It’s official – we’re Building Bridges to 39 countries!

Well, it’s true people! After the EBU published an official list of participating countries for next year’s Contest, we now know with no doubt the number of countries that will be in Vienna singing to nearly 200 million people. 39 countries have been included in this list and below, you can see which countries will be taking part in alphabetical order, along with their respective host broadcasters!

  • Albania (RTSH)                                            Armenia (AMPTV)
  • Austria (ORF)                                                Azerbaijan (İTV)
  • Belarus (BTRC)                                            Belgium (RTBF)
  • Cyprus (CyBC)                                             Czech Republic (ČT)
  • Denmark (DR)                                              Estonia (ERR)
  • Finland (YLE)                                                 France (France 2)
  • FYR Macedonia (MRT)                           Georgia (GPB)
  • Germany (ARD/NDR)                               Greece (NERIT)
  • Hungary (MTV)                                            Iceland (RÚV)
  • Ireland (RTÉ)                                                 Israel (IBA)
  • Italy (RAI)                                                         Latvia (LTV)
  • Lithuania (LRT)                                             Malta (PBS)
  • Moldova (TRM)                                            Montenegro (RTCG)
  • Netherlands (AVROTROS)                   Norway (NRK)
  • Poland (TVP)                                                Portugal (RTP)
  • Romania (TVR)                                           Russia (Channel One)
  • San Marino (SMRTV)                             Serbia (RTS)
  • Slovenia (RTV SLO)                                Spain (RTVE)
  • Sweden (SVT)                                             Switzerland (SRG SSR)
  • United Kingdom (BBC)

This year sees the return of three countries to the Contest. Serbia and Cyprus are returning after a one-year-break, with the Czech Republic returning after five years away from the Contest. Fingers crossed that they can garner more than 9 points – their best score to date! However, along with the good must come the bad. Ukraine has had to leave the Eurovision family for a year due to the financial and political situation in the country…and as well as that, Bulgaria couldn’t find the sponsors to join the competition again, and of course Turkey was rumoured to return judging by a tweet a senior official at TRT, but they missed the deadline so they’ll have to sit yet another year out of the competition. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see them rejoin the party in 2016! So, we have 39 countries that will take part in Eurovision 2015. If we take the ‘Big 6’ – Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom – out of the picture, we are left with 33 nations to take part in the semi-finals…with this being an odd number, the EBU had to decide which semi-final would have the fewer contestants. We now know that 16 countries will perform in the first semi-final on Tuesday, the 19th of May – while 17 countries will take to the stage on Thursday, May 21st. With everything regarding the number of competing countries, we just have to wait until January 26th next year, when the semi-final allocation draw will take place and we’ll know which countries will take part – and vote – in which semi-final….oh, how exciting! So what do you think? Are you happy with the amount of countries taking part? Is there any country you wish had débuted/returned/withdrawn? Let us know what you think by commenting below!

Eurovision 2015 hosts are revealed!

Well guys, all the speculation can come to an end and we indeed know who will be hosting the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest! Mirjam Weichselbraun, Alice Tumler and Arabella Kiesbauer (with everyone’s favourite Conchita Wurst hosting from the Green Room) will guide us through the shows on the 19th, 21st and 23rd of May next in the first ever Eurovision event without a male host. Is it a good choice that ORF has made however?

Alice Tumler is a woman who knows the mammoth task of hosting a show quite well. Tumler is a regular host of various travel documentaries for  a French TV show called ‘Thalassa’, as well as hosting big events in Austria such as Die Große Chance and the opening ceremony of the Vienna Festival in the city’s City Hall. Also, to add to her talents, Tumler is both an Austrian and French citizen and can speak five languages fluently….guess we know who’s going to be doing the voting sequence then!

Marjam Weichselbraun is considered to be the most famous host in Austria, having already gained experience in hosting major international shows like the MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) and the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs). She is also no stranger at home either, taking on the hosting roles of shows like the Austrian version of Strictly Come Dancing and the Vienna Opera Ball. Her hosting skills have been recognised on several occasions, with her being honoured with several awards even though she is only 33 years old. No wonder ORF has also offered her the job of finding the next star to walk in Conchita’s footsteps to represent them on home soil!

Arabella Kiesbauer is possibly the most experienced presenter of the three, having started her career at ORF in the 1980s. She later went on to have a top-rating talk show in Austria, spanning ten years. In 2002, she became a host of the show StarMania, the show that would eventually launch future Eurovision artists such as Eric Papilaya, Nadine Beiler and – of course – Conchita Wurst (although at the time, she competed as ‘Tom Neuwirth’, as the character hadn’t been created yet). She has also been a campaigner for human rights and equality and this was honoured last year when she was awarded the Golden Medal of Austria for her altruistic work.

And of course, we have to mention that our own Conchita Wurst, will be dropping in at the show as a green-room host – the job she had originally wished she had! Since Eurovision, she has become a prominent LGBT icon and since has performed at various Pride parades (In Manchester, she was particularly fab!), and has even performed in front of the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon! It’s no surprise that ORF managed to rope her back in to add a bit more glamour to the show!

Well, those are the hosts for next year’s show! Let’s hope we can try and learn how to spell their names..So what’s your opinion on the girl power the Austrians have picked as hosts?

Your views:

Are you a fan of this year's hosts?
Are you a fan of this year’s hosts?

Marina Kojic from Germany: I like Arabella Kiesbauer because she did many good things till now to fight racism etc. I also like her on stage. Mirjam is ok. I don’t like her as much. And the third is sweet it.. it’s gonna be a good mixture I think!

Stephanie Saczawa from Canada: I can’t wait to see Conchita as green room host!

Ovidiu Patru from Romania: Well, that’s a new one. There’s gonna be some girl power in Vienna! I’m so waiting to see how they’re gonna handle it.

Ilias Kozantinos from Cyprus: It will definitely be interesting to see Conchita be a host, after being in the same place as all the other contestants. I hope the trio work well together now!

Well, from reading other people’s opinions, it definitely looks like a lot of people are reasonably happy with the choices ORF has made with regards the hosts…perhaps, as Ilias said, the girls will work well together as a whole! We’ll just have to wait until the 19th of May 2015 to find out! And maybe, they might be a bit more sociable than last year’s! We can only hope..

So what do you think? Are you happy with ORF’s choice? Who would you have liked to have been chosen as hosts? Do you think they’ll put on a good show in May? Feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below!

‘Walk Along’ will be the Dutch song in Vienna!

It’s official ESC Views readers… ‘Walk Along’ is the title of Trijntje Oosterhuis’ song which will represent The Netherlands in Vienna next May. After two top-ten placings in a row, after almost a decade of misery in the semi-finals, there’s a lot of pressure and high hopes on this faring well in the Austrian capital. Can this song bring Europe’s biggest show to Amsterdam in 2016 however?

‘Walk Along’ is an un-gimmicky tune with a summery, catchy vibe (plenty of why-y-y-y’s, because a bit of repetition never harmed anyone), sprinkled with acoustic guitar and contemporary enough to strike a chord with Euro-fans. It should be noted that the song is written by the 2013 Dutch representative Anouk, so you could say it’s already ticking a lot of the right boxes; Trijntje is big business in her own country, which helps too. The vocals are good and crisp in the studio version, and I can’t imagine them being terrible live – the crowd should lap this one up in droves.

As for fan response, let’s take a brief look at what people are saying regarding the song.

“It is such an amazing song … her voice comes out fantastically!” – Sjors, The Netherlands.

“I am afraid that it will be one of these songs that very soon will be forgotten…” – Heine, Denmark.

“Let’s hope this song rights the injustice of 2014!” – Kathryn, UK.

“It’s a good song but the why-ai-ai-ai becomes annoying quickly” – Monica, The Netherlands.

So as you can see, fan response has been a bit of a mixed-bag so far; some have commented it is not a patch on this year’s country-twinged ‘Calm After The Storm’, while others think the Dutch stand a superb chance next spring. Is this selection process perhaps proof that an internal selection is the way to go, at least for The Netherlands? Is the song simply not memorable enough? Only time will tell… for now, let us know in the comments below what your opinions!