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  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 19:09 on May 28, 2017 7:09 pm Permalink |  

    Karlstad will host one of the Melodifestivalen heats 

    SWEDEN – We all know that Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, the show through which the country decides its particiaption to the Eurovision Song Contest, is a marathon consisted of semi finals all over the country. The city of Karlstad announced that they are already one of the Melodifestivalen 2018 host cities. The city has approved the budget for funding the event which is estimated to 619,000 Euros. Löfbergs Arena will host the event with more than 10,000 auditors in available capacity. It will be the 4th time the arena will host an MF event as in 2004, 2006 and 2013.

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  • Ghassan Al Kaziri (UAE) 01:02 on May 23, 2017 1:02 am Permalink |  

    There’s no calm after the storm in The Netherlands 

    THE NETHERLANDS – Back in January O’G3NE selected their Eurovision 2017 entry penned by their father and dedicated to their very ill mother. Though they issued a songwriting bootcamp inviting everyone to suggest ideas and songs for Kyiv’s Eurovision edition. Among them Dutch band, BLØF who now criticise the decision of the girl band. BLØF were interested to participate in the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest but they are now definitely out of the game as they state on Facebook.

    BLØF’s lead singer and guitarist criticised the Dutch entry for Eurovision saying that: “On their request, I had written a song for OG3NE this year, together with an English songwriter. That one was not chosen in the end, although I still find it better than the song they chose for participating at Eurovision. It was written by their father, I understood. I am wondering why they asked all those composers to write a song in the end? Apparently they knew beforehand what it should be like. Maybe I’m not allowed to say it, but choosing such a song adds some royalty value to the family.”

    O’G3NE responded: “You mean the attempt that didn’t even get through the first round of the selection process by unanimous voting? Sadly, it’s just all BLØF. #Ouch”

    Girl’s father, Rick responded also to Jakobsen’s accusation saying: “… a fter reading the interview, I understood my daughters very well [for reacting that way], but personally I’m very angry. Whatever musicians/composers think of my song, everybody knows that my wife and her suffering were the inspiration for “Lights and Shadows”. It came from deep inside our hearts and it couldn’t come from deeper. A lot of people in the Netherlands embraced the song and stood behind OG3NE. How amazing was that. It should have been an indication for the men of BLØF. But compassion and empathy has turned into arrogance. It is debatable if there were another song that was better than mine, but that the royalty value was important to us is the most scandalous statement in the article.”

     
  • another web source 00:38 on May 22, 2017 12:38 am Permalink |  

    UK biz needs to take a ‘fresh look at Eurovision’ says Guy Freeman 

    UNITED KINGDOM – Saturday night sees the 62nd edition of Eurovision head to Ukraine, as audiences around the globe ready themselves for the biggest and glitziest song competition of the year. And, while there will no doubt be madcap performances, kitsch costumes and wry commentary aplenty, many believe there is still serious business to made from what is currently the most watched live non-sporting event on the planet. Music Week spoke to Guy Freeman, editor, special events and formats at the BBC to find out why the UK music industry is missing a major opportunity by not embracing the annual pop extravaganza…

    How big a draw is Eurovision these days? Does it still generate the same kind of audiences as in previous years?
    The Eurovision Song Contest is the most watched, live non-sporting event in the world. Both in the UK and across Europe, it hasn’t just continued to rate on par with the biggest TV shows of the year but has impressively grown its share of 16-34 viewers to well over 40%. The show also performs incredibly well with under-served and diverse viewers.

    What were the viewing figures for last year, and do you think you can top that figure this year?
    The average audience across the show was a very healthy 7.2million/38% share, with a peak audience of 8.8million/63% share. It would be folly to predict any viewing figure for this year but there’s absolutely no reason to suggest it won’t perform well again. At this time of year, factors beyond our control, such as weather, can make a difference to how many people are inside with the TV on or out and about. However, as the evening progresses, more and more people get drawn in and the viewing peak is always in the final hour, as the voting unfolds.

    Why do so many people continue to tune in when the chances of a UK act winning seem so slim, due to the nature of the voting system?
    People tune in to watch a fascinating, spectacular and often surprising entertainment event that they know millions of others across Europe are all watching at the same time. The sense of occasion, ritual and shared experience is a big draw in itself and people love reacting to every moment of it with friends, family and on social media, where it creates massive spikes of activity. A previous high, of 50,000 Tweets per minute when Conchita won in 2014, was surpassed last year by Ukraine’s win which triggered 73,000 Tweets per minute, totalling over 7 million. We know too from audience research that people love Graham Norton’s perfectly judged commentary. The combination of his genuine affection for the contest and his razor sharp wit make his well-chosen words an unmissable part of the night for many.

    Is Brexit likely to make the UK entry even less popular than usual?
    The voting is a 50:50 split of music professional juries – watching the Friday night dress run – and the viewing public on the Saturday night. They will react to what they see and hear on screen and I would never underestimate the emotional power of a great live performance to win people over and motivate them to vote. It’s an entertainment show.

    Will you be bringing anything new to coverage of the show this year, such as red button or app/social media features?
    Every year we like to evolve elements of our TV, radio and online/social coverage of the two two-hour semi finals and the three and a half hour Grand Final. The rate of change is of course fastest in social media, which means, for example, that our brilliant digital team are likely to do more with Facebook Live this year and also create more video content over the 10-day rehearsal period in Kyiv to share across a variety of platforms. Fans are always hungry for additional material and we aim to provide that. The area in which we can really innovate, and have done over the last couple of years, is in the way we find our UK entry. Thanks to the involvement and dedication of Hugh Goldsmith, working with our producer Helen Riddell, we are reconnecting with those in the music industry who are open to the opportunity that Eurovision presents. As a result, we had six bespoke songs performed live at Hammersmith Apollo, on BBC Two in January, with viewers and a professional jury voting for their favourite.

    Despite the rankings of the songs on the night, how big an opportunity is Eurovision for British artists to introduce themselves to a significant international audience?
    Justin Timberlake was no fool when he launched Can’t Stop The Feeling! in last year’s final and I’d argue that for any great singer with a great song, a chance to reach 200 million people is not to be sneezed at. But beyond that three-minute moment in the final, there is intense interest in all of the entries from the moment they are revealed in February/March through to the Final in May. The media pick-up on the UK entry is enormous; there are invaluable opportunities for a performer to make their mark.

    Should the music industry get more involved in Eurovision due to its vast international platform? Is the music industry missing a trick?
    Yes please. I think it’s very easy to misunderstand Eurovision or to cling on to old perceptions. I’d urge anyone who hasn’t done so to take a fresh look at how ambitious and slick it has become in recent years. Our entry needs to stand out on that stage for all the right reasons, and whilst we continue to do everything we can to support the process of creating songs, matching them with outstanding live performers and staging them as creatively as possible….we can’t do it without the music industry backing the writers and performers who they know are up to the job.

    Could Eurovision be an effective way of breaking new UK acts?
    It certainly can be a way of breaking either new writers or performers, because there is everything to gain. The only caveat I’d add is that the demands of performing perfectly every time in a massive venue, on live TV and handling the immense media and fan interest, over a period of time, means that it is definitely more suited to artists with some TV or live performance experience to draw upon.

    What can be done to change the perception of Eurovision as a novelty?
    I think it’s more a question of getting people to accept what it is and to embrace it. Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, you can’t deny its huge popularity and enduring success. Sweden, for example, is passionate about the contest and its series of selection shows – Melodifestivalen – is both big on TV and within their music industry. Most importantly though, Eurovision has music at the heart of it and that is something we should definitely take seriously and celebrate in equal measure.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 22:26 on May 19, 2017 10:26 pm Permalink |  

    The latest Eurovision news in brief 

    NORWAY – Jan Fredrik Karlsen stepped down as General of MGP after two years on the wheel. Jan Fredrik Karlsen is replaced by Stig Karlsen. The reason for the resignation was work commitments despite the good top ten result for Norway this year. On the other hand Stig Karlsen explains that 2018 MGP edition will include an international jury again and will try to motivate the best of authors in Norway to bring their best songs to MGP.

    SAN MARINO – SMRTV Director General Carlo Romeo is once again disappointed not only by the result of his country’s participation again in Eurovision (we are surprised why) and also by how EBU is treating San Marino in Eurovision. Once again Mr Romeo leaves open door for his country to withdraw from the Eurovision Song Contest next year.

    ICELAND – Happy news from Iceland as 97.5% watched the semi final in which Svala proudly participated and represented the island of ice. From the available data on the web here are the TV rates in various countries:
    3,8 million in Italy
    6,7 million in United Kingdom
    0,9 million in Austria
    4,7 million in France
    4,1 million in The Netherlands
    3.0 million in Australia (live and recorded broadcast)
    0,1 million in Czech Republic (140,000 to be precise)
    4,6 million in Spain
    1,3 million in Norway
    0,7 million in Croatia
    2,9 million in Sweden
    2,7 million in Poland
    0,4 million in Estonia
    0,2 million in Cyprus
    0,8 million in Hungary
    0,2 million in Slovenia
    0,3 million in Switzerland
    0,5 million in Finland
    0,2 million in Iceland (153,000 in the final and 163,000 in semi final)
    1,2 million in Denmark
    0,6 million in Romania
    1,4 million in Portugal (with a peak of 2,4 million when Salvador won)

    NORWAY – Alexander Rybak stated that he has been offered a big amount of money to represent Belarus in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest but speaking to Norwegian press, he clarified that he would love to represent Norway instead.

    FRANCE – New selection process with many semi finals is prepared in France. Mission Eurovision will be introduced for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite France’s decent result, it seems that French broadcaster is eager to bring some extra attention inland with a multi marathon national selection.

    UKRAINE – A Ukrainian prankster told a court on Monday (May 15) that he didn’t regret mooning the audience during the live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest final in Kiev. Vitaliy Sediuk, 28, jumped onto the stage with an Australian flag wrapped around his shoulders, dropped his trousers and wiggled his bare bottom at the audience during last Saturday night’s (May 13) performance by last year’s winner of the contest, Ukrainian singer Jamala. “I don’t regret it,” said Sediuk, who has been known to ambush celebrities. “I don’t have anything against Eurovision. This time I just wanted to do something that would be remembered.” The Kiev court on Monday ordered the confiscation of Sediuk’s travel documents and imposed restrictions on his movements as an investigation into the incident continues. A security guard tackled Sediuk off the stage in last Saturday night’s incident, and the prankster later resisted arrest by police and was placed in detention for 72 hours, interior minister Arsen Avakov said on Sunday (May 14). Avakov said Sediuk’s offence fell under legislation against hooliganism, which in Ukraine can carry up to five years in prison. “The country’s embarrassment can practice his ‘hobby’ in a prison cell at a temporary detention centre,” Avakov wrote on Sunday on his Facebook page. The contest’s organising committee in Ukraine slammed Sediuk’s behaviour as “inadmissible” and assured that the “highest level of security” had been observed during the final. “We are outraged and in no way support such provocations”, Pavlo Grytsak, the executive producer of this year’s contest, said in a statement. “The offender should be held responsible for what he did.” In September, Sediuk tried to kiss the bottom of US reality TV star Kim Kardashian as she was walking into a Paris restaurant. Her bodyguard pinned him to the ground before he managed to do so.

    FINLAND – During a recent interview with MariskalRock, Mr. Lordi stated about LORDI’s connection to Eurovision: “There was a time a couple of years ago — well, more than a couple — when I really, really, really hated that everybody’s always asking about the goddamn Eurovision; there was a time. Nowadays I have come to terms with it. It’s, like, okay, I’m actually proud that we are part of Eurovision history and I am proud that Eurovision is part of this band’s history. I mean, it is a big part of our awareness. Because the awareness of the band would be so different, it would be so much smaller, without that one TV show ten years ago.” He continued: “I absolutely don’t regret that — absolutely not. Because I have nothing bad to say about Eurovision itself, but the problem that we have had in the years is the people who actually don’t know anything else except for the fact that we were on Eurovision. And that is a big stamp to get out of — it’s like a fucking tattoo, you have a fucking tattoo on your forehead that says ‘Eurovision.’ And that is something that really, really, really drove me nuts some years ago; I was really struggling with that. “I have come to terms with it — it’s all right; I mean, it’s cool,” he said. “I am proud of it. And every May, when there’s a new Eurovision, I know that my phone will start ringing and people will ask my opinions and then we get requests: ‘Do you wanna come to this country’s semifinals? Do you wanna come here?’ And for years we said, ‘No, we don’t wanna. We don’t want to.’ But now, we’re, like, ‘Fuck it! Let’s do it. What the hell?’ I mean, c’mon, it’s all fun, and it’s part of our history, and the Eurovision, they really want us to come there, because, let’s face it, we are one of those winners that people still remember.”

     
  • another web source 00:13 on May 19, 2017 12:13 am Permalink |  

    Could X Factor’s Saara Aalto represent the UK at Eurovision next? 

    United Kingdom – In the latest Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday night, the UK ranked 15th out of the 26 finalists. Although a generally poor result, it was actually out best outcome since 2011 with another X Factor singer, Lucie Jones, representing us.

    But could Saara do better at Eurovision next year? The Finnish singer, who was runner up on last year’s X Factor, has tried three times to enter the competition already. But much like on The X Factor – and when she was on The Voice of Finland – Saara ended up finishing as second best.

    “I tried to get in three times in Finland. Two times I have been second in the competition. It’s my dream,” she admitted this month.

    So could Saara one day sing for the UK instead?

    Saara wouldn’t rule it out but did say it wasn’t on the cards right now – what with her newly signed record deal with Sony Music following The X Factor.

    “At this moment though I don’t think it’s the best move to do. Who knows one day I might represent the UK,” she teased.

    Meanwhile, speaking to BANG Showbiz, Saara revealed she remains in touch with her fellow X Factor finalists after last year’s series.

    She said: “Some of them came to my birthday party. We are all still quite close. I do have the judges phone numbers as well but I haven’t seen them since leaving the show. When I release my music I will text Sharon Osborne and ask her about my songs.”

     
  • another web source 18:53 on May 18, 2017 6:53 pm Permalink |  

    Samantha Mumba interested to represent Ireland in 2018 

    IRELAND – Samantha Mumba has offered to represent Ireland in the Eurovision next year. It’s been a tough few years for Ireland in the Eurovision. We go into it each year with so much hope, only to get knocked back again. After failing to qualify for the fourth year in a row, there has been much plotting and scheming on how to restore Ireland to Eurovision glory – and there may just be an answer.

    In a piece for The Irish Times, writer Jenn Gannon reflected on Ireland’s current place in the Eurovision, and suggested that maybe it’s time to hand over the reins to a more capable pair of hands. Someone who knows the pop game. Someone who can recognise an actual tune when they see one. Someone like… Samantha Mumba.

    The intro to Body 2 Body just started playing in your head, didn’t it? As it happens, we are in luck, because Samantha Mumba herself agrees.

    Samantha Mumba is an Irish singer and actress. She shot to fame in 2000 with the release of her debut single “Gotta Tell You”, which reached the Top 10 in Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States. After a relatively short music career, she starred in numerous films, most notably in the 2002 film The Time Machine. She has also appeared in a number of Irish independent films. She returned to public attention when she appeared in the 2008 series of Dancing on Ice. In 2011 Mumba confirmed her retirement from music and to focus mainly on her acting career. However, in 2013, Mumba revealed via Twitter that she was back in the studio working on new material. In early 2017, she participated in a Celebrity Version of MasterChef Ireland and went on to fill in as co-host on The 6 O’Clock Show, while Lucy Kennedy took maternity leave.

     
  • another web source 01:07 on May 16, 2017 1:07 am Permalink |  

    The aftermath of the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in brief 

    PORTUGAL – Lisbon will host the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, the 63rd edition of the contest. RTP confirmed the host city and the official suggestion is MEO Arena, something that must be verified by the EBU’s Reference Group.

    GOOGLE – Did you know that Google tried to estimate the winner based on various algorithms? France was the country to win according to that estimation, which naturally proven false.

    ANDORRA – Andorran state television was asked immediately after the Portuguese entry if they will return to the contest. RTVA responded that they are not coming back. So far 10 countries are confirmed to participate in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest: Portugal, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia and Spain.

    JUNIOR EUROVISION 2017 – Prior to this year’s contest, up to 25% of Junior Eurovision songs were allowed to be performed in a language that isn’t one of the country’s official languages. Now, this percentage is being increased to 40%. In another minor rule change, backing tracks may now contain the recording of six backing vocalists onto the track. This is an increase on the five that were allowed in previous years. Nevertheless, as always, the lead vocalist must perform live on stage. So far only 7 countries have confirmed participation in Tbilisi’s edition.

    DENMARK – DR’s Entertainment Chief, Jan Lagermand Lundme, has expressed his opinions on the results of this years Eurovision Song Contest. “I accept defeat. But I think it is important to remember that Anja has been fantastic.”

    MOLDOVA – Sunstroke Project are to receive state honours after getting third place at this years Eurovision Song Contest, Moldova’s highest result to date. Sunstroke Project were welcomed home with open arms after they received Moldova’s highest result to date. The trio, who entered the contest with their song “Hey Mamma”, received 374 points overall which meant they finished third overall. The President of Moldova Igor Dodon has promised high state honours for the band members.

    AZERBAIJAN – EBU responded to Aftonbladet’s question regarding the poor placing of Cyprus in the jury voting, since the artist is of Armenian descent:  The winner of the Eurovision Song Contest is decided by televoters and juries (comprised of music industry professionals), who each have a 50% stake in the outcome. Each juror signs a declaration, stating they will judge the songs independently, based on a number of criteria, such as the song, the lyrics, the performance and hit potential. They understand that their judging also excludes any personal views pro or against a performers personal background. We expect them to, and are happy that they do, respect these rules in order to keep the contest clear from (geo) political influences. Neither the Armenian or Azerbaijani juries have ever been sanctioned by the EBU for consistently ranking each others entries last in the jury vote. However in 2009 the national broadcaster of Azerbaijan was fined after the Government questioned citizens who voted for the Armenian entry.

    ESTONIA – Issues with the televote have been reported in Estonia, with viewers calls not going through correctly during the final. Mobile phone operators in Estonia have confirmed that some customers had issues when attempting to vote during the final of Eurovision 2017. Finnish telecommunications company, Elisa confirmed that some of its customers were unable to vote during the final. Viewers reported that when they attempted to vote they were unable to be connected and could not vote for the country they wished to vote for. There were no issues however with the SMS vote. The Chairman of the Board of ERR, Margus Allikmaa apologised to viewers for the issues that occurred, but reiterated that the issue was out of the hands of the Estonian national broadcaster.  Mr Allikmaa added that damage has been done to the reputation of the broadcaster as a result of the issues on Saturday night. (source: http://www.eurovoix.com)

    BULGARIA – The Director General of BNT and the Head of Delegation for Bulgaria have praised the singer for what he has been able to do for Bulgaria. For the Director General of BNT, Eurovision has become a chance for Bulgaria to showcase the talent it posses and to build the image of the country. She added, Television has its mission and to be able to display the entire talent of Bulgaria to the who world – now with Eurovision talent Kristian, talent Poli Genova and all future representatives who will sing. The singer was also congratulated by the Bulgarian Minister of Culture who in his statement thanked Kristian for proving, to everyone that the power of the gift of Bulgarian artists occurs regardless of where in the world create or perform their works. In addition the Culture Minister stated that he has made Bulgaria extraordinarily proud of themselves and wishes him the greatest success in his career.

    SAN MARINO – The Director General of San Marino RTV has reiterated that he feels that Eurovision favours the Big Five and not smaller nations. Dr Carlo Romeo, has reiterated that San Marino will be rethinking whether they will be competing in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018. In an interview with San Marino RTV, the Director General has stated that the organisers of the contest favours the Big Five and larger nations, while it overlooks smaller nations such as San Marino.

    UKRAINE – Ukraine’s interior minister says police have detained a notorious prankster who jumped onto the stage during the Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv and bared his buttocks as a Ukrainian singer was performing. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a May 14 Facebook post that police had detained Vitaliy Sedyuk, who performed the stunt on live television as Ukrainian singer Jamala was performing during the previous night’s Eurovision final. Avakov said that Sedyuk had been detained by event security and police, and that he resisted the detaining officers. The minister added that Sedyuk had been placed in custody for 72 hours, and that he faced “hooliganism” charges punishable by up to five years in prison.

    PORTUGAL – Eurovision winner Salvador Sobral has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is Portugal’s hero despite receiving national acclaim after leading the country to their first ever victory in the song contest. Portugal followed up their European Championship triumph last summer with another win, but on a different stage, as Sobral’s ‘Amar Pelos Dios’ finished top of the leaderboard at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.

    AUSTRALIA – Broadcaster SBS, which backs Australia’s Eurovision bid, says the invite has not yet been extended but they are keen to return. “At this stage, Australia’s participation in Eurovision is on a year-by-year basis and we must be invited by the host broadcaster in the hosting country,” an SBS spokesperson told AAP.

    GERMANY – Eurovision fans and voters were less than impressed with Germany’s performance during tonight’s last final, blasting it for sounding like a massive number one hit single from 2011. Levina took to the stage in Kiev, Ukraine, to compete for Germany with her entry, Perfect Life. However, Eurovision Song Contest viewers thought it sounded suspiciously like David Guetta’s Titanium, and flooded to social media to criticise her for ripping off the song. “Germany might have heard Titanium before. Could be wrong,” one sarcastic fan commented, while another blasted: “Titanium minus the great chorus #Germany.”

    UNITED KINGDOM – Eurovision entrant Lucie Jones blames Brexit after UK finishes in woeful 15th place. In an exclusive interview just hours after the result, Lucie said to THE SUN: “I had no idea how Brexit was going to affect the vote until I was there. I did notice lots of Brexit comments. “I mean the Aussies were the only ones to give us 12 points out of everyone — now that was pretty awkward.”

     

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 22:05 on May 15, 2017 10:05 pm Permalink |  

    Do pobachennya Kyiv, Olá Lisboa 

    UKRAINE – One more exciting year ended for oikotimes.com coverage on the spot. It is 21 years since oikotimes launched and 16 years after we turned online and according to the numbers from the Kyiv Eurovision coverage we are more than excited. More than 1,2 million followed our website form April 30th to May 15th. More than 8,000 followers added on our Instagram account. More than 11,000 liked our Facebook fan page and more than 446,000 views of our 229 self-produced videos on YouTube.

    It’s not all about numbers. It’s mostly the team. The core team and the extra help we managed to have on the spot really saved the day. The focus was more on multimedia instead of plain texting the event. The one-off collaboration with an Australian colleague proved to be key factor to our interview section but above all friends of oikotimes.com like Julia and Yana will always remain in our hearts for their amazing support through the two weeks venture in Kyiv. It was a special year for our newbie, Anastasis who finally made his dream come true.

    It was also a great edition as oikotimes.com celebrated its anniversary at the Euroclub along with Poland, Romania, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, host country Ukraine and Malta. It was an amazing night with DJ Farouk on stage and extremely big coverage in the Ukrainian media.

    It was not a content you could find anywhere else. Personalised interviews with funny moments all over the arena, the euroclub and Kyiv. Full of Instagram updates, editorial and opinionated perception of the event along with lots of exclusives such as the May 12th Jamala concert made oikotimes differ more than any other year.

    It was a great TV show, with amazing production and in the monitors you feel that it was an upgraded show despite the similarities with Stockholm (such as the participants parade and the song presentation graphics). But in terms of logistics it surely wasn’t the best as there were a lot of things the press wanted not to mention at least a free cup of coffee just like the previous years. in terms of a TV show UA:PBC had a very good success. In terms of logistics, Ukraine failed. Why? because 12 years ago, they organised a fabulous and far more luxurious contest. Euroclub was of Course above average and in good standards, Eurovillage was almost perfect but all over the city and the Eurovision related premises, the security check could simply exhaust you.

    It was a fair winner: Portugal topped both jury and public voting. A good song for Eurovision? Will it make history? Who knows. The important thing is that (just like Mr Jon Ola Sand said) finally music prevailed to technology. Expensive props, choreographies by allegedly “super duper stage directors” and fancy promotion ended with the victory of Portugal. Will Portugal make something greater than Kyiv? I am 1000% sure that the nation is already too pride to let it go. It will be a historic moment for the country, for Europe, for Eurovision itself. 2018 Eurovision will be the best ever and somehow I know I can trust the Portuguese. They were waiting for it for decades, therefore they have to be totally perfect, generous and hospitable.

    Special thanks to my team: Olivier, Fred, our newbie Anastasis and our guest for this year Kyriakos. I am also grateful to get some help from David, Geoff, Darren, Farouk, Fabrice, Michael and Mette. A special “get well” to our Spanish boy, Victor who had to leave in the middle of the project due to serious health problem. Special thanks to our for-ever friends: Julia, Yana, Konstantin, Ricardo for their amazing support all over the two weeks. Special thanks to those who couldn’t make it: Jaime, Luka, Morten and all those who supported us back home. Special thanks for the support and the understanding by my community families at MAD TV and Impact Hub Athens.

    WATCH AGAIN ALL EUROVISION 2017 VIDEOS HERE
    WATCH AGAIN THE OIKOTIMES 21ST ANNIVERSARY PARTY HERE
    WATCH AGAIN ALL EUROVISION 2017 INTERVIEWS HERE

    See you all in 2018!

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 20:19 on May 13, 2017 8:19 pm Permalink |  

    LIVE FROM KYIV: THE 2017 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST GRAND FINAL 

    UKRAINE – Welcome to Kyiv and the International Exhibition Center where the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final is taking place. Everything is set in the arena and the press area for the show. Fans all over the world are anticipating to have an exciting night as favourite Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria are expected to fight hard for the trophy. Dark horses tonight, Moldova and the United Kingdom. Good luck all! Let the show begin! Europrediction just closed with more than 14k voters predicting Italy (online users) and Portugal (invited juries) to fight for the trophy.

    WELCOME TO THE 2017 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST LIVE FROM THE IEC PRESS AREA #eurovision #celebratediversity #oikotimes

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    The journey begins in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the first set of countries. Israel opens the Grand Final with a sexy act by Imri. The show starts in a very energetic way with Imri. You have the whole package here: biceps, killing smile, dance tune, oriental sounds, fireworks, gimmicks… Well it’s very Eurovision and very gay-friendly. No surprise from Israel this year. The public will go for this one, but juries may be a bit more reluctant. Poland: The diva of the night is taking the stage now. Once again, no surprise there, it’s a very descent powerful Eurovision ballad with some modern elements and a pleasant staging. The voice is strong and voiceless but to be honest, the emotion of the act does not really reach me. Anyhow, just like last year, Poland may do well with the public and diaspora voting. Belarus: Naviband is bringing Belarussian folk on stage in a very nice way. The audience (as well as the press centre actually) cannot help but singing along. (Eh h Ya Ya Eh…!) It’s a very clever entry mixing tradition and modern rhythm (a bit repetitive though). We can expect one of the best Belarussian results ever tonight. Austria: This entry from Nathan just put a smile on my (tired) face. It’s groovy enough, and with a clear happy feeling all along the act. The singer is flawless and does seem to enjoy the experience. The “Le Petit Prince” staging is very nice on screen and suits Nathan very well. Well done Austria! Armenia: Once more, we have the whole package here: charming singer, strong sounds and staging, originality and ethnic elements. To make it simple, Armenia wants its first victory, and many see Artsvik like a dark horse this year with her powerful “Fly With Me”.

    POLAND 🇵🇱 #eurovision #celebratediversity #oikotimes

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    The Netherlands: It definitely is the best melody this year, and one of the strongest performances vocally speaking. The three sisters are so in harmony, that it makes us forget the cheesy aspect of their entry. They’ve always been perfect during rehearsals, and tonight is no exception. Well done girls! Moldova is next on stage. This definitely is the best Moldovan entry in years. It’s professional, fun and very catchy. It’s also well produced. The epic sax guy is back, but in a much nicer way. Sunstroke Project are giving their best tonight, and it shows. People love this one! Hungary: In this year when we want to “Celebrate Diversity”, having a Roma on stage is a nice symbol. In a very clever way, Joci is performing an entry that shows gypsy rhythms in a modern way, mixing them with rap. The staging fits the song very well and Hungary should do well this year! Italy: Here is the bookies’ favourite from the very first day. Francesco and his fun “philosophical” entry have conquered our hearts. It’s fun, professional, catchy, with clever gimmicks. Italy will do well for sure, it has to. Let’s just hope that being a clear favourite won’t be a burden on his way to victory (like for Il Volo two years ago). Denmark: Performing after Italy is not an easy thing to do. Indeed, Anja’s entry, though powerful and flawless, sounds very Eurovisionesque, not to say a bit weak. The young girl has an impressive voice and the staging looks great. I’m not sure that the lack of originality of the entry will help Denmark be remembered.

    ITALY 🇮🇹 #eurovision #celebratediversity #oikotimes

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    Portugal: That’s the “dangerous” entry of the year. Salvador came without notice with his sweet, a bit old dated ballad, but it has become viral and he’s clearly one of the favourite now. It’s clearly something unexpected and different, but it works and stands out. The reactions in the audience help the song in becoming a true moment of emotion. Are we heading off to Portugal for the first time in 2018? Azerbaijan: Dihaj is an alternative artist similar to Sia, and it shows. Her song “Skeletons” could be called contemporary pop, and it’s very good on radio. On screen, it’s something different. The singer looks very dark, and you need much more than 3 minutes to get the staging. Anyhow, that’s modern, and an Azerbaijani victory would lead the contest into the 21st century. Croatia: Can a vocally challenging and perfectly performed song can save a cheesy act? Well, that’s the Croatian equation this year. Jacques is just impressive in performing those two voices, but the outcome of the performance (song, staging) is very out dated. That could be the opening song of the Care Bears cartoon… But many love this kind of song. Australia: This is the weakest Australian entry in 3 years, and yet t qualifies. Young Isaiah is perfect, but the song is a very average popish ballad, not to say a dull one, and so is the staging. Such a voice deserved something better in my opinion. Greece: well Demy and the song This is Love is much appreciated here, unlike what the Greek Twitter says and the bookies predict. The Greek team can be proud they did their job in dignity and professionalism. It’s up to the audience to feel the love or not.

    GREECE 🇬🇷 #oikotimes #celebratediversity #eurovision

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    Spain: well Manel is having fun in Kyiv and enjoys every minute not annoyed by any negative comment. No matter what happened he represents Spain as professionally as possible. A happy summer song that will not score well but we have to respect him now that he managed to get to the final stage of Eurovision 2017. I truly hope for better approach on Eurovision by Spain in 2018. Norway: another radio hit for this summer with an excellent presentation and futuristic approach. The Norwegian entry is a pure club entry. Well produced, well performed, it has it all. Unfortunately, Eurovision is a TV show and not a night-club. Not sure it is as efficient on screen than on radio… United Kingdom: Thanks to a magnificent staging, the British have managed to turn an average ballad into a beautiful act. The voice is sooooo nice that it’s THE ballad of the year. Nevertheless, did Lucy had to do those faces on the camera to deliver the song? The best UK entry in years, for sure! Cyprus: Cyprus’ qualification was a surprise for me. The singer and the song aren’t bad at all, but it’s rather dull, and not memorable in my opinion (and quite repetitive). The staging is nice but too much inspired from Belgium 2015. The song clearly lacks a melody to my ears, and I cannot see Cyprus doing incredibly well tonight I’m afraid.

    UNITED KINGDOM 🇬🇧 #oikotimes #celebratediversity #eurovision

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    Romania: Romania is back this year, and it’s back in a big way, with a veeeeery Eurovision-friendly act. Loud (and flawless) voices, a little bit of rap, a little bit of Tyrolean singing, a lot of noise, of gimmicks and of glitter. Well, we’re back at Romania 2014. It will do well with the public. But for me t’s just nice but too noisy, I’m sorry. Germany: Just like the UK, the Germans have transformed their average song into something more than descent. Though Guetta inspired, it’s very radio friendly and is good to watch too. It’s simple, classy, modern, all this song needed actually. The final ranking of Germany this year could be a pleasant surprise after two last places on the scoreboards. Ukraine: Well ,the host country is offering us something different… rock. If you like this type of music, I guess it’s quite a descent act. But it’s not my cup of tea (or glass of vodka) I’m afraid…Will it conquer the popular votes? Not certain though…

    UKRAINE 🇺🇦 #oikotimes #celebratediversity #eurovision

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    Belgium: The Belgian act this year is a veeeery modern and good one, so radio friendly that, in case of victory, it will be become a hit. The staging is quite simple, but “City Lights” doesn’t need more. The young singer, who was often reproached with being a true poker face, is way better tonight. Belgian definitely is a dark horse!!! Sweden: “I Can’t Go On” is very Swedish: good looking “Ken doll” singer, catchy tune, perfectly produced staging and precise and telegenic choreography. It is very effective and will bring Sweden once again high on the scoreboard. Not a winning song though in my opinion. Bulgaria: From his performance, who could guess Kristian is only 17? “Beautiful Mess” is a very good song that could also become a hit, a flawless voice, a classy staging. The boy has it all! Well, that’s a serious contender for victory, even is the staging is a bit “cold” at some point. France: just like 2005 Eurovision Song Contest, France concludes the competition part in Eurovision 2017. A decent presentation with a song which at least will make the French proud.

    That’s all folks. Time for Verka Serduchka, re cap videos, Ruslana, Jamala and many more until we get to know the winner. Stay tuned for the winner announcement post.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 00:05 on May 13, 2017 12:05 am Permalink |  

    Eurovision May 13: what the bets and polls say 

    EUROPE – Every year we make an annual post, updated throughout the season (periodically) to present you the latest betting odds for national selections and the Eurovision Song Contest.

    MAY 13
    Before events began in Kiev, the clear favourite for victory was Italy and today Italy still finds itself among the top three but the betting odds have seen many changes from initial predictions. Portugal lead the way in the betting odds for Eurovision, a song and performance that is hugely acclaimed by many Eurofans but unique in it’s style can be seen at 6/4 for victory. Italy finds itself in second place at 7/4, having led the betting before the semi finals, it now finds itself losing ranking in the betting odds but it has yet to perform, having automatically qualified as a Top 5 for the final. In third place is Bulgaria, a steady climber at 7/4 or 3/1 with some companies, it had been largely ignored before the semi finals but is now heavily tipped for victory. Belgium 14/1 and Sweden 22/1 follow suit, with the Belgium entry considered a good runner for victory before the semi finals. Sweden is in fifth, a good position, given it received a lukewarm welcome before the semi finals. Coming out of nowhere are United Kingdom in sixth, at 28/1 a song that continues to gather pace, as does Romania 33/1, in seventh and Croatia 50/1, in eighth. Both of these been well received in the semi finals and expected to do well in the final. France, an early favourite and another Top 5, finds herself in ninth at 66/1, while Armenia at 80/1, closes off the Top 10. Notable mention needs to be made of the opposite side of the betting odds. Spain, much questioned over it’s altercation with OGAE Spain and it’s controversial national final, finds herself in last place, at 500/1, but ranked as highly as 1000/1 to achieve victory with some companies. Just above it is Cyprus 300/1, Belarus 250/1, Ukraine 250/1 and Poland 250/1. A surprise in some of these, given the likely diaspora votes. It needs to be noted that the betting odds will continue to change as we approach the final in Kiev but if this is any indication then the likely winner may be a nation which would be new to winning or who has not won for a very long time. Remember to have a say in http://euro-prediction.com. Currently Portugal slays both online users’ and invited juries’ voting.

    APRIL 22
    BETTING ODDS: In the overall table as given by http://www.oddschecker.com, Italy remains the all time favourite to win the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest followed by Bulgaria which is now clearly the next hot favourite to win the event. Sweden, Portugal and Belgium follow but most of the betting offices low their odds while countries like Greece, The Netherlands, Estonia and Iceland rise a bit in terms of betting odds and slightly in terms of general ranking.

    PREVIEW SHOWS: More preview shows took place in Europe this week. In Finland the Swedish language program De Eurovisa – Euroviisaat concluded its reviews and voting with Italy winning the predictions of the Finn experts followed closely by Portugal and then by Finland, Belgium and surprisingly Ukraine. In Norway, the second preview show, Adresse Kiev, concluded with Israel topping the voting followed by Armenia, Australia, Estonia and Belarus! In the meantime the second preview show in Germany, the Songcheck show, awarded top voting for Italy, Czech Republic and Latvia while the public voting gave the top three ranks to: Italy, Iceland, Moldova and Cyprus (tie for the last two).

    EUROPREDICTION: The oikotimes.com poll for the two semi finals (the poll for the Grand Final will kick off immediately after the end of the second semi final) gathered more than 7649 unique voter. For the first semi final the online users top: Belgium, Sweden and Azerbaijan, the jury top Azerbaijan, Australia and Iceland and combined we can see that potential qualifiers are: Belgium, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Portugal, Iceland, Greece and Latvia. In the second semi final he online voters prefer the Bulgarian entry, the juries prefer the Bulgarian entry and so far the combined results predict as potential qualifiers the following ten countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Israel, Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Serbia, Austria and Ireland.

    INTERNATIONAL FANS: The two rival fan clubs, that of OGAE International and INFE International keep their voting ongoing. So far OGAE International top Italy, Belgium and Sweden while INFE members top Italy, Bulgaria and Sweden. In both international fan club voting the number of voters doesn’t exceed that of 1k members (information mentioned for what is worth)

    APRIL 11
    The Bookies: An Italian man – and his dancing gorilla – is the early favourite for next month’s Eurovision, the biggest song competition in the world. Francesco Gabbani’s song Occidentali’s Karma is the $2.20 favourite with Eurovision bookmakers, ahead of Bulgaria ($6), Sweden ($8) and Belgium ($9). Australia is on the sixth line of betting at $17.
    The song, which effectively pokes fun at those who believe they can “westernise” Eastern cultures, won the prestigious Sanremo competition to earn its invitation to Eurovision. The idea for the song is supposedly based on the book The Naked Ape by British zoologist Desmond Morris. It is a catchy, modern pop song and 34-year-old Gabbani is a charismatic and lively performer – perfect ingredients for Eurovision success. And Gabbani is a winner. He was victorious in the best newcomer award at Sanremo last year with the platinum-awarded song Amen. Occidentali’s Karma immediately hit number one in Italy and Malta, number four in Switzerland and on the charts with a rocket in Spain, Germany and France.
    The polls: There are no concrete polls giving a clear view of the Eurovision 2017 hot favourites. Most of them can be easily manipulated and cannot be taken seriously. The oikotimes.com annual Europrediction is still in the phase of the semi finals as Belgium and Estonia top the first and second semi final predictions. More than 5,000 unique voters already cast their votes predicting the top ten in each of the semi finals. According to them: In the first semi final, Belgium, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Australia, Finland, Portugal, Latvia, Greece and Iceland are likely to proceed in the final while in the second semi final, Estonia, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Denmark, Switzerland, Israel, Hungary, Serbia, The Netherlands and Austria are tipped as qualifiers. The grand final poll will commence when the second semi final is over, on May 11th midnight.
    The OGAE International voting: Seven national fan clubs have cast their votes so far with Italy in the lead followed by Sweden and Belgium. The results are made of hardcore fans and usually do not reflect the average Eurovision voters preferences.

    MARCH 14
    The national final season is over and now the focus goes to the betting odds provided by the overall table of http://www.oddschecker.com. Although we miss one country, Armenia, the song of which will be revealed on 18/3, things remain somehow unchanged. Italy remains the hot favourite followed by Sweden and surprisingly by Belgium and … Portugal. After announcing its song, Bulgaria also topped the favourites table ranked as 5th to win the contest. In terms of the semi finals Armenia, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Montenegro, Moldova, Slovenia and Latvia are the predictions for the qualification. Armenia is topping the predictions most likely due to the diaspora and we are somehow surprised seeing Poland and Montenegro in the list. In the second semi final we see Bulgaria, Hungary, Denmark, Ireland, Belarus, Russia, Croatia, Romania, Israel and Lithuania to be predicted as qualifiers. Croatia and Lithuania are the questioned countries in this list with Russia bringing questions on whether their entry can be used to psychologically force viewers and jury to vote in a participation which will take place inside Ukraine. In a few days oikotimes.com will launch the annual EuroPrediction and the excitement will hit the roof.

    MARCH 07
    Eurovision Song Contest is getting exciting. Italy remains the top favourite to win the Eurovision 2017 edition with Sweden following up. Bad news for Greece who dropped 9th from 4th in the betting odds one day after the song selection. On the contrary the Serbian teaser boosted the country which now features 4th in the betting odds. In the Melodifestivalen war field: Wiktoria is now the big favourite to win the ticket to Eurovision 2017 as Loreen is now out of the picture. Nano follows closely as a big dark horse. In the Norwegian national final: Elin and The Woods is now the favourites to win the 2017 edition of MGP. Definitely things will change but today’s image is clearly showing that things are moving and nothing is certain in Eurovision no matter how much of a big name you are.

    FEBRUARY 24
    The meeting odds for the Eurovision Song Contest and the national finals are updated and here are the latest. Regarding the Eurovision 2017, Italy, Sweden and Russia remain the favourites followed now by Australia, Romania and Greece. Sweden, armenia, Australia, Belgium. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Moldova are considered qualifiers from the first semifinal while, Russia, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania the qualifiers for the second semifinal. Loreen is the favourite to win the 2017 Melodifestivalen with Nano following closely behind. For the fourth semi final, Loreen and Wiktoria are considered the qualifiers for the final while Axel and Les Gordons predicted to go to second chance. In Norway, JOWST ft Aleksander Walmann is considered the hot favourite for the ticket to Kyi followed by Kristian Valen. Finally in Estonia, Kerli remain the hot favourite to win the national final. In the oikotimes.com polls: In Norway oikotimes visitors predict Ulrikke – Places to win, in Denmark our readers predict Sada Vidoo“Northern Lights” to win, in Moldova visitors vote for Sunstroke Project – Hey Mamma to win and in Iceland our readers predict Svala Björgvinsdóttir – Ég veit Thad to win.

    FEBRUARY 6
    The betting odds made a good prediction on Finnish national selection a week ago. Now let’s see what are the current standings for various Eurovision events ahead. We start with the Eurovision 2017 odds where Sweden is leading now followed by Russia, Australia and Greece still high in the bookies. In Melodifestivalen 2017, Loreen and Nano are the top favourites to win the ticket to Kyiv in the final. For the second semi final Mariette and Lisa Ajax are predicted to qualify in the final while Benjamin Ingress and Dismissed to proceed in the second chance. Sanremo Festival 2017 begins tomorrow and Fiorello Mannoia with Sergio Sylvester are considered the favourites to win the event. Though it will be clear after the final to declare who’s going to Kyiv.

    JANUARY 26
    With great interest to the UK and Finnish national final coming up we have interesting information to share with you. In the UK Lucie Jones is the favourite to win despite Olivia Garcia been the favourite in almost all fan polls. You can see our review and vote in our poll here. In Sweden, without any of the songs for 2017 Melodifestivalen known, Loreen is the top favourite to represent again the country in Kyiv. The Fooo Conspiracy is following next. In Sanremo Festival predictions, the bookies predict Fiorella Mannoia as the winner of this year’s festival. But the thing with Sanremo is that the winner is not necessary the artist who will definitely represent Italy in Eurovision 2017. For Ireland the bookies are not that optimistic. The odds predict Ireland to stay out of the Grand Final but we have to hear the song first to have a very first estimation. Finally, Greece remains in the top to win the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest despite not having its song selected yet.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 21:03 on May 12, 2017 9:03 pm Permalink |  

    LIVE FROM KYIV: THE EUROVISION 2017 GRAND FINAL JURY REHEARSAL 

    UKRAINE – Good evening Europe and welcome to the jury dress rehearsal, as today we skipped the press rehearsal in the afternoon. Tonight we will be reporting for the Grand Final as 26 countries will definitely fight hard not only for the trophy but also for a top ten spot tomorrow night. Portugal has already reached the top in the bookies leaving Italy second. In the meantime you still have time to go and vote for the Grand Final in our 2017 Europrediction edition here. So let’s see how the show goes. After the non-intro opening in Stockholm, intro videos are back and Eurovision begins the proper usual way. A kinda messy electro opening black and white and the participants are presented one by one with the same idea and graphics like last year. No innovation at all and totally messy.

    1. Israel: Imri delivers the song better than any previous effort. The juries must be satisfied from his performance and I could definitely see him top ten with a performance like this.

    2. Poland: Excellent vocal performance but I don’t see sparkle in the eyes of Kasia. Don’t know if it’s stress or something else but I am afraid basides the good vocals this entry will not do well in the final tomorrow. Undoubtedly Kasia remains an excellent vocal performer.

    3. Belarus: The song that grew the most during the Eurovision weeks is definitely the entry of Belarus. Naviband make the audience go crazy and they deliver the song in an excellent way. Somehow I think this entry will surprise us tomorrow night.

    4. Austria: Nathan has the gift, the X-Factor, he enchantes you. You cannot ignore him. Austria once again impresses us and proves that that country it’s not only Conchita but it has many great young talents! Well done. A probable top ten for me.

    5. Armenia: Not a bad ethnic tune, definitely well delivered in terms of vocals and stage presentation. Somehow this one grows among the press and media representatives. I don’t see really why but it seems to be the truth, since Armenia climbs in the betting odd rankings.

    6. The Netherlands: Great vocal performance for a song that really doesn’t touch me. I don’t know maybe I am too Mediterranean to understand it and maybe this is a hit in North Europe. It reminds me a classy version of the Rounder Girls (Austria 2000). Not sure how this one will end up.

    7. Moldova: Don’t be surprised if you see Sunstroke Project in the top five tomorrow. They are the party song of the year and they deliver excellently.

    8. Hungary: one more amazing performance from Joci. A song that originally was not noticed but now it seems to be one of the best ethnic entries in recent years. I think Hungary will make it to the top ten.

    9. Italy: the favourite (?) on stage. Yes, Francesco storms the stage and makes the arena (and the press area) dancing. He is drawn 9th just like Sanremo Festival. Coincidence? Namaste Italia. We definitely have a favourite for the trophy at the moment. If Italy doesn’t win with this one (after their flop in 2015 loosing the trophy by the juries) I don’t see how this country can ever win Eurovision!

    10. Denmark: we have a song that can be sneaky and climb to the top ten out of nowhere and that’s because Anja is giving an outstanding vocal performance. She is definitely slaying the stage kneeling and not loosing a single note. Congrats girl!

    11. Portugal: simply superb! arena and press area are full of emotions and applauses. Congrats Salvador and thank you and Luisa for your music! Lisbon get ready!

    12. Azerbaijan: Although after Portugal, there is a small break with the hosts and that give us the chance to see the Azeri entry in brand new aspect out of emotional compromise. Dihaj presents us art tonight and the excellent stage idea once again will definitely bring the entry in the top ten despite that the bookies predict.

    13. Croatia: I think we had many great performances in a row. Hungary, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Azerbaijan and despite the excellente technique Jacques’ voice has I don’t see this entry going anywhere near the top ten tomorrow. But it’s Eurovision, you never know.

    14. Australia: what an excellent vocal performance that is. Isaiah you make the Aussies proud once again. Australia proves to be once again a quality dedicated soldier of the Eurovision Song Contest. Can we see him in the top five again? Well why not!

    15. Greece: it’s the most handsome girl in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest full of charisma. Seems though that the bookies are not loving the performance and the overall presentation. I am not sure how this will work, but one this is certain: the Greek team definitely presented a well structured job on stage. Now it’s a matter of personal taste.

    16. Spain: if you need a break for bathroom, now it’s the time. Kiki bar is also open. Without Spanish fans (at least registered OGAE Fans) due to the TVE ban, and with all the shadows the Spanish selection left when Manel selected, I am sure we cannot see something interesting for Spain in the scoreboard tomorrow. And it’s a shame as Spain, with the music industry, history and culture should have been dominating Eurovision trophies. By the way Manel was out of tune all the time!

    17. Norway: a good energetic tune from Norway with a great Alexander on stage. A hit for the summer? Maybe yes.

    18. United Kingdom: excellent performance and the polls prove that as the UK entry rises all the time as well as in the odds.

    19. Cyprus: not sure how this one will do but definitely it is boosted by the running position this entry has. Hovig was not bad in his performance but maybe he wasn’t that enough to save the day. He might be close to the top ten tomorrow night.

    20. Romania: simply excellent energetic and funky. I love those two and they give amazing performance.

    21. Germany: For those who underrated this entry, I must say that Levina brings a lot of joy and media attention here. She is the party girl we all love here and no matter if you like the song or not.

    22. Ukraine: Just like 2005, Ukraine as a host country is represented by a rock band. Ukrainians seem not to like that entirely but for me as a Eurovision blogger I see nothing wrong with O.Torvald. OK they will not win Eurovision but surely they deliver the rock spirit once again perfectly. Well done guys!

    23. Belgium: Blanche is giving a convincing performance which is definitely loved by the fans in the arena and press area. She also received golden status for her song. She is also drawn 23rd. Is it a miracle away for Belgium to get the trophy?

    24. Sweden: and now ladies and gentlemen we see a Melodifestivalen act by Robin Bengtsson. Once again well structured, produced and choreographed. Sweden will make it to the top five somehow (or at least very close to it).

    25. Bulgaria: I totally disagree with the hairstyle and the outfit of Kristian but the vocal performance is outstanding. Simply the best Bulgarian entry ever in Eurovision in terms of music (although we all gonna dance If Love Was A Crime for years)

    26. France: Last but not least Alma is defending the French colours in the best possible way. Classy, sexy, dynamic. This song will not score well in the scoreboard tomorrow but at least we are happy to see that France is on the right track to get the contest soon to any French city they want. I am sure they are positioned 26th (they were also last in 2005 Kyiv Eurovision edition) due to the live broadcast in the cinemas in France, tomorrow night.

    and that concludes the live report. The show continues with Ruslana and Jamala performing live on stage. We are embargoed to air any videos from those performances, unlike other websites, but soon we will post some surprises for you. stay tuned!

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 19:45 on May 11, 2017 7:45 pm Permalink |  

    LIVE FROM KYIV: THE 2017 EUROVISION SECOND SEMI FINAL 

    UKRAINE – Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the second semi final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Fotis and Olivier will review the show live from the Exhibition Center in Kyiv, Ukraine. Remember to follow our live updates from the arena at http://www.instagram.com/oikotimes and check the results of the Europrediction here.

    SERBIA – TIJANA BOGICEVIC

    Fotis says: Four times interviewed, four times the sound vanished from our videos. A sign? Tijana opens the second semi final with a wonderful modern tune which definitely appeals to any music taste. Vocally she is better than any other rehearsal although you can see she is kinda stressed. The graphics for this entry are amazing, I definitely object on the dress but the dancer coming on stage could be the missing asset which could lead Serbia to the final. I am afraid it’s too early for the audience to remember despite Tijana delivering the high note in an excellent way. I hope the best for Serbia.

    Olivier says: Tijana opens the show is a very good way. A perfect voice and a pleasant staging for Serbia. But unfortunately, the song is very average and will struggle to stand out tonight. But Croatia and FYR Macedonia have good memories… hence it should qualify.

    AUSTRIA – NATHAN TRENT

    Fotis says: Nathan is the 2017 Eurovision mascot. Everyone loves him no matter the song. Nathan is energetic, inspiring and spontaneous. I am pretty sure this one will qualify despite my disagreement on the stage presentation. Great vocals, nice graphics, bad props on stage but great spirit by Nathan. Nice to see that Austria is taking Eurovision seriously and offers us a song that we will all love for years.

    Olivier says: It’s such a pleasant song. Nathan has managed to bring a very happy and joyful feeling on stage(and in the venue) with his “Running On Air”. I really like is groove. Even though I’m not seduced by the giant moon, I like the general staging. Strong reactions that let me think that Austria should be back on Saturday…

    FYR MACEDONIA – JANA BURCESKA

    Fotis says: Great welcome applause for Jana. Jana sings Dance Alone and she does it literally on stage. Sexy but never cheap she provokes you to watch and listen to her story. Do you think she is offering you something easy? No Jana tells you that she is here, alone and she can dominate the stage without needing you. The best ever entry from FYR Macedonia. If Eurovision has to take place in Skopje it better be with that song!

    Olivier says: To be honest, I’m very in this act. I loved it on the radio, but the outcome live on stage ain’t that good I’m afraid. The dance moves are not the best, and on screen, the act isn’t as pleasant as it sounds. But, once again, Serbia and Croatia votes will be there in case Jana needs help to qualify…

    MALTA – CLAUDIA FANIELLO

    Fotis says: Guys, there are two key factors: the song as a tune and the performance. The song is nothing without the great in-heart performance of Claudia. Some of you surely say it’s an old fashioned song. Does any song has expiration date? Anyway, I also don’t like the song as a tune, I find it indifferent. But then you listen the colour of Claudia’s voice and you feel the pain. Come one guys, thumbs up for this woman: she was waiting 9 f…ing years to go to that stage. She is also giving an outstanding vocal performance. Aren’t those two good arguments for support? I am pretty sure this one will go to the final.

    Olivier says: It’s strong classical ballad time now with Malta. The typical Eurovision anthem indeed. Claudia is just perfect in the exercise, giving a flawless and moving performance of “Breathlessly”. Nevertheless, despite her efforts, the song remains a rather old-fashioned one that may struggle to leave juries and the public breathless… She would have deserved such a better song! Let’s wish her to be the surprise qualifier of the evening.

    ROMANIA – ILINCA & ALEX

    Fotis says: Ilinca is the Romanian look-a-like of Alyona Lanskaya. Besides that this girl can YODEL better than in the studio version! Amazing. Alex? OMG a cute short hottie who storms the stage with his… canon! Oh this one goes to the final and will drive the scoreboard crazy.

    Olivier says: The Romanian act the year will be remembered for years I guess. It’s original, fun, professional and kitsch. Well it’s just an act you can only see at Eurovision. Unfortunately, after the first minute, the song becomes painful to my ears, and the silver cannons… really? Of course this song will qualify and do well, not to say very well. Why? Just because it’s Eurovision!

    THE NETHERLANDS – O’G3NE

    Fotis says: The three girls from The Netherlands give a truly great vocal performance of their Eurovision entry. But there should have been more passion sent to the audience. I am not sure I feel their magic, which I am sure they wanna spread, but aside the sparkling dresses I see no sparkle.

    Olivier says: Those sisters are one of the best voices of this year’s line-up. It really sound like an outdated song from the “Glee” series, but it’s vocally challenging but perfect, and the harmony is amazing. The staging is rather dull, but who needs gimmicks with voices like these? Such a perfect performance should fly to the Grand Final!

    HUNGARY – JOCI

    Fotis says: the best ethnic tune this year in Eurovision Song Contest. Joci is making every minority in Europe proud as he stand out and I am pretty sure he will storm this semi final. Excellent performance outstanding vocals.

    Olivier says: After such Eurovisionesque acts, you wanted something original? Well, here you are with Joci, the singing Roma. “Origo” is the only ethnical entry of this year’s contest, and it’s a very good one, especially in this year when we should “celebrate diversity”. I like this act because it dares to be different, in a very wise way, mixing gypsy music and modern beats. After his flawless performance (and given the reactions) Hungary must proceed to the final!

    DENMARK – ANJA

    Fotis says: Anja is bringing Denmark back to the top. Yes, the song might sound cheesy to you but vocally Anja is one of the best performers in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. OMG her voice is about to smash the speakers in the press area and I get notice from our editors in the arena that the audience goes frantic with her. Anja you rock girl. TONIGHT YOU’RE GONNA SHOW US the way to the final! Congratulations!

    Olivier says: It is a very neat performance from powerful Anja tonight. The popish “Where I Am” will please the public (and Scandinavian neighbours) though not very original I’m afraid. The staging is very beautiful on screen, and Denmark should be back in the Grand Final this year.

    IRELAND – BRENDAN

    Fotis says: I don’t wanna listen any comment about the voice of Brendan or mocks about him. Unless you understand the skills of this talented boy, you better stay quite. Brendan is making Queen of Eurovision, Ireland, proud again. I am not sure if it will qualify as Ireland is not famous for getting votes especially with diaspora voting constantly for specific countries but if it was to go back to Dublin in for a Eurovision, Brendan is the best excuse.

    Olivier says: One of the most beautiful ballad comes from Ireland this year. What a melody and what…a voice (though not 100% perfect tonight). I’m not a big fan of the staging, cause this song deserve to be kept very simple. It’s all about emotion here. Qualification would be well deserved.

    SAN MARINO – JIMMIE & VALENTINA

    Fotis says: do I really have to review that one? it will not qualify anyway and seeing Valentina again and again in Eurovision it makes me think that we all going to die one day and she will be entering again in Eurovision. and trust me you don’t wanna read what I am really thinking about the song and the performers.

    Olivier says: Why? Why? Why? Calling this entry cheap would be a bit far from reality. It just reminds me of a 1980’s series opening song. Artists are not to be blamed, I guess they are doing their best to save the act, giving a vocally strong performance. But you can’t bake a cake without the right ingredients…

    CROATIA – JACQUES

    Fotis says: I agree with all of you, the song sounds funny, hilarious and you are already mocking it. But the technique of doing two voices in a live performance makes this entry standing out. I will not be surprised if Jacques goes to the final.

    Olivier says: Jacques is THE voice, not to say voices of the year. The performance is just perfect, and soooo challenging, like a schizophrenic tenor performing two songs at once. Unfortunately, the song is outdated and incredibly cheesy even if some would find a “Bohemian Rhapsody” feeling in it. He should qualify though.

    NORWAY – JOWST

    Fotis says: isn’t this the hit of the summer? Yes, Alexander you make us dance all over the press area. Norway should get to the final although I am confused whether the electro vocals are live or pre recorded. Someone to clarify this and check what happened with the rules.

    Olivier says: Some songs are meant to be listened to only, and are quite difficult to stage. I think “Grab The Moment” is one them. It’s a very good electro act with a slight Daft Punk feeling, and it’s clearly modern. Nevertheless, the act isn’t that effective on TV. I doubt a bit about a clear qualification tonight.

    SWITZERLAND – TIMEBELLE

    Fotis says: they are all lovely, adorable and the lead singer delivers perfectly the song. But there is something missing, a gimmick, a story that we could all share, a memorable moment and instead we get propped stairs and a yellow dress. I am sorry Switzerland you should have made a more abstract performance. The vocal performance is reaching perfection!

    Olivier says: I can say the Swiss pop ballad is a good one, even if it’s not really my kind of music. The strawberry-vanilla coloured staging is quite easy on the eye, and the vocal performance is perfect. But I’m afraid, it’s not a very memorable song…

    BELARUS – NAVIBAND

    Fotis says: I am proud for Belarusians due to one reason: they do have a story to tell with their songs. Unfortunately Europe seems to be afraid of the name Belarus when it comes to voting and therefore we miss such wonderful songs like the one from Artem and Xenia, aka Naviband. Hey hey ayaho pay attention to their journey throughout nature, music sentiments. The indi pop tune from Belarus is standing out for me and makes me proud to be a Eurofan. I strongly suggest you vote for them tonight.

    Olivier says: I can say the Swiss pop ballad is a good one, even if it’s not really my kind of music. The strawberry-vanilla coloured staging is quite easy on the eye, and the vocal performance is perfect. But I’m afraid, it’s not a very memorable song…

    BULGARIA – KRISTIAN

    Fotis says: When a 16 year old boy can deliver such a passion with apparel vocals this means we are talking for the 2017 trophy already. The arena goes nuts when the song begins. The Eurovision-Bieber is on stage and storms it all. Amazing and perfect, nothing else to say!

    Olivier says: This 17-year-old is just gifted. His voice and presence on stage are incredible, even if some may find the performance a bit cold. For me this is the best act tonight, and probably one of the serious contenders for final victory. The song, the staging, the performance are close to perfection, and I can already “Beautiful Mess” become a radio hit. See you on Saturday!

    LITHUANIA – FUSEDMARC

    Fotis says: well someone has to be eliminated from the grand final. San Marino and Lithuania serve better this spots. I am not sure if anyone can find something interesting in the tune although the vocals are great. But still what can you do with great vocals when the song is empty…!

    Olivier says: From beautiful mess to pure mess now with Lithuania. It’s the weakest entry in this year’s line-up. I don’t get it. Messy music, awkward vocals… only the nice background to save this act. No chance to see them again on Eurovision stage this year…

    ESTONIA – KOIT & LAURA

    Fotis says: One of the best classy and classic entries in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. OMG the song begins with a mic problem. Let’s see if Estonia will perform again. Excellent vocals, great drama sequence between the two singers and awesome choice of graphics behind and on the stage floor. Estonia you rock this year. It’s like having Morten Hacket from A-ha on stage. Conrgats and to the final please!

    Olivier says: From beautiful mess to pure mess now with Lithuania. It’s the weakest entry in this year’s line-up. I don’t get it. Messy music, awkward vocals… only the nice background to save this act. No chance to see them again on Eurovision stage this year…

    ISRAEL – IMRI

    Fotis says: ok I cannot sya much about the vocal skills of Imri, it’s obvious he is not the best vocal performer tonight but he is definitely in the best version after very difficult rehearsals. Do you see though something in his act? Passion, love for music, for dance, for party. Isn’t that what Eurovision is all about? I don’t think Imri is good tonight but I am voting Israel for his positive energy and all the great memories Tel Aviv gives me every year. Good luck boy!

    Olivier says: The powerful dance song from Israel will definitely benefit by the good look (wisely being focused on) of Imri. Apart from this, this is a very good Eurovision act with gimmicks, dancers, and the song is more than descent. Imri tonight seems a bit more flawless than usual…at last. Israel will definitely be seen again on Saturday (and maybe with a smaller t-shirt, who knows…).

    The show will continue with a recap of the songs, the public voting, the interval acts and the presentation of France, Germany and Ukraine entries for the Grand Final. Stay tuned for the qualifiers post.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 19:50 on May 9, 2017 7:50 pm Permalink |  

    LIVE FROM KYIV: THE EUROVISION 2017 FIRST SEMI FINAL 

    INTRODUCTION – Welcome to Kyiv and the International Exhibition Center, from the press area of which, oikotimes.com’s Olivier and Fotis will report you upon the First Semi Final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The Ukrainian tradition opening video is followed by a modern dance act and the three hosts welcome everyone in Europe. The show is about to begin and the arena is almost full. Check the estimation by Europrediction online voters, invited juries and combined results here.

    01. SWEDEN / ROBIN BENGTSSON “I CAN’T GO ON”

    Fotis review: I think this is a great opening for Eurovision and the vocal performance stands out. Though somehow Robin seems stressed and it could have better camera work. I am sure this will qualify as it is the most well structured and produced song this year.

    Olivier says: Robin is just perfect once again in delivering the Swedish entry. Contemporary beat (like a modern version of Schlager), mechanical but very effective choreography and a great vocal performance… “I Can’t Go On” is a very neat act that should please the audience and most juries (even if some professionals may find this one a bit too Eurovisionesque). This one is a certain qualifier and maybe a dark horse for the final trophy.

    02. GEORGIA / TAMARA “KEEP THE FAITH”

    Fotis says: you might find it an outdated song and you are right but Tako is giving an outstanding vocal performance and Georgians must be very proud tonight as their faith has been kept. It seems the audience loves this one in the arena and the fireworks boost the visualisation of the song in the very top.

    Olivier says: The first diva of the evening, Tamara from Georgia, is giving a flawless and very powerful performance. Some will find “Keep The Faith” too dramatic and too loud, while other may call it classy and beautiful. Indeed, the staging is very nice on screen and even if she’s alone, the singer ain’t lost on stage. Anyhow I find the act a bit old fashioned and I cannot be 100% certain about her qualification.

    03. AUSTRALIA / ISAIAH “DON’T COME EASY”

    Fotis says: It’s not a song that stands out but in terms of production and sound once again the Aussies prove they know what international music is. Isaiah, a village boy, comes out of nowhere to storm Europe and his vocals can prove you that. He is simply outstanding and this guy deserves the very best. Absolutely perfect performance and stage presentation with great LED presentation in the back plus a wonderful pyro. In the end of the song he misses the high note but you already got an idea what a great star Isaiah is and will become. Congrats Australia and thank you for sharing your music with us, the Europeans.

    Olivier says: This act could benefit from the split voting between the jury and the public. Isaiah is young but gives a very mature performance of his song “Don’t Come Easy”. The juries should vote for it, while the public, used to much more memorable performance from the Aussies, may be a bit disappointed. It’s just a very good pop song, but nothing spectacular for Eurovision viewers is happening on stage for viewers. Moreover, the singer’s voice tonight is sometimes not at its best… An almost certain qualifier though but…

    04. ALBANIA / LINDITA “WORLD”

    Fotis says: Lindita, Demy and Alma are the three most beautiful female performers in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Lindita had a promising performance as all rehearsals were perfect vocally but as of last night, during the dress rehearsal, something is wrong. Lindita seems stressed (she shouldn’t be as we all love her here). Tonight she gives a decent vocal performance and personally I cannot stop staring her amazing eyes. Not in favour of the outfit chosen for the show but the graphics around her on stage and in LED screens create a fary tale sentiment. Not sure it will qualify though.

    Olivier says: You were missing the Georgian diva? Don’t worry, her loud little sister is on stage now… Lindita is less powerful (and a bit less flawless) than yesterday but the performance of her power ballad remains a good one. Once again, some ears may found “World” too loud, but, it is much modern than Tamara’s act. Unfortunately, I cannot see this song impress neither the juries nor the audience. She may win the diva’s battle though, but does that mean qualification? Not sure.

    05. BELGIQUE / BLANCHE “CITY LIGHTS”

    Fotis says: the Belgians fans at the press area are so enthusiastic with this one. I have two objections. I don’t see Blanche sparkle on stage and I am not sure the vocal performance is as powerful as in the studio version of the song. Remember that this song is under attack as it is considered a copycat. Vocally Blanche is on the edge: either you will love her or hate her. I am not sure this one will make it although for some it was the favourite to even win Eurovision 2017. The arena goes frantic with it but I am not, sorry.

    Olivier says: On the radio, the Belgian entry is one of the strongest this year, but many feared the performance of Blanche live, especially after such disappointing (and boring ) rehearsals. Well, the staging is modern and very nice, just like “City Lights”. Well, I’m happy to say that Blanche has given a very descent performance, turning from bored to classy, even though she’s still not very at ease on stage. And the audience’s reactions during this act made him stand out. Well done Belgium, see you on Saturday!

    06. MONTENEGRO / SLAVKO KALEZIĆ “SPACE”

    Fotis says: it’s the fans favourite and the favourite of all LGBT audience. OK besides that we all hear that Slavko is not giving a great vocal performance. The stage presentation with the long pony tale is amazing and artistic. Theatrical movements and passion on stage. But guys this song can easily be eliminated.

    Olivier says: How can a performance ruin a fun and catchy entry? Let Slavko from Montenegro teach you! This is all too much in my opinion (outfit, sexy dance moves, approximate choreography) to conquer juries ‘votes, but the public may go for it since it’s fun and quite telegenic at some points, especially after the first 5 songs. This one could qualify thanks to the public.

    07. FINLAND / NORMA JOHN “BLACKBIRD”

    Fotis says: one of the best entries for me ever in the Eurovision Song Contest. A song with sentiments of pain and a progress to catharsis. Lena and Lasse are giving a great stage presentation and Lena is superb in the vocal performance. Finland can sing the Eurovision Song Contest this year for me. A perfect song the sound of which creates many emotions in me. One of the best choices from Finland.

    Olivier says: From cheap to classy, Finland is on stage now. Pure poetry! Simple but beautiful staging, charming voice, sweet melody, moving piano sound and emotional lyrics… Finland is heading straight to the Grand Final since it’s close to perfection in my opinion. Not uch more to say, I’m already cursed by “Blackbird”.

    08. AZERBAIJAN / DIHAJ “SKELETONS”

    Fotis says: one of the best and artistic stage presentations ever made in Eurovision. It’s clear that Dihaj is one of the best performers in this year’s Eurovision Song COntest and gets a great applause from the arena and the press area. Definitely in the final.

    Olivier says: One of the most contemporary and alternative entries this year. Dihaj reminds me a lot of Sia, and I really like “Skeletons” which is perfectly performed. Nevertheless, I’m still not convinced by the too complicated staging. With this horse, this ladder, this box, these blackboards… the Azerbaijani entry is not that easy to catch. Juries should love it, the public may be a bit more reluctant. But it will definitely qualify.

    09. PORTUGAL / SALVADOR “AMOR PELOS DOIS”

    Fotis says: The entire venue is silent and give a great respect to this wonderful guy from Portugal. Salvador I cannot comment your song. Everything is perfect. Thank you for sharing this song with us. Lisbon we are ready to fly there in 2018! The arena cannot stop applauding!!! amazing feeling.

    Olivier says: I’m in love with Salvador, and I’m definitely not the only one tonight. For sure, party goers may not enjoy this retro song, but I bet the incredible charisma of this original artist and the very emotional performance is ready to conquer Europe and take Eurovision out of its standards. The Portuguese singer is a sure qualifier and now a serious contender for victory! The reactions in the venue (and press center) are veeery positive!

    10. GREECE / DEMY “THIS IS LOVE”

    Fotis says: OH MY GOD! Goddess Aphrodite on stage. Demy had a lot of problems in the rehearsals (and re-run in the dress rehearsal) but tonight vocally she and the backing vocals are simply outstanding. For years I was waiting for this moment and it’s coming true: THIS IS GREECE ladies and gentlemen. This is the ture Greece of music and dance spirit. Congrats!

    Olivier says: Back to Eurovision standards now with Demy. The show is tailor-made for television and it’s very nice. Dancers, water, screen effects… The Greek goddess is perfect as usual and the performance is very effective. Nevertheless, there are too many gimmicks and effects for my taste. As far as the song is concerned, I’m still not convinced by this cheap Euro-dance chorus in the middle of such a melodic song. But after a disastrous 2016 edition, Greece will reach the Grand Final for sure.

    11. POLAND / KASIA MOŚ “FLASHLIGHT”

    Fotis says: The polish entry is not a song that could be a radio hit or remembered after Eurovision but we all know that Kasia is spreading the message about the animal abuse, a phenomenon rising worldwide despite international efforts to stop it. Despite the weakness of the song, Kasia is undoubtedly one of the best vocal performs in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Besides that she is an amazing woman with great humour and distinctive personality. Go girl! you deserve the ticket to the final!

    Olivier says: The third diva of the night is on stage now and I’m afraid, despite the perfect performance, she’s the least memorable one in my opinion. The voice is loud but perfect, the staging is very nice, but this song ain’t strong enough to stand out in this semi-final’s line-up in my opinion. The outcome for Poland is hard to predict.

    12. MOLDOVA / SUNSTROKE PROJECT “HEY MAMMA”

    Fotis says: This is party time, get up, drop everything and start dancing. Hey mama boys this is the best Moldovan entry ever in the Eurovision Song Contest. I love this awesome guys and the sax man is the best hug-boy ever. Sorry have to stop writing, it’s time for me to dance. GO MOLDOVA!

    Olivier says: This year’s Moldovan entry is very fun but professional (much more than the last time SunStroke Project took part). I must admit that even if I’m not a huge fan of the song (on radio), I quite like the performance tonight. The guys (and girls) are delivering positive energy to the venue in a very nice way, and are enjoying themselves o stage. “Hey,Mamma!” could be the unexpected qualifier of the night!

    13. ICELAND / SVALA “PAPER”

    Fotis says: Like father like… daughter. Svala’s father (1995 Icelandic representative) must be very proud of his girl. Svala is giving a storming vocal performance with the Paper song. Although I disagree with the LED graphics and the concept around the artist, Svala is surely making Iceland very proud tonight. I am almost sure it will easily qualify to the final. For me it’s one of the radio hits of the summer.

    Olivier says: A bit like Montenegro, the Icelandic entry is way better on radio than on stage. Svala is doing her best with her great voice but the performance is a bit dull in my opinion. The stage is just empty, as if she was performing “Paper” right in the middle of a glacier… Every singer cannot be called Jamala I’m afraid… Can’t see it qualify.

    14. CZECH REPUBLIC / MARTINA BÁRTA “MY TURN”

    Fotis says: Martina is an excellent vocal performer. Her jazz style is amazing and the stage performance is perfect. I still remember her performing at the oikotimes.com party the James Bond song. The Eurovision entry is a very nice tune, a well structure and produced song but I am afraid the European audience will not sufficiently support it. I would love to see her in the final but unless the juries boost it, I cannot see it doing much in tele voting. I have to admit though that it’s one of the best entries this year and excellent executed on stage.

    Olivier says: Out of Eurovision standards, the Czech Republic is sending a classy, lounge music entry I would say. OK, the performance has nothing memorable, but the song itself and Martina jazzy vibe voice could conquer juries tonight not sure about the public though.

    15. CYPRUS / HOVIG “GRAVITY”

    Fotis says: Unlike rehearsals Hovig is giving an excellent vocal performance and Cyprus should be proud of him tonight. Although didn’t consider him a qualifier for the final, now somehow I am sure he will do it. The only objection I have is that they clearly copied Sergey Lazarev’s stage presentation including the graphics which doesn’t look nice.

    Olivier says: I’ve never been a big fan of the Cypriot entry this year. “Gravity” clearly lacks a melody and is a bit repetitive but we must say that Hovig has clearly improved and his flawless now, while the staging is very good (even though we’ve seen all that before with Belgium in 2015). I wouldn’t bet on a qualification though…

    16. ARMENIA / ARTVIK “FLY WITH ME”

    Fotis says: along with Hungary, this is the second best modern ethnic song. A good idea from Armenia for Eurovision with a good vocal performance. The camera work for this song is amazing and the stage presenation with the two female dancers is boosting the sentiment of the song. Artsvik should though have been more integrated to the dance act with the two females. No vocal problems this time and somehow the Armenian diaspora will definitely support this entry.

    Olivier says: This ethno-electro entry could surprise us all. Modern and beautiful sound, perfect voice and very nice staging… Armenia couldn’t wish for more to reach the Grand Final. “Fly With Be” is definitely a dark horse now!

    17. SLOVENIA / OMAR NABER “ON MY WAY”

    Fotis says: I met Omar in my first Eurovision venture back in 2005 and 12 years after I ma here with him again in Kyiv. An old fashioned song with a great vocal performance. Omar is more mature and more professional. It’s his moment and he should be proud of his performance. Well done Omar!

    Olivier says: This is, after Portugal, the nicest male voice of the evening. Simply powerful and beautiful. The staging is also very nice on screen with a wise use of the led screen. But the obstacle on Slovenia’s path to qualification could be the song itself and its philharmonic arrangements. It really sounds like a Disney soundtrack, that is to say a bit old fashioned and cheesy at some points. Can’t see this one go through unfortunately despite the perfect performance.

    18. LATVIA / TRIANA PARK “LINE”

    Fotis says: LOVE YA GIRL! Latvia is the best electro ambient song I have ever heard. I will not surprised if next Saturday we start booking tickets for Riga. Triana Park are theatrical, interactive, amazing, lovely and absolutely make you dance. Amazing performance and a perfect closing act for the first semi final. See ya guys in the final.

    Olivier says: From Disneyland to Tomorrowland, here comes Latvia and their very electro entry. “Line” is very contemporary and out of Eurovision standards but I’m not convinced by the performance, as if Triana Park were struggling to set the venue on fire. Such a track should get the audience crazy, but this not obvious on TV…

    and that’s it from the First Semi Final live report for the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Stay tuned for the results and of course the qualifiers’ press conference.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 01:36 on May 1, 2017 1:36 am Permalink |  

    Eurovision April 30: highlights, gossip, odds of the day 

    UKRAINE – The first day of rehearsals concluded at the International Exhibition Centre in Ukraine and here are the highlights of the day in titles.

    • Portugal was represented by Salvador Sobral’s sister as already announced due to careful strategy over the singer’s health situation. Luisa gave a brave performance and she impressed the press.
    • The press centre is almost ready. Last minute technical work is done but still the press didn’t get all the necessary press packs and transportation cards. The electricity guys are still struggling to add some lines but we have to admit the WIFI is amazing.
    • Belgium seems to be the biggest disappointment so far in the gossip talks inside the press area today.
    • Manel Navarro from Spain, speaking to fan site, said that his favourite song this year is the Portuguese entry, praising it as the most magical entry for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.
    • The entire rehearsal of Azerbaijan leaked on the web. The staging builds slowly in an empty room covered in chalk writing with the lyrics from the song. The room represents complex self-destructive relationships, inner barriers and hidden truths — the skeletons. A man wearing a mask serves as a “bad boy” with a symbolic ladder showing the emotional distance between the two lovers. Our heroine, being a strong woman, eventually overcomes her self-destructive feelings. The walls come down, as well as the bad boy’s mask. He’s prepared to reconnect with her, but it’s far too late. She’s made him take off the mask he was wearing in their relationship, but she is leaving him alone in the room that she has bravely escaped. At the end of the performance, four backing vocalists join Dihaj on stage. “This staging is more of a theatrical approach. I’m happy that our delegation was brave enough to bring it to the Eurovision stage. It’s not about technology or special effects anymore. For me the story is what really matters. It can raise different emotions, and I hope it won’t leave viewers indifferent,” says Dihaj. The number is directed by famous Azerbaijani choreographer and stage director Naila Mammadzada, whose portfolio includes the interval acts for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and the closing ceremony for the 2015 European Games.

    • The Icelandic delegation has touched down in Kyiv ahead of their first Eurovision 2017 rehearsal – but 42 of their suitcases didn’t make it to the Ukrainian capital. It seems the suitcases made it as far as Brussels where the team had a flight connection on their way from Reykjavik, but no further. Due to a delay, they had to rush for their connecting flight but their bags didn’t make it. They’re expected to arrive in Kyiv after tomorrow’s rehearsal takes place. (source: metro.co.uk)
    • In the betting odds the changes after the first day were the following: There are better odds now for: Italy, Bulgaria, Portugal, Armenia while there was drop for Sweden, Australia, Belgium. In the press centre the media representatives clearly favour Finland Azerbaijan and Portugal after the first day of rehearsals.
    • In the meantime Valentina Monetta and Jimmi Wilson are already in Kyiv spreading somehow their song spirit in the streets of the Ukrainian capital

    • Meet the Australian jury members: Lucy Durack Lucy is one of Australia’s leading ladies of the stage, with a list of major roles to her credit. She has won awards for her roles of Glinda in Wicked and Elle Woods in Legally Blonde the Musical. She performs regularly in concert and has a popular radio show ‘My Soundtrack’ on the ABC. Jordan Raskopoulos Jordan is a comedian, musician and digital content creator. She is best known as the lead singer of The Axis of Awesome, a world-renowned musical comedy group and YouTube Juggernaut. Jordan also hosts ‘This is About’, a narrative non-fiction podcast on ABC. Stephen Capaldo Steven is a conductor and music educator working with symphony orchestras, wind orchestras, chamber ensembles and in community music and education. He is an active composer and arranger. His works have been performed and recorded in Australia, Canada and the U.S.A Jackie Loeb Jackie maintains her reputation as a stand-up comedian, while distinguishing herself as an actor, musician and writer. She has performed cabaret shows at New York City’s ‘Don’t Tell Mama’ and had a sell-out season at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. She has released two albums, and brings her latest stand-up show Forty-five to the Sydney Comedy Festival this week.  Peter Hayward Peter has been working professionally in the entertainment industry for over 15 years. He has performed as a Music Director across Sydney and as a backing vocalist and percussionist for numerous live events. Peter is Creative Director of Southern Stars – The Arena Spectacular and Associate Director of the Schools Spectacular.
    • Mistakes with the tickets:  The Head of the ticket seller Concert.ua admits mistakes were made when they sold 2% of tickets, which have now been removed or had its view restricted. The Head of Concert.ua stated that when tickets went on sale in February, they were using a previous planning scheme and thus sold seats where they believed they would have no issues. However in the period between the first sale and the stage being completed, a number of seats have either had to be removed or had their view restricted. In total around 2,000 tickets were sold in these areas, as a result refunds or new seats are having to be offered to those ticket holders. (source: depo.ua / eurovoix.com)
    • Watch Slavko kazelic performing Lane Moje at the meet and greet session

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 16:58 on April 28, 2017 4:58 pm Permalink |  

    Czech Republic 2017: My Turn is a song with a particular story, says Martina 

    CZECH REPUBLIC – Martina Bárta is a young, ambitious, and talented singer – a new discovery on the jazz scene, endlessly travelling between Prague and Berlin, a combination of respect for the classics and a love of everything modern and innovative. With her song, “My Turn,” Bárta brings immense enthusiasm, positive energy, and an exceptional style of expression to Eurovision. She captured the attention of the ESC Czech Team’s management both with her strong and captivating voice as well as with her energy and musical sensitivity.

    Support Martina at EuroPrediction poll here

    Czech fans know Martina from her performances with the legendary Felix Slováček Big Band as well as from the successful project, Sinatrology. She also often performs with her older sister, Kristina, who is a successful jazz pianist and composer. Together, they have won such awards as the “2016 Best Jazz Composition” at Bohemia Jazz Fest. However, she truly came into the limelight thanks to her win in the television casting show, ” Robin Hood – cesta ke slávě” (“Robin Hood – The Path to Fame”), which offered her the opportunity to play the leading female role of “Maid Marion” in the musical Robin Hood by Ondřej Soukup and Gábina Osvaldová in Prague’s Divadlo Kalich Threatre.

    It is in Germany, however, that Martina has experienced her most significant success and popularity. She performs regularly with various musical projects, has appeared at many jazz festivals, works on her own project, “Scotch and Soda,” and makes guest appearances with the band of German rock legend, Henning Protzmann, famed member of the bands Karat and Panta Rhei. Her artistic activity abroad has earned her the privilege to meet and collaborate with global musical leaders such as the Roy Hargrove Quintet and American percussionist, Gregory Hutchinson. Last year, she had her first opportunity to travel to the United States of America when she participated in the Jazz in Port Townsend workshop under the leadership of American contrabassist and Grammy Award-winning arranger John Clayton.

    A large share of the brilliance of her expression can be attributed to her studies in classical music and French horn performance at the Gymnázium Jana Nerudy grammar school, popular vocal performance at the Prague Conservatoire, and, most importantly, her studies with leaders in their field at the prestigious Jazz Institut Universität der Künste in Berlin.

    How would you describe yourself?
    Optimistic, sometimes too crazy and absentminded. Loving life, my family, friends and music. Often unnecessarily choleric and inpatient.

    You are a jazz singer with a great talent. How do you perceive your participation in the contest of predominantly pop songs? For me, the participation in the Eurovision is a huge challenge. The biggest music project I have ever participated in. I don´t take the fact that my main focus was mainly on jazz music in the past as a disadvantage.

    Your professional life is straddled between Prague and Berlin. Where do you actually feel at home?
    I simply have two homes. I love Prague and Berlin. Both cities are completely different and each of them has its own, for me very inspirational, energy.

    What on the song My Turn appealed to you? How do you perceive it?
    “My turn” is a song with a particular story. It has a soul. It is not exactly typical, but that makes it stronger.

    So, what is the story?
    Every one of us should be ready to offer a helping hand. Anytime, anywhere and to anyone. We should appreciate our closest and the people we are surrounded by. You never know when you are going to need help, yourself.

    Are you looking forward to participating in the contest?
    I very much look forward to the participation in the Eurovision. I am preparing intensively. I regularly attend vocal lessons, I work on my physical appearance, and the psychological well-being is important as well. I am very proud I get to represent the Czech Republic.

    The results of the Czech Republic get better every year. This year success is expected as well. What effect do these expectations have on you and what is your personal goal?
    To feel the responsibility that motivates me enormously. And plus, I am not alone in this, but the whole team of people supports me. Of course, I will be extremely happy if we manage to get to the finals and to achieve the best place possible. I think we do have stuff to offer and we are doing the maximum for it.

    Considering the type of the song, the success largely depends on the quality of singing. How are you preparing?
    I regularly attend singing lessons of Hana Pecková who is the best vocal trainer in the Czech Republic for me. She knows very well how to work with her students in order for them not to be afraid of the participation in this type of contests. “Si canta come si parla,” or “sing the same way as you talk.” She often reminds me of this, and she is right. Singing should come naturally out of your soul.

    Event of this size with a huge interest of journalists and fans is a new challenge for you. How do you feel in this role?
    The first week after my nomination was really hectic. Luckily, I have great people around me who will be happy to help me in case I need it. I am not alone in this and that calms me down. And at the same time, it confirms the importance of the message of the song My Turn.

    Which songs of the other states are closest to you?
    I like the Australian singer. Mainly his appearance.

    This year the Eurovision will be held in the Ukrainian Kiev. How are you looking forward to this city?
    I have never been to Ukraine, but I have heard Kiev is a nice city. I will definitely visit a nice jazz club, and I would like to get to know the traditional Ukrainian culture. I like travelling, in general, very much and I really look forward to the stay in Kiev with the Czech crew, delegations from other countries and all the fans of Eurovision.

     
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