Tonight, the Montenegrin national broadcaster, RTCG, has released the final version of the song Inje (Hoarfrost), which Vanja Radovanović will perform in the second semi-final in Lisbon in a couple of months. At the same time the music video for the song was premiered.
This year five acts were competing in Montenegro’s national final Montevizija, which was held on the 17th of February at the Hilton Hotel in Podgorica. 35-year-old Vanja Radovanović won with the song Inje, which he wrote and composed himself. Vanja has performed since 2004, and back in 2006 he participated in Beovizija.
He participated in many festivals, released numerous singles, and even formed a band in 2007. In 2008, Vanja released his only album so far titled Pričaj dodirom.
The music video for Inje has been filmed in Kotor, Stari Bar, Valdanos and Cetinje and it is different compared to previous Montenegrin music videos for the Eurovision Song Contest. Unlike earlier videos which most often had a tourist and promotional character, this year’s music video is built up as a fairy-tale which presents Montenegro in a different light. Director for the music video, Gojko Berkuljan, will also be responsible for the staging of Montenegro’s performance in Lisbon, and it will be very similar to that seen in the official music video.
Montenegro will perform in the second half of the second semi-final on the 10th of May. In the video below you can listen to their entry Inje:
Hoarfrost fell on us
it’s freezing the blood in my veins
and you, oh, heart, are shrinking
and forgetting fast.
Love is shaking like a leaf
in the middle of summer, I stand frozen
I’m shaking too, my voice is shaking
ever since I lost us.
The duvet is warming my body in vain because the draught is flowing through my soul.
I’m living pointlessly
losing even when I’m winning
but when no one sees
I let you come visit my heart.
I’m living just to pass by
like a slave in a solitary confinement
but when no one hears
I let my heart rejoice.
Me and my life are like a dog and a cat
my heart is its most expensive toy.
I’m living pointlessly
losing even when I’m winning
but when no one sees
I let you come visit my heart.
I’m living just to pass by
like a slave in a solitary confinement
but when no one hears
I let my heart rejoice.
Do you think that this year’s Montenegrin entry has what it takes to secure the country participation in the grand final for the first time since 2015?
Is this how you write a winning song for Eurovision? That we’ll see in May, but for Alexander Rybak it was the the recipe to win a tough national selection in Norway. The 2009 Eurovision winner will as such represent Norway in Lisbon in May.
It was back in January that Norwegian broadcaster NRK presented its national finalists for the 2018 selection of Melodi Grand Prix. With five former Eurovision participants, and one of them even legendary winner Alexander Rybak, they gave all of us followers, a treat to look forward to.
Today, the evening had finally arrived where these well-known names would battle against other established names as well as new comers. On stake was the honour of representing Norway at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Lisbon, Portugal in May.
Where most other shows, starts at a nice round time like 20:00 or 21:00, the Norwegian national final started at 19:55. Hosts were Kåre Magnus Bergh and Silya Nymoen. Kåre is partly Danish, so naturally he had to switch to Danish to talk to the Danish jury member, not that it would be needed as the two languages are so similar. Kåre and Silya also hosted the finals in 2015 and 2016. Tonight, they kicked off the show with a fun medley of former Melodi Grand Prix entries ending in a big bang with fireworks on My Heart Is Yours from 2010.
As interval act tonight, Norway treated us with For Vår Jord, the Norwegian 1988 entry. This time Karoline Krüger was joined by Anita Skorgan who some might remember from Eurovision 1977, 1979 and 1982. Performing again was also last year’s Norwegian entry JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann with the entry Grab The Moment. He was busy tonight, Mr. Walmann.
See alsoMelodi Grand Prix 2018: Norwegian final in pictures
Let’s take a look at what went on in tonight’s Norwegian final:
1 The songs
2 Three rounds of voting
4 Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest
You can read about the participants, the songwriters and their careers up until now in our Get To Know article.
Stella (Mwangi) & Alexandra – You Got Me
A good party of course starts with an up-tempo song which makes people want to get up and dance. That’s what is delivered from Stella and Alexandra. Stella, as the oldest with more experience (You might remember her from Eurovision 2011) would be the natural leader of the two, but they share the stage well. Both are dressed in body stockings providing some eye candy for the male viewers. To please the female viewers as well, they had male dancers, all dressed in suits, to back them up. A good start that ends with confetti.
Aleksander Walmann – Talk To The Hand
We continue with another former Eurovision participant, but this time you don’t need to think further back than last year. Aleksander delivers a catchy song very easy to sing a long to – and you want to do just that. As always, his vocals were good, although drowning a bit with the band and the backing singers behind him. He is charming, and has that look in the eyes which can melt many hearts, but a pink jacket, Mr. Walmann? He ends the performance with a hand in front of his face to stop, but this is not the end for him.
Should Aleksander Walmann win tonight, he has promised to bring Alexander Rybak with him on stage in Lisbon.
Ida Maria – Scandilove
Do you want to learn how to make love like a Scandinavian? Ida Marie gives you the recipe, but as she says, it is ‘all night long’. If you expected her in a bed on stage, you will however be disappointed. Instead she brought cheerleaders and acrobats with her – and beach balls all over the arena. A catchy song, easy to remember, no matter what you think of it, but there is too much going on and poor Ida Maria totally drowns in this. Her polka dot suit doesn’t make it any better. Is this how you make love in Scandinavia nowadays? I didn’t get that memo, but I don’t mind. Ida Maria has never been afraid of stepping out of the box, and do things her own ways, and that she certainly shows here.
Nicoline – Light Me Up
We continue with another up-tempo song. Isn’t it soon time to relax with a nice slow ballad? Nicoline give us a rhythmic pop song of the kind, which you either really like, or find annoying. She is dressed in white with blue, red and orange stripes and so are her four female dancers. The performance starts out with all focus on her sitting alone on a chair. Soon more lights are turned on, and you see the dancers. It’s a very rehearsed performance with a fixed dance routine. It ends with the dancers leaving the stage, and she is all alone again on the chair in the middle.
Tom Hugo – I like I Like I Like
Another up-tempo song, who would have thought? Tom Hugo likes when you move your body, and dance next to him, and it is indeed hard to sit still to this one. It’s quite catchy, and easy to sing a long to. He is good looking dressed in a suit, which isn’t too tight as he needs to dance. He has four male dancers with him dressed in similar jackets, and white trousers, and then, hang on, a group of other dancers joins, looking like the audience just jumped on… a nice idea, but a Super Man shirt takes too much focus. A big disco ball hangs down over the stage and the background shows lips ready for kissing. Perhaps describing this as a gay disco performance isn’t totally off, but damn, women lost out of something when he came of the closet.
Charla K – Stop The Music
Now finally a song where you can sit down and relax your legs. With Roxette’s Per Gessle as songwriter, naturally it is easy to have high expectations to this song, and in the presentation, Charla also revealed herself as a Roxette fan, and her being star struck meeting him. The song has something dark and mysterious about it, yet a powerful chorus which captures you. Charla is dressed in a short blue glittering dress, and is joined on stage by a big choir. The audience gives further atmosphere by turning the flash lights in their phones on. Don’t stop the music just yet, please.
Alejandro Fuentes – Tengo Otra
Anyone up for a tango? We continue with some latin sounds. For non Spanish speakers, it is hard to sing a long to, and somehow it doesn’t quite capture the viewers, although he appears to have good connection to the audience in the arena. He is casually dressed in black training trousers and a lose red jacket. He starts out sitting on a chair at the back of the stage, but gets up moving around, and like a super star he gets down on the knees singing to some of the girls in first row. Confetti is added to the end of this performance.
Vidar Villa – Moren Din
In Denmark, the national selection is also called Melodi Grand Prix, and in this year’s national final, they had one song in their native language – performed as number nine. Interesting, that is the same in Norway, one song in Norwegian, and it is on as number nine! But let’s focus on Moren Din (Your mother); how do you, as a young man, tell your best friend that you are in love with his 55 year old mum? And is he really your friend, if he doesn’t understand that you want to have a child with her? It’s a really catchy song, which keeps your attention, but some will find it hard to sing a long to those lyrics as what if someone heard you? It’s really fun and enjoyable, and if you understand Norwegian, a smile will be on your face all through the song. The international jury might be lost, but this is simply great. Thank you, Norway for providing this!
Rebecca – Who We Are
The clear bookmaker favourite to win tonight is Rebecca. This ballad, yeah we finally had one, builds up nicely and provides an extremely powerful chorus, which near the end even gets magical. It’s not easy to sing a long to, but it is very easy to like. Rebecca is dressed in a long black dress and delivers a very emotional performance. I would like to say that this is the safe bet, the one that will guarantee Norway another top result at the Eurovision Song Contest, but something makes me think of Agnete’s Icebreaker from 2016, which didn’t make it to the final. Could Rebecca risk the same faith? A very strong song, which she totally nailed on stage though. Prepare to see international bookmakers and fans predict a top result for Norway, the moment it is clear that she wins tonight.
Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
Just as most probably could predict, we end with Alexander Rybak. It’s not easy follow right after Rebecca, but Alexander can do so. As former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, he is naturally the one most attention is on in this year’s national selection. Those who expect another smash hit like Fairytale to come and swipe all competition away, and make Norway the one to beat in Lisbon, will be disappointed though. He is charming, no doubt, and the song is catchy. The performance with instruments drawn (did anyone say Måns Zelmerlöw?), four dancers and of course – his violin – is good. This is not how you write a winning song for Eurovision, but you can never rule a guy like Rybak out. He delivers a strong performance, and we end this selection in a great way.
See alsoMelodi Grand Prix 2018: Norwegian final in pictures
Three rounds of voting
Four acts made it to the second round, a Super Final as some will call it. They were decided by a 50/50 split between televoting and an international jury consisting of ten countries. They selected the following four acts:
Stella & Alexandra
After that, all votes were thrown away, and so was the jury. The second round of voting was only for voting via SMS, and all four songs started from scratch. Instead of picking a winner now, like in most other countries with a Super Final, Norway has added one extra step: The Gold Duel.
Competing in this very last phase were Rebecca and Alexander Rybak. Voting lines opened again, but the acts kept their votes from the Super Final. Now there was just the possibility of giving them one last push to make them the overall winner.
In the video below, you can listen to this year’s Norwegian entry:
Did Norway pick the right song? Tell us who was your favourite in the poll below:
Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest
With three Eurovision victories, Norway is on track with fellow Scandinavian neighbour Denmark, although both countries are three behind Sweden. Norway first won in 1985, the year after Sweden’s second win. Bobbysocks’ La Det Swinge has since become a classic hit, which most fans can sing a long to. Ten years later, Secret Garden gave Norway their second win with the song Nocturne, which only contained 24 words, and the rest was instrumental, mainly violin. In 2009, Norway would once again bring the violin to Eurovision – and win.
Since the last Norwegian victory, by Alexander Rybak in 2009, Norway have scored rather decent in Eurovision. Stella Mwangi (2011) and Agnete (2016) both failed to reach the final, but of the remaining six entries that did make it, four of them ended in top 10.
In the video below take a look at last year’s Norwegian entry JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann performing Grab The Moment, which came 10th in the final.
It is over. Since January 16, 2018, Lithuania has been broadcasting this year’s Atranka and tonight the esteemed jury and public have chosen a winner. Saturday nights will be so empty for another year.
For now though, congratulations go to Ieva Zasimauskaitė with the song When We’re Old. Ieva will be heading to Lisbon to represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. Not only that, but she wins a 3000 euros prize, so she can buy a new dress. Here’s how the show went tonight.
1 The Hosts
2 The Show
3 The Songs
4 The Judges
5 The Results
6 Lithuania At The Eurovision Song Contest
Getting together for the last time this year, our hosts Mantas Stonkus and Ugnė Skonsmanaitė welcomed the Lithuanian audience, with a Labas Vakaras to Kaunas’ Žalgirio Arena. Both were dressed in traditional Lithuanian costumes made of sacks – Mantas, a coat and Ugnė, a dress.
Erica Jennings and past Lithuanian representatives, SKAMP opened the show with the song Laisvė, a song dedicated to Lithuania’s 100th birthday.
Bjelle, in a scarlet red dress, then sang another tribute to Lithuania, Baltas paukštis.
Next up was Ari Olafsson, in a blue velvet suit, with Iceland’s 2018 Eurovision entry Our Choice. Vocals were perfect, and the song went down a storm. Lithuania now knew the standard it needed to reach.
A video montage of the past nine weeks was shown next. There were signs here that all that had gone before was pre-recorded because here were our hosts now in smart evening wear. Let the songs begin.
Heck no – here comes Fusedmarc with Rain Of Revolution – robbed in 2017. How will 2018’s representative follow this? Well follow them, they must.
After song two, Ugne, interviewed Ari and Saara Aalto, yes she’s coming, in the most wonderful American accent ever – what a talent this woman is.
A spectacular hard rock and circus show followed. There was then a touching montage of some wonderful handicapped people, ending in a marriage proposal.
Clips of Lithuania’s Eurovision competitors from semi-final one were shown, from Switzerland to Estonia and everywhere in between.
Lithuanian Monique was next with four dancers and her latest hit.
There then followed a visit to the green room. None of the acts were speaking to each other. Thank goodness they had Sasha Song to bring out to sing the Lithuanian version of his Eurovision classic, Love.
Finally Saara Alto appeared with Finland’s entry Monsters. She sang so much better tonight with the pressure of. Three male and two female monsters stalked her from behind.
Monika Marija – The Truth
The torn little red riding hood dress made an appearance on Monika. Standing on Zlata Ognevich from Ukraine’s rock, Monika gave a vocally perfect performance. This song has just grown to be a welcome Eurovision classic already. Erica Jennings should be proud of what Monika has done to her song. Simply perfect in every way, and indeed The Truth has set us free,
Kotryna Juodzevičiūtė – That Girl
Wearing a white outfit, ready for a workout, with a long grey coat, Kotryna is such a fantastic singer. If this is not her year, she must represent Lithuania someday. Helped by her group who looked like escaped convicts, this is a classy cool dance song. Already it is going to be difficult to choose a winner – and this is Lithuania. At the end, you got a good view of Kotryna’s red sunglasses – not sure if they were hiding a case of pink eye. In a totally non-partisan fashion, Sasha, one of Kotryna’s best friends gave the critique. At this point, it was getting impossible to count the number of Labas Vakaras. If anyone was taking a drink every time it was said, they’d be drunk by now.
The Roop – Yes, I Do
Lead singer Vaidotas Valiukevičius has finally taken off his pajamas. He replaced them with a smart white shirt and black trousers. Still using the box to great effect, this is a typical song from a pop-rock band. Similar to Lovebugs from Switzerland, so a warning look what happened to them in the semis. The audience loved them so there is a great future for them in Lithuania.
See alsoLaura Rizzotto wins Supernova 2018 and will represent Latvia at Eurovision 2018
Paula – 1 2 3
Hair up in a bun, Paula has, at her fans request decided to sing the simpler more acoustic version of her song. A frightened white chair stood on the stage knowing in a few minutes it was going to get a good thrashing. As always Paula’s performance was flawless. This lady-girl would be great to see in a full-length concert. If she wins it will be a fine enough entry for Lithuania. Another rising star.
Jurgis Brūzga – 4love
Starting off very dark, Jurgis kept the first showing of his new ten out of ten haircut, hidden for as long as possible. The lights came on and the performance came to life. This is very much a work as a group entry, very well choreographed. Jurgis wore an expensive looking dark blue suit with white squares. At the end not realising the show needs no more distractions to prolong its ending, the audience applauded loudly for a long time. Someone is going to have to order these songs. Other countries were hoping they could have had them as their choice.
Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old
The lady with the hardest job of the evening, to end the competition after hearing the great enthusiasm for the songs which came before. Whether this is her lucky dress or not, Ieva wore the same one that she has used in all her performances. What has changed though is the singing is getting more powerful each week. Lithuania hopefully is going to realise we need Ieva at Eurovision before We’re Old. Husband appeared at the end. What an impossible show to judge. Twelve points to everyone.
It took 14 Labas Vakaras and about half an hour to introduce tonight’s esteemed judges. They were
Ramūnas Zilnys -grey haired silver fox who no doubt will be at a loose end next week
Dalia Ibelhauptaitė – opera singer and playwright
Sasha Song – 2009 Eurovision participant who we Loved
Milda Adomaitiene -music teacher and local business woman
Vytautas Rumšas – Lithuanian actor
Leonas Somovas – musician
Dovilė Filmanavičiūtė – the singing sheep (sort of)
Lithuania At The Eurovision Song Contest
Here is the list of past Lithuanian entries. Head to YouTube and check them out, and see how this years entry will fare compared to the past. You can print the list out, and keep it in your wallet, in case you need it for any forthcoming Eurovision pub quiz. That’s it then folks, one more Labas Vakaras, till next year.
1994 Ovidijus Vyšniauskas – Lopšinė mylimai 1999 Aistė Samogitian – Strazdas 2001 SKAMP – You Got Style 2002 Aivaras – Happy You 2004 Linas and Simona – What’s Happened to Your Love? 2005 Laura & The Lovers – Little by Little 2006 LT United – We Are the Winners 2007 4Fun – Love or Leave 2008 Jeronimas Milius – Nomads in the Night 2009 Sasha Son – Love 2010 InCulto – Eastern European Funk 2011 Evelina Sašenko – C’est ma vie 2012 Donny Montell – Love Is Blind 2013 Andrius Pojavis – Something 2014 Vilija – Attention 2015 Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila – This Time 2016 Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting for This Night 2017 Fusedmarc – Rain of Revolution
“This is a song about me”, that’s what Julia Samoylova wants the Eurovision fans to know about her entry “I Won’t Break” that just got released after being leaked ahead of its time.
Russia’s Channel One has just officially released Julia Samoylova’s entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Lisbon. It has been a long wait for Julia after all the controversy last year when the contest was held in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Russia announced their song and artist late last year and it just so happened to be Julia Samoylova with the song Flame Is Burning. As we soon discovered, Julia was quickly denied entry to Ukraine, due to her previous performance in Crimea. The Ukranian law says that to enter Crimea you must enter via a Ukrainian border point, whereas Julia entered via Russia.
See alsoRyan O’Shaughnessy releases Eurovision entry Together
Hopefully, though, no such controversy should arise this year. The singer will be the second Eurovision act confined to a wheelchair, following Poland’s 2015 entrant Monika Kuszyńska.
I Won’t Break sounds nothing alike Julia’s Flame Is Burning. As the singer herself claims “it’s not so much a tender ballad as the song is about strenght”. Yuri Aksyuta, Head of the Russian delegation, is quite happy with the song and admits she has high ambitions for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest: “We expect a lot from the contest that is very popular in our country. Russia is back!”
The song was again written by Leonid Gutkin, Netta Nimrodi and Arie Burshtein who also did the lyrics for Flame Is Burning. As for the video, Alexey Golubev directed it. He was also in charge of Polina Gagarina’s A Million Voices music video and performance at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.
Judge for yourself below whether Julia will be able to continue Russia’s excellent track record of making the finals every year since they have participated and help us know if it’s a better submission than last year’s:
Russia At The Eurovision Song Contest
This will be Russia’s 21st entry at Eurovision, starting with their debut in 1994 with Youddiph and Vechni Stranik which placed a respectable 9th place.
So far their only win was in 2008 with the song Believe, sung by Dima Bilan, who had placed 2nd in 2006.
Russia has placed 2nd on 4 occasions with Dima Bilan, and then Alsou with Solo in 2000, Buranovskiye Babushki with Party For Everybody in 2012 and Polina Gagarina with A Million Voices in 2015. Their last entry You Are The Only One by Sergey Lazarev in 2016 placed third, so Julia has a lot to live up to.
Since Netta Barzilai back in February won the right to represent Israel this year, we have been curious to hear the song. Today, “Toy” was officially released after the song leaked last night. Can Israel reach the final for the fourth year in a row?
25 year old Netta won the Talent Show HaKokhav HaBa (Next Star) in February this year. With that followed the honour of representing Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest. She accepted, and today her entry for the contest held in Lisbon, Portugal was released.
The song is called Toy and is written by Doron Medalie and Stav Beger. Doron knows how to write a Eurovision hit as he wrote Nadav Guedj’s Golden Boy from 2015, which finished 9th in the final, and also Made Of Stars to Hovi Star, a song that came 14th in the Eurovision final in 2016.
Has Doron Medalie created another hit song, which Netta Barzilai can use to secure herself success in May in Lisbon? The video has been directed by top producer Keren Hochma.
Check out the video below:
Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest
Not many countries have won twice in row, but Israel is one of the few. They joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973, won for the first time in 1978 with Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta’s A-Ba-Ni-Bi, and again in ’79 where everyone sang along to Hallelujah. The latter has since become a Eurovision classic.
In 1998, Israel created headlines internationally with Dana International. The transgender singer won Eurovision with the song simply titled Diva.
When the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, Israel started out missing the final, and in the years to come the country would achieve quite mixed results. They have failed to reach the final six times, and made it eight times.
Netta Barzilai can however find comfort in that Israel has made it to the final three years in a row now. Two of those three songs are as previously mentioned written by Doron Medalie, who also co-wrote her entry. We are yet to see how she will perform it on the stage in Lisbon, but let’s remind ourselves how it looked when IMRI last year performed I Feel Alive:
Mélovin promised to bring victory back to Ukraine, but all is not what it seems. His song Under The Ladder which won the public televote in Ukraine has undergone a subtle revamp after it mysteriously disappeared from media. It has now returned with a video. Having slipped down in the betting odds, can the song inspire a win at Lisbon?
The Ukrainian entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has undergone an update following it’s victory at the selection show, Vidbir. The revamped version has very minor changes that one might not hear if you don’t listen closely. Mélovin has taken some of his earlier criticism on board and has improved his English pronunciation.
Mélovin who doesn’t have a producer has released his video for Under The Ladder. Disappointingly, the video is a repost of Mélovin performing his song at the Ukrainian National Final. In the video Mélovin starts the performance at the front of the stage with his backing singers far behind him. As the song builds up momentum so does Mélovin. The highlight of the performance is him playing the piano on an elevated stage which is on fire. Could this be something that we see in Lisbon?
Despite dropping the songs make over, Mélovin, real name Kostyantyn Bocharov, is keeping his fans guessing as to what his performance in Lisbon will look like. In a press conference he said “I don’t tell anyone what will change in my performance. Yes somethings will be different…. I know for sure that there will be flames and my eye.” He continued to say “First, we want the performance in Lisbon to be real, not ‘plastic’. It should be done properly. But I don’t want to say what will be changed. I love intrigue”.
Mélovin is trying everything he can to bring Ukraine another victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. However, Mélovin doesn’t define a victory as winning the contest but as something else. The former X Factor Ukraine winner said “The victory could be very different. Another thing is important.. It is important that Europe remember me, and my song would be sung there afterwards….Sometimes the second place can be greater than the one ahead.”
Mélovin will compete in semi final 2 on 10th May. He will be up against tough competition with the likes of Jessica Mouboy from Australia and Waylon from The Netherlands. You can listen to the new version of the Ukrainian entry for this year’s contest below.