Sunday, August 31, 2014

MELODIFESTIVALEN 2015: KALLE JOHANSSON IS IN

Once again one amateur gets a ticket to Melodifestivalen semifinals and this year it is Kalle Johansson. This 17-year-old emerged as the winner of Svensktoppen Nästa and therefor won the ticket to Sweden's national selection for Eurovision and could travel all the way to Vienna. His winning song is Den där Dan, but of course Christer Björkman & co will find him another song and the guy will propably go through a major make over during next winter. 
Kalle will be the third Svesktoppen Nästa winner in the Melodifestivalen. In 2013 Therese Fredenwall came 5th in her semifinal and in 2014 Eko came last in their semifinal. Maybe Kalle will be third time lucky to make it to the final? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

CONCHITA WURST: HOME IS WHERE THE WIG IS OFF

Conchita Wurst started her press conference in Finland this afternoon - after posing for each and every photographer very kindly - stating she thought Finland was the clichè: Freezing cold. Instead the sun is shining and she loves it. It's her first time in Finland and the press conference in her hotel had also many journalists from Russia and Estonia attending.
She tells about her inspirations (Celine Dion and her parents among others) and her busy schedule since she won the Eurovision song contest in Copenhagen this May. It's like a hop on-hop off - today in Finland, tomorrow somewhere else. She doesn't really know any Finnish artists yet but tomorrow she will meet the top artists sharing the stage with her in Serena Pop & Rock Festival in Espoo and maybe she will be inspired by some of them, too... Then she is asked about her home life and she states home is where the wig is in the corner, where it's just Tom being lazy. And does she cook? No, she orders her food as she usually just doesn't have time to cook. But deep in her heart she is a good cook, she thinks. Bottomline: She doesn't cook.
She would really like to visit Russia and she has been invited but so far the arrangements haven't worked out. She also wishes to visit the United States of course. And Asia. Everywhere. The world. The talk continues with good and bad advices she has received over the years, fashion, the real story behind the imaginative person Conchita Wurst and mistakes she has made with the bio, her very supportive family, her favorite fragrances, her debut album in the making and how she's working on it, possibility of working with Celine Dion or meeting her, her status as a gay icon and role model, how overwhelming it is to realize every day again she actually did win Eurovision, the situation of LGBT people in Russia..... summing it up to Dare to find yourself! 
In the end she received a scrap book made of letters written by Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian fans of hers that she was very taken to receive and promised to read each and every of them.
Conchita once again proved to be the most well educated, well behaving, adorable, chatty and witty, kind celebrity around. Others should take example of her way of doing media.
You can watch the press confeence here. (If you can stand the countless ads.....)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

EUROVISION CRUISE WEEKEND HITS HELSINKI AGAIN

Once again OGAE Finland is organising the Eurovision Cruise on September 6-7. This is already the 5th annual edition and the event gathered last year 2000 fans from Finland and abroad to enjoy among others Valentina Monetta, Krista Siegfrids and Marion Rung performing aboard. This time they have got Eurovision winner Charlotte Perrelli, Finland's entrants this year, Softengine, UK's 2000 entrant Nikki French to perform along with hosts CatCat! And there's more, check out the FB page for further information. 
But that's not all. The fun for fans starts already the night before (September 5) at Hercules with the 28th Eurovision Fanclub night (more info here). DJ Ohrmeister will be there and it's an excellent kick off to meet again your friends and enjoy some Eurovision. Before that there's a warm up dinner at Manala restaurant.
But there's still more. Before the real cruise on September 6 you can enjoy aboard m/s Emma some Helsinki sightseeing by the sea. You can also have lunch and mix with Eurovision friends and the bar is open, of course. (More info here). You can then continue directly to Tallink Silja and Tallinn.
And after the cruise it's been a habit to gather at Mann's Street, if you are still around, for the last Eurovision tunes and karaoke with friends in the after party
That's three days packed with Eurovision fun. If you haven't got better to do, come along!

Monday, August 25, 2014

EMMELIE DE FOREST IS DRUNK TONIGHT

Emmelie De Forest, Eurovision song contest 2013 winner with Teardrops has released another single off her worthcoming second album, Drunk tonight, that follows Rainmaker, that was a kind of theme song for the Eurovision 2014 in Denmark and that she performed in the final as well. Drunk tonight has a beautiful video and the song itself has a quiet charm that may take some listenings to open fully. At the same time it brings nothing new to her repertoir but follows the musical path she has taken, that includes also Hunter and prey. Time will tell how far she will get on this path.....

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DOTAN FOR THE NETHERLANDS?

The Netherlands have taken the spotlight in this pre-new season gossip mill of the artist game for 2015 Eurovision song contest. First Alain Clark was put forward as almost certain name but now comes also Dotan. AvroTros only comments there are several names (at least three) in the game and it's up to the artists themselves if they wish to make it known beforehand, AvroTros will only announce the selected one in due time.
Back to Dotan. He's a 27-year-old Amsterdam based singer-songwriter. He released his debut album back in 2011 to minor success, but the follow up 7 layers this year has been a #2 success including chart topper Home and the first single Fall. His manager didn't deny - nor confirm - the proposal. 
One thing seems to be sure: the Netherlands is going after another quality, semi-acoustic affair. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

VALENTINA MONETTA: EUROVISION HAS GIVEN ME A LOT, BUT.....

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days with Valentina Monetta before and after the concert in San Marino on August 5, 2014. A concert where she presented songs from her latest album Sensibilità. An album where Valentina was able to express herself in a more personal way including songs composed by herself in collaboration with other authors, including her brother Vincenzo (Viaggio samba, this blogger's personal favorite). An intimate concert in the magical setting of Piazza della Libertà under (almost) full moon, with intense and original interpretations of rearranged Chrysalis and Maybe and a lot of what she does best: jazzy stuff.
But it's not all spotlights and glitter in the tiny intense, somewhat closeted reality of the microstate of San Marino, a small jewel of the Italian peninsula, as we spoke over a pleasant lunch and the post-concert gathering in the historic center, or during an afternoon at the beach on the Adriatic Coast (where her video for Maybe was shot), or the quietness of her home's lovely terrace over looking the historic city center.
These three years in the Eurovision world have given her for sure a lot of inner growth, more commitment and a better awareness of her abilities and possibilities. ”This is the most beautiful, positive thing I can see. It is difficult to say else. What can I say? That it brought me more money and more work? No ... because Eurovision is a project for those who work around it in the end. I'm trying to maintain contacts and keep myself busy but in the end Eurovision gives you work for two weeks a year. I certainly understood I'm not an artist who wants to be used for something that threatens to get away from what is art in the truest sense of the word. I understand that now,” she says. ”As I said I do not want to be no more a vehicle of any kind except for the art itself or making people feel good when I sing. I'm not going to be more of a political or commercial vehicle, I want to sing for another reasons.
Undoubtedly, the experience of the Eurovision brought me a great inner growth, I realized so many things, I grew up, I discovered sides of me that probably, without this experience, I never found out. It gave me a new kind of awareness and approach. It has given me popularity abroad ... but definitely not enough to get by or to do well what I want to do. Surely I speak better English, I realized many logistics of the show business. There are more questionable sides than the positive parts in Eurovision. From the outside everything is beautiful, glitter and sequins. For an artist who instead is trying to do it with big heart and passion there is a risk that we are going to detract from the whole. My impression is that a big heart or a big passion is not a reason to jump into a situation like the Eurovision. You also need a pinch of cynicism, often more head than heart. Well ... I have learned to use more my head. But if I didn't put my heart through maybe I didn't receive so much love from the fans. Of this I am immensely grateful to Eurovision.
The Eurovision is not considered interesting in San Marino. There is a famous saying that says "Orphans home, winners abroad." Perhaps it would be easier to obtain satisfaction abroad and then return home later on, as did many. My desire for my future is this ... But you have to take into account the possibility of having to start from scratch each time. Many think that I have gained something more to make me calmer at the professional level when in fact it is not. I definitely feel more human than many other rich people who put the money in the top of the list but it will not stop me thanking, however, that this show got me so many beautiful things. An event that asked me a lot but also gave me a lot. Not money. That's for sure!” (laughs).
And the story of Valentina Monetta continues.... not in Vienna but somewhere else.....


Original interview by Michele published in Italian here
Also, check out the Wiwibloggs video interview made in San Marino here. She even talks about the very same concert in it :-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ALAIN CLARK FOR THE NETHERLANDS?

It seems the Netherlands have chosen. This time it should be singer, producer and musician Alain Clark (35). His first album came out back in 2004 without much of a success. Change to sing in English produced a triple platinum Live it out three years later. Since then three more top-3 albums of his groovy soul, latest this year, Walk with me. His biggest hits are This ain't gonna workFather & Friend and Back in my world
If this turns out true, like the main newspaper De Telegraaf suggests this morning the Netherlands continue their string of serious artist with a real career. Apparently Alain has tried an international career before without too much of a success, but Eurovision could change all that.....
This isn't his first adventure to the Eurovision world. In 2012 he co-wrote Ivan Peroti's Take me as I am and came 3rd. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MIKAEL SAARI?

Remember UMK 2013? Mikael Saari and his We should be trough finished second and was a huge fan favorite both home and abroad. Many were expecting an imminent album release and all that but now Mikael tells he was negotiating with several record companies but they all wanted him to sing in Finnish. He instead thinks he expresses himself better in English and so, nothing came of it.... "I can't write a kind of music the commercial companies are searching for" he states. For himself that is, he is more than willing to write pop songs in Finnish for other artists. But today he says in an interview by Etelä-Suomen Sanomat he's very happy with his life; he's finishing his studies by Christmas this year, he sings, performs, writes and is living his dream as he puts it. 
He has been doing musicals since UMK. He's headlining the new musical Poika Mancini in Oulu this fall. Earlier he was doing West Side Story and Pieni lemmenleikki (based on Eurovision songs) in Lahti, and Les Miserables in Tampere. Besides that he has written poems and plays, and this fall he will start rehearsing another musical play, Ikuisesti sinun, co-written by Kaisa Leppänen. On top of all that he has been involved with concerts based on songs by Kaj Chydenius.
While waiting for his break - that will surely come  sooner or later - to the record market, here's River, Sä oot kaunein to wet your appetite. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

EUROVISION 2015: VIENNA IT IS!

While I was holidaying Vienna and its Wiener Stadthalle was confirmed as the host city for the 2015 Eurovision song contest. And indeed it seems like a perfect fit. Vienna itself is more than suitable to host the 60th anniversary edition giving it maybe a bit imperial touch - the historic palaces and all that fabulous bling bling seems to be only 2-3 kms away from the venue. Sissi would approve I'm sure, Conchita for sure does. She thinks it'll be a bit over the top as Vienna is a bit over the top when needed. And with Eurovision over the top fabulousness goes very well! 
Wiener Stadhalle was designed by architect Roland Rainer, built in the 1950's and opened in 1958. It was expanded in 1974 with a public swimming pool - time will tell if that will be engaged with the Eurovision activities (foam party anyone?). The contest will take place in the D Hall but the complex includes various other halls of different sizes so it seems the press center (Halle F?) and the rest will be under the same room for a change. 
So far 25 countries have already confirmed their participation next year, including Cyprus that returns after one year's break. Also Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Serbia are expected to return while Turkey may or may not, and Israel is facing broadcaster problems when IBA shut down (but that didn't stop Greece this year, did it?). On the other hand Andorra, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Monaco and Slovakia are not coming back. 
EBU's Jan Ola Sand commented: "The Stadthalle is a very good choice for the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest – the venue has the space, capacity and know-how to run big events. Of course the contest is a very special event, but it seems to perfectly fit. We will have compact "games" with a good flow for artists, press and delegations." Sand added that he likes the venue being within the city very much as it is easily accessible by underground, tram and even by foot. And as most of the hotels will be in the city centre there will be short distances for everybody.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Welcome #217: KOSOVO

And finally we also have a visitor from Kosovo! Actually I'm a bit surprised I didn't have it already... A huge welcome, whoever you are! That brings the Flagcounter flags up to 217 already..... Anyone in North Korea? ;-p

Gadget

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