Friday, September 30, 2011

UMK: Submission time extended

YLE has decided to extend the submission time with 24 hours for Uuden musiikin kilpailu aka UMK, the new format that will replace the good old Euroviisut. The original submission ended today at 4pm. All this because there seems to have been some technical problems with the submission this week. Now we can only wait and hear if the previous record of submitted songs (503 in 2005) will be broken? As for the artists entering we know Kakskaks and Korpiklaani have sent in a song. Martina Aitolehti has widely talked about her song for the contest and Tauski also has said he has sent in a song.

Waiting for Chisu - five days until illumination

Chisu's success continued with a song called Muut. You can enjoy it as a beautiful video or a fantastic live performance. This was released as a promo only so there's no chart track for it. It's five days left for illumination.....

....ja me ei olla niin kuin muut/And we are not like the others....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Switzerland: Lys Assia for Baku?

The very first Eurovision winner back in 1956 Lys Assia has been the guest of honour in several past Eurovision finals and gatherings and has often expressed her wish to do it again. And now, at the tender age of nearly 86 she is at it for the 4th time aiming to win for the second time. The song is written by two Eurovision legends Ralph Siegel and Jean-Paul Cara. And here's the offering C'est ma vie. I wouldn't be surprised she would go all the way to Baku as ... well, she's a legend. Out of respect she might get to the Swiss final. And once there win it. For the same reason. But time will tell...
Here's some Eurovision history for you: Lys Assia: Refrain (1./1956), Das alte Karussell (1956), L'enfant que j'ètais (8./1957), Giorgio (2./1958). Ralph Siegel: Dschingis Khan (4./1979), Theater (2./1980), Johnny Blue (2./1981), Ein bisschen Frieden (1./1982), Jean-Paul Cara: 1,2,3 (2./1976), L'oiseau et l'enfant (1./1977), Humanahum (3./1981) and Siegel-Cara: Papa pingouin (9./1980)

Waiting for Chisu - six days until illumination

Chisu (or Christel Sundberg) emerged into the Finnish music scene as a songwriter and producer. When she was offering her songs to a record comapny, they asked why she doesn't sing them herself? The rest is history. Her first solo single was Mun koti ei oo täällä for a movie in 2007. It soon became a #1 hit for 8 weeks and a star was born. She earned a gold disc for the single and her debut album Alkovi also sold gold topping the charts for 5 weeks. It's 2011 now and it's six days left for illumination.....

...Anna mun mennä.  Mä oven avaan/Let me go, I open the door
En henkeä saa. Anna mun mennä/I can't breathe, let me go
En tänne kuulukaan. Mun koti ei oo täällä/I don't belong here, my home's not here...

ESC 2011 that could've been 34: Spain

We have spent the month of September with looking back the national selections and last but not least we have Spain. Once again they had a rather weird selection that surely didn't bring out the best songs nor singers, especially when you had to mix and match them together in the end. A match made in heaven never materialized this time either, when will they learn?  I never liked the winning song. Spain could do so much better. There is great music and fantastic artists and in Eurovision ... well, things could be so different! Anyways, the best offering was the boygroup Auryn - that still needed a lot of work but that could have been done - with Volver and El sol brillerà. In the end my choice is Volver. Nothing extraordinary but a rather catchy standard pop ballad by a boygroup that no one dislikes and most like at least a little. But would they have voted for it? Propably not. The sun will shine by it's writer Rafael de Alba is much better than Auryn's effort by the way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Jari Sillanpää and Laura Voutilainen get a stamp

The Finnish post will release a sheet of stamps in September 2012 celebration the popular music of the 1990's. The chosen artists are Eurovision veterans Jari Sillanpää and Laura Voutilainen, the most sold female artists Kaija Koo and Anna Eriksson and two bands, Agents and Yölintu. The criteria to pick these artists was simple: their popularity has sruvived not only the 1990's but also the 2000's and is staying strong well into 2010's. .

ESC 2011 that could've been 33: Germany

United Kingdom didn't have a national selection of any kind for the first time in history and send Blue with I can instead. It all promised well and sounded great on paper but fell flat on stage unfortunately. 
Germany did have a selection where the reigning Eurovision queen sung all the songs. Uptempo and rather hypnotic Taken by a stranger won and got the home audience wild, Europe wasn't that impressed. What if she sung Push forward instead, the runner up? A ballad? Hard to say but maybe she would have been in top-10 with this one, too, but not any higher. Or?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

ESC 2011 that could've been 32: Italy

Well, Italy sure had songs to choose from as Sanremo festival acted as some kind of national selection as well. No doubt they chose wisely by sending Raphael Gualazzi's Madness of love. Many other songs were mentioned and in one moment there was a strong rumour it might be Roberto Amadè's Come pioggia, that in the end is also my personal favourite. There's also a great video for it. This might have satisfied those who wanted something more Italian being a melodic pop drama instead of a jazzy number. It could have done as well as Gualazzi though, just with the difference that more votes may have come by the televoters than juries. Perhaps.

Monday, September 26, 2011

ESC 2011 that could've been 31: France

France chose internally Amaury Vassili so there isn't much to say about it. But it was later revealed that instead of Sognu another song, Maria, was ment to be the Eurovision entry until they discovered it had been performed too early in public and they needed to find another one. I doubt this would have done any better, on the contrary. Vassily just crashed and burned on that stage in Germany and nothing would have saved him. And I'm quite pleased to say I never for a moment believed France would be heading for a top placement, against all betting odds and such. I may have put it on top in predictions but just because I went with the flow and let myself be fooled. Next year I will leave the polls and betting odds apart and predict with my heart and mind only.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

ESC 2011 that could've been 30: Ireland

There's no doubt the irish did the right thing by sending that ADHD twinset to Germany with Lipstick. I thought they would do even better than they did but then maybe that was good enough? Eurovision needs these acts every now and then to stir the soup a bit. The only other choice could have been Nikki Kavanagh's Falling but now relistening it it sounds a bit dull. And would have done just what the title suggests in Germany. Jedward's bad behaviour is so much more fun!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Azerbaijan: Should they keep it in the family?

If your father is an Azeri born Russian billionaire, your friends include Eurovision winners Ell & Nikki and you are married to the daughter of president of Azerbaijan and your mother-in-law is put in charge for Eurovision affairs in the country what are the chances you might sing for Azerbaijan in Eurovision soon? Pretty good I guess. Or would it be just too shamelessly obvious? Let's see if it will happen. Emin Agalarov is trying to make his career in London with songs like Just for one night, Any time you fall, Obvious, Wonder and Still. He has released five albums since 2006 and they have charted both in Azerbaijan and Russia. He has managed to sneak into BBC2 radio as well with his songs.  And he has just signed a deal with EMI Germany for worldwide release. Let's see what spring 2012 brings us...

Marco Mengoni is solo. I mean back!

Marco Mengoni, the Italian X Factor winner, Sanremo success, MTV mUsic Award winner and hotly tipped for Eurovision has released a new single Solo, off his worthcoming album Solo 2.0. I must admit I didn't get it at first but a couple of more listenings kinda makes sense to it. Maybe. Anyways, it's another success for him as it made to #4 in the Italian charts.

Gasp! It's Dima Bilan again!

Dima Bilan - whether you like it or not - is no doubt the most succesful Eurovision winner since forever. He keeps performing, recording, releasing videos and winning award year after year. He has once again a new video out off his latest album Мечтатели (Dreamer). called Gasp or I'm soffocating in English. The video is very beautifully shot and Dima gets to show of his half naked body a lot. And once again the song is pretty good, too!

Finnish male artists attack back

The Finnish music has been dominated by strong female artists lately but now some male artists are releasing their new albums and are trying to set the charts on fire. Or will Chisu beat them all? Her new album went straight to #1 iTunes yesterday when some songs were released there.
First of all Juha Tapio who's Hyvä voittaa album was released this week. The first single was En mitään, en ketään and the new one is Sitkeä sydän. He will take part in Syksyn Sävel 2011.
Lauri Tähkä fired his band Elonkerjuu causing quite a stir and scandal but he's back as a solo act and his first single Syyskuun kyy is one of his best songs so far in my opinion. Yet, it has failed a bit in the charts reaching only #9 so far...
Janne Raappana has had several radiohits but is still waiting for the real big breakthrough. Maybe it will happen with this new album? The first single was Hanki elämä and here comes Turhaa ja tärkeää. It will be also his Syksyn Sävel 2011 entry.

ESC 2011 that could've been 29: Denmark

Denmark continued its success in Eurovision finals with A Friend in London's A new tomorrow which I always found rather boring anthem. Runner up Anna Noa's Sleepless sounds so much fresher. And I think she would have done as well in Germany and I would have been much happier blogger...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Luiz Ejlli's illusion

Boy, has he changed! You might remember Luiz Ejlli like this and now he's like this! Meanwhile he has won the other big Albanian festival, Kënga Magjike, last year in duet with Juliana Pasha with Sa e shite zemren?

Azerbaijan and gay rights, what's the deal? And what did Samir do?

Time to be serious for a moment. We all know Azerbaijan has issues with neighbour Armenia and we still don't know if they will (be able to) participate in Eurovision 2012 in Baku. The other big issue is the gay rights. It's no secret Eurovision is also one of the world biggests annual gay meetings.These few lines sum it up nicely:

"During Eurovision, no-one will bother gay foreigners in Baku. People here don't mind, as long as it's not in their family. There are several openly gay celebrities in Baku who have money and bodyguards, and they are safe. But nothing will change [because of Eurovision] for the majority of gays, particularly in the provinces. This society will never accept them. Homosexuality here is seen as worse than prostitution. If a family decided to kill a gay relative, most people would approve. I have heard of many suicides of suspected homosexuals - I have never met an openly gay person around here."

And we thought there were issues in Belgrade and Moscow! Even if Eurovision will bring some visibility to the matter and Azeris may tolerate it all for a couple of weeks hardly anything will change in a long run. Here is some more to think about. 

These days we have also had news that Samir Javadzade has stabbed by knive the brother of Elnur Hüseynov,  Alvin. What really happened seems yet unclear and it may have been an accident but considering all the rumours about the duo that sung Day after day for Azerbaijan with their debut in Eurovision 2008 playing devil and angel I couldn't help but thinking about this when researching for this post. Maybe it has nothing to do with gay issues but ...  some articles claim Samir as Elnur's companion.

ESC 2011 that could've been 28: Latvia

Belarus provided this year's "OMG what are they doing" moments along with Ukraine with their song selection. Anastasia Vinnikova was chosen first with Born in Belorussia but eventually ended in Germany with equally horrific I love Belarus
In Latvia they did have a national final. My favourite Musiqq with Angel in disguise won so no problems there. Except its placing in Germany, it deserved so much more. Lauris Reiniks and Banjo Laura seems to be the fan favourite and indeed it's a jolly silly little number and would propably done well in Germany as Latvia time to time surprisingly does. He may have been sure to win himself as the song has been recorded in many languages like Spanish, My favourite in the end is Jānis Stībelis with Let it be me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lena Philipsson's next season

Lena Philipsson has released second single off her coming album and it's called Nästa säsong. The album will be out November 30, 2011 and includes songs by Veronica Maggio, Christian Falk, Kleerup, Mauro Scocco, Markus Krunegård and Björn Olsson just to name a few. So if you are waiting for a schlager explotion you might be disppointed. If you are ready for some indie acoustic stuff you will love it. Or who knows? Her latest efforst include Idiot and Hela livet var ett disco. She has been busy recently being in several TV-programmes and prepairing for her 25th anniversary show. Can't wait!

Hungary, look no further: Gergö Rácz for ESC 2012!

Hungary returned to the Eurovision stage with a bang and even if Kati Wolf didn't do as well as expected with her What about my dreams? it was no doubt one of the best songs in Eurovision for several years. What will they send in 2012? A good possibility would be Gergö Rácz, me thinks on this rainy day. He's no stranger to Eurovision for already being in it in 1997 as member of V.I.P and yes, he also co-write the beforementioned What about my dreams? He has been hot on Hungarian radio lately with Harc és vágy and Ez még csak a kezdet with Renàta Tolvai. Both songs have also visually stunning videos so check them out!

"Hello Europe!" says AySel?

Rumours. AySel who with Arash took Azerbaijan to the third place in Eurovision 2009 with Always could be the Eurovision 2012 hostess? Time will tell but she has recently released a new song called Tonight. That follows Sen, Don't let the morning come, Yanaram (Fallin) and Azerbaycan. The album that was announced to be released in 2010 seems to be still in the works..... maybe she needs the hosting boost to release it?

ESC 2011 that could've been 27: Estonia

If Romania was difficult Estonia was extremely easy as there was and is only one favourite for me, Ithaka Maria's Hopa'pa-rei. This multi-intrumentalist singer-songwriter is so much better than plastic made winner that got what it deserved in Germany. Or actually I would have left it in semifinals really.... Anyways, this is a nice cocktail of things that have provided Eurovision classics; a bit of Wild dances, a bit of Rändajad to start with without being obvious. Still, not the greatest song on earth but very entertaining 3 minutes. Great stuff!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Michalis Hatzigiannis releases new songs

Michalis Hatzigiannis released Fila me earlier this year that is a traditional ballad and now comes Aksizo that is from a movie Sirines tou Aigauoi. It's rather confusing affair, at least on video......

Pappapappapa - Raphael Gualazzi's success has no end

Raphael Gualazzi is no doubt the success story out of Eurovision 2011. Besides scoring a second place to Italy with his Madness of love he has since been touring all over Europe, hitting the charts here and there and now he has released yet another single and video of his Reality and fantasy album, Love goes down slow. Soon he will also release a deluxe version of the fortunate album including also a DVD with videos and unreleased material, and hopefully also all the versions of Madness of love/Follia d'amore!

Melodifestivalen hits 3.485

Melodifestivalen 2012 received 3.485 songs this year; 2.915 for the usual one and 570 for the internet selection that starts on October 3, 2011 and one song will join the tour in February 2012. The jury will pick up 16 songs out of these songs and SVT will invite another 15 songs for the semifinals. Now the speculation who is in may start! The number of songs is the biggest in Europe but down from last year's 3.832.

My name is Armenia. I'm 20 years old.

September 21, 1991 Armenia or Հայաստանի Հանրապետություն (Hayastani Hanrapetut’yun)
gained independance and to celebrate the event Inga & Anush of Eurovision fame have recorded a song My name is Armenia. A very colorful video was shot too featuring mainly young people born in 1991.

ESC 2011 that could've been 26: Romania

Now this was a tricky thing. Listening the recap brings no special oohs and aahs. Romania has often had a very good national final but this year unfortunately wasn't one of the strongest. Leticia's Dreaming of you was and is a nice little tune but I doubt it would have done any impact in Germany. Claudia Pavel could have played the American power ballad card with her I want u to want me and if convincing on stage when it matters may have done pretty well. But in the end the song that stays in head is Mihai Alexandru & Bogdan Dima feat. B-Body and Soul's Bang bang. It would have represanted well the genre that brings the Europop hits from that region and would have given yet another Eurovision entry with a nonsense title. With remix and a lot of restaging it could have done very well indeed. And no, I still don't like the winner.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Syksyn Sävel 2011 - here are the artists

The other big Finnish song contest Syksyn Sävel makes a comeback this year with the final on October 29, 2011 in Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. Twelve artists have been invited to take part and amongst them we have Jari Sillanpää, Idols winner Martti Saarinen along with Stina Girs, also from the latest Idols and both ready to release a new album shortly. Janne Raappana and Juha Tapio, both also actual with a new album are taking part so is Kaija Koo, one of the most succesful Finnish female singers ever. Kristiina Brask is also familiar from Idols and Puhuva Kone is a kid rapper. All songs will be out by early October but for example Raappana's song is already out and tomorrow Juha Tapio's album is released, will it be his new single Sitkeä sydän? Here they are:

Kristiina Brask & Häppälä
Stina Girs
Suvi Isotalo
Mikki Kauste
Kaija Koo
Tommi Läntinen - Kaksi sanaa
Puhuva Kone
Janne Raappana - Turhaa ja tärkeää
Martti Saarinen
Emma Salokoski
Jari Sillanpää
Juha Tapio

UMK and Finland - a new Ireland?

That is what Wallu Vaipio, one of the jury members picking up the songs for the UMK (Uuden musiikin kilpailu that replaces good old Euroviisut) says. What does he mean with it remains a bit unclear but I suspect he refers to the multiple wins in the 1990's. He says his own music taste goes from Katri Helena to Slayer and hopes the 12  finalist songs will be as varied and that the contest will give Finns, and not only, new music to listen to, and to all generations and all genres. And all genres there seem to be involved if you read YLE's website:  from folk to industrialmetal, from dance to guitarpop, hip hop, emopunk and schlager. Demos have been sent in by familiar faces from 1970's and 1980's (is that a nice way to say has-beens?) and familiar artists "from shows based on international formats" so there will be plenty of ex-Idols, ex-X Factor and ex-Talent names, too. And of course totally unknown newcomers. Jorma Hietamäki calls for songs that would become evergreens and the world is filled with songs that you hear a few times and forget while Jaako Hurme wants to have some indiestuff involved. Only 12 will be selected... and there still time to send in your song until September 30, 2011.

ESC 2011 that could've been 25: Slovenia

Slovenia has usually one of the most entertaining national final with a lot of bubble gum and kitchy wonders. This year was a bit turned down and produced one mighty winner in Maja Keuc's Vanilija aka No one. But it would have been interesting to see if Europe would have massacrated Slovenia's Lady Gaga or April with Ladadidej? I think it's rather funny little piece and who knows what they would have come up on stage with it in Germany. On the other hand I was pretty content with Maja's boots....

Monday, September 19, 2011

They are going to save Melodifestivalen

Melodifestivalen didn't quite make it last year. People didn't appreciate the interval acts and the voting was a mess in several cases and harsh critic fell on the Swedish institution. Most of it was forgotten when Eric Saade's winning entry Popular did indeed prove popular by the voters all around Europe and gained Sweden's first success since Carola's 5th place in 2006 with Invincible and especially coming after Sweden's first ever drop out from the final in 2010 with Anna Bergendahl's This is my life. Christer Björkman continues as the producer and is in charge for the song part of the show while the interval acts have been given to Henrik Johnsson to think about and Edward af Sillèn will be directing the show. They will write the script and promise the 90 minutes shows will be mainly live and in general talk about "live atmosphere" for the whole event (like it was never missing there, was it?) Both guys also have already various experiences in different Eurovision or Melodifestivalen affairs and both declare themselves as great fans of the event. And now all we need are good songs....

ESC 2011 that could've been 24: Israel

I'm still sad the treatment Dana International got in Germany for her Ding dong. I like the song and it was a clear winner in the Israeli selection from the start. On the other hand if she didn't want to win as she said somewhere why participate? Such a shame. But let's see what else was there? Actually quite interesting stuff which proves a national final after many years was a good move. One song stands out still, Chen Aharoni's Or. The staging was a mess with most everything you can manage to fit into 3 minutes but all that could have been sorted out and Israel would have had a very good entry that had all the chances to reach the final and do well there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finland and Switzerland - less than two weeks left to submit songs

Both Finland and Switzerland (amongst many others) are accepting song submissions until September 30. While YLE has kept it secret so far for the songs with one exception. The very first song sent in was apparently a rap duo from Espoo Kakskaks. You can hear their song Anna aikaa featuring Aliisa here. Time will tell if they make it further. More details has also been revealed. A jury will pick up 12 songs to be produced in radio versions. Eight of them will proceed to the club gig selection and finally there will be six songs left for the frand final in late February 2012.
In Switzerland 34 songs are online here when writing this. There are once again some very sad "artists" putting their efforts through but also some better stuff and even some familiar names like Ultra Naté and Maria Lawson. Some natives are worth mentioning, too, like Abacay & Tommy Fresh, Loic Schumacher, Morillon, Rafael Malul, Silviu Iancu and Wohlgensinger.  And then there are artists from the USA, Italy, Israel, Serbia, UK, Sweden, Belgium and Croatia. But propably most songs will be added the last minute. So far there isn't a real winner, is there? Well, there's Ultra Naté who is fabulous just being herself but I'm not really into an American with no ties to Switzerland (or any other for that matter) to represant the country...

Roger Cicero in this moment

Roger Cicero who swinged Helsinki 2007 with Frauen regier'n der Welt will release his fourth album in the end of October 2011 titled In diesem Moment. All his albums so far have made top-3 in his native Germany so let's see if this one will follow. The title track In diesem Moment sounds a lot more pop oriented than his previous swing and big band efforts and it is one great track. Next year from February to April he will be touring Germany, Austria and Switzrland with his band.

ESC 2011 that could've been 23: FYR Macedonia

Not so much to say about the national final in FYR Macedonia this year (either). Once again less is more. 20 songs and the only two caught my attention when hearing them this spring, and now again, were the winner Vlatko Ilievski's Rusinka and the runner-up Martin Sbrinovski's Ram tam tam. Not that Ram tam tam would have done any more impact on the scoreboard than Rusinka. Shame. FYR Macedonia has been a bit lost in Eurovision the past few years but I'm confident they will surprise us one day. Maybe in 2012?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Taken hostage by Giorgia - and off to OGAEVC she goes!

This woman is fabulously fantastic! As even if È l'amore che conta wasn't great enough here she delivers the goods in English, Hostage. Why don't Italians just send her off to Baku for once and all? After all she deserves it as she should have been there 1995.... As a consolation her previous single Il mio giorno migliore is the Italian entry in the OGAE Video Contest.

Samuli Edelmann - Mission possible

Samuli Edelmann will release his new album Pienellä kivellä next week. The album was mainly recorded in Malta where he lives these days and its first single Ei mitään hätää is one of the biggest hits on radios this fall. Several songwriters have been involved, including Hanna Pakarinen and Chisu! Last year he scored big with a duet album with Jippu with #1 hit Jos sä tahdot niin. Before that he released a trilogy of psalms and religious music. And countless pop hits and platinum selling albums since 1992, including Euroviisut 1991 runner up Peggy and Olen luonasi sun from 1998 with Sani. 
Besides that he is a very respected actor both in movies and TV. He is currently filming a new movie called Tie pohjoiseen that will be his 25th. That follows his first Hollywood film. He is starring next to Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 4 - Ghost protocol that will premiere in December 2011. It seems nothing is impossible for this talented artist!
His other musical goodies include Palava pää (that he also recorded in Italian in the single's B-side with a different arrangement, a real treat!), Levottomat, Kaikki tahtoo, (Sinä olet) Aurinko, Pimeä onni, Oma planeetta, Tuhat yötä and Enkelten tuli.

ESC 2011 that could've been 22: Bulgaria

Cyprus didn't have a national selection and internally chose Christos Mylordos with San aggelos s'agapisa.
In Bulgaria we did have a national final and even if Poli Genova's Na inat was a worthy winner it was never my number one favourite. It was Lazar Kisiov's Zamestitel. I don't quite believe it would have succeeded any better than Poli but it's a great song, one of my favourites of the whole season. (If only Poli had her 2009's runner up One lifetime is not enough things would be completely different!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dima Bilan, Ani Lorak and Sergey Lazarev turns to opera

Well, not really. But he did take part in the Russian show where pop stars perform opera arias and he did pretty well as you can judge here. That's no wonder as he has classical vocal training and studied theater before becoming a pop star and Eurovision winner. 
How about Ani Lorak? You can judge her operatic skills here. And oh wait, Sergey Lazarev was there, too!

ESC 2011 that could've been 21: Sweden

Melodifestivalen. What can I say? Judging the result in Germany Sweden did the right thing by sending off Eric Saade with Carola-like mindpower to succeed and make himself Popular. That said the song was never one of my favourites even if I learned to like it in the end. But what to choose here? The obvious Jenny Silver? My favourite at the time Nicke Borg? Love Generation? Tough choice - not because they would be so great and good but because none of them did leave a mark in the end (usually there have been many songs I still listened when the season was over). So, I took the MF CDs, listened them through a couple of times and surprisingly it was Loreen's My heart is refusing me that stuck to my head this time when not thinking about Eurovision. Also Christian Walz's Like a sucide. Two songs that I hardly noticed back then. So, this said? How would they have featured in Germany?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mietta as tutor in Star Academy!

Mietta is one of the chosen mentors in Italian Star Academy. She won Sanremo 1989 newcomers and has since been active in Italian music business as a singer and she is known to give a hand for new young songwriters by recording their songs. And no need to mention she is one of my favourite singers! She is joined by another Sanremo newcomers winner Syria (1996), Sanremo winner Ron of the same year and Gianluca Grignani who also has 20+ years of experience as a recording artists and teenage heartthrob.
The jurors of the show are legendary singer Ornella Vanoni, one of the best show girls around Lorella Cuccarini and Nicola Savino who's a radio and Tv personality as well as imitator.
And as the rumour and speculation is Star Academy might provide the possible Italian entrant for the Eurovision 2012... 
The other rumour is Mietta was destined for Eurovision 1990 but as RAI was pulling it till the last minute she had to turn down the offer as her career was taking off big time in Italy and Toto Cutugno was sent in the last minute. After all he was on RAI's payroll already so a job was a job.... The rest is history.

ESC 2011 that could've been 20: Moldova

Moldovan national selection was a prime example of "less is more". Why on earth have 25 songs if half of them are so weak they score zero points and generally are unlistenable, like I was sadly reminded by the recap. With so much bad English and generally bad vocals you start thinking why am I listening to this? But then all that matters is the winner, the one and only song they send off and they chose wisely. Zdob si Zdub's So lucky was in all its craziness like fresh air in the line up and did well in Germany as I predicted. Another good choice might have been Pasha Parfeni's Dorule or Karizma's When life is grey. As a bonus I have to mention Natan's Daca dragoste mai e, a lovely song but not maybe for televoting Europeans....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finnish stars for children - Elämä lapselle 2011

The biggest names in the Finnish music business from Chisu to Lauri Tähkä, from Lauri to Anna Abreu, from Haloo Helsinki to Sunrise Avenue, from Kim Herold to Paradise Oskar with LeKid from Sweden are playing tonight live in Hartwall Areena to raise money for the children hospitals. This annual event is more alive than ever and besides beforementioned artists names like Arttu Wiskari, Fintelligens, Idols winner Martti Saarinen, Pasa and Ronya will be performing. The concert is also live on TV from 8pm local time on MTV3.

ESC 2011 that could've been 19: Ukraine

Slovakia returned after all after initial yes. Then no. Then yes again when they realized it would cost less to participate than withdraw it the late state. So they sent in Twiins, ordered a song from Sweden but they could have as well stayed home what comes to success. 
Ukraine on the other hand had the usual lenghty selection process that hardly no one understood in the end with all the change of rules, dates, withdrawels, disqualifications.... and it even ended as a mess but in the end they send off Mika newton with Angel but who remembers her when they had that fabulous sand drawer on stage? 
Jamala's Smile was a big fan favourite but I only warmed up to it later. My first favourite A.R.M.YA withdraw with Allo, allo at some point for some reason so I was left with Zlata Ognevich The Kukushka. All three would have been great entries but then, the sand drawer did way better than it deserved continuing the Ukrainian success.... One can only wonder what they would have come up with Jamala and Zlata!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

ESC 2011 that could've been 18: Belgium

Belgium has an internet voting and a grand final but relistening the songs there wasn't much worth mentioning. I never liked the winning song With love baby anyways and my initial favourite Steve Linden's C'est la musique had stood the summer period and still sounds very catchy and nice. Maybe nothing original and very Eurovision indeed but it's a great sing-a-long pop song that might have had a chance in Germany? Another one that I liked back then as still do is Alexandre Deschamps's Elle merveille. And both songs get bonus from the French (even if Elle merveille is so French it would propably sound pretty bad in any other language).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Running scared in South Africa

South African artists are real Eurovision fans as the most cover versions come from there these days. David Fourie has recorded several like Norway 2003 I'm not afraid to move on and MoniQue covered amongst others Finland 2009 as Ek val vir jou with Snotkop. Now they have joined forces and covered Azerbaijan's winning Running scared as My hart het klaar besluit. And in my opinion it's much more interesting than the original, rougher arrangement and Afrikaans just sounds so great!

Laura Pausini - Inedito e Benvenuto!

Laura Pausini's new single Benvenuto is out on radio today. It's the first one off her new coming album titled Inedito, out 11/11/11.  Rather classic Pausini track I would say. I'm curiously waiting for the album..... And here's a bit in Spanish, Bienvenido.
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