Thursday, April 30, 2015


What would a big birthday of Eurovision be without a CD celebration? Nothing. So here it comes. On May 4 the CD will be released including 44 of the biggest hits since 1956 and if for example Italy was totally ignored in the London greatest hits show they get their revenge here: six songs included! 
UK has the most songs included (7) followed by Italy (6), Ireland and Sweden (4), France and Germany (3), Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Netherlands, Israel and Denmark have two and one song comes from Spain, Belgium, Finland, Norway and Ukraine. The 1970's is the most represented decade with 11 songs, followed by 1980's (9), 1960's and 1990's (7). 2010's or the most recent decade  with 5 beats 2000's (3) and 1950's (2)
You can already order the album on iTunes or Amazon for example. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Finland sent monsters back in 2006 and won, Norway sings about monsters and is one of the favorites, mainly thanks to a very fabulously memorable Ibsen inspired video for A monster like me.. Can they win? All depends if they can create that magical atmosphere on stage, too.  Kjetil Mørland and Debrah Scarlett created the duo for this song and ended up in Vienna and have not worked together before. Both have though a lot of experience on their own. Both have also recently moved back to Norway after having been living and working abroad, so this is particular act in many ways.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Swedish online store has been featuring various celebrities in their advertising in their My life, my story campaigns. If you want to dress up like Loreen, have a look here
She tells that even if she was born in Sweden her Moroccan berber roots mean a lot to her. It's also being close to the nature and has influenced her music, too. She uses and plays a lot with sounds, many of them coming from the nature. She feels also a bit nomad; she lives in Stockholm but spends a lot of time in Paris and London, and plans moving to New York soon.  
What about her fashion sense? She says she's into hats, masculine jackets and blaisers. Her fashion icon would be early Grace Jones. Her Ellos collection if confortable yet classy with a touch of ethnic.
Her new album is finally ready and will be released later this year. The first single off it is Paper light


The youngest duo for the tiniest country, Sammarinese teenagers Anita Simoncini and Michele Perniola have been building bridges for a more peaceful world with their chain of lights in Moscow's pre-Eurovision party. Anita said in Moscow: "Our message is peace. Together we can build a chain of light, with our smartphones and with our hearts and make the world a better place."  If you are going to Vienna, be sure to light up your phone and join in. (Better than booing as a protest, isn't it?)
Watch their performance here giving us a glimpse of their chemistry on stage.
The youngsters message of peace may sound a bit lame at first but it's more current than ever in the world we live in, even in Europe - just think about Ukraine and the radarless airplanes flying around Baltic Sea area violating other nation's territories for example, as well as submarines like the one caught near Stockholm last October, and yesterday just infront of Helsinki. A little peace was the thing back in 1982. In 2015 we still need just that.
Why all of sudden this makes me think of the chain of hands the people of Baltic states made back in August 1989 joining over two million people from Estonia via Latvia to Lithuania. Rest is history.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Il Volo has released today the follow up single to their Sanremo winner and Eurovision 2015 entry Grande amore. It's off their Sanremo grande amore EP and the winning song of Sanremo 1968, Canzone per te by Sergio Endrigo and Roberto Carlos. Fab!

Saturday, April 25, 2015


Loïc Nottet is one of the youngest and unexperinced artists this year. This 18-year-old came second in the The Voice Belgique last year and then in the fall was approached by RTBF if he would be interested in Eurovision. He didn't say yes immediately as he confesses he didn't quite know what Eurovision is! He documented himself and said yes, as it is an opportunity to make a huge show for the whole of Europe. Even if he is well aware his entry Rhythm inside isn't a typical Eurovision song he hasn't listened the other songs to avoid comparing himself to others and get stress for it. And how will his staging in Vienna be...?

Friday, April 24, 2015


Il Volo was in a live chat with TVSorrisi e Canzoni, the biggest entertainment magazine in Italy and here below in short are the main things. They talk about Sanremo, Eurovision, their travels, future plans, new album, Woody Allen and a lot more. And yes, they promise to do all they can to bring Eurovision back to Italy! Dressed smart in Armani!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Just awhile before her debut album simply titled Conchita will be released Conchita Wurst has released a video to her latest single You are unstoppable. And yes, she does Loreen or goes topless. Beautifully shot in black and white the video once again provides some beautiful imaginary and shots. And she's off to Australia for promotion soon..... 

ESC 2015: MEET JOHN KARAYIANNIS / Γιάννης Καραγιάννης (CYPRUS)

Giannis aka John Karayiannis (20) won the Cypriot national selection with One thing I should have done. Not everyone's favorite at first, not even by this blogger's. But, once I managed to stop comparing it to Lisa Andreas' Stronger every minute (same composer Mike Connaris, btw) and heard this fantastic remix, I was sold. One of the most underrated songs this year, no doubt. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Il Volo has sold over 100.000 copies of their EP in Italy gaining double platinum status, besides topping both the album and the single charts. While they have been busy travelling the world the new album won't be avaialble as yet, but they want to give their fans something extra before Eurovision: the EP Sanremo grande amore will be re-released incuding a DVD with interviews, bonus material, the Sanremo backstage and more. The New Edition will be released in Italy on May 12, 2015. 
Lately the guys have been to Madrid and New York - meeting Woody Allen among others, the video has passed already 21,5 million views and even Conchita Wurst has showed her support for their entry. The tour tickets are selling so well they have added foru more dates to the set: Brescia, Cervia, Chieti and Palermo in July-August 2015.....


It has been known for some time now Valentina Monetta indeed will give out the Sammarinese votes this year in Vienna. She is also joining the delegation and enjoy her fourth consegutive Eurovision on the spot in Vienna. 
The rest of the Italian peninsula will rely on Federico Russo who will give out the Italian votes, besides commenting the final for the Italians with another Valentina, Valentina Correani. They are known as presenting The Voice of Italy since season 2.... 


Finland has its parliament elections last Sunday and Jaana Pelkonen, the fabulous hostess of Helsinki 2007 Eurovision contest with Mikko Leppilampi, as well as multiple national final hostess and commentator, including the legendary commentary of the voting when Lordi won, emerged as the most voted female candidate nationwide getting 15.954 votes in Helsinki electoral district. That made her not only as the most voted female but number five in overall nationwide after the new premier Juha Sipilä, party leader Timo Soini who took Finns Party as the second biggest in the new parliament, ex-premier Alexander Stubb and ex-minister of defence Carl Haglund. This result means most likely she will be appointed a minister! (If her national Coalition party enters the government that is, being now the third biggest party and could possibly choose to step back.) 
She entered the parliament four years ago for the first time. She has been campaigning for the equal marriage low (now approved) and alcohol politics and taxing.  Congratulation Jaana! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

ESC 2015: MEET KNEZ / Ненад Кнежевић (MONTENEGRO)

Nenad Knežević or simply Knez was internally chosen to represent Montenegro in Vienna 2015 Eurovision. For the occasion he got Adio, written by Željko Joksimović, who needs no presentation. Knez has taken part in various local competitions in his early career and won Budva 2000 with Vjeruj. His latest hit is Donna. He did his first contest when he was six years old! After several experiences in bands he went solo in early 1990's. Since then his fame and music has spread all over ex-Yogoslavia. His most selling album is from 1997 but he has released 11 albums so far (including compilations) and a new one is coming this summer. Once again Balcan brings in the big guns!

Saturday, April 18, 2015


It has been revealed this weekend Måns Zelmerlöw will be touring Finland this summer, following his performance in the The Voice of Finland final last night. But..... he'll be the supporting act to Tomas Ledin (ESC 1980) on August 14 in Porvoo, and the day after in Tammisaari, as well as July 17 in Maarianhamina in Åland. All three major Finnish metropolies. Not. 

ESC 2015: MEET NADAV GUEDJ / נדב גדג' (ISRAEL)

Israeli Justin Timberlake. So he is called. He is the third youngest artist this year, and one of the most inexprienced as he just came to the spotlight a few months ago when participating (and winning) a talent show in his homecountry Nadav turned 16 only last November. But he and his team has managed to create him a full package: a catchy song Golden boy, and an image to match, even with a slogan from the song that went viral after the song was released: Before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv. For the first time Israel also drops any Hebrew parts in the song and goes full English version. The song itself is a real cocktail of old and new, Mediterranean and global styles in three minutes but strangely it all works!


The final of The Voice of Finland took place last night with several Eurovision connections. First of all Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw was the guest and performed his Heroes. To be honest, he didn't impress that much. He is good and all, but the song without the gimmick just isn't very engaging, is it?
Anyways, one of the main winning candidates was Jennie Storbacka. She only managed third though. Just like she did in Euroviisut 2005 with Kiss me. In 2006 she was 4th with Take me higher. Since then she has done a long career in musicals and is now ready to kickstart her solo career. But Eurovision is a part of a pastlife she declared....
The winner is another lady with a big voice, Miia Kosunen, from ex-Nightwish's Tarja Turunen's team. Her final song was surprisingly Bed on fire, from Melodifestivalen 2013 and Ralf Gyllenhammar. Watch Miia's performance here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


France has been experimenting with different styles in Eurovision in the recent years but now it's back to the recipe that most often has been succesful: a proper classy French ballad by a strong female voice. Lisa Angell will bring her mature charm to Vienna with a song that has a meaning besides beautiful melody and lyrics. If there is any justice in the world France should do well this time. N'oubliez pas is written by Robert Goldman (brother of my hero Jean Jacques and writer of Je n'ai que mon ame) and it was first performed last November during the commemoration of The First World War but it does not only refer to this conflict in the world but all of them, including the recent attacks in Paris.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Serbian Bojana Stamenov hasn't been having beauty sleeps while prepairing for Vienna. She has just released a new proper video replacing the previous fans featuring beauty video, right after she has given us Spanish (El mundo bajo mis pies) and French (Le monde est à moi) versions of the song! And an Autobahn remix that is kinda fabulous! Busy girl!
PS. I still think the original Ceo svet je moj takes the prize!

Oh WAIT! There's yet another version: Die ganze Welt is mein! And that's something else....


Lithuania has finally has released a video for their entry This time sung by Monika Linkyté and Vaidas Baumila. And a very cute video it is! It features the main stars only in a studio singing their song but at the same time they asked people to listen their song and react to it in any way that felt right. All this was filmed, of course, and provides some very cute scenes.... there's surely love in the air! This will be a great opener for the second semifinal!


Austrian post office is one of the official partners of Eurovision song contest 2015 in Vienna and they join in the fun, too. Obviosuly releasing some stamps but also with the stamps come a 180 page history book of the contest (in German and in English). A lot of photos from the six decades, the big wins and losses, hits and flops, stars and scandals.... and the songs! They are all there. The limited edition affair with stamps is available from April 20 from here

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Conchita Wurst has revealed the tracklisting for her debut album to be released on May 15. The album obviously includes her Eurovision winner Rise like a Phoenix, the follow up singles Heroes and You are unstoppable. Her pre-Eurovision singles Unbreakable and That's what I am are not included. Shame, as this blogger likes both of them. They could have been included as "bonustracks" I guess. Anyhow, this is a must purchase!


The second season of Tähdet, tähdet has been again a success, and no doubt thanks to some Eurovision singers: Krista Siegfrids, Laura Voutilainen, Jarkko Ahola (Teräsbetoni) have done it all the way to the almost end, while Markku Aro was voted out after his country performance. More Eurovision is added when Mira Luoti (PMMP) was eliminated to the sounds of Lapponia, and multiple national finalist Arja Koriseva made it to sixth episode. On top of that UMK host Roope Salminen is in top-4.... As is Laura Voutilainen.
But as said, surprisingly and unfairly Krista Siegfrids dropped out last Sunday. She has been a real transformer and managed all genres wonderfully showing she can also sing and is a real performer and it's time to forget ding dong and see what she is all about: a true artist. Now that's she's out I'm all for Laura Voutilainen.... She's in top-4 with Jarkko Ahola, Roope Salminen and opera hunk Waltteri Torikka.


Who were the first Italian artists ever to be signed directly to an American label? Yes, Il Volo. Since then they have performed on the biggest and most important stages and shows in the world, with Barbra Streisand, Placido Domingo and Eros Ramazzotti just to name a few, topped Billboard charts, gathered Latin Grammy nominations and made it big in Americas. In Europe, and Italy it has been quieter. Until this year when they took Sanremo by storm and will now take Grande amore to Vienna. One of the biggest favorites to win, with over 20 milion Youtube views already, selling multiplatinum at home and for a change, a real eagerness to win it for Italy, and even RAI seems to ok with it this time. Are we off to Turin next year? For sure they will give us a full dose of something 100% Italian; melodic opera pop directly out of traditional Italian song book. A fact that bothers some Italian fans labelling it dated and kitchy. I say it's perfection.


The biggest ad best Eurovision get together - besides the real event of course - is happening once again this weekend in Amsterdam. It's already the 7th edition and by now an approved and a must happening for many fans and artists alike. For some it's also the first chance to perform live their entry. All eyes are on Australia's Guy Sebastian this time as he hasn't yet performed the song anywhere live! It's a good opportunity for the artists to mingle and get to know each other, or meet again after meeting in other promotional events across Europe. It has moved away from the original idea of giving fans a chance to meet & greet the artists, too, in a more relaxed occasion which is a bit of a shame. 
Ever wonderful Edsilia Rombley will host the show with Cornald Maas in Melkweg. Special guests are the Norwegian 1985 winners Bobbysocks who will let it swing on stage once more. 24 out of the 40 acts will be present: Elnur Huseynov (Azerbaijan), Måns Zelmerlöw (Sweden), Electro Velvet (UK), Mørland & Debrah Scarlett (Norway), Lisa Angell (France), Aminata (Latvia), Guy Sebastian (Australia), Nina Sublatti (Georgia), Monika Kuszynska (Poland), Ann Sophie (Germany), Maraaya (Slovenia), Eduard Romanyuta (Moldova), Boggie (Hungary), Maria-Elena Kyriakou (Greece), Nadav Guedj (Israel), Bojana Stamenov (Serbia), Knez (Montenegro), The Makemakes (Austria), Uzari & Maimuna (Belarus), Monika & Vaidas (Lithuania), Trijntje Oosterhuis (Netherlands), Daniel Kajmakoski (Macedonia), John Karayiannis (Cyprus), Elhaida Dani (Albania). Edurne (Spain) has cancelled her participation for reasons unknown.....
The event is sold out. This is the first EiC since 2011 that Valentina Monetta is not present.....

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Estonia is one of the big favorites this year and for a reason. They topped the odds even before the Estonian final was held thanks to this song, Goodbye to yesterday. When Elina & Stig won the final with 79% of the votes there was no doubt we have having something special here. A nice cocktail of experience and inexperience, old and young (well, sort of, Stig is 35, Elina 20 but then this is not the first time Estonia sends a duet of this kind...), two different ways of singing, a story to tell.... Everything falls in right place from melody to the vocals, the retro arrangement. All we need is a good staging and camerawork and we might be off to Tallinn next year. Maybe.

Friday, April 10, 2015


It's finally out: the three minute version of the italian entry, you can listen to it here. Some Italian fans have been very worried beforehand how the song will work in its shorter version but no worries, it's fine! More than fine!
Of course we who know the longer version will miss Gianluca's flirty wink when singing about making love but those who hear the song for the first time don't know what they are missing.... So, what has been done? They have got the intro, that Gianluca's part and also trimmed the end of the song. Nothing has been lost, only gained. Forza Italia!
Oh, and if you haven't noticed, the video is nearing 20 million views on Vevo....


EBU surprised us all announcing Australia would take part in Vienna as a competing country, a decision that didn't please everyone. I think it's ok if it remains a one-off as they say (unless Australia wins then they will be back in 2016 co-hosting the contest in some European country) and actually it would be fun to have a guest from far taking part every year. But back to Guy Sebastian. 
He was born in Malaysia and is a mix of Portuguese, English, Scottish and Sri Lankan. Guy is married and has two little sons and is very committed to charity work. He plays violin, guitar, drums and piano. He started singing in church choirs and after winning Australian Idol in 2003 he has become one of the best selling Australian artists ever. He has more number one hits than any other male artist, six, and he has sold well over 3,7 million records and has over 50 platinum certifications. He has also been nominated and won countless awards. 

Thursday, April 09, 2015


Remember Johnny Blue, the blind singer Lena Valaitis sung back in 1981? He lives on in a musical staged in Czech Republic based on the music and songs by Ralph Siegel. The musical, written and directed by Stanislav Moša and arranged by Karel Cón, features countless Eurovision entries by Siegel from Dschingish Khan and Theater to more recent Crisalide and Maybe. This is in the German speaking world what Mamma mia! is for Scandinavian – soundtrack of the life of those who grew up in the 1970s-1980s. The world premiere took place in Brno, Czech Republic on March 28, 2015 with many familiar artists attending the event: Katja Ebstein, Dorkas of MeKaDo fame, Valentina Monetta and Penny Mc Lean just to name a few. "For me it's a real priviledge that people still sing my songs, which I started to write 50 years ago. It's quite a long time ago but I still enjoy writing! It was a wonderful evening. It was my dream to see and hear what we have done. I love Eurovision for 200 million people, but I love more when you all are so close and all is live!" commented Siegel in the after party.*

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


Self described Eurovision zombies Marjetka and Aleš have taken Europe by storm with their entry Here for you, a modern indie-pop song with interesting voice. They are a married couple with two little kids, their careers and work. Keeping it all together surely must be a bit tiring. A married couple yes, but by no means a Slovenian answer to Albano & Romina Power. Their trademark headphones set them a part and create a memorable gimmick. They are no stranger to Eurovision either, especially Aleš, who was co-writer of the last year's entry and also on stage with Tinkara Kovač in Round and round. (Recently Tinkara performed Here for you with them). They also tried their luck with Eurovision back in 2008 as Turbo Angels in the Slovenian national final. Zabava finished sixth and the band fell apart the year after. They created Maraaya last year and already scored an international hit with their debut Lovin' me. Did you know Maraaya is not only a combination of their names but pronounces/translates as "she has Raay" in Slovenian? :-)

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranks the performance of 180 countries according to a range of criteria that include media pluralism and independence, respect for the safety and freedom of journalists, and the legislative, institutional and infrastructural environment in which the media operate. The 2015 World Press Freedom Index highlights the worldwide deterioration in freedom of information in 2014. Beset by wars, the growing threat from non-state operatives, violence during demonstrations and the economic crisis, media freedom is in retreat on all five continents.The annual global indicator, which measures the overall level of violations of freedom of information in 180 countries year by year, has risen to 3,719, an 8 percent increase over 2014 and almost 10 percent compared with 2013. The decline affected all continents for the third year in a row. Read more here
Let's see how the Eurovision countries feature. Finland keeps its global number one place for the fifth year in a row, followed by Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. The bottom three is Russia (152.), Belarus (157.) and Azerbaijan (162.). Check out the full ranking and the map here

Monday, April 06, 2015


Elnur Hüseynov (28) is no stranger to Eurovision having already scored 8th place in 2008 when he provided Azerbaijan's debut entry Day after day in the contest with Samir. Since then this falsetto singingTurkmenistan born artist with the inceredible voice has starred in Notre-Dame de Paris in Ucraine and won O Ses Türkiye or The Voice of Turkey where he even covered Sertab Erener's Aşk, her opening act in Istanbul 2004 Eurovision and one of this blogger's favorite songs. Another reason to like Elnur. 
Elnur's talent was discovered early and he attanded a school for gifted kids and specialized in piano. But he didn't chose music career first as he graduated from medical school with a degree in dentistry. Yet he wasn't only interested in teeth and took hairdressing classes. At some point he had time to graduate also from Music Collage, work at the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, sing in Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Choir and win a national singing contest in 2003. Currently he performs in Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, besides making career in Turkey. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015


Namely in Sicily, Monsignor Staglianò, Bishop of Noto has become a Youtube sensation after using Marco Mengoni's latest single Essere umani (Being human) and his Eurovision entry L'Essenziale (Essential) as well as Noemi's Vuoto a perdere (Emptiness to lose) and Mengoni's Guerriero (Warrior) to reach the young people and explain them facts of life. Or the emptiness of it today. And indeed the lyrics are very fitting when taking out of the song context. Noemi's song goes: 
"Sono un'altra da me stessa, sono un vuoto a perdere. 
Sono diventata grande senza neanche accorgermene"
"I am different from myself, I'm emptiness to lose. 
I have become grown up without even realizing it."
The bishop insisted on emptiness of life and warned young people to find themselves bypassing the fashions of the hypermarket, where people only look at you if you have the money and not the heart.
and Mengoni's L'Essenziale:
"Mentre il mondo cade a pezzi io compongo nuovi spazi e desideri...".
"As the world falls to pieces I compose new spaces and desires ..."
The bishop says, addressing the faithful who applaud him, he must cite songs to make things understandable, otherwise we do not understand anything. If we sing, you understand things. He adds: "Love can become an empty word, stupid, only heart can fill in the words of their human content. Essere umani (Being Human):
"Oggi la gente ti giudica, per quale immagine hai.
Vede soltanto le maschere, e non sa nemmeno chi sei.
Devi mostrarti invincibile, collezionare trofei.
Ma quando piangi in silenzio, scopri davvero chi sei."
"Today people judge you, for which image you have.
Sees only masks, and not even know who you are.
You must show yourself invincible, collect trophies.
But when you cry in silence, you really discover who you are."
"See how Mengoni steals the themes of my sermons?" he says jokingly.
Of course some narrow minded people are not happy at all, but the young people seem to approve. And without taking any sides on religious matters this blogger thinks this initiative is a positive one. Like Staglianò says, the songs help get the message, if one is willing to get it. For the rest of us, they still remain just what they are: great songs with great lyrics. 
Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 03, 2015


UPDATE: After seeing it on television it was awesome! BBC really edited it mastefully and it was fun and entertaining. Great stuff! Much better than I would have expexted after being in the recording. They polished every bit of it to perfection. Much better than the 50th anniversary show!

Back home and finally a moment to calm down and cherish the moments of the night. First of all it was great to see all those Eurovision winners (and non-winners) on stage and most of them gave a very good performance - at least judged live. I'm curiously waiting how the show will turn out on screen, Graham Norton and Petra Mede, the insert videos and other stuff. As the overall impression after the show was BBC had a minimal effort in the originality and planning, and just decided to walk the singers on stage one by one and that's it. Also the last number them singing together in duets and groups Eurovision hits wasn't really something new and unseen or original, was it? 
The only thing worth mentioning of that was of course Conchita Wurst & Dana Iinternational singing together Waterloo. But then again, it was quite obvious, wasn't it? Also some of the backdrops used for the artists were like screensavers from the early years of PCs. Somehow it left a feeling BBC went where the fence was at lowest and didn't very hard to make it something better, bigger and original. Starting with the guest list. Why was Rosa singing a medley of the Spanish entries? Why the other Big5 where not treated the same? The line up was all in all a very northern and British/Irish one, aimed clearly for the British audience. I would have preferred a bit more European approach. 
Ok, after all this nagging I'm not saying it wasn't great. It was! The atmosphere in the venue was fantastic, people seemed to love every minute of it and the only blemish was the booing for Russia as soon as Graham started the introduction for Dima Bilan
He had to actually stop it by yelling "Shut the fuck up, this is not a competition but a celebration" or something similar. With the second try some were still booing. Sigh. I bet they have tuned that down from the televised version. Like they did in the Eurovision 2014 DVD.... And rightly so.

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