What if… Belarus sent “Rhythm of Love”?

Continuing with the series of “What If…?” (I’ll spare you the horror of myself singing ‘What If”), I’ll take you to Belarus, where I’ll pose the question: “What if Alyona Lanskaya sang ‘Rhythm of Love’ and would it have done better than ‘Solayoh’ at Eurovision?” and get your views on the debate!

Alyona

If you’re a Eurovision fan, you’ll know that 27-year-old Alyona tried to represent Belarus in 2012, and despite winning the national final, she was disqualified after Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko declared an investigation into the voting and it was revealed that the voting was rigged and so, Alyona was stripped of the role of representing Belarus and it was given to the band Litesound, who would finish in 16th place in their semi-final at Eurovision. But this year, Lanskaya was determined to represent her country and she entered the national final again with ‘Rhythm of Love’, a pop/dance track, which fans mostly approved of (apart from the fast flute-like sound that was heard through certain parts of the song). She easily won the national final and this time, she really would represent Belarus! If you’ve never heard the song, here’s Alyona performing the song at Eurofest!

However, a month or so after she won the national final, rumours emerged that she would scrap ‘Rhythm of Love’ and instead, sing another song she had recorded at Abbey Road Studios, where other popular singers, like the Beatles, have recorded their songs. For that time, ‘Rhythm of Love’ was forgotten about until the new song was revealed. This song was ‘Solayoh’.

This Latin-influenced track completely overshadowed its predecessor as it went on a tour around Europe,  leaving ‘Rhythm of Love’ in the dark (which is ironic, as ‘Solayoh’ is about a planet where the sun NEVER sets!). By the time May came around, fans had gotten so used to ‘Solayoh’, that they were convinced it was going to do really well. And it did! Belarus qualified for the third time in the history of its participation in Eurovision, coming in 7th place in the semi-final! It’s position in the final, however, wasn’t as pleasing to see. Even her reasonably good-looking dancers couldn’t help her do that well as she came in a dismal 16th place.

So ‘Solayoh’ was a reasonably successful song for the country, but what would happen if ‘Rhythm of Love’ represented Belarus instead of ‘Solayoh? Well, for me, I had always loved the song and I was very disappointed when it was revealed that Alyona would change the song because when it was released as the Belorussian entry, fans were very happy with the choice and were looking forward to what was to come of the performance. But as Belarus was the first country to pick its song, it would eventually fall down as one the favourites of many fans as more songs would be selected to represent their respective country. Luckily, Belarus was drawn into semi-final 1, along with many of the other ex-Soviet countries (apart from Latvia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan) and so, would get votes from its geographical location. As well as that, the song contained some Eastern European influences and that would be appealing to the countries that would listen to that kind of music. The stage performance, especially at Eurofest, would have gotten votes for the song too. Given that the country was among the many ex-Soviet countries in the semi-final, the song would qualify from the semi-final, but would probably finish near the bottom of the table, as the Western countries are usually reluctant to vote for Belarus. So, the result would be very much like ‘Solayoh’, but a little worse.

Your views:

Which song would you have preferred Alyona to sing at Eurovision? ‘Rhythm of Love’ or ‘Solayoh’?

What would you think if they chose 'Rhythm of Love'?
What would you think if they chose ‘Rhythm of Love’?

Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom: Both are good, but Rhythm of Love has more edge…

Rigmo Kannike from Estonia: Solayoh; because its catchier and we got to see a giant disco ball on stage for absolutely no reason!

Tomislav Tota from Croatia: I would say Solayoh, it’s kinda more catchy

Aydin Agayev from Azerbaijan (or Azerjaban, depending on your sense of humour): I liked both but Solayoh was the best. Because in Solayoh, they have beautiful rhythm and looks like a disco song.

So, since ‘Solayoh’ replaced ‘Rhythm of Love’, the song has charmed the fans into their hearts! What would you think if ‘Rhythm of Love’ was the song for Belarus this year instead of ‘Solayoh’? Tell us by leaving a comment below!

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Album Review: Emmelie De Forest “Only Teardrops”

Another week, another ESC album to review, and this time I’m going to go through the début effort of 2013 winner Emmelie De Forest from Denmark. With the international acclaim for her Eurovision entry “Only Teardrops”, the album of the same name has a lot to live up to – has it delivered?

"Only Teardrops" was released on May 6th
“Only Teardrops” was released on May 6th

Just for a bit of background, I was a huge fan of the song “Only Teardrops”, and whilst the general fan hype grated on me towards the end, I was really happy when it stormed to victory on the final night. It was a fairly commercial piece of ethno-pop, which was undeniably instant and catchy, and would likely go down as one of the better winners of the 21st century.

Naturally, I was enthusiastic about the prospect of hearing an entire album of Emmelie’s music, and on first listen, it was everything I was hoping for and more. The familiar fusion of modern and ethnic was present on almost every track, with synthesisers and flutes intermingling effortlessly to create the backing for Emmelie’s unmistakeable vocals. Lyrically, the album stays relatively close to the sort of “at-one-with-nature-tormented-soul” persona that seems to have been created for her, which is a shame as it leaves very little to relate to in terms of lyrical content (save perhaps in “What Are You Waiting For”)

However, it’s the kind of music that’s right down my street. I SHOULD just love it. The stand-out track for me would have to be “Hunter & Prey” – the song which most closely follows the formula of “Only Teardrops”, and which has, incidentally, been selected as the next single.

An ethereal instrumentation, soaring chorus, and supremely catchy hook, it’s by far the best track on the album. There are others which are worth a listen, of course; most notably “Haunted Heart”, “What Are You Waiting For” and “Beat The Speed Of Sound” – all of which take a little while to grow on the listener, but seem to be largely representative of Emmelie’s artistry.

I’ve stumbled through three paragraphs now, squeezing every last positive out of this record. It’s time for a slightly more realistic verdict: on the whole, it’s just a bit underwhelming. It may just be my inner ethno-pop junkie howling in despair at what is essentially a missed opportunity for epicness, I don’t know. At the end of the day, this album could have been a hit-it-out-of-the-park home run (like “Heal” was for Loreen last year – alright, it took her six months, but it was worth it…) “Only Teardrops” simply pales in comparison. There is nothing wrong with any of the individual songs, there’s just not a great deal which leaps out of the realms of the ordinary for me. To quote escinsight‘s Ewan Spence “it’s audio wallpaper” – and much as I wanted to have something better to say about this album, I just can’t. It’s there, it’s *nice*, you think it’s awesome on a first listen, but after about a week, the sugar rush dies down and there’s nothing substantial really left. Sorry Emmelie. Good luck with the next one!

Your views:

What do you think?
What do you think?

Nathan Stella from the Netherlands: I love the esoterical, natural sound of it. Very soothing, yet emotional.

Hristos Vrettos from Greece: I’m sorry. I just listened up to song #5 or #6. I didn’t like it at all, far too boring for me :/

Søren Lodahl Johansen from Denmark: Love it.. Only the first song not so great. But the rest TOP-stars 🙂

Belén Garcia from Spain: I love it, very good album 🙂

Judging by these views, perhaps my negativity towards the album is misplaced, who knows. I’m still mourning for how amazing it could have been, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the fact that Emmelie De Forest has produced a respectable, individual pop album which certainly does no harm to her already growing fanbase.

But what do you think?? Feel free to comment below!

Focus 2014: Copenhagen

In the final edition of the series where we take you to the potential cities that could host Eurovision next year, I’ll take you to the hot favourite to host the Contest; the capital, Copenhagen! What makes it different to HerningHorsens and Fredericia? What areas are being considered? What’s there to do there? All the juice is ready to be squeezed below!

Copenhagen is just 14km from Malmö
Copenhagen is just 14km from Malmö

Copenhagen is the only bidding city that isn’t on the Jutland peninsula. Instead, the city is situated on the island of Sjælland, Denmark’s largest island (if you don’t count Greenland). Luckily, if the city gets to host Eurovision, they won’t have any problem regarding the task of accommodating the fans, as Copenhagen housed most of the Eurovision when Malmö hosted the Contest this year. Sweden is easily reachable from Copenhagen via the Øresund Bridge (which was featured in the Contest this year). Below shows the location of Copenhagen.

This is where Copenhagen is located.
This is where Copenhagen is located.

As soon as Emmelie de Forest won the Eurovision in Malmö, a truck pulled up to the arena saying: “See you all at the Eurovision Song Contest 2014″ with a large arrow pointing in the direction of Copenhagen with 14km written inside the arrow, suggesting the Eurovision would be held in the city. Copenhagen is also the only city that is bidding with more than one venue. If Copenhagen hosts Eurovision, it will be held in either the Parken Stadium, the B&W Grand Ballroom or a large tent outside the headquarters of DR, with a capacity of 50,000, 3,600 and an unknown capacity respectively. As it’s the capital city of Denmark, it is the most populous city in the country, with a population of 1.2 million people living in the city and its surrounding neighbourhoods! Copenhagen has its own airport that serves most the islands around Sjælland and most of Denmark itself, as it’s one of the few international airports in the country.

Copenhagen is the main hub in Denmark when it comes to sightseeing. There are many canal tours that run throughout the city, so it’s possible to see much of main sights on the tours. Other famous monuments for sightseeing are The Little Mermaid, the Tivoli Gardens (the most famous amusement park in Copenhagen), and the Copenhagen Zoo, where you can see every variety of animal! Other places to see is the Danish Royal Palace, where the Danish Royal Family lives, as well as the self-governing area of Christiania, famous for its tolerance of soft drugs like cannabis. The new Opera House is also located in Christiania.

Your views:

So how would you feel if any of the areas of Copenhagen were chosen to host Eurovision 2014?

What do you think of the city?
What do you think of the city?

Seth Wezendonk from the Netherlands: I’d feel very happy if they got it!

Sheila Fitzpatrick & Mike Shinnors from Ireland: Very happy!

Luke Malam from the United Kingdom: If it was in Parken I’d be happy, but in the other two I just wouldn’t understand the logic of it and think that this Eurovision is probably going to be a complete flop, especially if they choose to have it in a tent.

Samantha Ross (who writes for escinsight and runs the blog escinsider) from the United States: I’m personally Pro-Parken. The stadium wasn’t used effectively in 2001, true, but with a different layout, it can definitely work.

In summary, fans think that the Eurovision should be held in Copenhagen and that they’ll put on a really great show! But what would YOU (Yes, I’m talking to you!) think if Copenhagen got the Eurovision? Feel free to leave a comment below!

UPDATE: On the 28th of June, the Parken Stadium officially withdrew its bid to host Eurovision 2014, which means there are only two venues in Copenhagen that are bidding to host Eurovision, along with Herning and Horsens.

On the 2nd September, Copenhagen was officially chosen as the host city for the Eurovision next year in the B & W Hallerne. You can find more information about the selection here.