Thursday, March 29, 2007

Eurovision coins set

Besides the promised Lordi coin a full set is being released April 10 - or is this the Lordi one? Anyways, the set features all Finnish euro coins, the 2 euro coin being the special Roman Treaty one released March 25. It has been printed a total of 1,4 million examples. This set includes also a special Eurovision themed coin and the full set is printed only 20.000 copies or less.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Messukeskus as press center

The holy triangle (venue-press center-euroclub) is now set when YLE officially announced the nearby Messukeskus (or Helsinki Fair center) will host the press center instead of the planned tent outside Hartwall Areena. I was wondering the tent option from the beginning, we are not in Athens or Istanbul, and early May in Helsinki can still turn out quite tricky to handle weatherwise... Anyways, it's a great choise for the comfort once there. The only negative thing is the distance (some 350-400 meters with a lot of traffic in between) but at least the 1500 working posts with computers, cafe and the rest for the accreditated journalists and fans will be dry and warm, no matter what the weather turns out to be. It's worth remembering Messukeskus bid for hosting the ESC2007 itself as well...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Scooch for the UK

So, the British decided to step on board to the Scooch Eurovision flight and go poptastic after all. Scooch beat Cyndi in the second round of the voting in super final and will be Flying the flags for you and the UK in Helsinki. Well, it's a jolly little number and almost a relief after the Ukrainian experience right before it in the running order...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Where's what in Helsinki?

City of Helsinki promises the biggest Eurovision party ever for those two weeks in May and here's a little map just to show what's going on and where. Everything's in walking distance, except Hartwall Areena and the press center that will be in nearby Fair Center(top pic) where you might want to take a train or tram as it is about 5 kms from the city center and these other places. Also most hotels booked for the Eurovision are more or less on this map or just outside it. The main place is of course the EuroClub or Vanha (4) and Lasipalatsi (3) fan center and the place to watch the finals on a movie theater. You can also watch them on mega screens in Senaatintori (7) where the Finnish votes also will be given live and a lot of concerts etc will be happening every day, as well as along Aleksanterinkatu (or Aleksi)(5) street that leads to it from Vanha. Esplanadi park (6) will also host a lot of happenings, as well as Narinkkatori (2) that hosts the EuroVillage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Kohti Helsingin Euroviisuja 2007 - Eurovision drag medley

Finns! Sigh... (And Swedes, too)

The media didn't spare words when describing the draw show. Only the presenters were saved mostly but the rest was labeled as the old clichés: sauna, Sibelius and snowman (instead of Santa Claus). In Iltalehti on line poll 94% of the voters were unhappy how Finland was potrayed by YLE, "the image they gave of Finland to the world". C'mon people, what's wrong with you? What IS it you want??? I really wouldn't want to be in the shoes of those doing the show. Whatever they do they will be massacred. The Finnish way... Not to be outdone the Swedes seem to have got furious about the Carola joke done by the drag artists. Everyone but Carola herself who thought it was funny! Way to go, girl! The Carola vs Lordi act has been an on going joke in Finland since before the final in Athens and still makes us laugh. (But we still love Carola! And I think she knows it...)
I think the show was well done. The graphics look nice, Jaana & MIkko worked well together and despite being a bit nervous Mikko relaxed after a bit and delivered some spontaneous jokes that worked with perfect timing and Jaana was wonderful as usual. The dragshow was good and funny, so I am happy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

2007 Georgia - Sopho -

Oh dear, what are they thinking? This is scary... I do not want to know what goes on under her dress!!

This and that... and Gimme five!

So, the delegations are meeting in Helsinki also today and talk about all sort of things, like the possibility of two semifinals in 2008. Maybe. They're lucky with the weather: lovely sunny day and +9... The Eurovision cars have taken over the center of Helsinki driving the guys around from one place to another. Svante commented the stage (yes, it looks like finally there IS a stage plan) is "very Finnish, no frills, simple and beautiful". So far so good. Jaana and Mikko will be dressed by Erika Turunen, the Finnish National Opera's dresser, and the Opera people will also make the dresses for everyone else involved on stage (does that mean the Opera is involved in the interval acts??). She promises glamour and 4 dress changes in semifinal for both, 5 in the final! Poor guys, besides being nervous for 3 million Finns who don't speak French critizing their French they also have to worry about wardrobe malfunctions! And Hanna? Was she happy for the 5th slot? Not really, but after awhile she just went "gimme five" and decided to make it the motto for this spring!

Last but not least.... oh really?

Well, now we have the draw, Hungary came out with its dull song, Russia with its ladies and all is set but UK is just having its final this Saturday. As usual 5 acts will fight it over and a mixed group of hopefuls, has-beens and nobodies it is as usual. However, it's not all so bad it may sound,even if there is no winner amongst the songs. Cyndi with Take my heart has the power ballad (that may sound a bit too familiar but... who cares?)that might stand out between Ukraine and Romania (now that we know the running order), so would Hawkings & Brown. I'd like to see them on stage just to see and hear how they manage this chaotic entry and high falsetto vocals in They don't make'em like they used to. On the other hand if they win and fail in Helsinki the journalists have a bit too easy job for headlines...
My favourite is in the end Brian Harvey (yes, I used to be E-17 fan!) with his anthemic I can. For some reason it sounds honest to me (unlike Shooch).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Final - the draw

Armenia, Ukraine and Germany got the wildcards here. Armenia debuted last year and sung first in the semifinal and finished the final, this time they will be out as second last in the final:

01. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA Marija Sestic: Rijeka bez imena
02. SPAIN NASH: I love you mi vida
03. from semifinal
04. IRELAND Dervish: They can't stop the spring
05. FINLAND Hanna Pakarinen: Leave me alone
06. from semifinal
07. from semifinal
08. from semifinal
09. LITHUANIA 4Fun: Love or leave
10. GREECE Sarbel: Yassou Maria
11. from semifinal
12. SWEDEN The Ark: The worrying kind
13. FRANCE Les fatals Picards: L'amour á la francaise
14. from semifinal
15. RUSSIA Serebro: Song #1
16. GERMANY Roger Cicero: Frauen regier'n die Welt
17. from semifinal
18. UKRAINE Verka Serduchka: Danzing
19. UNITED KINGDOM Scooch: Flying the flag (For you)
20. ROMANIA Todomondo: Ljubi ljubi I love you
21. from semifinal
22. from semifinal
23. ARMENIA Hayko: Anytime you need
24. from semifinal

Semifinal - the draw

So, we have it finally. And we had the first taste of the Finnish Eurovision graphics and how Jaana & Mikko work, and it was fine, phew. The initial feeling of something bad coming on us when I read the words "sauna" and "drag artists" on the info for today's programme vanished. The stage or the sauna looked and worked fine, being something Finnish and quite funny at the same time, and the draggies doing those old Eurovision songs, especially the eternal Carola vs Lordi finale was just hilarious.... Austria, Andorra, Latvia, Slovenia and Turkey got the wildcards to choose their slots. Ok, here it is how it looks like:

01. BULGARIA Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov:Water
02. ISRAEL Teapacks: Push the buttom
03. CYPRUS Evridiki: Comme ci, comme ca
04. BELARUS Koldun: Work your magic
05. ICELAND Eirikur Hauksson: Valentine lost
06. GEORGIA Sopho: Visionary dream
07. MONTENEGRO Stevan Faddy: Hajde croci
08. SWITZERLAND DJ BoBo: Vampires are alive
09. MOLDOVA Natalia Barbu: Fight
10. THE NETHERLANDS Edsilia Rombley: On top fo the world
11. ALBANIA Frederik Ndoci: Hear my plea
12. DENMARK DQ: Drama queen
13. CROATIA Dragonfly ft Dado Topic: Vjerujem u ljubav
14. POLAND The JetSet: Time to party
15. SERBIA Marija Seritovic: Molitva
16. CZECH REPUBLIC Kábat: Mála dáma
17. PORTUGAL Sabrina: Danca comigo
18. F.Y.R. OF MACEDONIA Karolina: Mojot svet
19. NORWAY Guri Schenke: Ven a bailar conmigo
20. MALTA OLivia Lewis: Vertigo
21. ANDORRA Anonymous: Salvem el món
22. HUNGARY Magdi Rúzsa: Unsusbstained blues
23. ESTONIA Gerli Padar: Partners in crime
24. BELGIUM The KGM's: Love power
25. SLOVENIA Alenka Gotar: Cvet z juga
26. TURKEY Kenan Dogulu: Shake it up shekerim
27. AUSTRIA Erik Papilaya: Get a life - get alive
28. LATVIA Questa notte

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Lordi wins 5 Emmas

Lordi emptied the award table last night in Helsinki winning five Emma awards, or the Finnish Grammys: band of the year, song of the year, best selling album of the year, e-Emma and Export Emma. They also performed in Finland for a change. Next off they're off to the Baltics and Spain, then Japan and the US before performing in Helsinki Ice Hall (some say Olympic stadium, confirmation later) on May 11th and the Eurovision final on May 12th. Mr Lordi will also shortly start filming the horror movie he co-wrote and co-stars in...

Serebro for Russia

These ladies are Elena, Marina and Olga. They will represant Mother Russia in the Eurovision song contest 2007 in Helsinki...

Sabrina for Portugal

The Portuguese final was very poor but in the end there were 4-5 songs worthy of mention if being very positive. Vanessa and Henrique Feist with Além do sonho came third and was a rather nice song, Teresa Radamento with Ai de quem nunca cantou was the power ballad of the evening and came second while Sabrina's Danca comigo (vem ser feliz) pulled a rather surprising win. It is a nice little summery lambada-like entry that could be on any Finnish Tango Queen's début album. It is not bad but is it good enough to take Portugal to the final? Weirder things have happpened....

The Ark for Sweden

Argh! They did it! I am not happy at all, especially as I just discovered Ola Salo is not really Ola Salo or of Finnish origin at all... Anyway, they pulled a very convincing win in Sweden and Andreas Johnsson was second and televotes lifted Måns to third place. Now I'm the worrying kind...

Kábat for Czech Republic

Kábat won the Czech Republic's final tonight and will be this debuting country's first ever representative with Mála dáma. We nearly managed to avoid any Lordi-like entries but no, they took care of that on the very last day. Well, not quite. It is rather hard rock, and like Lordi they have been around for a long time already. The song does have a melody under all heavy guitars but it isn't as catchy as Hard rock hallelujah and they do not have a gimmick like the masks or wide pan-European fan base...

Friday, March 09, 2007

Verka Serduchka for Ukraine

Times have changed. Europe was scandalized and worried in 1989 when Gili from Israel and Nathalie from France, both 11 years-old, were competing. This year it will be so much more fun. DQ had already won in Denmark and now (s)he has to fight it off with Verka Serduchka who won in Ukraine with Danzing. Maybe they can give each other make up tips or will we see a real cat fight? Time will tell. Verka is really Andrej Danilko and very, very popular in all ex-USSR countries. All of sudden the Danish entry sounds like a piece of art... Here are the lyrics to this number (can't call it a song):

Hello everybody! My name is Verka Serduchka! Speak English? Nicht verstehen? Let's get dancing! Sieben, sieben, ai lyu-lyu! Ein, zwei, drei! Tanzen! Tantsevat horosho! Gde ruki? I want you sing! Russia good-bye! Ukraina tse klyova! Ukraina lybit tantsevat! Tantsuem u Maidan! (Ukraine is cool! Ukraine loves dancing! Let's dance at Maidan! OK, happy-end!

Can Måns stop The Ark?

Extreme measures have been taken in Sweden by the super favourites to win tomorrow. Måns decided to show Aftonbladet readers some skin, while The Ark's singer Ola Salo - of Finnish origin - decided to show it all to anybody walking nearby... Sonja, bless her, was so nervous during the Second Chance she literally suffered a black out after the show. Hope she can cope with her nerves tomorrow... and in Helsinki if chosen. Just to practise she went to have a sauna after the Second chance...

Turkish candy man

And he shakes it well. Only that something is missing. The beat is there. The falsetto vocals are there. Some oriental sounds are there. The cheesy lyrics are there (..."I've got lots of candy for you..." WTF? is he a candyman?) but yet... It's just not really working I'm afraid. Of course a great live stage show might make you forget the minor fact the song isn't strong enough but I don't see Turkey in the final at this point. But then what do I know? Some remixing and stuff and voilà, maybe we are all off to Istanbul again next spring. And that is an inviting idea!

Horváth vs Helena in Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is one of the debuting countries this year and it has quite an interesting mix of songs. My votes after a careful listening - not - go to Helena Zetova's piano ballad Love me again (and judging by the pictures that emerge from the net many men would love her to sing this song to them in person I'm sure) and Vlasta Horváth's Juanesque AOR radio friendly Adios. Without any previous experience with the Czechs it will be interesting to see who they favor...

Marija Serifovic for Serbia

So here we have it, this year's Lane moje and quite rightly it comes from Serbia. Marija Serifovic will be the first ever Serbian representative in the Eurovision with Molitva or Prayer. Hauntingly beautiful ballad with Balcan touch and strong vocals. Bosnia's Marija may be prettier but Serbia's Marija wins the battle hands down songwise!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Roger Cicero for Germany

Nicely on Woman's Day Roger Cicero won the German final with Frauen regier'n die Welt or Women rule the world. I am very happy Roger ruled the final as he was clearly the best and most interesting act on it. Good luck in Helsinki! Good to know all three Big 4's chosen so far have good strong entries this year! (Shame UK can't follow suit whichever of the 5 they choose...)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The last entries are on the way...

The delegations meet next Monday and Tuesday in Helsinki where the draw will take place amongst other things. This week Europe is busy selecting the last entries, starting off tomorrow with Serbia and Germany, where Roger Cicero (pictured) still is my favourite. And with the songs selected so far he would really stand out. Ukraine's out on Friday. Sweden, Portugal and Czech Republic will follow on Saturday and the UK with special permission only on March 17th. Turkey and Hungary still need to announce their songs and Russia both song and artist, and then we have it all wrapped up for this year!

Get a life - get alive for Austria

The Austrian entry sung by Eric Papilaya has been released this morning and is called Get a life - get alive and will also be the official theme song for the annual charity event Life Ball in Vienna that is a part of Elton John's AIDS Foundation. It is a rather rocky piece of music and unfortunately not very good... Austria didn't participate last year in Athens and therefore has to start off in the semifinal and me thinks they won't get any further than that.

Serbia coming up next

The selections are coming to an end soon and Serbia is next on this week. It will début as Serbia this year but as Serbia-Montenegro scored a number two in Istanbul 2004 when Zeljko Joksimovic made wonders with his Lane moje when they debuted as Serbia-Montenegro. This year's songs are mainly ballads sung by females, a few up tempo ones, one girl group rock piece and nothing extraordinary really. Marija Serifovic's Molitva stands out and Aleksa Jelic has a catchy pop tune Beli grad and he stands out from the crowd at least for the pics on his website...

Les Fatals Picards for France

Les Fatals Picards with their L'amour à la Française has won the French final beating Medi-T with On and on in the super final. A very good choice and probably and hopefully they will score the best French placing since... well, since the year dot! A catchy happy little song that makes you smile. The lead singer looks adorable like a puppy while the other one fools around like a madman, but I say "Oh oui!" And yes, Marie M was there, too!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Official merchandising is here!

The long waited official merchandising for Helsinki 2007 is here: cd to be released the last week of April, dvd in the end of May, the annual fan book, pins, t-shirts, deck of cards, mousepads, lanyards, keychains, posters... You name it! Go get yours now on with special pre-order prices and be ready when May comes!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Czeck this out

The Czech Republic débuts in Eurovision this year and seems to have learned the game already; pre-contest rumours and withdrawal scandal and all the rest, it's Eurovision time! They also have a rather good approach to it: invite about ten acts that have been dominating the charts since October 2006 with their hits. Or something. Anyway, the songs in running are all rather un-Eurovision which might be a wise choice. More of them later but here's a little taste: Sámer Issa - of local Popidol fame - presents a song called When I am with her. I wonder if this pic is taken from the rehearsals and if this is what happens to him when he is with her?!

River of no return for Bosnia-Herzegovina

Oops, I mean River without a name or Rijeka bez imena, Bosnia-Herzegovina's entry for Helsinki has been presented. If presenting a washed down version of Lane moje under title Lejla worked well last year I doubt it will work again when Lejla in turn has been washed down in the river for this year. Yes, nice beautiful Balcan ballad, but something's missing and I honestly lose interest before the song hits 2 minutes... And I'm a sucker for this kind of song! Shame. Zeljko, do something!

Andorra saves the world

Or not really, but it is much better than I expected. Maybe the words "punkrock" and their debut single's title "Shit sucks" made me prepare to the worst imaginable, but the song Salvem el món/Let's save the world is rather nice guitar driven piece of summer pop. Andorra risks the final for the first time this year and once in there.... Who knows?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Melodifestival: Måns vs. Sonja

So, the most followed national final and mother of all these semifinals and stuff is coming to an end this year, too, next Saturday. Many of the pre-contest favourites have been thrown out and the songs have been, in my opinion, very evridiki-like (read comme ci, comme ca). Anyways, Sonja Aldén's För att du finns is the grower ballad and would be a great addition to the songs already chosen for Helsinki while Måns Zelmerlöf's Cara mia is my favourite for all the other obvious reasons.

Dragonfly ft Dado Topic for Croatia

Dragonfly featuring rock singer Dado Topic with Ja vjerujem u ljubav or I believe in love won the Croatian final beating the runner up - second year in a row - Kraljevi ulice with Pjesma za novčić with only one point. Luka was left 11th. The winning song has nice elements and laidback atmosphere, some lyrics in English that work very well but somehow it isn't enough for 3 minutes and something is missing...

4fun for Lithuania

4fun has won the Lithuanian final with Love or leave, one of the better songs this year. A nice folksy ballad with female vocals and acoustic guitar. Sometimes less is more and simple is beautiful!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My story for Georgia

My story has won the Georgian final convincingly with 51% of the votes. Sopho Khalvashi performed in all five songs. In my opinion a boring start for this new country but then all 5 songs were very disappointing and uninteresting.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sarbel for Greece

Sarbel with Yassou Maria has won the Greek final in a very close fight. He got 39,6% of the votes against No Madonna by Christos Dantis with 31,2% and Tamta who scored 29,2% with With love. And there's a little bit Swedish in this song, too, namely one of the writers. So after Spain, Latvia and Norway also Greece has "a Swedish song". In my opinion this is clearly the best one. And also the less Swedish one.
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