RUSSIA – Julia Samoylova is officially confirmed by Channel One as the 2018 Russian representative for Lisbon. The national broadcaster explained that its was a promise they had to keep and they strongly support her bid for Lisbon. Julia is currently working on her Eurovision entry. She says she has two songs ready one for Space and one Fairytale and she will do whatever possible to change her stage image with which we got to know her in X-Factor.
GREECE – Tomorrow ERT will have the final meeting with the three participating record labels in the national final. The record labels are asked to submit financial guarantees through legal banking tenders in order to be valid for allowing their entrants participating in Lisbon’s Eurovision Song Contest. The national final is gearing up for February 16th and tomorrow we might get to know the date when the three songs will be released. The record labels will cover all expenses regarding the Greek participation in Lisbon.
CYPRUS – CyBC will make the official announcement on Eleni Foureira on Wednesday. In the meantime it was also decided that the stage presentation of Eleni will be instructed by Sacha Jean Baptiste from Sweden, known for the stage presentations of Georgia 2015, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia in 2016, Georgia, Australia, Armenia, Bulgaria in 2017. The song of Alex Papaconstantinou is tipped to be titled “Fuego”.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Martina Bárta entered the auditions of German Idol (Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar). Martina, who lives anyway in Berlin, auditioned for the show in Cologne and qualified to the next round convincing the judges. Former Modern Talking star Dieter Bohlen (basically, Germany’s Simon Cowell) was commenting on her performance when Martina suddenly broke down in tears. Comforted by Carolin Niemczyk, singer of Glasperlenspiel, made Martina explaining what was wrong: it’s all about her bad relationship with her father, something which Martina revealed last summer exclusively on Oikotimes.com.
BELGIUM – Sennek will represent Belgium in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest! No it’s not a replacement of the current choice of the Belgian national television but a rename of Laura Groeseneken who decided that this will be her stage name: “For a long time I’m creating music under the stage name Sennek, which I chose because it sounds a tad mysterious. And the name also has a personal touch: it comes from my last name Groeseneken. I think it’s nice that I will now go to Lisbon under this name. Because I am so closely involved in all choices during this Eurovision participation, it was a logical choice to take this adventure with my own stage name.”
SWITZERLAND – SRF Zwei will have a special Eurovision weekend ahead of the national final. The weekend special will include:
Céline Dion Story – 30 years on from Céline Dion’s victory, Beni Thurnheer who commentated in 1988 and Stefan Büsser look back at Switzerland’s last winner
Conchita – Unstoppable – Follows Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst from her victory in 2014 through the year following her win in Denmark
Eurovision Song Contest – Die Doku – Documentary charting the history of the Eurovision Song Contest from 1956
Eurovision Song Contest 1988 – SRF has remastered the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, in which Céline Dion brought Switzerland their last victory in the competition
FRANCE – France Televisions must be proud as the national final reached 4th popular program on Saturday with 8,.9% of the share bringing almost 1,8 million viewers to France2. The show made a peak of 3.3 million viewers reaching 24.4% at least for one minute. The Voice of France of course topped the viewing rated with 30.7% TV share reaching 6.3 million viewers. But that was not the end of the story. Le Monde reports that Madame Monsieur had to challenge the accusations for having a political song in the national final saying that: “It’s just the story of a birth, a happy moment, in the midst of misfortune. We do not intend to teach a lesson. The Eurovision is for us the perfect scene to convey this story to the greatest number. It could do good, in a context so tense around migrants.”
Who will compete in which semi-final? That was settled today as the traditional allocation draw took place. Now that we know how many neighbours each will have with them in the semi-final, it is time to speculate on who will make it to the grand final.
Would Cyprus and Greece be in the same semi-final, and how would the Balkan and the Scandinavian countries be split? That was just some of the questions, that we found an answer to today.
Host country Portugal and the so-called Big 5 countries United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France and Italy are automatically qualified for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. The remaining countries will need to go via a semi-final first. Whether we like it or not, chances of qualifying depends partly on who else is in that particular semi-final, and also who of the finalist countries will be voting in that semi-final.
Semi-final allocation draw
This is only the draw for which semi-final, and whether or not the country will be in first or second half of the semi-final. The actual running order will be decided by the producers, and approved by the EBU, after all songs have been submitted.
Host country Portugal and Big5 were also drawn into semi-finals in where they will vote, but not participate. These countries are therefore obligated to broadcast live that semi-final they are voting it.
Voting in first semi-final are: United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal.
Voting in second semi-final are: Italy (By special request), France and Germany.
Semi-final 1 – 1st half
Semi-final 1 – 2nd half
Semi-final 2 – 1st half
Semi-final 2 – 2nd half
The pots for the 2018 draw
As always, the semi-final countries were drawn from a set of pots, which is made partly based on voting pattern in the past. For the 2018 draw, the pots looked like this:
Tonight, Romania continued their search to find their representative for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. This week’s show includes past entrant MIHAI. He finished fourth in 2006 with Tornero. Will he return to Eurovision this year?
The final of the Selecția Națională 2018 for Romania will be held on February 25 in Sala Polivalentă in Bucharest. For now, heat two takes place in Teatrul Național in Timișoara. Three songs from this heat will advance to the final.
1 The Hosts
2 The Show
3 The Songs
4 The Judges
5 The Results
6 Romania In The Eurovision Song Contest
Our hosts for all six shows will be Diana Dumitrescu and Cezar Ouatu. Cezar, of course, represented Romania in 2013 with It’s My Life, which placed 13th in Malmo, Sweden.
The green room host was Doriana Talpeș.
Televiziunea Română (TVR) is the Romanian television company responsible for all six shows. Tonight’s show was opened by Ricardo Caria, who sang Portugal’s winning song from last Amar Pelos Dois.
Before each act there are postcards from Romania. It looks like an amazing place.
After all the songs had been performed there was a long showing of Romanian adverts. There then followed a long interval set of performances from Serbian singer Neda Ukraden, Romanian jazz artist, Lavinia Răducanu and jazz band Cargo.
After the results, Ricardo sang again.
Pragu’ de Sus – Te voi chema
This is an upbeat pop song, of the type, usually used to open a Eurovision selection show. Sang in Romanian it has the feel of a song from the seventies. The four-piece band performed in front of a back wall filled with a lot of clocks. Nothing out of the ordinary but pleasant enough.
Miruna Diaconescu – Run for You
This an understated dance type song, similar to Natasha Bedingfield. The saxophone adds an extra layer to the song. Miruna performed while two shady dark characters danced around her. The song was a little too screechy towards the end.
MIHAI – Heaven
Another epic from MIHAI co-written by serial Eurovision songwriter Michael James Down. This is a bit slower than previous entries, with a bit of an electro instrumentation after the choruses. MIHIA was all in white tonight, sporting a man bun. Towards the end of the end of the song, MIHAI sprouted two white angels wings.
Othello – Noi suntem pădure
A very old school type song opening with a violin. The six-piece ensemble consists of four men and two ladies. They were all dressed in traditional costumes and worked well together. The instruments made this song stand out from the others. Shades of Mocedades and Eres Tu.
Alessandro Dănescu – Breaking Up
Starting by singing at a saloon table, things don’t look good for Alessandro and his girl. Sure enough, they are over, so Alessandro consoles himself with his two male dancers. There are a lot of high notes in this song. Sadly Alessandro missed quite a few, Perhaps he was meaning to, as his girl felt sorry for him, and returned to him. All’s well that ends well.
Jessie Baneș – Lightning Strikes
Jessie looks extremely glamorous in her white gown. The song starts of as a bit of a non-event, not helped by the electric drum pounding away in the background. However at the chorus things come to life, and Jessie is joined by two enthusiastic dancers. Shame the song wasn’t just the choruses.
See alsoRomania 2018: Results and review of week one Selecția Națională 2018
Romeo Zaharia – Maybe This Time
Three dancers in white costumes and two backing singers helped Romeo through his song. It looked like one of the singers was dressed in a swimming costume. This is another song that sort of died in the seventies, but here’s Romeo trying to revive it. Nice enough but not a standout.
Rafael & Friends – We Are One
This is even too old fashioned to be old-fashioned. An anthem of sorts about all joining together, but there was little in the performance to encourage such behaviour. A big step backward should this go to Eurovision.
Serena – Safari
Jungle rhythms for Serena and her Safari. She was surrounded by four female dancers. She was accompanied by an un-named chanter mid-song. The tempo is a bit disappointing as there is a great dance mix available for this song. The performance here was actually a little flat.
Endless feat. Maria Grosu – Thinking About You
Maria is the highlight here. Endless starts of singing a little below key to a pulsing dance pace. When Maria comes in, the song comes to life. One for dancing around to, as Maria brings three backing dancers. Before long though, Endless is soon dancing around too.
Meriem – End the Battle
A bit of a Turkish delight flavour here from Meriem. She was dressed in a long white dress accompanied by two female singers. Two male dancers pranced around to the sound of the guitar. Probably the most upbeat number of the evening.
Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago – Auzi cum bate
This is the most dramatic of all the entries tonight. The song had more impact with a pounding piano. Bella added to the drama, and the song was sung in Romanian. Bella did some aggressive stomping while standing at the same point of the stage in her long white dress.
Liliana Ștefan who wrote the 1998 Romanian entry Eu cred by the late Mălina Olinescu.
Viorel Gavril a famous composer and conductor.
Ilinca Băcilă the Yodel It Romanian singer from last year.
Nicu Patoi who accompanied Mălina Olinescu on the guitar at the Eurovision 1998.
Marian Ionescu member of the band Direcția 5.
Pragu’ de Sus
Rafael & Friends
Endless feat. Maria Grosu
Jukebox feat. Bella Santiago
Romania In The Eurovision Song Contest
As was mentioned last week, this year will be the 20th appearance for Romania at a Eurovision Song Contest final.
Since the introduction of the semi-finals, Romania has qualified to the final every year. Mihai Trăistariu, who represented the country in 2006 finished fourth. This continued an excellent result from the previous year when Romania had finished third.
However, despite reaching every final, after Paula Seling and Ovi in 2010, Romania had to wait until 2017 to get a top ten placing again. This they did with Yodel It by this year’s judge Ilinca, feat. Alex Florea.
On Saturday night, the studios at France2 were filled with a celebrating audience chanting the name of a child refugee, who wasn’t even there.
In May, in Lisbon, a French/Norwegian couple will be telling the story of the people who flee from conflict over the sea, on a stage that celebrates the sea, in a Contest that will be full of maritime allusions. How did we get here?
The Sea And The Song Contest
Let us start with the refugees. When the multidimensional conflicts in Libya and Syria and Iraq took hold in the 2010s, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes. One of the terrifying routes that displaced people continue to take to escape war is to climb into unsafe, unseaworthy boats and cross the Mediterranean. Every year, thousands die attempting to make the crossing. Even in the best case, where you make the crossing and come out alive, you are fleeing a home that no longer exists and throwing yourself upon the mercy of a Europe that is finding it hard to show the appropriate humanity to the traumatised arrivals.
This is a story about hope and mercy, then.
All sorts of people make the Mediterranean crossing – the old, the young, people in immediate danger, people who can’t take the destruction of their communities any more – people who feel like whatever they’re running to, it must be better than what they’re running from.
In March 2017, one of the people who made the Mediterranean crossing was Taiwo. She was eight and a half months pregnant when she boarded the unsafe vessel that would take her away from Libya. During the voyage, something went wrong and the MSF and SOS Mediteranee vessel Aquarius came to the refugee boat’s aid. On the rescue ship on the way back to Italy, Taiwo realised she was in premature labour. According to SOS Méditeranée, the labour went well and Mercy became the fourth child to have been born on the rescue ship. And here are Taiwo and Mercy, full of hope.
Here she is! Both baby Mercy and proud mama Taiwo are doing amazingly well. May #Europe treat them with the kindness they deserve. pic.twitter.com/cMCqG46FYS
— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) March 21, 2017
Mercy And The Song Contest
Why bring this story to the Eurovision Song Contest? Why not? In fact, it was inevitable that the story of the tragedy on the seas would reach the Eurovision stage. We started back in 2016, when the Stockholm hosting team used the interval of Semi Final 1 to showcase a piece of contemporary dance which enacted the story of the flight of a group of refugees.
‘The Grey People’ began their performance coated in the thick grey dust of conflict, recalling the striking news images of people being pulled out of the rubble of shelled neighbourhoods in Aleppo, but at the end of their routine where they reached the relative safety of Europe, they were able to wash off the dust. The most striking moment was the very end, where the dancers came into the audience and invited us to raise our hands with them in recognition and solidarity.
In 2017, Salvador Sobral attempted to use his platform at the contest to remind Europe of the daily struggle of refugees to reach safety and be treated humanely when they reach it. His SOS Refugees sweater was a striking visual statement, and led to him speaking in support of refugees in his Semi Final 1 post-qualification press conference. The strong request of the EBU that he stop wearing the sweater, and stop talking about human rights seemed to go against the overall sense of celebration of humanity and togetherness that we experience at Eurovision.
So in 2018, when the news landscape has deteriorated to the point that thousands have already perished in the sea this year without generating more than a murmur on our news, it seems important to remind Europe of the individual human beings that we could be caring for. It’s in this spirit that Madame Monsieur are telling the story of Mercy. They are smuggling one of the most important stories of our times into the world’s biggest entertainment show.
Messages And The Song Contest
But there are still so many questions. How effective is their message? How many people will even notice the lyrics? What does it mean that a white European woman is telling the story of a black refugee child in the first person? Would Mercy be more effective when sung by someone who has experienced the trauma of being displaced from their home? Is it better that we are talking about this story at all, or would it be better if we were listening to refugees themselves?
Luckily, we’ve got months to debate and explore the themes of Mercy in the run-up to Lisbon. It’s the biggest story of our time. It’s what we should be talking about, as an international community of people in favour of togetherness and progress, and I look forward to working through these layers of questions and themes with you all the way to May.
The second heat of the Hungarian national selection A Dal 2018 took place tonight. Ten songs were presented once again on stage, and at the end of the night we found six new semi-finalists. Will one of them represent Hungary this year?
1 The songs
2 The show
3 The results
4 Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest
Peet Project – Runaround: After last year’s successful debut Peet Project is back aboard in A Dal. Their new song Runaround is a mix of pop, jazz and funk and the band perform it very charismatically. The jury members think it was a very professional performance.
Odett – Aranyhal: It’s Odett’s third attempt to become Hungary’s Eurovision representative. Her song Aranyhal is a chart-friendly pop song mixing the 60’s and 2000’s music styles. She is delivering a solid and confident performance according to the jury.
yesyes – I Let You Run Away: The duo is made of Ádám Szabó (who came second in A Dal 2015 and was a semi-finalist in 2017) and Tamás Katona. I Let You Run Away is a very modern and catchy electro-pop song in which Ádám can also show us his amazing accordion playing skills. Jury members highlight that Ádám felt much more confident on stage than last year. Judit is awarding the first set of 10 points tonight.
Maya’n’Peti – Nekem te: A laid-back romantic duet performed by Annamária Szalai (Maya) and Péter Szikszai (Peti). We can easily see this song to be played at a wedding. However jury members think the performance wasn’t authentic enough.
Viki Singh – Butterfly House: For the third year in a row, Viki hopes to go to Eurovision. After her 2016 and 2017 dramatic ballads now she is entering with a more uptempo energetic pop track with the use of a lot of pyrotechnics and wind machine. The jury misses true emotions here.
SativuS – Lusta lány: A rap entry in Hungarian about a lazy girl to Lisbon? “Why not”, thought the band SativuS and entered A Dal for the first time. The mid-tempo song is flavored with some folk music instruments being played while the lyrics is quite sarcastic and critical just as you would expect from a rap song. The jury thinks the band is yet to become professional enough.
Gergely Dánielfy – Azt mondtad: A truly emotional and dramatic song about a lost love presented by former X-Factor contestant Gergely Dánielfy. Simply but effectively performed with some very memorable and touching violin and guitar melodies. Jury members are highlighting Gergely’s honest stage presentation. Both Judit and Misi giving 10 points for this.
Nene – Mese a királyról: Five friends from music college formed the band Nene and present themselves to a wider audience for the first time at A Dal. Their song is easy to be imagined as an animation movie soundtrack. Jury hopes to see more from the band in the future.
Gábor Heincz BIGA – Good Vibez: BIGA is back to A Dal after a break of not less than six years. At his first attempt in 2012, he has made it to the superfinal but lost to Compact Disco in the jury voting. His current song is a very radio-friendly pop entry easy to sing along. His vocals are perfect as usual. A lot of colourful balloons appear on stage too.
AWS – Viszlát nyár: The four-member band AWS are newcomers at A Dal and they are bringing us some real heavy metal on stage. A very energetic performance as expected, with excellent vocals from the lead singer and of course the use of pyrotechnics. Jury members are very enthusiastic about the song.
Just like last week, Hungary’s 2016 Eurovision participant Freddie hosted the show alongside with Krisztina Rátonyi. The jury consisted of the same four members: Károly Frenreisz (rock musician), Judit Schell (actress), Misi Mező (singer) and Miklós Both (songwriter).
In the first round each jury member awarded scores from 1 to 10 points to the songs. The televoters were the “fifth member of the jury”, the average score of their votes from 1 to 10 points have been added to the jury points. The five songs with the highest number of points in this round have directly qualified to the semi-finals, In the second round the remaining five acts were fighting for one last ticket in the semis, awarded by only the televoters. During the final televoting period an interval act has been performed by János Karácsony “James” and the band Margaret Island.
1. AWS – 45 points
1. Gergely Dánielfy – 45 pts.
3. yesyes – 43 pts.
3. Gábor Heincz BIGA – 43 pts.
5. Odett – 39 pts.
6. Nene – 37 pts.
7. Peet Project – 36 pts.
8. SativuS – 34 pts.
8. Viki SIngh – 34 pts.
10. Maya’n’Peti – 30 pts.
The Top 5 automatically qualified to the semi-finals. In the second televoting round SativuS has been saved by the viewers at home.
Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest
Hungary debuted at Eurovision in 1994 in Dublin. Friderika Bayer’s 4th position from that year is still the country’s best ever result at the contest. After a longer period of withdrawals and returns, since 2011 Hungary has participated at Eurovision every year.
In 2012 broadcaster MTVA has launched the new national selection format; A Dal which has become quickly popular and also successful. Since their 2011 return, Hungary has qualified to the Grand Final every single time, that means a series of seven qualifications in a row, three times (2013, 2014 and 2017) they even finished in the Top 10 of the Grand Final.
Last year Joci Pápai got the honour to fly the Hungarian flag in Kyiv. He finished in 8th position with 200 points in the Grand Final. You can watch his performance of Origo right below!
Tonight has seen Female/Male duo Madame Monsieur win the French National Final, Destination Eurovision. Dancing Puppets, International superstars and Eurovision Veterans helped France choose their Eurovision representative.
The French National Selection has garnered a lot of press and interest from Eurovision fans all over the continent and further afield in the last few weeks. After two stellar semi-finals, we finally got to witness a live national final with a wide range of songs and genres, for the first time in over 10 years.
The show started with all the artists being introduced by show Host, Garou. One by one they made their way across stage in perfect Eurovision style. One noticeable difference is that Alma (France 2017) has taken on Amir’s role on the Francophone judging panel for the live final.
Each artist performed two songs, just as was the case in the semi-finals. The difference in the final being that they all performed duets and their Eurovision song. The duets had some celebrate artists from both Eurovision and the international music scene.
While it was not a stand out performance, Max had the honour of singing with a Eurovision veteran. Patrick Fiori represented France in Eurovision 1993, when the contest was held in Millstreet, Ireland. He finished in fourth place, behind eventual winner Niamh Kavanagh, but has a great Eurovision pedigree and would have given the performers a lot of advice for the contest.
Nassi performed with internationally renowned artists The Gypsy Kings, a group who had phenomenal success in the late 80’s with their self titled third album. They are also well known for giving Italian Eurovision Classic Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) a Latin revamp in 1989, and of course for Bamboleo.
The eventual winner was the French Electro-pop duo who had been making waves all week, since they came first in their semi-final last Saturday. The song has also captured the imagination of the French public as it is currently the only song from the competition featured on the French iTunes chart. Their strong performance and stage presence, coupled with an intriguing aesthetic made them the ideal candidate for Eurovision. The song is very much accessible, and while the majority of the song is in French, you can still understand the sentiment of the song.
After some nail biting voting, here are the full results of tonight’s show:
Artist & Song
1. Louka – Mamma Mia
2. Igit – Lisboa Jerusalem
3. Emmy Liyana – OK ou KO
4. Madame Monsieur – Mercy
5. Lisandro Cuxi – Eva
6. Max Cinnamon – Ailleurs
Nassi- Rêves de gamin
8. Malo – Ciao
It is hard to tell how a song will do at Eurovision, and with this song being an understated, electro-style ballad, only time will tell but if staged well France could certainly be aiming for a Top 10 finish. For bringing such a credible song to the contest, we say MERCI!
Below is the semi-final performance of Mercy.
The Gallic nation are back on track when it comes to Eurovision and we here at Eurovisionary are glad to be covering their progress in the contest. Keep up to date with Madame Monsieur’s journey to Eurovision with us.