Second wave of tickets sold out: Riots in stores as system broke down

Some fans are happy today, while others are left disappointed. The amount of tickets made available today for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018’s Grand Final sold out in less than an hour. Also today the system broke down, and the ones waiting in physical stores had no chance.

Blueticket’s queueing system had more than 70,000 people waiting on queue in a matter of minutes and the official partners weren’t able to sell tickets for almost half an hour which ended up benefitting the international fans who purchased online.

Once again only a few fans were able to get tickets for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest, at least for the main final show. Just as announced previously, Blueticket’s main webpage was again replaced by Queue-It – a queueing system that keeps the website from crashing – and people were assigned a number on queue despite the requests for another method. Fans invaded the website and, in a matter of minutes, the number of people waiting reached the 70,000 which made a lot give up as soon as they got in. People who got “low” numbers – such as 1,200 – were already a bit late for the best seats.

Portuguese people made sure to queue in quite early, as well but were surprised to find out that tickets weren’t yet available as the official Blueticket’s partners weren’t able to sell tickets for almost 30 minutes, which ended up being a benefit to whoever was queued on Blueticket’s webpage. Shopping malls such as Atrium, Colombo, Oeiras Parque and even Madeira Shopping had long lines of fans waiting to put their hands on the tickets, but only the very first ones were able to get them. On top of that, other online alternatives such as FNAC’s ticketing system were down for the same period.

At around 11.40 CET the store’s staff announced: “There are no more tickets available for the Grand Final”. Some gave up, some stayed in hoping to get tickets for the jury show or to the family one. There are reports of people raging and screaming in stores as they weren’t able to get tickets.

While tickets for the jury show Friday evening and for the family show Saturday afternoon are still available, a third wave of tickets is expected to be announced in January where tickets for the semi finals will be also made available as by then the allocation draw will have been held.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Eurovision Insight Podcast: Interviewing Nicoline Refsing


Staging and production has always been a particular interest of mine. I studied it way back in school as part of GCSE drama. Instead of focussing on the acting I decided to study the module of staging and lighting design – one of my earliest jobs in the world of theatre when I was 15 was as a follow-spot operator for that year’s pantomime at the Civic Hall in Guildford. Ever since then I’ve been hooked on the little nuances of stage and screen production that enhance performances and can take something excellent and turn it into something outstanding (or in some Eurovision cases, something winning).

It was a treat to sit down earlier this year and chat with Nicoline Refsing, creative producer of the Eurovision Song Contest in  2014 in Copenhagen, and now creative producer of a number of the country productions since then, to talk about what goes into making the content that we see on our screens – or in the arena if we’re lucky enough to be there!

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Interviewing Nicoline Refsing

Lisa-Jayne Lewis talks to creative designer Nicoline Refsing on staging Eurovision, working with individual acts, and the wider world of televisual entertainment.

We also have a video edit of the interview, if you would prefer to match up conversations on staging with the relevant images.

Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast over the winter 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.

You can also support ESC Insight by joining our Patreon campaign. For a small monthly payment you can offer us the opportunity to increase and expand our Eurovision coverage. Just visit patreon.com/escinsight today.

Categories: ESC Insight


Second wave of tickets tomorrow – What you should know

The second wave of tickets for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest will be up for sale tomorrow. This time, not only there’ll be more tickets available but there’ll also be availability for other performances such as the jury show.

Ready, set, go! The sale of the second batch of tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest’s Grand Final shows will take place tomorrow at 11.00 CET. Just like the first time, the official provider – Blueticket – will be replacing its main webpage with a queueing system to avoid a possible crash despite requests for another selling method by the fans who found it unfair during the first wave.

Nonetheless and unlike the first time, the tickets made available for this second phase will not only include the event’s Grand Final but also the jury and  the family shows. The prices for each of those events varies between €10 and €299 per person.

With all this being said, don’t rush but stay calm. With the chosen queueing system, it doesn’t matter if you get to the website hours or minutes before as it will only assign you a number after the clock hits 11.00.

Blueticket’s official partner made tickets available ahead of schedule

Unexpectedly, one of Blueticket’s official partners – FNAC – made a few tickets available to the public today (19th of December). A few lucky fans were able to purchase the tickets that will be officially available tomorrow.

If you were one of those, don’t worry. Your tickets are valid and will give you access to the show. According to FNAC, this was only an experience to test the sale for tomorrow: “The tickets purchased during this test phase will not be requested back and are valid”, they stated after being contacted by ESC Portugal.

Categories: Eurovisionary


LRT announces that familiar faces are back for Lithuania 2018

Lithuanian TV (LRT) tonight revealed the contestants hoping to represent their country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.

More than 50 performers and groups will compete in the Eurovision selection. For the selection, they could offer their own song or a song specially written for them, or choose from the works offered by specific composers.

Erica Jennings has already represented  Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest with Skamp in 2001. Initially, she had planned two worthy songs but decided to enter the national selection with the Truth, written at the time Erica was waiting for her daughter.

Two songs were also presented by Silvija Pankūnaitė, who showed her strong vocals repeatedly in SEL’s concerts, and she too has chosen her strongest song.

Also appearing in the show are returning female performers, Mia, Kotryna Juodzevičiūtė, Rasa Kaušiūtė, Eglė Jakštytė, Donata Virbilaitė, Ieva Zasimauskaitė, Paula and Greta Zazza.

On the men’s side there are also well-known performers. The selection will include Vidas Bareikis, Gabrielius Vagelis, Jurgis Brūzga, Robert Kupstas, El Fuego, The Roop, EGO, Solar Closer and many others.

In March, it will be revealed who will receive the honour to represent Lithuania in Eurovision 2018. The shows start on January 6 2018.

The shows will be hosted byUgnė Skonsmanaitė and actor humorist Mantas Stonkus.

“This is not just an artist selection competition, but an event of our entire country, so you need to show your heart and your concern. And when the performers feel such love from Lithuania, they will go to Eurovision to carry out very large works. And we will be a beautiful, youthful, lively duo, we will be ourselves. And will we be sharp? Yes, said the head of LRT.

Greta Zazza has already published her song for 2018, Broken Shadows. Greta placed 6th last year with the highly fancied Like I Love You. Can she go all the way this year?

Categories: Eurovisionary


The first ten songs of Estonia’s Eesti Laul 2018 have been published

Christmas has come early for fans of Estonian music. Today Estonian Television (ETV) spent every hour, releasing one of ten entries in this years Eesti Laul 2018 show.

The first ten songs released will compete in semi final one, to be broadcast on February 10 2018. The running order of the songs is listed below.

Vajé – Laura (Walk with Me)
Iiris & Agoh – Drop That Boogie
Etnopatsy – Külm
Sibyl Vane –Thousand Words
Aden Ray – Everybody’s Dressed
Tiiu x Okym x Semy – Näita oma energiat
Stig Rästa – Home
Miljardid – Pseudoprobleem
Desiree – On My Mind
Elina Netšajeva – La Forza

Many of the songs are already published on youtube, so you can listen to the songs, clicking the appropriate links. The second set of songs, which will compete on February 17 2018, will be revealed by ETV tomorrow.  From each semi final, five will proceed to the March 3 finale.

As always with the Estonian selection, there is a wide array of music to choose from. This year they have opera, pop songs, Estonian ballads and one or two usual bizarre entries. Fans can also hear for the first time, this year’s entry by previous contestant, Stig Rästa

Estonia will be hoping to reach the finals again this year, after shockingly being left in the semi finals, with the fan favourite, Verona. Enjoy that song one more time while we await the Estonian entry for 2018.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Reviewing Eurovision Young Dancers 2017

As viewers in the United Kingdom were settling down on Saturday evening to enjoy the annual BBC spectacle that is the final of Strictly Come Dancing, another dance competition of different nature was taking place too. The 15th Eurovision Young Dancers competition took place in the Czech capital city of Prague, the city that also hosted it in 2015.

This show is a highlight for me as a former dancer. I studied tap, ballet and modern as a child at the Lynton Stage School and then moved on to Hurley’s School of Dance to study Latin, Ballroom and modern jazz – I love to dance, I don’t really do it anymore, but of course, I can’t resist Eurovision Young Dancers as a showcase of modern dance performance from around the continent.

The rules are simple, all dancers must be between the ages of 16 and 21 and may compete as a solo performer or as a couple, no groups are allowed. None of the performers are allowed to be paid professional dancers, the contest is designed for amateurs.

Here Come The Dancers

This year’s contest actually saw the lowest number of participating countries with eight dancers taking to the stage, but this should not be seen as a cause of concern; numbers fluctuate, circumstances change and situations differ. In total 37 countries have participated over the years since the contest began in 1985 and as with all Eurovision events is open to any country who are member of the EBU.

On our first glimpse of the stage, if I’m being honest made me think of the pictures we’ve just seen of the stage in Lisbon for ESC 2018 and Junior Eurovision’s 2016 stage! We got an introduction to the performers (similar to the flag ceremony) they are introduced by name and country.

We then met our jury. Czech Daria Klimentová, having spent 18 years as a principal dancer with the English National Ballet, she retired in 2014 and is currently working at the Royal Ballet School in London. Itzik Galili, who wanted to be an astronaut but became one of Israel’s leading dancers and choreographers, what can I say the aeronautics industry’s loss is the arts industry’s gain! Ambra Succi a street dance and contemporary dance teacher from Italy, currently living and working in Sweden, Ambra choreographed Loreen to Eurovision victory in 2012 at the Eurovision Song Contest and has choreographed for a number of well known shows such as X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance and other Eurovision Song Contest performances.

Each solo item was separated by a postcard in true Eurovision style. I’ve very much appreciated these as they’ve shown of a city that I love very much, not least because it’s where my brother lives! If you’ve never been, don’t wait for a Eurovision event, it’s a great place for a weekend getaway.

Here’s my run down of the competitive performances, as they happened…

Norway – Anna Louise Amundsen ‘These Days’

Anna is in a white lyrical style of dress, the arches on the stage are like cracked metal. Norways dance is an absolute hybrid of lyrical, contemporary and jazz. There’s a little hint of Mathew Bourne style ballet. Daria is impressed with the jumps and thinks this is a very strong show opener. In her backstage interview immediately after performing, Anna Louise is happy with her performance and was excited by the challenge of opening the show.

Germany – Danila Kapustin ‘Desde Otello’

Danila is brave in his costume choice, white dance trousers and bare top. The lighting is very clever in the opening shots, flooded in red lighting and lit from above highlighting the bone and muscle structure of his body. As a student at the famous State Ballet School in Berlin, I was expecting something extremely balletic in presentation and this did not disappoint. Beautifully presented, but Ambra wants him to use more of his back and lower shoulders more.

Malta – Denise Buttigieg ‘Q. W’

Denise starts this strong, it’s hard for me to type as I watch because I just can’t take my eyes off the screen! She is in a soft brown/gold skater-style dress. The music is rhythmic with only spoken word, no sung lyric at all. This is absolute contemporary modern dance style, not balletic at all, Denise is incredibly flexible but has great control of that flexibility. Ambra doesn’t agree, she thinks that Denise needs to work on her strength and control.

Portugal – Raquel Fidalgo ‘Esquiva’

Fashion-lover Raquel in in green halter top and olive green dance trousers, the lighting is green and it all melds very nicely together. Coming from the contemporary dance world it is easy to see this influence on the way that Raquel moves. I like that she’s using levels of dance, from the floor all the way to maximum stretch for her as well as leaps and jumps. The music is pure drum rhythm of quite a Brazilian flavour. Itzik likes the combination of movement and rhythm. In her post-dance interview Raquel speaks of the friendships made with the other performers.

Group Dance #1

The first four competitors now take to the stage in a group dance which has been choreographed by Czech Petr Zuska. The dance has been rehearsed in a short time since arriving in Prague and is part of the judging process. In the group dances the judges are looking at how the performers work together with each other and the movements, also how they interact during lift and connected movements.

Poland – Paulina Bidzińska ‘La Certa’

Paulina comes from the world of classical ballet and her operatic music immediately confirm that this is where she is most comfortable. Paulina is really using her entire body her, limb extensions are wonderful and her musicality is probably the best I’ve seen so far. Ambra is impressed with the use of her spine to create the shaping in the dance.

Slovenia – Patricija Crnkovič ‘Disintergration’

Patricija has been here before, she represented Slovenia in 2013 at EYD. This dance is a piece of modern dance. Patricija is very expressive with her face as well as her body, her confidence also comes through the dance, there was no holding back at any point, she put everything she had into this dance. Itzik agrees that her facial expression along with her movement were very good.

Sweden – Christoffer Collins ‘Solo – X’

Christoffer is another very expressive dancer, he is wearing casual dance clothes, a plaid red and black shirt and black trousers. The music is very contemporary and ‘Swedish’ and the dance itself is super contemporary, I wonder if it might be a bit too alienating for casual viewers of the show but his body shaping is very good. Daria says it’s interesting, but she remains a little unmoved by the dance.

Czech Republic – Mical Vach ‘Monologue’

Dressed in all balck but using the light and shadows of the stage to add to this impressive piece of contemporary modern/jazz fusion. The music is a solo Cello which Michal seems to be very in tune with. The performance was very strong, yet there is a softness to Mical’s movements which is very compelling. Mical’s dance used almost the entire dance space available. Itzik was impressed with Mical and thinks that he has a bright future ahead of him as a dancer.

Group Dance #2

The second of the group dances also part of the judging process, this is not an interval act, it all counts towards the final scores. This group feature the most classically trained dancer and the most contemporary style dancer in the same group, so the choreography is designed to reflect that. It could have been easy with two boy/girl parings to make this dance a couples dance but it’s not. The four are actually beautifully choreographed together as a dance ensemble. Whilst you can see the ballet/contemporary strengths in each dancer, I personally prefer this to the first group piece.

The Dance Off

The jury now select two finalist who will go into a final dance off to determine the winner. Itzik reveals that the two finalists are Paulina from Poland and Patricija from Slovenia. The final dance off sees the two finalists performing a duet dance, using the same music that has been used in the group dancers.

The jury have decided the winner, it falls again to Itzik to reveal the winner as Paulina Bidzińska from Poland, this is Poland’s third win at Eurovision Young Dancers. The most successful country at Eurovision Young Dancers is Spain who have five wins in their belt although they have not participated in the contest since 1999.

Congratulations to Poland and to Paulina, and to Česká televize and the EBU for another fantastic show. I am looking forward to 2019 when we will see the next edition of Eurovision Young Dancers. All eyes turn now from this contest to the next of Eurovision’s special events; the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 from Lisbon.

Categories: ESC Insight

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