Is Bulgaria aiming for another top 5 result with Equinox’ Bones?

Is Bulgaria aiming for another top 5 result with Equinox’ Bones?

This morning, Bulgaria released their 2018 entry, and after two really good years, question is now, did they do it again? Does “Bones” also have what it takes to reach top 5 at the Eurovision Song Contest?

In 2016, Bulgaria returned to the Eurovision Song Contest after two year’s of absence. Two two years really did the country good, as they had miserable results until then. Six years in a row, missing out on the final, but the country came back extremely strong.

Poli Genova came back for a second attempt when Bulgaria re-joined the contest. With the song If Love Was A Crime she finished 4th. The year after, it was young Kristian Kostov taking part, and his Beautiful Mess did even better and came second.

This year Bulgaria will be represented by the group Equinox and the entry Bones. Can this dark and mysterious song with a strong and catchy chorus bring Bulgaria another top 5 result?

Let us know how you think this song will do at the Eurovision Song Contest this year?

Bulgaria 2018 - How will they do at Eurovision?

As singer on this project, we find Zhana Bergendorff. Zhana won X-Factor Bulgaria in 2013, but has also taken part in X-Factor Denmark as she lives in Denmark. The group also consists of Vlado Mihailov, backing vocalist for Kristian Kostov, Georgi Simeonov, Johnny Manuel and Trey Campbell.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Iriao releases Georgian 2018 Eurovision released

Iriao releases Georgian 2018 Eurovision released

43 songs, and we’re now complete for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The last one revealed is “For You”. It will be performed by the group Iriao representing Georgia, who will compete in the second semi-final in Lisbon in May.

The national selection season for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest is now over. This afternoon, Georgia revealed their entry for the up-coming contest in Lisbon, Portugal. With that one, we are now at 43 entries, and it’s time for the last preparations before the rehearsals starts at the end of April.

Iriao was revealed on the last day of the previous year. On the 31st of December their broadcaster surprisingly presented the group as being internally chosen. Most were expecting Georgia to have a national final.

Since then things have been rather quiet around the group, but today, as the last song for this year’s contest, the song was finally aired. It’s titled For You and written by Davit Malazonia and Irina Sanikidze. Despite the English title, the song is in Georgian.

Update: The first video was removed for break of copyright. We were unfortunately not aware of it not being an official released. Half an hour later, it was released in an official version, which you can see below:

Georgia at the Eurovision Song Contest

It was at the 2007 contest that we first saw Georgia on the Eurovision stage. With the song Visionary Dream, Sopho Khalvashi took the country to a 12th place in the final. The following year, Diana Gurtskaya finished 11th. Those results are quite typical for Georgia.

The country failed to reach the final on three occations, but the seven years where they did, they ended between 9th and 15th – aside from 2016 where the entry Midnight Gold came in 20th in the final.

Last year, Georgia was represented by Tamara Gachechiladze. With the song Keep The Faith, she unfortunately missed out on the final. Remind yourself of that one in the video below:

Categories: Eurovisionary


Austrian entry released – Cesár Sampson presents Nobody But You

Austrian entry released – Cesár Sampson presents Nobody But You

Cesár Sampson officially steps out of the Eurovision backing singer role as of today when his entry for the 2018 contest was released. He will represent Austria with the “Nobody But You” – and it is now up to you to start judging whether not this entry can bring us back to Vienna next year, or maybe Linz as that is where Cesár is born.

Back in December, Austrian broadcaster ORF, announced that they had internally selected 34 year old Cesár Sampson to represent them at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. This came after two years in a row with a national final in Austria.

Cesár is a singer, songwriter and a model – so we can probably count on that he knows how to appear in front of the camera. And, he knows what Eurovision is all about as he has been backing singer twice for Bulgaria. First time in 2016 for Poli Genova, and second time the year after backing Kristian Kostov up.

Now, it is him the spotlight will be on, it is his name which will be mentioned by commentators all over the world. His entry, Nobody But You, written by Boris Milanov and Sebastian Arman, was released today. The songwriters have previously been involved with entries from Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia and Serbia.

Listen to Nobody But You in the video below:

Mixed Austrian results in recent years

When Austria, after a two years absence, came back to the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011, it was to quite mixed results – just as in the years before their break.

Nadine Beiler brought Austria back to the contest, and to the final, with the song The Secret Is Love. She finished 18th in the final, and that might have tempted the Austrian’s to try to be a bit more alternative the following year. Trackshittaz was fun, but not what Europe wanted, and with a result at the button of the scoreboard in the semi-final, they weren’t even near qualifying for the final.

As the country also missed out on the final in 2013, the victory in 2014 came at a good time. With Rise Like A Phoenix, Conchita Wurst won the contest in Copenhagen, Denmark after also winning her semi-final. This came despite many being worried that in particular the Eastern European countries wouldn’t vote for a man dressed as a woman – with beard.

But Conchita won, and Austria could host the 2015 contest. The Makemakes represented them on homefield – and forget everything about the host country always getting a few extra points. Austria didn’t. With zero points – The Makemakes became the worst performing host country act.

See alsoAfter Austria's zero points: Other failures when hosting Eurovision

In the past two years, Austria have reached the final on both occasions, and finished in the middle of the field. Last year, Nathan Trent finished 16th in the final with Running On Air. Refresh your memory of that one in the video below:

Categories: Eurovisionary


Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Get to know the Norwegian finalists

Melodi Grand Prix 2018: Get to know the Norwegian finalists

With three (or five if you count the songwriters as well) former participants, Norway is ready for one heck of a national final on Saturday the 10th of March. Get to know the 10 acts for the Melodi Grand Prix 2018 final in this portrait.

Can anyone beat a national final line-up like the Norwegian one this year? Maybe, but it will be tough. Here we take a closer look at the 10 acts that will compete to represent Norway at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix final will be held Saturday the 10th of March live from Oslo. At the very same time, Sweden will also have reach the final in their Melodifestivalen selection.

Charla K – Stop The Music

Behind the artist name Chara K, we find 29 year old Charlotte Kjær. She is no stranger to music competitions and Melodi Grand Prix. As a part of the duo Shackles, she came second in the talent show X-Factor. Five years ago, the duo took part in the Norwegian competition, where they were eliminated in a preliminary heat. She currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden where she has a record deal with Per Gessle’s record company Space Station 12.

Charla K has been a part of writing her song together with Alex Shield and Per Gessle. The latter doesn’t need much introduction to music lovers as he is one half of the Swedish super duo Roxette with international big hits like The Look and It Must Have Been Love. Before Roxette, he was front man in the popular Swedish band Gyllene Tider which in particular had a hit with Sommartider from 1982.

Alejandro Fuentes: Tengo Otra

30 year old Alejandro has, as the name suggests, latin roots, in his case they are from Chile. He finished 3rd in the talent show Idol in 2005, which he used to release his first album that ended up selling to gold status. As part of De nye Gitarkameratene from 2006, another successful album was released before he went back to solo projects. Three years ago, he was judge in Idol Junior so he also knows what it is like to be on the other side in a competition.

Just like Charla K, Alejandro has also helped out himself with his song. Tengo Otra will be performed in Spanish, and is co-written together with Angel Arce Pututi and Alejandro Pututi.

Aleksander Walmann – Talk To The Hand

If you watched last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Aleksander will be a familiar face to you. He was the voice on his and JOWST’s Grab The Moment, which came in 10th in the final in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is 32 years old and got his break-through in 2012 coming second in the Talent show The Voice. It is not only within music, he is use to competitions, as from the age of 13 and until music grabbed him, he was an active snowboarder competing on international level.

Just like last year, Aleksander Walmann is once again tearmed with JOWST. Joakim With Steen aka JOWST wrote the song Talk To The Hand together with Jonas McDonnell and Magnus Klausen.

Stella & Alexandra – You Got Me

There is 10 years between them, and their roads didn’t cross before they were matched for this song, by broadcaster NRK. Both however knows what it is like to take part in a competition like the this, although on each their level. Stella with the last name Mwangi is no stranger to Eurovision fans as she represented Norway in 2011 with the song Haba Haba.

She has been matched with 21 year old Alexandra Rotan who has taken part in the Norwegian MGP junior show. Lately she has been touring as lead vocalist for producer Alan Walker.

Stella has been involved in writing the song together with Gustav Eurén, Niclas Arn and Andreas Alfredsson.

Vidar Villa – Moren Din

8 songs in English, one in Spanish and one in Norwegian, that’s what you find in this national final – and the single one sung in Norwegian is titled Moren Din, which translates to Your mother. It is the story about two friends where one falls in love in the other’s mum! It is written by Vidar André Mohaugen, Jonas Thomassen and Martin Thomassen.

Vidar Villa is 26 years old, and not unknown to the Norwegian population as his smash hit One Night Stand from last summer reached 4 times platinum, and in 2017 his songs were streamed more than 27 million times.

Tom Hugo – I Like I Like I Like

38 year old Tom Hugo is no stranger to Melodi Grand Prix as he also took part in 2013, being eliminated in a preliminary heat. He released his debut single (Open Up Your Eyes) in 2011, and his first album, titled Sundry Tales, in 2012. Tom spends a lot of his time abroad writing music for other artists as well, in particular in Germany, China and Japan. The latest one being Y’akoto’s All I Want.

Different to 2013, Tom Hugo now competes with a song in English. Just as back then, he has written the song entirely himself.

Ida Maria – Scandilove

Another singer-songwriter to write the song herself is 33 year old Ida Maria. She also took part in the Norwegian final last year, but as songwriter. Ida herself is quite use to being on a stage though as she is an established artist within the Norwegian punk and rock music. Her debut album Fortress Round My Heart was released in 2008, in Norway and the UK. For that album, she won the Norwegian award as ‘Newcomer of the Year’. Several of Ida Maria’s songs has also been used in Finnish, American and British TV series and films such as Grey’s Anatomy, Skins, Gossip Girl and Scream 4.

Ida Maria wrote her entry Scandilove together with Stefan Törnby.

Rebecca – Who We Are

She is the youngest participant in this year’s Norwegian final. Rebecca is just 19 years old, and just finished school. She plan to study music in England, but first up is Melodi Grand Prix, and maybe the Eurovision Song Contest. It is not her first time on a stage though as Rebecca has performed in Nashville, USA, and also at a concert in relation to the World Cup in Biathlon in Oslo.

Should Rebecca get too nervous, her songwriter Kjetil Mørland can probably help her through it. He represented Norway a the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 with the song A Monster Like Me. Together with Debrah Scarlett, he finished 8th in Vienna, Austria.

Nicoline – Light Me Up

28 year old singer and dancer Nicoline Berg Kaasin is no stranger to Eurovision. She was a backing singer for Margaret Berger in 2013 and for Agnete in 2016. She however has been singing solo as well, reaching the final in the talent show The Voice in 2015, and releasing her first single No Suitcase the following year. Since then she also released Real Life and Znap.

Nicoline’s entry Light Me Up is written partly by herself, together with Johan Larsson and Emilie Adams.

Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song

Most attention will be on the now 31 year old Alexander Rybak in this final. He won the Norwegian final in 2009, and since also the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Fairytale, back then breaking the point record. His following album was released in 25 countries. He has since been an established name, having released several singles and albums, been performing all around the world and won many awards.

Rybak hasn’t forgotten Eurovision either. He has written songs to artists in national selections in Norway, Malta and Belarus, and has also been a guest act in several shows. This is however the first time, since his 2009 victory that he will take part himself.

Alexander, who is born in Belarus, but moved to Norway at the age of six, has written his song himself.

One of these 10 acts will win the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix, and thus represent Norway at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon, Portugal in May. Norway has finished in top 10 four out of the last five years, so pressure is high on whoever wins.

Categories: Eurovisionary


“We Got Love” by Jessica Mauboy officially released – does it beat the other Australian entries?

“We Got Love” by Jessica Mauboy officially released – does it beat the other Australian entries?

“We Got Love” will be the song that Jessica Mauboy will sing for Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. As with most Eurovision songs, the song was leaked ahead of time. Today, followed the official release of the song and its video.

The song We Got Love was written by Jessica along with David Musumeci and Anthony Egizii (otherwise known as DNA). If the name DNA sounds familiar, it is because he also was responsible for Australia’s last two entries, Sound Of Silence and Don’t Come Easy.

Even though the song leaked ahead of its time, the official release happened today. Along with the song, its video was also unveiled and uploaded directly into Eurovision Song Contest’s official YouTube channel.

In its core, We Got Love discusses a relationship that is not going well yet Jessica is not willing to let such a strong feeling die without a fight: “So don’t give up, ’cause we got love”, she sings many times throughout the song’s chorus making it a quite catchy entry. As for the video, it was fully shot in a studio and features many different sets and outfits.

Now that we know what Australia has to offer this year, let us know if it’s your favorite Australian entry so far:

Which is your favorite Australian entry so far?

Jessica’s second time at the Eurovision Song Contest

Jessica will be returning to the Eurovision stage, having debuted as the interval act in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2014. That year was the first hint that Australia would become a permanent member of the Eurovision family.

Australia has been very successful since they started to compete in 2015 with Guy Sebastian and Tonight Again which finished in 5th place. Dami Im gave the country their best placing when she finished 2nd the following year with Sound Of Silence.

Do you think Jessica and We Got Love has what it takes to continue Australia’s top ten streak. Judge for yourself below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Ten Years Later, Eesti Laul Is Still Full Of Surprises

Ten Years Later, Eesti Laul Is Still Full Of Surprises

The Press Centre for this year’s Eesti Laul is… intimate. There are few benches of workstations, a press conference corner, and a somewhat larger stand-up space. On one wall is a projection screen of the main feed from Saku Suurhall, though the audio is muted—otherwise the press conferences and stand-ups would be incomprehensible. But the walls between the press room and the arena aren’t especially thick…it is evident when someone’s vocal blows the roof off the arena. And when someone else is badly off-key.

In the press room a mix of English, Estonian and Russian being spoken—reflective of Tallinn’s unique linguistic hybridity. About one third of this year’s finalists are russophones. Around thirty per cent of Estonians have Russian as their first language, so this isn’t surprising. That all of these artists also speak Estonian isn’t either. For many of the younger generations here, language politics aren’t very interesting. All of the acts either speak English very well or are striving to do so.

John Egan at Eest Laul 2018

Stig speaks! (We think he’s asking for an iron…)

Eesti Laul ten finalist for this year are mostly in English. There is one song in Estonian and another in Italian. Since this iteration of the Estonian national selection began a decade ago (people around town are wearing stylish kümme gear; ten in Estonian), six songs in English and three Estonian have been sent to the Eurovision. All the Estonian language entries have made the Grand Final, only two in English have done so. There does not seem to be much anguish over language: the focus is on picking a strong entry.

Spin Cycle

Disinclined to stalk artists, I instead positioned myself adjacent to the stand-up zone. After each brief press conference a queue forms with the mainstream media ahead of the fan media.

The calibre of the questions in English between the fan and mainstream media isn’t appreciatively different. Whilst having some consistency in terms of what one asks each artist makes some sense, hearing all then suffer through the same banal questions (‘What is your favourite Estonian poem?’, “Do you realise you look exactly like?’…) is painful. One regional media outlet insisted on interviewing each act in English…then Estonian…then Russian. But this is all something of a bootcamp for whichever act becomes the Estonian representative for Lisbon. Besides, compared to what this year’s Estonian act will face in the Eurovision bubble, it is a good, relatively tame, run-through.

John Egan at Eest Laul 2018

The intense questioning of Evestus

The Competition

Each of the finalists qualified out of a ten song semi-final. Four from each semi-final qualified based on combined public and jury support; the fifth was chosen through a second televote only round. That means Vajé’s ‘Laura’ and Eliis Pärna & Gerli Padar’s ‘Taevas’ (Sky, or Heaven depending on translation) are already outsiders for victory.

Whilst we have ten entries that each have some pedigree, the wild card in the process is the change of venue. For the semi-finals the performances were pre-recorded and a live broadcast from the ERR studio was built around each clip. How to take what worked in a pre-recorded studio environment and adapt it for an arena with a much larger stage and audience—while making sure the performance works, first and foremost, on the magic box—is not simple. For at least two of the entries, the time constraints of live television will present challenges—though one of them will be performed last.

Saku Suurhall is an excellent venue for a National Final. It’s large enough (around 5,000 seats) to create a positive vibe, the sort that can lift a performance over an intimate TV studio. But it’s also not massive or impersonal.  It is clear which artists have a performance pedigree for this sort of venue (and opportunity). Some seem a bit over-awed managing multiple elements (cameras, stage, audience, actual singing); others seem exceedingly comfortable. Rehearsals are for ironing out any kinks: they do not often offer enough bandwidth for unseasoned performers to leverage the opportunity in front of them.

This year’s Eesti Laul features so many different ways of staging an entry. Very little seems cookie cutter. Almost every staging seems to have been designed to showcase each particular artists very well. Not every national final can boast that.

What Matters Most?

If the aspirations are to select something great to represent Estonia, there are multiple options on offer: there is only one act that has struggled in rehearsals. However if the aspiration is a possible second Eurovision crown, I see three grand narratives.

The Eesti Laul Reboot Catalyst Comeback

In 2008, after multiple years of failed semi-final qualifications, the Estonian public selected from the bottom of the metaphorical barrel for Belgrade.  What followed was a national debate about participating in the Eurovision: from the nadir of ‘Leto Svet’, came a new approach to selecting an entry. This year that approach, Eesti Laul, celebrates its tenth year.  Finishing second to Kreisiraadio in 2008 was a sixteen year old named Iiris Vesik.

Vesik will be on stage tonight, and if ‘Drop that Boogie’ represents Estonia in Lisbon, in symbolic terms it is very appealing.  It is also a great tune.

The Kitchen Sink

Evestus’ ‘Welcome to My World’ is over the top—massively so. It took eight minutes for the crew to set it up last night during the first rehearsal. It is so out there—way waaay out there—that it could wrest a surprise victory thanks to a massive televote. Behind the fire and lights is a very catchy chorus. Totally out there. Totally well performed.

From Host To Representative

In 2017 one of the semi-final co-hosts was classically trained singer Elina Nechayeva. The idea of Nechayeva being inspired to enter this year after hosting is seductive…though, in fact, she had already competed in two other ERR music competition shows (‘Eesti otsib superstaari’ and ‘Klassikatähed’):

Whilst this might not be a contemporary song, per sé, it screams “vote for me”.

There’s  a lot more on offer too, including a great Stig Rästa ballad and all sorts of world class contemporary pop music (Frankie Animal, Sibyl Vane, Nika). Any of these would be worthy winners, though the extent to which they might find success on the wider Eurovision stage remains to be seen.

What To Watch Out For

The second half of the draw is where the action is, though there are quality entries throughout. What advice might the juries been given, beyond the usual emphasis on quality? Will there be steers towards what will work at Eurovision? For example, will they know there are no LEDs as part of the stage kit in Lisbon?

There is a lot of hype around Elina and her entry. But ‘Drop that Boogie’ is already on the H&M European store playlist. Evestus needs a massive setup–of the sort that the Eurovision production team in recent years have said “no” to—so victory might be a pyrrhic one.

The edgy videos between the entries are a bit of a future trip: what people will look back on about 2018 in thirty years quizzically (the contents are embargoed). If the named interval guest is true, Eurovision fans will be gobsmacked.

Despite our kindly advice, the format tonight remains the same. The top three entries based on a combined jury and televote score will face off in a televote only superfinal. Were that to be Evestus, Elina and Iiris, the result would be remarkable—and unpredictable.

Regardless, tune in for a great show and an exciting result.

Categories: ESC Insight

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