and by how beautifully they were organised and cannot even be compared to this year’s (take a look here www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgRQ5TQ09a0&t=725s). Anyway, these were the 15 semi-finalists.

OUT – Elizé & No Stress – Fără bariere

 

“Fără bariere(No barriers) is an amazing upbeat song. It has a very British sound, a bit of early 80s new wave mixed in with late 90s Britpop — and it all works. Elizé is an amazing singer with a great vocal range and the combination with the band No Stress is just perfect. Although the song becomes a bit repetitive at the end, its fun and delightful. However, while I would like to hear this song on the radio, I dont think how its going to get through to the Eurovision fans.
8/10

 

Cristina Vasiu – Set The Skies On Fire

Cristina Vasiu has one of the best songs in Selecția Națională. No wonder it was written by Tony Sanchez Ohlsson, the man behind so many wonderful Eurovision entries. Set The Skies On Fireis an incredible power ballad and it really fits Cristina, allowing her to expose her amazing voice. The song is very catchy and the backing vocalists are Eurovision hopefuls too, who unfortunately didnt make it through the auditions (Nora Deneș, Teodora Dinu among others). I would be really happy if she won the Selection.
10/10

OUT –Tudor Turcu – Limitless

 Okay, I get it: Tudor has a great voice, a great charm and is a veteran at our national selection. Hes had good songs over the years and even great songs sometimes, but Limitless is just bland and boring. The song is repetitive and flat. Its just very easily forgettable and it wont connect with the audience. The chorus is really strange and unenjoyable. Tudor just repeats the same word over and over again, while a backing vocal delivers the chorus. Maybe next year Tudor.

3/10

Ramona Nerra Save Me

Now before you judge Ramona based on her performance at the auditions, you should note that she had a sore throat and caught a cold during that time, so she did not offer her best. However, her song Save Meis very good and catchy. The song sounds modern and fresh and is clearly a dance anthem. Even though the chorus is just a desperate scream and pretty boring after the second listen, it could do well at the Euroclub. But probably that would be it for Ramona, even though she has a killer voice, which has been praised even by the germans, when Ramona was among the finalists of The Voice Germany. Ramona, please come back next year with an even better song.
7/10

Instinct – Petale

Yes Romania! This is how you do things! This is what Im talking about! Finally an entry with potential! “Petale” is perfection on all possible levels. It has the complete package for Eurovision. The voices of both singers fit so perfectly together and they have a deep chemistry on the stage. The song itself is catchy and very easy on the ears. This is the best Romanian language songs in this years selection and may even win Selecția Națională. Once you listen to it you realize you it sticks into your head and you cant get it out. Its the perfect entry for Eurovision.

10/10

Eduard Santha Wild Child

I have a bad history with the name Wild Child. I dont know, but everything that comes into contact with this name, is a complete disaster, and Eduards song is no exception, whatsoever. I dont know if the song is supposed to be a joke or not, and I dont know if the jurors joked when they chose it. But now, please repent your sins and dont send it to the final. Thats all Im asking for. I dont want to hear this song a second time.

0/10

UPDATE: Now, I have written all these reviews before the show, and was pretty sure that Eduard Santha would not qualify. To my bitter surprise, he did and I cannot explain why. His song is awful on all possible levels and I cant explain how the juries liked it. Sorry Europe, there are many stupid people here in Romania.

Tavi Colen & Emma We Own The Night

"We Own The Night" by Tavi Colen and Emma sort of reminds me of Malta's entry in 2014. The thing is that I hated that song, and this one irritates me too. It's not forgettable at all because it's quite very bad. The only thing that I like are Emma's vocals. Those are nice, but that's it. Tavi seems to not even know the lyrics of his own song and his voice ruins the already bad song. I dont know how this qualified for the semi-final.

2/10

OUT Zanga Două Sticle

Now, its clear why Zanga qualified. Lora, a big Romanian singer withdrew after a spicy fight between Eurovision fans and her manager, a discussion which sparked controversy and more than 1000 comments in less then 4 hours. EURODRAMA! Thats why the whole team and the record label decided to withdraw, although it seems that the deal has not been broken yet and Lora is still expected to compete tonight. Well, then how did Zanga qualify if Lora is still expected to perform? Dont ask me honey, cause I dont know. Welcome to Romania. Lets get back though, and review Zanga’s song. “Două sticle(Two bottles) is not a bad entry, but there were so many other ones better than this, which did not qualify. The beginning is awkward and you feel like that the song is actually a joke, but the chorus is surprisingly very, very good. If the whole song would be that good.

6/10

UPDATE: I feel sorry for Zanga. She had a decent song, which was better than Eduard Santha or Tavi Colen & Emma. She deserved to be in the final, even though her performance was a little bit strange.

Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It

Yodeleeeeei, Yodeleiioooo! Hello Switzerland, this is Romania calling. You thought you stole our Miruna Mănescu and get away with it? Well, think again and thanks for the Yodel. Ilinca and Alex are clearly the publics and jurys favourites. They are also the favourites of the Eurovision fans, so does that mean a WINNER ALERT? I think so. The mixture of rap and yodelling actually works really well. “Yodel It” would stand out in Kyiv, among many boring ballads, and thats a fact! Their chemistry on stage really elevate their entry and it could provide a great show in Kyiv. This song might actually do well: take a look at Verka Serduchka, Koza Mostra and Donatan & Cleo. These types of songs usually do good at Eurovision, so why can this one occupy a top spot?

10/10

 

OUT Alexandra Crăescu – Hope

Do you want to go back in time? There is no need for buying a time machine! Listen to Alexandra Crăescu's "Hope" and you will feel like you're back in 2000. I take back what I said to Mihai's song, this is an even better sleeping pill. Although, Alexandras voice is amazing and the girl can really sing, the song is not suited for Eurovision. I would like to see her back with a ballad that really emphasises her wonderful talent.

4/10

OUT – D-Lema – Adventure

D-Lema's "Adventure" is not a bad song but it's not good either. I have no idea what to say about this one. I forgot it the minute I heard it the first time and I have no idea what the juries thought when they qualified songs like this. There were a lot of songs which were way better and the purpose in a song for Eurovision is to impress, while Adventureclearly doesn’t.

5/10

Maxim – Adu-ți aminte

Maxim is one of the most biggest boy bands in Romania. I really like their song "Adu-ți Aminte" (Remember) but the only problem is that out of 4 boys, only two really sing. The other two are backing vocalists and this is weird. Anyhow, if their live performance will improve, they have a good chance to win Selecția Națională. They have a big fanbase and a good song. Also, the man behind "Adu-ți Aminte" is Adrian Sina from Akcent, one of Romania's most popular singers. Akcent used to be a boy band too but now Adrian is the last remaining member and since almost 10 years Akcent manages to have a big international career.

8/10

MIHAI I Wont Surrender

MIHAI really wants to win the National Selection and he has the voice, but not the song. The first two minutes of the song are just boring and even though the last minute is empowering, and builds up really great that's not enough to connect with the audience and scream: VOTE ME. "I Won't Surrender" is another cliche ballad and if Romania sends this, it might not qualify in the Grand Final, proving that it would truly not surrender the semi-final in Kyiv.

5/10

UPDATE: MIHAI revamped his song for the semi-final and it sounded better than I thought. I still think it wont do that good but I appreciate the change.

Ana Maria Mirică – Spune-mi tu

Ana Maria is an amazing singer. Her song “Spune-mi tu” (Tell Me) is amazing and powerful with really deep lyrics. Her voice is rocky and fits her entry perfectly. Just listen to the bridge: its perfect on so many levels. You just cannot not fall in love with it. Ana Maria rocks the stage and I cant wait to see her performance in the semi-final. With some changes, and the lyrics changed to English, the song could do pretty well in Kyiv. Great job!
9/10

UPDATE: In my opinion, Ana Maria was the biggest surprise of the night. She took the advice of the juries, changed all the lyrics, except for the bridge to English and I really like it. Go Ana!

Xandra Walk On By

Xandras song is a very powerful ballad with deep lyrics. Moreover, Sandra has a pitch perfect voice and she proved that last year in the selection. Walk On By, along with “Yodel It”, is one of the main public favourites and it has a pretty good chance of winning the selection. Even though the song is a ballad, it stands out as it is more up-beat and succeeds to connect with the audience. Well now have to see if the Romanian public thinks the same.

9/10

After a boring and never-ending interval-act, the juries finally awarded their points. And oh boy, did they make stupid mistakes, such as qualifying Eduard Santha, and in the opinion of the majority of the Eurovision fandom, even qualifying Maxim was a mistake. In my opinion they overrated MIHAI and underrated Instinct. Here are the 10 qualifiers (it is notable that “Yodel It” received 12 points from all the jurors):

Yodel it! - Ilinca  feat. Alex Florea - 60

Walk on by - Xandra - 46

I wont surrender - MIHAI - 44

Set the skies on fire - Cristina Vasiu - 32

Petale - Instinct - 24

Save me - Ramona Nerra - 19

Wild child      - Eduard Santha - 19

We own the night - Tavi Colen & Emma - 8

Adu-ţi aminte - Maxim - 8

Spune-mi tu - Ana Maria Mirică- 7

Now, its all up to the Romanian public, as the final is 100% televote. Will Romanians follow the juries and send “Yodel It” to Kyiv or will they choose something else. Tune in next Sunday, March 5, on www.tvrplus.ro and remember: if you happen to be in Romania on March 5, you may be the lucky winner of a car (through this, TVR desperately hopes to gather more votes).

Iceland - Nikke Allen

Songvakeppnin 2017 Semi 1

Last Saturday, Iceland held their first semi where 6 of the 12 competing acts presented their songs to the public. The top 3 entries decided solely by televoting would advance to the finalon March 11th.   I followed the broadcast on the web, and this is what I thought of the 6 songs:


1. Hildur   "Bammbaramm"

As the beat kicked in on this song, you saw that Hildur was posed inside a large red heart on the somewhat dark and gloomy stage.  Then she started moving around the stage with her 3 female backing dancers/singers.  Dressed in a white top and silver shorts, she had a sweet voice and the song itself is very catchy - however, curiously, she and the whole presentation seemed to lack energy, and I felt that only the rhythm of the song saved it.  


2.  Erna Mist Pétursdóttir - "Skuggamynd"

A tinkly piano heralded Erna's somewhat hesitant beginning to her song.   Wearing a long white dress, she stood alone on the dark stage, until the lights lifted a little and then you saw she had 4 male backing singers behind her.  They moved to stand around her as the song progressed.  She had an ethereal voice (the studio version of this reminded me of Kate Bush) but I felt this was another song that lacked "oomph" until the second chorus kicked in, and then the song gathered strength.   Lovely song, lovely singer, but a very static performance.


3.  Arnar Jónsson & Rakel Pálsdóttir ·  "Til Min"

The song started off with some ponderous piano chords and singing alone, captured in black and white on our tv screens, which then changed to colour.   Rakel was wearing a somewhat drab grey/green dress (difficult to see in the gloom of the stage) and Arnar a dark suit.  They had great voices that mingled well, and towards the end of their performance they stood back to back, ala "A Monster Like Me" performance, but sadly it lacked that frisson of tension "Monster" managed to capture both in song and performance.  I found it a dull plodding ballad, and was really in need of a bright cheery uptempo number after these first 3 songs!

After a break, where the presenters talked to the first 3 performing artists in the Green Room (actually, it was blue and silver and was as gloomily lit as the stage) we continued with the final 3 songs of the evening:


4. Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson & Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir - "Heim til þín"

Oh dear.   This feel-good, toe-tapping song, so reminiscent of Firelight's "Coming Home" in style and which promised so much in studio version, was sadly let down by a dreadful presentation, in which the duo were separated by a split screen for most of the song, andÞórdís seemed to be singing in some dodgy IKEA style living room!   They were reunited for the final chorus, but by then it was really hard to bond with them as a duet or to invest in the song.  The whole song I felt lacked cohesiveness as a result of this staging, however, it was a welcome relief to hear an uptempo song at last!


5.  Rúnar Eff Rúnarsson - "Mér við hlið"

To the melodic opening chords of a guitar, Runar stood alone at his mike, dressed casually in open-necked white shirt and dark suit.   It was a drab visual performance at first. and he had little charisma, but his vocals were good and once the rhythm got going, the song picked up and found its stride, becoming anthemic.   The final chorus was great and had the "oomph" that the whole song needed.  I felt this would be a worthy qualifier and indeed, the audience were very appreciative.


6.   Aron HannesEmilsson - "Nótt"

Last song of the evening, and this was by far the most modern one.   Hurray, another uptempo!  The song kicked in with a bouncy intro and a red stage.  Dressed in a casual white t-shirt, dark trousers and a baseball cap, Aron moved around well on stage with his male backing dancers/singers.   His vocals were good and he gave a self-assured performance and the audience loved it.   Yes, I can see this song at ESC - the only song of the evening that I can say that about!

After more interviews in the Blue/Silver Room and ad breaks, the 3 qualifiers were announced, and in no particular order they were:

Rúnar Eff Rúnarsson - "Mér við hlið"
Aron Hannes -  "Nótt"
Arnar Jónsson · Rakel Pálsdóttir · "Til mín"

6 more songs will be presented next Saturday.   Will there be an ESC winner amongst them?   Who knows!   Stay tuned to find out!

 

Latvia - Nathan Mountford

SUPERNOVA 2017

PART 7: FINAL SHOW REVIEW

Supernova 2017 has come to an end with Triana Park victorious.

Initially when I started to review the Supernova I found many of the songs were similar. But now it has come to an end I can appreciate their differences. Compared to other national selections, I feel Latvia had a diverse and modern selection. They had songs that appealed to all age groups and demographics. In the end I believe they chose something that represents them as a country that is creative and progressive. Reflecting the theme of this years contest.

 Here is my overview of the live performances:

 1 Santa Danelevica “Your Breath”

I think she performed this knowing that it was very unlikely she would win. I feel it was the weakest performance she gave during the live shows. This song has grown on me and I wouldn’t have minded if it was chosen. Although I think all the strong divas already chosen would have eaten her alive!

 

2 The Ludvig “I’m In Love With You”

This was also his weakest performance. It’s a shame because young people have so much to learn and should be open to growing during a process like this. A great suit, new glasses and some attitude would have helped!

3 My Radiant You “All I Know”

These guys have been fairly consistent throughout all the live shows. I think this was his best vocal performance as it was a little more restrained. I still believe this would have faired better at Eurovision as it probably appeals to a larger audience (especially age groups). Maybe they should have mixed things up during the various shows. They should do well commercially regardless of this loss.

4 Triana Park “Line”

You can tell the crowd love these guys so I’m so glad they won. It also brings something different to Eurovision, which is needed at this point! I hope they really bring it in May. The risk is that they will look amateur or shrink on a large stage. They’ll need to work on vocals and bigger everything (costumes/hair/neon)! Good luck Latvia.

Denmark - Len Whitney

The diffident and reserved Danes seem to have an interesting relationship with outsiders or Danes who have left their homeland when it comes to voting for a representative to carry the Danish flag in Eurovision. Famously, last year Australian/Danish megatalent Anja Nissen got the short end of the stickwhen the Danes brushed off her fantastic entry in favor of Lighthouse X and their standard-issue boybandentry “Soldiers of Love.”

Nissen is born to Danish parents who emigrated to Australia, and possibly it took a year for the chilly Danes to warm up to the golden-voiced blond winner of THE VOICE AUSTRALIA, but yesterday they awarded her a massive win of 64% in the televoting.  Her soaring, modern pop anthem “Where I Am” will take her and the Danes to Kyiv in May.

This year, after two years of being left out in the cold after poor semifinal score in ESC, DR purposely avoided boybands in their preliminary song selection. One modern pop duo, Calling Mercury, was the only group effort to make their top ten and compete in the DMGP finals. Their overall direction seemed to be choosing a sleek, radio-friendly song that would fit into the charts as easily as into a Eurovision lineup. 

The entries were performed as follows:

01. Ida Una – ‘One’
02. Thomas Ring – ‘Vesterbro’
03. Rikke Skytte – ‘Color My World’
04. Anja Nissen – ‘Where I Am’
05. Calling Mercury – ‘Big Little Lies’
06. Anthony – ‘Smoke In My Eyes’
07. René Machon – ‘Warriors’
08. Sada Vidoo – ‘Northern Lights’
09. Jeanette Bonde – ‘Hurricane’
10. Johanna Beijbom – ‘A.S.A.P.’

When full recordings of the songs hit the internet and DR’s website this week, a few favorites emerged. Bettors and experts narrowed the choice down to three best bets: Ida’s “One”. Anja’s “Where I Am”, and British/Danish “living doll” Sada Vidoo with her intriguing “Northern Lights”.

When the songs were performed Saturday and many singers had shaky uneven vocals, especially returning male singer René Machon, the final three superfinalists included favorites Ida Una and Anja Nissen. Left out was kooky Sada Vidoo, in favor of former Danish entry backing vocalist Johanna Beijbom and her Kylie-influenced “A.S.A.P”. Beijbom was a small surprise, since she is a Swede who works often with Danish artists. (Perhaps Sada’s overseas success in British X-Factor was another bump in the road for her to get over as Anja did last year.)

When the superfinalists performed, it turned into a clear battle between Ida and Anja, with Nissen’s stellar vocals pushing her to the front.  The votes were announced, and it was no close race.  Anja Nissen looks to bring Denmark back into contention at ESC this spring with her confidence, stage presences and remarkable voice.

 

 

Slovenia - Sevket Yigit

He was only 24 years old when he represented Slovenia at ESC 2005 in Kiev. At age 35, Omar Naber is now a seasoned artist returning back to Kiev in 2017.

It was a real disappointment when he failed to qualify for final in 2005 with his song          " Stop". Voting system was solely tele-voting and Slovenia must have been unfairly left alone among other Balkan countries.

There comes a second chance in 2017 for this talented artist whose father is Jordanian and mother is Slovenian. That is most likely where his name Omar is coming from.

He was EMA hopeful three other times in 2009, 2011 and 2014 with no successful outcomes but this year is his year again.

His song "On my way" will probably have mixed reviews all along. Some will really love it and some will really hate it. It is a classic but also antiquated ballad written based on an overused formula. He sells it quite nicely with his powerful vocals. He is very playful with his voice cruising along a spectrum of different notes all throughout the song, hitting a perfect high note at the end. I am predicting a destiny similar to Poland 2016 for him. All I can say is, Eurovision fairies are calling me tonight, telling me he will be all right :-)

Moldova - Alexandru Badea & Stefan Hadar

O Melodie Pentru Europa 2017

Unlike previous years, when O Melodie Pentru Europa was a big event in Moldova, this year TRM, the state broadcaster, has decided to introduce a new format for the show. Due to the low interest of the artists and songwriters, which added up only to 38 in 2017, the national selection now includes only a semi-final and a final. The fourteen semi-finalists were announced on January 21, but since then 3 withdrew, paving the way for three other lucky participants. Sunstroke Project, who represented Moldova at Eurovision in 2010 are back and so is Valeria Pașa who tried to represent Moldova back in 2016

Vozniuc feat. Vio Grecu – Don't Lie

The song begins very dark and sombre, sending vibes of a rock/metal ballad. The verses lead up to the chorus, which is very powerful and explosive. The song is very powerful and it will go through to the final of Moldova’s national selection, but in my opinion, even if it wins O Melodie Pentru Europa, the song would still not break Moldova’s recent curse at Eurovision, as it will not qualify for the final. The verses are clicheic and repetitive and I feel like both of the guys scream at the microphone. The song is furthermore easily forgettable.
2/10

Emilia Russu – If Only You

Emilia’s song is a typical EuroBallad, beautifully crafted, with powerful lyrics, but very outdated. Emilia manages, however, to transmit her pain to the audience and her voice is flawless. The last chorus just never comes through though, making the whole thing fall entirely flat. If Only You would get lost in Kyiv among the other more powerful ballads, from countries such as the UK or Finland.
4/10

Sandy C – A Beautiful World

Sandy’s ballad is about a beautiful world, but the message Sandy tries to transmit seems to be very painful. Her voice isn’t as bright as Emilia’s but her song sounds more modern and the chorus has a better chance of coming through. However, it doesn’t evoke any special feelings in the listener, so I don’t think that Sandy’s ballad will have the chance of winning O Melodie Pentru Europa.

5/10

Valeria Pașa - Freedom

I don’t know if Valeria’s song is suited both for Eurovision or Junior Eurovision. Freedom is one of those clicheic children songs about freedom, about the power and the ability to do everything: the world is at your feet, so you can do anything you want or go anywhere you like. But Valeria is clearly not going to Eurovision with this song.
1/10

Valentina Nejel & Sergiu Punga – Ne-a fost iubirea un joc

This is one of the few songs in Moldova’s selections that are in Romanian (Ne-a fost iubirea un joc = Our Love was a Game), but I don’t know if this will make it through to the final. I mean, the song is not bad, but the lyrics are really bland. This type of music was trending in Romania during the 1990s, so it’s clear that Moldova still has to catch up with the rest of us. It’s completely awful, especially for 2017. For what it’s worth, Valentina withdrew, so Sergiu will be the only one singing the song. Oh, and her voice was the only thing making their entry bearable. Well, maybe next year.
0/10

Ethno Republic & Surorile Osoianu – Discover Moldova

Moldova’s calling! Now this is what I am talking about. It’s the perfect entry for Eurovision, even though the song may seem for some listeners pretty lame. The melody and the lyrics combine the traditional Romanian/Moldavian folklore with modern/contemporary aspects of pop music. Maybe this song won’t break Moldova’s curse, as it is pretty repetitive, but it’s fun and calls for a party. I think it would go down a storm with the Eurovision audience. This is the spirit Moldova!

9/10

Marks & Stefanet – Join Us in the Rain

The title takes me back to 2014 and Ruth Lorenzo, but this song can’t even be compared with Ruth’s masterpiece. This song sounds like the perfect song for a bottled water commercial. The song is very dull and boring. It doesn’t have the Eurovision spark. Moreover, their voices don’t quite work together and the studio version is not the best. And we all know how the live versions of the songs sound like in Moldova…

2/10

Aurel Chirtoacă – Dor de mamă

Oh my god… I really don't know if Aurel's song is supposed ti be a joke or not. It doesn't even sound like a song from 1980. I mean, I know that folk music is a big plus at Eurovision, but this is the perfect example of what songs not to send to Eurovision. I feel that not even my grandparents would listen to this. It's completely horrible.

2/10

Big Flash Sound – Logic

The song "Logic" by Big Flash sound is quite an earworm. After I listened to it the very first time it got stuck in my head and I sang it all day long. The song is a combination of rock, pop and electronic music which may do well with the Eurovision audience. The only drawback is that only the chorus is powerful, while the verses are pretty plain.  I like the song but I feel it needs a revamp.

8/10

Substroke Project – Hey Mamma

Look who's back! After their epic moment at Eurovision 2010 with their "Epic Sax Guy", Sunstroke Project are back. Sunstroke's song "Hey Mamma" is one of the best songs this year. I loved their track back in 2010 and I love this one now, too. I really think they could do Well in Kyiv and finally qualify in the Grand Final again. Both, the song and the singer have such a positive vibe. This song sounds contemporary and could do well on the radio, but we'll have to see if the Eurovision fans think the same.

9/10

Diana Brescan – Breath

Diana Brescan's "Breathe" started very good but the chorus fails to impress me and simply falls flat. The verses build up very powerful and one expects an even more powerful chorus, but sadly this isn't the case. She is a very good vocalist but her song doesn't show her true talent. It's just boring and forgettable.

6/10

Nadia Moșneagu – Never Give Up On Us

Another amazing song is from Nadia Moșneagu. "Never Give Up On Us" almost gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. It sounds a little bit familiar, as it is a typical Eurovision ballad. The lyrics are powerful and Nadia's vocal range is just amazing. This is another song that could do well in O Melodie Pentru Europa, but we have to see what the Moldavian audience decides tonight and on Sunday night.

8/10

Samir Loghin – Glow

I can't really concentrate on the song "Glow" from Samir Loghin because of his bad English accent. The song is good and it's very different from the other ones in the contest. It is very modern and it might connect with a large audience, but he should try and sing in Romanian or even Russian otherwise it makes quite a bad impression.

5/10

THE ONE – Dance

THE ONE's song is very plain, boring and forgettable. We've had these kind of songs at Eurovision during the 2000s and I feel that Moldova should match its music to 2017. The song itself is not bad, but is very forgettable. Especially for the closing act.

5/10

Even though O Melodie Pentru Europa 2017 is weaker than last year's, let's hope they choose the best. The show started at 18:35 CET on trm.md. 8 songs qualified for tonight's final, which starts at the same time. Here we go!

The running order for the final is as follows:

Sunstroke Project – Hey Mamma

Ethno Republic & Surorile Osoianu – Discover Moldova

Diana Brescan – Breathe

Aurel Chirtoacă – Dor de mama

Marks & Stefanet – Join Us In The Rain

Samir Loghin – Glow

Valeria Pașa – Freedom

Vozniuc feat. Vio Grecu – Don’t Lie

The winner will be determined by the standard 50% jury, 50% televote split. In case of a tie, it will be broken by the ranking decided by the youngest member of the jury. Oh man, I would like to see that happen.

So, who do you think will win? Will Sunstroke Project take the prize or is Moldova going for a more traditional entry this year?

Sweden - Dennis Flores

MELODIFESTIVALEN 2017

Semi Final 4: Skellefteå

Last week in Växjö, we saw Anton Hagman and FO&O advance to the Andra Chansen round, and Robin Bengtsson and Owe Thörnqvist go direkt till final.

This week we will finally hear the last seven remaining songs competing in Melodifestivalen this year. Similarly to other Semi-Finals this year we have a mix of Melfest debutants, returners, and Eurovision winners.

We travel up to the northern city of Skellefteå. Nu kör vi!

Jon Henrik Fjällgren feat. Aninia - En värld full av strider (Vearelde gusnie jeenh vigkieh)

Jon Henrik Fjällgren, who finished third in Melodifestivalen 2015, returns this year withThe rehearsal clip shows the stage in blue light, Jon Henrik is on the B-Stage, and Aninia is on the main section of the stage against a wind machine. There are some similarities to Jon Henrik’s 2015 entry, with a spiritual/indigenous vibe, but this one seems less magical and more serious or darker tone (the song does translate to “World Full of Battles”). The entry reminds me very much of Roger Pontare’s entry; however, something seems to be missing. The studio version preview clip, sounds more entertaining compared to the arena rehearsal, I imagine hearing this song being played against images of running water and nature.

Alice - Running with Lions

Alice Svensson makes her Melodifestivalen debut with a song co-written by Anderz Wrethov (notable for 2016 entries including: “We Are Your Tomorrow,” “Kizunguzungu,” “Bada Nakna,” and even ESC fan-favourite “Cool Me Down” from Margaret from Poland. Alice is best known in Sweden for finishing second in Idol 2008. “Running with Lions” is an upbeat and danceable Pop/R&B song and with some orchestra segments. In the rehearsal clip, Alice the stage itself is black, she is surrounded by gold spotlights and with the always-popular wind machine.

Les GordonsBound To Fall

The pop-rock band Les Gordons won over the jury of Svensktoppen nästa, and were awarded the opportunity to compete in Melodifestivalen. The band is compared is to fellow Swedish band The Hives. “Bound to Fall” is very reminiscent of SoCal pop rock band from the late 2000s. Based on the rehearsal video, we are going to see a standard band set-up, surrounded in a purple stage, and some accent lights in blue and gold.

WiktoriaAs I Lay Me Down

Wiktoria, returns to Melodifestivalen from her fourth place finish last year, with another song written by an almost identical team from her entry “Save Me.” “As I Lay Me Down” shares a very similar theme to her entry last year in many ways. The song itself is about trying to find the power of love to save her from her loneliness. Based on the studio clip, the song is going to be loud and powerful, almost like a march with some gospel choir elements. Staging-wise, Wiktoria is surrounded by blue spotlights and inside a rectangular platform structure to allow her to line her up with graphics on the diamond screen on the back wall and on the floor. Again, we have swirling colors, but this time not projected onto her clothes.

Axel Schylström När ingen ser

As another Idol alumnus, Axel Schylström is known to the Swedish public for competing in the 2015 edition. Axel’s debut entry at Melodifestivalen is a typical dancepop number. His song translates to “When no one is looking,” Axel describes the message of his song as one of confidence in individuality, a dare to be yourself. Axel is surrounded in blue lights and four dancers. Based on pictures, CO2 jets are going to make a cameo this Saturday.

Sara Varga och Juha Mulari – Du får inte ändra på mig

Sara Varga returns to Melodifestivalen after last competing in 2011 where she finished ninth. Juha Mulari moved from Finland to Sweden when he was three years old. Both artists state that they write songs that are about survival, from getting out of a bad relationship to coping with traumatic events. Surrounded in gold lighting, this duet is a folky soft ballad, being performed in Swedish, it gives off an innocent romantic and almost magical feeling. The song translates to “You May Not Change Me,” and is about recognizing that you cannot change an individual, yet still coming to an understanding of each other.

Loreen – Statements

Loreen. Enough said.

 

One of the most-anticipated artists of the entire Eurovision National Finals season returns with a song written by the same team that wrote Måns Zelmerlöw’s winning song “Heroes.” Her rehearsal clip may be one of the more peculiar videos released, featuring fog, strobe lights, giant flag waving dancers, and another woman coming out of nowhere swinging around a handbag. Loreen explains that the staging will tell the story of a woman’s self-empowerment and also parallel into telling her own personal journey of confidence. With minimal clips to get a grasp of what’s in store, Loreen and her chord striking vocals are expected to make a statement on Saturday.

Two of these seven acts will be regulated to next week’s Andra Chansen round where the eight acts will duel off for the last four spots of the Final in two weeks time. The top two entries that receive the highest amount of votes will advance directly to the final.

Melodifestivalen airs on Saturday, 25 February, at 20:00 CET on SVT 1, and online at SVTPlay.se

Malta - Scott Parsons & William Freitas

On Saturday February 18th, Malta gathered to select their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kiev. A total of 16 songs were presented in a single grand final in a departure from semi-finals that appeared in previous years. Many familiar surnames were present, including Borg, Faniello, Vella, and Calleja.

We reviewed each artist’s performance on a scale of 1 through 10, with 10 being the best. Because the lower-quality live stream affected sound quality, we were slightly more forgiving with artist vocals. We also considered the predicted themes of Eurovision 2017, which range from political “concern/coping with concern” (think Georgia or “Hold on” in Melodifestivalen) to “loyalty/inspiration” (think UK).

The introduction of the show was a fantastic Eurovision medley of Maltese entries in a Melodifestivalen style. Great way to get the show started.

Klinsmann Coleiro - “Laserlight” - 8
Klinsmann got the show started with great energy and vocals very similar to the studio version. In a Malta hallmark, we were treated to fancy footwork and enjoyed his performance. We gave him an 8 because, although performed well, the song was not on theme (more summer hit) and didn’t really show us anything new.

Raquela Dalli Gonzi “Ray of Light” - 9
Continuing the “light” theme, Raquela started off nervous and sounded a bit pitchy on the lows at the start of the song. However, she quickly regained her confidence after the incredible power-vocal rise that got her a favorable response from the crowd. We gave her a 9 because the song was on theme (loyalty/inspiration) and her power vocals were fantastic. This is my favorite song of the lot, however, her terrible placement at second virtually assured the song would be forgotten by the end.

Deborah C & Josef Tabone - “Tonight” - 6
Deborah C and Josef got he cloud clapping with their upbeat song, “Tonight.” However, we gave them a 6 score, and the lowest of all performers. Unfortunately, Josef’s vocals were off and overpowered Deborah C’s. Honestly, this song would make for a great yogurt commercial. No one likes cheesy songs more than me, but even this one went too far with sunny days and bumble bees.

Kevin Borg - “Follow” - 9
In a surprise performance, Kevin showed us fantastic vocal control and really worked the crowd. Plus, the only interactive video performance of the night (which we often call “the winner edit”). Kevin was comfortable on stage, sang his heart out, and matched the studio version. We gave him a 9 score due to the song, which would quickly be lost in a sea of similar sounds (we didn’t count his MacGyver hair against him). The voting audience gave him third place.

Jade Vella - “Seconds Away” - 10
Jade owned the floor with her fantastic performance! The song was catchy and stuck on repeat in my head. Her vocals were simply outstanding and we were entertained throughout the song. Even though her backup dancers came straight out of Beatrice Egli’s “Irgendwann" video, we gave her the first perfect score of the night.

Crosswalk - "So simple” - 8
Crosswalk gave us spot-on vocals and very likable performance. We really had nothing bad to say, but gave it an 8. Mostly because the song wasn’t on any relatable theme and was forgettable.

Franklin Calleja - “Follow me” - 9
Okay, I’m a fan of Franklin. Last year, he impressed me with one of the strongest performances of the night. This year, though, we both agreed that we needed to see something new from him to show us some range. We still gave him a 9 because his vocals are simply outstanding.

Rhiannon - “Fearless” - 10
Rhiannon nailed it. Even though she had some issues with the low notes, she really pulled off the high ones. She gave us emotion through an on-theme song and got a 10 score from us. Really, this one should have been one of the top three (but wasn’t).

Miriana Conte - "Don't look down” - 7
Miriana performed well and sounded good. But, we gave her a 7 because the song sounded too junior (and started like Malta’s Junior Eurovision entry). We hope to see her again next year.

Shauna Vassallo - "Crazy games” - 7
Shauna had a weak beginning and sounded pitchy during the performance. However, she brought us attitude and got a solid 7 score.

Janice Mangion - “Kewkba” - 8
The only Maltese-language entry of the night, the crowd really responded to Janice. She clearly has a beautiful voice and sang her heart out. We gave her an 8 score because the song wasn’t compelling enough, but the voting public gave her second place.

Cherton Caruana - "Fighting to survive” - 8
Another song on theme, Cherton’s vocals were off on more than one occasion. We liked that she didn’t have backup dancers and did a solo performance that was compelling.

Maxine Pace - “Bombshell” - 9
One of my favorites of the lot, Maxine’s song started with a banner ad for cheese and onion crisps (is that an editorial?). We gave her a 9 because she sang the song well, gave us a fantastic performance, and fun like Taylor Swift.

Richard Edwards - “You” - 9
Eurovision veteran Richard Edwards sang a folksy and self-reflecting song that may have been a bit sleepy towards the end of the night. We gave him a 9 score because, although shaky at first, his vocals were good and he showed a full range. I think his nerves got to him, but he pulled it off well enough.

Brooke Borg - “Unstoppable” - 10
I really though this was an open-and-shut case. Brooke would have won last year (if it hadn’t been Ira), but wow, she didn’t finish top 3. Her power vocals were flawless, commanded our attention, and had a big finish. Simply fantastic!

Claudia Faniello - “Breathlessly" - 10

On Saturday February 18th, Malta gathered to select their entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kiev. A total of 16 songs were presented in a single grand final in a departure from semi-finals that appeared in previous years. Many familiar surnames were present, including Borg, Faniello, Vella, and Calleja.

In immediate discredit for ourselves as reviewers, we thought this song too sleepy to listen to with regularity. Then came this surprise performance. I have on my notes “EMO” underlined (for “emotional” [aka, Jamala effect”]). Truly outstanding vocals and even a tear at the end. It was clear at this point who won… our heart strings were tugged.

In the end, we agreed this was Malta’s best show in years. Although it was commercialized beyond words (we can never erase Vivos Whole Meal, Intercomp Mobile Phones, Inglot, Schwarzkopf, 202 Jewelry, MSVlife, Hamilton Travel, or Esplora from our minds), we look forward to seeing Claudia Faniello in Kiev.

 

 

Latvia - Nathan Mountford

SUPERNOVA 2017

PART 6: SEMI FINAL SHOW REVIEW

We are nearly there! The Semi Final is over. Congratulations to The Ludvig, Santa, Triana Park and My Radiant You.

A few costume/hair changes and some better performances but that’s about all folks. By the third time it will be hard to impress! Whomever wins, I hope they can come up with something more impressive for Eurovision.

Here is my overview of the live performances:

1 Linda Leen “Who Is In Charge”

No doubt Linda is a strong performer, easily the best of the Semi. If she comes back next year with a more modern song, look out!

2 The Ludvig “I’m In Love With You”

I’m not sure that he has improved much from his first performance. Seriously, what else can you do with this song?

3 Franco Franco “Up”

The atmosphere of this song really changed. I think it just proves they have no direction for this performance and therefore it was the end of the line for Franco Franco.

4 Santa Danelevica “Your Breath”

 

I think she really performed this well. Her change of outfit gave the song more weight although I’m not sure about the flowers! I think with the current lineup of ballads this won’t win. If the Latvian final was earlier, it could have.

5 Lauris Valters “Magic Years”

This will never be a modern song nor a contemporary performance. Every part of it is daggy! Thank you Latvia (I couldn’t bare it another time)!

 

6 Triana Park “Line”

They looked like they were enjoying it more this time and it made me enjoy it more too. Realistically I’m not sure how this would go if selected - tracks like this often don’t even make the final. Deserves credit for being the most modern of the bunch.

7 Miks Dukurs “Spiritual Priest”

The added vocals really made a difference but probably could have been used even more. Not sure if they distracted from the focus on him but I liked them. He didn’t improve from the heat and this position probably hurt his chances of qualifying.

8 My Radiant You “All I Know”

I don’t think this performance changed at all from the heat. I do however think this is the most appropriate song to send to Eurovision. It has a broad appeal, it’s enjoyable and anyone can sing along.

Supernova 2017 has probably always been a two horse race. But this year in ‘Eurovision World’ things seem unpredictable. I think either of these two would be a good choice. If it’s one of ‘the others’, we may not really remember Latvia’s 2017 entry and it will definitely become a year of ballads.

 

Slovenia - Sevket Yigit

IS HE ON HIS WAY?

EMA Slovenia 2017 final line up is complete and we have 8 finalists for February 24,2017.Here is my review of the songs and the artists in the order of my rating.

Number 8-Tim Kores- Open fire

This song is all about visual gimmicks. A mediocre song .He definitely has abysmal vocals desperately trying to distract the audience with all kinds of visual effects of fire, flames and explosions. Drums in flames? Burning piano had no success in the past, for the record.

Number 7-Sell out- Ni panike

Athena from Turkey brought the best of Ska to the Eurovision stage in 2004 and I am not sure if we need another ska song unless it is way better than its predecessor. Artists freeze on stage for quite a long time very close to the end of the song but this is what they say in Slovenian “Ni Panike”, in other words “ No panic”. I think this is a futile attempt to be memorable.

Number 6- King Foo-Wild ride

Here is what she is trying to say." I am a Slovenian woman who wants to be Tina Turner". Too much finger flicking, kneeling and squatting on stage. She has that scratchy, chain smoker voice but quite likable. Song is close to contemporary and has rock highlights.

Number 5- Nika Zorjan-Fse

A modern Balkan sound, not the best of its genre. This gave me "Been there ,done that" feeling . It would only appeal to its fan base. Honestly I found it quite boring.

Number 4- Nuška Drašček – Flower in the Snow

Finland is already sending a darkest of the darkest songs which is actually very well done so do we need another one in 2017? There's a lady on stage in a black dress with demonic earrings.  She has outstanding vocals starting from milder tones up to full throttle scream fest .Am I really understanding these lyrics correct? " Feel the silent pain in these loveless veins"??

Number 3-BQL- Heart of gold

This would be a song that Denmark would send in a heartbeat. It is likeEmmelie De Forest has two Slovenian twin brothers. Even the song is like   "Only teardrops" deja vu. Boys are more than satisfying vocally. Song is a blend of Balkan, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. Dark horse.

Number 2-Raven- Zažarim

Did Aminata from Latvia write this song?  Very contemporary feel. Raven is very sexy, charismatic and vocally very strong. The mysterious opening with an harp, simple but effective lighting are uplifting. Somewhat repetitive and boring at times from the musical standpoint. The focus is on Raven herself and this is smart.

 Number 1-Omar Naber -On my way

 Well this is Omar Naber. His voice is quite strong as usual and no surprise there. The song is a typical cliche Eurovision song with a slow start, key changes, high notes, you name it. And the lyrics like "World is calling now tonight, telling me I'll be alright " is a cherry on the top. Poland 2016 formula all over again and it works on most brains including mine.

 My guess is : it is Raven -if they are looking for a change- or Omar Naber- if they want to play safe-. BQL -if they want something youthful and fresh -or Tim Kores -if they fall for gimmicks-may surprise you. You can watch all the performances at EMA Evrovizija YouTube channel. Let me know your favorite and your guess for the victory.

 

Hungary - Ronny Addamo

INTRODUCING JOCI PAPAI FROM HUNGARY

On Saturday 18th of February Hungary’s A Dal 2017 finished off for the year crowning 35-year-old Joci Papai from the city of Tata as their Eurovision entrant for 2017. Joci etched out Gina Kanisza, Gigi Radics and Zavodi + Oliver Berkes in the last segment of the show with his self-penned Romani, folk and rap fusion called Origo.

Joci’s life has practically always had music in it, with him, alongside his brothers playing music from a very young age. Joci became a household name in 2005 when he entered Hungary’s version of Idol. He was eliminated early on in the piece but it didn’t deter him from his dream of becoming a music star. In 2006 he released the first of a string of singles, both solo, and some with the help of rapper Majka. Joci has had an active career within the Hungarian music industry and now, he has the added privilege of representing his country in Kiev in May. Joci will appear in the first half of the second semi-final on May 11th in Kiev. Wishing him the best of luck!

Sweden's Melodifestivalen Heat 3 - Eduardo Lobo

Preview - Melodifestivalen - Heat 3

This Saturday the third semifinal of the Swedish selective for the Eurovision Song Contest is going to be broadcasted, and we are having a lot of debuts on the Melodifestivalen on this heat, and two comebacks.

Let’s see who they are and what can we expect for tonight’s show? Let’s go!

 

Robin Bengtsson "I Can't Go On"

After coming on the 5th place last year, it was an obvious choice toRobin come back to Melodifestivalen, this time with another kind of song and performance. Forget the harmonica and the empty stage of “Constellation Prize”, now he’s walking, dancing and walking even more on a treadmill. The song is an upbeat electropop and it’s really radio friendly and one of the favorites to go directly to the MelFest final.

 

Krista Siegfrids "Snurra min jord"

The Finnish 2013 representant continues her Melodifestivalen journey after trying with “Faller” last year. But the vibrant red and car race themed themed performance disappear as a fully choreographed dark and a bit experimental form of a schlager song appears. The song is kind of a midtempo pop, but Krista promises a great twist at the end. It would be a keychange? We all will need to watch this Saturday to see it.

 

Anton Hagman "Kiss You Goodbye"

He’s a youtuber famous for doing covers on his channel. Now he’s debuting his singing career on the biggest music show of the country. Nice, huh? His song is one of the two which the melody is based on a guitar. But “Kiss You Goodbye” is a nice uptempo song, that, probably, the young swedish girls will fall in love with. And so many grown ups too.

 

Jasmine Kara "Gravity"

She may be short, but maybe we have one of the dark horses of this year here. Jasmine debuts in Melodifestivalen with a club anthem and a performance with a lot of technical work and virtual graphics. She is known for being powerful on stage, so, we can expect a really good performance (and vocals too).

 

Owe Thörnqvist "Boogieman Blues"

He is a legend in Sweden, a pioneer of the swedish comedy. And with 60 years doing shows, finally Owe Thörnqvist debuts on Melodifestivalen. His song has a bit of jazz, a bit of rockabilly and a lot of ketchup… well, he’s singing about hot dogs on the song!

So, for this performance, expect some good comedy lines, if you understand swedish, and a nice performance of the dancers.

 

Bella & Filippa "Crucified"

This is the second song which is mainly based with guitars. The sisters Bella & Filippa has a slow midtempo folk-pop song. Something that Timoteij would do on their great times. But at the moment, nothing special were revealed about the song and the performance besides playing their guitars and delivering solid vocals.

 

 

FO&O "Gotta Thing About You"

They once were on the top spot on the bets to win the competition. Not anymore… but it can change. The 3 boys are members of the biggest boyband in Sweden at the moment, that has even selling out tickets for their show on the Globe Arena, the same one the Eurovision was hosted in 2000 and 2016. Their song takes us back into something similar to the Backstreetboys and N’sync songs. It’s a slow midtempo pop song, but being a slow song doens’t mean that we won’t see a choreography on the stage. Dancing is one of the specialities of the group, and they will surprise us with something really cool. I won’t tell what it is, so you’ll need to watch the Melodifestivalen to see it!

 

The third semifinal for the Swedish selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest will be broadcasted by SVT at 20pm CET time

Croatia - Roy Van der Merwe

The Croatian broadcaster HRT has announced that Jacques Houdek will represent the country in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Houdek's song for Kyiv will be unveiled soon.

JACQUES HOUDEK was born in Zagreb and is 35 years old. He has been singing professionally since 2002 and has previously entered the Croatian national selection, Dora, several times. He is well-known as a judge on The Voice of Croatia, the competition that last year's Croatian entrant, Nina Kraljic, won in 2015.

Immediately after the announcement Jacques, whose birth name is Zeljko, expressed his joy at being chosen to sing for Croatia. "I am extremely happy and thank Croatian Radio and Television for the trust they have shown", he said. "Being a representative of Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest is a big honour for me and I'm grateful for the opportunity".

Croatia's song for 2017 will be unveiled at a later date. "We are confident that it will arouse interest", said Zeljko Mesar, Head of Delegation for Croatia at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Hungary - Ronny Addamo

HUNGARIAN GRAND FINAL- THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!

After what feels like an eternity, Hungary’s  A Dal 2017 is coming to a close this Saturday night with 8 songs poised, and ready to win the hearts of Hungary…Well, Hungary’s jury! There has been quite a turbulent relationship between the Hungarian jury and the general public with the jury favouring, ahem, real musician and singers, vs the public who are looking to be entertained and also, wanting that killer tune. We’ve seen a few fan favourites lose out, so Saturday night promises to be a very interesting show.

It will go down like this,

The eight acts will perform for the final time. The jurors will then score their top 4 entries individually, scoring their favourite 10, then, 8,6,4 with the rest getting zero points. The voting lines will then open, with only the top 4 of the jury selection. The winner will be decided on 100% televote alone.

THE SONGS

I will spare you my judgement this time… until the end…

Kalandor- Soulwave

See It Through- Gigi Radics

Origo- Joci Papai

Fall Like Rain- Gina Kanizsa

Seventeen- Kallay Saunders Band

#Hatterzaj- Zavodi + Oliver Berkes

Elet- Leander Kills

Hosszu Idok- Gabi Toth & Freddie Shuman ftg. Begi Lotfi

So who will win?

My prediction is that we will see the juries vote for Origo, Fall Like Rain, Elet and Hosszu Idok.

Out of these four, I’m going with Gabi and her very original track Hosszu Idok. I think it ticks more boxes, and is a happy compromise from the jury and the televoting public… or I could be completely wrong!

Italy - Kent Acott

The Italian entry for this year’s Eurovision song contest has already attracted plenty of interest across Europe and the world.

Francesco Gabbani – along with his dancing ape – will sing Occidentali’s Karma in May and there is no doubt it has the potential to give Italy its third victory in the competition.

It is a catchy, modern pop song and 34-year-old Gabbani is a charismatic and lively performer – perfect ingredients for Eurovision success.

And Gabbani is a winner. He was victorious in the best newcomer award at Sanremo last year with the platinum awarded song Amen. And this year, he won the main competition to secure his ticket to Kiev.

Occidental Karma immediately hit number one in Italy and Malta, number four in Switzerland and on the charts with a rocket in Spain, Germany and France.

The song is supposedly based on the book The Naked Ape by British zoologist Desmond Morris.

Gabbani was born in Tuscany. He was playing the drums when he was four and the guitar when he was nine. At 18 he joined a band and recorded his first album.

Italy has not won Eurovision since 1990 and most overcome the clear disadvantage of being in the “Big Five” and not singing until the final.

But Italy has certainly had an impressive record in recent years.

In 2013 in Malmo, it was Marco Mengoni’s catchy L'Essenziale – a highly under-rated song that deserved better than its seventh placing in the final.

Italy’s 2014 Eurovision entry – Emma’s La Mia Città – was a little disappointing and probably deserved to finish 21st in the 26-song field.

In Vienna in 2015, it was the powerful rock opera trio Il Volo, singing Grande Amore. And while it officially finished third in the competition, the song actually won the viewers’ vote.

Italy’s 2016 Eurovision entry was Francesa Michielin’s No Degree of Separation. It was a selection clouded in controversy and deserved far better than its 16th placing in the final.

This year, there is already a lot of momentum for Gabbani. Some European bookmakers have already announced it a favourite. Could this be Italy’s year? And are we headed to Rome in 2018?