Lithuania 2018: Results and review of the third week of Eurovizijos Atranka

Lithuania 2018: Results and review of the third week of Eurovizijos Atranka

Tonight, the third week of Lithuania’s Eurovizijos Atranka was broadcast. Six more acts proceeded to the next round, with some past fan favourites making an early exit.

The eventual winner of Eurovizijos Atranka 2018 will represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.


  • 1 The Hosts
  • 2 The Songs and Singers
  • 3 The Judges
  • 4 The Results
  • 5 Lithuania At The Eurovision Song Contest

The Hosts

Mantas Stonkus was in a purple suit and burgundy shirt this week. Ugnė Skonsmanaitė had a silver chain mail dress. Again both hosts were wonderful. Another pair who could host Eurovision. So now Lithuania has the best haircuts, best backing singers and now hosts. Labas vakaras.

The Songs and Singers

Vidas Bareikis – Pusvalanduko

The back wall video of the crazy opening number was described as merry and colourful. It was the best ever seen in the competition Our kitchen expert called Vidas, a honey tortoise, something you don’t get called every day. The eighties electro song was Vidas with his usual fun number. The judges said he could raise everyone’s mood. The biggest negative was that the message may not be understood outside Lithuania. The song has been drastically cut from its original five-minute length.

Donata Virbilaitė – Powerful

The judges felt that the song title did not represent the performance. It was described as very safe, certainly suitable for Eurovision on its own, but it didn’t stand out.  Donata told EuroVisionary that the song describes her life, always in the shadow but never giving up. Donata says that one day the power she has in her, will blow up loud and clear. Donata took the low score from the judges humbly. saying it’s only their opinion and it does not change how much the song means to her. The song had hints of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space in it. The backing singers were having a blast on this song.

Agnė Michalenkovaitė – Going On

Agnė was very nervous but the judges saw no reason for her to be. As a first time performer, the judges were very impressed. Agnė also had the longest hair in the contest so far. The song has a great chorus, very anthemic and Scandanavian. Agnė’s voice was described as excellent and very romantic. All of this going on, while the singer was suffering from bronchitis. Could be a dark horse.

GeraiGerai & Silvija Pankūnaitė – More than you know

The beginning of the song drew approval due to its mystical nature. However, the end seemed to get the thumbs down. Silvija has been the singer with SEL and the judges were glad she was getting a chance on her own. Silvija was wearing an eye-catching pair of red tights, to match her grey and red jacket. GeraiGerai looked like he’d been down a dumpster trying to compete with Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colours, his coat was a coat of many items. Very modern, very artistic, very stylish.

ELEY – This is my life

Eley was described as talented, but the song caused doubts in the judge’s minds. The song about rebellion was not rebellious enough. The song had a wide range and Eley was complimented on her vast vocal range. ELEY showed us how to look stunning in green. It sounded as if someone was playing a wash-board all through the song. Another good one for the backing singers to get involved.

E.G.O – Shake The World

The judges said that they really like this group. This group generally shows how difficult it is for Lithuanian acts to break worldwide. Had they been American or British, they would be up there with One Direction or any of the other successful boy bands. This performance was energetic, but the dancing caused criticism. The band was described as three Donny Montell’s. who gave Lithuania one of their best results ever. So the judges gave them zero points. Having said that this early Depeche Mode throwback was not their best.

See alsoLithuania 2018: Second week results and review of Eurovizijos Atranka

Živilė Gedvilaitė – Melody

This song was written by Rūta Ščiogolevaitė (United 2016).  The structure of the song was compared to ABBA, which would have made Bjorn and Benny happy, as the song only received two points. One of the judges couldn’t get over that they saw Rūta’s face in the performance. It was like a princess from a fairy tale. Then they declared the song was old fashioned. A ballerina girl danced in the video in the background, but towards the end she’d had enough and cleared off.

Joyce – Breathe

Poor Evelina Jocytė confused the judges so much that they had to turn around – yes really. The foursome didn’t understand the song but they were fond of the arrangement. It was a slinky little number, at the beginning it looked as if Ursula the Sea Witch was about to appear. This is a song that needs a few listens, which probably isn’t good for Eurovision, but it’s a good one to listen to in the car. If things don’t work out this year, Joyce should try the LittleMermaid.

Valdas Lacko – Dying Inside

The judges laughed that Valdas’s hometown should construct a monument to him. Valdas was again praised for his excellent voice. The song, however, seemed to be a collection of twelve other songs that we’ve apparently already heard before. Valdas was described as a drama prince. The song was extremely dramatic with nuclear fireballs and extreme weather in the video wall. However, it seems this isn’t going to be Valdas’s year.

Milda Martinkėnaitė – Hurricane

Milda was told off for lacking energy. More criticism was dished out for the song being too much like past Eurovision entries. Then Milda was told that her performance was very good and that the jury would like to see her on stage more often. It seems though that the jury would like to see more movement, less stagnancy on stage. Milda really came into her own at the end, where the song reached Hurricane proportions.

See alsoLithuanian Milda teams up with Greek Gorgi to create a Hurricane

Gabrielius Vagelis – The Distant

So glad that Gabrielius must have been paying attention to this site, as he’s been down at the famous Vilnius barber shop for a top ten haircut. Not only that but Gabrielius also wins the prize for the best suit – not quite pink, more fuschia. As all good things come in threes, the jury also thought this was Gabrielius strongest ever performance in Eurovizijos Atranka. This boy is on fire. The song had strong spots and, said the jury, interesting curves. Durin the song critique, Mantas stood beside Gabrielius and the whole colour purple spectrum could be seen.

Greta Zazza – Broken Shadows

This lady simply oozes star quality – Eurovizijos or not. The song was described as a good pop song. The judges refused to say it was a genius song – so be happy with good. One stern judge was irritated by Greta’s over-dramatics with her face. However knowing that they were going to give the song, dvylika points, the jury suggested they were sure Greta would be in the next round.

The Judges

Beatrice Nicholson – Beats Kitchen director and Eurovision expert
Victor Diawara – singer and producer, so he has musical experience
Giedrė Kilčiauskienė – jazz singer who released album Optinė Apgaulė and could be mistaken for Annie Lennox
Ramūnas Zilnys – Ramūnas has been superglued to his seat, so he can’t leave. This week he made an attempt at a top ten haircut with a new comb over

The Results

Vidas Bareikis7512 6
Agnė Michalenkovaitė7 1017 2
GeraiGerai & Silvija Pankūnaitė8715 4
ELEY314 9
E.G.O0 0 011
Živilė Gedvilaitė2 1214 5
Joyce4 2 6 8
Valdas Lacko1 3 4 10
Milda Martinkėnaitė5 4 9 7
Gabrielius Vagelis10 6 16 3
Greta Zazza12 8 20 1

The top six songs go through to the final.

Lithuania At The Eurovision Song Contest

After reaching the glorious heights of 13th place in 2001, Lithuania was fighting and ready for 2002 with We All by B’Avarija. Not so fast though said the EBU, as they remembered they’d been listening to that song on their CD players way before the allowed entry dates. So B’Avarija was shown the door and second choice Aivaras received a phone call from LRT. Head honcho of LRT told Aivaras that he was going to make him a Happy You.

So Aivaras, quickly made his wonderful backing group knit up some warm comfortable colourful sweaters for the show. Aivaras performed last at the contest held in Estonia. Either the judges were still reeling from the previous singer, Latvia’s Marie N’s change of clothes, or they didn’t like Aivaras song. Only the friendly neighbour Russia, and the Baltic pals Estonia and Latvia, could round up 12 points for the song. Lithuania finished in 23rd place. Enough was enough, Lithuania wasn’t even allowed to compete in neighbouring Latvia the following year.

Here’s Greta Zazza’s Broken Wings for you to sing a long to.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Eurovision Insight Podcast: Saturday Night

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Saturday Night

It’s the first National Final weekend of 2018 and we’ll be finding out at least two more songs for Lisbon, and there’s news a-plenty. But can we remember some pretty important dance moves from 23 years ago?

Eurovision Insight Podcast: Saturday Night

It’s National Final season and not one minute can we lose! Let Lisa-Jayne Lewis take you out on Saturday Night to explore the latest reveals and rumours and some well-loved returning faces from around the world of the Eurovision Song Contest.

As the 2018 season builds up momentum, keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast for more Eurovision news, fun, and chat. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Navigating the Silence of Enslavement

Navigating the Silence of Enslavement

It has taken sixty-one editions of the Eurovision Song Contest, and fifty-three years of Portuguese participation, for any Portuguese city to have the chance to host the annual song competition and show the contest’s reputed 200 million viewers its own interpretation of Europe’s cultural identity.

Portugal’s reputation as one of the longest-running Eurovision entrants never to win meant that the victor’s privilege of hosting the next Contest has never until now fallen on Portugal and its national broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), even as early twenty-first-century Eurovision became famous for more and more first-time winners emerging across a seemingly ever-enlarging Europe.

Indeed, Portugal had spent years not even qualifying for the Eurovision grand final before Salvador Sobral, whose song ‘Amar pelos dois‘ (Love enough for two) harked back to the orchestral European popular music culture of Eurovision’s earliest days, won a surprise victory at the contest in Kiev in 2017.

The wave of new winners in the early 2000s saw Eurovision hosted for much of the decade in cities like Tallinn, Riga, and Kiev—capitals of countries that had not even participated in Eurovision before the end of the Cold War, indeed had only recently become independent. Other host cities, such as Istanbul, Athens, and Helsinki, represented countries often perceived as peripheries of Europe and which had competed for years without a win. The metaphors, symbols, and historical narratives with which these contests’ local producers emphasized how deeply their countries and cities belonged to Europe turned places often imagined to be on Europe’s margins into the continent’s “symbolic centre” for a night.[1]

Eurovision researchers are accustomed now to interpreting entries as literal performances of national identity and European belonging, embodying how a nation appears to have mastered transnational popular culture, national cultural tradition, or contemporary modes of combining the two.[2] Hosting Eurovision, however, takes these identity performances up an extra structural level. Like the Olympic Games, Eurovision allows a broadcaster and city to make a certain narrative of their nation and its relationship to Europe into the frame through which millions of viewers see the whole event, making every contest a fresh exercise in nation (and city) branding.[3]

The historical themes that Lisbon and Portugal might communicate to a transnational audience in 2018 were perceptible as early as last July, when RTP confirmed Lisbon as the host city with a promotional video that proclaimed, “Portugal: 500 years connected to the oceans; Lisbon: city of convergence; Lisbon: a bridge between Europe and the world.” The contest’s slogan, fans found out in November, would be “All Aboard!”

The same myth of maritime heritage and global connectivity underlies the stage design concept revealed by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in December. The narrative behind Lisbon’s first Eurovision, reflecting how important maritime heritage has been in Portugal’s and Lisbon’s myths of identity, will perhaps unsurprisingly be “inspired by navigation, the sea, ships and maps.”

First look! The stage in Lisbon for #ESC2018 is inspired by navigation, the sea, ships and maps! Find out more: https://t.co/ZpBjefCsG2pic.twitter.com/q598KK2D7n

— Eurovision (@Eurovision) December 5, 2017

These four themes, the designer Florian Wieder explained, combined like the four points of a compass to symbolize the history of discovery and exploration that had shaped Portuguese culture and made Lisbon the maritime metropolis it became.

Yet to historians of slavery, sociologists of “race” and postcolonialism, and many people among the world’s African diaspora today, to talk of discovery and exploration—or even to celebrate Europe’s relationship to the sea—is to evoke memories of the mass enslavement of Africans that Portuguese traders and sea-captains began, knowledge of the violence of colonial dispossession that Portugal was among the first European powers to perpetrate, and the legacies of racism and oppression that still permeate European and global societies today.

Reading the planned Eurovision stage’s “four points of inspiration” with a postcolonial eye reveals silence after silence within the historic symbols that have inspired its design.

The voyages of exploration sponsored by Portuguese rulers, including by the country’s most famous prince, Infante Dom Henrique (known in English as Henry the Navigator), were driven not by high-minded curiosity but by the search for new imperial territories and new sources of goods to trade. Portuguese merchants quickly discovered these “goods” could include human beings: it was under Henrique’s direction in the 1440s and 1450s that Portuguese captains first brought back enslaved Africans from raids in Mauritania, then struck deals with local rulers to institutionalize a trade in slaves, while the government regulated this expanded economy of slavery in Portuguese trading-posts and ports. By 1486, the slave trade had grown so large that King John II made the House of Slaves a department of the royal trading house. (The place was destroyed with almost all its records in the earthquake of 1755.)

At first, slave traders’ primary market was Portugal itself, which was already part of the Mediterranean system of slavery (where most of the enslaved were North African Muslims who had been captured at sea). Pope Nicholas V, as the moral ruler of Christendom, sanctioned Portugal’s monopoly of the West African trade and Catholics’ right to enslave non-Christians—including North African Muslims, black Africans, and indigenous people in the Americas—with a papal bull in 1454. As Portuguese merchants began to sell Africans on across the Atlantic, to Portuguese colonies and sugar plantations in Brazil, they created the first routes of the transatlantic slave trade.

Other European imperial powers, plus thousands of Europeans whose nations did not have their own empires, would join Portugal in sustaining a system of domination and brutality without parallel in world history, where the ideologies necessary to justify Europeans’ enslavement and repression of enslaved Africans and their descendants would become the hierarchical modes of classifying human beings by presumed biological descent from “more civilized” or “less civilized” areas of the world that we know today as classifications of “race.” From a postcolonial perspective, the very concept of “Europe” as a symbol of modernity—an idea which celebrations of belonging to or becoming part of Europe almost always take for granted—is inextricable from the history of how modernity (in the shape of “civilization”) and “race” were imagined together during the age of empire and slavery.

If Portuguese navigation and discovery are inseparable from this history, how does such knowledge affect what the symbols inspiring the next Eurovision Song Contest appear to mean? The armillary sphere that distinguishes Portugal’s national flag and will give Lisbon 2018 the “visual key element” of its design is unambiguously, according to its designer, “associated with the Portuguese discoveries during the Age of Exploration.”

“The Portuguese have been masters in crafting ships since the ancient times,” the narrative continues, and “were able to explore the world because of this outstanding skill.” But where did these ships go, and what did their Portuguese crews do in the places they explored? Portugal, after all, was the first European power to conquer territory in India and the first to ship enslaved Africans across the Atlantic.

The sea, whose waves have inspired the sweeping form of the Eurovision stage, supposedly “gives us a sense of freedom and clarity, making it one of the most peaceful places on earth.” Yet how peaceful is the sea to the migrants and refugees who risk capture in North Africa and shipwreck on unsafe rafts to wash up on Mediterranean coastlines because the European Union affords them no legal means to travel?

Even the map, Lisbon 2018’s fourth point of inspiration, is in its modern form an instrument that postcolonial scholars know as a colonial technology. European mapmakers recorded the geographical features that their empires’ traders, soldiers, missionaries, and officials needed to know, and abstracted or erased those they did not. The ethnic or tribal divisions between peoples and territories that European maps of Africa and Asia recorded at the height of the colonial period created lines of demarcation that would later become social and political realities because of how colonial power had translated a more complex demographic reality into metropolitan knowledge.

Narrating Portugal’s history of maritime discovery and exploration without the history of slavery and colonialism leaves—to those who know and do not choose to unknow that silenced history—a yawning gap. The silence resounds throughout Wieder’s explanation of why Portugal’s maritime history is so well suited as the narrative of a Eurovision Song Contest held in Lisbon:

The rich history of the Portuguese as a maritime nation reflects, without any boundaries, all of the values that make the Eurovision Song Contest unique today. Portugal and especially Lisbon are historic melting pots enriched by the impressions of newly discovered cultures that were brought back to the home port. This is mainly due to the Portuguese sailor men, who traveled the seas with courage and outstanding skills of navigation.

We do not hear of how cultures were newly discovered and then subjugated, nor how the people who lived some of those cultures were brought back in chains.


European cities have only recently begun publicly acknowledging their complicity in slavery, and it has taken sustained pressure from their black residents plus committed historians and heritage professionals for them to do so. What historical narratives are privileged or marginalized in the commemorated, what forms of recognition campaigners seek, and how slavery reverberates through a society’s racialized categories of identity all vary from country to country, and even city to city. Nantes became the first European port to officially commemorate its role in the transatlantic slave trade in 1989, and it opened a permanent exhibition on the slave trade there in 1992, whereas Bordeaux, with a similar history, took a decade and a half longer to do so. Among British cities, Liverpool led with an official public apology for the slave trade in 1999, and the city’s International Slavery Museum, which opened in 2007, incorporates Africans’ resistance and agency as well as the legacies of slavery behind contemporary racism into its narrative more integrally than many other such museums.[4]

Projects to make visible the public memory of slavery are intensely local—often, as in Bristol, turning on the microhistory of sites built to honor slave-owners or used in the slave trade—but also transnational.[5] UNESCO launched its own Slave Route project, which aimed to “break the silence” about the heritage of slavery around the world, in 1994. Campaigners and curators often translate parallels from comparable cities abroad into their own local contexts in identifying contentious sites and imagining how slavery could be better remembered there. Since the 1990s, Ana Lucia Araujo has written, a “resurgence of the public memory of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade” has connected sites in Europe, Africa, and Latin America as well as the USA.[6]

Europe’s Atlantic ports would not have become so prosperous without the wealth the slave trade brought them. To make and keep the slave trade and its legacies a part of public memory means making knowledge of these things undeniable, even to white majority publics who would prefer not to know.

To remember and acknowledge that a city’s and nation’s grandeur came from the horrific kidnapping and deportation of millions of people, and the systematic dehumanization of their descendants, does not inspire the pride on which relations of belonging between individuals and nations are supposed to depend. More openly activist forms of commemorating the slave trade, as opposed to the more celebratory, less destabilizing commemorations of its abolition, seek to make remembering necessary. They seek to make it impossible for white inhabitants and visitors, above all, to still be able to contend they did not know.

Lisbon, the historian Yessenia Barragan observed last year, “remains largely silent on its legacy of white terror and black captivity.”[7] No museum or memorial there acknowledges that the transatlantic slave trade and the imperial expansion that accompanied it were constitutive parts of the city’s history. Lisbon has no analog to the Liverpool or Nantes slavery museums, nor to the museums of African diasporic history in São Paulo or Washington, DC. Elsewhere in Portugal, the old customs house once used for slave auctions in Lagos on the Algarve, thought to be the first town where enslaved Africans were brought to Europe, reopened as a slavery museum in 2016. Otherwise, to see Portugal’s role in the transatlantic slave trade commemorated, one must go to Brazil, the place where so many captives enslaved by the Portuguese were sold. As Araujo reminds us, Brazil imported many more enslaved Africans than the United States and now contains a larger population of people of African descent than any other country in the world except Nigeria. The presence of this diaspora and the racial politics of contemporary Brazil are both consequences of the trade established by the Portuguese.[8]

Lisbon, too, has a globally significant black history. A census of Lisbon in 1552 revealed that 10 percent of its population was enslaved, and the historian A. C. Saunders estimated in 1982 (in a book on black slaves and freedmen in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Portugal, republished in 2010) that 15,000 mostly black slaves were likely to have lived in the rapidly growing city by 1633.[9] Saunders not only notes that this black population represented “one of the greatest concentrations of black people in any European society before our own time” but points to the Portuguese enslavement of Africans as a key moment in the transition between slavery customs around the Mediterranean and the racialized system of transatlantic deportation and enslavement that Europeans went on to establish.

[T]he form taken by relations between black Africans and white Portuguese in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was, with some modifications and exceptions, that which was to prevail throughout the Atlantic world until the nineteenth century, and we still suffer from its consequences today. The salient feature of this system of relations were the Atlantic slave-trade and the relegation of black people to servitude or positions of inferior status in countries ruled by whites. The triangular slave-trade was organized by the Portuguese and it was in Portugal that considerable numbers of blacks first came to experience white domination and whites first decided what place blacks should hold in society.[10]

The sixteenth-century Portuguese argument that “enslavement was an effective method of bringing blacks to a knowledge of Christianity” (even though, as the friar Fernão de Oliveira wrote in 1555, few Portuguese slave owners even allowed their slaves to go to church) prefigured the “civilizing mission” with which European powers in the nineteenth century would justify their conquests of most of Africa.[11]

To historians of early modern Iberia and researchers like the historical tour guide Naky Gaglo, whom Barragan credits for many of her insights into Lisbon’s past and present black history, these legacies of enslavement in Lisbon and their connections to racism and inequality in the present are already established knowledge. For outside communities with no professional or personal reasons to know about how enslavement in Lisbon and present-day racism are connected, they are not.

Whether this knowledge is pushed aside or not even consciously considered, they remain absent when navigation and connectivity across the sea are turned into myths detached from Portugal’s and Europe’s implication in colonialism and slavery.

Does any of this matter for making sense of the pan-European party that the Eurovision Song Contest is supposed to be?


The “Europe” that Eurovision maps and celebrates today is geographically larger than the “Europe” of colonial maps, extending as far east as the Caucasus or Russia’s Pacific coast (plus, since 2014, Australia). Its eastern “peripheries” have given twenty-first-century Eurovision much of its energy and symbolic meaning, with broadcasters and even governments investing in Eurovision as a site for realizing their “return to Europe.” On the other hand, their access to the apparent center of Eurovision’s imagined transnational community appears more conditional when commentators in the West begrudge the so-called bloc voting they attribute to the East.[12] Perhaps postsocialist enlargement is one way through which “Europe,” in Eurovision and even outside, might have been redefined.

Or perhaps not. Even before postsocialist assertions of identification with European “civilization” and, implicitly or explicitly, whiteness, the parallels between anti-colonial struggle and east European national liberations that state socialist regimes often drew could still go hand in hand with paternalistic attitudes towards development and with stereotypes of “Africa” and blackness that had originated in Europe’s colonial past.[13]

Even nations without any history of their own as imperial powers, nations that spent centuries ruled by other empires instead, produced individuals who participated in colonialism as a system. There was the Croatian explorer Dragutin Lerman, for instance, who shortly before joining the Stanley Expedition to Congo wrote to a friend, “I am especially happy to represent my dear homeland Croatia in this kind of international expedition.” Lerman mapped large parts of southwestern Congo for the Belgian colonial administration and acted for several years as commissaire-general of Kwango Oriental.[14] Imaginatively, even if not geopolitically, members of central and eastern European peoples—as my forthcoming book Race and the Yugoslav Region argues—have still been able to identify with the “Europe” colonialism made.

Since the collapse of state socialism, this has been ever more the case. The European Union that, during the 1990s, almost all postsocialist countries aspired to join as part of their symbolic “returns to Europe” (another such symbol was participating in Eurovision), was already implementing racialized migration policies that afforded the least legal mobility to migrants from the Global South. Yet many of the reasons the migrants’ countries of origin were so much more insecure and environmentally degraded than the European destinations where they sought to live were results of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.

Today’s EU border security project, in which the EU has obliged Southeast European countries to play frontline roles and where the Central European Visegrád Group leads opposition to imposed refugee quotas, rests even more visibly on the logic that the public of member states will not accept Muslim and African migrants settling in their countries in large enough numbers to potentially change national culture. The ideologies on which present-day xenophobias and racisms in the EU depend—which are even sometimes turned, as in Britain, on East European migrants within the EU—stem ultimately from the ideologies of “race” that white Europeans had to internalize to justify their enslavement of Africans and their colonization of indigenous lands. Such continuities between past and present racisms are often not even drawn in the commemoration of slavery and abolition, but they are at the very foundations of what critical race theory “knows.”

The condition of not needing to know about racism or the histories and legacies of race is the privilege of whiteness—or of what the philosopher Charles Mills calls “white ignorance,” the asymmetry of knowledge that enables white supremacy.[15] To live untroubled as a white inhabitant of a society that gained its wealth through colonial exploitation indeed requires displacing the knowledge that your predecessors, whose history supposedly gives you your cultural identity, obtained that wealth by impoverishing and enslaving other human beings. The dominant institutions of society, Mills argues, are structured so that whites do not, need not, and must not ever know.

The memory of slavery and the knowledge that present-day racism is a legacy of colonialism and enslavement are what Araujo describes as “wounded” memory.[16] They are also wounded knowledge—knowledge that is painful for a historically dominant group to absorb. And they are dangerous knowledge—knowledge that threatens to upend the meanings of cherished collective myths and symbols, and change the emotions they arouse.

Eurovision host cities, for a week or a night, are cast temporarily as the “symbolic center of Europe, tying a certain narrative of their own histories into what they imagine as the continent’s heritage. In all its sixty-two years, Eurovision has never come from a city as tied to the history of slavery as Lisbon. The four Contests held in London are probably as close as it has come.

The historical narrative of Portugal, Europe, and the sea that has been designed for the next Eurovision Song Contest is, like many European countries’ public celebrations of their imperial pasts, the product of an exceptionalism that does not want to know that the curves of a masterfully constructed carrack are also the curves of a slave ship.

Categories: ESC Insight


Ukraine 2018 selection: Serhiy Babkin ready to face Jamala criticism in his tribute to women

Ukraine 2018 selection: Serhiy Babkin ready to face Jamala criticism in his tribute to women

Vidbir semi-finalist and The Voice Ukraine judge Serhiy Babkin is opening himself up for criticism from another side than usual when he takes part in the Ukrainian national selection. His song is a tribute to women whether they are daughter, wife or mother.

Musician Serhiy Babkin will be joining the likes of Tayanna, Illaria and Pur:Pur in the Ukrainian national selection, Vidbir.

As well as being part of the Ukrainian music industry for nearly two decades. Babkin is also a judge on The Voice Ukraine, serving with 2006 Eurovision participant Tina Karol and 2016 winner Jamala. Interestingly, instead of working alongside Jamala, Serhiy will now be critiqued by Jamala as she will appear on the judging panel with Andriy Danylko and Eugene Filatov.

When asked if he was ready to face possible criticism from fellow The Voice judge Jamala, Babkin said “I am always open to critics. This is the work of judges – to listen to everyone, to discuss, to find in the statement the pros and cons. So it’s normal, I’m ready for everything”.

Serhiy’s song in the Ukrainian national selection is titled Крізь твої очі (Through your eyes) and tells a story about the love of family, of parents and of his home country. Babkin explains that the song wasn’t specifically written for Eurovision, and is one and a half year old.

I feel that this song is associated with the number three. For every man in life there are three main women, the mother, the wife and the daughter. My message was to them. Because each of them was once the daughter and will later be mother. And I, as a man, I thank each of them for their lives and for what they will bring into this world.

Serhiy Babkin about this 2018 Vidbir entry.

See alsoEurovision: You Decide – What does the United Kingdom have to offer?

Who is Serhiy

Serhiy has been involved in the arts since a young child. He was encouraged by his mother to try out ballroom dancing, figure skating as well as amateur dramatics. After graduating in 1994, the 9th grade and children’s music school, enters the theater department of the Kharkov Lyceum of Arts (graduated in 1996).

In 2000 Babkin created a duo called 5’nizza (Pyatnitsa – Friday) with fellow Khakiv boy Andriy Zaporozhets. The duo recorded a number of songs in their own style of hip-hop, reggae and funk. The band took a hiatus in 2007, returning in 2015. During the hiatus of the band Babkin took part in a new ‘supergroup’ with fellow Ukrainian musicians Svyatoslav Bakarchuk (Okean Elzy frontman) ,Dmytry Shurov and Petro Chern.

And then, he is one of the judges of The Voice Ukraine – alongside former Eurovision winner Jamala. It will be interesting to see how it will when the now two face in each other in each their role.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Lithuanian Milda teams up with Greek Gorgi to create a Hurricane

Lithuanian Milda teams up with Greek Gorgi to create a Hurricane

Milda Martinkėnaitė is one of the contestants in this Saturday’s Eurovizijos Atranka. While she is a native Lithuanian, her song was written by a Greek. Can Greece’s winning formula, bring a win for Lithuania.

Milda will be singing the song Hurricane written by Greek songwriter  Gorgi, real name, Georgios Kalpakidis. This will be Milda’s third attempt to win Eurovizijos Atranka.

Milda Martinkėnaitė

Milda is hoping that the third time will be the charm. She started singing at the age of 13. The singer tells Eurovisionary that throughout the years she has participated in a number of international contests, including her homeland and beyond to Kazakhstan. At this time Milda was using singing as a calming tool.

At the age of 18, Milda woke one day and realized she wanted to be a full-time singer. Joining a band called Bluesmakers, Milda started to make her dreams come true by performing in festivals and concerts all over Europe.

Competing at Eurovision is Milda’s next goal. In 2016, Milda performed If Tomorrow Never Comes, and in 2017 she teamed up with Saulenė Chlevickaitė and the song Paper Heart. Having not been successful these two years, Eurovisionary asked Milda, why return again. Milda says that to be able to perform at Eurovision would be the greatest contest she could participate in. More importantly, Milda is proud to say she loves her country and would be honoured to represent Lithuania at such a prestigious event.


To help her reach these dreams this year, Milda has teamed up with Greek songwriter Gorgi. Georgios Kalpakidis was born in Germany but lives in Thessaloniki, Greece. He has written songs for Eurovizijos Atranka before. In 2012 DAR came second behind Donny Montell, with the Gorgi composed Home. The following year DAR came fourth with the composer’s song Jump. Vaidas Baumila came 4th in 2014 with World’s Apart, another Gorgi composition.

Gorgi has also written this year’s Armenian contender The Voice for Suren Poghosyan, and Moldova possibility Endlessly by Anna Timofei.


For now, though all eyes are on the Hurricane.  The song was co-composed with Thomas Reil, Jeppe Reil and Maria Broberg , Danish and Swedish writers.  Milda and Gorgi hope Hurricane will be the winning song for Lithuania this year. Milda performed the song in front of the judges on Tuesday and received 5 points from the jury. This will be enough to take her to the next round if the public like and vote for the song.

You can hear Hurricane below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Eurovision: You Decide – What does the United Kingdom have to offer?

Eurovision: You Decide – What does the United  Kingdom have to offer?

Who has what it takes to secure the UK a great result at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest? Today, the six national final entries were revealed. The country has remained faithful to its recent musical identity, but let’s take a closer look at the songs.

It has now been nine years since the last time the United Kingdom has been able to finish in Eurovision’s top 10, but they are not giving up. BBC, United Kingdom’s official broadcaster, has now made the six competing songs available, along with a short description introducing the act and describing the song.

This year’s Eurovision: You Decide has a lot of diversity, talent and identity to offer. From pop to soul, the United Kingdom’s national selection will feature familiar sounds to Spice Girls, Amy Winehouse, Adele or Seal, which have proven to be a worldwide success outside of the Eurovision world.

Inside of the Eurovision world though, we find a few familiar faces as songwriters such as Iceland’s former representative Greta Salóme – who has penned one of the entries or Rune Braager, who has written several songs for the Danish selection through the years, and also the Andorran 2009 Eurovision entry. Another one is Jeanette Bonde who took part as singer in last year’s Danish Melodi Grand Prix final with the song Hurricane.

See alsoMelodi Grand Prix 2018 – The ten Danish participants presented

What to expect from each contestant?

The acts and their respective songs can be heard through BBC’s website. Here’s what each of them has to offer:

Asanda – Legends

An infectious beat and chorus is more than enough to conquer Eurovision fans and Legends does mix those two elements perfectly while Asanda claims we can be legends tonight. An Eurovision anthem in the making?

Liam Tamne – Astronaut

Liam ends up bringing that Ed Sheeran flavour into the game with Astronaut even though his vocals resemble Maroon 5’s Adam Levine best. Written with Rune Braager’s help, it’s one of those extremely relatable songs with an extremely modern feeling to it that certainly will conquer a lot of Eurovision fans.

Goldstone – I Feel The Love

It brings in groove, attitude and empowerment. They could follow up on last year’s O’G3NE yet with an upbeat song that will make you stand up and enjoy the moment.

Jaz Ellington – You

If you’re tired of modern sounds, this may be the one for you as it brings soul back to life. While being a less commercial sound, You ends up being catchy and quite touching. A possible winner.

RAYA – Crazy

The Gréta Salóme penned track sounds nothing like what she has served while participating in Eurovision in 2012 or 2016. This upbeat song shares a great touch in production and obviously ends up being catchy and powerful due to its beat.

SuRie – Storm

She was a backing singer for Belgium’s Loïc Nottet and Blanche, and is now attempting her luck with a solo entry to represent the United Kingdom. Her song sounds nothing alike the Belgium entries, ends up sounding current and catchy.

The British national selection will be held in Brighton Dome, the site of ABBA’s 1974 Eurovision win on the 7th of February, and its host – Mel Giedroyc will be joined by the Eurovision 2015 winner, Måns Zelmerlöw, to help her out.

Before we wait, remind yourself of last year’s Lucie Jones performance during the grand final – this time in a special Full Stage View where you can see how the backdrop and the lights were used during the entry:

The opinions expressed in this article belongs to the author, and does not necessarily reflects EuroVisionary.com.

Categories: Eurovisionary

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