Saturday, September 18, 2010

Taking a break

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 7

Here they are, my dream artists for Eurovision who we will not see for a reason or another. Paula Koivuniemi and Anna Eriksson have said they won't take part again. Hanna Pakarinen is very unlikely and who knows what keeps Johanna Kurkela away? Maybe she's just too popular at the moment just like Jenni Vartiainen. Maybe we will see them in a few years? Tarja Turunen, The Rasmus and Sunrise Avenue are just too big to risk it not winning.... I guess. Meanwhile while waiting for the twelve names to be revealed on 30th lets enjoy some of their biggest hits: Ihmisten edessä, Nettiin, En haluu kuolla tätä yönä, Rakkautta ja piikkilankaa, Anna mulle piiskaa, Moskova, Kaikista kasvoista, Mad girl's love song, Oot voimani mun, Leave me alone, Black Ice, Paperimiehen tytär, Rakkauslaulu, Tuo se mulle, Olet uneni kaunein, Fairytale gone bad, Welcome to my life, Forever yours, In the shadows, Living in a world without you, October & April, I walk alone, Kuolema tekee taiteilijan, Falling awake.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome #187: Salomon islands

A very welcome yet unexpected visit: Salomon islands that becomes the 187th flag. A huge welcome!

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 6

After ladies and gents it's time for groups.
K-System has apparently expressed his will to do Eurovision in social medias so hopefully he has done it and been picked up by YLE. His latest is pretty brilliant  Call me 911.
Antti Tuisku & Anna Abreu, or the Finnish pop royals as their tour in 2010 was named. If not alone maybe they would do it together despite Anna declaring she's not interested.... Unfortunately there's nothing official with them together but here's a mobil phone vid.
Reckless Love is a band close to break through. Their record company just might give us some glam rock in Euroviisut, like Romance.
Indica in this list just an excuse to feature their In passing . They're way too busy right now charting in Germany and places in Europe... on the other hand Eurovision might give them the visibility to break through big time all over the continent at the same time? Nightwish produced.
Fork is an accapella group. And a great one both vocally and visually. Would be rather brilliant for Eurovision if you ask me. Here's Pink noise for you!
Wäinötär should definately make a come back as they are releasing a new album this fall. Kihlaus in 2005 was fab!
That's it folks. My (wrong) guesses. Tomorrow the last part.... the dream artists who will definately not be there but if they are.... oh yeah!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome #186 Zimbabwe!

Another African country makes it to the wonderful world of BlogIlkar's Eurovision! Welcome Zimbabwe, the 186th flag!

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 5

Here we go with more male artist...
Pasi Vainionperä won Iskelmä radio's new artist competition last year and since then scored a big hit with Rakkaudessa suuria and might be ready for a bigger stage.
Amoc raps in sami. Enough said. Here's Nortenos legioon.
Antti Tuisku falls to the same category as Chisu, one can dream right? He would be perfect and indeed is the ONLY Finnish male pop artist in international level. Here's his latest Atlantti.
Juha Metsäperä has several radiohits but remains a bit unknown to wider audience. It's about time he steps out to TV and gets bigger. Here's Olen lähelläsi.
Olavi Uusivirta has almost made it, too. But not quite. Euroviisut might help a lot. Here's his latest Nukketalo palaa.
Bubbling under were for example Mikael Konttinen and Kim Herold but as they have done Euroviisut already I decided to replace them with some new fresh names.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lena Philipsson goes symphonic

Lena Philipsson will perform her own songs and several covers with the Swedish radio's symphony orchestra directed by Hans Ek in Berwaldhallen in Stockholm. Three concerts are scheduled for October 28, 29 and 30. This is not the first time she sings with the symphony orchestra. Already back in 2004 she co-worked with Björn Skifs in the same venue. Berwaldhallen has then taken the habit of mixing pop and symphony. A new album by Lena is expected to be released in October as well.

Lordi and the church chicks

The new album Babez for breakfast by Lordi is "honest 1980's hardrock" as they say but features also new  things like strings, acoustic guitar and gospel choir. But finding a choir, even if in America wasn't easy. "Yeah, we wanted some church chicks to come and do some mighty notes but at one point it looked like it's not going to happen. We were recording at the American bible belt area and several choirs cancelled. Propably they googled us and after seeing us decided not to come! " Mr Lordi laughs. In the end the choir willing to work with them was found. "It was cool, great ingredient for the album. The fans seem to be divided pro and against though very strongly."
Mr Lordi also speaks about the Eurovision label. "Of course Arockalypse sold more than the others, having the Eurovision boost. If the media want to label Deadache flop, let them. Of course it couldn't sell as much as the previous one. To top those figures we should have won the football world champs ot something! Eurovision seems to be kiss of death for many; Hanna Pakarinen or Teräsbetoni haven't really enjoyed a great success after Eurovision. Or so the media says. And when they keep saying so people start to think so. And then they really go the wrong way. The Finnish media should be kinder to artists" he concludes (and BlogIlkar totally agrees!)

X Factor Italia: Sofia out

It's not looking good for Anna Tatangelo who loses already second artist from her team. Sofia Buconi gets her second duel and even if she won last week this time she loses and says goodbye to the possible Eurovision adventure. Here she's doing Lately.

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 4

More ladies! Chisu is added here as I'm an optimist....
Heli Kajo charmed the fans in Euroviisut 2010 and is about to release her debut album before Christmas. Hopefully there's another little pop song like Annankadun kulmassa that would fit Euroviisut....
Chisu. Do I need to ad more? She's perfect. She has it all. She's like an Eurovision wetdream. Chisu please.... here's Sama nainen.
Petra's debut album came and went but she's got more in her. In need of a rel-aunch and what would be better than Euroviisut? Here's Valtameri.
Laura Närhi just released her new album but maybe she left something for Euroviisut. Very unlikely but she'd be great, too. Here's Tämä on totta.
Suvi Teräsniska has just releaed her second album. If it includes something like megahit Hento kuiskaus I hope her record company had sense to save it for Euroviisut! It's very unlikely we will get Johanna Kurkela so give us Suvi.
So, there they are, my ten female artist. Annika Eklund and Johanna Pakonen were bubbling under until the very end....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 3

Let's have a look at the male artists now. As I wrote earlier this was much more difficult and I have included a couple of real wildcards here.
Cristal Snow should make a comeback. His second album is doing great and he's another artist with Chisu link with whom he duets in Wicked that Chisu also produced. 
Tommi Soidinmäki has already declared he's aiming for Eurovision. Welcome! Here's Kotkan siivet that sounds very Eurovisionesque....
Signmark should try again just like Cristal. He was awesome the first time around and the second album is just brilliant but hasn't set the charts on fire yet. Euroviisut and re-release would push it to gold I'm sure. Here's his latest, Against the wall.
Janne Raappana tried with the internet selection last year so there's hope he will do it again. He's a good singer and makes a great job with this cover,  Biagio Antonacci's Jos vain voisin.
Jukka Huhta is a real newcomer releasing his first single this summer, Anna mulle ilta.

Remembering Giuni Russo

Giuni Russo has nothing to do with Eurovision, I know, but she was one of the most remarkable Italian artists, collaborated with Franco Battiato, did Sanremo and most of all if things went the right way could have been in Eurovision as well. She died six years ago today.
She was born as Giuseppa Romeo in a big family in Palermo, Sicily in 1951. Her mother was a natural soprano and opera was part of the daily life in Romeo household, In 1967 she won Castrocaro, the contest for the new talents and got a ticket to Sanremo in 1968. She called herself Giusy Romeo with No amore but the song flopped. Her second single L'onda was more succesful and took her to Festivalbar and even Cantagiro, two important and historic Italian festivals. She then released another single Fumo negli occhi/I primi minuti, both covers of American successes and with that she closes the first chapter of her artistic career.
She moved to Milan and met Maria Antonietta Sisini, her partner for the life and career for the rest of her life.  In 1975 she got a contract again and under name Junie Russo, pretending to be Italo-American, she released an album all in English, Love is a woman, All this pilotated by her German record company who in the end was useless in promoting her. She writes with Sisini Che mi succede adesso, her last release under name Junie in 1976. 
In 1978 after a change of record company she released Soli noi that turns into a small hit despite total lack of promotion and got noticed even in France. Through Alberto Radious she met Franco Battiato and finally finds the perfect team. Battiato and Giusto Pio with Radius write and produce with Giuni and Sisini her album Energie in 1981. Her unique voice finally sits in the music and she secured also a recording deal of five future albums with CGD, proper promotion and Italians fell in love with her. Songs like Una vipera saró, Crisi metropolitana and L'addio hit the radiowaves and in 1982 the success continues with the megahit and evergreen Un'estate al mare where she even gets to imitate a seagull. The song stays in charts for more than 8 months, wins Festivalbar, sells gold and Giuni wins Vota la voce as the newcomer of the year. Next single Good good-bye follows off the next album Vox and things start to turn a bit sour. The record company, in person of Caterina Caselli, wants more commercial songs a lá Un'estate al mare. Songs like Sere d'agosto, Abbrozzate dai miraggi, Buenos Aires and L'oracolo di Delfi are used as promotion but Giuni wants to do more serious music.
In 1984 she was supposed to be in Sanremo with Ciao but the record company replaces her the last minute with Parry Pravo. Next album Mediterranea is published and while Giuni prefers the title track as the first single or Demenzial song the record company insists on Limonata cha cha cha and the tension is high between her and Caselli. The next album does not interest the record company anymore and they release it in late summer to make sure no one noticed it's out. However she manages to get to Festivalbar with Algheró and leaves her record company. Her next album including Adrenalina is released by a minor record company and difficulties start. She released an album A casa di Ida Rubinstein in 1988  but no one but diehard fans noticed. Un'estate al mare gets played every summer and greatest hist compilations are being issued by old record companies but Giuni herself isn't able to get to TV and shows (a bit similar fate as Alice but even worse). 
In 1992 she released album Amala with only two new tracks, Amala and Alla spiaggia dell'amore but in 1994 a whole new album is released Se fossi piú simpatica sarei meno antipatica, including La sua figura, accepted to Sanremo 1994 but then dropped from the published confirmed list (Catarina, did you do it?). The album also includes a duet with Battiato, Strade parallele. Meanwhile she continues her career in more artistic music, participating in Premio Tenco both 1994 and 1995 performing Ciao amore ciao, arranged by once again by Battiato. 
In 1997 she released a single Gabbiano and the year after to celebrate her 30th anniversary in business a live album Voce prigioniera with a bonus cd including her A casa di Ida Rubinstein, until the a very hard to find item. In 2002 another live album, Signorina Romeo live is released but printed only a few thousend copies.
In 2003 she is finally accepted again to Sanremo, after 35 years thanks to Pippo Baudo with the song Moriró d'amore arranged again by Battiato. The song didn't make it in 1997 when the jury thought  "the singer can't hold the tune". Her look may have shocked people but she took home the 7th place plus the award for the best arrangement and an album with the same name was released being a commercial success. Later that year she participates in Napoli che canta project and released a soundtrack with the same name in 2004. The big audience found her again finally after all these years but sadly she died the night between September 13-14, 2004. Her funeral in Milan on 15th was a major media event and her friends and collegues of all these years including Battiato and Alice were there as well as Maria Antonietta Sisini, always on her side. She is  now taking care of Giuni's heritage and production and several albums have been released since with unreleased songs and recordings. With respect and good taste unlike the situation with some other artists. 
Ok, this was a long one but Giuni was and is one of my favourite artists, incredble artist indeed. Alice's Nomadi was written by Juri Camisasca originally for her but she was unable to record and publish it due contracts or lack of them so it ended up on Alice's Park Hotel. If only she could have released it in 1986 and she had a record company to back her up things could have been so different for her...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Jalisse's Alessandra tries to get back to Sanremo

Alessandra Drusian has proposed a song to the selection committee of the 61. Sanremo festival. The lyrics of the song have been written by the pupils of the school in L'Aquila, the town that suffered in the earthqueke last year. "I want to bring to the stage the dreams and the hopes of these kids, and to show how creative these kids are" she tells. She has been working on this kind of a project with Fabio Ricci, her husband and the other hald of Jalisse for years already, writing songs with children and doing various projects in schools. Alessandra is also a singing teacher so it all fits very nicely. Now we just have to wait and see if she will be selected to the festival... Jalisse remains the last Italian entry in the Eurovision when they took Fiumi di parole to the 4th place back in 1997 after winning Sanremo.

Nej tack, said Pernilla

Pernilla Wahlgren has been in Melodifestival four times (1985 Piccadilly circus, 1991 Tvillingsjäl, 2003's runner up Let your spirit fly and Jag vill om du vågar this year) but there have been times her the songs she has proposed haven't been accepted, and times she herself has said "no thanks" to a song she was offered to perform. In a recent interview she revealed Som om himlen brann that Lizette Pälsson took to the second place in 1992 is one of them, Kayo's Innan natten är över in 2006 is another and finally Jessica Andersson's Kom in 2007 yet another. "I was pregnant when I was offered Kom so I had to skip it" she told before concluding "If I ever do Melodifestivalen again it will not be with schlager!"

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 2

Ok, here we go. Let's start with the ladies. As we have a lack of male pop singers in Finland and I wanted to make things even several names in the ladies category were left out and I went for these:

Jonna Geagea, ex-Nylon Beat. She has just released her solo single Taasko se alkaa? and has previous Euroviisut experience both as solo as Nylon Beat. She's about to release her real solo debut album, what would be better promotion than Euroviisut?
Milana Misic, the eternal promise. And it is the 50th anniversary of the first Finnish entry in Eurovision, sung by her mother. Isn't it time for her to make it for real? Here she covers her mother.
Kristina Wheeler, hopefully in collaboration with Chisu. She had two small hits from her debut album, has done a lot of charity work in Africa and such things that sound good in an international festival and could use Euroviisut as well to finally make it. Here's Sunny day.
Saga Bloom, last year's fan favourite in the internet selection without making it to the semifinals. Time for a revenge, hopefully YLE picks her up this time directly. Here's Fly away.
Kaija Koo, the queen of the 1990's has been a bit lost in the 2000's but still remains one of the best singers in Finland. New album coming out in October with new collaborators. She's been to Eurovision before as a backing singer, it's finally time for the spotlight, isn't it Kaija? Here's her latest, Vapaa.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ESC 2011: Lena supports Berlin

Blogilkar guest writer Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:
Lena already picked her favorite city to host the next Eurovision Song contest and it is Berlin. Now is time for Klaus Woweteit to convince the NDR chefs that Berlin is the right place to do it; thefore he introduced the candidature and Tempelhof facilities, which are actually hosting Popkomm Festival to the NDR members who will decide next week which city will finally host the contest.

Tempelhof concept is not only innovative and different than the others, but also the location is completely free during the 6 previous weeks to the contest. That makes it easier to arrange all the stage construction. Since the proposals are strictly confidential no more information has been provided on this topic, however it looks like the old Airport-Hangar will need to have some modifications and changes and will be able to host about 12.000 seats. The stage will be built on a mobil structure outside the main building. Since the airport is a protected building; modifications will stay only on a temporary basis.

Düsseldorf bids with its Football Stadium and Hamburg with the Convetion and Fair Center; however Lena made it clear; Berlin is nicer and should host the contest.

ESC 2011: Düsseldorf suddenly in pole position?

Blogilkar guest writer Daniel Motiño Camúñez reports:
NDR delegation visited the last of the four candidates on Thursday and the decision should be expected next week where the Eurovision song contest 2011 will be held. They had a great impression about how the contest will look like in the Düsseldorf Espirit-Arena and suddenly Düsseldorf seems to be the favourite according Bild Zeitung, They write that only Berlin and Düsseldorf are the candidates left since Hamburg and Hannover presented poor proposals, far from convincing the NDR delegation.

Düsseldorf card is the massive stage and a 20-30.000 seat audience that its Arena is able to host. More than 100.000 tickets could be sold for the rehearsals, the semifinals and the final at the prices from 36 to 160 euros -  a tempting number for NDR commission in order to cash plenty of euros. This is the big advantage for Düsseldorf since its competitors offer limited campacities to 10,000 seats, even it has been mentioned that Berlin-Tempelhof will host only 9.000.

But not everything is only gold and glitter, since the city's football Club Fortunda Düsseldorf has to play on the Arena its four last season matches while the contest will be host and the scene build. The club should move to Leverkusen for those matches.

Countdown to Euroviisut 2011, part 1

On Thursday 30th YLE will announce the names of the 12 invited artists for Euroviisut 2011. As the tradition is already,  I will make my guesses and proposals only to find out only one or two, or maybe none I listed is in so it's mainly wistful thinking. My list is a bit like if this was Sweden and Euroviisut was Melodifestivalen, the big or semibig names, hottest newcomers trying a real breakthrough or older ones making a comeback...
But this is Finland and this is Euroviisut. Most likely 6 of the names are ones I have never heard, 4 I know by the name but not their music and 2 I know but would rather not see them listed.... Ok, enough of that pessimism and let's hope YLE will surprise us all this year and the also the big names have had a change of heart and actually do want to participate! The countdown starts tomorrow! Stay tuned!
Also on September 30 YLE will announce the songs and artists in the open web contest. Let's hope it will bring us also pleasant surprises!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eurovision stars in Portugal tonight

The big Eurovision party organized by OGAE Portugal takes place in Setúbal's Auditório José Afonso, Portugal tonight. Eurovision winner 1986 Sandra Kim will be there along with Eurovision stars Hera Björk, Jakob Svaistrup, Karolina, Hanna Pakarinen, Michael von der Heide, Mihai Traistariu, Anabel Conde, Filipa Azevedo, Fridrik Omar, Nucha with several national finalists from Portugal and Spain including Coral. Sounds like fun! How about Portugal, will it finally win with its 45th entry in 2011? It has way passed the record by Finland that won by its 40th entry in 2006.

Christos Mylordos for Cyprus!

Christos Mylordos has just won the Peformance talent show and will fly the Cypriot flag in Germany 2011. Watch him give a very uninspired performance of Robbie Williams Love supreme here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

277 demos received in Finland

YLE has received 277 demos for the open web competition for the Euroviisut 2011. That is slightly more than last year. Now a jury will listen all fo them and the ones selected will be announced September 30 along with the 12 invited artists. Three out of the songs in the internet selection (October 1-15) will get a ticket to the semifinals. In the final there will be then 15 songs like last year. One of the slots is reserved for the reigning Tango King Marko Maunuksela. Last year Heli Kajo got a free ticket to the semifinals coming from the open competition, but this year YLE will most likely pick up more songs like that from the demos sent in.

Mr Lordi sees red!

Namely is you mention the pirates party that is aiming to get a seat or two in the next parlamental election. "They seem to think that is it's technically possible it's legal. Stealing a car is technically possible" he says and continues "How these people can be so ignorant?" Then he tells a real story from their point of few: "When we went to Czech Republic for the first time we were so surprised the full ice ring knew all our songs. I mean they sung with us all the song knowing the lyrics by heart, even the rare ones. After the gig I asked from the record label guy how many albums we had sold there. The answer was 40. Forty! It's useless any pirate party guys to come and say us something about free download and piratism!
BlogIlkar fully agrees. Buy originals!

Cyprus decides tonight

Not on the song for Eurovision 2011 (even if that would be possible by the new rules, so... could it be?) but for the singer. The talent show Performance is coming to its climax tonight when nine finalists battle it out. Previous Eurovision star Lia Vissi, better known as Anna's sister, is one of the judges who are there for the comments but only televote will determinate who gets the ticket to Germany and becomes the third known artists for the 2011 edition.

Here are the finalists:
Costa Ioannides, Christos Milordos, Nicole Nikolaidou, Louis Panagiotou, Daphne Seisou, Annita Skoutela, Stella Stylianou, Malvina Charalambidi and Marios Charalambous.

Laura wins OGAESC Finland 2010

It really is Laura Voutilainen's year and her Salamataivas emerges as the winner in the OGAE Finland's selection for the Finnish entry for the OGAE Song contest. As we remember she already won the Iskelmä Finlandia award this year and also sung in Jurmala festival. Her greatest hist album will be released later this fall and she's also a favourite to win Stricktly come dancing....

1. Laura Voutilainen - Salamataivas 178
2. Johanna Kurkela - Rakkauslaulu 145
3. Jenni Vartiainen - En haluu kuolla tänä yönä 131
4. Chisu - Baden-Baden 101
5. Jukka Hallikainen - En tekisi toisin 89
6. Maija Vilkkumaa - Lottovoitto 89
7. Elina Vettenranta - Portti mun sydämeeni 82
8. G-Powered - Kohti unelmaa  77
9. Pariisin kevät - Tämän kylän poikii 74
10. Aurium - Pakoon 72
11. Snowclone - Työnimi 63
12. Marion - Aurinkokylpyyn 61
13. Mariska & Pahat sudet - Suloinen myrkynkeittäjä 57
14. Katri Metso - Pidä kiinni 56
15. Anna Puu - Riko minut 52
16. Virpi - Marraskuu 51
17. Kuunkuiskaajat - Loputon tie 48
18. Yö - Kiitos ja kunnia 31
19. Vuokko Hovatta - Aletta 31
20. Markku Laamanen - Joku perille sinut vie 20

Lordi: Europe for breakfast tour, new outfits and video

Lordi presented officially their new outfits in Helsinki yesterday and you can see the video here. The video for their new single This is heavy metal is also out as is the new album Babez for breakfast. And Lordi is touring Europe this fall as well. Go and see them here:

11.9 Tallink Silja Baltic Princess, Baltic sea
18.9 Nosturi, Helsinki. Album release gig
5.11 St.Petersburg, Russia
6.11 Moscow, Russia
8.11 Tallinn, Estonia
9.11 Vilnius, Lithuania
17.11 Budapest, Hungary
18.11 Prag, Czech Republic
19.11 Ostava, Czech Republic
21.11 Florence, Italy
22.11 Milan, Italy
23.11 Pratteln, Switzerland
25.11 Tuttingen, Germany
26.11 Dordrecht, Netherlands
28.11 Paris, France
29.11 Strassbourg, France
3.12 Bilbao, Spain
4.12 Pamplona, Spain
5.12 Madrid, Spain'
6.12 Barcelona, Spain
10.12 Burglenglenfeld, Germany
11.12 Kaufbeuren, Germany
12.12 Stuttgart. Germany
13.12 Wien, Austria
15.12 Köln, Germany
17.12 Stadthalle, Germany
18.12 Primasens, Germany
19.12 Hannover, Germany

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lena Ph's bachelorette party! And new album!

Lena Philipsson is getting married soon to Per Holknekt and her bachelorette party became quite a fest in Stockholm. First she was driven into Galleriet where she had a ping pong match against Mikael Appelgren (he won 21-17) before she was taken with a sportcar to a restaurant where the party continued until the dawn....
Besides that she will release a new album in December, her first solo with new material since Jag ångrar ingenting back in 2005. Nothing is known yet about the album and its collaborators except it's not going to be another Orup collaboration. Can't wait! Meanwhile here are Hela liver var ett disco, Det gör ont, Han jobbar i affär and this.

Melodifestivalen 2011: Namedropping starts

Aftonbladet once again thinks they have got the "secret" list of Christer Björkman of the possible names for the next Melodifestivalen. The selection process has slightly changed from the previous years and Björkman might be moving from Sweden to take charge of Eurovision itself after dear Svante, but this is what they have come up with: Danny Saucedo will go solo again after E.M.D years, Nanne Grönvall's One More Time will reunite, Lili & Susie will be back, Lasse Stefanz is sure, strong ladies Sanna Nielsen and Shirley Clamp will return. Anders Fernette previously Johansson, the winner of Fame Factory 2003 should be there, Sara Varga, Marie Picasso, Rebound, Marie Serneholt, Magnus Carlsson, Le Kid, Timoteij, Sarah Dawn Finer, Elisabeth Andreasson and Linda Bengtzing should be pretty sure amd he is still working on Timo Räisänen, Ace of Base, Laleh, Sahara Hotnights, Maia Hirasawa, Elena Paparizou, Lisa Nilsson, Sofia Jannok and Annika Nordin. He's also trying to involve Mauro Scocco and Robyn at least as songwriters. Let's see how it goes for Aftonbladet this time, often they have been pretty well informed....

Swedish Idol: Elin Blom - a dream artist... from Finland!

Finnish Elin Blom (16) really made an impact in the Swedish Idols last night. "You are top-3 in the contest. You have the voice, the look, you're a dream artist" said the judges, "now that's a star", "she's got that something". Finland rulez! Here. Here she is with Sister Twister in MGP Nordic 2007 with Fröken perfect and here in Euroviisut 2010 with Love at the first sight. Is a star born? (This season is getting interesting, one has to follow also the Swedish idol and the Italian X Factor closely.... I need four eyes and ears for that!)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Morandi and Ranieri hosting Sanremo 2011?

The rumour game of who is going to host the 61st Sanremo festival next spring has started full force in Italy. This is one of the main differences with Sanremo and Eurovision: in Eurovision the hosts don't have much space but in Sanremo everything happens around them and they are the show. One can discuss why they still bother having some songs in between but.... Ok, seriously. Sometimes the festival has moved on smoothly and sometimes you have even managed to hear as many as five songs in an hour but... Two Eurovision stars are at the moment considered as main contenders to be the hosts; Gianni Morandi and Massimo Ranieri. Together or separately, and undoubtly with some pretty lady or two. Whether the season is succesful is mainly blamed on the presenter(s), not the songs. Last year Antonella Clerici triumphed but wisely she has said "no" for a bis. Clever lady.
Gianni Morandi di Eurovision in 1970 with Occhi di ragazza (8th) and Massimo Ranieri in 1971 with L'amore é un attimo (5th) and again in 1973 with Chi sará con te (13th).

X Factor Italia: Alessandra out

Last night the first episode of X Factor Italia 4, the possible selection for Eurovision 2011, took place and Alessandra Falconieri is out. She ended in duel with Nathalie Giannitrapani after the televote. The jurors disagreed on them 2-2 so there was a new 200 second televote between them and Alessandra lost. She sung Nilla Pizzi's Sanremo 1951 winner Grazie dei fior.

Geir Rönning and Elin Blom in the Swedish idols!

WTF? That's what I said to myself when I saw the headline. In the Swedish Idol there's no age limit (in Finland it's 30) and therefor whoever can take part. Geir Rönning (47), the Norwegian grooner who has participated in both the Norwegian and the Finnish national finals several times and even won and represanted Finland in 2005 with Why has progressed to the next stage in the selections. "I understand the ctitic but in the rules there's nothing that would make me unable to participate" he says. "Every artist is looking for visibility and the visibility the Swedish idols can give me is priceless" he states. "Nothing wrong in an old Ferrari" commented Anders Bagge, one of the judges and composer of the the Azeri entry in Eurovision 2010.
But that's not all. Elin Blom, the lead singer of Sister Twister, that represanted Finland in the MGP and tried their luck in Euroviisut 2010 as well is also there.... She has now moved to Sweden and tries a career there.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

X Factor Italy kicks off tonight

The 4th season of X Factor starts tonight and folks, this just could be the Italian selection for the Eurovision! While we wait for the confirmation that Italy indeed will be in Germany 2011 we can at least keep an eye on the process. As always in X Factor there are the judges and amongst them this season we have for the first time Enrico Ruggeri who sung about European sun already in 1993. Anna Tatangelo is another new judge with Elio (of Elio e le storie tese). Mara Maionchi continues. Four the categories:

Men under 24 - Mara Maionchi
Davide Mogavero (17), Ruggero Pasquarelli (16), Stefano Filipponi (22)
Female under 24 - Anna Tatangelo
Alessandra Falconieri (24) half Swiss-half Argentinian, Dorina Leka (24), Sofia Buconi (20)
Over 25 - Elio:
Manuela Zanier (34), Nathalie Giannitrapani (31), Nevruz
Groups - Enrico Ruggeri:
Borghi Bros (29 & 31). i Chimera, Effetto Doppler.

13 episodes later we will know the winner after many guests (tonight Marco Mengoni and Kate Perry) and eliminations. In the episodes 3,5,7 and 9 a new participant will be introduced, one per each category and after the jury and televote might join the competition.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Italian X Factor in Germany 2011?

We might be closer for the Italian comeback in Eurovision than ever since 1998. As reported also here a few days ago the winner of the Italian X Factor won't get a free ticket to Sanremo like happened the last season. Instead the might go to.... Eurovision! This is what the director of RaiDue Massimo Liofreddi lets us believe in the press conference yesterday just before the X Factor's 4th season debut tomorrow night. "Unlike last year the winner won't go to Sanremo but we have another possibility. The winner could participate in the European song contest instead" he stated carefully not mentioning Eurovision nor Eurofestival as it is known in Italy. It could be that RAI wants to keep all doors and windows open until the agreement with EBU is done. Propably meaning the Big5. Update: The world Eurofestival or Eurovision appears in the article in TV Sorrisi e canzoni, the leading Italian Tv guide: "The winner could participate in Eurovision"
Ok, this might be just wistful thinking but said by the director of one of the channels of RAI, and how many international European song contests there are? Time will tell.
Italian X Factor has brought us several very succesful artists, unlike in many other countries, and whoever wins this edition would surely be a worthy entrant.  Or what you say about Aram Quartet, Giusy Ferreri, Marco Mengoni and Tony Maiello? Worth mentioning is also that Enrico Ruggeri is one of the judges this season!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Turks want Murat Boz

TRT has having online poll once again to see who the Turks want to represant them. This method has been used the past a couple of years and indeed the favourites have ended up on Eurovision stage. Instead of having an open poll they have proposed five names instead so could this mean these five have agreed to go to Germany if chosen? Three of these names are very familiar and rumoured and tipped already before namely Murat Boz, 
Emre Aydın and Şebnem Ferah. Hande Yenerand Atiye Deniz arenew names on this list. Previosuly both Aydın  and Ferah have turned Eurovision down if my memory doesn't completely fails me, or at least have rumoured to have done so. 

At the moment the situation looks like this:
1. Murat Boz  30% (2.479 votes) 
İki Medeni İnsan Maximum Sallana sallana
2. Emre Aydın  28% (2.388 votes)
Alıştım Susmaya Bu Yağmurlar  Git
3. Hande Yener  14% (1.214 votes)
Bodrum  Sopa Romeo
4. Atiye Deniz  14% (1.205 votes)
Beyaz Eşya Muamma Don't think
5. Şebnem Ferah  13% (1.104 votes)
Sigara   Mayın Tarlası   Bu Aşk Fazla San

Turkey has been one of the most succesful countries the past few years. maNga finished 2nd this year, Hadise came 4th in 2009, Mor ve Ötesi  7th in 2008 and Kenan Doğulu also 4th in 2007.  TRT seems to be alternating with rock and pop so 2011 should be pop year again.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Janita is haunted in the States

Janita has finally released her album Haunted also in the States, Canada and Japan. The album was released in Finland already in September 2009 following her second participation in Euroviisut 2009 with Martian. This is her 4th album in English made in the US after her three albums in Finland before that. After charming Finns when she was only 13-17 years old she now gets praise in New York where she has lived for 15 years now. Billboard magazine writes "talented woman, on the way to stars", The Village Voice says "this beautiful woman can really sing and write songs" and All Music Guide states "her beautiful and soulful singing is even more beautiful than her face". The album has been remastered and remixed for the US release. You can listen to Haunted the album  here.  Here's Janita in Euroviisut 1994 with Enkeli. And here are I miss you, Enjoy the silence and Angel eyes.

Didrik's best kept secret

Didrik Solli-Tangen's best kept secret is out. Or the second single from the coming debut album and if we were wondering what's it going to be after popopera it's Scandipop! Not sure how much hit potential this has but time will tell if Didrik will stay as the pretty pop singer or will he move on to charm the ladies in the opera houses....

Kuunkuiskaajat at Spoon River

The Kuunkuiskaajat girls are touring with Värttinä with Ho Orchestra's The Spoon River Project in September and October around Switzerland. Then the girls are off to a tour in Germany. The musical journey is based on Edgar Lee Masters The Spoon River Anthology and takes place in the graveyard. Here's a little taster.

Hera Björk in Finland tonight!

Hera Björk will be the guest star in the annual drag queen contest in Hotel President in Helsinki tonight. The contest has been running since 1997. A panel of judges made of Finnish celebs from minister of environment to singers, dancers and other will see who's got the je ne sais quoi this year. Doors open at 8pm and the fun starts at 9.30pm.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Cristal Snow and Chisu get wicked

The second single off Crystal Snow's second album is a collaboration with Chisu and the video is ready. And it's wicked!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

No X Factor in Sanremo 2011

The winner of X Factor 2009 Marco Mengoni got a ticket to Sanremo 2010 amongst the big as a bonus but that will not happen to the future X Factor winner. The season kicks off these days in Italy but the organizers of Sanremo have already said the winner will not get in. Which is rather questionable as X Factor is one of Raidue's most succesful shows. Also, it has been announced Raiuno will invite the artists to next year's festival directly to the big category. Is that to make sure no reality winners from competitor Mediaset's programmes won't be in and win, like has happened the past two years with Marco Carta and Valerio Scanu?
Instead Raiuno itself will run a series of reality show within Domenica In show to find out the competitors for the newcomers category. However there won't be televoting but jurors will decide. 
It's already Settembre but more than this is not know. The namedropping for the possible host(s) has not really kicked off, and the artists themselves are not yet talking whether they will try or not to take part, with the exception of Valerio Scanu who has said he will not try a bis and won't be in the Sanremo's 61st edition.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Switzerland opens doors again

Switzerland will have an open call for songs again but instead of selecting internally will have a national final. Songs must be sent in from October 1 to 30 and the national final will be held already December 11, 2010 so Switzerland might just be the very first country to have its song selected beating also Albania who usually selects also before New Year's. The Swiss selection will take place in the internet and radio first, and the top-10 will reach the televized final and televote will choose the winner that goes to Germany 2011. Any nationality and any language will do so hopefully there will be also songs in German, French and Italian that reach the final!
Switzerland has sent some great songs lately none of these made the final: Vampires are alive, Era stupendo, The highest heights and Il pleur d'or.

Marita Taavitsainen: What for?

Latvia's entry What for? that came last in the first semifinal in Oslo 2010 has been covered in Finnish by ex-Tango queen and Euroviisut participant Marita Taavitsainen. Listen a bit here. One can only wonder what for?
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