Friday, February 21, 2020

UKRAINE: VIDBIR 2020 FINAL THIS WEEKEND FOR EUROVISION

Ukraine has had its two semi-finals and this Saturday is the grand final of Vidbir 2020 with six qualified songs. So far the selecting process has been without major scandals and hick ups - let's hope it continues that way!
I don't know if the new rules exclusing anyone with anything to do with Russia but this is the poorest Ukrainian national selection for years. Krutь and Jerry Heil are nonsense, Go-A reaches out for my Slavic Carelian heritage deep in my soul but not really moving me enough. Axel offers a standard cliché. Khayat falls flat down on his face live (should he win he will lose it against The Roop 10-0) and Tvorchi is just useless. Whoever wins in Ukraine won't be anywhere near my top favorites, that's for sure already now. I hope it's Go-A though. 

Krutь - 99 **
Jerry Heil - Vegan *
Go-A - Solovey ***
David Axelrod - Horizon **
Khayat - Call For Love **
Tvorchi - Bonfire *

Had Cloudless qualified for the final they would be my favorites....

Thursday, February 20, 2020

EUROVISION 2020: GET TO KNOW MONTAIGNE (AUSTRALIA)

Jessica Alyssa Cerro (24) aka Montaigne is true Australian mix with Argentinian, Spanish, Filippino and French in her heritage. She started with music in her teenage years and soon chose Montaigne as her artists name in honor of 16th centery French philosopher and esseyist Michel de Montaigne. 
She released her first single and EP in 2014 and has released two albums since with a string of singles, her Eurovision 2020 entry being the 10th. On top of that she's been featured and/or provided vocals to several other songs, including Australia's #2 hit single 1955, that was also nominated for the Song of the Year and Best Video awards in ARIA music awards. Montaigne won the award as Breakthrough artist herself and was nominated for the Best Female artist.
But now four years later she's represanting Australia in the Eurovision with her Don't break me




Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EUROVISION 2020: GET TO KNOW TOM LEEB (FRANCE)



Tom Leeb (30) has just started his career as a recording artist being better known as an actor and comedian. He's a son of a famous comedian Michel Leeb and journalist Béatrice Malicet and also his sister  Fanny is a singer.
Tom started his career on theater stage at the age of  13. In his early 20s he spent five years in New York studying acting, music and singing. Since then he has starred in nine feature films, eight short films, three tv-series, done some more theater and entertained people with Kevin Levy as comedy duo Kevin et Tom. 
He debuts as a recording artist in March 2018 with Are we too late and his debut album Recollection was released in 2019. And out of the blue he flies the French flag in Rotterdam's Eurovision song contest 2020 with a song written by the usual Swedes Thomas G:son, Peter Boström and last year's entrant John Lundvik. French Eurovision veteran Amir is among the lyricists of this bilingual song. The song came first and Tom was paired with it later. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

EUROVISION 2020: GET TO KNOW BENNY CRISTO (CZECH REPUBLIC)

Benny Cristo or Ben Ben Cristóvão (32) has been around over ten years after making himself known in 2009 in talent show Superstar. Son of an Angolan father and Czech mother and brother to stand up comedian Bianca, Ben is also a medal winning athlete in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even before that in snowboarding. 
In his musical career he has released three albums, three EPs and 20 singles including his latest, the Eurovision 2020 entry Kemama.




Monday, February 17, 2020

EUROVISION 2020: GET TO KNOW HOOVERPHONIC (BELGIUM)

It may be quite safe to say already at this point that Hooverphonic will be maybe this Eurovision season's most seasoned act. Formed in 1995 they have released ten studio albums, a few live albums and compilations and their Eurovision 2020 entry is their 46th single release. Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts have been in the band from the beginning but these days Luka Cruysberghs is already the sixth lead singer. Funny fact: Madame Monsieur's Emilie Satt is guest vocalist in Badaboum.


BELGIUM: HOOVERPHONIC RELEASE RELEASE ME FOR EUROVISION 2020



The first announced for the Eurovision 2020 season was Hooverphonic for Belgium on October 1, 2019. Today they have finally released their entry, Release me that is pretty much exactly as I thought it would be: very Hooverphonic sounding indeed in a way those like me who don't know but their Mad about you and maybe a couple of other songs think they sound. And it's not a bad thing. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

FRANCE: TOM LEEB PRESENTS THE BEST IN ME FOR EUROVISION 2020

 
The expectations were high for Tom Leeb and France after declarations by the French television that the song "will make you forget all the others in the final" and that the song moved everyone and they chose the song first, then matched it with a perfect voice, Tom Leeb, a relatively unknown as a singer so far. Then today it was revealed the song is titled The Best in me, written by the usual Swedish ones Thomas G:son, Peters Boström and John Lundvik (it does sound like his song really) with the lyrics written by John Lundvik with Amir, Tom Leeb and Léa Ivanna, apparently for the few French lines. The fandom melted. France became the talk of the bubble. For the negative.
And no wonder. Also this blogger can't quite comprehend why such a great musical nation as France couldn't find a song written, produced by the French? And how come even they turn to the desperate move singing in English? Thank heavens we still have Italy and Spain with some pride left. And Portugal.  This said, and studio version listened it isn't that bad and gets better by further hearings. But still: Why? Or rather: Pourquoi?
The premiere took place in the Eiffel tower, where Tom gave all but perfect vocals performance...

LITHUANIA: THE ROOP FOR EUROVISION 2020

 
The Roop won last night the revamped Lithuanian national selection Pabandom is naujo! for the Eurovision song contest 2020 in Rotterdam. Their On fire was the the winner for the jury and televoters alike with their original performance and choreography. The lead Vaidotas Valiukevičius  is a fabulous creature and I just adore his warm voice. They manage to be original and likable without being ridiculous or something like that even if the danger of that is just around the corner all the time. Fabulous! 
They already came 3rd in 2018 with Yes, I do that I liked also then. 

1. THE ROOP – On Fire 12
2. Moniqué – Make Me Human 10
3. Monika Marija – If I Leave 8
4. Rūta Loop – We Came From the Sun 7
5. Aistė Pilvelytė – Unbreakable 6
6. Meandi – DRIP 5
7. KaYra – Alligator 4
8. The Backs – Fully 3

NORWAY: ULRIKKE BRANDSTORP WINS MGP 2020 AND GOES TO EUROVISION

 
If I couldn't care less about the Armenian winner the other two national finals in Norway and Lithuania ended with my favorites winning. All didn't go as planned in Norway what comes to voting. The online only voting experience ended with a total crash of the system and a jury of 30 had to pick up the top-4 gold finalists instead. That has caused quite a stir when artists and their managers and media in general has attacked NRK as they say they were never informed on the Plan B existing. The 30 random tv-viewers based on age and region were also not voting based on the live show but the studio versions of the songs.... Oh my. NRK however says there will be no other voting. Ulrikke, one of the main pre-final favorites won and that's it. Off to Rotterdam!
Ulrikke (24) is no stranger to MGP having placed 4th in 2017 and became a superfavorite (also mine) after her stellar live performance in the 4th semi-final. Her song is co-written by Kjetil Mørland of ESC 2015 fame. Ulrikke first came to spotlinght in Idol 2013, then The Voice 2015 and Stjernekamp 2018. She has also done several musicals.
Norway jumps right up to ESC2020 winnner candidates because the song is a good classic power ballad that still sounds quite fresh but Ulrikke is what makes the difference, she is really seeking your attention being vulnerable yet very eager at the same time. A bit theatralical maybe but it works. I can't not pay her attention when she sings....

1. Ulrikke Brandstorp - Attention  200.349 (50,72%)
2. Kristin Husøy - Pray for me  194.667 (49,28%)
---
3.-4. Liza Vassilieva - I am gay
3.-4. Raylee - Wild
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5.-10. Didrik & Emil Solli-Tangen - Out of air
5.-10. Magnus Bokn - Over the sea
5.-10. Akuvi - Som du er
5.-10. Rein Alexander - One last time
5.-10. Tone Damli - Hurts sometimres
5.-10. Sondrey - Take my time

ARMENIA: ATHENA MANOUKIAN FOR EUROVISION 2020


Last night the Armenian national selection for Eurovision song contest 2020 in Rotterdam took place and Athena Manoukian emerged as the winner with her Chains on you. She won both juries (international and local) but televoters placed her only third behind Vladimir and ERNA. 
Athena (25) was born in Athens, Greece. She's been around since 2007 particiapting in various talent shows and Greek Junior Eurovision. In 2011-12 she scored three hits in Greece. In 2014 she was an award winning one hit wonder in Europe before turning into a songwriter in 2017 for others. After several years being rumored for Eurovision she's about to take on this new adventure for Armenia in Rotterdam. 
if you check my previous post about Depi Evratesil you notice that I couldn't diagree more, my faves placed 8th, 9th, 10th and 12th...:

1. Athena Manoukian – Chains on you 168 points
2. ERNA –  Life faces 120 points
3. Vladimir Arzumanyan –  What's going on mama 118 points
4. Miriam Baghdassarian – Run away 108 points
5. Gabriel Jeeg – It's your turn 99 points
6. TOKIONINE – Save me 96 points
7. Sergey & Nikolay – Ha, take a step 96 points
8. EVA Rida – No love 84 points
9. Karina EVN –  Why? 84 points
10. Agop – Butterflies 75 points
11. Arthur Aleq – Heaven 65 points
12. Hayk Music – What it is to be in love 57 points
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