15
January
2020

Will Tom Leeb be the right choice for France at this years Eurovision

Will Tom Leeb be the right choice for France at this years Eurovision

Tom Leeb

After two years of Destination Eurovision, France has gone back to choosing their Eurovision entrant internally. Yesterday they confirmed that the rumours were true, when Tom Leeb was announced as their 2020 representative.

Can Tom turn France’s fortunes around and give them their first win since 1977 when Marie Myriam took the prize with L’Oiseaux Et L’Enfant?

Tom was born in 1989 and has started to make a name for himself in France, not only as a singer, but as an actor and comedian too. However it is for his singing that France2 made the decision to internally select him to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020.

French television are not the first to be impressed by Tom, as Sting asked Tom to support him last October during his tour dates in Nice and Grenoble.

Tom’s first musical release came in September 2018 when an extended EP gained 4 million streams and 25 million youtube views.

On September 19 2019 Tom released his debut album Recollection.

Recollection is primarily a collection of acoustic folk songs which Tom describes as being transported through a romantic idyll, from its beginnings to its tragic end. The songs were mainly recorded in one take.

What that tells us is that there is unlikely to be any flashy lights or dancers accompanying Tom in Rotterdam this year. The song will most likely be an intimate acoustic song which is very personal to Tom. It has not yet been announced if the Eurovision song appears on the album.

The last Tom to do something like this was Tom Dice who placed 7th for Belgium in 2010 with Me And My Guitar. France have obviously been paying close attention to last year’s winner Arcade by Duncan Laurence and have very much gone with a singer just performing a simple song this year.

Tom on his Facebook page says that Eurovision is an iconic and unifying event. He is very proud to represent France and is looking forward to living this exceptional adventure.

Eurovisionary wishes Tom all the best on his road to Rotterdam and invites you to enjoy his video for the song Are We Too Late.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

14
January
2020

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Hello Orchestra, Where Have You Been?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Hello Orchestra, Where Have You Been?
https://archive.org/download/escinsight_20200113_664/escinsight_20200113_664.mp3

The pace is picking up and we have the first small wave of National Selection results to go through, as well as the latest news about the Rotterdam 2020 show, dates and details from the broadcasts, and a look ahead to the various preview parties. This is the Eurovision news from the last week.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Hello Orchestra, Where Have You Been?

The latest news from the Eurovision Song Contest world; with the weekend results, the return of the orchestra, and our fashion director for Rotterdam 2020. Ewan Spence and the team round up the latest news, dates, and thoughts for this year’s Song Contest.

More details on Eurovision In Concert, ESPreParty, London Eurovision Party, andnext week’s Ne Party Pas, can be found at their respective websites.

Our Spotify playlists for Qualified Artists, Australian Artists, Estonia Artists, Lithuanian Artists, Sanremo Artists, and Swedish Artists.

As the National Finals for Eurovision 2020 continue, stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight

13
January
2020

Czech Republic reveals 7 artists for national selection

Czech Republic reveals 7 artists for national selection

Benny Cristo

A planned televised national selection have been dropped, and one artist disqualied. Things haven’t been easy in the Czech Republic, but with seven artists presented today, it seems like they are now ready to kick off their 2020 national selection.

Next Monday, the 20th of January, the seven songs will be presented – and along with that, an online voting will kick off. Until the 2nd of February, the local population along with an international jury will be able to vote for their favourite act. The day after, the 3rd of February, the result will be revealed.

The slogan for this years Czech Republic selection is “Unfold Your Dream”. For the winner, the dreams can unfold in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in May this year. First, they will have to qualify from semi-final to final – and then try to improve Mikolas Josef’s 6th place from 2018, which till today is the country’s best Eurovision result.

Participants for 2020 Czech selection:

  • Olga Lounová
  • Barbora Mochowa
  • Benny Cristo
  • Pam Rabbit
  • Karelll
  • Elis Mraz & Čis T
  • We All Poop

Czech Republic at the Eurovision Song Contest

8 participations, three qualifications to the final and once in top 10, those are the bare facts to show that it’s not always easy being a Eurovision fan in the Czech Republic.

The country debuted in 2007 with the rock band Kabát as their representatives. They received one single point in the semi-final so they were never near the goal of reaching the final. The following two years, their artists failed as well with Gipsy.cz not recieving any points at all in the 2009 semi-final.

After three misrable years, the Czech Republic broadcaster pulled out of Eurovision – and weren’t to return before the 2015 contest. The country have stayed in since – and in those five years, they reached the final three times proving that the Czech Republic is back on track!

Last year, the band Lake Malawi represented the country with the song Friend Of A Friend. They came second in their semi-final and 11th in the final. In the video below you can get to know that band a little better in our “Complete the sentence” game:

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Categories: Eurovisionary

12
January
2020

Raylee wins first Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix heat

Raylee wins first Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix heat

Raylee

With the song “Wild”, Raylee is still in the race to represent Norway at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Three other participants unfortunately had to leave the competion after tonight’s first Melodi Grand Prix heat.

All attention was on Sør-Norge (South Norway) and four participants this evening. These four acts represents the southern part of Norway and only one would qualify for the final on the 15th of February in Trondheim.

Contents

  • 1 The duels
  • 2 The show
  • 3 Voting problems
  • 4 Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest

The duels

Despite the rather good odds of 25% to qualify for the final, all four acts tonight were naturally quite nervous. Only one would be able to continue to the final with the remaining three being out.

Duel 1

Geirmund HansenCome Alive

Maybe its is just me, but I get to think of a mix between Rasmussen’s Higher Ground (Denmark 2018) and Run With The Lions (Lithuania 2019) when listening to Geirmund’s Come Alive. It has the same beat to it. The Norwegian song unfortunately just lacks a bit of the power. It starts out really well as it simply captures you from the beginning. About half way though, you realise though that it doesn’t quite deliver the power you are waiting for. It’s not a bad song, it just had potential to more.

VS

Lisa Børud – Talking About Us

This is a radio friendly pop song. It’s quite repitative and easy to sing along to. Most will be able to enjoy it for three minutes as there isn’t much which can turn anyone off. There is however a risk that many will forget about it soon, but will voting right after, that might work quite in her favour.

= Lisa Børup

Duel 2

Kim RysstadRainbow

A classic power ballad with some twists makes one think of James Bond themes or a bit of Conchita’s Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria 2014) – in a light version. It has good potential, but it lacks something a bit undefined, which makes it in risk of becoming boring and forgettable, and on stage tonight, Kim lacks charisma. When the pyrotechnics kicks in at the end, you realised that they mixed basically all effects on this – without a clear plan – or did they forget the wind machine?

VS

RayleeWild

It’s impossible not to think of the Cypriot Fuego (Cyprus 2018) or Tamta’s Replay (Cyprus 2019) when listening to this song. The chorus has the same beat to it. Many foreign Eurovision fans will get up and dance to this, they simply can’t help themselves. But will the colder Norwegian climate lower the nations mediterainian instincts – or will they have to get up in order to keep warm? Hard to tell. And… Slavko Kalezić! (Montenegro 2017). Her play with the pony tail makes him pop up in your head – maybe not what you want when dancing to this one!

= Raylee

Duel 3

The two winners now faced each other in one last duel to pick tonight’s winner – they had to perform again. Lisa Børud was first on stage.

= Raylee

The show

The show kicked off at 19:50 CET. Kåre Magnus Bergh, Ingrid Gjessing Linhave and Ronny Brede Aase hosted the event just like they will host the other heats too. We kicked off with a look back to KEiiNO’s Eurovision journey from last year. After that we saw a pre-recorded video with the hosts talking about how they should start this show… and then they entered the stage, and we were ready!

All four participants came on stage for short interviews, and then a draw took place in order to decide which act would be up against each other.

Tonight’s show included a performance from Sondrey. With the song Take My Time, he is pre-qualifed, as one of five acts, for the final. He took the stage after the first two duels and delivered tonight’s strongest entry.

Voting problems

This year, voting is done online only – with login on the broadcaster’s website. We tried it out, and noticed that there was quite some pressure on the login system. During a performance the people logged in can give out likes to the performances – and these are shown onscreen. After each duel, a screen popped up in the system asking you to vote for any of the songs. We tried to vote – not being on Norwegian IP adress – and managed, although we have to say that we don’t know whether or not our votes were counted or sorted out.

When following the talk on NRK’s Facebook page, we were able to tell that many experienced various issues with the system – and some not being able to vote at all. Funny enough, then tonight’s show included a look back to 1997 with televoting introduced in the Norwegian final – and the phone system broke down. About 400.000 people tried to vote, but only 70.000 got through. Let’s hope that the issues tonight are minor and not something that will have affected the result too much.

Hard to tell if it was for real – or satire –  (at least for a foreigner) when they in tonight’s show changed the result of the 1997 result. The winner remained the same, but 4th and 5th place changed.

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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Categories: Eurovisionary

12
January
2020

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

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

Monika Marija

Everyone’s favourite Atranka returned tonight as Lithuania started its search for its Eurovision 2020 representative. New for this year is the slogan Pabandom Iš Naujo, which means Let’s Try Again.

Indeed, the contest that keeps on giving, is back with a new format, a new green room hosted by Ieva Zasimauskaité, and best of all, no sign of musicologist Ramūnas Zilnys who has yet to pick a winner for Lithuania in all his years as a sombre panelist. Twelve acts performed tonight with six going through to a semi final in either three or four weeks time. The final will be held on February 15.

Contents

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

The Hosts

One thing that hasn’t changed from last year are the hosts. Giedrius Masalskis and Gabrielė Martirosianaitė  have returned to guide the viewers through three weeks of 36 songs. Gabrielė wore a silver dress while Giedrius was all in black. They introduced Ieva, who was in a white and black dress and alas the We Are The Winners tag was still here. Then we were ready to go with a new electronic scoreboard. No expense spared this year, better keep some money though incase they win and have to host next year.

The Judges

For the first broadcast, the judges commented after the fourth, eighth and last songs were performed.  They were musician and radio presenter, Darius Užkuraitis, singer, songwriter and vocal lecturer Giedrė Kilčiauskienė, pianist, musician, Director of cultural shows and events, Gerūta Griniūtė, music producer Leon Somov, and head of the music agency M. P. 3, producer Suresh Stackevičius. After every four songs they were allowed to chat with our hosts, probably to make sure they were still awake.

The Songs

GlossariumGame Over

First up then was a bit of hard rock with Glossarium making a return after dropping out at last years semi final with the song Anyone. Let’s just say this isn’t really Eurovision but if you’re into this type of music you’d have loved it. All in black this quintet are all good at working together but it’s all a bit of a noise. Banging drums, screaming guitars and vocals, a good one to make your ears bleed.

Baltos VarnosNamų dvasia

Next up were the lilting twin sisters Milda and Theresa Andrijauskaitė or white crows in their lacy see through light purple dresses. This couldn’t have been more lilting or sleep inducing had they offered us a sleeping pill. Two acts in and already one is wondering if Lithuania have ever been watching past Eurovision winners. What a bore.

Justinas LapatinskasHighway Story

This has a nice country style introduction and you could see that the backing singers were itching to get stuck in. Justinas has a nice voice and this was certainly very melodic. The biggest shock was that it took so many people to write this. There seemed to be about ten names. Good enough but not a likely winner. Oh wait though what about Run With The Lions.

AistayDangus man tu

Drawing influence from two year’s ago Monika Marija in the fashion sense, Aistay was all in lace black. There wasn’t a lot of movement in this number, again the highlight being the backing singers. A slow mournful number, it’s hard to see what type of audience this is aimed for. Prediction – all four first songs will be gone by the end of the night.

Petunija Show Ya

After a chat with the judges which seemed to go on forever, it was time for a bit of musical theatre from red head Petunija. Aside from the screaming from Glossarium, this song was the first one of the night to have a bit of a beat about it. However it was just a little beat and the backing singers were in full swing again. This was like a tepid version of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. Passable at best and no Rotterdam here either.

Lukas NorkūnasAtsiprašyk

Lukas had a gem of a song two years ago with Tegu so expectations were high for him tonight, after vowing he wouldn’t return to the contest. Fortunately he lived up to it with another folky type number that’s certainly been the best of the night so far. Some interaction with the backing singers, Lukas was all in black and made good use of the stage. Maybe a little too quirky for Eurovision.

Donata VirbilaitėMade of Wax

Donata was all in purple singing to a wax model although in a bit of TV magic he came to life to dance around to the song. This has a bit of a Toyah feel about it and while quite entertaining it doesn’t have what is needed to win Eurovision. Good though for three minutes of entertainment,

Andy VaicWhy Why Why

Nerdy cool is in these days and Andy depicted a classic model for this. The electronic music introduction gave the song a more appealing feel. In fact the backing was by far the best bit of this very repetitive song. At this point with only four more acts to go, it’s hard to imagine who is going to qualify to the next round. The judges gave their opinion after this. They are looking a bit bleary eyed.

Aika Paradas

More electronic music but this was a little less amateur than some of the previous performances. Lots of the acts which have qualified in the past are usually a lot better in subsequent heats so there could be some potential here. Aika was dressed in a kinda monk like black robe and with fire burning behind her, this was probably the best of the night so far. Eurovision winner? No

MeandiDRIP

Meandi have been the most colourful of the night in their yellow jackets and blue track suit bottoms. This is a monotonous piece of white rapping with a repeated electro beat running through it. Meandi mentions the aforementioned clothes over and over towards the end of the song. Colourful, fun but another one going nowhere.

Monika MarijaIf I Leave

The problem here is Monika is back with the worst of four excellent songs, The Truth, Criminal and Light On, but the oohing at the beginning of the song is to date the best thing tonight. Monika has a world class voice and although not as good as her previous entries this will sail into the final for her again. This year we have a country feel in the song complete with a red dress and good ole country boots.

Gabrielius VagelisTave čia ranu

Starting seated in the audience, Gabrielius looked as if he was still in his dressing gown. He has in the past made quite some fashion statements. This is a very good entry again for Gabrielius and again this should have no problem getting to the final. In its favour was a tune and excellent singing. Maybe too much in the Run With The Lions vein, but still a worthy entry.

The Results

JuryPublicTotalPosition
Glossarium4268
Baltos Varnos1010202Qualifier
Justinas Lapatinskas10110
Aistay2359
Petunija65116Qualifier
Lukas Norkūnas00012
Donata Virbilaitė01111
Andy Vaic57125Qualifier
Aika4487
Meandi88163Qualifier
Monika Marija1212241Qualifier
Gabrielius Vagelis76134Qualifier

Below is the video for tonight’s winning song.

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Categories: Eurovisionary

11
January
2020

Newsletter: Let National Selection Silly Season Commence!

Newsletter: Let National Selection Silly Season Commence!

As well as keeping you to date with the major news announcements, the ESC Insight Newsletter will be previewing the National Finals each weekend until we have our song for Rotterdam. There’ll also be a playlist of tracks from the week… and let’s have a preview of that part of the newsletter now.

ESC Insight Weekly Playlist

As another National Selection season prepares to kick into high gear, Eurovision fans are about to be bombarded with so many potential entries, it may be difficult to keep track. Fortunately, we’ll be on hand with a weekly playlist to guide you through the best of the bunch…

Merilin Mälk – Miljon sammu (Estonia)

Estonia’s Eesti Laul selection doesn’t start airing until mid-February, but the competing songs have been available since last November. 18 year old Merilin Mälk has taken an early lead on YouTube and Spotify with Miljon sammu (A Million Steps).

An instantly radio-friendly midtempo pop number with a distinct feel of Swedish pop starlet Zara Larsson, this is a youthful and competitive effort that could perform very well for Estonia if chosen.

Samanta Tina – Still Breathing (Latvia)

Latvia’s 2015 heroine Aminata has penned a couple of songs for her home country’s national selection this year, including one for perennial runner-up Markus Riva.

However, her most striking effort has been reserved for Riga Diva Samanta Tina, who could easily return the Baltic nation to the finals with Still Breathing. The chorus hits hard, and the quirkily choreographed music video suggests plenty of scope for an interesting stage show in Rotterdam.

Gabrielius Vagelis – Tave Čia Randu (Lithuania)

Lithuania haven’t performed in their native tongue on the Eurovision stage since 2001, but that could be set to change in 2020 thanks to local star Gabrielius Vagelis, who has already amassed over half a million YouTube views for his heartfelt ballad Tave Čia Randu (trans: Here I Find You). 

Vagelis has not yet confirmed whether an English version is in the works, but Tave Čia Randu is already easily strong enough to stand on its own should it get through his home country’s famously idiosyncratic national selection.

Kim André Rysstad – Rainbow (Norway)

Fans of classic Eurovision power-balladry have their first anthem of 2020 thanks to Norway’s folk-rock veteran Kim André Rysstad. With crunching guitars, soaring vocals and only slightly baffling lyrics, this should be a big crowd pleaser to kick off Norway’s revamped national selection on Saturday.

Conan Osiris, Ana Moura & Branko – Vinte, Vinte (Portugal)

He may have failed to reach the finals in Tel Aviv, but Portugal’s 2019 representative Conan Osiris continues to forge his own musical path to great success, as evidenced by this beautiful collaboration with two of his country’s most popular stars, fado icon Ana Moura and DJ/Producer Branko – both of whom took centre stage at the Lisbon Contest back in 2018.

You can read and subscribe to the full newsletter here. 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

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