It's time to look back what you guys have read this year and below is the top-10 of most read posts published in 2018. Have a look back and re-read! Honestly I'm a bit surprised by some of them! Otherwise you kept clicking anything with "naked", "nude" or "boobs" in the title as the all time top-10 clearly shows.... :-) Altogether you have been again nearly 500.000 readers and I'm still astonished and humble for the numbers, especially when I have been blogging a lot less than before. Thank you again, each and every one of you!
The "Was it worth returning?" series of past winners published in March was also highly popular and bubbling under the top-10, and a personal favorite is the series of Cuban music published while I was vacationating there in January. 2019 will bring somewhat new approach to the national final season, I hope you will like it and find it useful!
Eurovision song contest is heading to its 64th edition so the sad side of long history is we are losing its key personalities every year. The 2018 hasn't been exception when we have lost two winners, a legendary hostess and very sadly some youngers names, too...
(9 October 1947 - 7 January 2018) ESC 1965 winner
(24 October 1939 - 16 January 2018) ESC 1966
Katie Boyle (26 May 1926 - 20 March 2018)
ESC 1960, 1963, 1968, 1974 hostess
Jonida Maliqi last night the 57th Festivali i këngës with her Ktheju tokës, a rather ethnic sounding entry that will stay in Albanian in Eurovision song contest 2019 in May - hooray for that! The topic of the song is coming back to a land, dealing with the hot issue of immigration.
Jonida (36) is a seasoned singer and television host and this was her third time in the festival: 1999 as 13 year old she dueted with Aleksandër Rrapi in Planeti i fëmijëve placing 2nd. She made her solo debut in 2004 with Frikem se më pëlqen placing 3rd. Now she got the main trophy with Ktheju tokës. (That makes a bit like Italian Giorgia in Sanremo having collected one of each top-3 trophies)
This blogger was rather confused after the list of finalist as most my favorites were out. I may have not paid much attention to Jonida as I thought it's a bit simil ethno, but she made the song alive on stage and it's a deserved win and something Albanians can be proud of come May.
Below are the full results with all female podium:
1. Jonida Maliqi - Ktheju tokës 228
2. Lidia Lufi - Rrëfehem 219
3. Eranda Libohova - 100 pyetje 181
4. Dilan Reka - Karma 169
5. Soni Malaj - Më e fortë 166
6. Klinti Çollaku - Me jetë 163
7. Elton Deda - Qetësisht 156
8. Marko Strazimiri & Imbro - Leyla 142
9. Bojken Lako - Jeto jetën 138
10. Gjergj Leka- Një ditë tjetër 131
11. Eliza Hoxha - Peng 127
12. Alar Band - Dashuria nuk mjafton 124
13. Orgesa Zaimi - Hije 121
14. Artemisa Mithi & Febi Shkurti - Dua ta besoj 113 eliminated in semifinal: Kujtim Prodani - Babela Mirud - Nënë Elona Islamaj - Në këtë botë kalimtarë Klodiana Vata - Mbrëmje e pafund Kelly - A më ndjen Bruno Pollogati - Nuk ka stop Lorela Sejdini - Vetmi Aurel Thëllimi - Të dua ty
Albania's Festivali i Këngës 57 has turned from a very primising and positive one to something weird, if you ask this blogger. When I read the list of qualifiers after two semifinals I thought it was the one of non qualifiers as most every favorite of mine was out: Mirud, Kelly, Bruno Pollogati, Aurel Thëllimi... I can put my hope now on Soni Malaj, Klinti Çollaku and Alan Band....
Another night in Sanremo. Once again one act will get the free ticket to Sanremo festival among the Big - with a different song though - and could become also Italy's Eurovision entrant for Tel Aviv 2019. But that's not all, the top-3 will get as a bonus also a tour organized by Rai with the Ministry of Foreign Affars in Tunis, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Barcelona and Brussels!
Last night was won by Einar to some people's surprise (he scored almost 25% of televotes against jury favorite Federica Abbate's about 8%...) and goes to the festival. Read more here.
La Rua seems the favorite tonight but I keep fingers crossed for Cordio and La Zero not forgetting Le Ore and Mahmood!
Cyprus has announcd Tάμτα or Tamta will sing for the island in Tel Aviv 2019 Eurovision. Th song is again written by Alex P. who brought Cyprys to 2nd place this year with Fuego, and wrote also another fan favorite La la love in 2012. The rest of the writing team are Swedish. Staging will be taken care by Sacha Jean-Baptiste so Cyprus is playing all the success cards here.
Tamta or Tamta Guduadze (37) is Georgian born artist who moved to Grece at the age of 21 and Greek Idol runner up. Four albums and a string of hits in Greece and Cyprus, musicals and judging jobs in both X Factor Georgia and X Factor Greece have made her a fan favorite - she's been on many wishlists for eeither Greeece or Cyprus already for years. She took part in the Greek national selection 2007 finishing third.
Her song is titled Replay and will be releaed later. Below is her latest offering.
Sanremo Giovani first final takes place tonight. One will be the winner and gets the ticket to Teatro Ariston and the festival in February among the Big. But that's not all, the top-3 each night will get a tour organized by Rai International and the Ministry of Foreign affairs and they will perform in Tunis, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Toronto, Barcelona and Brussels! Not bad!
Federica Abbate and Einar might be fan favorites, but I keep fingers crossed for Giulia Mutti and hope the best for Marte Marasco and Andrea Biagioni.
Tonight we will also get to know 11 of the Big in the festival.... excited yet?
Luca Barbarossa presented the last six artists and entries for Sanremo Giovani with some more small talk and live performances. Tonight things get serious as the first final takes place and out of 12 artists one gets the ticket to Sanremo 2019. Some familiar names in tonight's hopefuls...
Check out the previous posts here.
La Rua started with their Alla mia età si vola. Two years ago they didn't make it the festival among Newcomers creating a major holabaloo. That makes them frontrunners this time around but sadly their song isn't as strong as Tutta La Vita Questa Vita back then. They are however seasoned performers and have a fanbase so let's see how it goes this time. I'm not that impressed really.
Cordio from Catania, Sicily is another pre-contest favorite and his La nostra vita is a solid, good song he sings with emotion and gives a very credible performance. One of the best of 24 for sure. But is it enough?
Nyvinne, born in Luxemburg, is also back for another try with her Io ti penso. She was presented as multi-instrumentalist and showcased some credible beat boxing talent before singing her ballad and after all that it was such a let down. Yawn.... She was better the first time around last year.
Saita next with his song Niwrad that is actually Darwin backwards. He's from Zurich and his song is interesting and well performed despite the shakiness in his vocals that seemed due nervousness.
Federico Angelucci got in because Laura Ciriaco was disqualified. He's a household name after winning Tale e Quale Show just weeks ago. He hits some very high notes in L'uomo che verrà and at times his voice and style reminds me of Scialpi in his height of stardom many, many years ago.
Mahmood is also back after placing already 4th among Newcomers 2016 behind Francesco Gabbani and Ermal Meta. He hopes to have better luck this time I suppose! His song Gioventù bruciata and voice are very original in a way love it or hate it. I love it. But sadly also his previous entry was a bit better ....
Luca Barbarossa was back in studio tonight with another six Sanremo Giovani entrants and their songs (check out the previous ones here and here). The songs aren't but the artists are possible Eurovision 2019 entrants in theory. Tomorrow the last six, and then later tomorrow night the first final night that will give us the first Sanremo 2019 artist....
Marte (or Marta) Marasco kicked off the show with her Nella mia testa. She performs her song with gusto and giggles in a miniskirt that's a tad too short, it's funny and relaxed and reminds a bit the very early Arisa and children's songs. She even sings her song is stupid and it is, but in a right way. This could go all the way to Ariston, or be kicked out before weekend....
Deschema next, a band from Siena (that is clearly hard in their Tuscan accent) that exists since 2016. Cristallo is their song. Rather standard pop rock entry. In from one ear, out from another.....
Diego Conti follows with his 3 gradi. It apparently tells about a hot encounter outside when it was only 3 degrees... Ok... The song is rather interesting but not so sure about his vocals. He surely gave it his all and it seemed at times he was actually reliving that encounter on stage with his grunts and sights....
Giulia Mutti next with her Almeno tre. The initial beat takes your attention at once, she's got a great voice, she performs flawlessly in a very convincing way and the song's catchy. Best so far tonight, and one of the best of these three nights. If not the best yet. Perfect package.
Next comes Wepro and his Stop/Replay. He looks like ... err... a mix of 80's punk rocker and hipster. singing some sort of EDM light nonsense. And yeah, yeah, yeah he might just think he's bit too cool, too. The song has eleectronic beat but that's just about it. I would frankly just press Stop and not replay again....
Le Ore next. A male duo a la The Hours, Pet Shop Boys.... La mia felpa é come me could become an anthem and they could become huge if everyhting goes right. Or then they just don't connct with Italian voters and vanish after weekend. Time will tell. Refreshingly different for Sanremo, more out of any other nation's Eurovision selections.
The second episode of Ecco Sanremo Giovani with Luca Barbarossa was aired tonight with another six hopefuls. The 24 songs and artists were chosen among about 1500 submissions and it's already clear there's a lot of variety. Two out of 24 will get a ticket to the festival itself in February among the Big.
Cannella (or Enrico Fiore) started with his Nei miei ricordi. Pleasant song but not very memorable. His performance was a bit shy and he seemed a bit unconnected emotionally to what he was singing and seemed somewhat absent maybe....
Mescalina group from Naples performed their Chiamami amore adesso next. Their look was a lot more fierce than the song and they overacted a bit on stage as rock cocks and it all seemed rather false. The song's not for me either but I suppose they have some fandom....
Federica Abbate is maybe the best known name among the 24 having written some of the biggest hits in Italy the fast few years and recently for example half the new Eros Ramazzotti album. Her Finalmente is a nice song marked by her way of singing. Still one can't think that maybe she's better as an author as an artist?
Fosco17 performed next his Dicembre. The song was on studio version one of the ones I picked out. Live it's a mess vocally between whispering and almost shouting, it just wasn't right and he wasn't very convincing.
La Zero (or Manuela Zero) was another pre-favorite of mine with Nina è brava. She gave visually strong performance with vocals to match with theatrical spoken parts and killer chorus. I hope she goes very far in this!
Last one tonight was Napoletan Sisma duo and their Slow Motion. A strange fusion of jazzy blues and rap. A bit weird combo of these guys who have studied both jazz and classical music. Strang but confident.