So another week has passed in the Eurovision world, but what has exactly happened in the past week? Well luckily, we’re here to help you guys find out how to cram an entire week’s happenings into one short article! So what’s happened, keep reading to find out!
As we’ll be doing for the foreseeable future, this little series – as the name suggests – will compress one week of Eurovision happenings into one article a week. Of course, if a country picks a singer and/or a song, they’ve got to be released as quickly as possible, but for the less major stories, this is where they end up and in the end, you get to catch up on a whole week of Eurovision if you’ve missed anything. And as always, be sure to check our *amayzin* friends on websites such as EUROVISIONJACK3, escXtra, ESCDaily and so many more for absolute breaking news. We’re here for the highlights!
Right, let’s get to it then!
1: “La Mia Città” is the confirmed song for Italy
We’ve already discussed our views on ‘La Mia Città’ on the announcement article James published, but as the rumour was officially confirmed on Saturday, it fell into this current week, so – sorry! Well, it’s definitely a song that will be in the final, but maybe it’ll do well, I have no clue…good luck to Emma anyway!
2: Moldova’s 40 songs released
TRM, Moldova’s national broadcaster, released the 40 shortlisted songs on Tuesday, which you can have a listen to right here. Of course, not all of the songs will make the cut, with only 24 of the entries making the televised NF on the 15th of March. This will happen tomorrow, when the artists will do a “live audition”, where a jury will fish out the best 24 from the group. For some reason, a good few of the artists have submitted two songs to the final and from the amount of Facebook ‘likes’, some have received, it looks like we have a few favourites already; ‘Dragostea divină’ being one of the biggest. I like ‘Your Recovery’ and ‘Hallelujah’, but whether they go through to the main show, that’s for others to decide.
Oh, and the English accents need a lot more work!! And ‘My Lesbian Girl’? Go on, let’s send it. I’d be so excited to see what Putin would think..WE DON’T WANNA PUT IN!
3: France – Full songs released
As James reported on the previous Friday News article, France released little extracts of the three songs that will be in “Les Chansons d’Abord” and in the special presentation show held on Sunday, we finally got to hear the entire versions of the songs in the NF,. You can see their performances here and now that we finally heard the songs, here’s what I think:
Destan: Not a huge fan of it, sorry. It’s the stereotypical pop ballad and even though the song’s in two languages, plus the blonde guy is pretty cute, it just doesn’t work for me.
Joanna: I was expecting better. She has an incredible vocal range, that isn’t getting its worth. If she was to go to Eurovision, which I can see happening, she’d need to have a fantastic background and camera work to make sure the viewers don’t fall asleep… and dayum girl, what the fuck is wrong with your hair?! You look like Marie N’diaye!
Twin Twin: Undoubtedly my favourite of the lot. I know. What is wrong with me. Maybe it’s because it’s the only uptempo song in the whole thing, but it’s so addictive! I think this should actually go to Eurovision..it would definitely split opinions, but still, it’s catchy! And is it just me or does the lead singer look like Ted Mosby off of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ avec Mohawk?!
4: DMPG line-up revealed
The host nation has apparently revealed the line-up for Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. Some familiar faces are making appearances amongst the competitors, such as Bryan Rice and Danni Elmo who both had a go at representing Denmark. Here’s the list of artists taking part in the final on the 8th of March.
Sonny – Feeling The You
Anna David – It Hurts
Basim Cliche – Love Song
Rebekah Thornbech – Your Lies
GlamboyP – Right By Your Side
Bryan Rice – I Choose You
Nadia Malm – Before You Forget Me
Michael Rune feat Natascha Bessez – Wanna be Loved
Danni Elmo – She’s The One
Emilie Moldow – We find home
Looking at the line-up, it looks like we’ll have another Emmelie – an artist that no-ones heard of, but may do incredibly well if the song is really good. But until the songs are released, we have no idea what they’re gonna sound like..although Sonny and Emilie might need to work on their English grammar!
5: Melodi Grand Prix artists and songs unveiled
So, we’re not on about Danish Melodi Grand Prix, this is Norway’s NF we’re talking about! Here you can hear little snippets of the songs before a little introduction of the artist by the artist themselves. Judging from what we can hear in the snippets, we’re to expect a really interesting selection, with many of the songs being really, really good. I’m especially looking forward to Mo, as he is probably one of the most remarkable singers, as The Guardian even mentioned! Plus his song is actually good too.. Good luck to the competitors all the same!
6: Icelandic artists and songs unveiled
Obviously because Björk isn’t part of the line-up, I’m not really euphoric *see what I did there?*, but from the songs that are there, which you can have a listen to here, I think that Söngvakeppnin 2014 will be a very good contest! Plus the fact that Vignir Snær from Sjónni’s Friends, who represented Iceland back in 2011 (Vignir is the guy who got a big kiss from Matthias Matthiasson on stage), shows that artists can’t get enough of Eurovision! Definitely looking forward to it!
7: A Friend In London are no more!
On Wednesday, we all heard the sad news that A Friend in London (DK 2011) have decided to call it day and split up. In a statement, the group said:
To all press, FRIENDS and supporters all over the world. After 10 years of amazing experiences and huge memories, A FRIEND IN LONDON has come to an end. We have gone through so many changes the past few years..
Now, whether this means there were tensions in the groups or they just decided to call it a day because they felt it was right, we don’t know, but all we know is that AFIL are going their separate ways. So we’ll leave you with a very flattering image of Tim Schou and the performance of ‘New Tomorrow’ in Düsseldorf. Have a fantastic Friday people!
Is there a story we missed that happened this week? Be sure to let us know if we have by commenting below!
Would you believe it, it’s three weeks since we last had the pleasure of previewing a national final for you guys! 2014 has most certainly been a slow year so far, but by the end of this week, we will have six of the thirty-seven all selected and confirmed (in theory anyway.. that six does include both Belarus and Ukraine so anything could happen) Anyway, the three-week drought is somewhat compensated by the fact that today’s article will preview not one but TWO national finals scheduled to take place over the weekend, so I’d better stop this introduction, and get down to the actual information!
As you should hopefully know by now, we are previewing the national finals in weekly instalments, offering our opinions on some of the songs wherever possible, and predicting the entries we think are most likely to win the ticket to Denmark. Following the results of each National Final, we’ll get a review article up for you, giving you our opinions of the show and the selected entry, and assessing its chances at Eurovision this year. And, as always, your opinions are most welcome throughout, we would love to know what you think!
This week’s calendar:
1st February 2014: UMK (Finnish National Final)
[20:00 CET – 22:00 CET]
1st February 2014: Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow (Swiss National Final)
[20:10 CET – 22:20 CET]
Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (Contest for New Music) – or UMK for short – returns for a third year in 2014, having selected the previous two Finnish entries for Eurovision, both of which we have LOVED. So no pressure then, guys. The contest – which consists of multiple preliminary rounds – has been going on quietly in the background for over a month now, and the original cohort of twelve songs has been whittled down to eight which will compete in this Saturday’s final in the Barona Arena in Espoo, just outside Helsinki. All twelve are available to listen to here, on YLE’s official site for the contest, with the finalists clearly highlighted. Which ones stand out to you?
Reviews and Predictions:
James – My first response to the final line up is “WHAT THE HELL; NO JASMIN MICHAELA!?!” followed by an hour and a half of angry brooding relating to that realisation. Because that song, ladies and gentlemen, was a winner. I have no idea how it failed to reach the final eight, especially when there are at least three songs in the final that I just cannot see any merit in whatsoever. I could spend hours defending “Kertakäyttösydän” but unfortunately, nothing I say can reverse the decision of the Finnish public, and bring it back from the dead. “Disposable Heart”, it would seem, has been … erm… disposed of. Pardon the pun. Rest in peace, let’s move on.
From the final eight, there are still a few stand-out tracks which I believe would be worthy winners, and constitute a sixth consecutive Finnish entry that I end up loving. From what’s left, I’m favouring the clappy and singalong number “Sängyn Reunalla” performed by Mikko Pohjola. It’s one of those songs which is brilliant by itself, but features that little essence of melancholy that characterises it as uniquely Finnish, and altogether more captivating. His voice sounds fab, both in the studio and live, and in lieu of Jasmin, I will most certainly be cheering him on to the victory on Saturday night!
However, I would also be really happy if Finland were to send the gloriously random folksy number “Selja” by the interesting mother-son duo of Hukka ja Mama. Self-explanatory dynamic there. I know it’s odd, I know it’s about as far from contemporary as it’s possible to get, but there’s something charming about it that’s hard to resist.
It’s not all about what I think though… the fan favourite, judging by the amount of social media buzz I’ve observed, is without a doubt “Top of the World” performed by Clarissa and Josh Standing. Yes, it’s catchy, it’s modern, but it’s all very “been there, heard that”… would you allow me to run through why I don’t think it would be a good choice?
Good. Because there are a couple of little niggles here. Firstly, and I know it shouldn’t matter, but this ain’t a Finnish song. And he ain’t Finnish. Forgive me for wanting to preserve a bit of national identity in the contest, but I think Finland in particular is one of the countries with something really unique to bring to the table in that regard, and I would be sorry to see this Swedish paint-by-numbers composition take the Finnish ticket ahead of the more original offerings discussed earlier. Secondly, the performance is patchy at best. More specifically, the clothes. More specifically, Josh’s clothes. WHAT WAS HE THINKING!?! Please god change out of that hideous oversized football kit before it’s too late. Seriously. You are NOT MC Hammer, and that has NEVER been cool.
And while we’re on the subject of Josh Standing. Football kit aside, HELLO THERE SIR. He’s camp as fuck, it’s hilarious, unexpected and endearing all at the same time. Honestly, he’s a catch. And if Finland do pick this, I am aborting any prior arrangements and booking tickets to Copenhagen with the sole intent of bringing him home with me. Just saying, before anyone else lays claim. He’s mine. MINE.
Rory – Who could possibly follow in Krista’s diamond footsteps? It seems these guys are giving it a good go! UMK has definitely dominated the ESC season for a good while, and you definitely can tell why! I haven’t been following UMK as much as others have been, but judging by the way its featured quite heavily in my Facebook news feed, I’ve heard a good few of the songs and it seems like its going to be a really tight year in Finland for sure!
I do like Hanna Sky, and I think the song will do quite well on the night, but I do think that Clarissa and Josh may do just as well. They have fantastic songs, but I’m just not sure who’s better out of the two. As regards to who I think will take the trophy, that’s a really hard decision to make. Nearly all the songs deserve to be there (come on Finland, why did you get of Jasmin?! She was amazing!!), and so, I think its gonna be so tough for the public to pick, but if it was up to me, I’d go with Hanna. She seems like a really nice woman, and the song is actually really good, but I’d say she’s not out of the woods, as I’ve discussed above.
Good luck Finland trying to decide who’s going, its going be soooooo hard!!
P.S. If Jasmin had gone to Eurovision, I’d be so pitiful of all the foreign journalists trying to even pronounce that song name!
Finland was one of the first countries for whom we suggested Possible Artists way back in July, with Kristiina Wheeler and Diandra being top of our list. Whilst neither of the two were involved with UMK, it cannot be ignored that Jasmin Michaela’s song was in a similar vein to Wheeler’s “Muukalainen”, and thus would have been the closest we’ve come yet to seeing one of our suggested styles feature on the National Final stage. Clarissa and Josh’s song is the same kinda style to Diandra’s “Outta My Head”.. I’m clutching at straws here aren’t I…
Looking at the eight Finland will be choosing from, there are, as mentioned before, plenty of candidates who would perform admirably in Copenhagen, and follow in Krista Siegfrids’ glittering footsteps with dignity and style. For Finland, their last *decent* placing would actually have to be Lordi, since then, they haven’t managed to reach any higher than 17th in the final, and all too often, fantastic songs like “När Jag Blundar” and “Työlki Elää” have been castasidein thesemis *cry*.
Genre-wise, they have never been afraid to be experimental, and many of the prospective 2014 songs would provide a pleasing contrast to the previously exhibited genres of rock, dance, folk, acoustic and pop. If Finland do opt for one of the decent choices in UMK this Saturday, they will continue a run of quality contributions, and will hopefully end up with a final result more representative of their efforts! Good luck Suomi! 😀
Die Grosse Entscheidungsshow (I’ll apologise in case I spelt that wrong because DAYUM THAT WORD IS LONG) has been used to select the Swiss entry since 2011, the year that brought us Anna Rossinelli and the adorable “In Love For A While”. Since then, the Swiss have stuck to the same format, with varying results, but as of yet, no repeat qualification by the time Eurovision itself rolls around. 2014 has seen a slight tweak to the format of the show, with the show being broadcast almost two months later than usual, and featuring just six potential entries rather than the usual ten. To me, this already feels like a half-arsed effort, before I’ve even heard the songs; just like Austria did last year, anyone else feeling the same?
Have a listen to a recap of the six competing entries here.
Reviews and Predictions:
James – I’m going to try and sound enthusiastic. It’s going to be difficult.
I can’t help but feeling that Switzerland have given up a bit. Just compare this year’s line-up to last year’s – yes, three or four of the 2013 songs were quite clearly in album filler territory, but that was counterbalanced with absolute gems like “J’avais Rendez-Vous” and “The Point of No Return”. Fast forward to this year, and we have two half-arsed ballads, two half-arsed rock-ish numbers, one token slice of contrived Europop, and a sort-of decent country-guitar-pop thing, which by comparison comes across a lot stronger than it actually is.
The latter is, of course, Sebalter’s self-penned number “Hunter of Stars”, which is very radio-friendly, very authentic and features a very cute little whistle riff. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, and it’s the kind of song that I would rank around 20th, and eventually come to appreciate… but it’s quite a wallpaper song isn’t it. Come on, sing the chorus back to me now. You can’t remember it all without another listen, can you. Sebalter’s image will probably count in his favour – if you haven’t seen a picture of the guy, he’s from the Marco Mengoni school of rugged beauty, and though he pales in comparison to everyone’s fave Italian Stallion, he’s a decent bit of eye candy all the same. I’m still daydreaming about Josh Standing though, not gonna lie.
*ahem. I’m getting distracted because there really isn’t much else in the Swiss line-up to hold my attention. 3ForAll sounds pretty good if you can’t see who’s singing it – it’s hard to pull off “modern and contemporary” when all the members of the group look eligible for state pensions. Well, more specifically, the guy in the middle. The girls are superfluous.
It’s disappointing, that’s for sure. Things did seem to be looking up for the country, but 2014 looks like another drop down the slippery slope, at the bottom of which Michel von der Heide is waiting with a maniacal smile, brandishing his wooden spoon from Oslo. There just isn’t enough room within six songs to give viewers enough of a choice – in my opinion anyway.
Rory – Right, Switzerland what have you got for us this year? Six songs in the NF isn’t that bad compared to other countries whose national final can drag on into the early hours of the morning (Malta, I’m looking at you here), and this year, we’re fortunate to have a year minus ‘Doing the Monkey’! Only in Eurovision, ey?
When listening to the songs, you can definitely tell that there’s quite a diverse range of genres in the final, which may mean the song that gets sent may be either the strongest of the lot or the weakest. From the six, the ones that stand out for me are “Hunter of Stars” and the obvious choice, “I Still Believe”. I don’t know why, but I’m drawn to Sebalter’s voice. Normally, I hate country music (seriously, I HATE it) but this is actually OK! Like seriously, his voice sounds absolutely mental, but they also sound strangely good – in a really weird kinda way.
Then, for Yazmina – well, I think she’d be the runaway favourite. She has a powerful voice, a decent ballad. It’s almost guaranteed if she delivers on the night. As for my predictions as to who’ll take the title, I think it’s going to be tight, but I honestly think ‘I Still Believe’ is gonna take it. She has a really powerful voice and the song is typical Eurovision, but it’s just what one thinks of when they think of the whole Eurovision ballad. Natacha and Stéphanie, may also have a chance, but to me it seems we’ll be seeing the Swiss Chiara on the 8th of May. Good luck all the same though!
Switzerland as a Eurovision nation have a very patchy recent record, as we previously discussed. Sebalter looking like the obvious favourite, it would appear that genre-wise at least, the 2014 entry will fit snugly into their 21st century Eurovision canon, in that it will likely be docile, unchallenging and guitar-based. Not that that’s a problem, and especially considering it will be performed in a semi-final where just five countries will be eliminated, it could prove a recipe for “success” after all. I place the word “success” entre guillemets for I can’t see this success equating to anything more than around 18th place in the final for any of the potential six songs. And that’s assuming they aren’t one of the unlucky five destined to be culled on the Thursday night…
Am I just being too harsh here, or do you find the Swiss line-up as uninspiring as I do?
Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I like many songs from Switzerland, but I’ll have to say that Yazmina is my favourite. From Finland, its Clarissa. I just hope they win!!!
Sami Luukela from Finland: Worst case scenario for me, would be seeing Madcraft or Hanna Sky winning .. My favourite is Mikko Pohjola!
Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom: Hukka ja Mama or Hanna Sky!
Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: For Finland, my favourite is Clarissa and Josh. For Switzerland, my favourite is Sebalter. I hope they both win!
With two national finals to cover, it has been rather difficult to establish clear fan favourites in both of them. Although the one conclusive result is that interest seems to be more focused on UMK, with Die Grosse Whateveritscalled seemingly taking a back seat in proceedings. Hopefully both broadcasters will enjoy high viewing figures on Saturday, and both will finish the night having chosen a Eurovision entry more than worthy of facing the competition in Denmark!!
What are your thoughts ahead of this weekend’s “Super Saturday”? Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below and tell us what you think!
Well, in my time zone, it’s now Friday evening – which means I’d like to start by wishing a “Happy Weekend” to everyone! You may be wondering what exactly you’re reading at the moment, since this is the first post in a new series we plan to feature over the months leading up to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May… scroll down and all will be revealed!
To cut a long story short, we thought that since we’re only a little blog run by two people, reporting on every single ESC news story as soon as it breaks isn’t exactly feasible (obviously this isn’t the case where artist and song selections are concerned – gotta get those ones out ASAP!!) For everything else, however, we would still like to keep you all up to date, so we have decided to bring you a round-up of the smaller news stories in the ESC world every Friday, starting from tonight! Obviously, if you want to keep up with the news as it happens, there are a plethora of other sites and blogs which do just that – for example escXtra, EUROVISIONJACK3, Eurovision Ireland and many more (if you happen to run such a blog and would like a shameless plug, do not hesitate to get in contact for we will be happy to oblige!)
Anyway.. enough circumlocution, on with the show!
1: Semi-Final Allocation Draw
Monday saw the semi-final allocation draw for 2014, and with the advent of the producer-led running order, this is pretty much the only actual draw we get each year *cries whilst simultaneously cursing Björkman and his ego* … Unfortunate though that is, this week’s draw did prove to be an interesting event from a statistical point of view; something which many other sites have covered in great detail.
Taking a more circumspect view of the draw’s outcome, here are our main observations:
As everyone else has pointed out, Semi 1 looks like a bit of a killer. Seven of the sixteen countries come under the ex-USSR umbrella, and judging by past voting patterns, a lot of them will be inclined to exchange a fair few points, and very likely pull each other into the final.
Whilst everyone does tend to lump Moldova in that category too, their main cultural tie has always been with Romania, who are in semi 2 this year (thumbs up for random fairness)
Far be it from me to base criticisms on voting patterns, I do think their allocation into semi-final 1 makes chances of qualification even more difficult for Portugal, Montenegro and San Marino in particular. Which is a shame, as all three have missed out in recent years, often when they deserved a place in the Saturday show.
I’m nervous for Albania, being top half of that difficult semi; and with one of the only songs so far, it’s one that both of us are already cheering for.
On the other hand, very happy about Macedonia drawing second half (statistically proven to be beneficial, as we all know – though, of course, no guarantee of success) – would love to see them in the final and I have a really good feeling about Tijana’s entry
Ireland too look like they are in a strong position based on the other voters and their allocation – good news for Rory at least!!
Of course, any conjecture about results at this point can be shaky at best, and we won’t be able to make more concrete predictions until we hear all the songs – for, at the end of the day, the song and performance are generally what count most.
2: Emma Marrone confirmed as the Italian representative in Copenhagen
We covered this in a separate article, but I’m just giving Emma an extra little mention as it has been rumoured in the last couple of hours that “La Mia Città” will indeed be the Italian entry in Denmark… Personally, I’m really hoping not, for reasons I discussed in the announcement article, but que sera sera. *sigh*
3: Previews of the French songs released
Have a listen to the 30-second previews of all three songs competing in the French national final for 2014 here.
Now, obviously, with only a minute and a half of music collectively, making concrete decisions on the French songs is still a little premature, but from what we’ve heard, I can organise my initial thoughts pretty easily:
Destan, I was expecting better.
Joanna, I was expecting better.
Twin Twin, I was expecting worse. And from the 30 seconds we’ve heard of it so far… it’s actually my favourite. I know. Kill me now before I relinquish any remaining control of my sanity.
4: Updates on NF dates
Having confirmed their participation at the very last minute, RTV Slovenija gave us a further announcement this week concerning the method of selecting the Slovenian participant for Copenhagen. Namely, national final EMA will return for the first time since 2011 (which, for a broadcaster which is arguably one of the most financially challenged in the current line-up, is admittedly surprising). Date for the diary though, like Sweden and Denmark, Slovenia will decide on the 8th of March.
Lithuania, having previously scheduled their national final for the 15th of February, have decided to push back the date in light of an unprecedented increase in viewing figures for the shows to date. The new date will be the 1st of March.
Spain have announced that their 2014 entry will be decided through a national final featuring five acts – one of whom has been a stubbornly persistent presence in the rumour mill over the last few months: Ruth Lorenzo. All five singers and their competing song titles have been revealed, but as of yet the date has not been specified further than “February”. Sooooo. Any news is good news I guess, ey?
5: Eesti Laul songs available to listen to online
With just over a month to go until the Estonian public decide on their next Eurovision entry, the organisers of national final Eesti Laul have uploaded the twenty competing songs to stream in full – have a listen here.
As we are approaching the national finals in a preview and review structure, I will hold off on our opinions for now, but suffice it to say that Eesti Laul looks like it will be a fascinating contest yet again this year! More to come when we preview the show, in the week leading up to March the 1st!
6: General info about Copenhagen’s staging
Whilst the majority of broadcasters seem to be stepping up a gear in the New Year, DR, this year’s hosts, have been rather quiet on the whole – not entirely surprising since we all remember the state of the venue and the amount of renovation it will take to transform it into a Eurovision-worthy arena!!
However, this week, they have started drip-feeding us those other subservient pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, which happen every year but are only really relevant and understandable if you’re heading to the contest yourself (which neither of us will be *sad face*) Anyway, alongside the announcement that Euro Café 2014 will be located in Huset KBH, Wonderful Copenhagen have put out this nice little video detailing what will be known as the “Eurovision Fan Mile”, leading from the inner city to the arena. If you’re interested, take a look below!
Do you know of a minor Eurovision news story that we’ve missed out? Please let us know in the comments and we will edit the article to include it. Friday News will return every Friday in the foreseeable future, so we hope you enjoy it as we fine-tune its structure and content.
I hope you’ll forgive us, but since these Friday News articles will consist of very brief snippets on a range of topics, it wasn’t really plausible to ask for views – the question “what do you think of everything that has happened this week” would have doubtless been far too vague to result in any useful discussion!! So, it’s over to you on this one, dear reader! We’d love to hear your opinions on what’s been discussed in the article, so do feel free to leave a comment below!