Saturday, July 30, 2016

NETHERLANDS: HOW LUCKY WE ARE WITH DOUWE BOB

Douwe Bob has released a follow up for his fortunate Eurovision entry off the Fool Bar album, How lucky we are. And indeed, we are lucky there's Douwe doing these laid back pop country tracks that give such good vibes....  Sadly I can't say the same about the video (or maybe I just miss the humour in it?) but I can slow down, keep listening the song and not watch the video..... 

RUSSIA: SERGEY LAZAREV LETS THE WHOLE WORLD WAIT

Let the whole world wait, as Пусть весь мир подождёт translates from Russian version of You are the only one. I can only make ut words like vulcani and prostata. Not sure I want to know the rest of the lyrics.... Oh, I miss the days everyone had to sing in their own language!

Friday, July 29, 2016

FINLAND: EXTRALORDINARY - THE LORDI'S 10TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION IN HELSINKI

Lordi's career and the 10th anniversary of the 2006 Eurovision song contest win is collected together in a special exhibition in Helsinki's Jätkäsaari, at Weird Antiques, the coolest antique shop in town (more about them at the bottom of this post).
Here you can see their Eurovision trophy and props used in Athens as well as their masks and outfits over the years, original paintings for record sleeves by Mr Lordi, more props and stuff used on their various tours and performances. It gives you a funny feeling to stare at his hats and the props, seen in action in Athens and painted in one's memory with an everlasting mark. Magic!
 The Finland hat worn by Mr Lordi in Athens and Awa's mask in Athens
 The Eurovision 2006 glass trophy! Broken by Finnair who refused to have it in the cabin and it had to be cargoed home. Shame shame on you!
The Lappish four winds hat worn by Mr Lordi in Athens
 Mr Lordi's wings for Hard rock hallelujah
 The firework scepter used in for Hard rock hallelujah
The duck masks used by Lordi, when not in Lordi masks,  and the whole Finnish delegation and crew in Athens to fool the press and the fans :-)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Go and check out the ExtraLORDInary at Weird Antiques if in Helsinki. The exhibition is open until August 13. And check out the shop after the job. There's all sort of wonderful things, including music!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ITALY: RAPHAEL GUALAZZI RETURNS WITH JOHN WAYNE

With the first lines of the song I could swear it's Franco Battiato's new summer hit but no, it's Raphael Gualazzi who returns with the summer of John Wayne, L'estate di John Wayne. Catchy summery feel good song and probably his poppiest offering since Madness of love, or actually this one is way more pop than that was. And it's fabulously fantastic! Love love love!
As the video is blocked - at least for Finland (why Raphael why?) - you can listen and watch the lovely video here.
Oh, and that's not all. He's about to release his new album Love life peace on September 23, 2016.

ESC 2017: THE BATTLE IS STILL ON - GOING FOR RISKY OR SAFE?

Back to the original plan. Or rather the original date as the original plan was to have two finalists but instead we have three. First the chosen one was ment to be out today, after EBU had inspected the plans and venues, but no. This blogger thinks it's more due to the fact that none of the bids is strong enough rather than they are all so great it's hard to choose. Don't get me wrong, I totally back the Ukrainian hosting and believe they can host a wonderful event, but each bid seems to have something wrong or at least not quite there. If only we could take the best parts of each of them ...

UPDATE: Surprise! The date hasn't been confirmed. The decision could take still a week or two. That only indicates there are valid problems to be solved in all three bids. Infrastructure and security are among main issues to be solved. Plus arenas in ALL cities....

 
Dnipro seems to have it all right for the venue and the rest; arena, press center and Euroclub all together. The venue needs a face lift though and the airport isn't exactly the best served one. There isn't enough hotel capacity. More importantly the city's image is a bit dull, grey and polluted industrial one, and even close to the war zone.... But they seem very determined and it has taken them this far. 

Odessa sounds great and exotic; "Eurovision Odessa". I like the sound of that. Being a touristic resort is has all the infrastructure ready for all the other things but the venue. They're also offering full funding - probably the very reason they are still here! - so everything else is there and sounds perfect even the weather in May. It's about the time we have Eurovision one can also go to the beach! But the venues; all tents or open air. Could this be the time EBU tests if a Eurovision in tent will work and thus opening the doors for smaller nations and cities without huge arenas to be able to host it in case they win? The bid has five tent solutions for all the things Eurovision from dressing rooms to Euroclub. 
That wouldn't be the first time: In Copenhagen the dressing rooms and delegation lounge etc were in tents. And yes, it rained in and with heavy winds you felt like they would fly away at any moment...... not forgetting that NOISE!  In Stockholm the EuroClub and Euro Fan Cafe were in a kind of a tent, too.. 

 
And then we have Kiev. Boring old Kiev. Been there, done that (ESC 2005, JESC 2009, JESC 2013) It has it all ok, but ... nothing special really. The venue (and city) is already familiar, transport etc is ok. The arena needs a major face lift though, the press center is a too far....  And there's the Ice hockey issue to be solved.... A bid made ny left hand perhaps, too confident they have it in bag. 

If only we could have the Dnipro's venues in Odessa with Kiev's infrastructure that would make an unbeatable bid!

Next Monday we will know if NTU and EBU go with the safe and dull Kiev or will they experiment with Odessa's money and tents, or will Dnipro's stubbornness to have it at any cost win in the end?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

ESC 2017: WILL KIEV'S PALACE OF SPORTS BECOME THE 9TH MULTI HOST?

UPDATE: The annoucement has been postboned to the original date of August 1, 2016.
Over the decades since 1956 we have had 53 different venues hosting the Eurovision song contest, from prestigious old concert halls to imperial palace's concert hall to insignificant TV studios, especially bult arenas to excisting congress centers. So many different venues in size and style that only one thing may be common to them: they all had a roof. (Even if built for the occasion.) Only seven venues have had the honor to host it twice, and one - yes, Ireland again! - three times and even twice in a row. If Kiev's Palace of Sports will be chosen it will be the 9th multi host. We should know next Wednesday.....
1959 + 1961; Palais des Festivals et des Congres - Cannes, France
1962 + 1966: Villa Louvigny - Luxembourg
1973 + 1984: Grand Theatre de la Ville de Luxembourg - Luxembourg
1976 + 1980: Nederlands Congresgebouw - The Hague, the Netherlands
1979 + 1999: International Convention Center - Jerusalem, Israel
1981 + 1988: RDS Simmenscourt Pavillon - Dublin, Ireland
1994 + 1995 + 1997: Point Theater - Dublin, Ireland
2000 + 2016: Globen Arena - Stockholm, Sweden

Saturday, July 23, 2016

SWEDEN: CAROLA ARRESTED IN GREECE

We already know Carola has been several times in Greece, and in the island of Kos especially helping the incoming refugees. She has also helped those who have managed to make their way to Sweden by giving them shelter in her home. She had met those 10 Iraqi and Ugandan christian refugees in Kos and given them her address telling them to look her up if they get to Sweden. One day they were at her door and true to her word she welcomed them to her house. 
Now she tells it hasn't all been so easy. 
Once she got in trouble by trying to stop some people stealing the incoming boat's engine. Long story short she  managed to get it back from thieves and they got very angry at her. She jumped to her car and was driving away with eight refugees through the village seeking help from the local police. Instead she and those Pakistani refugees were all jailed! The thieves in question who hunted her all the way to the station blamed Carola for taking money from the refugees to help them while she was reporting the thieves were stealing their motor. Once she raised her voice to protest off to the prison she was sent. (Well, we all know she's got some pipes on her!) Thankfully it was a question of hours only before she was released. Talk about Greek drama!
But she's drawn to drama it seems. Once in South Africa local people were accusing her of stealing Zoe, her adopted daughter. Once again she was seeking help from police but they also thought she wasn't so angelic until Zoey called out for her as "mummy!" From now on she certainly remembers to keep her adoption documents with her..... 
And that's just some of the things she shared with Swedish television interview this weekend.....

Friday, July 22, 2016

ESC 2017: IT'S KYIV, DNIPRO OR ODESSA

Surprise! Instead of two finalists we have three! EBU will check out these three and the final decision will be announced noon on July 27.

Kyiv
Palace of Sports (capacity 9800). Hosted ESC 2005 and JESC 2009. Needs major renovation.
Needs to deal with the World Ice Hockey championships who are not planning to move away. Let's see how this ends.
NSC Olympiyskiy stadium will host the EuroClub and the press center. Eurovision Village will feature all regions of Ukraine and be in Troiska Square near the NSC Olympiyskiy. All these three locations are very close.
The Red Carpet will take place at Sofiyska Square, that will be also one of the fan zone with Kontraktova, Mikhailivieska, Poshtova and beforementioned Troiska square.
Closing party at the museum complex Mystetskyi Arsenal.
Dnipro
The most political bid with motto "Dnipro, a city that stopped the Russian spring".
DniproEuroArena aka Meteor (capacity of 9.500)
Press center and Euroclub at nearby at the Meteor complex.
Eurovision Village in the city center at Heroes of Maiden Square. The second fan zone possibly on Festival Pier.
Odessa
Chernomorets stadium (capacity 34.000). Needs to have a roof built "the Copenhagen 2001" way. It could later be moved away and used as EXPO center for 10.000-12.000 people.
The Red Carpet at the Opera Theater or the Arcadia Alley that leads to Black Sea.
EuroClub obtions are three: Quarantine arcade, Green theater in Central Park and Spartak stadium. All are open air.
Eurovision Village options beforementioned Central Park or Primorskiy Boulevard.


Lviv, Kharkiv and Kherson are out of the race.

ITALY: ALICE AND BATTIATO: NEW JOINT AND SOLO PROJECTS IN THE AIR!

Alice and Franco Battiato have been touring all over Italy this year with their completely sold out tour that will end July 30 in the famous Greek theater of Taormina in Sicily. Now when the second leg of the tour - after an early summer break - is in full swing it is announced there will be also a live album - and most likely also a DVD - of the tour to be released later this year.
But that is not all: Alice slipped in an interview there have been also talk about a joint studio album with new material to be recorded some time in the future. How cool would that be?! Their musical history is very much linked to each other with some duets and Alice covering many Battiato songs and songs Battiato has written for her over the deecades. But a duet album would be something new and oh, so awesome!
But more certain seems a new album by Alice to be recorded next. It seems to be a very personal cover album of songs that have ment much to her in her life. Whatever it is, it's worth the wait!
Alice returned after 14 years with a studio album of unreleased tracks in 2012 (Samsara) and then again in 2014 (Weekend) following the 1998 album Exit. Franco Battiato on the other hand has been very productive with all sort of albums always. His latest is last year's compilation box (3 cds or 6 cd + 4 dvd) covering all aspects of his creativity. Despite that kind of "testament" it seems he's nowhere near the end of his career.... 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

ITALY: IL VOLO RELEASES A NEW ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER

It's been a busy year for last year's Eurovision song contest viewer's favorite Il Volo from Italy. After winning the televote - but placing only 3rd, a fate shared by Sergey Lazarev this year - they have been touring the world and selling a lot of records. In short, after winning Sanremo 2015 with
Grande amore they released an EP that sold triple platinum while the single sold platinum. During the Christmas time their old Christmas album hit the charts and sold gold. Their follow up album released September last year sold doube platinum. And that Italy alone.
But they are not stopping here. They have announced the new album will see the light in the end of September 2016, and the ticket sales for their yet another Verona di Arena concert in May 2017 are going well. Now let's see if the album features again covers or new material!?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ESC 2017: READY FOR THE BATTLE OF THE CITIES?

Tomorrow, Wednesday July 20, 2016 the battle of the cities will start big time. In a live broadcast of the public work meeting hosted and co-produced by Tim Miroshnychenko that will air from 17.30 CET on radio and television as well as here and on Youtube, possibly with an English commentator.
The six candidate cities - Kiev, Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Kherson and Odessa - will present their bids, in most cases by their mayors, and press, experts and viewers may comment and participate in the process. Live links will be taken to the cities in question and all sort of things like that. 
When Kiev hosted the Eurovision song contest 2005 following Ruslana's win in Istanbul, it was the only option. In 12 years Ukraine has grown and developed, and hosted various international big scale events over the years and thus has more to choose from. 
But the fun won't end with this broadcast. The Ukrainian Eurovision 2017 project will continue its open and public work with live broadcasts from the decision making in coming days. and their aim is to make the Eurovision 2017 something the whole nation and the host city's inhabitants all can share and be part of. Not only the two weeks of the contest and EuroVillage, but from here to all the way to May 2017. A fan zone that involves the whole country, with high profile events along the way leading us to the climax that is the Eurovision weeks on spot. Sounds ambitious and interesting.....
UPDATE: After following the battle with half eye I must sadly say Lviv and Odessa failed to deliver, Kherson was a total joke and in the end Dnipro emerged as the one to challenge Kiev, who's bid wasn't all that convincing either but can make it work. Kharkiv could also surprise, maybe. Unlike promised before the top-2 will be announced only on Friday. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

RUSSIA: SERGEY LAZAREV IS BREAKING AWAY IN A NEW VIDEO

Sergey Lazarev has released a follow up to this Eurovision song contest 3rd placed You are the only one. It seems he's been to Greece to shoot the video.... Another track that is pleasant radio pop but totally absent of any originality. He's better than these songs he's doing lately....


Sunday, July 17, 2016

FINLAND: AMADEUS COVERS VOLARE AND SI IN HIS NEW ALBUM

The youngest ever Tango King in Finland, Amadeus (Lundberg) has gone a long way after his win back in 2009. The year after he got a free pass to Euroviisut, the Finnish national final for the Eurovision and he presenter Anastacia, that followed nicely his debut single Matador. He released his debut album and after his reign was over went on touring all over tango circuit. Two years ago he released with Riku Niemi Orchestra an album with covers of classics with new songs, and in 2015 another one. The succesful series is completed now with a third one, that is basicly only covers of Italian classics, including Volare and Si from Eurovision song contest plus songs like Il Mondo that has been recently covered also by Il Volo. Listen the album here
Volare has been of course covered about a zillion times so that's no news and more like a yawn, but it's not everyday you get a new Si cover. His voice fits the song nicely and the arrangement is rather simple dance oriented (for tango people that is, not disco!) schlager version rather than the exciting sophisticated and delicate original. But it takes more than that to ruin a fantastic song as it still remains pleasant. Different but pleasant. And as said, his voice fits it perfectly. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

OGAE SECOND CHANCE 2016 - WHO WILL WIN THIS YEAR?

A total of 23 national OGAE clubs have submitted their entry from a national final to the OGAE Second Chance, the longest running OGAE competition (since 1987). A lot of runner ups, but also other choices by the fans, like Italy that picks up Patty Pravo (68) who placed only 6th in Sanremo. 
Italy won last year with Sanremo's runner up Nek and Fatti avanti amore and therefor organizes this year's contest. The club members are voting their favorites during this summer and by sometime late summer/fall we should have a winner. If this blogger picked up the entries out of these 23 there would be maybe 7 only.... I would have went for different songs :-) But that's the beauty of Eurovision. We agree to disagree on everything :-)
Below is the Youtube playlist for all the entries. 
Belgium: Tom Frantzis – I’m not lost (2nd)
Belarus: NAPOLI – My universe (2nd)
Ukraine: The Hardkiss – Helpless (2nd)
Albania: Besa Krasniqi – Liroje zemrën (unplaced)
Malta: Brooke – Golden (2nd)
United kingdom: Bianca – Shine a litte light (unplaced)
Lithuania: Erica Jennings – Leading me home (2nd)
Italy: Patty Pravo – Cieli immensi (6th)
Hungary (Rest of the World): Kállay Saunders Band – Who we are (Top 4)
Sweden: Wiktoria – Save me (4th)
Denmark: Anja Nissen – Never alone (2nd)
Austria: Elly V – I’ll be around (2nd)
Latvia: MyRadiantU – We will be stars (3rd)
Switzerland: Vincent Gross – Half a smle (3rd)
Norway: The Hungry Hearts feat. Lisa Dillan – Laika (unplaced)
Slovenia: Raiven – Črno bel (2nd)
Estonia: Laura – Supersonic (2nd)
Finland: Mikael Saari – On it goes (3rd)
Israel: Ella Daniel – Somebody out there (3rd)
Romania: Florena – Behind the shadows (3rd)
Poland: Margaret – Cool me down (2nd)
Germany: Avantasia – Mystery of a blood red rose (3rd)
Spain: María Isabel – La vida sólo es una (4th)


Monday, July 11, 2016

ITALY: SANREMO 2017 IN FEBRUARY WITH CARLO CONTI

First news from the Italian riviera of flowers. The 67th Sanremo festival will take place on February 7 to 11, 2017 and the host will be for the third year in a row Carlo Conti, hoping to triple his success with the ratings and praise. Maybe he will be even third time lucky and make his dream of having Laura Pausini as his co-hostess true? Time will tell. Anyways, by now she has also proved she can carry a live tv show, be a hostess, comedienne and singer all at once after her success with Laura & Paola show on Raiuno with Paola Cortellesi. In 2016 he got her only as a guest.... 
For the rest it seems there won't me any major changes in the formet. Area Sanremo has already started the selection for the two newcomers that will reach the stage of Teatro Ariston, and the rest will come in due time. Also, if and how Sanremo will once again give us the Italian entry for the 2017 Eurovision song contest in Ukraine. This year the winners Stadio opten out in favor of the runner up Francesca Michielin and I suppose we all were happy for that....

Sunday, July 10, 2016

FINLAND: LAURA VOUTILAINEN IS BACK!

Well, she's never been away really but she's back to the charts and even with a Top-10 hit! Miks ei (Why not) is going up on download charts, number 6 this week on its fourth week, and in Radioplay Top-100 she's at number 9 on its 8th week. We have to go back to 2007 to find her a Top-10 radio hit Rakkautta ei piiloon saa and the same year she had also Timanttinen tähti in Top-20. 
But as said, she's not been away fromthe music business or the spotlight after her 2002 Eurovision adventure at all. She has released seven albums (and two compilations) since, been the Idols judge, dubbed half a dozen Disney movies, done countless stage shows and cabaret revues, musicals, music theater.... She has done a number of television reality or talent shows like Dancing with stars (finishing second behind Antti Tuisku), Sirkus (she won), Tähdet tähdet (she was runner up behind Waltteri Torikka).... And yes, she did also try to get to Eurovision again in 2007 with Take a chance. This blogger however preferred her eliminated song Kosketa mua, that I think is one of her best songs ever. 
But now she's back to the charts, too. Why not indeed? After all she's one of the finest performers in Finland with the voice, the presence and the talent. Why not trying Eurovision one more time? Welcome!

Saturday, July 09, 2016

ESC 2017: SIX CITIES BID TO HOST THE EUROVISION 2017

(Lviv)
NTU has received six bids to host the Eurovision song contest 2017 in Ukraine, altogether six different cities and seven arenas. The NTU working group will now review the proposals and ideas before they will be officially presented, and by July 22 they should have picked up two cities and venues for the final selection and the announcement where it will be should be done in a press conference on August 1 after the committee, NTU and EBU have carefully considered both the final bids.
(Dnipro)
Official bids where and how by Dnipro, Kherson and Odessa are yet to be made public, but Kharkiv comes forward with Metalist Oblast Sports Comples (capacity of 40.000), but it lacks the roof that must be constructed before it is usable for the Eurovision. 
(Kiev)
Kiev proposes Palace of Sports (capacity 10.000), the very venue of 2005 Eurovision song contest. Their problem is it is now considered dated and too small, plus it will be hosting part of the Ice Hockey World Championships games between April 22-28, 2017. On the other hand if the Eurovision dates are moved to the end of May, as it seems, this won't be propably a problem anymore. 
(Kharkiv)
Finally we have Lviv that comes with two venues to choose: first Arena Lviv (capacity 35.000). However, also this one requires the construction of the roof. The second option is an unfinished arena planned for the EuroBasket 2015, that Ukraine had to give up in summer 2014 due to the political situation in the country. The arena was about 25% ready at the time and apparently has remained so, and should be now built ready over the coming months if chosen.
(Odessa)
Update: Odessa goes with Chernomorets Stadium. It needs to have a roof beuilt and they have already contacted constructors for the job. The Red Carpet, EuroVillage and all the rest would be in the Arcadia area just at the shore of the Black Sea's touristic hotspot. Sounds pretty good. 
Update: Dnipro proposes Sports Palace Meteor. It's a former ice palace with the capacity of 5.000 at the moment. 
This is going to be one interesting decision to wait for as there seems to be no obvious choice...... I'm still #teamLviv2017 :-)
(Kherson)
Update: The bids will be presented in a two hour show on television and radio on July 20 with experts, fans, musicians and media people having opportunity to say what they think about them. The decision however which two will go to the final battle will not made public yet. 

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