Friday, September 19, 2008


Eurovision Song Contest heads to Asia
Bettina Brinkmann of announces: "Having brought the European version of the Eurovision Song Contest to the Middle East and North Africa, we are now delighted that viewers across Asia will enjoy one of the best established entertainment shows in the world."

And it's not even April 1st. (Seriously - Middle East and North Africa! Was Morocco in it once?! Lebanon was banned and Turkey considers itself European... which leaves Israel as the sole nation in the Middle East and North Africa. In her down-time Bettina scripts adverts for the McCain campaign.)

Asia's version will start in 2009, and involve competitors from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Can we be the first to de-cry the bloc-voting of China, HK, Macao and Taiwan - which is ruining Asiavision?

It will be produced and marketed by a new company - Asiavision Pte Ltd. National and regional finals will take place over six months - with one Grand Final.

Asiavision's CEO - Andreas Gerlach - claims the "format is highly suited to the Asia region and its people who love popular music and have a strong national pride." Oh, so they're the unique people in the world who like popular music and have national pride. I was wondering where they'd gone.

Having lived next door to international students in down-town Melbourne for nearly 10 years - the EDU editors have been exposed to more Asian pop than anyone should be. (Imagine castrated cats covering Celine Dion songs). We predict that this Asiavision Contest will not be a Contest to be listened to, but a Contest to be avoided

Because People Count...

The EBU have announced the return of the International Jury to Eurovision 2009!

Apparently in the face of demands of the BBC (one of the major funders of the Contest) the EBU have decided to be seen to do something to negate the appearance of Eastern Europe's neighbourhood-friendly voting patterns overwhelming another year's results. An International Jury will cast their votes on the performance and these will be considered along with the televoting of the public.

As yet there has been no announcement on how the jury will be used - whether they will account for 50% of the scores or (more wildly conjectured) that a popular winner and jury winner may be announced.

The EBU went to lengths to explain that western Europe has been voting for eastern European acts for several years and that is the real reason they've been winning, but they also acknowledged the rise in technology allowing people to vote for their own nation through trickery or diaspora votes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Every year you think, it can't get any worse...."

It looks certain that time is up for Sir Terry Wogan commentating on Eurovision Finals for 37 years. :-(

He pretty much declared he was out in the current 'Radio Times' in the UK. Wogan has just turned 70 and says the "political voting" has tired him.

"I was considering giving up before Belgrade, and now I have to say I'm very doubtful about ever wanting to do Eurovision again. I've had so much fun, but I think it's time for someone else to take over...Days before the show, I knew Russia would win. The fact is, Putin was getting nasty, which means the former satellite states were always going to vote for Russia in order to keep the oil coming."

Wogan's comments were made just a few days before Putin & co invaded fellow-ESC competitors Georgia. As we write this lines of Russian troop carriers are heading towards the Baku pipeline south of Gori, Georgia.

While Terry acknowledges Western Europe considers ESC schalger-fest ("we have always taken Eurovision with a pinch of salt") he still considers neighbour-voting to be an Eastern only affairs - "The former Eastern Bloc countries are not sufficiently versed in the ways of democracy to realise they are supposed to be voting for a song, not a next-door neighbour."

Far from wanting the UK to retire with him, Wogan hopes for a great act to sacrifice their repuations for schlager-glory. "The only way the UK will ever regain any respectability is if we get a major British star – Robbie Williams, Take That, God knows there are enough of them – to represent us, and then people will vote for us."

We'd suggest The Wombats or Hot Chip, but Tezza's on the right path...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Image of You

Kevin Rudd - Australia's PM - got Eurovision more press coverage than the latest Contest when he invoked ESC to dismiss rumours former Prime Minister Paul Keating could star in Australian Tourism adverts in the UK.

"Paul Keating's chances of being the Australian face of tourism in the UK are as likely as him and John Howard winning Eurovision, the PM says."

And it didn't take long for the photoshopping of Keating and Howard onto various Eurovision bods to begin!

Full stories here:,21985,23869753-662,00.html

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Oh, You're Two Semis!

The results of the votes from the two semi finals have revealed a few surprises.
  • Russia did not win its semi-final (indeed it came 3rd - trailing Greece by 21 points and Armenia by 4).
  • The 20 countries with the most points from the voting public (over both nights) would not include Poland nor jury-selected Sweden - Macedonia and Bulgaria were the two countries in the top 20 who were eliminated.
  • San Marino was last overall, getting 5 points. They were one point behind Hungary. Estonia (who truly deserved nul points) got 8 points and were 3rd-last overall.
  • All countries who performed 2nd, 10th (middle), 14th and 19th (last) on both nights qualified to the Final.
  • Those performing 5th, 8th, 12th and 15th got the Kiss of Death - with all countries being eliminated.
Most of the feedback we've received from regular ESC-viewers and un-initiated was that they felt the best nations got through to the Final - with Switzerland missing out due to a lacklustre performance rather than conspiracy of the East. No one has had a big wrap for Poland, Sweden, Macedonia or Bulgaria - so any argument over whether they deserved to be or not seems moot.

EDU will reserve its judgement til next year - but the signs are good that the Two Semis are less affected by bloc voting than previous systems. (Now, if they'd only limit the Final night's voting to the 25 nations in the Final - this would be sorted for good).

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


EDU has officially stuck its fingers in its ears and is singing 'La La La [key change] La La La' from now until Saturday night (AEST).

We may be back between the end of Saturday's delayed telecast of the 2nd Semi on SBS-TV (2130 AEST) and the Final commences of Sunday morning (around 0400 AEST) - but we are planning on having an international drinking night, so we may just be in the corner in a drunken stupour giggling at IPL team names.

For non-Australians and Aussies who love spoilers - here are some 'fabulous' sites with all the latest news and reviews:


NB: Oh, and we're pretty sure Wogan is just blowing hard here. He will retire soon - but the UK will stay in Eurovision. ESC is bigger than Terry (we can't believe we said it either!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Feel Like TV Tonight

One of our fave Oz bloggers - David Knox of the seminal TV Tonight - has been invited by SBS to provide a Eurovision blog for 2008.

SBS Blog by David Knox

Il Faut Du Temps

EDU is not saying that Greece and Russia are over-compensating for anything...but... apparently their stage props are too big for the stage!

Previous stages have had 2 or more stage doors, allowing the largest props to be cleared and the props for the next act to be brought out within the 30 second 'postcards.' Belgrade has just the one stage door and that has become a problem at rehearsals.

The Greek delegation have adapted their giant book that turns into a heart, adding wheels to speed the movement and making the prop lighter. The Russians however seem to be holding their breath and stomping their feet. They are refusing to crop a ladder from their stage set up. Expect a TV ad break to get moved to before their act.

Where Men Ride

As fans begin to pour into Belgrade for the semi finals which start in 72 hours, some security concerns remain - especially with regard to gay and lesbian fans. In early April the Serb newspaper Alo! included an interview with Mladen Obradovic, president of fascist party Obraz in which he described Eurovision as ‘gay youth day’ and made specific threats against gays and lesbians planning to visit Serbia for ESC.

European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) has written to the EBU about Serbia's poor record on human rights of lesbian, gay men, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people. For its part the EBU has received a guarantee of the safety of delegations, press and fans from the President of Serbia.

Recent parliamentary elections also favoured pro-western parties, which hopefully indicates groups like Obraz are increasingly marginalised.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Never Let it Go

The Director of Eurovision TV - Bjorn Erichsen - has criticised (Sir!) Terry Wogan's commentary for Eurovision. Most right thinking people consider Woganisms the highlight of most years and his barbed witicisms are the way many viewers get into Eurovision in the first place. The attack is really akin to going after the goose that lays the golden egg.

Said Erichsen: "Terry Wogan is a problem because he makes it ridiculous. I know he is very popular, and maybe that is the reason why a lot of people watch. But one day he will have to retire and the BBC will have to find someone else. It will be interesting to see if that attitude changes. The BBC gets a very large audience but it chooses to represent the Contest in a certain way. They take it far more seriously in Sweden. They have a genuine love and respect for it."

They also take it very seriously in Denmark - which is where Erichsen hails from. You remember Denmark, the nation which lodged an official complaint about Wogan after he described the 2001 hosts as Doctor Death and the Tooth Fairy as they used rhyming couplets for the entire night.

"The UK has double standards in the contest. It is something you love to hate. It's something to laugh at. It's something continental. It's a scam. It's ridiculous. The British like to distance themselves from it." (The Contest, not Europe). Erichsen's view is that all viewers of the BBC feed should receive only serious commentary which promotes the quality of the competition. No word yet on when the EBU will regulate for quality to be introduced.

Mr Erichsen also reject out of hand any investigation into the claims that Cliff was robbed of the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest victory by General Franco.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Homage to... Congratulations!

A fascist dictatorship, thousands slaughtered in a vicious civil war, holding back Spain for decades, allying with Hitler - we know Franco was bad - but this, this (!) is just beyond the pale!!

A new Spanish doco reveals that Franco bought Spain their Eurovision victory in 1968 by promising other nations that Spain would buy their television series if they sent votes the way of Massiel. As all Euro-buffs know, La La La pipped Cliff Richards by a single point!

Shame Franco. Shame!
Full story here

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Three Times the Schalger Fun!

As per usual with SBS and Eurovision we have some good news and some bad news.

The surprisingly good news is that the First Semi Final will be shown. The BBC - whose feed is what we see on SBS in Australia - are only required to show the second semi final by the EBU. The BBC are electing to cover both semis - Paddy O'Connell and Caroline Flack will provide commentary on both nights.

The bad news is that the delays are getting longer. Semi Final #1 takes place in the early hours of Wednesday 21st (Australian time) but will be screening on Friday night - a delay of 60 hours! The second semi will be delayed 36 hours and the Final by the requisite 12 hours (or so). The silver lining of that cloud, of course, is that we get three straight nights of schlagerfest over a weekend. (Book your sickie for Monday 26th now!)

SBS will show both semi-finals and are advertising Julia Zemiro as the presenter. Whether she just introduces the show before crossing to the telecast is unknown. Julia has been a long-time cast member of Eurovision: The Musical and knows her stuff.

SBS screening times:
  • Friday 23 May 7.30 1st Semi
  • Saturday 24 May 7.30 2nd semi
  • Sunday 25 May 7.30 Final

The Triumph of the Musical Mediocrity

EDU fave, Terry Wogan, who again provides commentary on SBS's coverage of Eurovision - Sunday 25th May from 7.30pm, has been talking up the show in the UK press. He claims any US network "would kill" for something like Eurovision. "It's the only international television/radio event of its kind anywhere...a wonderful idea – bringing Europe together in song – a huge, brilliantly produced triumph of musical mediocrity."

Wogan has given up predicting the UK will win each and every year - and now predicts someone from Eastern Europe will win each and every year. Much safer that way.
Original interview here

Nomads sucks slightly more

Lithuania's re-vamped version of 'Nomads In The Night' has failed to impress the composer of the tune. Vytautas Diskevicius said, "the result is disgusting" - come on Vytautas , tell us what you reall think. Accepting our challenge, Vytautas continued to describe the version we will hear at Belgrade as "really sad and dissapointing," doing a "hundred times more damage than improvement."

Having never been huge fans of version 1 - we can still appreciate Vytautas' opinion. A song with subtle instrumentation and a focus on an operatic vocal has been rendered into a maelstrom of clashing instruments, 'up' vocal inflections and guitar wank that would do the '80s proud.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

So You Think You Can Baila?

Spanish TV channel RTVE and Rodolfo Chikilicuatre have launched a public contest for three members of the public to win the chance to dance alongside his current dancers Disco and Gráfica on stage at Belgrade.

The public are invited to fill in this form:
and then upload a video of themselves dancing the Chiki Chiki onto youtube. RTVE win announce the winners in a special show before the Semis.

Friday, March 21, 2008

EDU Ill-Fated Predictions

So, we've got all 43 songs selected. We know 38 of them have to qualify to be in the Grand Final - and we wait with breathless anticipation to see whether the EBU has found a way around bloc voting in the semis.

Semi Final #1 is certainly the strongest of the finals and there are a few nations who will consider themselves unlucky not to qualify: including former winners Israel, Estonia, Greece and Finland. Semi Final #2 is much more of a dog - and seems to be the only semi we're likely to see in Australia in SBS. Webcasts, here we come.

Based on the quality of the song (!) and the number of 'like' nations in the semi-finals, the Editors make their first tentative prediction (certain to be completely wrong).

From Semi Final #1, EDU reckons the following six will definitely qualify:
Andorra / Armenia / Ireland / Netherlands / Norway / Slovenia
Taste suggests the final three to qualify will be Belgium / Moldova / Greece (but our neighbourhood watch methods suggests they will miss out and the following will sneak in: Bosnia and Herzegovina / Poland / Russia)

From Semi Final #2, EDU reckons the following eight will definitely qualify:
Belarus / Bulgaria / Denmark / Georgia / Hungary / Iceland / Sweden / Turkey
Taste suggests the final two to qualify will be Croatia / Switzerland (but our neighbourhood watch methods suggests they will miss out and the following will sneak in: FYR Macedonia / Ukraine)

And so, EDU awards its points for Eurovision 2008, thus:

1 point Charlotte Perrelli - (Sweden) Hero
2 points Maria Haukaas Storeng - (Norway) Hold On Be Strong
3 points Hind - (Netherlands) Your Heart Belongs To Me
4 points Sirusho - (Armenia) Qele Qele
5 points Csézy - (Hungary) Szívverés
6 points Sebastien Tellier - (France) Divine
7 points Paolo Meneguzzi - (Switzerland) Era Stupendo *
As we're not totally sure Paolo is going to qualify, we reserve the right to give 1 point to Rebeka Dremelj - (Slovenia) Vrag naj vzame - and add a point to Charlotte through Sebastien.

8 points Mor Ve ötesi - (Turkey) Deli
10 points Dustin the Turkey - (Ireland) Irelande Douze Points
and the EDU tip for 2008 winner is:
12 points Eurobandid - (Iceland) This Is My Life

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Take Me to Your... Re-Hash

Sweden's Melodifestivalen has finally concluded - which brings an end to the pre-selection of songs for ESC 2008. MF has continued the trend of familiar faces returning to the scene of the crime, with 1999's victor Charlotte Nilsson - now known as Charlotte Perrelli - selected to perform at Belgrade with the song 'Hero.' (Ironically a singer named Nielsen was second place).

Perrelli (her husband changed his name from Ingrosso as part of a feud, so you know he is actually Italian) has had only one Top 10 single since 'Take Me to Your Heaven' and her last two singles did not chart in Sweden. 'Hero' has gone straight to No.1 - feat not even 'Heaven' accomplished.

Friday, March 14, 2008

San Marino announces: I Sh*t Me

We've had artists called No Name and Anonymous & songs called Disappear and Leave Me Alone - but it appears apathy is turning to enmity - and self-loathing at that. San Marino have announced the penultimate 2008 ESC entry - and it is Italian 5 piece band Mi Odio (I Hate Myself) with the song 'Complice.'

When we say they've announced we mean just that. Mi Odio was unanimously selected by the Sanmarinese jury - but so far only a snippet has been released for us plebs.

After the Finals...

come the claims of plagarism!

Like the tides or interest rates going up, accusations of plagarism have become inevitable in each Eurovision contest (and we love them!). The latest storm in a tea cup concerns Germany's song-writer: Remee. The Danish song-writer claims to have written 'Disappear' "a long time before" the remarkably similar song 'Break the Silence' appeared (performed by a talent show entrant called Steffi List).

Here is Steffi List's 'Break the Silence' and here are No Angels with 'Disappear'

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Quelle Surprise!

Jelena Tomašević has won the Serbian Final - Beovizija - with 'Oro,' in a move that stunned and surprised absolutely nobody. Oro was deliberately placed 20th out of 20 songs so it would be the climax of the night - the other 19 contestants really just wasted their time showing up. Željko Joksimović will now be the host of Eurovision 2008 and the composer of the host nation's song. Ruslana, take a bow and exit stage left. We've found our new ESC+hog. Perhaps Željko can hand himself the trophy if Serbia wins this back to back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Everything Old...

Belgium has gone back to 2003 when a folk act singing in a made-up language came 2nd - for 2008 its folk act Ishtar singing 'O Julissi Na Jalini' in a made up language.

Portugal has returned to sending winners of Idol (Operação Triunfo) this year sending Vânia Fernandes who will perform 'Senhora do Mar' (Lady of the Sea).

Russia had the option of re-sending the brilliant Prime Minister (2002) or the crusty Polina Smolova (2006 - Belarus) but eventually settled on the artist formerly known as Dima Bilan (he lost the rights to his first name in a bizarre deceased estate decision recently). Viktor Bilan - who came 2nd, fifty points south of Lordi in 2006 - will perform 'Believe' which we feel lacks the energy and pop-hooks that 'Never Let You Go' had.
Montenegro may have settled on a song for Stefan Filipovic: 'Zauvijek volim te' (I Love You For Eternity).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Song not the Singer...

And tidying up the loose ends, we have a number of songs being announced for entries where the performer was announced months ago.

Armenia - Sirusho will sing 'Qele Qele' (Come Come) which was selected from four songs performed on March 8th. Coma coma more like! EDU thought 'I Can't Control' it was the best of the pick - but Armenia never listens to us.

Netherlands - Hind has performed her song 'Your Heart Belongs to Me' on Dutch telly. Its a moroccan-infused pop track, a bit on the repetitive side, but Hind carries it off very well - sort of Ofra Haza meets Beyonce.

Even Hugo's doing it!

Well it took TVE until about 2am to get to the decision, but Spain is sending their first intentional gag entrant this millennium. Rodolfo Chikilicuatre (who like Silvia Nott and Verka is a comic character) will perform 'Baila el Chiki Chiki' (Dance the Chiki Chiki). Andreu Buenafuente is the actor behind Chikilicuatre and appears on a late night private TV station in Spain - La Sexta. Chikilicuatre was the popular winner of the bizarre myspace competition Spain ran, as well as the televised final. To see him:

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Germany has selected girl band 'No Angels' with their song 'Disappear.' No Angels are a culturally blended German-Spice Girls with questionable fashion sense and limited range. Disappear is the ESC song of 2008 most likely to force itself into your head and loop all night long despite your best efforts.

Oui! Oui!

Massive news from France! After last year's break-through of singing partly in English and taking the micky out of Eurovision - they have gone the whole hog and are sending Sébastien Tellier with 'Divine.'

The entire song is in English and sounds like Cornelius covering a George Harrison song. It's utterly wonderful and will ensure France come dead last. (Seriously pearls before swine stuff!) Tillier's latest album was produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo (half of Daft Punk).

Former ESC-Stars of Macedonia

Two of Macedonia's best Eurovision entrants are coming Down Under.
Karolina Goceva is already in town - playing Perth (March 7), Melbourne (Saturday March 8 - at the Croatian Club, Fitzgerald Rd, Sunshine), Adelaide (March 10), and two shows in Sydney (March 13, Forum - Fox Studios - March 15, Bella Vista Cruise).

And if that wasn't enough - creme caramels herself is only a few weeks behind Karolina. Elena Risteska will Grand Neret Reception, 19 Salicki Avenue, Epping (Melbourne) on 21 March. (more info here)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Great Pretenders

The latest rounds of national finals are inspiring some deva ju - that certain feeling that you've heard something like these songs before. We present:

Greece - Kalomoira Saranti with 'Secret Combination' which sounds for all the world like a Britney Spears (Toxic era) track. Kalomoira can at least claim common cultural territory, as she was born in the USA. Kalomoira joins Poland's Isis Gee as the second septic in ESC 2008.

Latvia - have joined the lighter side with a pirate themed 'Pirates of the Sea' by Wolves of the Sea (an instant group featuring a radio presenter, one of the singers from from last year and a leggy dancer to get the DOM vote). At EDU HQ, all we can hear is Boyzvoice selling fish fingers.
Finland have not surprisingly returned to the source of their 15 minutes of Euro-fame - heavy metal. This year's entry is Teraesbetoni (lit. = steel-reinforced concrete) with 'Missae Miehet Ratsastaa' - and they dont sound so much like Lordi, as they do Spinal Tap.
Georgia can be forgiven - as new arrivals - for not fearing a Corinne repeat in their selection of sight impaired Diana Gurtskaya. Her song 'Peace will Come' is benign at first, but once it gets going it comes off like a slow tATu track.

Perversely, the United Kingdom has gone for someone who can sing - former garbo, Andy Abraham, who was 2nd on the X Factor (Series 2) doing his Hot Chocolate impersonation. His song 'Even If' reminds us of 'Starlight' by Supermen Lovers (c. 2001).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Super-Saturday Round Up

The biggest day of the year viz National Finals has come and gone. There are some good songs, some shite songs and there is a most definitive single digit salute to the Contest from Ireland.

The Good:
First song of the year to go in our special category 'too good for Eurovision' is Bulgaria's dance track - 'DJ, Take Me Away' by Deep Zone & Balthazar. Two DJs attacking their turntables whilst one of their Dads plays guitar (seriously). The female vocalist does a great job in the studio. Interestingly, they've done a re-mix of last year's entrant from Bulgaria.

Iceland didn't send our fave (Ho Ho Ho We Say Hey Hey Hey) but the re-vamped version of 'This Is My Life' (originally Fullkomið líf) should see Eurobandið get to the Grand Final with help from Western Europe.

Poland has opted for US-born Isis Gee (real name: Tamara Gołębiowska / Tamara Wimer) who will sing 'For Life' - a adult-contemporary ballad of the Shiri Maimon mould.

The Bad:
Apparently everyone under 50 years in Croatia was out doing the town on Saturday night, coz escapees from the nursing home have won Dora. Kraljevi Ulice featuring 75 cents (a 75 year old vocalist) will perform 'Romanca.'

FY Macedonia is doing it by the numbers with a lifeless Pink rip-off with two annoying male rappers interrupting it. Tamara Todevska featuring Vrčak & Adrian Gadza will perform 'Vo Imeto Na Ljubovta' (In the name of love).

Turkey and Ukraine had announced their singers a while ago, but the songs have just been revealed. Mor ve Ötesi (Turkey) have a unengaging heavy-rock pop song called 'Deli' (Eng. nuts, crazy, insane). Ani Lorak's Shady Lady was selected as the best of the five songs she presented to Ukraine. The other four must have been woeful!

And the Ugly:
Ireland have clearly decided that parody is the best form of defence - and are sending their version of Ozzie Ostrich: Dustin the Turkey. The song would not be out of place on a teen's mobile phone (yep - its that crap) but the lyrics are amusing enough:
"Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan's wig...
Give us another chance, we're sorry for Riverdance"

Romania may face a crisis - after it selected Nico & Vlad Miriţă with 'Pe-o margine de lume.' If you listen closely you'll hear quite a bit of Italian in the lyrics - if you listen very closely to David Bustamante's 'La magia del corazón' from the Spanish National Finals, 2002; you'll hear where this song was stolen from!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Deli of Love

Norway has selected Maria Haukaas Storeng to sing 'Hold on be strong.' Maria has such faith in her song she has changed her surname by deed poll to match the song title.

Moldova have opted for jazz singer Georgeta Burlacu who will perform a 'Century of Love' in three minutes (after a national final which had the public and two juries select three different winners!).

Turkey's song title has been announced (Mor ve ötesi will sing 'Deli') and Serbia's final will be on Wednesday (Feb 20th). All eyes are on Super-Saturday (23rd) when the Ukraine reveals Ani Lorak's song and no less than seven national finals are held!

Heartbeat by Candlelight

So, Csézy's song is still called Szívverés (Heartbeat) when it's in Magyar - but when she sings it in English for ESC it will be called 'Candlelight.' Clear?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Szívverés - why do you skip when my baby kisses me?

Hungary may have provided the first decent song of the Contest (is it the dawning of the good songs, or are our expectations now so low?). The artist is Csézy and her song is 'Szívverés' (Heartbeat). The Hungarian jury placed this second; one point behind Adrien Szekeres with 'Piszkos tánc' but the public vote reversed that order when the National Final was held on Feb 8th.

The song will be performed in English (we've only heard the Magyar so far) and its a fairly obvious, swelling sort of a ballad, not out of place on a Disney soundtrack. Some re-arrangement will help it, losing the cheesy electronic percussion and emphasising the strings and piano.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Who Will Rid Me of these Terrible Songs?

2008 is not looking any better - with the Eastern bloc sending more boring warbling and the public of northern and western Europe seemingly sending suicidal entries to undermine the contest.

The latest unfortunates from a big weekend of finals are:

Azerbaijan - Elnur Gusseinov feat. Samir Javadzadeh with Day after day
He has until May to learn how to pronounce his lyrics; we have until May to forget hearing it this once.
The Azeri final did have some talent - rock group Unformal were third overall and kicked it - combining fast tempo with traditional instruments and a strong Ofra Haza style vocal.

Lithuania has given the nod to the lead singer of a heavy metal band (Soul Brothers) who is going solo with an operatic ballad. He is Jeronimas Milius - the song is 'Nomads In The Night'. You can see it here: (but we suggest you watch 2nd place Aiste Pilvelyte with 'Troy on Fire' instead).

Denmark has left originality and gay anthems behind and gone for a runaway from Dexy's Midnight Runners - Simon Mathew with 'All Night Long' just pipped UNITE with 'Tree of Life.' Simon's tune is bland, cliched-adled and sounds like a 1980s Cricket advert jingle.

We get some eyecandy from Slovenia as their failed 2001 Miss World entrant, Rebeka Dremelj let's the Devil take it in 'Vrag naj vzame.' In one of the narrowest public votes ever, Rebeka beat Skupina Langa by 0.7% of the vote.

but the most miserable of the miserable is Estonia. Kreisiraadio are a comedy act (in the sense that Benny Hill or the Black and White Minstrels were). They got nearly 50% of the public vote in round one - from a field of 10! The lyrics (apparently) see the two complain about a lack of camping gas, too many green beans and eating sausage, whilst repeating Summer Light in various languages (and mangling German totally!)
You will think we are being too mean until you see:

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Everything Old is New Again

Romania's National Final features a few familiar faces - one of which is far from home. 'Fairytale Story' is sung by Nicola - who finished 10th in 2003. 'Dr Frankenstein' is sung by LaGaylia Frazier & Anna Sahlene - Anna sang back-up to winner Charlotte Nilsson in 1999, sang 'Runaway' for Estonia in 2002 (3rd place) and finished 5th in the 2006 Swedish Nationals.

(Romania's Final is 23rd Feb)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Rub of the Draw

Neighbourhood Watch may have gotten a lot easier (and the EBU forgiven) with the implications of the Semi Finals arrangements becoming clear.
  • Turkey will have to qualify without the help of its diaspora in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands (all of whom reward Turkey regularly).
  • Cyprus and Greece are on their own in different semis.
  • Ireland will be denied their 12 points from the UK (probably not an issue if they actually send a turkey-puppet).
  • Sweden will rely on Iceland and Denmark (as Finland and Norway are in another semi)
  • Georgia will need to qualify without Armenian or Russian help.
Of course for all that, Moldova and Romania (the new back-scratchers) are still together, as are Latvia & Lithuania, plus Andorra and Spain. Of course, the sheer number of Balkan nations who share votes means there is no way to isolate them. So we see Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Montenegro in Semi #1 and Albania, FYR Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia in Semi #2.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Continent Divided

The pots have been ripped asunder and the two Semi Finals look like this:

Semi-Final 1 (20 May)
Andorra / Armenia / Azerbaijan / Belgium / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Estonia / Finland / Greece / Ireland / Israel / Moldova / Montenegro / Netherlands / Norway / Poland / Romania / Russia / San Marino / Slovenia
Germany and Spain will exercise voting rights and broadcast semi-final #1

Semi-Final 2 (22 May)
Albania / Belarus / Bulgaria / Croatia / Cyprus / Czech Republic / Denmark / FYR Macedonia / Georgia / Hungary / Iceland / Latvia / Lithuania / Malta / Portugal / Switzerland / Sweden / Turkey / Ukraine
France, the United Kingdom and Serbia will exercise voting rights and broadcast semi-final #2

Our immediate reaction is that Semi 1 looks to favour the 'traditional' ESC entrants, whilst Semi 2 is certain to be dominated by Eastern bloc friendly voting. Iceland, Denmark & Switzerland can give up now.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

ESC goes Potty

Showing just how complex you can make picking semi-finalists at "random" - the EBU has announced it will select nations from pre-allocated pots. The pots are basically the blocs we all know and loathe - Tito is re-born in Pot 1, the Scandavians are mostly in Pot2, Greece and Cyprus share Pot 3 with Turkey, most of the former Soviet nations are in Pot 5.
  • Step 1 - Because of the odd numbers, two envelopes one containing the words 'Semi-Final 1' and the other 'Semi-Final 2' will be drawn.
  • Step 2 - The pots will be split in half 'randomly' with half of each pot going to the first semi-final and the other three in the second one.
  • Step 3 - The left over nation in Pot 5 and Pot 6 will then select the envelopes from Step 1.
The Big Four and Serbia (the five nations in the Final) can broadcast both semi-finals or just one, but the viewers from their countries can only vote in one. The Big Four will be forced to vote in one of the semis - which will also be drawn. Whether the BBC will broadcast the other semi is not known - which means it is unclear if SBS will show both semi finals in Australia (or either!). NOTE: All semi-finals will be webcast live through
Joining the five finalists will be the top nine finishers from both semi finals - PLUS - a tenth will be determined by the back-up juries! The EBU is gonna make sure the favourites get through! The draw for the semi-finals will take place at the Belgrade City Hall on Monday 28 January 2008.

Pot 1
Pot 2Pot 3
Bosnia & Herzegovina
FY Macedonia

Pot 4
Pot 5Pot 6

Czech Republic
San Marino

Have Some...Vodka!

Two national finals took place over the Australia Day weekend - Malta and the Czech Republic.

The Czech winner is Tereza Kerndlová with 'Have Some Fun' - best described as a repetitive, easy-listening pop tune. Tereza (21) was a member of Czech girl-trio Black Milk from 2001 - 2005. One of her former bandmates - Helena Zetová competed in the National Finals last year.

Malta has selected 23 year old Morena with her song 'Vodka' - which is in English and concerns espionage. Malta has ditched the ballads and soft-pop and gone for a full-throttle dance-rock number. This is Morena's break-through move - she has fronted an old man's band called Spectrum for a few years.

There I Am!

Australian Idol for 2007 - Natalie Gauci - was the special guest star at Malta's Song for Europe on Australia Day! Apparently she flew straight from Hobart Perth to Valletta in a trip that was co-organised by the National Good Causes Fund,, and the Maltasong board.

Natalie sang her winner's-curse 'Here I Am' but made up for it by singing a duet with Chiara - they reprised 'Angel' (which came 2nd in 2005). She also performed one of her own songs 'All In My Mind' (thanks to Mel). Perhaps this is testing the waters and we may see Natalie back at Song for Europe in 2009 as a competitor! If she climbs up on a piano, she'd be a shoe-in.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Song (Title) Remains the Same

Belarus' National Final on Jan 21st resulted in a victory for Ruslan Alekhno with 'Hasta la Vista.'
If the title sounds familiar - you may be humming Ukraine's 2003 debut entry by Olexandr Ponomaryov. If not now, you will be after you hear this dog.
'Hasta la vista, baby.
I'm gonna miss you, baby'
(This is the Vertigo of '08)
Ruslan is the latest in a long line of Pop Idol winners (or runners-up) to compete at Eurovision - Ruslan who Народный Артист 2, the 2nd Russian version of Pop Idol.

That would make him their Casey Donovan!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

And Greece's 12 Points go to...

Evdokia Kadi with 'Femme Fatale.'

Cyprus' National Final was won by Evdokia Kadi who finished four points ahead of Nikolas Metaxas with 'I can’t be' (a better song by some commentators). The jury disagreed with everyone and went for the third placed rock chick.

Despite the French title and its English usage - the song is in Greek (currently!)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Old, The Cheap and The EMO

Germany's car wreck of recent Euro-entries looks set to cross lanes without indicating, as the five acts who will take part in the Grand-Prix on 6 March are announced.

'Marquess' is a boy band - well, old man band - of quite tragic mid-to-late 30s who will perform in Spanish 'La Histeria.' Making them look young is star of the German stage version of Mamma Mia - Carolin Fortenbacher (43 yo) performing 'Hinterm Horizont.' Getting serious, 28 year old Tommy Reeve sings the ballad 'Only one Woman.'

'Cinema Bizarre' look like they at late for a party at Vince Noir's house - and will perform 'Forever or Never.' The members include Teenie-Helden, Strify and Luminor. And it wouldn't be Germany without some bimbos - this year brings us 'No Angels' whose song is the assuredly prescient 'Disappear.'

Boobs vs Breasts

Norway's famous MGP is set to kick off with a polyester model - Lene Alexandra (pictured) - singing a song called 'Sillycone Valley.' (Very good).

In case anyone thought Norway was not taking Eurovision seriously, we see a house divided with members of WigWam writing songs for two rival acts.
CRASH! (who did well with Wannabe in 2007's MGP) return with another song written by Teeny from WigWam. They will go up against newcomers, Cube, whose song was penned by Wigwam's singer Glam.

Malta - Point From Europe 2008

17 songs will vie for attention in the Go Malta Song for Europe 2008 Semi finals on 24th January 2008. The running order is:
Loved by you - Glen & Pamela
Caravaggio - Claudia Faniello
Give me a chance - Eleanor Cassar
My last Encore - Mary Spiteri
Casanova - Morena - Philip Vella
Throw your stones - Daniela Vella
Love is just the way - Rosman Pace
GO Klinsmann - Dominic Galea
Vodka - Morena
Whispers - Pamela
Superhero - Klinsmann
Contradiction - Jean Claude Vancell
All Right - Chris & Moira
Tangled - Jessica Muscat
If you Believe - Mary Spiteri
Street car of desire - Petra Zammit
Sunrise - Claudia Faniello

The top eight songs will proceed to the final on Saturday 26th.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Iceland's Wild Card (still looking cool)

Two of EDU's preferred Icelandic entrants are in the Wild Card round to be held on January 12th. We're crossing collective fingers for 'Á ballið á' written by Bang Gang's Barði Jóhannsson and Hafdís Huld's 'Boys and Perfume.'

The full list for the second chance round is:
1. Hafdís Huld Þrastardóttir - Boys and perfume
2. Edgar Smári - If I fall in love again
3. Böðvar Rafn Reynisson & Tinna Marína Jónsdóttir - Á ballið á
4. Áslaug Hálfdánardóttir - Lífsins leið
5. Seth Sharp - Johnny
6. Margrét Kristín Sigurðardóttir - Bigger shoes
7. Einar Ágúst Víðisson & Sigurjón Brink - Straumurinn
8. Hara - I wanna manicure
9. Dr. Spock - Hvar ertu nú?
10. Andrea Gylfadóttir - Flower of fire
11. Hrund Ósk Árnadóttir - Í rússíbana

Nine Entrants Confirmed

Paolo Meneguzzi & Gisela (Gisela Llado Canovas) have been confirmed as representing Switzerland and Andorra respectively. Gisela previously performed at ESC in 2002 as a back-up singer to Spain's Rosa (Europe's Living a Celebration).

In addition to the three known entrants and these two confirmations, we have four extra entrants announced since December 9th.

Turkey has reportedly given up chasing superstar Tarkan and opted for an emerging hard rock act - Mor ve ötesi.

Ukraine has finally done the right thing and given Ani Lorak her swing at the title. She was ingloriously dumped in favour of Greenjolly after winning a national final in 2005 - and then re-entering in 2006 and 2007. Ani will perform six songs at a televised final.

Albania - the Iowa caucus of Eurosong - has announced their singer and song early (again). This year will see Olta Boka perform 'Zemrën lamë peng.'

Bosnia and Herzegovina will be sending the song 'Pokusaj' with singer Elvir Laković Laka. He looks whacky! Cue comparisons to Jahn Teigen.