Confirmation from RAI: Emma Marrone will sing for Italy!

Following weeks – nay, months – of speculation, Italian broadcaster RAI today finally confirmed that Emma Marrone will indeed be their representative in Copenhagen! The method by which her song will be decided has not yet been revealed, but today’s confirmation gives us plenty to discuss, as Italy look to continue their run of success in the contest.

marrone announcement article

The last three years have seen returning “Big 5” nation Italy take a very original yet distinctly lethargic approach to the Eurovision Song Contest, which despite the apparent lack of enthusiasm, has turned in three fantastic results for RAI, with Raphael Gualazzi, Nina Zilli and Marco Mengoni all managing to finish in the top 10. Now, after much speculation, they have confirmed that this trend of sending big, credible, domestic names to the contest will continue in Copenhagen, with Emma Marrone being announced as their 2014 singer.

Thanks to a series of cryptic tweets and a slip of the tongue by the artist herself yesterday, today’s announcement came as anything but a surprise to the fan community! However, her association with the contest dates back a lot longer than these last few months, as she participated in San Remo in both 2011 and 2012, the latter resulting in an overall victory with the awesome track “Non È L’Inferno”

At the time, however, I distinctly remember that Nina Zilli’s selection from the San Remo field was due to the fact that she was one of the few artists who had agreed to do Eurovision if asked. Back then, Emma had expressly stated that she wouldn’t go, which – for me, at least – makes her involvement in 2014 a little surprising. However, since 2012, Emma has really built on her domestic career to the point where it is safe to say she is one of the biggest female stars in Italy today. Possibly THE biggest.

For me, this is the key here with Emma for Italy. Regardless of how disappointing their viewing figures have been, regardless of how disillusioned the broadcaster and the general public may be, the country is still taking their participation in Eurovision seriously, and sending acts that will show them off in a good light. Yes, a very calculated and quite restrained light, but a very good one all the same.

Looking into Emma’s back-catalogue, it would not be unreasonable to assume that her entry will pick up where Nina and Marco left off; a well-written, dramatic pop-rock number will very likely be on the cards, as this is the style that characterises the majority of her releases to date. Aside from that, as can be seen from her San Remo performance above, she is a very charismatic live vocalist, and her quirky appearance will doubtless count in her favour. Her gravelly voice is indebted to Mia Martini, and – like the majority of Italian singers – I constantly feel like telling her to clear her bloody throat!! I don’t go for that hoarse, croaky sound as a general rule, but that’s just me. It does suit her genre, at least. Emma is without a doubt a very contemporary figure, whose presence on the ESC stage will be remembered long after she sings her last note!

With regards to her song for Copenhagen, we are – as of today – still in the dark as to how it will be selected and what it will eventually be. Some seem to believe that her November 2013 single “La Mia Città” is lined up to be her ESC entry – a record which is somewhat archetypal of her musical style. Personally, I would be disappointed if this one did turn out to be her Eurovision song, for I’m not really keen on it if I’m honest. Like many of her songs, I struggle to get into it, if I’m totally honest. I appreciate she is a fabulous artist, and it’s a little frustrating hearing her singing things like this, because I KNOW she can pull out a truly showstopping record if she really tries (see “Maledetto Quel Giorno” and the above “Non È L’Inferno”, both of which I adore.) “La Mia Città” and recent smash hit “Amami” feel like they’re at 60% for me – there are good bits but they never quite capture my attention enough, and I fear a similar thing may happen if her Eurovision entry is in the same vein. Please please come up with something better for Denmark, Emma, I know you can do it!

No doubt owing to her previous association with San Remo and her impressive reputation in Italy, Emma seems to have been the number one fan suggestion for Italy over the last few months, and it’s not often that such a figure does end up at the contest. Bearing this in mind, then, what do you all think of her selection?

Your Views:

What do you think of Emma as Italy's choice?
What do you think of Emma as Italy’s choice?

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: Hats off to Italy for selecting Emma. She is the biggest thing around in Italy at the moment and how many countries sent their biggest current stars in the past years? She can do no wrong for me, so let’s hope for La Mia Città or a song like Amami!

Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: This is my biggest wish for Italy coming true! Now send us a lovely melody Emma and you can win for Italy!

Jack Cuffe from the United Kingdom: YAY! A fantastic choice 🙂

Seth Wezendonk from the Netherlands: With a great song she will end up high, maybe win, who knows  Personally I like her a lot ^^

As anticipated then, Emma’s selection has prompted nothing but acclaim from the majority of fans! Rory and I personally have a few infinitesimal doubts, but we’re both hopeful that these will fade into insignificance when we hear her song. “L’Essenziale” last year took a while to grow on us, so hopefully, Emma’s song will do the same this year!

Are you as ecstatic about Emma Marrone’s participation as most other people seem to be? Do you share our reservations on her potential song? Do let us know by leaving a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

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Would it work…if Lorde went to Eurovision?

Right, so I know the chances of this happening are like so slim, you could compare it to the chances of Cyprus giving Greece no points, but because of the reasons below, it’s very possible that Lorde could represent either Croatia or Ireland at Eurovision in the future. But if either country asked her to represent them, how well would they do?

Would Ireland or Croatia win if Lorde represented them at Eurovision?
Would Ireland or Croatia win if Lorde represented them at Eurovision?

So, Croatia and Ireland have started to slip in their placings recently: Ireland managing to finish on the right hand side of the scoreboard (with the exception of 2011) and also managing to come in last place last year. Croatia? Well we haven’t seen them in the final since 2009 and this year, they’ll be missing Eurovision in Copenhagen because they’ve decided to withdraw.*cry*. So it seems that Ireland and Croatia may need a saviour to rescue them from abandoning Eurovision altogether, like how Anouk proved to be the Netherlands’ saviour and managed to get over 3 million Dutch people to watch the final. Well, ladies and gentlemen, behold the answer: Lorde.

Lorde, whose real name is Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is, as the name suggests, of Croatian and Irish descent. However, she is a New Zealander, so she’s not exactly a European citizen. Her debut single ‘Royals’ – which you’ll have had to have heard by now – went to number one…well, everywhere. Of course, because of ‘Royals’ fame, Lorde was shot into the limelight and the 17-year-old has been one of the world’s biggest stars ever since. Because the song wasn’t released properly until late December of 2012, ‘Royals’ would be eligible for Eurovision if she ever considered doing Eurovision, but she was only known in New Zealand by that point, so it would be useless – *sob again*. Maybe a better choice of song would be her follow-up song to ‘Royals’; ‘Tennis Court’.

‘Tennis Court’ was released in June of last year, so once again *sob*, but it was used in the coverage of Wimbledon (how very fitting!) and even though it has no mention of tennis other than the court, the song would be very non-conventional for Eurovision. I suppose that Eurovision is quite influenced by the modern pop industry and with a song like ‘Tennis Court’, it would probably be passed off as a song that doesn’t go anywhere.. like ‘Tsvetok‘. But maybe because she’s famous, she’d do well? Who knows.

So now to the actual question, would it work if she went to Eurovision, for either Ireland or Croatia? Well, there are different rules for each country on the topic of having a singer from another country represent them. For example, Madonna could technically represent Albania, but she wouldn’t be able to, because to be able to take part in FiK, you need to be an Albanian citizen. When it comes to Croatia, I can see this rule being enforced and so, that may rule Ella/Lorde out from representing Croatia. However, with Ireland, there is a possibility that RTÉ could accept Lorde to take her onto Eurosong. If that were to happen and Lorde wins the NF, I can see her doing extremely well, as her live performances always fail to disappoint, such as this performance of her song ‘Ribs‘. If she was to qualify, I’d say she’d be in the top 10 with a song like ‘Royals’ or ‘Tennis Court’, although that’s just my opinion..what’s yours?

Your views:

Do you think it’d work if Lorde went to Eurovision?

Do you think Lorde would do well if she represented Ireland or Croatia?
Do you think Lorde would do well if she represented Ireland or Croatia?

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: I really love Lorde and if she did go to Eurovision, I think I’d die of EUPHOOOORIA!

Julie Ann Stenled from Europe: She is awesome but has an awful attitude, sadly.

Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: Please Lorde, go to Eurovision! You are what this Contest needs!

Frederick Ulriksson from Sweden: She’d be interesting for Eurovision.. like the convential Uli Rud. I think she should go!

So it seems that most of the fans would love to see Lorde go to Eurovision, but some people like Julie Ann think she needs to change her attitude first. But what do you think? Would Ireland or Croatia win if they had Lorde representing them or would they just flop? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!

Oh, and if Lorde reads this, you’re really cool 😉

Top 10: JESC songs that would have been better off at ESC

Well, it seems like ages since we last did a countdown and what better way to get you back into the Countdown mood than finding out which ten of the 161 songs that have graced the Junior Eurovision stage would have been better off to have been performed on the Eurovision stage instead. There have been a number of ESC-worthy songs at JESC, but which are the best?

Would 'Mari Dari' been better off at ESC?
Would ‘Mari Dari’ have been better off at ESC?

As Junior Eurovision is indeed a children’s (duh!) singing competition, one would pass the contest off as a show where children sing about living in a magical world where all dreams come true  and they ride on unicorns over rainbows. Complete bullshit. Junior Eurovision, although containing the odd childish song every once in a while (come on, it’s a kid’s TV show – what do you expect?), can also be a starting ground for a fantastic career – Molly Sandén, Viktoria & Anastasiya Petryk, Maria Isabel people? With this top, you’ll be listening to what we believe are the best ten songs that would have been better off going to the adult Eurovision, rather than being left in JESC. Right, got it? Let’s get started!

10 – Molly Sandén – “Det Finaste Någon Kan Få” (Sweden 2006)

We’re only at number 10 and already, we’ve got ourselves a mini-diva. I bet when Molly Sandén sang at Junior Eurovision back in Bucharest eight years ago that she would be one of Sweden’s best up-coming stars. ‘Det Finaste Någon Kan Få’, a reasonably typical Eurovision ballad, was very underrated in its field back in 2006 and luckily for Sweden, Molly came in a very great third place. Were it to go to adult Eurovision, I’d be one to think it would stand out like a sore thumb if it was to go to a Contest with only a few ballads – an ideal example being ESC 2006. If Molly was to have performed the song in Athens instead of Carola, I could see it qualifying, but maybe not doing as well as ‘Invicible’ did; maybe mid-table. But the main point, the song was way more ESC-worthy than most other songs that year..could someone translate it and get her to enter it into MelFest next year without it violating any rules, if that’s possible?

9 – Elias – “Det är dit vi ska” (Sweden 2013)

If you read our JESC preview article when the 2013 Contest was approaching, you’ll know that both James and I were fans of ‘Det är dit vi ska’ from the get-go, finding it to be the possible dark horse of the competition. Yeah, look how that turned out. Ninth place wasn’t exactly the best placing for Sweden last year, but the song was great among what was also on offer. In contrast to the original studio version, Elias decided to sing the song in a lower key, a daring move indeed. Could it have affected his position at JESC? Who knows? But considering the song as a song for Eurovision, I wouldn’t pass it off! ‘Det är dit vi ska’ is indeed quite a mature song for Junior Eurovision, so I think it would be better suited to Eurovision – and I think quite a lot of people will agree with me when I say that he should have done better in Kyiv. Seriously Europe, he was great! He should have won instead of Gaia..more on that in our review article of the Contest.

8 – Bobi Andonov – “Prati Mi SMS” (FYR Macedonia 2008)

Now, I have no idea what Bobi is saying apart from “Send me a text message”, but I have a feeling that if this went to Eurovision, it would do quite well. Of course, fifth place at Junior Eurovision is great, no doubt about it, but to me, it would have more potential if it went to the adult Eurovision, but you can definitely tell that Macedonia were giving it their all back in 2008 in both Contests. Of course, if you disliked either songs, you won’t agree with me, but with Bobi, you know he’s made up singer. ‘Prati mi SMS’ was a very modern song for the time and when accompanied with a dance routine, you could tell he was the Justin Bieber of Macedonia..just without the billions of fans etc. At Eurovision, it might not do as well as fifth place, but it has more potential at the adult version rather than the kid’s version..and he has the looks now for Eurovision, so I think the adult Contest is the way to go for him! Hopefully with something like ‘Prati mi SMS’

7 – Mariam Kakhelishvili – “Mari Dari” (Georgia 2010)

Mariam has featured already in our Possible Artists article for Georgia and with a song like ‘Mari Dari’, I’m not surprised that she did so well in Minsk! Fourth place is a fantastic placing for a song and for Eurovision it would do just as good. Although it’s a song that’s sung in an imaginary language, it hasn’t stopped other songs at Eurovision from doing well – ‘Sanomi’ was the runner-up in 2003 by only a couple of points, ‘O Julissi’……didn’t come last in its semi-final! And with the electronic sound providing the majority of the track (there is a bit of a folky bit mid-way that I absolutely adore – RANDADIDOORI DARO), it proves to be a song that while partially sounding a little childish, is scarily addictive and mind-bogglingly catchy. The perfect combination it seems to do well in Eurovision nowadays! If it was to go to Eurovision, I would stick my neck on the line and say it would have the chance to win, given that her vocals are up to scratch. So why doesn’t Mariam do it? I’m sure her fans from JESC would want to see her at Eurovision.. we certainly would! Plus, if she has a song like ‘Mari Dari’, she could be in with a chance of winning! Go on Mariam!!

6 Mimmi Sandén – “Du” (Sweden 2009)

Oh yes, Molly wasn’t the only Sandén to go to Junior Eurovision! The little Carola lookalike certainly has a good set of lungs on her, it must run in the family. ‘Du’ – or ‘You’ in English (Robin Stjernberg didn’t have far to look before finding his song title then) – is quite the modern song for the field and opening the show with such a powerful song is yet another reason that it managed to finish in a reasonable sixth place. If it was to go Eurovision, I can see it doing really well, maybe getting into the top 10, because the song is catchy, it’s in a foreign language (which apparently get you into the top 10 – ‘Kedvesem’, ‘L’essenziale’, ‘Alcohol Is Free’ just as examples from last year) and it’s being sung by a cute, attractive girl. What can go wrong? So it’s true that singing does run in the family, Molly and Mimmi’s parent’s should be proud.

5 – Josefine Ridell – “Allt jag vill ha” (Sweden 2010)

I’m a huge fan of ‘Allt jag vill ha’ and the fact that it came third from last on the night in Minsk…well, let’s just say you shouldn’t have been around me for the couple of days after the show. ‘Allt jag vill ha’ is what I believe to be a really good entry for any contest. If Josefine was old enough, I would have entered the song into MelFest to go for the adult trophy. Yes, the song was written by Arash (one half of Azerjibban Azerbaijan 2009) and Thomas G:son, but the song is so stripped back and personal, how can someone not like it? The fact that she stood on the stage and sang her heart out reminds me of a young Rona Nishliu..just minus the dreadlocks and the urge to scream like a goat. If you sent ‘Allt jag vill ha’ to Eurovision, I can assure you, it would have come in the top 10. Why must you be too young for adult Eurovision, Josefine?! WHYYYYYYY?!?!?! I’d have voted for you!!

4 – Anastasiya Petryk – “Nebo” (Ukraine 2012)

Our little baby diva from Ukraine, you can tell why ‘Nebo’ would be a good choice to send to the adult edition of the Contest. The fact that that little girl can stand on the stage avec wind machine and sing with such a powerful voice is just amazing! Need I explain to you why ‘Nebo’ should have gone to Eurovision? The song, although not being the ‘Nebo’ of the year (thanks a lot Nina Badrić), carries a tension to it that grows until you reach that utterly fantabulous key change, when she just releases all that tension and switches languages. The fact you can just switch languages like that *snaps fingers to illustrate point* shows why Anastasiya is such a good choice for Eurovision. Of course, if they hadn’t cut up her dress and given it to her sister Viktoria for this year’s NF, as we described in our commentary of le NF, Anastasiya would still have an outfit to wear. But it’s the song that counts! The song would get into the top 10 as well, and if Anastasiya was five years older, she could have sent it to Eurovision.. it’d be a break from the props for sure, as we documented. And who knows? Viktoria and Anastasiya will enter as a duet? That would almost guarantee victory!

3 – Trust – “Anders” (Belgium 2007)

It’s fair to say that James is more of a fan of this one than I am, but I can see why people like it. The song is a decent teen ballad in Dutch and describes the regrets for things a typical teenager does wrong and regrets after arguing with parents. Of course, you don’t normally hear that topic being brought up at adult Eurovision but still, the song is really good! It’s such a shame that Belgium came third from last just shows that Europe can be so cruel. The potential it has is just great and it is a catchy tune! If it went to Eurovision, it might not have been as fortunate the others in this top, but it would do relatively well; maybe mid-bottom of the table? But they can sing and they have a great song and they featured in a documentary about JESC 2007 “Sounds Like Teen Spirit“, which featured Trust, as well as the artists from Georgia, Bulgaria and Cyprus. Maybe if they went to the adult COntest, they’d do better? One would really hope so…

2 – Sofia Tarasova – “We Are One” (Ukraine 2013)

Ukraine was the favourite to win the whole competition in Kyiv last year and I can’t blame the punters! ‘We Are One’ – although having no originality in the title – is instantly recognisable and the modernity of the song shows that it could do well in any Contest, along with ‘Allt jag vill ha’. Of course, it garnered 121 points and came in second place, which is indeed a fantastic placing, but if it was to go to Eurovision, I think I can say everyone would be a huge fan of the song and it would most definitely end up at the top 10. Sofia’s voice is fantastic and to me, it would seem that even though JESC was a perfect platform for the 12-year-old, ‘We Are One’ has more potential for the adult competition instead of the kid’s version, like Bobi. I swear, when Sofia represents Ukraine in the adult Eurovision, she dayum sure better have a song like ‘We Are One’. That girl is sassy!!

So, are you ready to find out the #1? Go ahead and scroll down!

1 – Lerika – “Sensatsiya” (Russia 2012)

James and I are massive fans of Lerika and when she represented Russia with ‘Sensatsiya’, it’s fair to say we both were fangirling over it. The reason why? ‘Sensatsiya’ is the best song Russia could have possibly entered into Eurovision, with its modern backing track, meaningful lyrics and simply fantabulous singer. Junior Eurovision, back in 2012, was quite strong and Lerika was tipped to win the whole thing, along with Anastasiya from Ukraine. She ended up in fourth place (seriously, what is wrong with you?! She was amazing!!), but if she was to go to Eurovision, she would win the whole thing; I can just see it. The fact that she can sing in three languages – Russian, English and Romanian (JESC fans would know she represented Moldova the year before – can someone point out the logic please?) – will help her to do well. Both James and I are begging either the Russians, the Moldovans or even the Czech (Lerika is from the Czech Republic, bet you didn’t know that now did ya!) to send her in two years. She has to go to Eurovision, ESC Views is leading the campaign. COME ON LERIKA!!
…breathe, Rory, breathe…

So now you know who’s our #1 for the ‘JESC song that would have been better off at ESC’ Award, but who’s yours?

Your views:

Which JESC song do you think should have been in ESC?
Which JESC song do you think should have been in ESC?

Ryan Simonsson from Sweden: We Are One, Ukraine 2013 would have been nice to see in ESC!

Victor Nicolas Gomez Jara from Spain: Gaia Cauchi, it’s amazing this pretty girl.

Nick Eurovision Song Contest from Greece: The amazing “Te Traigo Flores” by Antonio Jose that came 2nd in 2005 could do well in ESC.

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: A lot of JESC entries are too adult for JESC and too childish for ESC… If I had to pick one, it’d probably be Faller by Erik Rapp.

Well we’ve got a massive spectrum of favourites, from Spain 2005 to Ukraine/Malta 2013, so it shows that JESC is indeed alive and well in the Eurovision community. But what’s your take on this? Which JESC songs would you think would have done better at ESC instead of staying at JESC? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!