Monday, April 24, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - MONTENEGRO (04): SLAVKO - SPACE

Pictured is the national flower of Motenegro, mimosa

Montenegro is seeking for their third final place this year with something else. They internally chose Slavko Kalezić and his outrageous character and song Space, written by  Adis Eminić, Iva Boršić and Momčilo Zeković. This seems to be the most divisive entry of the year, but at least it won't go unnoticed....

Slavko Kalezić (31) is actor, singer and songwriter. He has studied in the Academy of Perfmorning arts and is part of the Montenegrin national theatre. He has appered both on stage and in film in various productions. His singing career started in 2011, and two years later he tried his luck in X Factor Adria. He made it all the way to the judge's house mentored by Eurovision veteran Željko Joksimović assisted by another veteran Toni Cetinski. This didn't stop him and the year after he released his debut album. A few singles has followed and now he's here. Clearly he has created a character in true Lordi/Verka/Silvia Night style....

Where to start? The first reaction to this was giggles. And then wanting to hear and watch the video again. And again. The song itself is incredibly catchy and horny. As in having those horns in the arrangements that I love. Divine and retro. The very broken English in the first line might be intentional just to annoy and displace us as it disappears once the chorus kicks in. The video is wonderfully over the top and this whole affair is one big Eurovision cliché, in a good way. But... after seeing him live in various promo events (he has been literally everywhere!) the performance has been even a bit too over the top. I hope he keeps it under control in Kyiv and gives us an amazing staging and a bit more seriousness in the performance, less outrageous is more, and we might have a surprise in our hands. I must say I'm rather puzzled how come this is doing so bad in various fan polls, I thought they'd love it. Oh hang on, ah yes.... this is not the Swedish entry. If it was it'd be on top battling it out with Italy. Now it's just some random Montenegro.... Sad. 10/10




Sunday, April 23, 2017

EUROVISION COMPETITION GIVEAWAY: WIN SAN MARINO'S PROMO SINGLE!

Now it's your chance to win San Marino's promo single Spirit of the night by Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson. The single includes Radio version, ESC version and Club version + video, photos, inks and artists and songwriters biographies, and yrics of the entry.

To win your copy you simply has to answer the following easy questions and send the answers and contact details by commenting this post below (your answers won't be visible to others) by April 30, and like and follow my Facebook and follow my Twitter. The winners will be notified by email.

1. What is the Sammarinese cake Tre Monti made of?
A - sponge
B- wafer
C- ricotta

2. What color are the Sammarinese zebra crossings?
A – red and yellow
B – white and yellow
C – white and blue

3, What is the motto of San Marino?
A - Libertas
B - Humanity
C - Aeternum

4. What is San Marino famous for?
A - footballers
B – race drivers
C – crossbow shooters

5. How many times has Valentina Monetta represented her country?
A - 3
B - 4
C - 5


ESC 2017 REVIEW - SAN MARINO (05): VALENTINA MONETTA & JIMMIE WILSON - SPIRIT OF THE NIGHT

Pictured is the national flower of San Marino, cyclamen


San Marino once again used the internal selection and after a long process the final decision was made just a couple of weeks before the headline with a phone call to the one and only Valentina Monetta. She will be joined on stage with American born, Germany based Jimmie Wilson for this black & white disco duet penned by Ralph Siegel with Jutta Staudenmayer and Steven Barnacle. This is La Monetta's 4th Euroviison, Ralph Siegel's 24th. Maybe next year they make Valentina's 5th making her the ONLY Eurovision artist with five participations, and Siegel's 25th?

Valentina Monetta (42) seems to be the oldest artist this year (!!!) but she seems to be having the most fun of it. After Copenhagen she's been doing her own thing, singing jazz and r'n'b in clubs and living in London for some time. Jimmie who comes from the original Motown city Detroit, has studied in Hollywood, played in a musical produced by Michael Jackson before moving to Germany to star as Barak Obama in another musical. He has released a few singles and his debut album will be released shortly.

After three participations this time Valentina seems to be letting it all out and just having fun after the stressful Crisalide affair as one of the hottests fan favorites, and then the miracle of Maybe. Spirits of the night are dancing it away while Valentina lets it all out and musical star Jimmie is trying to keep up with her. And together they really work the stage and make the song come alive. Some say it's old fashioned and typical Ralph Siegel song aka dated and bad. I don't agree. It's vintage disco and their voices blend together, and even better when live and it is this song's natural habit (unlike some others like Belgium and Azerbaijan to start with...) as they both are experienced and great vocalists as we have seen in various promo events from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam and Madrid. Their live performance makes you even forget its slight repetitiveness that maybe can get to you when listening only the studio version. Valentina sings better than ever and has the sparkle in the eye like never before and their smiles can melt butter. This is fun and catchy and deserves to qualify. I might be slightly biased (cough cough) but  9/10 and a jump of 10 places in the last minute just for the fun of it. Go Vale!


ITALY: OCCIDENTALI'S KARMA ENTERS ALL TIME TOP-10 ITALIAN VIDEOS

Francesco Gabbani's hot Eurovision winning candidate Occidentali's Karma is still gathering an average of nearly 900.000 daily views on Vevo and has entered already the all time Italian music videos top-10 (besides being the already the most watched Eurovision video ever in overal) with over 99 million views when writing this on Sunday midday April 23. At this rate he will be the number one by midsummer but as the average views will surely be more during Eurovision and right after it, it will most propably happen sooner.... :-)
But how have the other Italian entries featured in this chart? Here are their positions when writing this:

#9 Occidentali's Karma - Francesco Gabbani 99.020.953 (daily average 879.250)
#11 Grande amore - Il Volo  86.970.984 (64.929)
#19 L'Essenziale - Marco Mengoni 48.200.124 (32,655)
#64 Nessun grado di separazione - Francesco Michielin 25.594.696 (11.756)

Marco Mengoni has two videos with more views than L'Essenziale, and a total of 9 videos in top-200. Also Francesca Michielin has one video doing better than her Eurovision one. Emma has a total of 8 videos included, but not her Eurovision one. Il Volo has 4 videos (all in top.100)

LAURA VOUTILAINEN HITS TOP-10 AGAIN WITH MÄ EN KESTÄ

Laura Voutilainen has been in the business and one of the most popular and chameleon Finnish female singers since early 1990's. She's always been big in radio sporting over a dozen radio play top-10 hits over the years, but now she's scoring her second official single's chart top-10 with Mä en kestä at #6 when writing this (also #6 in download and #38 on radioplay going up) following the success of Miks ei last year (#4 in download, #10 in singles, #9 radios). 
Of course this is also to do with the new way of making the charts but its refreshing to see some oldtimers making it among all the teenage idols and rappers. :-) Well done Laura!


ESC 2017 REVIEW - ESTONIA (06): KOIT TOOME & LAURA - VERONA

Pictured is cornflower, Estonia's national flower 

A recordbreaking 242 songs were submitted to the annual Eesti laul, 20 were selected for the semifinals, including a string of previous Eurovision veterans (Ivo Linna, Elina Born, Lenna Kuurmaa, Laura, Koit Toome). Ten songs made it to the grand final in sold out Saku Suurhall. In the end veterans Koit & Laura won, after a rocky road: in the semifinal the jury placed them only 5th, televoters 2nd. In the final's first round the jury kept pushing them down, now only 5th but they won the televote getting double the votes of runner up Kerli. Three songs made it to the superfinal where only televote ruled and they took a convincing victory (55%)  and slapped the jury's face with Verona, written by another veteran, Sven Lõhmus.

Koit Toome (38) started his career in a hit duo Code One before going solo with Eurovison 1998 and Mere lapsed placing 12th. Since then he has released albums and singles, won Dancing with the stars, dubbed animated films, done countless musicals. His uncle was the prime minister of Estonia, and he's to become father for the second time later this year.
Laura Põldvere (28) started her career in Eesti laul 2005, where she won with the girlband Sunstribe (and finished 20th in the semifinal, her solo would surely have done better ->). But she also came 2nd with her solo Moonwalk. Two years later she came 3rd with Sunflowers. In 2009 she was again 3rd with Destiny. And last year 2nd with Supersonic. She has studied music in Berklee Collage in Boston and has released two albums (plus one compilation) so far, and over a dozen of singles. 

If you haven't already guessed I adore Laura! Verona might be only 6th at this ranking but it also could be 2nd as the top is so even. I love Laura's voice, and Koit has his charm, too, and is a familiar name to this blogger and they work well together. The song is a weird mix of old and new, 80's dress and beat, 90's Europop, drama and nonsense but it works. It's incredible catchy and I want to believe whatever they are trying to tell me. One of the few songs this season I heard before the national finals I thought must win and do well in Kyiv. 9/10

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ESC 2017 REVIEW - FRANCE (07): ALMA - REQUIEM

Pictured is the national flower of France, iris

Once the Eurovision superpower France has been struggling big time in the 2000's culminating in the the last place in 2014 and second to last in 2015. It was a time for a total makeover and in 2016 they did it. Amir was chosen internally, scored 6th place in the final and became one of the biggest hits of the year in France, and in Eurovision general. His success changed apparently also the French public's interest and if it works, don't change it. Stick to Amir's inner circle:  Requiem is written by Nazim Khaled. Just like Amir's J'ai cherchè

Alma or Alexandra Maquet (28) is a singer-songwriter. She started with music already as a child and has lived in both Miami and Brazil. She started releasing her own songs few years ago and slowly made her way to television and touring with Amir among other things. Requiem is her third official single since 2014, and her debut album will be released shortly. The song is revamped for Eurovision with additional English lyrics (check the original after the jump...)

I loved Amir's entry last year and Alma is great, too. A bit of an ethnic vibe that makes me think of deep south, Spain and gipsies even. Alma's voice is very French and her r's very strong. It's catchy and fresh, a perfect summer hit in a style between Amir and Kendji Girac (who would be an Eurovision wet dream) so how could I not like this? I must admit I preferred the original non-English version but then again, one gets used to everything, even to those lines. France is on a right track and Edoardo Grassi will make them pround sometime very soon. Third time lucky? 9/10

EUROVISION 2017: A WEEK BEFORE THE REHEARSALS START - THE STAGE

How time flies! Already in a week, next Sunday morning, April 30, the first country Sweden will have its first rehearsal (read more here) on the Eurovision song contest 2017 stage in IEC in Kyiv. By then a lot is done on stage already; the dummy rehearsals with the local students have performed the songs over and over while camera and lightning crew has been fixing and fine tuning their part of the show. Once all this done, the real divas walk in and want all possible changes of course and the real work starts :-)

 This angle reminds me of Helsinki 2007 really.....
 Is that a medusa?
Pastel colors are in
 Just for some comparison....

ESC 2017 REVIEW - SWEDEN (08): ROBIN BENGTSSON - I CAN'T GO ON

Pictured is the Swedish national flower, linnaea borealis aka twin flower

Sweden once again used Melodifestivalen, the mother of all national selection marathons to select its song. 2.478 songs were submitted, more were invited and in the end 28 were chosen for the semifinals and six weeks later after the usual four semisi and the second chance round we had lost three previous Eurovision winners in the process, as well as Finland's ex-entrant Krista Siegfrids and Robin Bengtsson was vrowded the new king with his I can't go on, written by David Kreuger, Hamed 'K-One' Pirouzpanah and previous Eurovision entrant Robin Stjernberg. He was the clear favorite of the international juries, but Swedish televoters placed him only third....

Robin Bengtsson (26) started his career back in 2008 in the Idols, where he placed third behind Maltese Kevin Borg, and Alice Svensson who also took part in this Meloifestivalen (but didn't make it past her semi). Then he did WipeOut and and got to Melodifestivalen last year and placed 5th. He has released one album to date, but a string of singles since 2008, both soo and as featured artist. He has also participated in a couple of charity singles. 

What to say? This might be a bit too high on my ranking but I do like this. The staging works wonders and this will be an awesome opener for the Eurovision 2017 when he starts ti backstage and emerges to the stage later and starts running with his dancers/singers. This is Sweden so they have already fixed any lack of vocals by changing two dancers to ones with a voice plus he will have a back up singer who concentrates only on that and leaves the running to others so no worries in that department. Not the best song in the universe, but it's catchy, memorable and great arrangement. I wouldn't be surprised if Sweden scores another medal this year.... Nothing less than top-5 would be surprising. 9/10


Friday, April 21, 2017

ITALY: GABBANI, MENGONI, EMMA AND MICHIELIN NOMINATED FOR MTV MUSIC AWARDS

Francesco Gabbani is not only hosting the Tim MTV Music Awards Italy in Rome in the end of May but he's also niminated as the best male artist alongside another Eurovision veteran, global star Tiziano Ferro and Sanremo 2017 revealtion Michele Bravi.
But that's not all: two Eurovision veterans Emma and Francesca Michielin are nominated as the best female artist with Alessandra Amoroso and Levante. Marco Mengoni gets also another nomination in the best fans category.

Gadget

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