Vidbir 2020 to showcase new talents

Vidbir 2020 to showcase new talents

Fo Sho

Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC have chosen to do things a little differently this year and showcase new talent in the 2020 edition as well as a shake up to the judging line up. Will this make for a more entertaining and less controversial contest?

UA:PBC seem to be putting last year’s fiasco firmly behind them. Not only has the judging panel had a shake up but this year’s selection sees almost completely fresh new talent. In previous editions of the competition viewers have come to expect to see the likes of TAYANNA, Kadnay, Brunettes shoot blondes to name but a few. However this year, there is only one returning artist.

The contestants are:

Assol – Semi-finalist in The Voice Ukraine. Assol has enjoyed the success of two popular albums in Ukraine as well as appearing in television shows and various competitions.

Cloudless – Boy-band trio who had their big break in Ukraine in 2017.

David Axelrod – An established Ukrainian singer, performer and musician.

Elina Ivashschenko – The Voice Kids and X Factor winner.

Fo Sho – The African Ukrainian hip-hop sister trio enjoy high energy performances which combine genres.

GARNA – A band member going solo. Aliona, now known as GARNA performs with the Prime Orchestra as well as the band Manera.

GIO – A writer and composer. A former X Factor and The Voice Ukraine competitor

Go-A – 4 piece band who mix modern music, african drums powerful guitars.

Jerry Heil – Ukrainian music award winner with who’s song OKHRANOTMENA received over 14 million views on youtube.

Katya Chilly – An established artist in Ukraine with appearances on MTV and BBC under her belt. She is a pop-jazz artist and a former participant of The Voice Ukraine.

KHAYAT – Vidbir’s only returning artist. KHAYAT was a semi-finalist in last year’s edition of the competition.

KRUT’ – Modern music mixed with traditional Ukrainian instruments including the bandura.

MOONZOO feat. F.M.F. Sure – A collaboration of Ukrainian electronic band MOONZOO and American rapper F.M.F Sure

[О] – An Indie-pop band who have played in various festivals around the world

Oleksandr Poriadynskyi – The youngest winner of Ukrainian X-Factor who is also a composer and song-writer.

TVORCHI – A duo from Ternopil who have enjoyed success with their earlier tracks Believe

This year has seen a change in the judging panel. Ukraine’s participant for 2006 Tina Karol is amongst the new line up. Though Tina finished in 6th position during her time in the contest she has gone on to become one of the biggest selling artists in Ukraine and has some judging experience up her sleeve as a long-serving member of The Voice and The Voice Kids, Ukraine. Joining Danylko and Karol will be Vitalii Drozdov, the director general of Ukrainian radio station Hit-FM.

Hopefully this year will prove less controversial than that of last. Maruv was declared the winner of Vidbir in 2019 despite having to deal with some ‘uncomfortable questions’ from judge Jamala over her history of performing in Russia, the country that Ukraine is currently at war with. Despite her overwhelming win Maruv decided to withdraw herself from the Eurovision Song Contest as she wasn’t able to agree to some of the terms demanded of her by the Ukrainian broadcaster. The chance of representing their country was offered to the 2nd and 3rd place entries that year who also declined, meaning that the broadcaster had no choice but to withdraw Ukraine from the competition.

Music producer of the National Selection – Ruslan Kvinta will return as the Music Producer of the National Selection along with Natalia Franchuk as Create Producer. As always, Sergey Pritula will host the show as it returns to Ukrainian channels STB and UA: Pershiy. The semi-finals will take place on the 8th and 15th of February with the final taking place on the 22nd.

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Lithuania: Second set of six acts go through to the Pabandom Iš Naujo semi finals

Lithuania: Second set of six acts go through to the Pabandom Iš Naujo semi finals


Eurovizijos Atranka or whatever its new name is continued tonight with a further six acts proceeding to the semi finals, hoping to represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. After last week’s low quality let’s see what happened tonight.

Monika Marija topped the public and jury votes last week and along with the five other contestants from last week, six more were selected tonight.


  • 1 The Hosts
  • 2 The Judges
  • 3 The Songs
  • 4 The Results

The Hosts

Braving a second week were hosts Giedrius Masalskis and Gabrielė Martirosianaitė. They were joined in the green room again by Ieva Zasimauskaité who is probably now wishing she’d entered the contest again after hearing last week’s submissions. Gabrielė was dressed like a meringue while Giedrius had a houndstooth suit. Anyway chin up and let’s delve into this week’s contenders.

The Judges

Tonight’s judges included 1999 entrant Aistė Smilgevičiūtė who placed 20th with Strazdas, so she know how to pick a winner. Equally, novelty singer LT United member Viktor Diawara should be able to spot a good old knock about number. They were joined by Jievaras Jasinskis producer of the band Inculto, another musical triumph who were left in the semi finals in 2010. Rounding out the motley crew were musician Darius Užkuraitis who has 4000 CD’s in his home, and Gerūta Griniūtėwho likes playing the piano.

The Songs

Rūta LoopWe Came from the Sun

Rūta opened tonight all in black. The song is nice enough but too bland to really win Eurovision. She was joined by two female dancers during the beginning of the song and two male dancers later. Despite being a little ordinary, Ruta is a decent enough singer and with a better song could well represent Lithuania one day. During the interview with Ieva, you could see that Ruta came from the sun, as it had melted her eye liner in one of her eyes. We should see this in the semis.


Too much attention was paid to a male dancer all in gold, whether this was an attempt to hide some of Soliaris’s flat vocals. Despite that though this was quite a nice soulful song. Soliaris didn’t do much moving but the song didn’t require it. He was all in black and sang the song plain and simply. Another which might just get through to the next round.

Kristina JureMy Sound of Silence

This reject from Frozen actually had quite a nice tune but it was very made for Disney. Apparently it was conceived as a song that was dedicated to blind people. The sentiment is very nice and well-intentioned so its hard to say anything negative about the song. Plain and simple.

Alen ChiccoSomewhere Out There

Alen was dressed in a batman like cat woman suit with heaps of red eye make up. The appearance was better than the song which once again had only one dimension and never really took off. In fact dreary was the perfect word for it, which is a shame as  Alen is usually better than this. Four monk like characters joined him for the end of the song and the studio audience loved it.

IndrayaYou and I

This was another song that was forgotten as soon as it was over, although while it was on it was a decent enough listen for one time. Indraya was dressed in a mauve dress which really didn’t have that much shape to it. Sweet, pleasant and inoffensive but nothing spectacular.

Germanas SkorisChemistry

There are no words to describe this entry so here they are… No Words and yet it qualified

See alsoLithuania : Week one sees six acts qualify to the Pabandom Iš Naujo 2020 semi final

Viktorija MiškūnaitėThe Ocean

A little bit of pop opera next but not quite up to Il Volo or Eleni standards but certainly good compared to the standard tonight. Vicky was in a black lacy dress with hints of red flowers. Good enough singer but this won’t win Eurovision either. Glasses were shattered at the end.

Antturi I Gotta Do

Borrowing Benjamin Ingrosso’s Dance You Off backing, this entry made a bit more of a go of it with some rap singing. However the song was another that never really took off, though the lighting definitely shone here. Hit or miss whether it passes through.

AbrokenlegElectric Boy

Broken said that she was waiting for the right song before entering Eurovision, but after hearing this, she must have changed her mind. The costume was eye catching and this had a bit of a Siouxsie And The Banshees feel about it. It burst into a punky type chorus which broke up the verses a bit. Electric boy sure, but Eurovision winner hardly.


Oh well Lithuania may as well send this of to Rotterdam. Even though it was a piss take it’s been the best entry of 22 so far. All about the Lithuanian basketball player, Donny Montell anyone, this was a bouncy little number just as you’d expect from Justin and his mates.

MoniquéMake Me Human 

There was lots of hopes for this song written by the same writer as When We’re Old but it turns out this was another slow paced song and the plain tan costume that Monique wore did nothing for her. She made a few robotic like movements during the song and in the end a light shone on her heart, so a bit of a selling point there, but that was it. Very disappointing.

Voldemars PetersonsWings of Freedom

A plain song to end the evening from Voldemars and thoughts of Run Like The Lions from last year come to mind, so this could be in the running. Again this week the judges will have a hard job in selecting six songs to go through to the next round. No idea what Lithuania are playing at this year.

The Results

Rūta Loop107173Qualifier
Kristina Jure 612182Qualifier
Alen Chicco86145Qualifier
Indraya 02211
Viktorija Miškūnaitė78154Qualifier
Twosome 0558

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Rein Alexander wins second Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix heat

Rein Alexander wins second Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix heat

Rein Alexander

Beating three other participants, Rein Alexander just secured himself a spot in this year’s Norwegian final. 2010 Eurovision participant Didrik Solli-Tangen and his brother Emil also performed in tonight’s pre-qualification heat.

Once again, 4 acts competed in duels – with the winner qualifying for the national final taking place in Trondheim on the 15th of Frebruary. Five regional heats will each provide their winner who will compete in the final alongside 5 pre-qualified songs. Tonight, it was time for Øst (East).


  • 1 The duels
  • 2 Voting issue adressed
  • 3 Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest

The duels

Just as last week, no duels were known beforehand. The draw simply took place on stage in the beginning of the show. One can however argue that it really isn’t a draw. They don’t mix the names properly, and everyone paying attention can see who is going to be drawn next.

Duel 1

Tore PettersonThe Start Of Something New

Danish broadcaster DR brings the orchestra back to its national final this year where all music will be live. This song would have benefitted from that. It brings back memories to 2007 where now late Roger Cicero represented Germany with the song Frauen regier’n die Welt. It has the same vibe to it – and in moments, Tore even sounds like him. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work here. It lacks charm – and his bright yellow jacket and the four dancers seems out of place.


Kim Wigaard & Maria MohnFool For Love

Disney better pay attention to this couple! Here we have a song directly cut out of a Disney musical. It’s a lovely ballad, which simply makes you close your eyes and dream away. If you happen to open your eyes, you will see a couple who match each other well on stage. They have the checmistry, which is so important for a song like this – and near the end, they are joined by seven violin players! This song might be a standard recipe, but nothing wrong with that when it is as lovely as this.

= Kim Wigaard & Maria Mohn

Duel 2

JÆGER – How About Mars

Anna Jæger’s voice might remind a bit of Lena Meyer-Landrut, but this eletro-pop song is nothing like Satellite (Germany 2010). Anna wants to take you on a spectacular trip to Mars, but right now on planet Earth, she is competing for the much shorter trips – first to Trondheim, and then to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. If you in 1990, would have asked someone to describe with a futurestic version of 2020, they might just have come up with this! It does have its cuteness, and it’s hard to tell how this can do.


Rein AlexanderOne Last Time

Here we have a man who has played the role as Jean Valjean and his deep voice does indeed match with Les Misérables. This song has a certain resemblance in style to When Spirits Are Calling My Name (Sweden 2000), and the performance a bit like Higher Ground (Denmark 2018). But – with one significant difference – the typical Europop sound, often heard from Sweden for example, has been added. Hard to describe, but kinda like if a mix between a sami and a viking would meet Carola! I really shouldn’t like it, but somehow it works and I find myself singing along to the chorus near the end. I am capured, and I know, I will be listening to this song again.

= Rein Alexander

Duel 3

The winners of the two previous duels met in a final duel in order to decide who of them would qualify for the final: Kim Wigaard & Maria Mohn’s Disney ballad up against Rein Alexander’s viking performance.

No video was used. Both performed once again – and where Kim & Maria improved a bit, Rein’s choreography seems to fail a bit in this second performance. Finally the winner was announced: Rein Alexander

Didrik & EmilOut Of Air

In every of these five regional heats, the viewers are introduced to one of the pre-qualified acts. Tonight, it was time for the two brothers; Didrik and Emil Solli-Tangen. Those who expected a ballad of Didrik’s 2010 Eurovision entry, will be disappointed. Out Of Air is nothing like it. Didrik is a trained classical singer and Emil studied opera – with those backgrounds, this is unusal. It’s a well produced pop banger and sure to attract an audience. Some will find it too much Eurovision-like while others already look forward to see Didrik represent his country once again. No matter what, it is indeed a strong contender to win this year’s Norwegian final.

Voting issue adressed

In last week’s heat, we saw the debut of this new online voting system. It was stretched to – and above its maximum, which naturally resulted in people not being able to vote. How many is not known, but it was a topic which took a lot of attention.

Norwegian broadcaster NRK reacted, and doubled the capacity for today’s show. 

Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest

Three victories, 11 times last, of which four resulted in the dreaded ‘nul points’. Yes, the Norwegian Eurovision history includes a bit of everything. Many reasons to celebeate, but just as many – if not more – reasons to just forget that year and move on to next.

Boobysocks’s La’ Det Swinge (Norway 1985) is today a classic Eurovision winner and for many Norwegian Eurovision fans, its when it all started. Norway won twice more, and just like Bobbysocks, it is well remembered songs; Secret Garden’s Nocturne (1995) and Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale (2009).

Last year, Norway was represented by KEiiNO and the song Spirit In The sky. They finished 6th with 331 points.

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Iceland : Söngvakeppnin 2020 entries announced ahead of two semis and a final

Iceland : Söngvakeppnin 2020 entries announced ahead of two semis and a final

Matti Matt

Tonight Icelandic television (RUV) officially announced the competing artists and songs that will take part in Söngvakeppnin 2020, the show to choose Iceland’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

Unfortunately for them the songs were leaked onto Spotify thus spoiling the big reveal for the television company from where you can now hear the songs.

The list looks as if there are a bunch of new comers competing this year, although some of the names are already known. Probably the most famous of all is Daði Freyr who was the runner-up in Söngvakeppnin 2017 with Is This Love, beaten by Svala and the song Paper.

Another past contestant is Elísabet Ormslev , now known only as Elisabet, who came 6th in 2016 with the song Á ný. Ironically she was beaten by Greta Salome, who actually wrote Elisabet’s song back then,

However the list actually includes  a past Eurovision contestant. Matti Matt was a member of Iceland’s Eurovision entry in 2011 Sjonni’s Friends with the song Coming Home.

The songs will be performed in Icelandic in two semi finals on the 8th and 15th February. Five acts will compete in each semi final, with the top 2 heading to the final. RUV reserve the right to send a wild card artist to the final.

The final will take place on 29th February in the capital city. At this time the acts can sing in any language they want. Six of the acts have an English version of their song.

Below is the list of the competing acts.

First Semi Final:

Kid Isak – Ævintýri

Brynja Mary – Augun þín (In Your Eyes)

DIMMA – Almyrkvi

Elísabet – Elta þig (Haunting)

Ísold & Helga – Klukkan tifar (Meet Me Halfway)

Second Semi Final

Daði Freyr – Gagnamagnið (Think About Things)

Hildur Vala – Fellibylur

Iva – Oculis Videre (Eyes Can See)

Matti Matt – Dreyma

Nína – Ekkó (Echo)

To celebrate it being one years since their win, last years Icelandic entranst Hatari released a new album yesterday, Below is last year’s entry,

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Newsletter: The Week Ahead in National Selections…

Newsletter: The Week Ahead in National Selections…

The Week Ahead…

The ever-exciting National Final season will continue to unfold this week, with preliminary heats scheduled in the following countries…

Czech Republic will open voting for their online national final on Monday (20/1), with songs expected to be published on the same day. The selected artists have already been announced, including last year’s participants Barbora Mochowa and Pam Rabbit, plus actress Olga Lounová, rapper Ben Cristovao and the intriguingly named group We All Poop. Keep an eye on Czech Republic’s official Eurovision YouTube channel for more information…

Lithuania will broadcast the second heat of national selection „Pabandom iš naujo!” 2020 on Saturday. This week’s participants will include Lithuanian X Factor winner Monique, electro-pop singer Ruta Loop and the comedy trio Twosome. Six of the twelve acts will qualify to the semi-finals in February. The show will be available for live-streaming from 20.00 CET at lrt.lv

Norway will also continue their search tonight, as four more acts compete for a single golden ticket to the Melodi Grand Prix Grand Final on 15th February. Rein Alexander, JÆGER, Tore Petterson and Kim Wigaard & Maria Mohn will perform, while Norway’s 2010 Eurovision artist Didrik Solli-Tangen will preview Out of Air, a duet with his brother Emil which is already pre-qualified for the Grand Final.

This week’s show will air at 18.50 CET on NRK1.

Slovenia will select two wildcard contestants to complete the lineup for EMA 2020 in a special selection show tonight at 20.00 CET. The show, dubbed EMA FREŠ, focuses on less established artists under the age of 26 years old. One wildcard will be selected by an expert jury, the other by public voting. The Grand Final of EMA 2020 proper will be held on 22 February 2020.

Tonight’s show will stream live on RTVSLO.

You can read more about this week’s news by signing up to the ESC Insight Newsletter. Read this week’s edition online here.

Categories: ESC Insight


North Macedonia decided – it’s Vasil Garganliev for Rotterdam

North Macedonia decided – it’s Vasil Garganliev for Rotterdam

Vasil Garanliev

In an internal selection, Vasil Garganliev, has been chosen to represent North Macedonia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. He is familar with the contest as he provided backing for Tamara last year.

Last year, after the result had been changed, Tamara Todevska had won the jury voting, and finished in an overall 7th place. With the song Proud, she had secured the country their first ever top 10 result at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Whether or not they can achieve another good result this year is up to Vasil Garganliev. He has just been presented at the artist who will represent the country in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May this year. Vasil was a part of the country’s team last year too as he provided backing for Tamara.

I am beyond honoured to present my country at the Song Contest in Rotterdam and I can hardly wait to put all my experience and knowledge into creating a magical journey that will touch people’s heart across Europe.

Vasil Garganliev

Like many others, Vasil had to escape the Balkan in the 1990s. He went to United States. Back in 2007, he took part in the national selection Skopje Fest with the self-written song Pomogni Mi (Help me). He came in as third to last finishing 13th out of 15th. Let’s hope for more success for the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. 

In 2018, Vasil returned to North Macedonia. The song, with which, he will compete at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest has yet to be released.

Tamara ended poor North Macedonia strike

Six years in a row not reaching the final. That was what Tamara Todevska was up against last year – and managed to turn around. The country had failed to reach the final from 2013 – 2018 (both included). When Kailopi in 2012 qualified for the final, she left behind a four year non qualification strike, so fans from North Macedonia can only rarely cheer for their own country in the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Depending on how you count, North Macedonia either debuted in 1996 or in 1998. They did submit a song for the audio pre-qualification event (semi-final), but failed to get through to the main contest. In 1998, they got through – and finished 19th.

When official semi-finals were introduced, things went smoothly for North Macedonia – in the beginning. Late Toše Proeski qualfied for the final in 2004, and the next three years, their artists all reached the final – without much success in the actual final though.

But then things changed. Together with Vrčak and Adrian, Tamara Todevska represented the country in 2008, and failed to reach the final. That marked the beginning of an 11 year period with just one qualification – until Tamara came back last year, and made her country proud.

In the video below, you can watch a clip from Tamara rehearsing on last year’s Eurovision stage:

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