Cyprus 2020: Sandro Nicolas chosen for Eurovision

Cyprus 2020: Sandro Nicolas chosen for Eurovision

Sandro Nicolas (Cyprus 2020)

23 year old Greek-American singer who lives in Germany, Sandro Nicolas, will represent Cyprus at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The young singer was rumoured for Germany as well, but it will be the mediterranean island that benefits from his talent.

In 2018, Sandro Nicolas (Alessandro Ruetten) reached the semi-final stage in “The Voice of Germany”. This summer he took part at the New Wave Festival. Sandro’s mother is Greek while his father is American – and he himself, he lives in Germany – and is now heading for the Netherlands to represent Cyprus at the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. The announcement came on broadcaster CyBC’s Eurovision page on Facebook. It was also announced that more details will follow in the coming weeks.

For a few weeks rumours have been circling that he was among the finalists in a non televised national selection in Germany. As these names are not publicly available, its unconfirmed. If there is thruth to these rumours, he is however now out of the German selection as a singer can only represent one country at one given Eurovision Song Contest. As he is now confirmed for Cyprus, no other country can pick him for the 2020 contest.

In the video below, you can watch Sandros perform Shawn Mendes’ In My Blood at the Blind Audition at “The Voice of Germany”:

Cyprus at the Eurovision Song Contest

When Eleni Foureira’s Fuego came second at the 2018 contest, it was the best Eurovision result ever achieved for Cyprus. The country debuted in 1981, have had quite mixed results with failing to reach the final six out of the eight years 2006 – 2013.

In 2014, Cyprus didn’t take part, but came back the year after – and have reached the final every time since.

This year, in 2019, Tamta represented the country with the song Replay. She finished 13th in the final with 109 points.

At the video below, remind yourself of Eleni’s Fuego from 2018 in a live performance from Eurovision Village:

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Sweden: SVT have annouced the acts competing in Melodifestivalen 2020

Sweden: SVT have annouced the acts competing in Melodifestivalen 2020

Robin Bengtsson

Today was a Eurovision fan’s highlight as SVT announced the names of the artists who will be competing in the Melodifestivalen 2020 heats, with the winner representing Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

As always there will be four heats. Two acts from each heat will proceed straight to the finals. The third and fourth place act will go on to the Andra Chansen, where four more acts will compete one last time for a place in the final.

The Melodifestivalen 2020 final will take place on 7 March 2020 from the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

The Andra Chansen will take place on 29 February 2020 from the Stiga Sports Arena in Eskilstuna.

Meanwhile leading up to these show let’s take a look at what Sweden are offering this year. Many familiar faces are returning.

Semi Final 1 – 1 February 2020 – Saab Arena – Linköping

Malou (Ballerina) – she made the final of Melodifestivalen last year with I Do Me
Felix Sandman (Boys With Emotions) – came 2nd in 2018 with Every Single Day
OVÖ (Inga Problem) – this duo comprises of Finess and Ivory and are making their Melodifestivalen debut
The Mamas (Move) – Loulou, Ashley and Dinah were John Lundvig’s backing singers last year, when he represented Sweden with Too Late For Love
Suzi P (Moves) – Young Suzi makes her debut in the contest
Sonja Aldén (Sluta aldrig gå) – this will be Sonja’s fourth appearance having competed in 2006, 2007 and 2012
Robin Bengtsson (Take A Chance) – Sweden’s 2017 representative with the song I Can’t Go On – making his third appearance

Semi Final 2 – 8 February 2020 – Scandanavium – Gothenburg

Linda Bengtzing (Alla mina sorger) – Linda catches up with Sanna Nielsen now by making her seventh appearance in the contest
Dotter (Bulletproof) – she failed to reach the final in 2018 with fan fave Cry, but is expected to do better this year
Anna Bergendahl (Kigdom Come) – Sweden’s 2010 representative with This Is My Life, who also made the final last year with Ashes to Ashes
Thorsten Flinck (Miraklernas tid) – Thorsten appeared in the 2012 final with his group Revolutionsorkestern
Klara Hammarström (Nobody) – this reality star is making her debut in the contest this year
Paul Rey (Talking In My Sleep) – Paul is making his debut in the contest this year
Mendez with Alvaro Estrella(Vamos amigos) – Mendez was in the final in 2018 too with the song Everyday while Alvaro took part in 2014 with the song Bedroom

Semi Final 3 – 15 February 2020 – Coop Norrbotten Arena – Luleå

Faith Kakembo(Crying Rivers) – she is making her debut in the contest
Amanda Aasa (Late) – The P4 Nästa wildcard runner-up
Albin (Livet borjar nu) – Albin appears solo for the first time, after performing as part of the duo Albin and Maatias in 2016
Drängarna (Piga och dräng) – This dance band are celebrating 25 years together by debuting in the contest
Mariette (Shout It Out) – this will be her 4th attempt to win
Anis don Demina (Vem är som oss) – This will be the second appearance for Anis, having missed the final last year with vocalist Zeana
Mohombi (Winners) – last year Mohombi made the final with his song Hello

Semi Final 4 – 22 February 2020 – Malmö Arena – Malmö

Hanna Ferm  (Brave) – she made the final last year as part of the duo LIAMOO and the song Hold You
Nanne Grönvall (Carpool Karaoke) – part of the band One More Time who placed 3rd for Sweden in 1996. Nanne has been in Melodifestivalen four times as a solo artist prior to this year
William Strid (Molnljus) – a new name for Melodifestivalen although he has appeared in Swedish Idol
Jakob Karlberg (Om du tror att jag saknar dig) – Jakob is making his debut in the contest this year
Ellen Benediktson & Simon Peyron (Surface) – Having made the final in 2014 with Songbird, Ellen returns with Simon, who was a member of the group Outrigger, who competed against Ellen with the song Echo
Victor Crone (Troubled Waters) – this is Victor’s second time at Melodifestivalen – he represented Estonia last year with the song Storm
Frida Öhrn( We Are One) – This is Frida’s fourth appearance having previously been a member of LaRoxx and Cookies ‘N’ Beans

The hosts for all six shows will be David Sundin, Linnea Henriksson and Lina Hedlund.

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What If Junior Eurovision Artists Could Have Chosen Any Song?

What If Junior Eurovision Artists Could Have Chosen Any Song?

The press format at Junior Eurovision 2019 has been most informal that I have ever witnessed. Post-rehearsal press conferences were out the window. Interview rooms did not exist. Instead it was a free-for-all with interviews happening here there and everywhere, plus speed-dating style sessions at the Opening Ceremony and just before the Jury Final for quick fire questions.

And quick fire as the approach I took. I asked each artist one question and one question only.

“If you could have chosen any song in the entire world to perform at Junior Eurovision, what song would you have chosen?”

This article feeds off our articles about songs in Junior Eurovision from before the Contest. Firstly we released our piece about how adults often misjudge songs competing in Junior Eurovision. Secondly we asked ESC Insight team members and fellow journalists about their Eurovision tastes as a child, and if they changed.

This article completes the trifecta. Rather than worrying about our tastes, let us think about what tastes the kids performing actually have. Has Junior Eurovision, and the music on show, been relevant to the tastes of our competitors.

Below I present our survey results. Note that we have if an artist did not name a particular song, or reason to explain their choice, that has been left blank.

Isea Çili (Albania)
Idontwannabeyouanymore’ by Billie Eilish…
Because that shows emotion and it shows my feelings. I like emotional songs.

Jordan Anthony (Australia)
‘This Is Me’ by the cast of ‘The Greatest Showman’…
Loved the message of the song, it’s so powerful and I think it would be a great song.

Lisa Misnikova (Belarus)
Pepelny (Ashen)’ by Liza Misnikov…
This is my song and this is a part of my life. If I sing this song, all will be super.

Carla (France)
Halo’ by Beyoncé…
She has an amazing voice and she’s my idol. Because she dance, sing and they are my two favourites.

Giorgi Rostiashvili (Georgia)
Michael Jackson.

Anna Kearney (Ireland)
Ariana Grande…
It’s her whole package. Makes me so happy when she sings. I just love her voice and how she performs.

Marta Viola (Italy)
Spirit’ by Beyoncé

Yerzhan Maxim (Kazakhstan)
Adagio’, Made famous in modern music by Lara Fabian and Il Divo, amongst others

Eliana Gomez Blanco (Malta)
Rhythm Inside’ by Loïc Nottet…
So since the first time I heard it I fell in love and his voice is incredibly, his personality is amazing and I just love it. It would be very nice to perform it, it is such a cool song.

Mila Moskov (North Macedonia)
I Was Here’ by Beyoncé…
Beyonce for me because she is the image of a pop star. She inspires all of us in the music industry she is strong and very inspirational. We all love her, she is the queen.

Viki Gabor (Poland)
I Have Nothing’ by Whitney Houston…
It’s an amazing song and I think it would do amazingly well

Joana Almeida (Portugal)
Vem Comigo (Come With Me)’ by Joana Almeida…
Because it is about saving the planet and I really love it and the nature.

Darija Vračević (Serbia)
Because she is so powerful.

Melani Garcia (Spain)
Nessum Dorma’, from the opera ‘Turandot’…
Because I love opera. Because it’s the first song of opera I sang well when I was ten years old. It’s my first moment of opera. I love that song.

Matheu (The Netherlands)
Lost In Japan’ by Shawn Mendes…
Because the melody is nice. I also like the uptempo.

Sophia Ivanko (Ukraine)
The Spirit Of Music’ by Sophia Ivanko…
I like my song because I’m songwriter. I wrote the lyrics and the piano part.

Erin Mai (Wales)
Anfonaf Angel’ by Bryn Terfel (and others)…
It’s a Welsh song, very meaningful, very emotional. It’s all about how sending an angel about how loving and caring it is.

The Beyoncé Effect

There are few artists globally today who can carry the lantern as a role model as well as Beyoncé. Not only does she have a wide repertoire of global hits, the fact that are bundled together with one of the most dynamic and powerful performers only adds to her overall package. Combined her artistry with her philanthropy, including huge donations for education and healthcare in developing countries, Beyoncé offers few reasons not to like her.

The artists I interviewed used words such as ‘powerful’, ‘strong’ and ‘inspirational’. These young artists have plenty of growing to do, but Beyoncé is an aspirational image that they want to achieve and emulate.

The Widespread English Language

Junior Eurovision has a rule where the song has to at least partially be sung in a national language of your country. Only two of the artists in this list mentioned a song that was not in the English language. We note that Erin Mai was selected from S4C, a dedicated Welsh language broadcaster, which is more likely to find young artists who would also want to promote the uniqueness of the language. ‘Nessun Dorma‘ is an unsurprising choice too, with few popular operatic songs in English, but note here that the song isn’t in Spanish either.

To me the overwhelming results are evidence that growing numbers of acts are comfortable with English, and that the language rule in itself may be a hindrance rather than a blessing for them. Populations move across the world so much more in this century, Viki Gabor for example grew up in England as a child, after being born in Germany. Surely a mor e child-respectful rule would be one for the student to perform in their native language, rather than that decreed by a broadcaster.

At any rate the level of English at Junior Eurovision feels far higher than it was ten years ago, with the majority of artists able to hold an interview in English without any help. This may be because learning English is increasingly popular across school curricula from East to West. For example in Russia learning a foreign language at school is now part of the school curriculum, and English is the most popular choice for schools to offer. Watch below how 9-year-old Tatyana Mezhentseva helps to interpret for her duet partner.

Yes, It’s Pop Music, But…

The list features many hit songs and contemporary artists. Unsurprisingly the pop stars of the future want to emulate the pop stars of the present. The list of songs doesn’t include what many of us would consider to be children’s music. Eliana’s choice of ‘Rhythm Inside‘ is cool and hip. It’s not Pollapönk.

What is notable is even within that is a diversity of tempos and moods, with some going for the sentimental and emotional tracks while others picking the uptempo floor fillers.

There’s also plenty of other choices being made. It’s little surprise that Melani Garcia chose opera, or Erin Mai chose Welsh, but all the musical styles they have chosen adds diversity naturally. The artists have picked songs they are comfortable with and what they would like to perform. It’s no surprise that it’s pop-dominated, but it’s less surprise that actually young people also show an independence to choose what they want.

On that note let me take you to the conversation I had with Sophia Ivanko representing Ukraine. Sophia was not accepting any possibility that she would want to sing any other song on the Junior Eurovision stage. In a rarity for the modern Junior Eurovision, ‘The Spirit Of Music’ is her song and her passion. I gave her the option of any song in the entire world. She didn’t twist. Having her song mean something to her meant so much more. Liza Misnikova didn’t switch either, and is also a credited songwriter for ‘Pepelny (Ashen)‘, and Joana Almeida has highlighted how her message is important to her after Portuguese forest fires in 2017.

The Voice As A National Final?

Quite a few of this year’s perfomers have came to Junior Eurovision after appearing on editions of either The Voice or The Voice Kids. These shows have brought many young people to a national TV audience, and thus the jump to Junior Eurovision is comparatively smaller.

I count Jordan Anthony, Carla, Melani Garcia, Yerzhan Maksim, Viki Gabor and Karina Ignatyan as alumni from this specific brand.

I note that Jordan, Melani and Yerzhan all chose performances not just from appearing on those shows, but specifically from the finals of their specific competitions. Psychologically it appears that the success these young artists had was due to that springboard, so those performances are really ingrained in them as their pinnacle.

In conclusion I see a group of Junior Eurovision artists who all want to go on that stage and show off themselves at their very best. If Junior Eurovision more matched their styles the show would undoubtedly be a great spectacle. It would be still be musically diverse, but a touch more contemporary than what is on offer in Junior Eurovision. It would be more English language, but not exclusively so.

The one thing we may lose are the songs with a deep message. I doubt there would have been multiple climate change/save the planet songs on show. Are young Junior Eurovision performers looking more to tell a story of personal growth on stage, whereas us adults are looking for them more to be the voice of all young people today? I will leave that question with you.

Categories: ESC Insight


Eurovision acts take the Top 3 positions in the British Official album charts

Eurovision acts take the Top 3 positions in the British Official album charts

Celine Dion

For all that it is claimed that the United Kingdom doesn’t take Eurovision seriously, in an ironic twist, the top three albums in the British charts this week all have a Eurovision connection.

This week, three new album releases hold the top three places in the U.K album charts and all of them have a Eurovision connection.

Topping the charts is the new album by Westlife called Spectrum. This is the groups 11th album release and their first for nine years. Now Westlife haven’t been in Eurovision, but band member Nicky Byrne represented Ireland in 2016 with the song Sunlight. Nicky failed to make the finals and at the time was not really known for taking any of the lead vocals in Westlife’s records. However he does do some lead vocals on the new album.

Runner up is Celine Dion, the Swiss Eurovision entrant in 1988 with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. Celine’s 12th English album Courage was expected to top the charts but has been surprisingly beaten by Westlife Her new album is also a bit of a come back as this is her first English language album in six years. With Westlife not being a big name in America, Celine has taken the top slot in the Billboard charts.

Coming in at number three we have Michael Ball who represented the United Kingdom in 1992 with One Step Out Of Time, placing second behind Ireland’s Linda Martin’s Why Me Michael has teamed up with singer Alfie Boe for the third time to release the album Back Together. Their previous two releases topped the charts, but the might of Westlife and Celine Dion makes it unlikely that this will be third time lucky.

Below you can watch Celine’s latest release Couarge

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Victoria Georgieva has been selected to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020

Victoria Georgieva has been selected to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020

Victoria Georgieva

Today Bulgarian Television (BNT} became the third broadcaster to name their Eurovision representative for the 2020 Rotterdam edition. They have selected an X-Factor contestant Victoria Georgieva.

At a press conference this morning BNT made the announcement about their impending return to Eurovision after a years absence. Victoria Georgeiva was a contestant in the fourth season of Bulgarian X-Factor. Victoria placed 6th in the competition which was eventually won by Christina Louiza.

Nevertheless Victoria signed with Monte Music and released two Bulgarian language singles. The 22-year-old has since released the English language song I Wanna Know, but it has not been revealed if this will be her Eurovision entry.

The singer is now professionally known as VICTORIA and it is under this name she will represent Bulgaria.

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Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Gliwice, Monday 25th November

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Gliwice, Monday 25th November

And that was Junior Eurovision 2019. Poland have won the first ‘back to back’ JESC trophies, and there’s a lot to unpick from the Contest. Before we all leave Gliwice, we gathered around the microphone to talk about the results.

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Our Final Daily News From Gliwice, Monday 25th November

Reviewing the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2019, examining the voting, thoughts on the performances, and our highlights of the show.

With Ewan Spence, Ben Robertson, Richard Taylor, John Stanton, and David Webster.

Winter is coming, but Rotterdam is on the horizon. Stay up to date with all the Eurovision discussions by listening to the ESC Insight podcasts. 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

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