43 countries all are hoping for a good result at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Six of them perhaps a little more than the others as they find themselves in a bad circle of not being able to qualify for the final for quite some years.
When Anouk in 2013 brought the Netherlands into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, she broke an eight year long period where the country never managed to take the next step after the semi-finals.
Six countries with a bad curse
For countries like FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, San Marino and Switzerland, it would be natural if their participants this year feel an extra pressure. They are all representing countries who we haven’t seen in the Eurovision final for quite some years.
Statistically, it will be unrealistic that all of the six countries will break their bad curse as five of them are taking part in the first semi-final this year. First up is Iceland who has missed the final the past three years. Their last participant who took the country to the final was Pollapönk, who finished 15th in the 2014 edition held in Copenhagen.
This year they are represented by Ari Ólafsson’s and the song Our Choice. He is up at start number two in the semi-final, and currently the bookmakers have him last in the semi-final. Should he qualify it will therefore be somewhat of a big surprise.
Starting as 11th in the final, we find FYR Macedonia. They haven’t made it to the final since Kaliopi came 13th in 2012. Will they change their five year long curse this year?
The duo Eye Cue represents the country this year with the song Lost And Found. At the moment it seems it will be another loss for FYR Macedonia who is tipped for a 15th place in the semi-final from where only ten makes it to the final.
Since their victory in 2006, results have been rather mixed for Finland, and the Nordic country hasn’t been in the final since 2014 where Softengine finished just outside top 10 with their 11th place.
Saara Aalto was an early bookmaker favourite to win, but things changed, and it is now not even sure, she will qualify. She is tipped 12th, and as such outside top 10 who will make it. With the song Monsters, she starts as number 15 in the first semi-final.
Over the years, it has been more than tough for the Swiss acts to qualify for the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, the country has missed the final a total of ten times, and they haven’t been seen either since 2014 where Sebalter came in as 13th in the final.
Hoping to change things around this year is the sibling duo Zibbz. Singing the song Stones, they will go on stage as 17th in the semi-final. It’s however with the bookmakers against them as they currently predict the duo to end up as 16th in the semi-final.
With seven wins, Ireland is the most successful country at the Eurovision Song Contest. In recent years, things have however not been going their way. The country hasn’t been in the final since 2013 where Ryan Dolan and his Only Love Survives finished 26th and last with only five points.
This year, it is another Ryan who is up for the challenge of breaking the series of bad Irish results. Ryan O’Shaughnessy goes on stage as 18th in the first semi-final. Currently the bookmakers place his song Together as 14th in the semi-final, and as such not near the top 10 which will qualify.
See alsoFive countries that never failed to qualify from a Eurovision semi-final
As the only one of these six countries, with a current bad Eurovision curse, we find the small country of San Marino. They have only made it to the final once in their eight appearances. That was in 2014 where four times participant Valentina Monetta finished 24th in the final.
Will a Maltese/German duet be what San Marino needs? Not if you believe that the bookmakers might be spot on here. Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening are tipped last in semi-final two, and also least like candidate to win the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. They go on stage in the semi-final as number four, squeezed in between Serbia and Denmark.
One thing is bookmaker predictions, another thing is the actual result. So far, all six of these countries are still in with a chance to finally get back to the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Who do you think we will see in the final on the 12th of May? In the poll below, you can vote for all the songs you think will make it to the final this year.
To see more bookmaker predictions, we recommend that you visit Eurovision World’s Odds section.
Following appearances in Greece, Russia and Israel, Aisel stopped off in Bulgaria to perform a piano version of her Eurovision entry, which will open this years show as first semi-final kicks off on the 8th of May.
After visiting with the Azerbaijani ambassador in Bulgaria, where she asked for support from the Azerbaijani community, she stopped off to perform on Bulgarian TV show, Slavi’s Show.
Slavi’s Show is the most popular TV show in Bulgaria and has been for over ten years. At times 80% of the population are tuned into the show. Aisel performed a special version of her entry by accompanying herself on piano, aided by Slavi’s house band.
See alsoFive countries that never failed to qualify from a Eurovision semi-final
Slavi wished Aisel the best of luck on her trip to Lisbon. She replied that her finishing position is less important to her than the chance to promote her music all over Europe. By experiencing the cultures of many different countries, she feels she has already won.
Watch Aisel perform the piano version of X My Heart available on the website of Slavi’s Show.
If you want to compare this to the official version, you find this in the video below.
Eurovision is two hectic weeks, so it might be good to also plan some time to relax. Maybe getting in touch with nature or perhaps visiting a huge shopping mall? Whether it’s one or the other, Lisbon has that and much more to offer. Here’s five extra recommendations for what you can do in the Eurovision host city.
Our Welcome to Lisbon serie of articles continue as we approach the final destination: the Eurovision Song Contest 2018. We are less than two weeks away from the start.
In our last article, we recommended five sightseeing options for those who want to do more in the Eurovision host city than to simply watch the shows. Because five feels too little, we are giving you extra recommendations on what to do in Lisbon.
1. Get to hear some Fado
Many must have already heard of it, as Portugal has been represented by it in Eurovision in the past, but for those who didn’t, Fado is one of Portugal’s most known music genres. It is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics mixed with a feeling of fatefulness or melancholia.
Many restaurants and night places in Lisbon often offer Fado nights, where you can enjoy it while having a meal or simply relax by listening to it… Many get emotional. While it is not hard to find a Fado House, it can get quite pricey so we’d recommend a thoughtful research and perhaps booking in advance – if possible.
2. Visit Lisbon’s traditional neighbourhoods
Alfama, Mouraria, Graça or Lapa. Those are just a few of Lisbon’s historical neighbourhoods. They go back in time, own a very peculiar architecture and so many unique traces worth seeing such as its distinctive colours, diverse tiles and narrow streets. If you intend to visit a few, expect a few stairs and ramps. While it might be a tiring journey, the memories – and pictures – will be worth the effort.
Talking about tiles, near Lisbon’s center, you can find the National Tile Museum that preserves and presents its amazing and vast collection of tiles, a very Portuguese characteristic.
See alsoPublic transport in Lisbon – how to get around in the Eurovision host city
3. Visit Cascais and its surroundings
Cascais is coastal town in Portugal. It is not too far from Lisbon – 45 minutes by train – and will give you beautiful landscapes and a lot to see and do, including a meal near the ocean.
Just like the historical neighbourhoods mentioned above, Cascais goes back in time and also features historical traces and architecture. Despite the fact that it has become more and more popular among tourists, it still is way calmer than Lisbon. Once you’re there, you can adventure yourself into so many things: check its old town, the scary Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth – a collapsed cave and series of highly weathered cliffs), rent a bike and explore one of the world’s most famous surf beaches, Guincho, etc.
If Cascais is on your plans, take advantage of its train line and stop by Oeiras for more history, beach and a relaxing walk in its Passeio Marítimo of over 5km along the ocean.
4. Shop in Lisbon
There are so many different places where you can shop in Lisbon. An obvious one is its downtown, Baixa-Chiado, as it is amongst Lisbon’s most popular places. Not only does it features countless unique traces, a lot of street artists, movement and restaurants, but also a big amount of stores, especially for clothing and souvenirs.
In Baixa, if you take Rua Augusta it will eventually lead you towards Terreiro do Paço where the EuroVillage will take place this year. It is iconic and a great square with an amazing view to the ocean.
Nonetheless, there’s more places where you can shop in Lisbon. Its shopping centers are amongs the biggest ones in Europe. Colombo, Vasco da Gama – right next to Altice Arena – or the biggest Dolce Vita Tejo are just three of the main ones.
See alsoThe Chef's recommendation – Where to eat in the Eurovision host city
5. Get lost in Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
The Gulbenkian Foundation is located in Praça de Espanha and was established back in 1956. Its main purpose is focused on fostering knowledge and raising the quality of life of people through art, charity, science and education. Many events are held there such as exhibitions, collections and even concerts. Its agenda is constantly updated on its website and you can find anything to your own taste.
If by any chance, no event catches your attention during your stay in Lisbon, you still have the opportunity of visiting its beautiful garden. Not only its entrance is free of charge, but here’s a great chance to relax after a big day.
And there you go. You now have ten of the many things you can do or visit in Lisbon. We hope you take advantage of such and enjoy what the city has to offer. Again, don’t limit yourself to those, there’s just so many things you can do. Have fun!
With only two weeks until rehearsals starts in Lisbon, a great bunch of this year’s participant tested their songs one last time in front of a big international Eurovision audience, before they head to Portugal. Watch the videos from the 2018 edition of the big Eurovision In Concert.
It’s hard to imagine that we are just a few weeks away from the Eurovision Song Contest kicking off in Lisbon. On Sunday, the 29th of April the first rehearsals will start. For participants, delegation members, press and fans, it will be a couple of intense weeks in the Portuguese capital. Rehearsals, press conferences, fan meetings and parties will be on the schedule, hopefully together with a bit of sightseeing.
Before heading to Lisbon, they had the opportunity to perform in front of a big enthusiastic crowd in Amsterdam. Eurovision In Concert held their 10th anniversary in the larger AFAS LIVE venue with a capacity of 6,000.
Edsilia Rombley (The Netherlands 1998 & 2007) and Dutch commentator since 2004 Cornald Maas hosted this year’s Eurovision In Concert. 1986 winner Belgian Sandra Kim performed as special guest and as so-called support act we saw Maxine & Franklin Brown who represented The Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996.
In the embedded playlist below, take a look at our videos from the 2018 Eurovision In Concert – all recorded in 4K:
See alsoFive countries that never failed to qualify from a Eurovision semi-final
Tom Neuwirth has taken Conchita Wurst’s official Instagram account to announce he is HIV positive. One of Tom’s ex-boyfriends threatened to leak the information so the Austrian singer decided to step up and announce it himself in order to spread bravery.
Thomas Neuwirth is a 29 years old Austrian singer who isn’t really known around the world. Instead, his persona – Conchita Wurst – is one of the most famous drag queens of all time having won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014. Conchita always had a goal of spreading love, acceptance and bravery: “We are unity and we are unstoppable”, she said during her winning speech at the contest.
With this being said, Tom would never allow anyone to speak on his behalf or to be threatened which happened a few days ago when one of his ex-boyfriends threatened to go public with his HIV status: “I have been HIV positive for many years”, he wrote in Conchita’s Instagram account. “This is actually irrelevant to the public, but an ex-boyfriend of mine threatened me to go public with this information, and I will not give anyone the right to frighten me and influence my life in the future.”
Tom’s decision of coming out has been backed up by Conchita Wurst’s followers who have been nothing but supportive: “You are so right! Your health is your privacy. Unfortunately, there are enough wicked and stupid people to not respect that. You are the same – but even more courageous and lovable”, one of her followers wrote.
Who has also been supportive of Tom’s status were his family and friends. They were also the reason why Tom wanted to stay private about this topic: “I would have gladly spared you the attention of the HIV status of your son, grandson and brother”, he wrote.
With this post, Tom hopes to build courage and “take another step against the stigmatization of people who have become infected by HIV”. In the statement, the Austrian singer made sure to also confirm that since the diagnosis, he is under medical treatment and, therefore, the virus is under control: “I’m fine, I’m stronger and more motivated than ever”, he concluded.
Allegations of stabbings, weddings, babies, film careers and dozens of songs released. We take a look at what has happened to the top 10 from Eurovision 2008 – ten years ago.
After recently having looked at top 10 from five years ago, we now go ten years back. 2008 was the year that Russia won for the first time, but lots of other good songs came from that year too.
10. Laka – Pokušaj – Bosnia & Herzegovina
Laka read out the results for Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2009 and again in 2012. He has continued to release lots of new music since 2008. His album Stvorenje in particular was a great success in 2010. The album was popular in the former Yugoslavic countries. Most recently he released Lizalo, which you can enjoy below.
9. Boaz – Fire In Your Eyes – Israel
Boaz hasn’t done much since he performed at the Eurovision Song Contest. He released an album consisting mainly of covers and also a couple of singles in 2009. In 2011, he released a cover of a famous Israeli song Yeled Hasade, which appeared on a popular Israeli drama called Alifim.
8.Elnur & Samir – Day After Day – Azerbaijan
Elnur Hüseynov spent some time performing in the theatre before re-launching his music career. In 2014, he took part in The Voice Turkey, which he won. Elnur represented Azerbaijan for a second time in 2015, and finished in 12th place with his song Hour Of The Wolf.
Samir Javadzadeh got into trouble in 2011 when he allegedly stabbed Alvin Hüseynov, brother of Elnur whom he competed at Eurovision with.
7. Mor ve Ötesi – Deli – Turkey
The Turkish rock group have released three studio albums since their time in Eurovision. In 2010, lead vocalist Harun Tekin tried his hand at acting, appearing in two episodes of Behzat Ç. Bir Ankara Polisiyesi (Behzat Ç. An Ankara Detective Story) which is one of the biggest television shows in Turkey.
6. Jelena Tomašević – Oro – Serbia
Jelena has worked steadily since she represented Serbia at home field in 2008. In 2009, she recorded a song with Sirusho (Armenia) and Boaz (Israel). The song Time To Pray was written by the President of Israel, Shimon Peres.
In 2011, Tomašević married Serbian actor Ivan Bosiljčić and the pair welcomed their first child, a daughter named Nina the following year.
5. Maria Haukaas Storeng – Hold On Be Strong – Norway
2009 was a busy year for Maria who competed in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen. She came in second to last place during the fourth heat of the competition with her song Killing Me Tenderly. During that year she also co-hosted Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix where Norway selected Alexander Rybak as their entry. In 2010, Maria returned to Melodi Grand Prix but as a contestant. She made her way into the final, but did not earn enough televotes to take her into the final four.
4. Sirusho – Qele, Qele – Armenia
Armenian star Sirusho has continued to go on from strength to strength in her career. In the same year as her time in Eurovision, the singer won her fourth Best Female Artist award at the 2008 Armenian Music Awards. She has released over 13 singles, two albums and even a jewellery series. “PreGomesh by Sirusho” has just released a spring collection.
3. Kalomira – Secret Combination – Greece
Following her third place success in Belgrade, Kalomira immediately released her new album, Secret Combination the Album. Her Eurovision entry Secret Combination was the first and only single from the album to be released. The American Greek singer has released a number of albums since her participation in the contest, and also took some time out to start a family. In 2010, she married her fiancé George Bousalis and gave birth to twin boys two years later. In 2016 the couple also had a daughter. In 2015, she made a comeback to Greek music and released a Christmas single.
2. Ani Lorak – Shady Lady – Ukraine
The following year, Lorak married her longtime partner Murat Nalçacıoğlu and in June 2011, they welcomed their first child Sophia into the world. In 2014, Lorak came under intense criticism in Ukraine for accepting an award in Russia during the time that Russia were invading Crimea. The songstress didn’t back down and continued to perform in Russia as well as her native Ukraine. Most recently Ani Lorak has been touring Eastern Europe and the USA with her newest show DIVA. The tour which won Show Of The Year at the BraVo International Music awards sold out in Moscow and in three shows of the her American tour.
1. Dima Bilan – Believe – Russia
Dima Bilan won the contest in 2008 giving Russia it’s first and as of now, only win at the contest. Not content with just this, Bilan attempted to represent his country again in 2012. He participated in Russia’s national selection with former Eurovision competitor and t.A.T.u singer Yulia Volkova. Their duet Back To Her Future came in 2nd place behind Buranovskiye Babushki and their hit Party For Everybody.
In 2016, Bilan tried his hand at acting and played the lead role in historical drama The Heritage Of Love (Russian: Герой, The Hero). Last year, the Russian singer was in this year’s host city Lisbon filming the video for his then latest single, Derzhi (Hold). Bilan spent time as one of the judges on The Voice Kids in Russia. In 2014, Bilan was the coach of last year’s Eurovision 2nd place competitor Kristian Kostov and was the winning coach on two occasions. He didn’t return as a coach for the 2018 series and was subsequently replaced by Russian rapper Basta.
Last year Bilan teamed up with fellow Russian star Sergei Lazarev and released a single Прости меня (Forgive me). This was the second of Bilan’s videos to be filmed in the 2018 host country Portugal.