ESC Xtra

ESC Xtra
23
February
2017

Christer Björkman leads all new organisation team in Ukraine following resignations

Christer Björkman leads all new organisation team in Ukraine following resignations

Over the past couple of weeks there has been all change in regards to the team responsible for organising the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. The contest will take place in just under three months time.

Resignations of executive producers and core team

On February 13th, the executive producers of the contest both resigned. These were of course Victoria Romanova and Oleksandr Kharebin. In addition, members of the Core Organisation Team also resigned. The EBU released the following statement:

“Victoria Romanova, Oleksandr Kharebin, Iryna Asman, Denys Bloshchynski and his team and Oleksii Karaban informed the EBU on 10th February that they were resigning from their roles for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The group felt they were not able to continue work on the project owing to staffing matters at UA:PBC, which the EBU cannot fully comment on.”

Nevertheless, the EBU were confident that the issue would be resolved and that Ukraine would be able to continue on their journey to host a successful contest in May.

New core team implemented

On February 20th, Ukrainian broadcaster UA:PBC announced the replacements for the three Core Team members. These are Larisa Koval, Kirill Voronin and Oleh Zapadnyuk. Deputy head at the broadcaster, Pavlo Hrytsak, explains that this decision was made very quickly. He states this was because there are many highly skilled professionals in the market who have experience in large-scale and international projects.

Today, it was announced that Christer Björkman has also joined the Core Team for Eurovision 2017. Christer was instrumental in producing the 2013 and 2016 Eurovision Song Contests in Malmö and Stockholm respectively. Furthermore, he is the person responsible for Sweden’s extremely popular national selection show Melodifestivalen. In a statement to eurovision.tv, Christer says:

“I’m thrilled to be back, working on what is surely the world’s premier music event.  I look forward to collaborating with the wonderful team at UA:PBC and I’m sure together we will produce the best contest yet!”

“Adding to an already excellent production team”

Following the announcement of the new Core Team members, executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest Jon Ola Sand released the following statement to eurovision.tv:

“It is pleasing to see these positive steps being taken in the staffing of the core team for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. For example, the appointment of Christer Björkman adds to what is already an excellent production team, and his experience producing the Eurovision Song Contest over several years will be invaluable.”

“Now, with many key positions filled, it is important that the EBU and UA:PBC continue to implement the plans already agreed, and work to the timeline and milestones that were established and approved by the Reference Group to ensure a successful Contest in May.”

All systems go in Kyiv!

It’s now full steam ahead for Kyiv with the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest fast approaching. In just a few weeks time, the organisers will begin to build the stage in the International Exhibition Center. The Center is the host venue for this year’s music extravaganza. Florian Wieder is responsible for designing the stage for the 2017 contest. He also designed the stages for the 2011 and 2015 contests in Düsseldorf and Vienna respectively. You can see an artist’s impression of the Kyiv stage below.

Artist’s impression of the 2017 Eurovision stage. (Source: UA:PBC)

What are your thoughts on all of the changes to the Core Team for Eurovision 2017? Furthermore, we will get to see this stage in action in less than three months time. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and via our social media pages @escXtra!

Categories: ESC Xtra

23
February
2017

Internal selection round-up: Several countries announce presentation dates

Internal selection round-up: Several countries announce presentation dates

Over the past couple of days, several broadcasters have announced the presentation dates for their internally selected Eurovision entries. The most recent announcements have come from Australia, Belgium and Croatia. This gives us the perfect opportunity to look at the situations with countries that have internally selected their entries for the 2017 contest. Let’s go through them in chronological order of presentation dates:

Austria (February 28th)

At the end of January, ORF revealed that Nathan Trent would present his entry on February 28th. It is expected that he will perform his song in English.

Cyprus (March 1st)

At the beginning of this month, CyBC announced that Gravity would be presented on March 1st. The song will be performed by Hovig who was the first artist to be chosen for Kyiv back in October. Over the past couple of days, Hovig has been filming the music video for his song composed by Thomas G:son. Of course, Thomas was responsible for 2012 Eurovision winning entry Euphoria.

Croatia (March 2nd)

HRT have revealed lots of information regarding their entry in the past few days. Jacques Houdek will present his entry My Friend on March 2nd. His opera-influenced song is expected to be performed in both English and Italian.

The Netherlands (March 3rd)

O’G3NE were the second act to be selected for Kyiv. The former Junior Eurovision contestants were announced as the 2017 Dutch representatives back in October. Rumour has it their selected song is a ballad, written by the father of the sisters as well as the boyfriend of band member Shelley Vol. In addition, AVROTROS revealed that their song will be presented on March 3rd.

Greece (March 6th)

Demy was finally unveiled as Greece’s 2017 representative last month after many rumours. However, her song will not be internally selected. Demy will present three potential entries in an ERT show on March 6th. Viewers will select their favourite entry which Demy will then take to Kyiv.

Australia (March 7th)

SBS confirmed earlier today that their 2017 entry will be presented on the evening of March 7th, early morning for the Europeans among us. It is currently expected that both the artist and song will be revealed on the same date. In addition, rumours are pointing towards Isaiah Firebrace and The Veronicas being amongst the front-runners to have been chosen. We shall wait and see!

Belgium (March 8th)

Similarly to Australia, Belgium’s RTBF also revealed today that their entry would be presented. Blanche will reveal her song a day later than the Aussies on March 8th. Blanche was the fourth artist to be selected for Kyiv. The announcement came in late November.

Other presentations confirmed for March

Armenia (AMPTV), Bulgaria (BNT), Czech Republic (ČT), Montenegro (RTCG) and Serbia (RTS) have all confirmed that their entries will be presented sometime in March. We already know that Artsvik, Martina Bárta and Slavko Kalezić will represent Armenia, Czech Republic and Montenegro respectively. Martina’s entry will be titled My Turn while Slavko will be singing Space. It was recently revealed that Space was being produced by a Swedish team. The team includes Stefan Örn who has produced several previous Azerbaijani entries including 2011 Eurovision winner Running Scared.

Countries that will also be internally selecting

Azerbaijan (İctimai), F.Y.R. Macedonia (MKRTV), Ireland (RTÉ), Israel (IBA), Russia (C1R) and San Marino (SMRTV) will also be internally selecting their entries. However, none of these have revealed any sort of timeframe as to when to expect their entry presentations. Nevertheless, we already know that Diana HajiyevaJana Burčeska, Brendan Murray and Imri Ziv will represent Azerbaijan, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Ireland and Israel respectively.

Rounding up the rest

That takes care of the 18 countries that are yet to reveal their internally selected entries this year. With 13 entries revealed so far and 43 participants in total, that leaves 12 countries who will be selecting their entries through national finals that have yet to conclude.

This weekend (February 24th-26th), DenmarkLatvia, MoldovaSlovenia and Ukraine will complete their national selection processes. The following weekend (March 4th-5th), EstoniaPortugal and Romania will select their entries.

Lastly, on the final Saturday (March 11th) prior to the head of delegations meeting where all delegations must submit their entries, IcelandLithuaniaNorway and Sweden will choose their entries for Kyiv. That will complete the 12 national selections that have yet to finish.

Which national finals and song presentations are you most excited for? Let us know in the comments section below and via our social media pages @escXtra! Remember you can click the embedded links in the article above to find out more about each artist selection.

Categories: ESC Xtra

22
February
2017

Levina (Germany) is the first act confirmed for London Eurovision Party 2017!

Levina (Germany) is the first act confirmed for London Eurovision Party 2017!

We are thrilled to announce that the first act confirmed for this year’s London Eurovision Party is Germany’s Levina!

25-year-old Isabella “Levina” Lueen was born in Bonn. Already at the age of nine, she started her classical vocal education at the city music school in Chemnitz. Soon, she performed in several children’s musicals, carried off the first prize at Germany’s acclaimed regional, federal, and national music competition for children and adolescents “Jugend musiziert”, received an educational grant, and started writing her own songs at the age of twelve. After garnering the first prize at the German Federal Agency for Civic Education student contest, her desired career was clear: “I’m going to be a singer!” Determined to reach her goal, she studied vocals and songwriting at the London Tech Music School, won the award for “Best Vocal Performer”, and secured the highest award in the competition of the university music league 2012 with her band “Miss Terry Blue”, while studying at King’s College in London. Levina lives in Berlin and London.

Her winning song “Perfect Life” was written by a US songwriting team led by ‘hit machine’ Lindy Robbins. The multi-platinum-awarded American has been writing chart hits since 1998 including songs for stars like Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Olly Murs, and Demi Lovato. Already in her early days as a songwriter, Robbins provided successes for Anastacia, the Backstreet Boys, Faith Hill, and Shaggy.

We look forward to hearing her perform the song LIVE at the Cafe De Paris on Sunday 2nd April. Stay tuned to escXtra.com and www.londoneurovision.com for more artist announcements!

Categories: ESC Xtra

22
February
2017

Czech Republic: Preview of Martina’s entry ‘My Turn’ released

Czech Republic: Preview of Martina’s entry ‘My Turn’ released

Last week, ČT confirmed that Martina Bárta would represent the Czech Republic at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. This evening, the Czech broadcaster has revealed further details regarding Martina’s entry.

It’s Martina’s turn in 2017

Her song for Kyiv will be titled My Turn and has been written by a British songwriting team. Furthermore, a video clip showing the filming of Martina’s music video also gives us a couple of snippets of the eagerly anticipated song. It seems as though the song is an inspirational ballad, perfectly suited to Martina’s vocal tone. Listen to the snippets here, courtesy of ČT.

Looking for their second qualification

Last year, Gabriela Gunčíková gave Czech Republic their first ever qualification to the final. Gabriella’s pop ballad I Stand went on to finish 25th in the grand final. Proving that the Czech Republic can indeed make the final, this has surely boosted interest in Eurovision amongst the Czech public and broadcaster. Let’s see if My Turn will give the central European country their second final appearance in a row!

What do you think of the snippets of Martina’s entry? Do you think it sounds like another possible qualifier for the Czech Republic? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and via our social media pages @escXtra!

Categories: ESC Xtra

22
February
2017

France: Alma to add English lyrics for the Eurovision version of ‘Requiem’

France: Alma to add English lyrics for the Eurovision version of ‘Requiem’

Earlier this month, France 2 revealed that Alma would represent France at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. She will perform her recently released single Requiem at the contest. Now, Alma has revealed some more important details about the new Eurovision version of Requiem.

A bilingual version for Eurovision

In an interview with eurofestivalnews.com, Alma revealed that the new version of her song will “have an English part”. This isn’t unexpected as Amir also included extra English lyrics for the Eurovision version of J’ai cherché last year. Alma also revealed that France’s Eurovision head of delegation Edoardo Grassi first approached her in December with the opportunity. She says she “didn’t think twice” and knew she could count on the advice and support of two of her friends who had also participated at the contest, Amir and Lisa Angell.

Requiem‘s participation not under threat

Recently, footage emerged of Alma performing Requiem back in 2015. In the year prior to the contest, the EBU states that songs must not have been commercially released before September 1st. As Alma states in the interview, she had never actually recorded the song until very recently. Furthermore, the video that emerged was a live recording rather than a studio version. Therefore, there is no issue with the participation of Requiem in Kyiv.

Similar situations have happened in the past. For example, Anja Nissen’s Never Alone, Jamala’s 1944 and Anouk’s Birds had all been performed prior to the allowed date. This was either during live concerts, or even down a telephone line in Anouk’s case. These songs were allowed into the contest as the EBU judged that they hadn’t received an advantage from their early reveals.

Are you looking forward to the release of the Eurovision version of Requiem? Do you think Alma can give France their second consecutive top 10 finish? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and via our social media pages @escXtra!

Categories: ESC Xtra

22
February
2017

Australia: ‘Stay tuned for the reveal’ says SBS with announcement expected soon

Australia: ‘Stay tuned for the reveal’ says SBS with announcement expected soon

Up until now, Australia have been very quiet regarding their Eurovision entry for 2017. SBS also kept quiet until very late when selecting Guy Sebastian and Dami Im in the previous two years as well. However, the Australian broadcaster has finally re-emerged on social media after being in a Sound of Silence since Alexa Curtis performed at Junior Eurovision in Malta last November.

“All will be revealed soon”

SBS have tweeted the following teaser sending many Eurovision fans into a frenzy:

Who do you think will be the 2017 Australian #Eurovision contestant? All will be revealed soon, so stay tuned for the reveal! #SBSEurovisionpic.twitter.com/FXZVugoZO6

— SBS Eurovision (@SBSEurovision) February 21, 2017

Could it be Isaiah or The Veronicas?

Two artists that have consistently popped up in the Australia rumour mill over the past few months are Isaiah and The Veronicas. Isaiah released his debut single It’s Gotta Be You just a couple of months ago. It was his winner’s single following his victory on the eighth season of The X Factor Australia, a show that both of Australia’s previous entrants have connections to. Aside from in his home country, his single has gone onto achieve success in Scandinavia and The Netherlands. Furthermore, the 17-year-old has began teasing the release of the music video for the single. Perhaps SBS may capitalise on its European success and send It’s Gotta Be You to Kyiv? Isaiah is certainly interested, publicly revealing his desire to represent Australia in 2017 following his The X Factor victory.

The Veronicas are the other name that has frequently popped up in the rumour mill. The twin sisters are signed to Sony Music, who also are home to Guy Sebastian, Dami Im and Isaiah. The girls had a major worldwide hit with Untouched in 2007. Following a break, the pop duo returned in 2014 with a new sound. Their comeback single, power ballad You Ruin Me, hit the top 10 in the UK and #1 in their home country. Over the past three years, The Veronicas have racked up several more hit singles. This included another Australian #1 with In My Blood last year. With a new album due for release this year, Sony may see Eurovision as the perfect opportunity to relaunch them internationally.

Artist reveal expected at the beginning of March?

SBS have given no timeframe for when they will revealed Australia’s next Eurovision representative. However, both Guy and Dami were revealed during the first week of March. Their entries were then revealed approximately a week later. Therefore, perhaps we can expect a similar strategy from SBS this year?

Which artist do you want to see represent Australia in Kyiv? Do you think they can go one better than Dami managed last year and win the contest on their third attempt? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and via our social media pages @escXtra!

Categories: ESC Xtra

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