Newsletter: All Aboard for Eurovision 2018!

Newsletter: All Aboard for Eurovision 2018!

Also in this fortnight’s newsletter, a look at the recent internally selected artist announcements from Finland, Azerbaijan and The Netherlands, plus some big news from Estonia’s national final Eesti Laul. You can read the newsletter in full here, or subscribe for a bi-weekly dose of Eurovision insight and analysis delivered direct to your email inbox.

Ask the ESC Insight Team…

Finally, in our monthly round-table question, the ESC Insight editorial team weighs in on their favourite – and least favourite – Eurovision themes and slogans from Contests past…

Lisa-Jayne Lewis
I liked Eurovision 2008’s Confluence of Sound, as it reflected the geography of Belgrade on the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers and as a geography nerd it really pleased me that’s they had merged their geography into the theme. I don’t really have a least favourite, ‘All Aboard’ is going to have to grow on me between and now and then, at the moment I think it’s twee and naff, but I like the graphics so I’m hoping I’ll warm to it.

Ellie Chalkley
I quite liked 2015’s ‘Building Bridges’ because they had an actual bridge. Themes which invoke specific imagery are always my preference over generic statements of values.

Samantha Ross
I really appreciate when the culture of a country is somehow infused into the theme, so “Confluence of Sound” was always a nice one in my book, as it reflected Belgrade’s’s geography, and “Light Your Fire!”, as it not only depicted Azerbaijan’s “land of fire” image, but also brought in that feel-good aspect that many of these slogans try to introduce.

Least favorite? 2014’s #JoinUs. It just felt monolithic and vaguely intimidating, while still being very generic…heaven help you if you don’t “join us”…

John Lucas
I’m also a big fan of ‘Confluence of Sound’. Not only was it a smart way to incorporate Serbia’s national culture, the paint effects in the postcards looked really cool and distinctive.

I also have a big soft spot for the deeply silly 2002 theme ‘A Modern Fairytale’ – particularly for how the Estonian hosts really doubled down on it with the postcards that portrayed slightly baffling recreations of classic fairytales. Ah, simpler times…

Least favourites? #JoinUs was a little basic, and like much of the 2007 contest, that year’s theme of ‘A True Fantasy‘ felt a little undercooked.

John Egan
Kyiv 2005 (‘Awakening‘) captured perfectly where Ukraine was politically at the time. Combined with that year’s entry I was moved by it: shame their road to democracy continues to be a meandering one. Riga 2003 is my least favourite: always struck me as a lazy copy of Tallinn 2002, but executed poorly…like most of 2003 (the hosts being an exception).

Sharleen Wright
Whilst I found the images rather naff, the concept of ‘Share the Moment‘ wasn’t lost on me in Oslo 2010. That was the first time Eurovision had a proper public village and atmosphere where fans and artists could mingle (and not just a club for some), and a lot of great moments were made – which is why it remains probably my favourite year of attendance as well.

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


Spanish broadcaster RTVE accused of lack of transparency

Spanish broadcaster RTVE accused of lack of transparency

Manel Navarro (Spain 2017)

In a recent interview, the winner of Spain’s second season of Operación Triunfo revealed she would like to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. Nonetheless, not for now, as Ainhoa Cantalapiedra feels the Spanish format isn’t transparent enough.

Spain’s official broadcaster – RTVE – is not yet ready to catch a break. After being accused of fabricating this year’s Objetivo Eurovisión results by the fans, the broadcaster is now called out by Ainhoa Cantalapiedra, the winner of Operación Triunfo’s second season who already tried to represent her country back in 2010.

In a new interview to Radio Internacional, Alinhoa claimed: “I would love to try again and represent Spain at Eurovision but only when everything is more transparent.” The singer approached this year’s situation and ended up defending Manel Navarro from the critics who, for her, was part of a set up: “It was not fair to watch the poor guy being surrounded by negativity because Spain’s format isn’t transparent enough.”

After his victory in Objetivo Eurovisión, Manel Navarro became the main target of anger from Spanish Eurovision fans as they felt like the show chose him as a winner instead of Mirela’s Contigo. At the Eurovision stage, Manel became a popular meme on the internet after failing to stay on key during his performance of Do It For Your Lover.

The Spanish singer admitted times weren’t easy and even released a song about the experience, Keep On Falling.

Remind yourself of Manel Navarro’s second rehearsal at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest:

Categories: Eurovisionary



GREECE – It is reported that ERT’s artistic jury met again to discuss possible problems with songs which didn’t meet the criteria originally set by the Greek national broadcaster. There seems to be two songs that didn’t meet the criteria of Greek sound as requested therefore the broadcaster decides now that three songs will only proceed to the national final.

ERT decided to disqualify Duo Finalists, which is actually a duet which works at ERT and raised a lot of questions with their qualification to the final. But due to the fact that their song didn’t meet the ERT music criteria, the duet is disqualified. It seems that ERT doesn’t want another scandal. Also the song of Tony Vlachos is disqualified for the same reasons. Therefore the three finalists are:


Greek national broadcaster has given the three bidders time to finalise their demos and present their official production to ERT and by December 5th we will know the details for the national final including the date and venue of it.

Categories: Oiko Times


Albania: 22 artists take part in Festivali i Këngës

Albania: 22 artists take part in Festivali i Këngës

RTSH, the Albanian broadcaster, have this evening revealed the names of 22 people who will be competing in the 56th edition of Festivali i Këngës. The Grand final is due to take place on Saturday 23rd December.

Albania is traditionally the first of the national finals to take place in the calendar, and it takes place during the Christmas holidays. Semi final 1 is on Thursday 21st December and Semi final 2 is on Friday 22nd December.

In total, over 70 singers applied for this years edition of the show, and this format has been used to select Albania’s participant for Eurovision since 2003.

The participants for Festivali i Këngës 56 are as follows (please note, songs to be revealed at a later date by RTSH):

  1. Artemisa Mithi
  2. Bojken Lako
  3. David & Genc Tukiqi
  4. Denisa Gjezo
  5. Elton Deda
  6. Ergi Bregu-Latifllari
  7. Eugent Bushpepa
  8. Evans Rama
  10. NA & Festina Mezini
  11. LYNX
  12. Inest Neziri
  13. LORELA
  14. Manjola Nallbani
  15. Mariza Ikonomi
  16. Orgesa Zaimi
  17. Redon Makashi
  18. Rezarta Smaja & Luis Ejlli
  19. Stefi dhe Endri Prifti
  20. Tahir Gjoci
  21. Voltan Prodani
  22. Xhesika Polo

There are 2 returning entries in this 22 strong line up. LYNX competed in the 2014 edition of Festivali i Këngës with the song Princesha. They came 15th in the national final. The other returning act is Rezarta Smaja. In 2015 she competed in Festivali i Këngës with the song Më rrëmbe and placed 7th in the national final for that year.

Categories: ESC Daily


Bulgaria: BNT looking for “a delicate mixture” for their 2018 act

Bulgaria: BNT looking for “a delicate mixture” for their 2018 act

Bulgarian broadcaster BNT has provided more details towards their strategy to be successful again at the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2018, they are looking for “a delicate mixture of а very good performer, interesting voice, the right song and an attractive visual presentation.”

And yes, the Bulgarians know that “sounds way easier than it is in the reality.” In fact, their strategy seems to be a copy from our series of The Key to Success at the Eurovision Song Contest. In that series we highlighted the most important factors a broadcaster should have in mind when it comes to picking their act for Eurovision.

Official statement by the Bulgarian delegation

“Once again we are looking for a charismatic artist, captivating song and effective stage concepts. We would like to be working together with the best professionals. So that we prove once again that Bulgaria is worthy part of the music landscape in Europe. With this kind of approach we had very good achievements in the last two years. The second place by Kristian Kostov and the fourth by Poli Genova“, said the Bulgarian Head of Delegation Joana Levieva-Sawyer.

BNT set the deadline for submission of songs for the selection on the 20th of December. In March, all songs will be handed over to the EBU.

Sascha Jean-Baptiste

This would not be the first time Bulgaria pays extra attention to stage presentation. Last year, renowned staging director Sascha Jean-Baptiste orchastrated the act for Kristian Kostov’s “Beautiful Mess“.

Categories: ESC Daily


Festivali i Këngës: Luiz Ejlli amongst the race to represent Albania in Lisbon

Festivali i Këngës: Luiz Ejlli amongst the race to represent Albania in Lisbon

Albania 2017 - First Semi-Final Dress Rehearsal

Albania’s broadcaster has revealed the 22 participants that will compete at this year’s Festivali i Këngës, along with the respective song titles.The national selection will be held in Tirana’s Palace of Congres in December, and will welcome a familiar Eurovision face – Luiz Ejlli – who will compete, this year, as part of a duo.

From 70 entries, RTSH – Albania’s official broadcaster – along with a 5-member jury panel, have chosen only 22 competitors, who will be split into two semifinals. The country’s national selection, Festivali i Këngës, will be the very first one to be held for 2018, and will have a candidate ready by the 23rd of December.

Amongst the candidates, there’s a familiar Eurovision face who represented his country back in 2006, with his song Zjarr e ftohtë. Hoping for a better result, since he failed to qualify back then, Luiz Ejlli will not be performing alone, but with Rezarta Samja. RTSH has also revealed the title of each of the 22 songs. All songs will be sung in Albanian:

1. Inet Neziri – Piedastal
2. Lynx – Vonë
3. Rezarta Smaja & Luiz Ejlli – Ra Nje Yll
4. Orgesa Zaimi – Ngrije Zërin
5. Artemisa Mithi – E dua Botën
6. Tahir Gjoci – Orë e Ndaluar
7. Bojken Lako – Sytë e Shpirtit
8. Manjola Nallbani – Të Pandarë
9. David & Genc Tuqici – Tjetër Jëtë
10. Grupi Na & Festina Mejzini – I Njejti Ciell
11. Mariza Ikonomi – Unë
12. Redon Makashi – Eksistoj
13. Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
14. Lorela Sejdini – Pritën Edhe Pak
15. Elton Deda – Fjalët
16. Ergi Bregu – Bum Bum
17. Denisa Gjezo – Zemër Ku Je
18. Endri & Stefi Prifti – Mesazh
19. Xhesika Polo – Përjetë
20. Evans Rama – Gjurmët
21. Akullthyesit – Divorci
22. Voltan Pordani – Pse të Desha

Festivali i Këngës’ 56th edition will take place in Tirana’s Palace of Congres on the 21, 22 and 23 of December.

Albania have been absent from the final since Elhaida Dani qualified in 2015. Remind yourself of her entry below.

Categories: Eurovisionary

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