Ewan Spence returns to the insight News chair to look over the final previews, to talk about EuroVillages and Fan Cafes, and run down the start of a new cycle of PR stories for the general public. Lisbon 2018… seven days closer…
Eurovision Insight Podcast: Hilda’s Wall Of Death
SuRie builds bridges to France, EuroCafe announced, and Hilda the Stage has her wall of death. Ewan Spence and ESC Insight bring you seven more days of news from the world of the Eurovision 2018.
As the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 draws ever closer, keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. 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.
Tim Bergling, better known a Avicii, has passed away. Among Eurovision circles, he will be remembered for having co-written and performing “We Write The Story”, the anthem of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.
Avicii was a well-known and successful Swedish musician, DJ and producer. He has released two studio albums, True in 2013 and Stories in 2015. Both reached top chart positions across the globe. A third studio album was planned.
In 2016, Avicii announced that he would stop performing live for health reasons. Due to heavy drinking, he had struggled with a chronic pancreas infection. If this has contributed to his death is currently unknown.
We Write The Story was performed during the opening sequence of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Sweden. The song was written and composed by Avicii and former ABBA members Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson.
Watch the opening sequence of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest below:
43 countries all are hoping for a good result at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Six of them perhaps a little more than the others as they find themselves in a bad circle of not being able to qualify for the final for quite some years.
When Anouk in 2013 brought the Netherlands into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, she broke an eight year long period where the country never managed to take the next step after the semi-finals.
Six countries with a bad curse
For countries like FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, San Marino and Switzerland, it would be natural if their participants this year feel an extra pressure. They are all representing countries who we haven’t seen in the Eurovision final for quite some years.
Statistically, it will be unrealistic that all of the six countries will break their bad curse as five of them are taking part in the first semi-final this year. First up is Iceland who has missed the final the past three years. Their last participant who took the country to the final was Pollapönk, who finished 15th in the 2014 edition held in Copenhagen.
This year they are represented by Ari Ólafsson’s and the song Our Choice. He is up at start number two in the semi-final, and currently the bookmakers have him last in the semi-final. Should he qualify it will therefore be somewhat of a big surprise.
Starting as 11th in the final, we find FYR Macedonia. They haven’t made it to the final since Kaliopi came 13th in 2012. Will they change their five year long curse this year?
The duo Eye Cue represents the country this year with the song Lost And Found. At the moment it seems it will be another loss for FYR Macedonia who is tipped for a 15th place in the semi-final from where only ten makes it to the final.
Since their victory in 2006, results have been rather mixed for Finland, and the Nordic country hasn’t been in the final since 2014 where Softengine finished just outside top 10 with their 11th place.
Saara Aalto was an early bookmaker favourite to win, but things changed, and it is now not even sure, she will qualify. She is tipped 12th, and as such outside top 10 who will make it. With the song Monsters, she starts as number 15 in the first semi-final.
Over the years, it has been more than tough for the Swiss acts to qualify for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, the country has missed the final a total of ten times, and they haven’t been seen either since 2014 where Sebalter came in as 13th in the final.
Hoping to change things around this year is the sibling duo Zibbz. Singing the song Stones, they will go on stage as 17th in the semi-final. It’s however with the bookmakers against them as they currently predict the duo to end up as 16th in the semi-final.
With seven wins, Ireland is the most successful country at the Eurovision Song Contest. In recent years, things have however not been going their way. The country hasn’t been in the final since 2013 where Ryan Dolan and his Only Love Survives finished 26th and last with only five points.
This year, it is another Ryan who is up for the challenge of breaking the series of bad Irish results. Ryan O’Shaughnessy goes on stage as 18th in the first semi-final. Currently the bookmakers place his song Together as 14th in the semi-final, and as such not near the top 10 which will qualify.
See alsoFive countries that never failed to qualify from a Eurovision semi-final
As the only one of these six countries, with a current bad Eurovision curse, we find the small country of San Marino. They have only made it to the final once in their eight appearances. That was in 2014 where four times participant Valentina Monetta finished 24th in the final.
Will a Maltese/German duet be what San Marino needs? Not if you believe that the bookmakers might be spot on here. Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening are tipped last in semi-final two, and also least like candidate to win the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. They go on stage in the semi-final as number four, squeezed in between Serbia and Denmark.
One thing is bookmaker predictions, another thing is the actual result. So far, all six of these countries are still in with a chance to finally get back to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Who do you think we will see in the final on the 12th of May? In the poll below, you can vote for all the songs you think will make it to the final this year.
To see more bookmaker predictions, we recommend that you visit Eurovision World’s Odds section.
The seventh round of Juke Box Jury as Ewan Spence is joined by Elaine Dove and Robert Peacock to talk bananas, life jackets, and school backpacks. The hits, misses, and maybes are going out to Cyprus, Albania, Malta, France, and the Czech Republic.
Eurovision Insight Podcast: Juke Box Jury #7 with Elaine Dove (Sing in The City) and Robert Peacock (The Wee Review).
Cyprus: Fuego, by Eleni Foureira.
Albania: Mall, by Eugent Bushpepa.
Malta: Taboo, by Christabelle.
France: Mercy, by Madame Monsieur.
Czech Republic: Lie To Me, by Mikolas Joseph.
Don’t miss an episode of the Eurovision Insight podcast by subscribing to the RSS feed dedicated to the podcasts. iTunes users can find us in the iTunes Store and get the show automatically downloaded to your computer.
Following appearances in Greece, Russia and Israel, Aisel stopped off in Bulgaria to perform a piano version of her Eurovision entry, which will open this years show as first semi-final kicks off on the 8th of May.
After visiting with the Azerbaijani ambassador in Bulgaria, where she asked for support from the Azerbaijani community, she stopped off to perform on Bulgarian TV show, Slavi’s Show.
Slavi’s Show is the most popular TV show in Bulgaria and has been for over ten years. At times 80% of the population are tuned into the show. Aisel performed a special version of her entry by accompanying herself on piano, aided by Slavi’s house band.
See alsoFive countries that never failed to qualify from a Eurovision semi-final
Slavi wished Aisel the best of luck on her trip to Lisbon. She replied that her finishing position is less important to her than the chance to promote her music all over Europe. By experiencing the cultures of many different countries, she feels she has already won.
Watch Aisel perform the piano version of X My Heart available on the website of Slavi’s Show.
If you want to compare this to the official version, you find this in the video below.
The one with tea-cups and polar bears
Written by: Andrew Brook
The 23rd Eurovision Song Contest took place 40 years ago, on 22nd April, 1978. Following the surprise win by Marie Myriam it was hosted by France, for the first (and so far, only) time, in Paris. Other notable firsts for Eurovision were the two presenters, the use of a split screen during the voting, and a laser beam. Oh, and the word for word enunciation of the entire rules, in English as well as French, during the interval, whilst the laser did its best to entertain the audience.
In 1978 the thing that really caught people’s attention was the orchestra. Gone were the days when they were seated in the pit. In 1977 they had been centre stage, with the stage moving around them, and for the 1978 edition the French went one better, and seated the orchestra in a massive rotating tea-cup. It must have been a strange experience for the musicians to be moving whilst playing.
The competition should have belonged to Baccara. They were riding on the success of their pan-European smash-hit single ‘Yes Sir, I can Boogie’. But instead of representing Sweden, they went for Luxembourg, singing in French, with a song that was just that bit too close to their big hit. As so often happens in Eurovision, the big stars were overlooked. Parlez Vous Francais? came 7th. At least they beat their own country, with Spain finishing in 9th place.
They were not the only contestants to under-achieve. Both Italy and the UK were expected to do well, only to find that the orchestra and sound mixing fought against their songs, both of which relied upon the harmonies of the groups. The UK suffered its worst result so far, even if 11th would be seen as quite a result these days.
1978 was the first year since 1972 that all contestants had to sing in their own language, and Björn Skiffs wasn’t happy. He decided to sing his Swedish entry in English, only to change his mind at the very last moment. This caused him to forget the Swedish lyrics, and the first few lines turned out to be gibberish. He still managed to beat six other acts.
The contest will be remembered equally for the winner and the loser. 1978 saw the first nul points of the douze-points voting system. Jan Teigen needs no introduction and is arguably more famous than the winners.
Israel was never fancied to win in 1978. But on the night their disco number shone out, and they won by a big margin over second placed Belgium. Five singers joined Izhah Cohen on stage for their tightly arranged up-beat number - and, for the first time for a winning song, a woman conducted the orchestra. ‘A-Ba-Ni-Bi’ became a hit across Europe, though not of the level the contest was used to producing. It is fondly known as ‘I wanna be a polar bear’ in English-speaking countries.
So - is it worth 90 minutes of your time if you haven’t seen it before?. The contest has a completely different feel to today’s events. The concert hall atmosphere and backstage shots of the singers getting ready to perform let you get close up to the competition itself. And the songs, whilst not containing any classics, are mostly toe-tappers.
At the end of the contest the laser operator valiently tried to make the beam project the Star of David on the back of the stage. It didn’t quite work, but that didn’t matter. Israel had finally arrived on the Eurovision stage. And, of course, they would host and win again the following year, in Jerusalem. Halleluia. I wanna be a polar bear.