25
July
2018

Time travel back to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 1981

Time travel back to Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 1981

Tommy Seebach & Debbie Cameron

A poor low budget Danish final, songs about Mae West and Louis Armstrong that was clearly beaten by curly hair. Only one year away from finding its right format, Danish broadcaster saved a lot of money on the 1981 national final. So much that it became depressing to watch.

Contents

  • 1 The poor 1980’s
  • 2 Singing about famous people
  • 3 No hugs to Seebach
  • 4 Watch the highlights
  • 5 Did Denmark made the right choice?
  • 6 Voting
  • 7 In this series
Imagine that you can travel back in time. What will you do? And what will you tell the people you meet about the future? As the curious Eurovision fan I am, I will go back to previous national finals. I want to see why my parents’ and grand parents’ generations voted as they did. I want to talk to the participants from back then, and I also want to follow the big developments happening within music and TV production.

It’s been a while since I travelled back in time. My machine had been broken, but now it is fixed – and I was ready to visit  the 1981 Danish final. I must admit that it wasn’t with high expectations though. I knew the Danish broadcaster really had cut down this year compared to the year before. The number of songs went from 12 to 5. In 1980, half of the songs came via an open selection. Now the songwriters to all five songs had been asked to write a song for the show. Low expectations, yet, I was disappointed.

The poor 1980’s

I was five years old in 1981, so I can’t really remember how it was. But after the boom in the 1960’s and the oil crises in the 70’s, a bill was now to be paid. Denmark experienced the same as many other countries in the early 1980’s: If you wanted to keep the country’s Balance of International Payments in a healthy shape, the unemployment rate would go up, which meant that the households would have less income and as such needed to cut down on their expenses.

The show opened with host Jørgen de Mylius breaking through a box with a message written on it: “Poor, but pretty Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 81”. Poor was definitely correct. The show was put in kind of like a break in another programme. There was no open selection. Broadcaster DR had asked five acts to perform play back with a song, and the qualify of those weren’t high. Yes, Tommy Seebach delivered what was expected of him, but to be honest, did he really have any competition? As Jørgen de Mylius often says, “we’ll get back to that”.

Several times during this national final, Jørgen de Mylius made references to the economic situation like “Even though we are in the poor 1980’s….”. He was probably trying to make the TV viewers see this low-budget show in a greater light, but I think he instead made them depressed. The jury members in the audience didn’t pay much attention either to what was going on. Some of them walked around (or was it the ones collecting the points?), during the songs, sometimes blocking the TV cameras!

As soon as the last song was performed, they went back to the original show, which had the national final put in, in a very abrupt way. An interval act was introduced, this turned out to be the host of the other show who after his performance, continued his programme like nothing happened, like time was standing still while Dansk Melodi Grand Prix was on.

Singing about famous people

Two of the songs in the Danish final were about famous deceased. One of them, Sikken Dejlig Dame (What a lovely lady) was about the American actress Mae West. Admitted, I had to Google’ her to find out she passed away in November 1980 – just a few months before this Danish final. That fact shows that the songs, at least this one, were written shortly before the announcement of the songs, which then can explain the low quality of them.

Most of us grow up learning that Louis Armstrong is one of the greatest jazz musicians the world has ever seen. He passed away in 1971, ten years before this Danish final, and as such you probably shouldn’t do a tribute song to him, unless you can do it well. Satchmo didn’t come across as a song they spent a lot of time on getting right. Unfortunately.

No hugs to Seebach

As the final ended, I quickly rushed to my time machine to get back to 2018. I didn’t feel like talking to any of the participants this time, and unlike in 1979, I couldn’t even give Tommy Seebach a hug. Back then I left him with tears in my eyes as I didn’t dare to tell him what was waiting for him in the future. This time, I was simply afraid that if I once again held on to him a little tighter and started crying, he would ask questions. And what should I answer? No, I couldn’t risk that.

Watch the highlights

I was disappointed about the quality of the songs, but taste differs. In the video below, you can enjoy the highlights from Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 1981. It includes clips from the opening of this “poor” final, all five songs and the announcement of the result.

We have provided you with English subtitles directly on the video.

Did Denmark made the right choice?

As previously mentioned, I didn’t find the qualify of the songs here in 1981 particular good. Yes, Tommy Seebach delivered what was expected of him, but the average wasn’t good. Allan Mortensen and his band Hans Mosters Vovse failed miserable to live up to their potential.

I was surprised to realise that the song En Tragisk Komedie, which finished second to last, was written by Kasper Winding. He was one of my idols in the last half of the 1980’s. Did he really put his name to something like this? As he appeared as backing singer as well, he obviously did. I can understand why I ignored that, if I have paid attention to it before. This song is significantly below the material he later came up with.

So did Denmark made the right choice here in 1981? No doubt they did. In Dublin, Krøller Eller Ej, finished 11th out of 20 songs. Should we have picked another song though, it should probably have been Anniqa’s May West song Sikken Dejlig Dame (What a lovely lady). It is catchy, but I don’t think it would have scored any better than what Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron did.

Let me just add that this was the very first time Debbie Cameron sang publicly in Danish. She is daughter of the American jazz and gospel singer Etta Cameron, who already moved to Denmark in the early 1970’s and lived here until her death in 2010. Debbie moved to Denmark to live with her mum, in 1976 at the age of 17.

Voting

Once again, DR had changed the jury system. This year, it consisted of 100 people, who was the only audience in the studio. The 100 jury members had been selected after they applied to a radio advert. Each of them gave each song points between 1 and 5 allowing 500 as the maximum of points one song could get. With 441 points, Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron as the only ones scored above 400.

We didn’t see any voting this year. Host Jørgen de Mylius announced Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron as winners. After a short winner interview the placements for the remaining four songs were quickly announced.

ArtistTitlePlacementPoints
 Hans Mosters VovseKing Kong Boogie2nd375
 AnniqaSikken Dejlig Dame3rd359
Tommy Seebach & Debbie CameronKrøller Eller Ej1st441
Theis JensenSatchmo5th210
 Carsten Elmer & Jørgen KlubienEn Tragisk Komedie4th238

In this series

When I had built my time travel machine, I started travelling back to the Danish finals as the country returned to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978. In the articles below you can follow my recent journeys, while waiting for 1982.

1978 – Mabel getting tough competition from Olsen Brothers who were to win Eurovision 22 years later.

1979 – Tommy Seebach’s first of the three Danish final victories, and Kim Larsen looking for a free trip to Israel.

1980 – Former Eurovision winner Grethe Ingmann taking part in the Danish final for the last time, Birthe Kjær for the first time. Both beaten by a fat man in overalls. (No offense!).

This reflection article is based on the author's ownpersonal experience. Views expressed belongs to him or her, and are to be seen as unrelated to EuroVisionary.com.

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23
July
2018

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways with Dave Goodman

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways with Dave Goodman
http://ia601507.us.archive.org/34/items/escinsight_20180720_576_castawaysS2E3/escinsight_20180723_576a_castawaysS2E3.mp3

Our second summer of trips to the mysterious Île de Bezençon continues, where the time is always May, where the sun is always shining, and for thematic reasons you can only bring along eight Eurovision songs and a Song Contest luxury.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Eurovision Castaways with Dave Goodman

We’re opening up Île de Bezençon for the summer, and inviting our favourite Eurovision people to bring their best loved Eurovision related songs and stories. Our next guest for the summer of 2018 is the EBU’s Dave Goodman with a treasure trove of synths, divas and barrellful of anecdotes. 

Keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast as we face the summer months between season. 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.

Categories: ESC Insight

23
July
2018

Sinn Féin calls for Irish boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Sinn Féin calls for Irish boycott of Eurovision in Israel

Netta

“Israel’s ongoing and grievous violations of international law” is among the reasons Irish party Sinn Féin is asking  broadcaster RTÉ not to take part in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Israel.

In May this year, Netta won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest for Israel with the song Toy. With that, the country is now set to host the 2019 edition. If things were to fit the Irish republican party Sinn Féin, it will be a contest without Ireland.

Pearce Doherty, member of parliament for Sinn Féin stated that he expects his party to ask broadcaster RTÉ  and the Irish goverment to boycott the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel. The reasons are listed as “Israel’s ongoing and grievous violations of international law and international humanitarian law” and the “apartheid policies being applied to the Palestinian people”.

The delegates of Sinn Féin are very clear – there is a role for the arts, music and indeed sport, in sending a very strong message internationally. As it happens, Israel is hosting the Eurovision and just like the Olympic Games in Germany or the Rugby World Cup during the apartheid era, there is a time to stand on the right side of history here.
This is an opportune moment to shine the spotlight on the slaughter of the Palestinian people. While the government are refusing to expel the Israeli ambassador, there is an opportunity for others to take a stand so I think this campaign will gain momentum.

Pearce Doherty, Sinn Féin to TheJournal.ie

To get international attention, Sinn Féin also brought up the issue in the European Parliament yesterday.

It promotes the construction of Jewish-only settlements. It revokes the status of Arabic and makes Hebrew the country’s official language. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government can now expand the state’s takeover of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. There was no mention of equality or minority rights in any part of the bill. As members of the European Broadcasting Union that organises the Eurovision song contest, RTÉ need to take a firm stand against this sectarian bill and commit to boycotting the Eurovision in 2019.

Lynn Boylan, MEP

It’s not just in Ireland, the Israeli situation is being discussed. In Iceland, more than 25,000 people signed a petition which wants the national broadcaster RUV to also withdraw from the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. In countries like Sweden and the United Kingdom, the topic has been raised as well.

To remind yourself of how Israel won the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, take a look at this video from Netta’s rehearsal of Toy

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20
July
2018

RTE reveals costs for Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s cheap participation in Lisbon

RTE reveals costs for Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s cheap participation in Lisbon

Ryan O'Shaughnessy

Irish broadcaster, RTE spent little over 300,000 euros on their 2018 Eurovision participation. This is fairly cheap, and in fact, it is less than last year with Brendan Murray going to Kiev, Ukraine.

RTE spent 304,088 euros to see Ryan O’Shaughnessy bringing the best result for Ireland in seven years. A team of 18 members, including Ryan, were sent on Lisbon for two weeks time as the nation finally made it to the finals after 5 years.

The costs include the products costs( stage desing, pyros etc) which RTE paid with 27,190 euros. Another 177,179 euros were spent on the team and 42,335 euros have been paid for the accommodation. Also,8,843 euros went to flight tickets – economy class flights. Food cost 1,594 and subsistence 13,362 euros each. In the end, RTE had to pay 83,861 euros to to the European Brooadcasting Union.

Last year, the cost for Brendan Murray’s participation was 331,000 euros for him and another 15 people. Other countries spends significantly more on their Eurovision participation, like the Netherlands with 500,000 euros in 2016. So, the Irish do know how to make a cheap participation – without having the artists or record company pay themselves.

In the video below, take a little look at Ryan O’Shaughnessy rehearse his Eurovision entry Together in Lisbon, Portugal:

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20
July
2018

Blanche releases her new single “Soon”

Blanche releases her new single “Soon”

Blanche

She’s on fire! Blanche, who achieved a very honorable fourth place for Belgium last year, has returned with a brand new single. The song soon was released just two months after the singers second single Wrong Turn.

Soon is a track full of emotions, with a powerful and melodic vibe. Also, we can enjoy amazing vocals and her charismatic voice throughout the song. Blanche has co-wrote the song with Pierre Dumoulin, who also co-wrote the previous singles City Lights and Wrong Turn. In the new single Blanche shows off a different, a more haunting side to her voice.

A few hours ago, Blanche released a lyric video in Youtube , but you can also enjoy the song as Blanche performed it live at a concert back in April. Furthermore, you can listen to it on Spotify.

Since her participation in Kyiv last year, Blanche has won some important awards back in her home country. She won Pop Artist of the Year at the D6bels Music Awards and Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Flemish 2018 Music Industry Awards. In addition, Blanche has conquered Europe with an European Border Breakers Award.

Blanche, real name Elie Delvaux, enjoyed massive success with her debute single City Lights. The song instantly became number one in Belgian and Lithuanian Charts. Also, it became platinum with over 20,000 sales. Her newest track Wrong Turn is now at number 77 in Belgian charts. Is a future world star about to be born? Only time will tell!

You can remind yourself of Blanche’s performance in the Eurovision Grand Final in 2017 by viewing our video below:

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18
July
2018

Greek broadcaster wanted a Kalomira anniversary for Eurovision 2018

Greek broadcaster wanted a Kalomira anniversary for Eurovision 2018

Kalomira

She came third representing Greece in 2008, and this year, Kalomira was offered to return to the Eurovision Song Contest. She however said no to celebrate her anniversary with one more participation. Her no, led to a scandalous selection of the Greek entry.

Ten years ago, Kalomira Sarantis, as her full name is, represented Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 which was held in Belgarde, Serbia. She achieved a very honorable third place for the country with her song Secret Combination. In an interview to People Magazine she revealed that she was asked to represent the country in Lisbon as well. She was interested, but an inner voice told her not to do it as her main focus now is on her family, and in particular her children.

This year was the 10th anniversary of my participation at the Eurovision Song Contest. I had some early talks to represent Greece in Lisbon, but it didn’t worked out. In the first place, things were going good, but my instinct said to me “don’t do it, don’t do it”. I’ve made clear in my mind that my priorities at this time of my life are my children and my husband. Whatever I do in my career, it must not affect my children’s programme.

Kalomira to People Magazine, Greece.

As Kalomira said no, the Greek broadcaster instead went for a national final. Five acts were selected. Two were pulled out as they didn’t have enough of the Greek sound, the broadcaster was after. With three acts in the final, another two were however disqualified as they couldn’t deliver a financial guarantee proving they were able to pay for their Eurovision participation, which in Greece is not paid by the broadcaster. With those two out, only Yianna Terzi and her song Oniro Mou was left. The national final was obviously cancelled, and she was chosen to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Like many other Greeks, Kalomira expected Yianna to do better than she did. She came 14th in the semi-final, and thus failed to reach the final. This was only the second time, Greece left the competition after the semi-finals. About Yianna’s entry, Kalomira said: “Yianna gave everything she had, she was totally amazing. The song was powerful with very nice lyrics. I was sure that Oniro Mou would qualify. I couldn’t believe that Greece didn’t managed to reach the final“.

In the video below remind yourself of Kalomira’s 2008 Eurovision entry Secret Combination:

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