Friday, May 29, 2009

H O L I D A Y S !

I'm off to holidays and will be back in early June. The last "Tonight..." series post came up on its due date but there won't be other posts I suspect. Come back later for all the news and gossips from Oslo 2010 preparations, record news, more Ralph Siegel saga, Madonna and all kinds of everything related. Hasta luego!

Tonight 10 years ago... Take me to your heaven

After many troubles and change of dates Jerusalem hosted its second Eurovision on May 29, 1999, the latest date to date. Malta and UK were again ready to step in and host the show but in the end Israel did it despite financial and political problems, as well as Dana International. The mayor of Jerusalem and the religious groups were against her and Eurovision but in the end she performed the interval act under Mount Sinai which is one of the most memorable Eurovision moments. But due to financial reasons IBA dropped the live orchestra and it has never returned since. Also the language rule was gone and most sung in English, sometimes with hilarious results, like Slovenia... The Big4 was introduced, and there were problems with the stage as well. It was completely changed the last minute. Bosnia-Herzegovina had to change their song as the winning entry was already recorded in Finland years before. Maybe it was a good move after all, the replacement took respectable 7th place! Iceland sent Selma, Germany another Ralph Siegel song, Croatia Doris Dragovic, Spain the most horrible dress ever and France a singer who belongs to a sect of religious fools. But Sweden won with an ABBA cloned song Take me to your heaven by Charlotte Nilsson (later Perrelli) but most remembered her silicons, both boobs and lips.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tonight 7 years ago... I wanna

Estonia and Tallinn organized the 47th Eurovision on May 25, 2002 after many problems were solved, mainly financial. Malta and the Netherlands already offered to take the show but Estonian government granted enough funds and with the help of Finns and Swedes Estonians made it and 24 countries took part. Spain sent Rosa and was pretty sure to win it all while Slovenians sent a drag act Sestre, Germany had again Ralph Siegel song and Finns were pretty sure to make it big this time with Laura Voutilainen. Sahlene was there, so was Konstantinos for Cyprus, as a member of One boyband. But this was another surprising year when Latvia took a suprise win in the end while Malta was in the lead most of the voting. My favorites Germany, Finland and Denmark took 20th, 21st and 24th place. No comment. Latvia's stage performance by Russian born Marie N is one of the most memorable in the history but the song? Also it is quite remarkable Latvia was not ment to be there at all and got in only as Portugal stayed home! But EBU was again facing the question: Could the winning country organize the contest next year?

Tonight 53 years ago... Refrain

On May 25, 1956 EBU organized in Lugano the Grand Prix de la Chanson Europeenne. It was an experiment and chance to try live broadcasting in its member countries. Seven countries took part, each with two songs: The Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Italy. Denmark, Austria and UK wanted to take part, too, but were too late. They broadcast the final anyways. No final scores have been published but Lys Assia for Switzerland won this first edition with Refrain. She was so overwhelmed she forgot the lyrics and just did some la, la, las instead - a very common feature in the Eurovision in the years to come. 53 years alter Eurovision is bigger than ever and has overcome many crisis and changes but it looks like the 2009 edition was and will be both commercial success to the songs and viewing figures. And Lys Assia? She's still going strong and awarded Norway's Alexander Rybak the winning trophy together with last year's winner Dima Bilan!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tonight 1 year ago... Believe

On May 24, 2008 Belgrade hosted the 53rd Eurovision after Marija Serifovic victory in Helsinki 2007. Dima Bilan returned to claim the crown after being second to Lordi in 2006. They took a lot of inspiration from Helsinki's Eurovision in the organization and even the stage. Charlotte Perrelli (Nilsson) tried a bis but finished a total disaster. Saved by the juries in the semifinal she ended 18th in the final. Azerbaijan and San Marino debuted. Ukraine came second again. Ireland sent a Turkey. Switzerland tried with a big Italian star Paolo Meneguzzi and still failed to reach the final. Armenia did another success and Israel´s golden voiced Boaz Mauda later united with Armenia's Shirusho and Serbia's Jelena Tomasevic with a song.

Tonight 6 years ago... Everyway that I can

The biggest Eurovision until then was held in Riga on May 24, 2003. Ukraine debuted. It is rumored also Albania, Belarus and Czech Republic wanted to participate. There were big doubts Latvia would be able to arrange the 48th Eurovision but in the end all went fine. There were no Eurovision veterans that year but Turkey and Portugal sent their big names, and Russia world famous fake lesbians t.A.T.u. The girls caused trouble all week and everywhere and in the end EBU gave Russia a warning. They ended their very disappointing and anti-climaxing performance with people booing loudly. The voting turned out one of the most exciting ever with top-3 Turkey, Belgium and Russia finishing within 3 points! And UK finished with null points. Sertab enjoyed a big hit in Europe and managed to create a following for years to come, even if her English speaking album didn't make great impact in the music market.

Eurovision winners and losers

After this Moscow 2009 editions we 25 Eurovision winning nations and 26 non-winning nations. Norway broke the record breaking 8 year long string of new winning countries when taking its third win. Ireland holds the record with 7 wins - four of them in the 1990's - followed by UK, France and Luxembourg with 5. UK has also come 2nd 15 times! Sweden and the Netherlands have 4, Israel and Norway 3. Switzerland, Spain, Italy and Denmark have won twice.
The one time winners are Germany (also 4 second places and 5 third places), Russia (1-2-2), Belgium and Ukraine (both have also 2 second places), Monaco, Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Turkey, Austria, Finland, Serbia and Yogoslavia. The others are still waiting for their first win, Portugal the longest: 43 years...
Malta has been close several times; they have two second places and 2 third places. Iceland scored its second second place this year. Poland and Serbia-Montenegro have been second and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania and Azerbaijan third.
Here's a chart of the countries that are still waiting a place in the podium:

4th - Croatia (twice), Armenia, Hungary
5th - Cyprus (3 times), Bulgaria
6th - Belarus, Lithuania, Moldova, Portugal
7th - Slovenia (twice), Albania
11th - Georgia
12th - FYR Macedonia
18th - Slovakia, Morocco

And these four are still waiting to qualify for the final:

11th in semifinal - Montenegro
12th in semifinal - Andorra
18th in semifinal - Czech Republic
19th in semifinal - San Marino

Special mention to Czech Republic that has come twice last in its semifinal and once second to last in its semifinal - out of three participations!

Almaas & Stenvold - possible 2010 couple?

NRK run an on line poll to see who Norwegians would like to see as presenters in 2010 Eurovision song contest in Oslo (yes, I write Oslo as I doubt any other city can be considered in the Eurovision of the 2000's, sorry Trondheim & co.) and the favorites are Jon Almaas and Ingerid Stenvold. Both are very popular TV personalities and have worked previously together and when they do sparkles fly so they might be just what we would expect from Norwegians and what we would need after the mediocre offering we got in Moscow. But in the end, how many minutes they were on the screen if we count out the voting?

Ádokzoli wins Barbara Dex Award

Ádokzoli or Zoli Ádok from Hungary wins the Barbara Dex Award for the worst dressed artist in Moscow 2009 Eurovision. Czech Republic's came second and Krassimir from Bulgaria third. None of the top-3 reached the final. Fourth, and remarkably the first female singer, was Albania's Kejsi Tola who did get to the final. Slovenian and Slovakian teams didn't receive one single vote so could we say they were the best dressed? Or simply so plain and boring no one paid any attention? Congratulations to Andorra and Susanne Georgi for not making the top of this list! Here are the full results:

1.Hungary 199 2.Czech Republic 159 3.Bulgaria 140 4.Albania 115 5.The Netherlands 66 6.Ukraine 59 7.Germany 58 8.Iceland 56 9.Russia 55 10.Armenia 52 11.Greece 50 12.Turkey 37 13.Spain 27 14.Ireland 23 15.Norway 23 16.Serbia 18 17.Portugal 17 18.Belgium 15 19.Azerbaijan 14 20.Sweden 13 21.Malta 10 22.Moldova 9 22.Andorra 9 22.Belarus 9 25.Romania 8 26.Poland 7 26.Israel 7 26.France 7 26.Finland 7 30.Bosnia-Herzegovina 5 31.Latvia 5 32.Denmark 3 32. Lithuania 3 34.Cyprus 2 34.FYR Macedonia 2 34.United Kingdom 2 37.Switzerland 1 37.Montenegro 1 37.Estonia 1 37.Croatia 1 41.Slovenia 0 41.Slovakia 0

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Check this out: StevenCover's Youtube channel

Internet creates stars and phenomenons and Steven Coulter could be the next one. He's 27 German guy who likes to cover Eurovision (but not only) songs and make videos for them. Sounds bad, ha? But no! He's great. Just check out Fairytale and Miss Kiss Kiss Bang videos and you know what I mean - brilliant stuff! Another couple of the serious vs fun stuff is Streets of love (Todas ruas do amor) and Be my Valentine. Well done Steven, I'm a fan! There's a lot more on his channel so check it out here:

The fairytale continues - in charts

It looks like Alexander Rybak's Fairytale will break some more records besides those made in Moscow. The song is already setting many iTunes charts on fire before the physical single hits the stores here and there. Fairytale is already number one in Norway, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and number two in Denmark and Finland and enters the UK chart at number 3. Besides that it is also charting in Germany, Russia, Australia, Latvia and New Zealand amongst others. In combined European chart it enters at number 33. Remarkable is that in Norway his follow up single Funny little world sits firmly at number two. His debut album Fairytales will be released on June 2, 2009.
Listen to Funny little world here:

All summer Fairytale in Oslo

Tasaa kaikkiOslo's City Hall's bells will play Fairytale all summer at noon. The bells play generally classical music like Joseph Haydn, but now the Eurovision winning song has been transformed into a version that can be played there. "It's rather simple melody and was easy to transform" says Björn Risvik, the technical director of the Oslo City Hall.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Over 122 million for Eurovision final

The ratings were higher in most of Europe this year and makes a total of over 122 million viewers live all over Europe. All the 42 participating countries broadcasted the show and it was also seen in Austria, Kosova and Australia, reports (but didn't Austria only show the Tasaa kaikkivoting live?). The share across Europe was 43,1% instead of the usual Saturday night average of 18,4%. Some countries had a big increase in the ratings like Estonia and the Netherlands. France did the biggest leap here thanks to Patricia Kaas.
The televoting went smoothly with only 4 exceptions of a total of 84 individual votings. Spain failed the televote in the second semifinal as they didn't broadcast the show live and used the back up jury vote instead. Also another country failed to register enough votes to use the televote and used the jury vote as well. In the final Hungary had a problem with the televotes but the SMS voting worked fine so only they counted for their votes. In Norway instead a local telephone operator's mistake ment they cound't count neither the televotes or the SMS and jury vote had to be used. That was the reason Norway gave their votes last in hope to be able to solve the problem in time but it failed and they used the jury votes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Laura Pausini photos now in FotoIlkar

I have added some photos from Laura's concert in Helsinki last night on my photoblog here:

Tonight 4 years ago... My number one

The 50th Eurovision took place in Kyiv on May 21, 2005. Total of 41 countries were to take part but Czech Republic didn't confirm their participation in the end due economical reasons, and Lebanon that was to debut and even chose a song already didn't meet the rules when they were not ready to broadcast the Israeli entry. They were shut out with 3 years penalty. Time will tell if we will ever see them again. A lot of previous winner and participants tried to be there failing to win various national selections: The Olsen Brothers, Johnny Logan as composer, Katrina, Gina G, Nanne Grönvall, Alf Poier, Nusa Derenda and Jahn Teigen for example. Some of them did make it to Kyiv. Selma who scored 2nd place for Iceland maybe wishes now she didn't as she didn't even pass the semifinal despite being one of the favourites. Chiara was there, too, making her previous 3rd place now 2nd and Helena Paparizou who won after being third with Antique a few years earlier. The voting was however rather exciting. First the votes were given from the 15 countries that didn't make the final and Greece was only 9th at the point. Once the final countries started voting she slowly took the lead and won, but with rather low points.
The organization for the Kyiv Eurovision was filled with problems. There were problems with renting the Arena, the tickets didn't sell, the political unstability in Ukraine. Ruslana, who was to be one of the presenters was replaced the last minute and Ukraine's own song was a theme song for the Orange revolution, with a new text forced by EBU though. And the Big4 took the last 4 places. But Greece took a (half-Swedish ) victory after 31 years and 94% of Greeks were watching that....

More voting details revealed

It seems now that many countries are publishing their separete televotes and jury votes.... If we go through all 42 of them it gets kinda boring so I will do just Finland, after all the results are out and there's nothing to say about them anymore. We can see that the jury and televoters agreed on top-3 and in total 7 countries out of ten. Juries also put in top-10 Malta, Armenia and Israel while televoters prefered Azerbaijan, Russia and Greece. Worth mentioning is Israel was jury's 10th and televoters 11th so mainly they agreed on that, too.

This is how the Finnish jury (Chisu, Pekka Laine, Jukka Haarma, Satu Mättö and Sofia Tarkkanen) voted:
12 Iceland, 10 Estonia, 8 Norway, 7 Malta, 6 France, 5 Turkey, 4 Armenia, 3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 2 Sweden, 1 Israel

And this is how the televoters voted in the final:
12 Estonia (16.225), 10 Norway (15.560), 8 Iceland (9.865), 7 Sweden (7.517), 6 Bosnia-Herzegovina (5.358) 5 Azerbaijan (4.441) 4 Turkey (3.909) 3 France (3.467) 2 Russia (3.180) 1 Greece (2.757)
11. Israel 2292 12. Portugal 2203 13. Albania 2191 14. Malta 1986 15. Denmark 1692 16. United Kingdom 1659 17. Germany 1650 18. Lithuania 1531 19. Armenia 1409 20. Ukraine 1242 21. Moldova 1187 22. Romania 1079 23. Croatia 947 24. Spain 672 (Total 94019 votes)

This is how Finns voted on first semifinal:
1. Iceland (9.846) 2. Sweden (5.949) 3. Bosnia-Herzegovina (4.237) 4. Turkey (2.693) 5. Israel (2.430) 6. Switzerland (2.219) 7. Belarus (2.103) 8. Malta (1.828) 9. Portugal (1.651) 10. Armenia (1.147) 11. FYR Macedonia (787) 12. Andorra (703) 13. Romania (654) 14. Montenegro (549) 15. Belgium (469) 16. Bulgaria (404) 17. Czech republic (241) (Total 37.910 votes)

Good viewing figures for Eurovision in Finland

The Eurovision final was the most watched program in Finland last week with over 1,3 million viewers. That's up from last year's 1,2 million but down from 2006's nearly 1,5 million when Finns gathered together to see Lordi win. The Helsinki 2007 final was watched by 1,9 million Finns.
The first semifinal where Finland was compiting was the third watched last week with 0,81 million while the second one didn't interest so much. It was 17th with 0,46 million viewers.

Eurovision enters the Finnish charts!

Three Eurovision songs enter the Finnish top-20 this week. Alexander Rybak's Fairytale enters at number 2, Yohanna's Is it true at number 4 and Urban Symphony's Rändajad at number 10. Waldo's People's Lose control drops to number 3 on its 23rd week in Top-20.
In albums Patricia Kaas's Kabaret debuted at number 7 but drops to number 33 while Waldo's People's Paranoid is at number 38. Eurovision 2009 stays at number one for the second week after being number two for two weeks.

From San Marino to Ireland etc

The Irish entry Et cetera was actually sent to San Marino last year, sung by one of the authors Daniele Moretti in Italian as Fuori della realtá, that was in its turn an Italian version of the original version named Countdown to summer. Confusing? The ways of Eurovision are mysterious. Moretti didn't even know what Eurovision was before but now he's a huge fan and ready for another round, hopefully for Italy... or San Marino... or Switzerland. Or why not Ireland again?
You can listen to it here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

She is the Fairytale girl

Tasaa kaikkiAs we know, Eurovision winner Alexander Rybak wote the song to his first big love. Now we have a face and name for that: Ingrid Berg Merhus, 21. She met Alexander about five years ago in a music institute in Oslo where they both studied violin. They dated for a year until Ingrid left Alexander leaving him wanting for more. "It's a fantastic song and I'm very flattered it's about me" she says. "I learned about this thing just before the Eurovision from Moscow from my friends. I was very surprised!. We met for the last time a couple of years ago and Alexander wanted to start over again but I wasn't interested in him anymore. Now I'm engaged to another one."

Laura Pausini in Helsinki

Another amazing concert by Laura Pausini. It was a second time I saw her in Hartwall Areena and once again she offered over 2 hours of excellent vocals and fantastic songs. She was rockier than ever, and those new arrangements really fit the older songs. She was also rather chatty tonight, talking about Finns and Finland, and the five girls from Rome that follow her everywhere on her tour this time. Talk about true fan devotion! She also wished to learn some Finnish, besides the many kiitos and minä laulan and jokingly asked if someone wants to teach her. To everybody's big surprise a guy run through the Arena to the stage front offering his help! Lol. That wasn't prepared! Here's the first photo, I'll post soon some more on my photoblog....
And now folks, with Laura's words: Fate l'amore stanotte!

Tonight 3 years ago... Hard rock hallelujah

Greece has been waiting for Eurovision a long time but on May 20, 2006 they finally hosted it in Athens. 38 countries took part in the 51st Eurovision and the winner was something very unusual, and their home country had been waiting for the victory (or even moderate success) longer than nobody else, since 1961. Serbia-Montenegro's national final ended up in a chaos and in the end they didn't send anyone to Athens but maintained their right to vote. Armenia debuted and by strange coincidence opened the semifinal and finished the final. Dima Bilan, Carola, Anna Vissi and Fabrizio Faniello returned or would return to the contest. The monster rockers from Finland had caused bigger pre-contest mediastorm all over Europe than Dana International or anybody else but still not many believed they would actually win it. Their victory in Finland was already rather troublesome when people were strongly against or strongly for them. Many said things they had to regret later. Finland was under shock when they qualified for the final. A first for Finland. During the final day a rumour spread that Finland had won the semifinal so when the voting started and it was clear after 3 countries Finland would win, the negative spell on Finnish Eurovision was broken forever and a nation was liberated from its inferiority trauma. Lordi won with record number of votes leaving Russia's Dima Bilan far behind halfway of the voting. Finland won and hell didn't freeze over after all.... Lordi went on to become a global success story - at least for a couple of years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eurovision song contest 2009 final and semifinals results. Finland and Croatia got wildcards! Updated with jury votes

We can see that the top-2 would be the same but smaller margin. UK and France climb up while Azerbaijan and Turkey drop. Biggest climbers are however Denmark, Germany, Malta and Israel. Armenia, Russia and Albania drop the most while Spain and Finland switch places at the bottom.

01. NORWAY 387
(01 - 312)
02. ICELAND 218 (02 -260)
03. AZERBAIJAN 207 (08 - 112)
04. TURKEY 177 (07 - 114)
05. UNITED KINGDOM 173 (03 - 223)
06. ESTONIA 129 (05 - 124)
07. GREECE 120 (10 - 93)
08. FRANCE 107 (04 - 164)
09. BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA 106 (12 - 90)
10. ARMENIA 92 (15 - 71)
11. RUSSIA 91 (17 - 67)
12. UKRAINE 76 (16 - 68)
13. DENMARK 74 (06 - 120)
14. MOLDOVA 69 (11 - 93)
15. PORTUGAL 57 (18 - 64)
16. ISRAEL 53 (09 - 107)
17. ALBANIA 48 (23 - 26)
18. CROATIA 45 (19 - 58)
19. ROMANIA 40 (21 - 31)
20. GERMANY 35 (14 - 83)
21. SWEDEN 33 (22 - 27)
22. MALTA 31 (13 - 87)
23. LITHUANIA 23 (20 - 31)
23. SPAIN 23 (25 - 9)
25. FINLAND 22 (24 - 12)

The first semifinal results:

01. ICELAND 174
02. TURKEY 172
04. SWEDEN 105
05. ARMENIA 99
06. MALTA 86
07. ISRAEL 75
09. ROMANIA 67
10. FYROM 45

12. FINLAND 42
13. BELARUS 25

The second semifinal results:

01. NORWAY 201
03. ESTONIA 115
04. GREECE 110
05. MOLDOVA 106
06. UKRAINE 80
07. ALBANIA 73
08. DENMARK 69
10. SERBIA 60
11. IRELAND 52
12. POLAND 43

13. CROATIA 33
14. CYPRUS 32
15. HUNGARY 16
19. LATVIA 7

So, FYR Macedonia missed the final once again being 10th in its semifinal, surpassed last year by Sweden and this year by Finland. Serbia instead had to make way to Croatia.

Jari Sillanpää's shirt - part 2

Chatrooms and blogs are still talking about Jari Sillanpää's shirt and its still making headlines but the Finnish eBay-like has it already. Jari - or the organization behind YLE's charity program Nenäpäivä - is putting this Dolce & Gabbana creation on sale. The starting bid is 300 euros. Wanna own a piece of Eurovision history?
Jari himself has commented on his website the whole affair as "amusing".

Alex swings, Oscar sings on album!

Germany's Alex swings, Oscar sings have released their debut album Heart4sale. They only managed 20th place in Moscow. Even Dita von Teese's participation didn't help them, which is a shame as I think the song deserved a bit more than that. Dita on the other hand, who has no glue what Eurovision is beforehand, was amazed by the show, it is reported. However she was also outraged for the low placing for her and Germany. She was seen backstage having a diva fit before cooling down and heading for Cannes Film festival for a "private show".... Oscar, another American told he thought the Big4 status was rather artificial and would have rather started from the same line with the others, probably meaning the lack of performing to the masses before the final itself. He may have a point there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Waiting for Laura Pausini...

Eurovision is over, at least for a little bit and it's time to prepare myself for Laura Pausini. She started the Finnish leg of her worrld tour last night in Tampere and is in Turku tonight. Wednesday she will be in Hartwall Areena in Helsinki once again and I'll be there, too!
Last night's concert in Tamperetalo was sold out, and Laura's 12 trucks full of stuff the biggest thing on that stage ever...
Watch here her latest single featuring James Blunt and other goodies:

A little thank you...

First of all thank you to my readers for making me hit the 150.000 today and over 20.000 the past week. It has been a wonderful Moscow 2009 season. I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing and updating it!
Thank you to various sites and blogs I have been reading this season; stealing ideas, news and photos - I hope you don't mind!
Thank you Zamira Koleci, Maritxell Picart, Zvonimir Mamic, Tiiu Simm, Andrasevska Gordana, Edouard Dugois, Frederick Zammitt, Jasmina Mijailovic, Maite Garcia, Sophie Alexander, Yuriy Melnik, Konstantin Hudov, Christina Andreou, Nasstasja Tihanovic, Kiselyova Marina, Alon Amir, Heidi Nuopponen, Eddy Duhoux, Tsveti, Marco De Koning, Gorgács Bea, Anna Pupin.
Special thanks to Markus Luem, Rafael De Alba, Marcello Medici, Peter Clancy and Anna Muurinen.
I hope to see you all in Oslo 2010!

Finland: The Jari Sillanpää "scandal"

Jari Sillanpää's shirt and serious and rather clumsy performance as the spokesperson has caused a minor media scandal in Finland. Soon after Finland gave its points live in Moscow's Eurovision the blogs and chatrooms were filled by criticism. Why was he wearing that horrid shirt that did little to hide his big belly? Why he was so serious and lost for words as he is known to be a real showman and usually relaxed and on top of things, including what he wears in public. On Ilta-Sanomat's online poll 81% think he's shirt/performance was tasteless. Similar result on Iltalehti's poll: 85%. What do you think?

Norway and Iceland in hysteria

Tasaa kaikkiNorthwest Europe was still celebrating on Sunday when both Norway's Alexander Rybak and Iceland's Yohanna received a hero's welcome at home. Norwegians greeted Alexander in the airport where over 5.000 people gathered to welcome him back causing a total chaos. Norway took it's third Eurovision win. Quite interestingly their first win came with a Norwegian-Swedish duo Bobbysocks in 1985 followed by an Norwegian-Irish Secret Garden ten years later. And now Belarus born Alexander... Also the latter ones include violin.
In Iceland also Yohanna was welcomed by a huge outside festival in the center of Reykjavik. Icelandic TV's bosses commented the second place was the best they could have afforded. As we know Iceland has been suffering some severe economical problems recently and a win might have created a bit of problems. Second place surely provided them some happiness after a sad period. Interesting fact is that Iceland was beaten by Sweden back in 1999 when Selma scored a second place, and now by Norway.
Congratulations once again to both Norway and Iceland from me, too! :-) See you in Oslo!

Italy: 56 artists together for Abruzzo

The biggest stars in Italy have united in to record a song called Domani (Tomorrow). All profits go to save the culture in Abruzzo region through Salviamo la cultura in Abruzzo organisation, distroyed by the earthquake earlier this year. The song was recorded on April 21 in Milan. More charity events to support and help the people of Abruzzo are planned, including all female cast concert organized by Laura Pausini in San Siro stadium in Milan this summer. Here's the list of the artists taking part on this record:
Afterhours, Niccolò Agliardi, Albano, Alioscia, Malika Ayane, Claudio Baglioni, Franco Battiato, Baustelle, Samuele Bersani, Bluvertigo, Caparezza, Luca Carboni, Caterina Caselli, Carmen Consoli, Cesare Cremonini, Vittorio Cosma, Dolcenera, Elio e le Storie Tese, Elisa, Niccolò Fabi, Fabri Fibra, Giusy Ferreri, Tiziano Ferro, Eugenio Finardi, Frankie Hi Energy, Giorgia, Gianluca Grignani, J.Ax, Jovanotti, Ligabue, Mango, Gianni Maroccolo, Marracash, Gianni Morandi, Morgan, Gianna Nannini, Negramaro, Negrita, Nek, Roy Paci, Pacifico, Mauro Pagani, Giuliano Palma, Laura Pausini, Piero Pelù, Max Pezzali, Massimo Ranieri, Francesco Renga, Ron, Enrico Ruggeri, Antonella Ruggiero, Sud Sound System, Tricarico, Roberto Vecchioni, Antonello Venditti, Mario Venuti, Zucchero.

Tonight 13 years ago... The voice

Oslo hosted the 41st Eurovision and in the end 22 countries were present. In all 29 countries wanted to take part but EBU couldn't decide what to do with them so only two months before a preselection was held with the tapes only. The results were meant to be kept secret but it has been later revealed Sweden won this one. And what is known is that Germany, Denmark, israel, Russia, Hungary, Romania and Macedonia didn't survive the selection and were out. Especially Germany's dropping out was the very first step for creating the Big4. Elisabeth Andreasson was there once again and finished second just before Sweden. Portugal got its best placing to date: 6th. Gina G for UK scored only 8th place but topped the charts later here and there and having a top-12 hit and Grammy nomination in the USA! Belgium sent Liefde is een kaartspell. The same song did much better for Sweden as Listen to your heartbeat a few years later. But that wasn't the biggest problem that year but Ireland winning for the 4th time in 5 years. Disappointed audience started leaving the Arena once the result was clear and when Eimearr Quinn finished her reprise the hall was nearly empty. It was the first step to get rid of the juries and find an alternative, televote. Personally I think this is the most annoying winner ever.... And has someone heard of her ever since but in some Eurovision related shows?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's over. Waldo's People back in Helsinki

The Finnish team returned from Moscow today around 9pm. They told they are very happy and satisfied for the two week's job and they were absolutely not a flop, as labeled by some Finnish media. "We made it to the final, and left 17 countries behind in the semifinals. That is not a flop" said Waldo. "We went to Moscow to do our thing and the result looked very much like us. We didn't want to go and do some circus stuff. We worked a lot and it was tough." Then he complains a bit about the polluted air in Moscow and the different treatment the artists were receiving. "There seemed to be artists in category A and in category B. France's Patricia Kaas for example was treated like a superstar she is. I don't have a problem with that but one would think all artists would be equal in an event like this." Waldo's plans for the nearest future include drinking Finnish coffee, sitting in the garden and rest, rest and more rest. Then he will hit the road again with his People for summer gigs.

Patricia Kaas wins The Best Artist Award

Marcel Bezençon Award 2009 awards were given moments before the final this year and Patricia Kaas won the best artist award and Bosnia-Herzegovina's Bistra voda was chosen as the best composition. Norway was the Press favourite.
These awards assigned by the delegations in Moscow are named after Marcel Bezençon, the father of the Eurovision song contest. He got the idea in 1955 after Sanremo Festival in Italy and the first Eurovision took place in 1956.
It was also a special night to Patricia Kaas in many ways. Her mother died on this day exactly 20 years ago, and since then she has never performed on May 16 until now. She finished 8th, the best placing for France since 2002.

Norway upside down for happiness - and preparations on the way already

Norwegian TV was so sure about the victory they have started already preparations a few days ago. The rumours say the venue is already booked for May 2010 - most likely Spectrum or Telenor Arena, both in Oslo. Meanwhile as usual most and every city is Norway has thrown in its candidacy as host. As for the hosts someone has already thrown in Bobbysocks, Norway's first winners in 1985. They would surely provide some fun to the show! Also Jostein Pedersen's name has been thrown in.
Norway is celebrating its National Day today and Eurovision win adds extra to the already happy fest in the country. Rybak invited on live broadcast everybody to the airport to meet him and the management in Oslo airport are ready to minimize the chaos by calling in extra security and getting ready for thousands and thousands of people tonight when the Norwegian team comes back from Moscow...

No regrets for Waldo's People!

The Finnish team is extremely happy for the qualification for the final, even more so when they found out it was thanks to the professional juries. Waldo's People showed so regrets for the last place in the final and partied all night in Moscow. Karoliina and the girls were seen in the EuroClub until morning while Waldo and some others left the club earlier and partied in the hotel's lobby until 5.30. "Fantastic experience and we have no regrets. We did the best we could and after all 17 countries were left behind us so... This is an ultimate once in a lifetime experience, something to tell to grandkids one day watching the DVD!" However, in's backstage video Waldo is saying he wouldn't exclude an another particiapation in the future.

Andrey Malakhov sends flowers to Jaana

As reported before the semifinal host surprised Jaana Pelkonen, the TV commentator for YLE and Helsinki 2009 hostess with a phone call earlier this week. The courting took another step when Andrey sent Jaana flowers last night to her commentator box.... Hmmm....
Here happy Jaana is leaving the Arena before heading back to hotel for a change before partying all night!

Congratulations Norway! With a broken trophy!

Happy national day to all Norwegians and congratulations to Alexander & Frikar - even if he apparently broke his glass trophy already!!

Well done Moscow, with the help of Finns & co.

Congratulations also to Russians who gave us last night a great show that run smoothly, looked wonderful and ended in time. Plus gave us the interval act to remember! It makes us forget the less fortunate semifinals, what's been going outside the venue and the streets. On the other hand one can ask what was Russian in the final? Cinque de soleil or the interval act by Argentinian Fuerza Bruta definitely not!
While Norwegians are already busy preparing for next year, YLE's Kjell Ekholm reveals they, Norwegians, have been already asking YLE for hints and advice in organizing the 2010 event, days before they won! Also the Russian TV visited Helsinki weeks before Eurovision 2009 to compare notes and how they have been doing compared to Helsinki 2007.
Worth mentioning is that once again Finns were behind the press center facilities in Moscow, just like in Belgrade and Helsinki, and once again the Finnish Pyroman provided the fireworks and pyros on stage in Moscow.
So we came last? So what?! We were in the final and that was already a victory for us, like Waldo said. "Final was our goal and we did it. We are not losers, 17 countries were left behind us!"

How did I predict?

Well, I got 7 right, lol. I had Norway and Turkey right in top-5 while Greece managed only 7th, France 8th and Bosnia-Herzegovina 9th. I had Iceland and Azerbaijan 6th-10th but they finished in top-3. I got Estonia and Russia right but UK did way better than I expected. I missed Armenia by one place putting it 11th-15th but it managed 10th. Same for Portugal; I had it at 16th to 20th and it did 15th, while Sweden and Finland did worse than I expected and Romania, Croatia and Albania better. So, in all 7 right and 12 others almost right.
All in all I was just completely wrong with UK (did better), Denmark (did better) , Germany (did worse), Malta (did worse) and Spain (did worse). On the other hand I must say I never believed in Malta but was fooled by the polls. And I would have switched Spain to 20-25 category (and right then) if I did this after seeing it. That would have pushed Albania out there and to the right category! :-). So, in the end, not so bad?

We have a record breaking winner!

Norway came, sung and won.... runaway winner from the start of the voting breaking Lordi's previous record of 292 points with 387 points....

The show was actually very good. The opening was good, Alsou and Ivan did a ok job, the interval act was absolutely stunning! The voting then... well, that was very very very boring, the only excitement coming from the question Will Norway break 400 points? They broke Lordi's previous record already with Estonian votes as the 31st country to vote... Am I right if I say only Czech Republic didn't give them any votes?

Iceland second and Azerbaijani Swedish production third and Estonia 6th - fantastic! Big favourites Turkey 4th, UK 5th, Greece 7th, France 8th, Bosnia-Herzegovina 9th while Sweden only 21st, Malta 22nd, Spain 24th and Finland last. But it's quite remarkable Finland came last with 22 points!

In all Norway got 16 times full points, 9 times 10 and 10 times 8 - that makes 35 top-3 placings out of 41! That's 85%....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Alexander Rybak vs. The others!

The biggest pre-contest favourite in the history of Eurovision song contest will take the stage tonight with 24 other acts. Will the Norwegian fairytale have a happy end? Will he break Lordi's all time record points 292? Or will we have a surprise tonight?
Enjoy the show wherever you are and come back afterwards for comments and reactions. Buona visione!Tasaa kaikki

Gay pride Moscow: Arrested Finn's testimony

Tarja Koivumäki, an Eurovision fan who had to come to Moscow to see the contest was amongst the arrested today with her 25-year-old daughter and another woman. She tells in Helsingin Sanomat: We arrived to the original meeting place to show our solidarity for gay rights. We didn't know it had been removed to another place but there were a lot of police and closed streets. We were standing in a street corner when a group of Russian Mothers Organization people started hitting us with sticks and spitting on us. It seemed like the police were arresting people randomly, I heard them saying "these must be those" and the police arrested us. Me and my daughter were taken to one police car and the other woman to another. When reporting this to Helsingin Sanomat she was on the phone while three police men were writing down their info and she had no idea what was going to happen to them. They all had tickets to tonight's final. She told there were at least six Russian with them who were arrested. The police never informed them about their rights, offered a translator or a lawyer. Luckily Koivumäki speaks some Russian. They wanted to know why they were in that square and why foreign TVs were interviewing them.
After 2,5 hours or interrogation the two women were released and started looking for the third one. She wasn't in the police station they were told she was taken to. Later they were told she had been released, too.

No comment.

Gay Pride stopped by force in Moscow

UPDATE: Apparently the Red Square has been closed in order to stop the various demostrations all around Moscow to spread there, too. Also the Eurovision final level of security has been raised tonight.

Three Finns are amongst the arrested in Moscow today. There were a lot of police in the streets and several streets were closed in attempt to stop the Gaypride happening, writes Helsingin Sanomat. The gathering place was already changed from its original place but once people started to get together the police came in 5 minutes and started arresting people present, amongst them Peter Taschell, a British activist. Soon one of the organizers Nikolai Alekseyev arrived with his partner who was dressed up as a woman. When police asked for their documents they refused to show them and asked why. After asking several times the police just grunted there's a man dressed as a woman in here. They were then forced into the police car and taken away. Two German Eurovision guests had arrived to see what was going on and described it weird, scary and depressing: They are taken away with force, showed into police cars and taken away. The arrested Russians might face big trouble in the future. The total number of the arrested people is about 30.

In Moscow 2009: Germany censored

This is something you won't see tonight on live show. EBU has asked Dita von Teese to keep her nipples to herself tonight. In the first rehearsal yesterday she still showed her breats with just nipples covered with jewelry but obviously that was too much for EBU for understandable reasons. After all this is a family show even if various Svetlanas may do any movements they want to on stage - as long as they are more or less covered.... Go Miss Kiss Kiss Bang, show them!!!

In Moscow 2009: Waldo's People want to meet their idols

Waldo is very happy for the running order slot right after the UK because it gives him a chance to maybe meet Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. "If someone told me a year ago I would be competing here against likes of Lloyd Webber and Patricia Kaas I would have said he's completely coccoo!" Also Karoliina dreams of meeting Patricia Kaas, that hasn't happened yet. She would also like to meet one of her idols, Diane Warren who has also arrived in Moscow.
But the Finns are not the only ones wanting to meet the French diva: Christer Björkman told he and Malena from Sweden were actually hoping to get number 2 or 4 in the running order so they would have better chance to meet La Kaas

In Moscow 2009: Finns lost control

Finns are not very happy with last night's dress rehearsal. It all seemed fine live in the Arena but on TV it was clear that Karoliina's voice broke in the middle of the song and Finns think now that it may have cost them a lot of jury votes because the juries use the tape from last night instead of the live broadcast tonight (and may I ask why? Couldn't they just watch it and give their votes tonight?) Karoliina is taking her medicine that seem to start helping now so they hope to do ok in the final dress rehearsal that's going on in Moscow right now as I write this, and of course in tonight's final live. "If we can't get juries votes, we fight for those of the people!" comments Waldo.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dima Bilan: The album finally out

So, here it is. Apparently. Finally. Dima Bilan's American album... After Number 1 fan, Believe and Amnesia the next single is Automatic lady:
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