Conchita cancels festival performance over visa ban

Conchita cancels festival performance over visa ban

Conchita Wurst has refused to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival following a visa ban. Conchita was set to perform as part of the New European Song Book this month in the Scottish capital.

Conchita has cancelled all plans to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival this month after members of her band were denied visa entry to the United Kingdom. All three members of the band Basalt namely Amjad Khaboura, Noor Eli Khoury and Almonther Alshoufi were denied visas to enter the country. Standing by her band, Wurst has refused to perform without them. The actions of the UK Home Office has baffled the organisers of the festival as the purpose of the festival is to promote co-operation of the people who start new lives in a new country.

The 2014 Eurovision winner was set to perform as part of the New European Song Book which presents music from across the continent. Each night will see a selection of musicians collaborating and performing pieces of music to be heard for the first time. This includes Europeans alongside people who have recently moved to Europe and now call this their home.

Despite refusing to perform at the concert, Conchita will still have some involvement. There will be a specially recorded introduction of Conchita and Basalt including a film of their performance.

The Home Office have refused to comment on this specific case and stated that “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and inline with the immigration rules”. However, it is believed the band were denied entry due to their Syrian heritage despite them living in Austria for the past 3 years.

A statement from the festival said “The international festival has issued an open invitation to Conchita and Basalt to perform later at this year’s festival. If this is not possible, the invitation will be extended to the 2018 international festival.”

Conchita at Eurovision

Conchita Wurst brought Austria’s second win with her performance of Rise Like A Phoenix. Conchita won by a landslide in Denmark with a total of 290 points, receiving the maximum points from 13 countries. You can remind yourself of her performance at the B&W Hallerne, Copenhagen below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Desperate RTÉ holds Eurovision crisis meeting

Desperate RTÉ holds Eurovision crisis meeting

Ireland 2017 - Semi-Final 2 Dress Rehearsal

RTÉ have decided that enough is enough and held a crisis meeting. The aim of the meeting? Not how to win, but how to qualify. Can they bring back the luck of the Irish?

RTÉ bosses were joined alongside top song writers, industry experts and Irish eurovision fans to hash out a plan to end the years of misery the Irish have faced at the contest recently. The meeting was held following Ireland’s fourth consecutive year of failing to qualify for the grand final.

During the meeting the broadcaster were slammed for sending 2008’s act Dustin The Turkey, claiming that it did Ireland years of long term damage that the country has yet to recover from.

Other suggestions made in the meeting were that RTÉ should stop sending talent show winners to Eurovision and instead opt for a performer who has experience and can perform competently and confidently in front of an audience.

Amateur singers don’t have the stagecraft or experience to suddenly come up with the goods. We needed professional singers with decades of experience who could rise to the occasion.” A speaker at the crisis meeting.

Despite RTÉ are focusing their concentration on qualifying, however the broadcaster still have hopes of Ireland winning the contest again some day. Suggesting that it will be a huge morale boost for the country, the broadcaster and the fans. As well as bring in some much needed viewing figures.

Unfortunately for RTÉ, despite wanting to find the magical qualification formula they finally came to the conclusion that none existed.

Ireland at the Eurovision song contest

The emerald isle first entered the contest in Naples, Italy in 1965. They still hold the record for the most wins at Eurovision with a staggering 7 wins, although Sweden is now hot on their tail as they are just one win away from co-holding the title.

Last year they were represented by former boybander Brendan Murray with his song Dying To Try. You can remind yourself of his performance when he failed to qualify for the grand final below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


150 million views: Francesco Gabbani reaches another milestone

150 million views: Francesco Gabbani reaches another milestone

Francesco Gabbani (Italy 2017)

A catchy song, a gorilla and YouTube! Those three parameters combined has secured Francesco Gabbani yet another succes. 150 million, that’s the number of views on just one of the videos for this year’s Italian Eurovision entry.

He was the bookmaker favourite to win, but had to accept a 6th place only at the Eurovision Song Contest a few months ago in Kyiv, Ukraine. Portugal’s Salvador cleared the table and won both jury, televote – and the overall final result.

Last month we reported that Eurovision YouTube figures were down by 49% on last year’s, and that Sergey Lazarev’s song You Are The Only One, was the most watched official Eurovision performance video. This is a fantastic achievement, but if you compare Sergey’s Official Music video to that of Francesco’s, it pales in significance. With over 6 times more views, Francesco’s does deserve the title of most hyped Eurovision song/performance of 2017.

With this continued success, we also must look at the part the internet plays in domestic and global charts. Francesco must have been given a great boost from the publicity Eurovision had to offer as after only 5 months, the official video for Occidentali’s Karma has now garnered 150 Million views on a single YouTube upload.

If we compare some of the biggest hits from the last five contests, looking at their official music videos, Francesco has had some major success with his Eurovision song on the video sharing site. The figures below all correspond to the number of views captured for videos uploaded to YouTube by the artist themselves or their record label.

Official Music VideosYouTube ViewsOccidentali’s Karma YouTube Views
Euphoria35 Million150 Million
Only Teardrops


2.5 Million


7 Million


26 Million
Grande Amore


96 Million


2.5 Million
You Are the Only One


25 Million
If I Were Sorry


31.5 Million
J’ai Cherché


68.5 Million

What is interesting to note from this, is that the closest a song has got to emulating Francesco’s success is the other big Italian entry since their return, Il Volo’s Grande Amore. The song earned critical and commercial success across the world after the Trio performed their Operatic Ballad in Vienna. Also all of these songs have had a full year of exposure on the website.

Occidentali’s Karma (Westerne’s Karma) won the 67th Edition of the Sanremo Music Festival, Italy’s biggest music contest and the inspiration for our beloved Eurovision Song Contest. He made waves across social media in the lead up to the contest, and while he was not the eventual winner he and his dancing Gorilla did make an impact on the final night.

One thing that can’t be denied is Francesco’s popularity at home, and his increasing popularity across Europe. He has performed on many TV shows across the continent, and released a successful follow-up single, Tra le granite le granate, which reached the Italian Top 20. His album Magellan, has also been very successful reaching Number 1 in Italy and charting across Europe in countries such as Belgium and Switzerland.

This just goes to show how big a star he is in his home country and the potential, ‘Signor Gabbani’ has for the future. We can all see now, that if you sing about Karma, hopefully the good type will prevail, it certainly has for Francesco.

Curious if Francesco is more of a morning or evening person? Find out in the video below.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Cyprus: Panagiotis Koufogiannis released Coldplay cover

Cyprus: Panagiotis Koufogiannis released Coldplay cover

X Factor winner and national finalist, Panagiotis Koufogiannis is still busy. He is working on his first album, looking into the possibility of trying out for Eurovision once again – and now he also released a cover of Coldplay’s Fix You.

Soon Panagiotis will return for a few days to his beloved Cyprus, something he did not yet manage to do after winning X Factor Greece. He wants to meet with his family and his friends.

Panagiotis Koufogiannis who came second in the Cypriot national final for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015 could be a candidate for Cyprus 2018. He heard from comments from the judges in X Factor as well as former Greek Eurovision star, Sakis Rouvas, who hosted the talent show, that he would be the ideal person to represent Cyprus at the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest.

EuroVisionary are being told that both Panagiotis himself and his record company wants the Eurovision Stage to be the next goal for the young artist. However everything depends on the intentions of the broadcaster, CyBC. From the last national final Cyprus held back in 2015, three of the finalists from that final have represented the island of Aphrodite in the last years (Yannis Karagiannis, Minus One and Hovig). Is it Panagiotis’ turn now?

Watch his cover of Coldplay’s Fix You in the video below:

Categories: Eurovisionary


Innocent broadcasters taken hostage by desperate EBU

Innocent broadcasters taken hostage by desperate EBU

7, 8, 9. The referee was almost knocked out, when he, with a new set of rules, got back on his feet. Despite the combatants having left the ring, he is however not on very solid ground. It appears like the EBU hasn’t thought well enough about the possible impact of these rules.

Do you remember the boxing match between this year’s host country Ukraine and neighbouring Russia in the spring? Most probably you do as it affected the preparations up to the 2017 contest and the actual event to such an extent that Russia was unable to take part in the contest.

After several rounds, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) stepped in as referee. It was a position they didn’t actually want, and, instead of judging in the fight, the referee ended up almost knocking himself out. That was in round four.


  • 1 Round 5
  • 2 Round 6
  • 3 Potential damaging issues
  • 4 A weaker referee

Round 5

We left the match with both combatants leaving the ring, and the referee down on the floor. As they left, he got back on his feet, but was clearly still affected by the punch he gave himself. He issued a fine of 200,000 euros to the Ukrainian broadcaster – and let the Russian go. After all, according to the rules, it was only Ukraine who had done something wrong.

Despite threats of banning Ukraine from the Eurovision Song Contest – for up to three years – the country can however participate again in 2018, if they want to. The Ukrainian broadcaster however want to be totally cleared of any wrong-doing so they appealed the fine. We are yet to hear the outcome of that.

Round 6

German broadcaster ARD publish a new set of rules for the 2018 contest. Though it isn’t yet made available by the EBU, we take it that the changes they highlight are correct.

The new rules clearly state that the host country must allow the selected participants to take part in the contest. In other words, they can’t behave as Ukraine did – and was fined for.

The Host Broadcaster shall ensure that all the contestants selected by the Participating Broadcasters are able to perform in person live on stage in the Shows (including in all the rehearsals and in the Dress Rehearsals).

But just as you think things are pretty clear, and that Ukraine was solely to blame for this year’s farce as they denied the Russian participant Julia Samojlova entry to the country, the EBU takes a new turn. Now the rules also state that the participating countries must not select an artist or any delegation member that would give grounds for the host broadcaster to deny them entry! With those rules, Russia wouldn’t have been allowed to select Julia, and as such, they are to be blamed, and not Ukraine.

in particular, no selected artist nor any member of the Delegation shall have any antecedents likely to prompt the Host Country’s national authorities to deny them access to the Host Country in accordance with applicable national law.

It seems clear that the EBU, with these rules, would try to give and take a bit from and to each side in ‘the Ukraine – Russia situation’. But what might seem like a fair solution, raises a lot of issues.

See alsoEurovision final on the 12th of May 2018 at the MEO Arena in Lisbon, Portugal

Potential damaging issues

There are several problems with the rule that makes it a broadcaster’s responsibility to make sure that their participant and any other member of their delegation won’t be denied access to the host country. We’ll look at a few of the issues here:

HIV infected

Oikotimes raised the question about HIV infected people. We looked into it, and found two participating countries, Hungary and Russia not allowing people with this infection to enter the country, so that is a valid concern. In many countries, this is a very private matter and not something that one is obliged by law to tell anyone about – in some countries, you must tell your sexual partners, but your employer does not have the right to know.

According to the new rules, this could mean that anyone who wishes to take part in a national selection, or to be involved with the contest in other ways like, for example, as commentator or press, has to inform the broadcaster about their HIV status. This goes directly against the law in many of the participating countries.

The way is furthermore open for several law suits for being forced to give out personal information, which is protected by law. What happens then? Can the EBU eventually be sued, or only the broadcaster? We don’t know as the rules didn’t take that situation into consideration.

Internal selection instead of national final

It will be a heavy burden for the broadcasters to check if all participants who submit an entry for a national final are clear of anything that could lead to the host country to deny them entry. Imagine being a broadcaster who gets more than 2,500 potential entries, of which you need to select maybe 10, 20 or even 50 artists for the various qualification heats – and, having already enough to deal with, just to make sure your own staff is clear.

Smaller countries with fewer resources might see themselves forced to go for an internal selection rather than a national selection with various heats. You can’t blame them as clearing one act is a lot easier than clearing 51 acts like in the case of Lithuania’s 2017 selection.

Extra resources usually mean an extra expense for the broadcasters. In particular, for the countries with a rather large selection, it can be quite expensive to clear all potential candidates every year.

Host broadcaster can influence the charts in participating countries

Another issue that can be raised is the potential influence the laws in the host country can have on the charts and radio airplay in various participating countries.

Take a country like Sweden. In the months around their national selection, Melodifestivalen, their national charts are very much dominated by the 28 acts (2017 selection format) who take part in the national selection. Is it fair that laws in another country can have such a big influence on who makes it to the charts in, for example, Sweden?

A shorter national selection might be required

It is not defined in the rules whether each broadcaster is obligated to check up on the rules of the host country themselves or if EBU might provide them with that and a form of black list of certain individuals. No matter what, time could be another issue.

Many broadcasters have already started their search for the 2018 selection. They did so, probably not knowing of any Portuguese law that might influence who can take part in the national selection with the intent to participate at the Eurovision Song Contest if they win.

For the broadcasters to have enough time to check up on these things, or wait for a set of rules to be provided, they might need to postpone certain things in their selection. We have before seen shows already starting in Autumn. That might not be possible in the future if it takes too much time to look into the laws of the host country.

No fixed date and no consistency

One of the main things that makes it rather easy for the broadcasters to commit to the Eurovision Song Contest is a set of rules that rarely change significantly. Now, it will potentially change a lot every year as rules in the host country change – and a list of people forbidden to enter the country can be updated from day-to-day – and the EBU has not even set a date for at what time you need to be allowed to enter.

Imagine the situation where the Netherlands selects an artist internally, screen him or her to match the law of next year’s host country Portugal and present their choice to the public in November 2017. Everything might be fine at that point, but, if Portugal changes their law we might see that the Dutch artist from April 2018, can’t enter the host country anymore. What happens then?

As the participating countries officially submit their entries on the HoD meeting in late March or early April, the EBU might set this date as to when people need to be cleared in relation to any restrictions from the host broadcaster. Will they then force the host broadcaster not to have any new laws come into effect from then until after Eurovision? Can they even do that as they can’t exactly threaten to take their hosting rights away just a few weeks before it all starts?

We don’t know as the rules didn’t take that situation into consideration either.

There will be no longer any consistency as the rules of the up to 46 participating countries are very different, and there is no fixed date you can relate to.

A weaker referee

The power of the host broadcaster has been increased with these new rules, whereas the EBU decreases its own strength.  At first, it might seem like they are getting stronger from this, but you usually don’t get stronger by running away from the problems. That’s exactly what the EBU is doing here – run away, try to hide in a corner hoping to be invisible.

Can they, as referee, stand another round in the boxing ring? Probably not unfortunately.

With the potential issues raised above, this set of rules could cause even more problems. Yes, it might, more or less, indicate that, if the 2017 ‘Ukraine – Russia case’ were to appear under these rules, Russia would be the bad guy for selecting Julia, and not Ukraine. However, the potential new cases this could lead to might be worse.

It was a weak referee who almost knocked himself out in an attempt to convince Ukraine to accept Julia Samojlova representing Russia this year. With even less power in the future, what is he supposed to do? Yes, something needs to be done to avoid a conflict like the one this year, but why open up for a lot more?

Under pressure, we can all jump to conclusions and actions we wouldn’t make when thinking clearly. As the EBU was down on the floor, it might seem understandable that they come with this. We can only hope that they soon realise that the new rules, as presented by ARD, need some improvement.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Dino Merlin releases new video for Sve Dok Te Bude Imalo

Dino Merlin releases new video for Sve Dok Te Bude Imalo

Dino Merlin, who represented Bosnia and Herzegovina twice in the Eurovision Song Contest, has released a new video for the song “Sve Dok Te Bude Imalo” (As Long As You Exist). The song goes all the way back to his latest album “Hotel Nacional” from 2014.

Hotel Nacional is an important milestone in history of music in the former Yugoslavia, as it is the first and only album from the region, that managed to enter the famous Billboard World Albums top list.

The filming of the video for Sve Dok Te Bude Imalo took about one year. Many different locations have been used in the video, including Sarajevo City Hall (Vijećnica), where Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 2016 entry Ljubav Je was presented in a live transmission. The video is directed by the famous Swiss music and commercial video director with Bosnian roots Haris Dubica.

Haris was, this year, awarded the Best Swiss Video Award for the music video of the year in Switzerland for the third consecutive time. Haris and Dino are not strangers to each other as Haris already has directed a bunch of Dino’s music videos such as Deset Mlađa, Individualizam and Rane. Beside Dino, the two young Bosnian actors, Armin Omerović and Aida Bukva, appear in the video.

Dino Merlin represented his country at the Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions. In 1999 in Jerusalem he came 7th in the grand final with the song Putnici. In 2011 in Düsseldorf he finished 6th in the grand final with Love In Rewind, which is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second best result in history of the contest. Actually Dino debuted at the Eurovision Song Contest already back in 1993, when he wrote and composed Sva Bol Svijeta – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first entry as an independent country.

A translation of the lyrics to Sve Dok Te Bude Imalo are provided below the video.

Translation of the lyrics

As Long As You Exist

May your hands bring anything
Just don’t that be a flower
That ain’t have the scent

May anything lie on your lips
Just don’t that be a word
That could inspire me

May your chest carry anything
Just don’t that be a breath (sigh)
For someone else

May your eyes reflect anything
Just not glow
When I’m not around

As long as you exist
I’m not afraid at all
I fear no one, except everyone

May your thoughts bear anything
Just know that words ring stronger
When told silently

May your dreams carry anything
Just don’t that be a lie
We deserve more

As long as you exist
I’m not afraid at all
I fear no one, except everyone
Let the bird of the heart take off
There’s always a cause to die

Categories: Eurovisionary

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