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Despite 20 percent financial cuts, Denmark goes big for national selection

Despite 20 percent financial cuts, Denmark goes big for national selection

Anja Nissen won the Danish final in 2017 - in Boxen, Herning

On the 23rd of February, Denmark will select its 2019 Eurovision participants. Boxen in Herning will host the big national final. This comes after some tough months for the broadcaster.

Danish broadcaster, DR, has recently been through some tough times. A majority of politicians insisted on cutting down the funds to the national broadcaster with 20%. As DR is not allowed to bring in advertising sponsors, this has influenced many programmes which are simply closing down, and many of their journalists and TV hosts have been fired.

As the announcement of next year’s Danish final, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix came very late, fans were worried that the big cuts would influence the final to such a degree that the popular show would just be hosted in a TV show in Copenhagen with a small audience. Today, we know that it is not the case.

Boxen in Herning will host next year’s Danish Melodi Grand Prix final. The large arena can host more than 10,000 seating audience, so everyone interested in a ticket, should be able to get one. Four times before has Herning hosted the Danish final, in 2001, 2009, 2013 and 2017. Boxen also submitted a bit for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014, but lost out to Copenhagen due to the lack of hotel rooms in the actual city.

Tickets will go on sale via DR’s own ticketsale in just three days, Friday the 26th of October 2018 at 12:00 CET.

Jutland to host for the 5th year in a row

With Herning as host city, the Danish mainland Jutland holds on to the Danish final for the 5th year in row with Herning and Aalborg as the preferred locations. This is something in particular fans from Copenhagen have been complaining about, but as so many other things takes place in the capital, one can argue, that it’s only fair to use Jutland for the Danish final. The press conference introducing the participants has also been taking place in Copenhagen each time the show has been in Jutland.

Dansk Melodi Grand Prix host cities since 2009:

YearHost cityWinner
2017HerningAnja Nissen
2016HorsensLighthouse X
2015AalborgAnti Social Media
2013HerningEmmelie de Forest
2012AalborgSoluna Samay
2011Ballerup (Copenhagen area)A Friend in London
2010AalborgChanée & N’evergreen

Last time Herning hosted the Danish final, the country selected Anja Nissen to represent them. In the video below, take a look at her acapella versions of Where I Am and her 2016 national final entry Never Alone.

According to the rules, each song should include a Danish citizen, or one with strong connection to Denmark. This can be a composer, a lyricist or the performer. The other contributors to the song can be from anywhere in the world.

The language of the song is free, both for the Danish final and for the Eurovision Song Contest, but it is mentioned in the rules that it will be decided in collaboration with the broadcaster. In recent years, the national final has included one song in Danish.

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Newsletter: With ESC Insight’s October Playlist

Newsletter: With ESC Insight’s October Playlist

In this newsletter, a look at Bulgaria’s withdrawal from Tel Aviv 2019, Australia’s first National Final, more dates and names for the Eurovision selection shows, and remembering Valters Fridenbergs. You can read the newsletter in full here, or subscribe for a regular dose of Eurovision insight and analysis delivered direct to your email inbox.

ESC Insight October Playlist

We still haven’t heard any confirmed entries for Eurovision 2019, but while we’re waiting for the new series to start – here’s some recent releases we’re enjoying some past participants…

Quiero‘, by Marco Mengoni

Marco Mengoni’s career has gone from strength to strength since he brought Italy a third consecutive top ten result in Malmö 2013 with L’essenziale. A taster for his forthcoming fifth studio album, Quiero is a hard-hitting electro-pop track that looks likely to continue his forward momentum.

Kati Skoteino‘, by Helena Paparizou

Greece’s 2005 Eurovision winner recently spoke out about the leak of her demo version of Eleni Foureira’s Fuego, calling the unauthorised release of the track ‘terrible’. She should have few regrets about turning down the track though, as her own career continues to go from strength to strength with the release of this dramatic Greek-language ballad looking set to give her another major hit in her home country.

Close To Me‘, by Isaiah

Australia’s 2017 representative Isaiah Firebrace released his first new material in over a year this month. A gentle mid-tempo with electro flourishes, Close To Me introduces a lighter, more carefree side of the young singer, and seems tailor-made for radio.

Så jävla fel‘, by Eric Saade

After parting ways with his record label and relaunching as an independent artist, Sweden’s Eric Saade is back with new direction. Co-penned by the singer, Så jävla fel is the first taste of Saade’s forthcoming album, his first in his native language.

The Sound of Music‘, by Conchita & Wiener Symphonika

Austrian Eurovision winner Conchita’s new album From Vienna With Love is a collaboration with the Wiener Symphonika. The ambitious record features an eclectic selection of cover versions – from Shirley Bassey to Alanis Morissette – gorgeously arranged with a traditional Viennese orchestral sound. This rendition of the classic title track from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music is a powerful taster.

You can stay up to date with all of the latest Eurovision news and analysis right here on ESC Insight. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Categories: ESC Insight


Albania gears up for 57th Festivali i Këngës

Albania gears up for 57th Festivali i Këngës

Eugent Bushpepa

22 participants have been revealed for Albania’s national selection Festivali i Këngës. In the days 20th – 22nd of December, the country will pick its 2019 Eurovision Song Contest representative.

Eugent Bushpepa finished 11th in this year’s Eurovision final. That was Albania’s best result since Rona Nishliu came 5th in 2012. Who will follow in Eugent’s footsteps? A few intense days, just before many celebrate Christmas, will decide that.

54 songs were submitted to broadcaster RTSH. Those have been cut down to 22 who will compete in two semi-finals on the 20th and 21st of December 2018. On the 22nd of December, the lucky finalists will battle it out with the winner getting to represent Albania at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv, Israel.

57th Festivali i Këngës participants

  • Aurel Thellimi – Të Dua Ty
  • Bojken Lako – Jete Jeten
  • Bruno Pollogati – Nuk Ka Stop
  • Dilan Reka – Karma
  • Eliza Hoxha – Pengu
  • Elona Islamaj – Në Këtë Botë Kalimtarë
  • Elton Deda – Qetësisht
  • Eranda Libohova – 100 Pyetje
  • Gjergj Leka – Besoj
  • Alar Band – Dashuria Nuk Mjafton
  • Jonida Maliqi – Ktheju Tokës
  • Kelly – A Më Ndjën
  • Klint Collaku – Me Jete
  • Klodiana Vata – Mbremje E Pafund
  • Kujtim Prodani – Babela
  • Lidia Lufi – Rrëfehem
  • Lorela Sejdini – Vetmi
  • Marko Strazimiri & Imbro – Lejla
  • Mirud – Nënë
  • Orgesa Zaimi – Hije
  • Soni Malaj – Do Vij
  • Vikena Kamenica – Natën E Mirë

Albania at the Eurovision Song Contest

Back in 2004, Anjeza Shahini secured Albania a 7th place in their Eurovision debut. Today, her song The Image Of You, still stand as the second best the country did at Eurovision. Rona Nishliu came 5th in 2012 (best Albanian result), and last year Eugent Bushpepa and his Mall came in as 11th, and snatched the third best.

In their 15 participants, the country has made it to the final 8 times. When Eugent did so this year, the country had failed the two previous years.

In the video below, remind yourself of the strong voice from Eugent Bushpepa. This performance of Mall is from Eurovision In Concert 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands:

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Video: 10 songs that tell the Bulgarian Eurovision history

Bulgaria leaves the Eurovision Song Contest on the top. Though things haven’t always been easy, the country has given us some memorable performances and they will be missed in Tel Aviv next year. 

With Broadcaster BNT confirming the sad news about their withdrawal from the Eurovision Song Contest, we tell you the story about their participation. 10 songs which shows that Bulgaria hasn’t been afraid to try different styles – and that the country leaves on the top.

What is your favourite Bulgarian entry? Vote in the poll below:

Bulgaria withdraws from Eurovision. Which entry is your favourite?

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Categories: Eurovisionary


Eurovision Insight News Podcast: From Llandudno To Minsk

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: From Llandudno To Minsk

From the shores of North Wales, across the continent, and beyond. It’s a relatively calm edition of the Insight News podcast this week, with lots of Junior music videos being launched, submission deadlines closing in, and a mix of confirmations and withdrawals from the Adult Contest.

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: From Llandudno To Minsk

New National Finals, departing broadcasters, Melodifestivalen rumours, and more! Ewan Spence reports on the latest Song Contest action with ticket sales, artist selections, and diary dates.

As we work through the first few months of the new season, keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast to stay up to date with Eurovision, Junior Eurovision, and all the National Finals. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here, and you can support us on Patreon.

Categories: ESC Insight


Chwilio am Seren: Loving The Search For Wales’ Singing Dragon

Chwilio am Seren: Loving The Search For Wales’ Singing Dragon

Llandudno Station is the end of the line. Originally built with five platforms, two of them have been removed, and the three that remain are ‘bay’ platforms where the tracks run right up to the buffers. The modern four-aspect signals are nowhere to be seen, with semaphore signalling harking back to the St. George’s Harbour and Railway Company which opened the station in 1858.

But if you turn around and look towards Belarus, you see something else. You see the tracks stretch out in front of you, gently curving past Conwy Bay. You see a journey ahead of you that will take you through the United Kingdom, into the mainland of Europe, towards the capital city of Minsk, and into the Junior Eurovision Song Contest under the Welsh flag.

Llandudno Station, S4C's Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

Llandudno Station, on the way to  S4C’s National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

Welsh broadcaster S4C has already been on quite the journey to get to this point. A journey of determination, discovery, and joy.

The Delights Inside Chwilio am Seren

Last Thursday saw S4C head to the Venue Clwyd in Llandudno for the fourth and final broadcast to find their performer for the Welsh Junior Eurovision song. Unlike the previous episodes, this was going to be broadcast ‘as-live’ not just to Wales, but across the UK and the world through the S4C website.

This was my first National Final for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, but it’s not my first National Final. Apart from the age of the performers, the production behind Chwilio am Seren rivals that of many selection shows across the continent for May’s Contest for the older generation. There are certain broadcasters that will be looking at S4C’s broadcast and taking some detailed notes.

S4C's Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

Starting in five… four… three… (Image: Ewan Spence)

The goal of this Contest was to find a singer for Wales. Not someone who could dance, not the performer who had the best light show, this was just about the voice. In the first round, the six finalists would be whittled down to three by a jury vote. Along with their mentors, that round was an open book choice of any song to impress the judges (and going with a Welsh version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’, as Ella did, was a high-risk, high-reward choice).

If you didn’t watch Chwilio am Seren, take a bit of time to watch Ella’s performance. Naturally the singing is live, but perhaps more importantly is the lack of backing singers. There’s no support on tape or in the hall, all the vocals are Ella’s. If you are entering a singing contest, you want to find a singer.

There’s also a lack of backing tape for the music. It’s not highlighted by the camera shots (because the focus is finding a singer), but stage left was S4C’s ‘House Band’ that not only provided the music for the six performances in the first round, but six different variations of ‘Hi yw y Berta’ (the chosen song for Junior Eurovision 2018). Even though only three were broadcast, all six were rehearsed and ready to go, and all six were in different styles tailored for each singer.

While it’s not an orchestra that a subset of Eurovision fans like, the idea of a house band for other National Finals, and perhaps even at the main Contest itself, should not be discounted.

S4C's Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

Chwilio am Seren’s house band at S4C’s Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

The Secrets Of Live-To-Tape

There are two things I want to highlight. The first is that the artists were given space to get it right. The mentor system wasn’t a token effort to have three voices pass judgement on the live show; there was a genuine bond between everyone. That came across on-screen, but in the moments between the songs it was clear for all to see that nobody was being forced, everyone was enjoying the chance to perform at the highest level, and it was a positive experience.

From a production point of view, the show actually started around thirty minutes before the broadcast slot. In essence this was ‘live to tape’ and as the night progressed, the ‘studio’ time caught up with ‘broadcast’ time so by the time the phone lines closed, everything was in sync.

S4C's Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

S4C’s Junior Eurovision representative, Manw Lili Robin (Image: Ewan Spence)

That meant that after the big opening number the tape was paused, all six performers had a chance to rest, get changed, and be in the best possible condition to sing in the first round. It also meant that if there had been any minor technical issues in the Venue Clwyd, then it was an easy enough matter to call for a second take.

Although the performers were all told ‘you get one go’ I suspect that if there had been any major issues, with time in hand the producers would have made the smart call. In the end, no performer needed the safety net, but it was there. Did anyone else use it? I couldn’t possibly comment.

The second is that S4C is hungry for success. That may not necessarily come from the final leaderboard – Junior Eurovision is heavily biased towards eastern European entries and that means more votes are coming from audience and jurors used to an eastern pop sound – but success can be measured in many ways: the commitment to the whole process, the promotion of Wales and the Welsh language across Europe and the world, and the ongoing success of all of the performers involved in the process.

S4C have also laid down a yardstick to the BBC. Yes, Junior Eurovision in November is not the same Contest as the Song Contest in May, but Chwilio am Seren has provided a yardstick that Eurovision: You Decide can be measured against. With a live band, no backing tracks, and a focus on the singing capabilities, S4C has brought a new focus and renewed energy to the process. The contrast between the approach of the two broadcasters will be clear.

What would be interesting is if the EBU receives entries from two broadcasters looking to enter Junior Eurovision in 2019 – one from S4C and one from the BBC. Strictly speaking, the BBC is seen as the ‘national’ broadcaster and would be expected to get priority, but S4C have previously built up a reputation at Eurovision Choir of the Year and now at Junior Eurovision.

That would be a tough decision for Geneva…

Don’t Stop Believing

Which leads me back to Platform 3 at Llandudno. There are times that covering the Eurovision Song Contest is like a train service. There is a timetable to follow, everyone knows the regular stops along the route, and for the most part everything stays the same.

Llandudno Station, S4C's Junior Eurovision National Final (Image: Ewan Spence)

Leaving Llandudno, Next Stop Minsk (Image: Ewan Spence)

It’s not always about where the track goes. It’s about the people you meet along the way, it’s about making new friends and expanding horizons. It’s about showcasing the infectious joy of discovering something new, showing it to the world, being proud of your home but also the delight of sharing.

S4C, welcome aboard. You’ve earned your seat reservation, get yourself something from the trolly, and enjoy the ride. Minsk is just around the corner.

Categories: ESC Insight

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RT @Fiteconews: Christophe Villemain, Pascal Caraty, Anne-Marie David et Jean Musy (de gauche à droite) saluent la foule à l'issue du conce…

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