09
December
2018

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 9

Advent calendar day 9 - Zoë

Warm up to Christmas by listening to the beautiful carols performed by Eurovision artists. Each day until Christmas features a new act giving their version of a Christmas song. As 9th, we listen to 2016 Austrian participant Zoë.

At the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, Austria was represented by young Zoë. With the song Loin d’ici, she reached the final and afterwards finished 13th.

Just like her Eurovision entry, today’s Christmas song by her is also sung in French. La Nuit Des Merveilles translates to “The night of miracles”. In this song Zoë asks Pere Noël if he received her letter. In between mentioning the snowy weather, the lights and Christmas night itself, she adds that all she wants, is love for everyone.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

08
December
2018

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 8

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 8

Advent calendar day 8 - Il Volo

Warm up to Christmas by listening to the beautiful carols performed by Eurovision artists. Each day until Christmas features a new act giving their version of a Christmas song. As 8th, we listen to a medley from Italian Il Volo.

At the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, Italy was represented by the operatic pop trio Il Volo. With the song Grande Amore, the three men pulled home a third place. 

Today’s advent calendar entry is a Christmas medley containing internationally well known songs like Jingle Bell RockLet It Snow and It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of Year.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

07
December
2018

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 7

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 7

Advent calendar day 7 - Alexander Rybak & Didrik Solli-Tangen

Warm up to Christmas by listening to the beautiful carols performed by Eurovision artists. Each day until Christmas features a new act giving their version of a Christmas song. As 7th, we listen to Alexander Rybak & Didrik Solli-Tangen.

Alexander Rybak won the Eurovision Song Sontest in 2009 with the song Fairytale. He came back to the contest here in 2018 where he finished 15th.

Didrik Solli-Tangen stood on the Eurovision stage the year after Rybak’s win, in 2010 performing My Heart Is Yours on to a 20th position.

In the Christmas song below, the two joined forces. With quite some humour, the song tells about how the two men keeps spotting the same girls. They are ready to give away the presents under the Christmas tree, if the other one would back off. At the end, they agree that girls come and go, but their friendship will remain, and as such the presents are for both of them.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

07
December
2018

Your Three Minutes: The Wonders Of National Final Season

Your Three Minutes: The Wonders Of National Final Season

A Eurovision song that changed my perception of the Song Contest? With over 1,500 songs spanning well over half a century, how could I choose?

Would it be the prototypical ‘90s bop that I loved as a kid, with no realisation at the time that it was part of a larger, international telecast? How about the first song I heard live from the arena in rehearsals, where the colours seemed so much brighter and the bass so much stronger? The entries that sparked friendships? The ones that made me laugh, cry, or feel wistful?

No, I had to make things hard on myself and pick a song that didn’t even make it to Eurovision Song Contest in the first place.

A Decade Before Logo

As I’ve mentioned in my past writings for ESC Insight, I didn’t grow up with the luxury of watching the Eurovision Song Contest in America, and really only started to follow the Song Contest closely around 2005. My fandom kicked into high gear with the 2008 event, where Mor Ve Ötesi, Miodio, Ani Lorak, and Vânia Fernandes each grabbed my attention (and subsequently broke my heart when none of them took the trophy home). But even despite those brilliant acts, Eurovision was still just a one-week event, a few shows on a laggy live stream.

Moscow Olimpisky, Home of Eurovision 2009 (Image: Ewan Spence)

Moscow Olimpisky, Home of Eurovision 2009 (Image: Ewan Spence)

In preparation for Moscow 2009, I decided that I needed to go deeper. All I knew was that forty-odd nations took to the stage in May, but how did they get there? I had never delved into the world of National Finals, but I knew that there were stories and songs there that would never make it to the international level, and I knew there must have been a few gems hidden in far-flung National Selections.

A New Contest For A New Fan

After a few years of unfortunate results, the news that Estonian broadcaster ERR would be revamping their selection process, from Eurolaul to Eesti Laul, was intriguing. Would a competition to find a song for Estonia that would just happen to be presented on an international stage be more fruitful than a nation’s search for a Eurovision song? After ‘Leto Svet’, the only way forward was up, of course, but how much of an effect would a retooling of a selection process change the fate of a nation at the Eurovision Song Contest?

The question intrigued me.

Estonia takes to the stage at Eurovision 2009 (image: Ewan Spence)

Estonia takes to the stage at Eurovision 2009 (image: Ewan Spence)

Listening to the songs in contention that year, I had braced myself for an onslaught of pop much like what I had heard from the country at recent Eurovisions. ‘Let’s Get Loud’, ‘Through My Window’, and ‘Partners in Crime’ were… fine, I suppose, but certainly not in my personal wheelhouse, and not particularly innovative.

But as I queued up the list of songs on the roster for 2009, I saw the beginnings of some incredible things to come: a wide variety of genres, an equal split between English and Estonian, and some songs of truly great quality. As we now know, in the decade since Eesti Laul came on the scene, it’s not only created some impressive results for the country (including four Top Ten placements), but it’s gained a reputation for being one of the most innovative, diverse, and well-loved National Finals on the Eurovision calendar.

Reality-show winners, veteran acts, Eurovision alumni, cartoons, spirit animals, singlet-wearing hirsute punks…it all kicked off with a change in 2009.

While all eyes were on Urban Symphony’s stunning ‘Rändajad’ that year (and with good reason), it was that year’s runner-up, Traffic’s ‘See Päev‘, that really got to me. I loved ‘Rändajad’, and still listen to it often, but ‘See Päev‘ ticked all of my boxes. It reminded me a bit of all of the reasons why I loved ‘Deli’ in Belgrade the year before. A mid-tempo rock track, great vocals, an anthemic, yet accessible chorus… the song soared and swelled over its three minute run, opening up like a decanted wine.

Much like Mor ve Ötesi, it inspired me to research Traffic’s back catalogue, and even now, they’re one of my favourite Eurovision-tangential discoveries. Seeing them pop up in subsequent Eesti Laul shortlists (with 2012’s ’NASA’ and 2014’s stunning ‘Für Elise‘) is like reuniting with an old friend. Knowing that their songwriter and guitarist, Stig Rästa, has risen to the level of Eurovision royalty is nothing short of gratifying, especially considering that the first images I had of him were of a guitarist in the shadows, face barely visible under a mess of shaggy hair and a knit cap.

For me, ‘See päev’ is not only a great song, but it symbolizes a turning point in my own Eurovision journey. My first National Final experience, my first “if only it had made it to the Big Show” heartbreak, the first act that I followed from a domestic level to eventual Contest success (at least for Stig), and the first program that made me think about the inner workings of the show, how experimentation in formats can lead to changes in fortune. It was the pot of gold at the end of the exploratory rainbow in my first year of diving deeper into the Eurovision process, and set me on the path that I find myself on today, in terms of my relationship with the Contest.

As we move forward into the National Final Season for 2019, I hope the old guard and the new recruits to the Eurovision Song Contest can find their own ‘See päev’, and I hope it brings as much joy and enthusiasm to them as it has to me.

Categories: ESC Insight

06
December
2018

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 6

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 6

Advent calendar day 6 - Sakis Rouvas

Warm up to Christmas by listening to the beautiful carols performed by Eurovision artists. Each day until Christmas features a new act giving their version of a Christmas song. As sixth, we listen to Sakis Rouvas.

Sakis Rouvas has represented Greece twice at the Eurovision Song Contest, and furthermore also hosted the contest in 2006 following the country’s only win. In 2004, he finished third with the catchy song Shake It, and when he returned five years later, This Is Our Night came 9th.

The song we picked for our advent calendar today is by Sakis and titled Xronia Polla, which literally translates to “a lot of years to you”. It’s a Greek phrase used as a greeting for Christmas, New Year, birthdays etc.

In this Christmas edition of the song, he sings about being depressed a Christmas because he misses the one he loves. They had been together for a long time, and when he sees all the decorations around him, he feel sad. He hopes that this person will soon come knocking on his door and come back to him. We don’t get a happy ending, in fact we don’t get any ending. We just hear his feelings. Not exactly your happy romantic Christmas ending, but it’s still a nice song and easy to sing a long to.

In this series:

Day 5: Litesound – Shooting Star

Day 4: Grethe Ingmann – Jeg Så Julemanden Kysse Mor

Day 3: Carola – Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus

Day 2: Francesco Gabbani – La Mia Versione Dei Ricordi

Day 1: Johnny Logan – Save This Christmas For Me

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Categories: Eurovisionary

05
December
2018

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 5

Merry Christmas: Eurovision Advent calendar day 5

Advent calendar day 5 - Litesound

Warm up to Christmas by listening to the beautiful carols performed by Eurovision artists. Each day until Christmas features a new act giving their version of a Christmas song. As third, we listen to Litesound from Belarus.

At the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, Belarus was represented by the band Litesound. With the song We Are The Heroes, they however failed to reach the final.

Just like their Eurovision entry, the Christmas song we picked for you is also in English. It’s called Shooting Star and as the video shows it’s not like the traditional carols you hear most around this season. In fact, the video starts with an argument between a man and a woman. The woman kicks the man out of the house while their son is watching it. The little boy tries to run after the man as he drives away. Watch the video to find out what happens later when the man returns to the house – dressed as Santa Claus!

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Categories: Eurovisionary

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