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  • another web source 14:37 on May 24, 2017 2:37 pm Permalink |  

    The Eurovision in Ukraine was an exercise in soft power 

    LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS / UNITED KINGDOM – Eurovision 2017, held in Kyiv, may have lacked overt politicisation when it came to the performances showcased on stage, especially in comparison to previous years. But as Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz argues, the contest nevertheless delivered a carefully constructed ideological message about Ukraine’s European aspirations and its pride in its cultural heritage and traditions, while also signalling comradeship with the Slavic world and Eastern Europe. The net result was a quintessential exercise in Eurovision’s enduring soft power.

    The Eurovision Song Contest is no stranger to political controversy. Envisioned as a means of forging cultural ties between Europe’s nations in the aftermath of World War II, the contest was closely tied to the idea of European integration taking shape in the 1950s. For a brief period, the Warsaw Pact countries hosted a competing Intervision contest, but it was Eurovision, and the idea behind it, that ultimately prevailed. And it wasn’t until the majority of Europe’s states from the continent’s east (and from its near periphery) entered the competition that it became the political playground which it is known as today.

    Time and again it has provided ample data for better understanding European politics and society. In 2014, Conchita Wurst’s “inherently queer and subversive performance” was a sweeping success in the popular vote, but it was shunned by East European juries. As I argued then, this revealed just how complicated the polarisation over LGBTQ+ issues is in the region. Similarly, last year’s victory of Jamala, singing about Stalinist atrocities in Crimea in 1944, was a triumph of cultural soft power that signalled the significance of collective historical consciousness among the European public.

    Culture as soft power

    This year, however, the 200+ million audience of Eurovision was spared outright political messaging in the performances, and the pre-contest squabble over Russia’s participation was largely lost on the public. The political dimension of Eurovision 2017 was, however, noticeable in how Ukraine decided to, yet again, use it as a vehicle of soft power (albeit less overtly than in years past when one of its songs’ lyrics uncannily sounded like “Russia Goodbye”).

    This year was marked by far more discreet efforts. Firstly, the hosts showcased a country with western-democratic aspirations, putting emphasis on freedom, and on being a tolerant and open country that belongs to the European family of liberal democracies. Secondly, it was pride in Ukraine’s cultural heritage that was noticeable, which permeated most vividly from the adjoining performers during the contest’s final and the hosts’ commentaries. Finally, an even more discreet, almost subliminal, message conveyed was that of the regional Eastern European (and Slavic) embeddedness of Ukraine, and its role in the region being markedly different from Russia’s.

    A European Ukraine

    As noted by the Atlantic, Eurovision “serves as a stage for countries to express their national pride and affirm their European affiliation”. This couldn’t be truer of Ukraine, parts of which are currently engulfed in war with Russia. Openness and belonging to Europe were major themes of the three parts of the song contest, as well as its physical surroundings in the nation’s capital. Most notably, one of the last damaged buildings standing on the famous Maidan square where the 2013 protests, followed by violent clashes, took place, was decorated with a larger-than-life banner stating that “Freedom is our religion”.

    The “celebrate diversity” theme of this year’s edition was embodied by altering a Soviet-era monument and trying to put as much daylight as possible between it and a Russia perceived as being intolerant and authoritarian. What once was an arch symbolising Russo-Ukrainian unity, was painted in rainbow colours, much to the dismay of Russia, as well as conservative and nationalist forces within Ukraine who prevented the arch’s rainbow from being completed.

    This western-democratic aspiration is closely linked to the idea and the process of European integration. It derives from a profound sense, shared by a sizeable part of the intellectual elite and decision-making class in the country, that Ukraine is, both historically and politically, at the heart of Europe. After all, it was Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU that the Maidan protests erupted over and which put the country at odds with Russia, plunging it into a proxy-war that still has no end in sight. Ukraine’s insistence on its European credentials, including being able to successfully host such a show, is hence part of a soft power effort focused on its geopolitical reorientation. It is, however, only one part of a concerted effort to showcase the country to the outside world.

    Слава Україні! (Glory to Ukraine!)

    Occidental yearnings among countries of the former Communist East are not a new phenomenon. Almost thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, such aspirations can no longer be simply assimilationist. Hence, the sense of a Ukrainian national self was very much present throughout Eurovision. Contemporary Ukrainian pop stars at the show’s grand final – Ruslana, Jamala and Onuka – draw heavily on Ukrainian folk music in their performances. This link between popular and Ukrainian folk music is very much appreciated by the domestic public where references to Ukrainian cultural traditions and use of the Ukrainian language are integral to the civic and identity soul-searching that the country has been going through in the past few years.

    A sense of pride in the success of Eurovision hosted by Kyiv is seen as validation of the skill and ability of the Ukrainian people and plays a crucial role in the process of crystallising its national self-understanding vis-à-vis Europe, rather than just emulating its neighbours to the west. In this instance, Eurovision performed a function which for many countries around the world is carried out by large sporting events. There was, however, yet another dimension to Ukraine’s soft power Eurovision pitch.

    Eastern Partnership

    Ukraine cannot defy geography, especially its proximity to Russia and its client states. Therefore, the final message communicated in Kivy was how much Ukraine cherishes its Slavic ‘cousins’ and how it maintains positive relations with its neighbours in the East European region, while highlighting how different it is from Russia. Paired with an emphasis on the country’s western-democratic and European credentials, it was a conscious attempt to demonstrate the distinctions between Ukraine (positioned as pro-Western, liberal, democratic, and tolerant) and Russia (presented as anti-Western, illiberal, autocratic, and intolerant).

    This message follows Ukraine’s current diplomatic efforts. The above was communicated side-by-side with a less explicit signalling of Slavic/regional brotherhood. During the final show’s last stage, where points are collected from Europe’s capitals, almost all Slavic-speaking countries were greeted with the Ukrainian добрий вечір (dobryy vechir), which can be largely understood in the region, while niceties and other linguistic innuendos were also exchanged.

    Most importantly, however, 12 points from the Ukrainian jury (representing the country’s elite voice) went to Belarus, which can be seen as a proxy for Russia, absent from the competition. In underlining its Slavic and East European credentials, Ukraine exercised a fine balancing act between Europe and Russia (which claims ownership of the idea of pan-Slavism). It was a deliberate attempt to prove the country’s western-democratic credentials while stressing its regional embeddedness, and its shared cultural and historical heritage.

    Despite lacking overt politicisation, this year’s Eurovision was a quintessential exercise in soft power for Ukraine, a country fighting for the right of self-determination on the world stage. The contest delivered a carefully constructed ideological message about what kind of country Ukraine wants to be: a western-democratic and a European state, which takes pride in its cultural heritage and traditions, and which at the same time is rooted in the Slavic world and supports liberal change in the region of Eastern Europe.

    SOURCE: LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

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  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 13:26 on May 18, 2017 1:26 pm Permalink |  

    The juries killed the ‘good’ songs once again 

    EDITORIAL – Finally the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest winner was the choice of both the jury and public voting. Still, though, the juries destroyed many good songs and favoured crap songs, in my opinion.

    Australia is the first example. It is clear that the juries somehow boost the Australian entry every year in order to keep the country’s interest to the Eurovision Song Contest. Although it was not a bad song, the Australian entry was obviously something the European audience didn’t like. if there were no juries, Australia wouldn’t have made it to the final.

    Finland is the ultimate example in my view, on how the juries destroyed the contest once again. There is not a single press / media representative who didn’t consider the Finnish entry as one of the best songs ever in the Eurovision Song Contest, most of them expressing their wish for Finland to even win the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. It seems they were kinda right as the public ranked them 10th in the semi final, which means that the country would have been in the final, something the juries didn’t allow.

    Belgium which was clearly a hot favourite in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest ranked 13th in the juries and 3rd in public voting. Maybe Blanche was not that good during the jury rehearsal (a day before the public watch and vote for the semi finals). But it was clear that the juries wanted somehow to lower the chances of Belgium to go to the final. The same thing happened in the final as well.

    In the second semi final despite The Netherlands coming 9th in the public voting, the jury ranked them 2nd. Seriously? Yes! The song that had nothing special to show, with just good vocals and an indifferent tune managed to be the 2nd favourite of the juries among the 17 participating juries in that show. No one can understand what was the “great” thing in that song!

    Malta once again promoted by the jury ranked within the top ten while the audience didn’t award them points at all. In this one I think I have some objections. Malta ranked high in the juries also last year and it’s clear that there is interest to boost the small Mediterranean island. Sadly for me this time, Europeans couldn’t see what a great song “Breathlessly” was. Yes, maybe the dress was not the best choice but come on, can we avoid voting a song because a woman has some juicy silhouette and wears a “too-much” dress? Her vocal performance and her emotional slay on stage was something that Europeans should have seen.

    Estonia was the biggest mistake of the juries. Plundered by the “experts” around Europe, the audience ranked them high enough to proceed to the final. It is totally unfair for another big favourite in Eurovision 2017 to see elimination from the final especially when Koit and Laura were perfect on their performance and stage presentation. Instead juries qualified (along with the audience) an incoherent drama without story and prospect, the Greek entry.

    On one thing I agree with the juries (and obviously the public) is that we had enough of Valentina Monetta. She might claim that the fans are calling for her to participate again and again and again, but honey you can see it’s not true. No one wants you again in Eurovision.

    Romania, Croatia, Denmark and Moldova (in the Grand Final) definitely could have done better if there were no juries in Eurovision. The gap of their voting with the one of the public is clear and should raise concerns. It is also a big surprise for me that the best ever Azeri entry in Eurovision with Dihaj which was considered a potential dark horse to even win Eurovision 2017 was definitely scrapped by the juries. Though on this one, sadly, the European audience didn’t get the artistic message of the song presentation which was for me one of the best stage appearances ever in the contest.

    So once again, I will shout out: skip the juries and let the people decide the winners. Don’t consider diaspora and sympathy voting as a fear against the quality of the contest. After all you see once again (like 2015) that Europeans can vote on quality when it’s true and honest just like Italy back in Vienna. Results in the recent Eurovision editions could have been so different if those 210 people (42 juries by 5 members each) didn’t decide for the fate of the contest actually!

     
    • Milan S. 18:28 on May 21, 2017 6:28 pm Permalink

      The title should be changed to ‘The juries killed the songs I like once again’.

    • GJ Roskamər 13:05 on May 19, 2017 1:05 pm Permalink

      Hello Fotis,

      Great journalism once again.

    • realwinnerblog 20:39 on May 18, 2017 8:39 pm Permalink

      Well, in my opinion, the juries saved us from some really poor choices such as Estonia. Besides, it’s becoming unpleasant to read your dramatic posts, blaming the whole world for anything that is done against YOUR opinion. Grow up. I understand why ERT cut you out of the clip. No one wants to be connected with such a sour face.

    • Kevin Riley 20:20 on May 18, 2017 8:20 pm Permalink

      Well said Frank. The juries are the voice of common sense in the voting- the televoting is a total farce dominated by countries who will vote for their neighbours regardless of quality.
      Also, the writer of the article needs to stop using the word ‘plundered’ as he clearly doesn’t know what it means.

    • Jose Tavares (@jtavares77) 20:10 on May 18, 2017 8:10 pm Permalink

      You said it well, “in my opinion.”

    • Frank Albers 14:35 on May 18, 2017 2:35 pm Permalink

      Sorry, I completely disagree. Eurovision would be dead without the jury and would only consist of absurd carnival songs like the Romanian or Moldovan entry this year or kitschy trash like the Croatian or Estonian songs (by the way the performance of Koit and Laura in the final was a desaster). Imagine 2009 without the jury, wonderful Patricia Kaas would have been last!
      But at the end it is always a question of personal taste. If your favourite song doesn’t come trough it is easy to blame either the jury or the public vote (just depending on what fits best to support your opinion or taste). In the editors case, who seems not to be in favour of the Dutch song, it is the juries fault that they made it to the final or that the song from Finland didn’t make it (a song he seems to like a lot). On the other side I am very grateful that the jury voted for the great Dutch song and against the dull Estonian entry and I could easily blame the public to vote for the horrible Croatian entry. What I want to say with this polemic is that with the same argument the editor writes against the jury, I could demand to stop the public televote and go back to good old 100% jury voting, as the public vote destroys the songs I like or supports the songs I and many others don’t like. At least for this year… Next year I might argue with the jury for the same reason, depending who (either the jury or the the public) supported my favourite songs. That’s why we need both the jury and the public vote to keep the balance!
      What concerns me much more is the fact that neither the jury nor the public vote can and wants to stop the unbearable exchange of 12 points between countries like Greece and Cyprus (or Romania and Moldova on a certain level), which has nothing to do with judging on the quality of music any more.

  • 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!

     
  • A. Alexandrovic (Swiss) 04:16 on May 14, 2017 4:16 am Permalink |  

    Eurovision 2017: analysis of the results 

    UKRAINE – The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is over and both juries and audience fairly declared Portugal as the winner. This is the end of massive waste of money into efforts and a turn to pure music as Jon Ola Sand pointed also in the winners’ press conference. But let’s have a look at the semi finals and the final and see what happened really with the results.

    It is clear that in the first semi final as well in the grand final Portugal topped the votes of both juries and televoting. Finland would have been in the final is the juries didn’t plunder the entry which was one of the best this year. The juries clearly supported and boosted Australia to the final something which would never happen if only televoting applied. Czech Republic was also the jury favourite but lost the ticket to the final due to televoting.

    In the second semi final Austria and Denmark clearly boosted by the juries and personally I don’t understand why the audience disliked those two entries and didn’t vote for them. Bulgaria topped the votes in both jury and public voting and San Marino really got what they deserved both by the jury and public voting. Malta was indeed the juries sweetheart but didn’t appeal to the audience at all. It is clear that the juries didn’t want to Yodel it as they plundered Romania in the voting, thankfully saved by the audience. Estonia, a song that we all loved in the press area, would have been to the final if the juries didn’t vote for it as 17th.

    It is clear that Portugal prevailed because music always prevails. Eurovision is all about music, good music and classy sounds. Italy, plundered by the juries, is obviously saying they don’t want to win Eurovision. It was the top favourite and it destroyed. This tells me that in Eurovision, ignore bookies, polls and odds: ANYTHING can happen. Bulgaria got also what it deserved, the second place with a great performer and song. Good news for all of us supporting transparency in the Eurovision world with Spain topping the bottom of the scoreboard: LESSONS to be taught. Ukraine would never would have done well anyway, not only because of the song (which was not bad actually) but because of the mediocre organization: no one wants to return to Kyiv for Eurovision! Finally France entered the top ten by the viewers. Actually all entries in their national language (Hungary, Belarus, Italy, Portugal, France) proved to all of us that English is not a pre-requisite. Bad news for Greece: bad vocals and no coherence in the expensive and professionally cared presentation cost them big time. Germany also plundered despite having a great singer (as personality) but it was obvious (and we reported on that) that songs that reminds us an already released tune do not do well in Eurovision (exception Sweden 2015). The same thing happened with Belgium, which lost the victory although one of the dark horses but ended up 4th, a good record for the country to bring better and original songs to Eurovision. Australia got a decent placing although it’s clear that Europeans had enough with the Aussies (personally I disagree). Surprises for me where The Netherlands and Croatia. Two very indifferent songs made it to good positions in the grand final. Cyprus and Greece exchanged 12 points, well they better now share the sadness of their failed rankings too. Cyprus was a copycat of Sergey Lazarev’s presentation and unless this island wakes up and take Eurovision seriously, they will see the bottom in Eurovision every year. Good news for the United Kingdom. OK they didn’t raked well but they received points from tele voting and jury, something rare in the recent years. Lucie was amazing.

    Once again though we had a Stockholm copycat show. Same intro, same parade of nations idea and graphics, no innovation, no inspiration, nothing. Eurovision and its logistics must immediately change. The show was simply boring. Besides Onuka, having such an extended interval with Ruslana (again and again and again) and Jamala (for whom nobody really cares) was too much. There were moments when I prayed for Sweden to win again so we can at least see new things in Eurovision 2018. But we have a well deserved winner. GOOD music and a man who despite his health problem stand out for his country, deserve the biggest of applauses and lots of CONGRATULATIONS

    Obrigado, Portugal for the music!

     
    • Milan S. 08:10 on May 15, 2017 8:10 am Permalink

      Maybe she is amazing as a person, but the song is anything but amazing…

    • Charles Cope 00:04 on May 15, 2017 12:04 am Permalink

      Demy was great, but the backing singers were out of tune. Mistake.

    • kobekobe 13:35 on May 14, 2017 1:35 pm Permalink

      I do like “Is This love” as a song but live it was really underwhelming.

    • Eaftosmou Krymmeno 13:17 on May 14, 2017 1:17 pm Permalink

      Finland 2006 – “classy sounds”…
      Portugal 2017 – boring

    • beccaboo1212 13:00 on May 14, 2017 1:00 pm Permalink

      How could you be negative about the Greek entry? Demy was AMAZING! 🙁

  • another web source 23:39 on April 17, 2017 11:39 pm Permalink |  

    Eurovision 2017: all you need to know 

    EDITORIAL – The Eurovision Song Contest 2017 will be the 62nd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. It will take place in the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, Ukraine, following Ukraine’s victory at the 2016 contest in Stockholm with the song “1944”, written and performed by Jamala. This will be the second time the contest takes place in Kiev, after 2005, and the fourth Eurovision event after hosting the Junior Eurovision Song Contests in 2009 and 2013. The contest is expected to consist of two semi-finals on 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May 2017.

    Forty-two countries will participate in the 2017 contest. Portugal and Romania are to return to the contest, both having been absent from the 2016 edition. After returning in 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina has withdrawn again due to financial difficulties. Russia announced their withdrawal on 13 April 2017, after their singer, Yulia Samoylova, was banned from entering Ukraine after the government said she had illegally travelled directly to Crimea, a region that was annexed by Russia in 2014, to give a performance. The European Broadcasting Union condemned Ukraine’s actions.

    The contest will take place in the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, following Ukraine’s victory at the 2016 contest with the song “1944”, performed by Jamala. The International Exhibition Centre, which was announced as the host venue on 9 September 2016, has a capacity of approximately 11,000 attendees and is the largest exhibition centre in Kiev. Located in the western portion of Livoberezhna microdistrict, the centre was opened in October 2002, and the head of the centre since its construction was Anatoly Tkachenko.

    NTU announced on 22 July that the bids from Dnipro, Kiev and Odessa had been shortlisted for further consideration. The EBU announced on 30 July that the host city would be announced “in due course”, rather than on the previously stated date of 1 August, with Executive Supervisor of the contest Jon Ola Sand stating that the EBU “really want to take the time it takes to come up with the right decision”. The Deputy General Director of NTU, Oleksandr Kharebin, stated on 10 August that the host city would be announced on Ukrainian Independence Day, 24 August. The announcement was later scheduled to take place on 25 August; however, it was postponed at 14:00 EEST, one hour before it was due to take place, with NTU citing the need to further consider some fine details regarding the decision. After several delays in announcing the host city, NTU announced on 8 September that they would be meeting with the Ukrainian Government and the LOC on 9 September and that a press conference to announce the host city was scheduled to take place at 13:00 EEST on the same day from the Government Press Centre in Kiev. Kiev was announced as the host city for the contest with the International Exhibition Centre selected as the venue.

    The preliminary dates for the contest were announced on 14 March 2016 at a meeting of Heads of Delegation in Stockholm, with the semi-finals expected to take place on 16 and 18 May and the final on 20 May 2017. These preliminary dates were chosen by the EBU to avoid the contest coinciding with any major television and sporting events scheduled to take place around that time. However, the EBU announced on 24 June that the preliminary dates for the contest had been brought forward a week, with the semi-finals scheduled for 9 and 11 May and the final on 13 May. This was reportedly due to a request from NTU, as the initial preliminary dates conincided with the Remembrance Day for the victims of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars on 18 May. However, the current preliminary dates coincide with the second leg of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League semi-finals.

    On 30 January 2017, it was unveiled that the theme for the 2017 contest would be Celebrate Diversity; executive Jon Ola Sand explained that “The notion of celebrating diversity is at the heart of Eurovision values: it is all-inclusive and all about countries around Europe, and beyond, joining together to celebrate both our common ground and our unique differences, as well as some great music.” The logo and visual design of the contest incorporates imagery of stylized beads, with the main logo using the beads to form a traditional neck amulet.

    On 27 February 2017, it was announced that the presenters for the contest would be Oleksandr Skichko and Volodymyr Ostapchuk, Timur Miroshnychenko being the “Green Room” host. It will be the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest will be presented by a male trio, and the second time, after the 1956 edition with a solo male presenter, that the contest won’t feature a female presenter. Miroshnychenko has previous experience in hosting Eurovision contests, having presented the Junior Eurovision Song Contests in 2009 and 2013.

    On 31 October 2016, EBU announced that forty-three countries will participate in the 2017 contest, equalling the record number from 2008 and 2011. Portugal and Romania will return after being absent from 2016 contest, while Bosnia and Herzegovina withdrew due to financial difficulties.

    O’G3NE (Lisa, Amy and Shelley) will return to a Eurovision event after having previously represented the Netherlands in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2007 with the song “Adem in, Adem Uit”.

    Imri Ziv will return to represent Israel after being a backing vocalist for Nadav Guedj in 2015 and Hovi Star in 2016.

    Omar Naber will return to represent Slovenia after previously representing the country in 2005 with the song “Stop”, which failed to qualify for the final.

    The SunStroke Project will return to represent Moldova after previously representing their country in 2010 alongside Olia Tira with the song “Run Away”, which placed 22nd in the final.

    Tijana Bogićević will return to represent Serbia after being a backing vocalist for Nina in 2011.

    Koit Toome and Laura Põldvere, who will perform as a duo representing Estonia, have both represented their country in different years: Toome performed as a solo artist in 1998 with the song “Mere lapsed”, reaching 12th place with 36 points, and Põldvere performed in 2005 as a member of the group Suntribe with the song “Let’s Get Loud”, which failed to qualify to the final.

    Valentina Monetta will return to sing for San Marino. She previously represented the country in three consecutive editions of the contest: 2012, 2013, and 2014. She will perform in a duet this time, accompanied by Jimmie Wilson.

    source: http://www.wikipedia.org

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 00:30 on April 14, 2017 12:30 am Permalink |  

    Banning: well surely Ukraine learned from the best; the Greeks! 

    EDITORIAL – Banning Russian participant from the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 is another act of politicising the event, something which is going on for years now as numerous examples can be seen throughout the history of the contest.

    It’s not though only the political banning but there is also the issue of freedom of expression. The Ukrainian government’s decision which is clearly not supported by the national broadcaster (at least in open eyes) reminded us the recent incident with the Greek national broadcaster and oikotimes.com

    It is known for 16 years now that ERT never liked oikotimes.com messing around. By messing around we refer to exclusive information leaked on the web and negative comments about the administration of the broadcaster which picked last year when oikotimes.com openly asked ERT’s current administration to resign after the dreadful result of group Argo in Stockholm.

    It was early March when the producers of the video clip invited our chief editor Fotis Konstantopoulos and accepted also our Swedish editor Martin Hansson to participate in the video clip of “This is love” for Demy’s bid in the Greek national selection. All of us participating in the video clip signed a confidential disclosure not to reveal or speak about the video clip until its official release.

    But there was a leak. Checking the footage it was clear that the leak was intentional as the footage could only be available in specific hands. Unlike previous leaks ERT didn’t go after the person who did it. In the leaked version of the clip both Fotis and Martin were shown in the clip participating. But a member of Greek delegation alongside a woman (former ERT employee) liaison of ERT and sponsors vetoed the participation of Fotis, demanding his removal from the final editing.

    Unlike Martin, Fotis was an obvious target for ERT’s prejudiced and racist methods. It came to our attention though that the team behind Demy argued in favour of oikotimes.com. The bad news for ERT and this old blond lady (the name of which we will not reveal for legal reasons) is that oikotimes.com is indeed a member of the video clip as Martin is starring in it.

    Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t!

     
    • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 01:40 on April 17, 2017 1:40 am Permalink

      this article makes perfect sense you are probably the one with linguistic problems ;-) and it’s english proofread

    • Kevin Riley 18:16 on April 16, 2017 6:16 pm Permalink

      This article makes no sense. Please ask native English speakers to check your articles; they might make sense then.

    • theopapalig 14:43 on April 15, 2017 2:43 pm Permalink

      Exi kani para pola. Parolo pou einai sintaxiouxos apo thn ERT pano apo pente xronia me psemata kai sikofanties exei kanei pera pollous kai exei stisei mia omada pou den anikei sthn ert alla kani oti thelei.

    • theopapalig 14:37 on April 15, 2017 2:37 pm Permalink

      Kai natan mono afto! Se sas den ekane kati spoudeo se sxesh me afto pou ekane se gnosto dhmosiografo tou antenna, pou eixe kanei aithsh na diapoisteftei fetos. Pieze on Antena ena mina mexri na allaxei me dhmosiografo tis epirois tis. Arxika ta katafere. Omos o thigmenos katafere meta apo maxh na pari piso to aima tou.

  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 02:50 on April 8, 2017 2:50 am Permalink |  

    Israel Calling 2017: why Tel Aviv knows how to party 

    @israelcalling last family photo #israelcalling #oikotimes #eurovision #celebratediversity

    A post shared by OIKOTIMES EUROVISION (@oikotimes) on

    EDITORIAL – Recall your teenage birthday parties, when your mom made it possible for you to have a successful party and you have the best description of why Israeli Eurovision party was great this year: Tali Eshkoli, hosting just like your own mom alongside her superhero team, led by Shai Barak gave an outstanding hosting for the second edition of Israel Calling 2017.

    Some might say, OK these guys from oikotimes.com just got another free press trip and now praise the Israeli party, but if your remember the first party review by this website, the report was argumentative enough and pointed out very negative aspects of the organising. This though didn’t stop the organisers from inviting us again.

    Tel Aviv is known for having an administration which favours hosting big events to promote the city and furthermore the Israeli mentality of being a country which is ready to welcome everyone despite political developments and security risks. Tel Aviv is by definition an exotic city in which different cultures meet and collide, creating an amazing and outstanding feeling for the guests. A city that never sleeps (and trust me we do feel that in our body by now).

    There are indeed several European parties in Europe: in Amsterdam, in London, in Riga, in Madrid, in Moscow, in Helsinki, in Luxembourg and even the oikotimes.com parties. But Israel makes it a marathon. 4 days of constant activities for the fans to promote their personalities with media coverage from all over the world and big respect to the fan site bloggers. Being into all of the parties mentioned, this team can surely say that the most respectful and honourable hosting was the one by Tali Eshkoli and her team. Imagine an exhausting woman, working 24 hours per day but at the same time smiling and hugging you when you need to.

    Welcoming team at the airport made it possible for you to reach a wonderful accommodation such Dan Panorama Hotel is. The specific hotel besides its 5 star status, has one of the most amazing buffets for breakfast, launch and dinners i have ever seen. Transportation provided by the organisers surely worked better than last year and this time implemented busses with WI-FI. Though a minor problem both to the hotel and the bus internet access was the low speed provided but this must have been rather technical rather than intentionally bad.

    Activities included a welcoming dinner at the 49th floor of a down town Tower Building with a view to a kill. The entire Tel Aviv was in your feet while tasting one of the most amazing food you could ever have. A tour to Jerusalem might sound as something cheesy due to its religious nature but many of us returned back to the hotel full of a weird spiritual experience (don’t ask me more as some of us cannot explain it in words). Visiting the Western Wall, the tomb of Jesus where the Holy Light is created every Orthodox Easter, touching the stone where the body of Jesus allegedly laid after his death can really cause an energy reaction in your body whether you are a believer or not.

    Planting to the Eurovision Forest was another experience we all enjoyed. We loved seen two categories of Eurovision stars: most of them knew how to plant a tree and explained to oikotimes.com that they do that either in their own garden or in other places. Some of them didn’t know how to scratch the ground and it was very so nice to see the gesture of French HoD to help planting the Georgian tree. The symbolism was definitely there: most of the Eurovision stars think that even one person touched by this and become sensitive about nature, it’s already a success. Blanche had the honour this year to say the pray.

    Organising a welcome gala can easily become a mess. NAMA restaurant welcomed the 28 delegations and invited fan and media journalists in an open air party where we were all dressed up. Besides the red carpet here was a chance to 1-1 interview with the artists. Unlike other websites, oikotimes.com turned this over: instead of interviewing the Eurostars we turned them into journalists. Lots of dance with Israeli songs and a sentiment of a family reunion were the characteristics of the party.

    Under 30+ degrees Celsius it was a true summer event. Almost like been in Tel Aviv in July, the main party took place at the venue with a multi camera and live broadcast this year. Much better organising for the venue welcoming and VIP section arrangements without the chaotic and confusing arrangements of last year. Sparkling wine and beers were all over the place. The artists gave their performances and then returned to the VIP area interacting not only with the media and fan bloggers but also with the auditors. Organisers once again thanked the delegations and invited press with the amazing -417 products with minerals from the Dead Sea. The night couldn’t end of course without getting the artists to the City Hall for one more Family Photo.

    photo: Fotis Konstantopoulos / http://www.oikotimes.com

    There was also a press conference like never seen before. At the Dan Panorama hotel conference room, you expected to see a boring seating panel of 28 artists waiting to Q&A boring and typical Eurovision questions. Instead the press conference host gave it a theme: chase your dreams no matter the obstacles. The impact was immediate to all of us inside the room with Danish representative Anja Nissen bursting to tears from emotional overdose almost like we all felt.

    The next day and for the first time, the delegations who left later in the afternoon like France, Malta and more, and the chance and pleasure to enjoy a totally summer yacht cruise outside Tel Aviv. We can surely assume from Instagram post that Claudia Faniello enjoyed it more than anyone else, unlike me forced to loose the activity due to a flight back home, which ended up with a 10 hour delay!

    Beautiful Israel❤❤❤ @sunglassandsunglass

    A post shared by Claudia Faniello (@claudiafaniello) on

    The oikotimes.com team would like to thank Tali Eshkoli, Shai Barak and the amazing team of volunteers, the embassies of Greece and Larnaka, Dan Panorama Hotel employees for giving a warm hosting to all 28 delegations. In this event we also noticed that we have one of the best group of Eurovision star participants set as 90% of them are willing to interact and become friends with you without any snobbism. In terms of performances we can surely say that the entries of FYR Macedonia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Moldova were actually cheered by all auditors while we can surely realise now which entries will definitely plunder in Kyiv but at the moment I will not reveal those names!

    photo: Fotis Konstantopoulos / http://www.oikotimes.com

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 23:41 on March 22, 2017 11:41 pm Permalink |  

    Eurovision: true victim of politics 

    EDITORIAL – Throughout the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, politics had a big say in the way the event was organised and taking place. Here are some of the examples with politics deeply involved in the Eurovision Song Contest.

    When it comes to Eurovision, one thing that has become as predictable as the ludicrous outfits and high kitsch performances is controversy. From tactical voting to political scandals, this contest has had it all.

    • In 1978, Jordan refused to broadcast the Israeli entry and viewers were instead shown pictures of flowers. When Israel then won, Jordanian broadcasters cut the transmission and its media announced the following day that runners-up Belgium had come first. Lebanon attempted the same trick in 2005 when Greece won, but were forced to withdraw for a breach of contest rules.
    • When Israeli transsexual Dana International was chosen to represent the country in 1998, religious groups protested and parliament called for a replacement. But in a bizarre twist, she then won, resulting in thousands of Israelis taking to the streets in celebration.
    • It has since been claimed, in a Spanish documentary, that dictator General Franco rigged the 1968 Eurovision to boost Spain’s flagging tourism. British act Cliff Richard, whose entry Congratulations came second, is still bitter.
    • Israel’s 1973 Eurovision entrant had to sing while wearing a bulletproof vest, after Palestinian militants had massacred Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics the previous September.
    • Georgia’s 2009 entry was banned for violating the Eurovision ban on songs with overtly political content. It was called ‘We Don’t Wanna Put In’ and was about their recent war with Russia, whose Prime Minister was Vladimir Putin.
    • Austria boycotted the contest in 1969 in protest that it was being held in Spain. Turkey were forced to do the same thing in 1979 under pressure from Arab states who objected to a predominantly Muslim country taking part in a contest which was that year being held in Israel
    • Following Turkey’s 1974 invasion of Cyprus, Greece withdrew its 1975 entry in protest over Turkey’s inclusion. In 1976, Turkish TV then refused to broadcast the Greek performance.
    • The most controversial political gesture occurred in 2000 when Israel’s entrants ended by revealing Syrian flags and calling for peace. It emerged that two of the group were journalists who wrote about cultural affairs for the newspaper Ma’ariv
    • In 2012 Armenia forced to withdraw as there were no clear safety precautions whether the Armenian entrant will be properly allowed in the country due to the rivalry over NGK.
    • In 2004 though Turkey, which doesn’t recognise Cyprus as a state and therefore the Greek Cypriot passports allowed the Cypriot participant and delegation warmly welcoming them. A year ago, in a good will gesture Cyprus government allowed the northern Cyprus viewers to participate in the Eurovision televising ultimately attributing the first ever points to Turkey which actually brought them the trophy.
    • Don’t forget that in 2016 the winner song was about the Tatar deportation as part of a personal story of the singer’s family. Not until the end of the contest international media though, mentioned that Tatars were Nazi allies!
     
    • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 19:02 on March 31, 2017 7:02 pm Permalink

      have in mind dear that YOUR UKRAINIAN JAMALA was in Sochi for a concert a year before Eurovision. So she definitely allowed Russian authorities to check her passport
      About TATARS read carefully, they were NAZI allies (not that Stalin was better) but don’t present them to me as Saints!

    • Andrij Fedoruk (@Andrii555) 17:52 on March 31, 2017 5:52 pm Permalink

      And coming back to the essence of your article – the true victims of politics in Ukraine are about 10 000 civilians killed in russion agression against Ukraine, and abou 2 000 000 people who fled from Ukrainian East saving their lives from russia-sponsored terrorists.
      And when you speak about true victims of politics, please do not forget a dozen Crimean tatars tortured to death during and after Russian occupation of the Crimea, and thousands of Crimean refugees from Russian troops!

    • Andrij Fedoruk (@Andrii555) 17:45 on March 31, 2017 5:45 pm Permalink

      It’s a shame that you repeat soviet propaganda cliche about tatars!!! Are you aware – how many nations within the USSR were declared “enemies” and cruelly deported from their native lands? Without food and any personal things… And how many of them just died during transportation in cattle-cars?
      Do you know that Stalin planned deportation of Ukrainians as well?

    • Денис Хомяков 03:51 on March 23, 2017 3:51 am Permalink

      Just inferring obstruction over that last phrase in article.
      Lets imagine 2016 song’s title being fixed, so you can span deportation theme and include greeks and other christians that have been thrown out from Crimea in late 18’s century just for empire needs. Ah, whatever, better back in 20’s century: there were nazi allies across all borderland nations, including russians. There also were soviet heroes, war veterans and partisans across all borderland nations, including crimean tatars, with official heroes like Amet-khan Sultan, Fetislam Abilov, Uzeir Abduramanov and many other amongst 60 thousands of participators. Their families have been deported as well. So, hom much this historian song has got in common with your peremptory statement about nazi allies? Who gave a right to journalists to call whole minority like that, bypassing acquittal in their respect, made long time ago on USSR?

  • Fred Medeiros (United Kingdom) 13:06 on February 25, 2017 1:06 pm Permalink |  

    Loreen: Legend or One-Hit Wonder? 

    EDITORIAL – Who would of thought that the fourth place finisher in Swedish Idol 2004 would be one of the most celebrated and legendary winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. That’s where it all started for Lorén Talhaoui, as she was known then.

    Young Lorén didn’t really hit the ground running after her Idol participation. She featured on Swedish reggae rappers’, Rob ‘n’ Raz, “The Snake” which failed to chart. Failing at that she turned her hand to working on several Swedish tv shows but mostly behind the scenes as a director and segment producer. She then took a long hiatus out of the public eye.

    Lorén didn’t make an impact again until she was selected to take part in Melodifestivalen in 2011. With a slight renaissance, Lorén became Loreen and sang “My Heart Is Refusing Me” in the second semifinal. Loreen advanced to the Andra Chansen but she lost out on a place in the final to Sara Varga with “Spring För Livet”. Interestingly Loreen may get her revenge as she is now up against Sara Varga again in fourth semifinal of Melodifestivalen 2017. This was Loreen’s first song to chart at number 9 and stayed for an amazing 30 weeks on the chart.

    With such immediate success without even getting to the final, Loreen entered Melodifestivalen again in 2012 with “Euphoria.” She competed in the first semifinal and advanced directly to the final. On 10 March 2012, she won the jury and the televote to represent Sweden at the ESC in Baku. Loreen released “Euphoria” and a another song “Sober” at the same time. “Euphoria” was an instant hit spending 6 weeks at 1 whereas “Sober” limped in at 26 and only spent 5 weeks in the chart entirely. Was this the early signs of being a one hit wonder?

    Baku was the place that changed Loreen’s life forever. On the 26 May 2012, Loreen easily won the Eurovision Song Contest winning both the jury and the televote. If the result was just down to the televote the contest would of been more interesting as the audience knew she had won before half of the voting had been revealed. Russia came second but with such a poor jury vote they ended up 111 points behind Sweden. “Euphoria” broke the record for the most amount of douze points with 18 countries giving the song their top marks.

    Europe exploded for their love of “Euphoria” and it went to number 1 in 17 countries and was the highest charting Eurovision song since 1996 in the UK, at number 3. The song as had longevity as it charted in Sweden for 43 weeks as was their number 1 song of the year. It also appeared in many other European countries end of year charts. It also received countless sales achievements with Sweden being the highest at 10x platinum. So Europe was ready and waiting for her album.

    Heal was named as Loreen’s upcoming album and was due to be released late October 2012. Her second international single was “My Heart Is Refusing Me” but this failed to make much of an impact with the best chart placing was Germany at 11. So in Sweden only she released her then fourth single “Crying Out Your Name” which only charted at 19. So the warning signs were starting to show. Maybe she waited to long to release new material. By the time her album arrived, to mixed critical reviews, it really only made an impact in Scandinavia being Top 10 in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. It also made the Top 20 in Denmark, The Netherlands and Germany. The album didn’t last long in many of the charts with many of her other singles failing to chart.

    After a poor attempt to relaunch the album Heal, with the less well received “We Got The Power” at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö. The single didn’t make the Top 50 in Sweden coming in at 52. Its best charting was in Finland at 24. Loreen then decided to tour to promote the album throughout 2013 & 2014. She performed at selected cities in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Throughout this time she started writing and hinting to her audiences that a second album was coming soon.

    In late 2014 she started performing her new single from her upcoming album. The single was “Paper Light” which most wouldn’t have seen until she performed it as the interval act at the Melodifestivalen 2015 Andra Chansen. The single was released but only managed to reach 25in the charts. Audiences were confused by her new grungy, dirtier sound and look. Loreen announced it would be the lead single from her new album which was scheduled for an October 2014 release. After two further failed singles including her first in Swedish the album has been put on hold.

    On 30 November 2016, Loreen was announced to be participating in Melodifestivalen with the song “Statements.” This was a shock to many but in several interviews Loreen has revealed that she is using Melfest to promote her new album. She isn’t interested in winning but simply wants to be heard. Ironically her song is all about making a political statement which she hasn’t been a stranger of.

    Overall Loreen has a cult fan base internationally but her Swedish fans have deserted her new style and sound. After last night’s rehearsal the audience poll put her in 3rd place for the semifinal behind Wiktoria and Jon Henrik. It is interesting that someone like Loreen who could potentially win Eurovision again without too much trouble actually will find it very difficult to win the Swedish ticket to the contest. Can you really imagine Loreen going to Andra Chansen after her accomplishments like Carola in 2008? We shall see tonight.

     
  • Newsdesk (Europe) 07:10 on February 19, 2017 7:10 am Permalink |  

    What a better way to celebrate the Carnival with Eurovision music 

    EDITORIAL – Carnival is a Western Christian festive season that occurs before the liturgical season of Lent. The main events typically occur during February or early March, during the period historically known as Shrovetide (or Pre-Lent).

    Carnival typically involves a public celebration and/or parade combining some elements of a circus, masks, and a public street party.

    People wear masks and costumes during many such celebrations, allowing them to lose their everyday individuality and experience a heightened sense of social unity. Excessive consumption of alcohol, meat, and other foods proscribed during Lent is extremely common.

    Other common features of carnival include mock battles such as food fights; social satire and mockery of authorities; the grotesque body displaying exaggerated features, especially large noses, bellies, mouths, and phalli, or elements of animal bodies; abusive language and degrading acts; depictions of disease and gleeful death; and a general reversal of everyday rules and norms.

    Rio de Janeiro’s carnival is considered the world’s largest, hosting approximately two million participants per day. In 2004, Rio’s carnival attracted a record 400,000 foreign visitors. Now let’s dance for the Carnival with the ultimate and related Eurovision songs!

     
  • Newsdesk (Europe) 03:49 on February 3, 2017 3:49 am Permalink  

    Melodifestivalen: The sex files! 

    EDITORIAL – Hmm the order was clear… find me all the sexy performances in Melodifestivalen the last 10 years from 2006 till 2016. And how would you describe something sexy? Lets connect it with the word undress maybe…Samir and Victor gave us the idea but DJ hunk is coming to prove that is was good one! So here are the most sexy and undressed performances in Melodifestivalen from 200sex till 201sex (sex in Swedish is six… Google it!)

    2000 and Sex has 3 sexy entries. At the first semifinal and 5th in order of appearance is Linda Bengtzing with her song “Jag Ljuger Så Bra” ( I lie so well) She started fully dressed with a great night dress and after being undressed twice she ends up almost with some black vinyl underwear…something that made her go straight to the final and get the 7th place that year.

    The first song of the second semifinal is the second sexy entry for this year and group “Elephants” with their song “Oh yeah” . One of the main singers of the group decided to remove that orange “piece of carpet” that he was wearing to show us his great dark body and abs…something that didn’t help much cause they came last at that semifinal…maybe he should have shown his proboscis too.

    The third sexy entry for this year is the 4th song of the 3rd semifinal. Jessika Andersson with her song “Kalla Natter” (cold nights ) shows us that for some men some night can be really hot as she performs as a strip girl in a Cabaret…the old fashion way …you know , “me the lights and one chair”..ok some vocals appeared at the end. Maybe Sverige was too conservative that year (what?) and she didn’t make it not even for the Andra chansen and she went back home with the fifth place…a really cold night for her!

    2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 were not the sexiest years for Melodifestivalen… only in 2007 at the 4th semifinal ,Verona appeared 7th with her song Musica . After the first half of the song two half naked men appeared playing with fires that actually didn’t fit anywhere…they dint fit the song , they dint fit the rhythm but…they were kind of fit themselves…Verona came last at that semifinal, who knows why. The song was in Italian…Mama mia!

    In 2011 we have one sexy entry from Jenny Silver and “Something in your eyes” on the first semifinal. She wanted to convince as that she can be sexy if she wants .The previous year with her song “a place to stay “she dint want that at all. She ended up 3rd at that semifinal and she made it till the Andra Chansen but not till the final. That year I believed that Jenny had the “must win” song of that year…but something in my eyes seemed different. Special detail, see the DRESS ATTACK at the 1:05 of this video. Something on her head!

    The sexy entry of the year 2012 is from the group Love generation! After they threw away the one fourth of the group (they were four) and one forth of their uniform they performed 4th on the 3rd semifinal of Melodifestivalen but they ended up 6th so they dint make it till the final. At least they proved that half naked can be more sexy than being fully nude!

    2013 has two sexy entries …bit far from what we call sexy in a mainstream way. Sean Banan! 8th act on the second semifinal, with his song “Copacabanana” (Copa what?) At the end of his performance he appears as an angel with pants! Sometimes it can be really sexy when you look good but you don’t take yourself too serious. This helped Sean Banan to go straight to the grand final! He ended up si(e)xth !

    The second sexy entry for this year comes from the “Army of lovers” and their song “Rocking the ride”. What to say about them…one of the most bizarre performances in Melodifestivalen . All of the dancers half naked , the main singer having his nipples covered and with La Kamila having issues to follow the playback. They were the big name of the 4th semifinal, and the opening act. Everybody had great expectations from them but they didn’t even make it to the andra chansen…shame (on you) La Kamila!

    2014 was a really modest year. In 2015 we have only one sexy entry at the 4th semifinal. The first act from “Midnight boy” and his song “Don’t say no” has a bizarre sexiest from the previous year and a sound from the 80’s. He and his dancers with their androgyny look didn’t make the crowd and the Juries to say yes and they ended up last at that semifinal. Sorry Midnight boy but Conchita Wurst was much more than beards with make up!!!!

    And finally two thousand and SEX has THE sexy entry that made as to write that editorial! Samir och Victor the first song of the first semifinal of the Melodifestivalen 2016 is one of the most undressed and sexy performances so far! They even took their pants of at the final! With their song “Bana Nakna” (bath naked) they had a great excuse for their performance even though they kept their briefs on…they left something to be done by the DJ HUNK maybe… Melodifestivalen 2017 we are Waiting for your surprises !!!

    special thanks to Anastasis Bachas (Greece)

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 00:40 on December 30, 2016 12:40 am Permalink  

    Eurovision 2017 First Ten: Meet them and have a say! 

    EDITORIAL – The first ten acts for Eurovision 2017 have been chosen. Ten countries already decided their participants. Let’s meet them and let’s have our annual First Ten Poll in which you are called to vote for the top three artists with whom you are already excited. It has nothing to do with winning Eurovision 2017 but it’s all about your excitement. Therefore, meet them and vote for them!

    ALBANIA

    Lindita Halimi recently won the annual music festival of Albania. She declared she will revamp her song and turn it into English but she’s already in the spotlight due to her social media conflict with Eneda Tarifa, pointing negative comments for last year’s Albanian entry. In overall though Lindita has already received huge support from the Eurofans.

    ARMENIA

    It took them a three month marathon talent show to decide that Artsvik will represent country in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The song for her will be decided later on as there is open submission for composers all over the world and Armenia up to January 20th.

    AUSTRIA

    A young artist barely known is chosen in Austria named Nathan Trent but it seems that Austrians are somehow excited. His descents are Italian / German and he is a music star of RnB. There is no information how and when the Austrian song will be chosen and presented to the public.

    AZERBAIJAN

    She was suppose to be Samra’s backing vocalist but instead she skipped Stockholm and will be in Kyiv. Diana is a surprise choice, a happy one, as she is totally alternative, singing songs that barely anyone could expect in Eurovision. Therefore we expect a good proposal-song for Eurovision 2017. There is no explanation how and why this artist was chosen nor when the song for Kyiv will be revealed. The good news is that for 2017 we say bye bye to kitsch and ethnic from Baku.

    BELGIUM

    Back to talent shows and Blanche (Ellie Delvaux) will represent Belgium as the RTBF decided. Usually no one is excited about the Belgian entry before the actual rehearsals in he host country begin. The examples of Belgian entries of 2013, 2015 and 2016 are a good proof of that.

    CYPRUS

    Failed in 2010 and 2015 to represent his country Hovig got the ticket to Kyiv through internal selection. He already started the promo tour visiting Armenian national final and performing on stage. His Eurovision 2017 entry will be penned by Thomas G:son like Cyprus did last year and for that cause he got 10,000 Euros from CyBC.

    IRELAND

    X-Factor UK jury member Louis Walsh proposed Brendan Murray to RTE and they accepted. The young artist with peculiar voice will represent the Queen of Eurovision, Ireland with its 7 victories in the history of the contest. Up to January 19th submissions are open for composers and authors.

    FYR MACEDONIA

    Jana Burčeska will represent the country in the Kyiv Eurovision Song Contest edition. The decision made internally and there are rumours that she is the daughter of the FYROM’s ambassador in USA. In the meantime there is still problem with the songs in the country as there are restrictions about ethnic tunes or something like that (no one really got it)

    MONTENEGRO

    Sexy, talented and alternative: Slavko Kalezić will represent Montenegro after RTCG decision upon 20 submissions. The eccentric artist with many naked photos and wearing high heels is already getting positive impressions from the social media fans. He is known actor mainly in the theatre, he also participated in Russian movies and he became known from his participation in the X-Factor Adria.

    THE NETHERLANDS

    Finally, three girls from Junior Eurovision jump to senior Eurovision. With a new name, O’G3NE, and a much more mature style the three girls are preparing their song for Kyiv. Having in mind that due to the recent years good results for the Netherlands, the country is taking seriously the project therefore we do anticipate something very good from them.

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 17:19 on November 25, 2016 5:19 pm Permalink  

    Can someone explain to me what Yakovlev’s “WTF” really means? 

    EDITORIAL – Sometimes (it’s no secret) I feel I am the only one moaning in the Eurovision world and you all know how bitchy I am many many times with everyone: artists, broadcasters, European Broadcasting Union. But this time someone surpassed me big time.

    Former EBU Executive Supervisor of Junior Eurovision Song Contest commented Sunday’s Junior Eurovision Broadcast with the phrase: “WTF did you do with this event?”

    But what exactly do u mean Mr Yakovlev? With the exception of the voting the whole format was the same you served in 2013 and 2014 and 2015 as well. It was the same production team behind 2014 and 2015 Junior Eurovision editions. Sometimes we even believed they copied the intro and the postcards and changed the logo. It was the same pompous music introducing host country like it was back in your days.

    So the voting changed and the time of the broadcast. The voting change didn’t bring any big changes: another Eastern country won (but we all admit it was the most deserved winner ever). The broadcast time changed: if you remember Vlad, I proposed that years back and you thought of it as an interesting idea.

    Just to be fair the moment I was writing my thoughts during the week, I haven’t see his clarification response but still doesn’t change much: “Just to clarify: It’s great that you can see the positives of JESC 2016 and, indeed, the kids and the delegations and the friendships made are always the highlights and that was always a given. What you might have overlooked is the fact that the ratings this year apart from new entrants Poland were incredibly low. This is a direct result of decisions made by EBU this year to eliminate viewer voting (which should move from phones to online or an app), a little-watched time slot, a small venue and a jury of four adults that did not seem relevant to the spirit of JESC. The Host Broadcaster team did its utmost to create a production under these challenging circumstances and did as well as anyone could have. I will always cherish the fantastic friendships made with everyone in Malta during JESC 2014. I hope that JESC continues next year and beyond with a team that genuinely loves the spirit of the event and works hard to promote the kids before, during and after, celebrating their talents.”

    So let’s talk about the TV ratings: yes, it was a disaster. EBU is indeed basing most of its arguments into numbers to consider something as a success or not. Despite Malta delivering a professional show (although many elements promised weren’t implemented – such as the multiple locations feature) no one can say that it was a bad show. They even managed to squeeze a spectacular stage into the tiny MCC auditorium which sometimes worked perfectly on camera and sometimes reminded me the 1999 Eurovision in Israel.

    We knew it from years that TV ratings are low, it’s not the first time that numbers are low. So what should we do? How to revamp it? To be honest I don’t know anymore. This show cannot afford to offer competition among the participants and therefore among the audience, it cannot offer music industry challenges and opportunities therefore it cannot grow more reaching somehow a Eurovision level. Shall we stop it? I don’t think so. Junior Eurovision is nowadays a party for kids with the simple exception it includes 10 cameras. Kids should not compete, kids should not feel pressure. Therefore the show cannot be competitive. TV ratings will continue to plunder for one basic reason: because Western and nordic countries boycott it. Unless EBU brings Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and France not to forget Spain back, the contest will become another Eurovision Young Musicians / Dancers event: just to exist!

    We at oikotimes.com also worry because our ratings on the website (and as far as we can say for many other fellow sites) are lower than 2014 and 2015 Junior Eurovision editions. This is why we seriously consider to give up in the contest as we don’t see what else can we (as fans) do to promote the event despite the increase number of fansites following the event. To be honest if it wasn’t Malta as host country our team was never considering going to the event but that country is magical and exotic you feel you owe to be there.

    Remember Mr Yakovlev it was you who for two years spread the information publicly that you re on to bring Hungary and Germany in the contest, also trying hard of France (especially after inviting them officially in Sofia), something which never happened to date. I suggest you follow my strategy as well: there’s no point to moan on Junior Eurovision. In terms of number is already a failure. In terms of promoting European kids’ talent and give them potential opportunities the show keeps rocking. After all for the very first time I saw 17 nation participants not caring about winning but only about be there and party with the other kids.

    To end this, such a show with failed numbers (although EBU’s YouTube channel rocked in numbers – with no comment on the average website content which was missing most of the times) keep sharing a message that even adults should follow: Embrace and unify no matter what. Haven’t you noticed: I even stopped moaning about this event as it doesn’t really worth nothing more than partying for music and kids’ pure love!

     
  • Fotis Konstantopoulos (Greece) 06:31 on November 22, 2016 6:31 am Permalink  

    The JESC Jet Lag and how kids saved the event this time! 

    CHANGE OF DATE & TIME

    The definition of Jet Lag: Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis and rarely as circadian dysrhythmia, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body’s circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance trans-meridian (east–west or west–east) travel on high-speed aircraft. For example, someone travelling from New York to London feels as if the time were five hours earlier than local time. Jet lag was previously classified as one of the circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

    The Eurovision Jet Lag: for me, usually a Eurovision event followed by most of us, Eurofans, media and press end on the early hours of Sunday each year (either senior or junior Eurovision editions). This time the event took place on Sunday afternoon. The biological clock disturbed, the flight was the next day (working day actually) and during the day. This was unusual.

    IT WASN’T WHAT WAS PROMISED

    It is clear that 2016 Junior Eurovision Song Contest was not what we were promised by the organisers when they took over the hosting of the event. No multiple locations, no spectacular event like in 2014 and very conservative and up to the point logistics. A very poor and amateur effort to keep a press centre running with volunteers from media schools mostly doing the work for the TVM website. All saved though by the warm hearted volunteers in Malta. For the first time the media bag given to the press was the poorest in goodies ever. The press area didn’t work properly until the middle of the week but it was great to see that finally good WiFi was installed in the premises.

    It is clear for me that the political decision to remove Anton Attard damaged the reputation of the contest while Mr Jon Ola Sand somehow admitted there were delays in his interview to oikotimes.com. It is also clear that Ira Losco was suppose to host the event but Attard’s removal changed the decision. Ben and Valerie though did a decent job and delivered the hosting despite the poor texts they were given. There were also severe delays in distributing the timetable of events and rehearsals forcing most of us to travel for a lot of extra days in advance as originally we were all said that the JESC work will begin as of 13th of November, but rehearsals began on 15th of the month. To be honest, despite the hard efforts, the Red Carpet and the After party was simply a disaster while the feature of the Green Room aside to the MCC auditorium was the best thing happened.

    While the transportation shuttles for press and delegations was perfectly organised again this year in Malta (especially thanks to Natalie Bonicci), the feature of press tours in the island failed big time as most of the offers were available (at least for the press and media) while the rehearsals were ongoing, therefore we couldn’t leave work to just have fun!

    KIDS SAVED THE DAY

    Following the event for years I have to say that for the first time, the Junior Eurovision motto saved the day. For the first time I saw the minimum level of competition among kids and I saw participants embracing each other no matter the result. I have to a admit that for the first time I saw team spirit among the participants and for the first time parents were not pressing their kids. Amazing example the parents of Zena, the Hod of Australia and Klesta’s father with who I was speaking intensively: we are here to party, we don’t care about the results. This is why my viewing aspect of the contest has changed this year. This week was an example for all adults and should be an example for senior Eurovision. These events are for celebrating music and not about bringing rivalry to each other. Embrace!

    THE VOTING SYSTEM

    It is clear that tele voting is not working for kids but on the other hand the jury voting brought a lot of controversy with Georgia been of course a deserved winner but the diversity of adult, kids’ and experts’ voting raised some questions. No matter what Georgia was declared the winner and Eastern countries once again ruled the scoreboard’s top. It is a big question now whether Georgia, having three victories, will finally host the event. Although I am not sure I would try to fly to Tbilisi for an event in November.

    SENIOR EUROVISION IN MALTA?

    I am afraid that there will be needed huge logistics effort for the country to host a senior Eurovision event with approximately 40+ countries participating. The traffic and the roads in Malta will suffer major chaos and although Malta is the perfect exotic place in Europe to have cutch an event, I think there should be severe changes in the city planning and reconstruction of the road-system.

    WORTH VISITING

    In the very end, Malta is trying hard to put themselves in the world map. They do it by heart and despite problems they work their a** off to make you happy and please everyone. Maltese are hospitable and out hearted and the country has lovely places to visit, Maltese architecture make you feel like having a time travel to middle ages (not the real ones but those of fairy tales). Having a good drink, enjoying great food and feel the warmth of the Maltese smile will be a great medicine for you when you want to relax from stress and hard work. During Eurovision events, all the above, might also help you deliver your work in a more relaxed and non competitive way.

    GREAT FIGURES FOR OIKOTIMES

    I am happy to report that my team and I delivered a great content for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. More than 620,000 page views reported by WordPress.com for November 12 – 21. More than 12,000 unique voters cast their votes to Europrediction and more than 170,000 likes reported on our Instagram feed. Junior Europrediction didn’t predict the winner either in the public or jury voting. Not sure if lack of tele voting caused this but once again it was fun seeing you participating in the most popular and historic interactive poll on the web. In the very end we had fun and you can see it in our funny videos!

    Grace Malta

     
  • Fred Medeiros (United Kingdom) 19:21 on November 4, 2016 7:21 pm Permalink  

    Five Eurostars we wanna see in #MelFest 2017 

    EDITORIAL – With 2017 not only being the 15th anniversary of the Swedish selection format change to Melodifestivalen but it will also be my 10th year attending the final. Over the years, I have wanted and waited for some of my favourite Swedish artists to perform and grace the stage in my presence. Many of my wishes have been granted but unfortunately some haven’t. I have compiled my top 5 wishes for the 2017 contest which include artists I’ve seen and some I haven’t.

    Alcazar – One of my all-time favourite participants in Melodifestivalen is the Schlager, Disco and Europop extravaganza that is Alcazar. Being five time entrants to the Swedish selection as well as being offered to be a part of the UK selection clearly shows their popularity. True Schlager music has lost favour in recent years but I feel it will have a come back via the club scene, most likely. With classic entries like Blame it on the Disco, Stay the Night and Alcastar you can clearly see the Eurovision potential. They’re all time stand out number has to be Not a Sinner, Nor a Saint. Being in the final four times but they haven’t placed higher than third place but with a cracking new song they could take the trophy. Along with European chart success they could fair well on the Eurovision stage.

    Lena Philipsson – She will always be the Queen of Swedish Schlager in my eyes. Lena has been in the Swedish selection four times, as a writer twice and she won in 2004. She even hosted Melodifestivalen in 2006 and she still stands as one of my favourite hosts of the contest. Her 80’s entries are all time classics even though she never one with one of them. I dare you to listen to one of her songs and not have a positive opinion on it. In a way she reminds me of Dolly Parton, not in style but in demeanor, like a ray of pure sunshine. Lena Philipsson has had a very diverse music career in many different styles and genres. The one thing she always seems to bring is the happiness that defines what Schlager is all about. She was one of the only pop stars to appear on a postage stamp in the 90s as well. Clearly Sweden has good taste. Her 2004 representation in the ESC in Istanbul is a classic performance and song which landed her a fifth place finish for Sweden. I don’t think Europe has had enough of this Lena and she would welcomed back at any time.

    Agnes (Carlsson) – Possibly one of the biggest Swedish exports of recent years, Agnes the first female winner of Idol, only officially participated in the 2009 contest with the song Love Love Love and finished eighth in the final. She was actually a part of the 2007 line up but she let slip the name of her song in a newspaper interview before she was allowed to. SVT disqualified her and the song for the slip up but she was replaced by another Idol contestant, Måns Zelmerlöw with Cara Mia. Since Agnes’ participation in the Swedish selection in 2009 she has had chart success all over the world. Release Me was a massive hit all over the world as well as its follow up On and On. Agnes is also the first and only to date Swedish Idol contestant to be launched in the US. Things have gone a bit quiet since her 2013 greatest hits release and her Eurovision interval inclusion so now is the perfect time to welcome her back to Melodifestivalen.

    Darin (Zanyar) – Another Idol contestant on my list, Darin came second in the very first season of Swedish Idol back in 2004. He went on to far outsell the winner, Daniel Lindström, to be one of the best selling Swedish artists including six number one albums. In 2010, Darin decided to give Melodifestivalen a go with his song You’re Out of My Life. His ballad did very well finishing fourth in the final but receiving top marks from the Greek and Russian international juries. Since then Darin hasn’t really stopped including releasing several more albums and appearing on Swedish TV show Så Mycket Bättre (S o Much Better) where he performed six cover versions of well know songs. He broke chart records during that time because all six songs appeared in the Top 10 of most of the Swedish charts for several weeks. I think Darin’s voice and style is perfect for the contest and one of my favourites’ is his song Lovekiller. SVT would be lucky to have him back if he agreed. Darin also participated in the 2013 Eurovision interval with fellow Idol contestant, Agnes.

    Sarah Dawn Finer – A fascinating artist with a breathtaking voice who is of English and American parents but raised in Sweden. She first participated in the Swedish selection back in 2007 with the ballad I Remember Love. She finished the final in fourth position but the song was a big hit in Sweden. Sarah came back in 2009 with the song Moving On. This time around she came sixth with her rising platform but the song was the most played song on Swedish radio in 2009. Sarah presented the Eurovision votes that year and went on to be one of the hosts of the 2012 Melodifestivalen contest. This is where her alter ego was invented, which she is probably better known for, Lynda Woodruff, the “official” spokesperson for the EBU. Lynda has appeared during several Eurovision events and has become an iconic character in the Eurovision bubble. She performed the ABBA classic The Winner Takes it All during the Eurovision 2013 final and it was so popular it was released as a single. Recently though, Sarah cancelled her most recent Winter Tour due to vocal issues. So I’m not sure she would be well enough to participate for 2017 but I’d welcome her back with open arms.

    It was very difficult to pick just five but I would also welcome any of the successful supergroups, artists famously known in their own right, that Sweden is famous for putting together. I can’t wait to see who will be included in the 2017 edition. Who do you think we be back?

     
    • beccaboo1212 14:31 on November 6, 2016 2:31 pm Permalink

      What about Eliias (JESC 2013). He turned 16 back in June, and therefore he’s finally eligible for the adult’s Eurovision. We know that O’G3NE is representing the Netherlands in Kiev, and they were formerly known as Lisa, Amy, and Shelley. Therefore, we need more JESC participants in the adult’s contest…as long as they’re at least 16 years of age!

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