12
June
2017

Ruslana out of pocket after Eurovision performance

Ruslana out of pocket after Eurovision performance

Interval Act - Eurovision 2017 Interval act

Ruslana claims to have not yet received payment for her interval act performance at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. This has left her in a difficult situation as expenses in relation to the performance was paid by herself.

The winner of the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest and one of the interval acts for this year’s competition, Ruslana claims that she hasn’t yet received payment for her performance at this year’s contest. Ruslana stated “As of today, the money went completely out of my pocket and they have not returned to us”.

The Ukrainian singer also claimed that the payment from the show organisers won’t fully cover the cost of the production. “I invested in the creation of the song, the recording, the video, the costumes and the training. Eurovision only covered part of these costs” Ruslana told to Світське Життя (High Life).

It is being reported that Ruslana should have received 393,000 UAH (13,000 euros) for her performance of her latest single. The new single It’s Magical was performed as part of the grand final interval, the former reigning champion Jamala and Electro funk group Onuka were also amongst the performers.

Furthermore, it was reported that the 2016 winner Jamala was the highest paid act of the night. According to 24 News, she received just over 33,000 euros for the performance of her latest single I believe In U. Onuka was the lowest paid act of the night receiving 45,000 UAH which is around 1,500 euros.

You can remind yourself of Ruslana’s interval performance of It’s magical by watching our video below.

Categories: Eurovisionary

10
June
2017

Grab The Moment and Change That Rule

Grab The Moment and Change That Rule

One of the most fundamental rules of the Eurovision Song Contest is that all vocals must be performed live. This means that we know songs like ‘Suus‘, ‘1944‘, ‘The Voice‘ and even ‘My Friend’ are achievements of sheer performance and vocal capacity before we even begin to examine the songwriting and artistry of the staging. We know that they’re doing it live, with no back-up tapes and no safety net, which is part of the reason that the Song Contest remains an unmissable piece of thrilling event television, and not just a popularity contest based on YouTube views.

However, one song in the 2017 contest gives us an opportunity to grab the moment and clear up the rules on vocals and vocal imitations. Norway selected a song by producer JOWST and singer Aleksander Walmann that skated very close to the edge of the live vocals rule, which I’ve reproduced in full below.

“Artists shall perform live on stage, accompanied by a recorded backing-track which contains no vocals of any kind or any vocal imitations aiming at replacing or assisting the live/original voice of the Contestant(s). The Host Broadcaster shall verify respect for this rule.”

The rule would appear to forbid the backing track from containing any identifiable vocal sounds that aim to replace a live vocal. Thanks to JOWST, the original stems from ‘Grab The Moment’ are available on Soundcloud. I’ll let you listen to them and you can work out whether they are vocals or vocal imitations, and whether they are aimed at replacing or assisting a live vocal. The track with these sounds on it is called VOICE CHOP, by the way.

Listening For Clarity

During the run up to the Song Contest,  NRK sought clarification as to exactly how JOWST were going to be allowed to reproduce their track on stage. From looking at how JOWST performed live during the preview party season, we theorised that the manipulated vocals could potentially be produced by live sampling of Aleksander’s performance which JOWST was playing from the Launchpad synth controller in his DJ booth.

Live sampling and looping is a technique that many musicians use to great effect in a in a live context – see KT Tunstall performing Black Horse and The Cherry Tree for a really clear, classic example.

However, the released stems and the stand-in rehearsals show that Aleksander’s manipulated vocals are present on the backing track and that there’s no synth in the DJ booth for triggering any loops or effects patches.

We asked the EBU for comment on the specific exception that was made for JOWST and Aleksander’s performance. A representative from the EBU said:

“The sounds in question are not vocal samples but made using a synthesizer and cannot be made by a human voice. These sounds are not there to support or replace the real voices of the vocalist or the backing vocalists, but added as an effect. This song, therefore, does not break the rules of the competition.”

The Question Of Imitation

The post-chorus “kill…kill…kill” section in ‘Grab The Moment‘ is clearly intended to be interpreted as vocals.

There are audible lyrics in the section, and it is synced up with an on-screen graphic of a low-poly rendering of Aleksander mouthing the words. The graphic overlay is likely to be a deliberate decision which means that we don’t have the real Aleksander lip-syncing along to these sounds even though it’s  impossible for him to be producing them. However, the fact that we have cyber-Aleksander’s mouth opening and cyber-vocals coming out does put us in a new area for which the original rules aren’t enough any more.

The existing rules allow main vocals to be supported by hidden backing singers, which can be seen to be much more dishonest to the audience than using vocal-like artistically sounds to produce a new instrument. With incredible vocal capacity and these new sounds beyond human capability, we might hear something truly extraordinary.

The live vocals rule, combined with the ‘six on stage’ rule does somewhat limit the sonic palette available to artists at the Eurovision Song Contest. Any kind of vocal backing group is limited to five voices, which means that songs which aim for gospel or polyphonic choral sounds often sound very thin. We haven’t been able to have songs which include treated vocal samples. A famous example is the dance break in Robyn’s ‘Call Your Girlfriend‘, where the last powerful note of her chorus vocal is sampled and becomes the instrument that plays the melody.

Finding The Moment

The exception given to ‘Grab The Moment‘ means there is a need to change or clarify the rules. How did we end up at this point?

Firstly, we have to look towards NRK. You would maybe expect that a competing broadcaster would ensure that all the songs competing in a national selection were reproducible in conditions similar to the final contest. However, Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix does not follow Eurovision conditions – the artists can have as many people on stage as budgets allow, which saw Elin & The Woods supported by a beautiful Sami choir, and Ammunition supported by a troupe of scantily-dressed lady demolitions experts.

They also allowed JOWST and Aleksander to submit a performance which included lengthy sections of synthetically manipulated vocals, which audibly contain words and are therefore definitely either vocals or vocal imitations. The inclusion of this musical element definitely enhanced the song, and it was definitely artistically justified – the reactions of the professional juries at Melodi Grand Prix and at Eurovision itself confirm that the song definitely sounded modern and technically interesting. However, the post-chorus synthesised vocals seem not be in the spirit of the rule forbidding the use of vocal imitations.

Moving Forwards

We have allowed musical innovations to result in rule changes throughout the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.

If we accept that extreme vocal-like synth sounds are just part of modern popular music – and lets be clear, they are – then we have to make specific provision for them within the rules of the Song Contest in order to clarify the rules for future composers and these provisions need to be explained in public.

With the combination of extraordinary singers, innovative songwriters and modern electronic musical techniques there’s the potential for incredible art to be made, but we must find a way to prevent any relaxation of the live vocals rule reducing the vocal skill level required to win the contest.

As we head to Portugal in 2018, where innovation and authenticity are likely to be strong themes, the updating of this rule cannot come soon enough.

Categories: ESC Insight

10
June
2017

Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan team up for new song

Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan team up for new song

At one of Russia’s biggest music events Muz TV Awards former Russia’s Eurovision representatives Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan performed Prosti Menya (Forgive Me) together. It is a part of their joint collaboration.

Sergey Lazarev represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 in Stockolm with his entry You Are The Only One and came 3rd in the Grand Final with 491 points, ultimately winning televoting with 361 points.

Dima Bilan represented Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest twice – in 2006 and 2008. He came runner-up in 2006 with his entry Never Let You go with 248 points, losing to the Finnish winner Lordi. 2008, however, was his lucky year and he managed to score Russia its first and so far only win with his entry Believe, scoring 272 points. As a result of Dima’s win, Russia hosted the contest in 2009 in Moscow.

Not only did Sergey and Dima do well at Eurovision, they have also been successful within the MuzTv Awards scoring numerous awards such as Best Male Act, Best Act, Best Song. Dima Bilan has won 7 Best Male Act awards, while Sergey Lazarev has won 2.

Shortly before the ceremony this year, Sergey Lazarev published a poster on his Instagram profile where he mentioned that Prosti Menya would be performed for the first time and that it would be available for download afterwards. Fans reacted: they began to leave hundreds of comments under the singer’s post, expressing both delight and surprise.

The song is a powerful love ballad about giving up on love after trying for too long. The artists are asking their loved ones for forgiveness because there is no way out and it just can’t go on anymore.

In the end, the performance took place: Sergey Lazarev and Dima Bilan performed together on the same stage the song Prosti Menya. The release of the two major artists has become one of the most culminating events of the MuzTv Awards event. Thousands of people were applauding Sergey and Dima nonstop.

You can watch the performance of Prosti Menya below:

Categories: Eurovisionary

09
June
2017

X-Factor Greece: Panagiotis Koufogiannis sings Rybak’s Fairytale

X-Factor Greece: Panagiotis Koufogiannis sings Rybak’s Fairytale

Tonight, In the second live heat of X-Factor Greece, Panagiotis Koufogiannis was mentioned as a Eurovision participant for next year. As preparation perhaps, he sang the 2009 winning song from Norway, Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale”.

Two years ago, Panagiotis Koufogiannis won the televote in the Cypriot national final with his song Without Your Love. However the jury kept him away from Eurovision as they ranked him fifth – with the result that he finished second in the combined result. Tonight, in the second live heat of the most popular talent show in Greece, X Factor, Panagiotis threw himself into a Eurovision cover song when he sang Norway’s 2009 winner Fairytale.

Judges and the host of the show were impressed by Panagiotis’ voice and the cover he made. Sakis who represented Greece the same year said that if Panagiotis had sung his cover in the contest back then, he would have won even bigger than Alexander Rybak! He also said that next year Panagiotis will sing in Eurovision! Do we have next year’s first participant announced there?

Cypriot Broadcaster CyBC has already announced that they will select their next representative through a national final, but exactly which format is yet to be seen.

Below you can watch Panagiotis performing his cover version of Fairytale on the X Factor stage tonight.

Categories: Eurovisionary

08
June
2017

Bulgaria: JESC and Eurovision participations still uncertain

Bulgaria: JESC and Eurovision participations still uncertain

Kristian Kostov (Bulgaria 2017)

Through their official Eurovision Twitter account, the Bulgarian national broadcaster revealed today that their participation in the upcoming Junior and Senior Eurovision Song Contests are still uncertain. Their new director and board will decide for both of it in late August.

After two very succesful years in the Eurovision Song Contest, Bulgaria has still not confirmed their participation in the two major Eurovision events, Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Their national broadcaster BNT is currently in the process of electing a new Director General and Board. Due to that,the confirmation they made for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2017, that will be held in Georgia Tbilisi is no longer in place, while their potential plans for Eurovision in Portugal will be announced by the new Director and Board in August.

Due to the election of a new Director-General of BNT and a new board in August, the confirmation for #JESC2017 is no longer in place.

— BNT Eurovision BG (@bg_eurovision) June 7, 2017

The very same applies to #Eurovision as well. All plans for participation will be assessed once again by the new executive body. https://t.co/UpTzdjts8I

— BNT Eurovision BG (@bg_eurovision) June 7, 2017

Bulgaria reached the final only three times, out of the 11 entries they sent to Eurovision Song Contest. However all three times they ended in top5. This year in Kyiv, Kristian Kostov performed the song Beautiful Mess and took the second place, behind Salvador Sobral from Portugal.

In the video below, you can see a special Full Stage View of Kristian Kostov’s entry from Kyiv:

Categories: Eurovisionary

<<  1 2 3 4 5 [67 8 9 10  >>