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.