Eurovision 2016 – We are off to Ukraine!

Ukraine win the Eurovision Song Contest, JamalaCredit: Andres Putting (EBU)
Ukraine win the Eurovision Song Contest, Jamala Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)

Congratulations to Jamala and the Ukraine on winning the 61st Eurovision Song Contest! This is the Ukraine’s second Eurovision win. They first won the contest in 2004 when Ruslana and her “Wild Dances” stormed Eurovision.

In the best contest in years, Jamala’s “1944”, a song about the deportation of Crimean Tartars by Stalin, showed how a strong song that stands out from the crowd can win the Song Contest.

Petra, Mans and everyone involved at SVT put on an amazing show! I adored the Interval act! Ukraine’s NTU have a tough act to follow!

The voting sequence was fantastic. The new voting system led to real suspense right up to that last moment!

Scoreboard following the Televote
Scoreboard following the Televote
Australia's Dami Im gets 12 points. Credit Thomas Hanses (EBU)
Australia’s Dami Im gets 12 points. Credit Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Going into the televote Australia had a commanding lead of 109 points over the Ukraine. Many thought it would be insurmountable, but Australia were not as popular with the televote as they were with the Juries as they came 4th in that vote.

Seeing Poland jump from 2nd last with 7 points from the juries to 8th place thanks to the televote really shows the beauty of this new voting system!

Russian Entry Sergey Lazarev. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)
Russian Entry Sergey Lazarev. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)

Russia narrowly won the Televote as they received 361 points to the Ukraine’s 323 but when added to the televote the Ukraine won with 534 points! 

Ukraine now hold the record for the most points for a Eurovision winner beating Alexander Rybak’s 387 point total for “Fairytale” in 2009. In fact the top 3 this year beat that score!

  1. Ukraine 534
  2. Australia 511
  3. Russia 491

This year was the first year that the winner of the Contest did not win either the Jury or the Televote! The Ukraine finished second in both.

But the Ukraine did win the most Douze points at the contest getting 17. They received 12 points from the 11 Juries, those were Bosnia Herzegovina, Denmark, Georgia, Israel, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, San Marino, Serbia and Slovenia. While Ukraine topped the televote in six countries, those were Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland and San Marino.

Russia got 14 Douze Points (4 Jury, 10 televote) while Australia got 12 (9 Jury, 3 televote).

Bloc voting was all over the place. It was near impossible to predict where 12 points were going to go. Norway not giving a single point to Sweden in the Jury vote was a prime example!

They did come 4th in the televote though getting 7 points from Norway.

Russia did win the 1st Semi-Final beating Armenia, while Malta finished in 3rd. While in the 2nd Semi Final Australia beat the eventual winners Ukraine (2nd) with Belgium coming 3rd.

How did Ireland vote?

The Irish Jury wasn’t very good at picking a winner and failed to give the Ukraine a single point!! They in fact ranked it 15th! Belgium got the top marks from the Jury in both the Grand Final and the 2nd Semi-Final. They finished 10th overall. Lithuania, who finished 9th, won the Televote vote for both the Final and the Semi-Final The Irish televote had a bit more sense and ranked it 4th so it got 7 points.

Belgian Entry Laura Tesoro, 10th Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)
Belgian Entry Laura Tesoro, 10th Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)

The Grand Final Irish Jury Vote:

  1. Belgium 12
  2. Bulgaria 10
  3. Netherlands 8
  4. United Kingdom 7
  5. Italy 6
  6. Sweden 5
  7. Israel 4
  8. France 3
  9. Czech Republic 2
  10. Latvia 1
Lithuania Entry Donny Montell, 9th Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)
Lithuania Entry Donny Montell, 9th Credit: Andres Putting (EBU)

The Grand Final Irish Televote

  1. Lithuania 12
  2. Poland 10
  3. Russia 8
  4. Latvia 7
  5. Australia 6
  6. Bulgaria 5
  7. Ukraine 4
  8. United Kingdom 3
  9. Sweden 2
  10. Austria 1

Ireland’s Nicky Byrne who failed to qualify for the final from the 2nd Semi-Final finished 15th with 46 points finishing 1 point ahead of Albania!

Ireland got points from

  • Australia (Televote 4th – 7 points),
  • Belgium (Televote 7th – 4 points),
  • Denmark (Jury 7th – 4 Points, Televote 7th – 4 points)
  • Israel (Jury 9th – 2 Points, Televote 10th – 1 point)
  • Italy (Jury 9th – 2 points)
  • Latvia (Televote 10th – 1 point)
  • Lithuania (Televote 10th – 1 point)
  • Norway (Jury 8th – 3 points, Televote 9th – 2 points)
  • Poland (Televote 9th – 2 points)
  • Switzerland (Televote 9th – 2 points)
  • Ukraine (Jury 9th – 2 points)
  • United Kingdom (Jury 9th – 2 points, Televote 4th – 7 points)

Adrian Kavanagh has looked into the points in more detail.

So we are off to the Kyiv next year where 7 countries have already confirmed their participation. They will have a hard act to follow after the amazing job done by SVT and the hosts Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw!

I can’t promise this is the last Eurovision post this year as Ireland takes part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Malta later this year!

Eurovision 2016 – Semi Final 2 Results

semi2qualifiersThe Second Semi Final of the 61st Eurovision Song Contest took place tonight in Stockholm and what a Semi it was. From start to finish, Petra Mede and Måns Zelmerlöw but on an amazing show. Well done to the host broadcaster SVT, I’m really looking forward to Saturdays show! (I especially liked Mans here…)

The show started off with an amazing opening act on “What is Eurovision?” Do watch it, it reminded me of the interval act from 2013, the Swedish Smörgåsbord  also starring Petra.

We also got a bit of history of the Eurovision Song Contest in the form of Numbers which amazed the nerds like me…

So on to the qualifiers. The ten countries that made it to the Grand Final are:

  • Latvia
  • Georgia
  • Bulgaria
  • Australia
  • Ukraine
  • Serbia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Lithuania
  • Belgium

So hard luck to Ireland, Switzerland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia, Slovenia, Denmark, Norway and Albania who don’t make it through.

For those wondering I got 9/10 again on my predictions! Damn you Georgia!

We shall find out the running order for the final tomorrow ahead of the Jury Final tomorrow night. Join me again on the @UCCExpress Twitter account for some views and opinions on the final which will air at 8pm on Saturday Night on RTÉ One with Marty Whelan and on BBC One with Graham Norton.

 

Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*

Welcome to my Preview of Semi-Final 2 of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest which takes place on Thursday May 12th in the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden. Eurovision is getting that bit closer and its time to look at the contestants!

*UPDATE* Today April 22nd the European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn membership services to Romanian Broadcaster TVR following non-payment of debts totalling over €14.5m (CHF 16m). This means that only 42 contestants will compete at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with 18 in each Semi-Final. There is no change to running order.

Semi Final 1 takes place on Tuesday May 10th, check out my preview here.

The new voting system will also apply to the Semi-Finals, but we won’t know the full details of the results until after the Grand Final which takes place on Saturday May 14th. Sweden, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom are automatically qualified for the Final.

19 Countries are competing for the 10 places in the Grand Final available and Irish hopes rest on Nicky Byrne. Hopes will be raised as the United Kingdom will be voting and performing tonight along with Germany and Italy.

Semi-Final 2 seems to be the tougher of the two Semi’s with some excellent songs (and some not so great) from countries who normally do well. Getting out of this Semi will be quite the task for many of the entries and will be dependent on good performances for the Juries and Televoting Public!

So on with the show!

All betting odds are from PaddyPower for outright winner and taken on 20/04/16
Continue reading “Eurovision 2016 – Semi-Final 2 *UPDATED*”

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Semi-Final 1 Preview

 

Español: Composición de Dinamarca en el Festiv...

Tomorrow see’s the First Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 get under way. As I type this the Jury Final is currently taking place, but as with previous years my preview will be based on the Youtube videos of the Artists. I have also included the betting odds for outright winners for the entries from PaddyPower as at 5/5/2014.

This Semi-Final sees 16 countries battling it out for 10 places in Saturdays final. As well as the 16 participating countries Spain, France and Denmark will be voting in this Semi-Final.

Semi-Final 1 will air on Tuesday May 6th at 8pm on RTÉ2 and BBC3.

 1. Armenia: Armenia are this years favourite and it is easy to see why. This is fantastic track from Aram MP3. Its very easy listening, catchy and certainly one with an excellent chance of winning. Not Alone is not your typical pop song. It has guts it has feeing and even through it is first, I think the juries and the voters will remember it. If this wins expect to hear it on the radio a lot!

Aram MP3 – Not Alone
Odds: 13/8

2.Latvia: Latvia this time have drawn the “unlucky” 2nd spot. This is a different number. Aarzemnieki certainly has a lot of fun with this song! The chorus is very catchy so expect to be singing about asking your mother how bake a cake! It could be one to surprise us and qualify.

Aarzemnieki – Cake to Bake
Odds: 200/1

3. Estonia: Estonia bring is the first up-tempo song of the night. As watchers will know, songs like this live and die by their live performance. I certainly enjoy this song, but I expect some great choreography or show on stage to get it through to the final. Will be interesting to see what they have planned for tomorrow night.

Tanja – Amazing
Odds: 80/1

4. Sweden: Looking at the betting odds this is certainly the tougher semi-final as Sweden are 2nd favourites with Sanna. Could Undo see us heading back over the bridge to Sweden? It certainly is a possibility with this song. Like Armenia it is easy to listen to and Sanna is an amazing singer and should qualify easily. Will be a top 3 finisher, no doubt about it!

Sanna Nielson – Undo
Odds: 11/4

5. Iceland: Iceland bring a bit of soft rock music to Eurovision and while this song certainly has a message, is it one most Eurovision audiences are already aware of! I expect a fun performance from this band with lots of rainbows, and depending how receptive the voters and juries are, it may sneak in.

Pollapönk – No Prejudice
Odds: 200/1

6. Albania: This is a nice song from Albania, unfortunately I cannot make out most of what Hersi is actually singing. It can be lost in the background with the music over powering the singing at times. I don’t see it progressing very far.

Hersi – One Night’s Anger
Odds: 200/1

7. Russia: The Tolmachevy Sisters are no strangers to representing Russia at Eurovision. They won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for Russia back in 2006 and are now attempting the double! This song could certainly end up in the top 5 on Saturday and should easily sail through this semi-final as it is a good song and the sisters are great singers.

Tolmachevy Sisters – Shine
Odds: 40/1

8. Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan are chasing their second Eurovision win with this entry, and with this Ballad they could do it. Its the first ballad (or as my Mother puts “proper Eurovision” song). Dilara has the voice that perfectly suits this song with its eastern backing music, blending perfectly into this modern song. A top 5 finisher here!

Dilara Kazimova – Start a Fire
Odds: 20/1

9. Ukraine: This could be a contentious semi considering recent events involving Ukraine and Russia. Interestingly DR and EBU have had to clarify that those voting in the Crimea will have their votes counted as Ukrainian votes. The Ukraine have again sent a great uptempo number to Eurovision. Its always an entry I look forward to as it always entertains. This should qualify easily and be in contention.

Maria Yaremchuk – Tick-Tock
Odds: 11/1

10. Belgium: Well I wasnt expecting that voice! The second ballad of the night and it is just wow! I really enjoyed it. It could be Belgium’s 3rd appearance in the Final since the introduction of the Semi-Finals and could be up there with their 2006 result of 6th!

Axel Hirsoux – Mother
Odds: 33/1

11. Moldova: This is a bit if bland entry from Moldova. While Cristina certainly has talent, the song is what lets her down. I didnt feel anything for it and its easily forgotten.

Cristina Scarlat – Wild Soul
Odds: 200/1

12. San Marino: Valentina is back hoping to be 3rd time lucky! She has represented San Marino for the last 2 years and why change now? This is her best entry yet. A modern ballad. Could see her into the final, but will it be lost there? More then likely but will be the best result for San Marino since they first entered in 2008

Valentina Monetta – Maybe (Forse)
Odds: 200/1

13. Portugal: Portugal are back following a break from the contest last year. This is a bit of a fun summer song with major Mediterranean influences.  Lots of  “oh oh ohs”, but not one that

Suzy – Quero Ser Tua (I want to be Yours)
Odds: 200/1

14. Netherlands: Now this is the type of music I have gotten into recently. A nice country song here from the Netherlands. Simple, enjoyable and one you will be tapping your feet to! I hope this gets through.

Th Common Linnets – Calm After the Storm
Odd: 66/1

15. Montenegro: This is a fantastic entry from Montenegro. A song you should just close your eyes and enjoy, but dont! The video is lovely! A beautiful song and Sergej does it justice. The song is haunting and could do better then the bookies think.

Sergej Ćetković – Moj Svijet (My World)
Odds: 100/1

16. Hungary: The last song of the night and one to watch! This is the perfect song to end the show on a high note. While the subject of the song is a tough one, the song is very different from what precedes and will will certainly stand out to the voters and juries. I expect a fast paced performance also.

Kállay-Saunders – Running
Odds: 14/1

Thats it. The 16 acts for semi-final one. But who will qualify? Here is my prediction, in no particular order:

  1. Armenia
  2. Sweden
  3. Hungary
  4. Belgium
  5. Netherlands
  6. Ukraine
  7. Russia
  8. Iceland
  9. Azarbaijan
  10. Montenegro

What do you think? Put your predictions in the comments!

All in all, tomorrow night will be a good show!

 

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Eurovision 2013: Semi Final One Preview

Its that time of year again, and it nearly slipped by without me posting about it which would have been a first! The 58th Eurovision Song Contest gets underway in Malmö, Sweden. Of course the reason Sweden are hosting is thanks to the wonderful win by Loreen with that amazing song “Euphoria”, which has been the most successful commercial Eurovision entry ever! This year 39 countries are competing to win the greatest show on earth. Armenia returns to the contest after skipping Azerbaijan (for political reasons) and Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia and Turkey all take a break from the contest.

As usual the Contest is split over 3 nights. Semi-Final One takes place on Tuesday May 14th, Semi-Final Two takes place on Thursday May 16th and the Final takes place on Saturday May 18th. All the shows will be broadcast by RTÉ and the BBC, as well as the various broadcasters in Europe and further afield who broadcast the show.

There are 26 places in the final. 10 contestants from each semi-final will join the “big five” (Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom) and the host (Sweden) in the final. Ireland has been drawn to perform in the first Semi-Final.

Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom have been drawn to vote in Semi-Final 1. Lets see what we are up against. (All odds as of 06/05/2013 from PaddyPower.com)

1. AustriaNatália Kelly with “Shine” Odds: 100/1

Austria open up the show with this entry. It is the first ballad of the night, but very much on the pop side of things. It is a massive improvement on last year’s entry from Trackshittaz… With her surname Kelly, Natália may pick up a few votes from Ireland (Her Grandfather is Irish), but with there being plenty of ballads in this semi-final it may be difficult for this entry to shine out and get into the final.

Prediction: Will do as most Austrian entry’s do and fail to get out of the Semi-Final, but they wont come last like they did last year.

2. Estonia: Birgit with”Et Uus Saaks Alguse” Odds: 125/1

The curse of number 2. Statically at Eurovision this is the worst position to perform at. Which is a pity. Estonia have decided to follow what worked for them and enter a ballad in Estonian. Their entry last year “Kuula” by Ott Lepland came in 6th. This song is good, but as it following a ballad and followed by an up-tempo entry it may find it hard to be remembered.

Prediction: While it won’t win the contest, it will probably qualify and as long as it avoids the “curse of number 2” at the final it should finish in the top 10.

3. Slovenia: Hannah with “Straight into Love” Odds: 100/1

Slovenia bring us the first uptempo entry of the night with this song. Definitely a song that you would not be surprised to hear on the radio and in the charts these days. I must admit I do like it, buts it isnt very memorable in comparison to what we normally hear, so it may not pick up votes.

Prediction: I think this one has a 50/50 chance of qualifying. If this gets through and Estonia does not, it will be a clear case of “curse of number 2” on Estonia!

4. Croatia: Klapa s mora with “Mižerja” Odds: 100/1

Croatia brings us back to the ballads. This is a lovely entry and the vocals are magnificent. One you can definitely close your eyes and listen to. Reminds me a little of Il Divo!

Prediction: This entry may find it hard to get out of the Semi. But I would not be surprised if it did!

5. DenmarkEmmelie de Forest with “Only Teardrops” Odds: 7/5

I know I always love the Danish entry, but this year they deserve my love, and the fans and bookies also love them as they are the pre-contest favourite. This is fantastic entry. An excellent singer, powerful song and an excellent presentation. The tin whistle and drums just really make it for me.

Prediction: This could go all the way. Definitely a contender for the top spot.

6. Russia: Dina Garipova with “What If” Odds:14/1

Russia after sending the grannies last year (who did come 2nd!) have decided this year to send a more conventional act. Dina has fantastic voice and this song (another ballad) really shows it off. While it is a ballad in a semi chock a block with them, it is one of the more memorable ones.

Prediction: Its Russia, of course they will qualify. It will probably finish in the top 10.

7. Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich with “Gravity” Odds: 4/1

Following on from last years disappointing 15th place finish, the Ukraine have decided to tone it down this year. This is a nice pop ballad. Certainly not the uptempo style we are used to from the Ukraine in recent years, but this definitely works and should see it through to the final.

Prediction: Will qualify easily and may even end up in the top 5.

8. The NetherlandsAnouk with “Birds” Odds: 20/1

The Netherlands always try to get into the final, and nearly always fails (along with Belgium), but it nevers gives up. Bless. This year may see a change in  fortunes for The Netherlands. This is one of the ballads that actually stand out (and the mother likes it). Being at the half point won’t hurt it chances either.

Prediction: It will qualify but prob end up mid-table in the final.

9. Montenegro: Who See with “Igranka” Odds: 200/1

Montenegro continue to educate on the type of music that is in the Balkans. But I think like last year this won’t get very far. It is not a novelty act but it is certainly the point where I will be going to put the kettle on….

Prediction: If this qualifies there is something strange going on!

10. Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis with “Something” Odds: 100/1

Be careful with this one. Andrius can hypnotise you with his eyebrows! Seriously watch the video… But back to the song, its a fairly lacklustre effort that really does not go anywhere.

Prediction: Won’t qualify unless most of Europe is hypnotised by those eyebrows!

11. Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya with “Solayoh” Odds: 50/1

Now this sounds like a number of Eurovision Winners mashed together! This seems to have a Mediterranean feel to it, despite Belarus being no where near it! It certainly is different from its recent entries. Belarus failed to qualify last year, and it normally does, so I think that may be a blip in its record and this will bring it back to form.

Prediction: With Russia in this Semi Belarus is assured of qualification and if in the final will has a respectable finish.

12. Moldova: Aliona Moon with “O Mie” Odds: 80/1

And we are back to the Ballads. Moldova has this entry in English and Romanian. And while there is no denying Aliona is a good singer, I dont see this one going far.

Prediction: It will Qualify. Just. Finish near the end of the table

13. Ireland: Ryan Dolan with “Only Love Survives” Odds: 25/1

After inflicting Jedward on Europe for the past two years, we decided to give them a pass and this and decided to send Ryan Dolan (Son of Joe). This is one of the catchier entries we have sent and is stronger then the two songs we sent Jedward off with. I like it and as it is one of the more uptempo tunes, sandwiched between two ballads it will do well.

Prediction: Ryan will qualify and will possible finish in the top 10.

14. Cyprus: Despina Olympiou with “An Me Thimasai” Odds: 150/1

Yet another Ballad! There is a point when you can’t listen to them anymore (no matter how much you love Eurovision!). This is a nice entry from the Cypriots but they have done better in the past (like last year!)

Prediction: No Greece, so no Qualification.

15. Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa with “Love Kills” Odds: 200/1

Belgium really does try, it does. But like its neighbour The Netherlands it never really gets there. This is another good entry from the Belgians, but its middle of the road Pop, which could have been sung by Take That back in the day.

Prediction: With the Netherlands having a stronger entry, this won’t qualify.

16. Serbia: Moje 3 with “Ljubav Je Svuda” Odds: 66/1

Serbia ends Semi-Final One with this uptempo entry. Serbia always manage to find a song that will qualify and this year is no different. It will definitely retain its title as one of the most successful new entries to Eurovision.

Prediction: Serbia will Qualify, come on, do you even watch Eurovision? But this will finish mid-table.

So that is Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Belarus, Ireland and Serbia to qualify.

Semi-Final one gets under way Tuesday 14th May at 8pm on RTÉ 2 and BBC 3.

 

The 2013 Eurovision Handbook

Adrian Kavanagh and Johnny Fallon have published the “The 2013 Eurovision Handbook” for Kindle available on Amazon.

We all have opinions as to what we like and don’t like from a Eurovision song, but it becomes absolutely fascinating to watch and predict voting patterns and the cultural shifts and preferences across different regions. It always adds to any Eurovision party if you can throw some history and light on an entry, it shows it to be much more than just a song looking for votes. Doing well at the contest is no mean feat.
This book aims to arm you with all you need to know about the 2013 contestants, what’s hot, what’s not, what’s mad and just why statistics play such a vital supporting role for any nations prospects. Adrian Kavanagh is one of the greatest minds there is for calculating statistics and assessing vote patterns, this material is drawn from his vast array of research. So please, with our help, feel free to amaze your friends with your Eurovision knowledge. I will always love the Eurovision Song Contest, it places politics, geography, society and voting against a background of all types of music. It is fun, but as you will see in the following pages it has lessons to offer if you know where to look.

All the proceeds from the sales go to the Irish Cancer Society. So do go buy it!

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Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final One Preview

Its that time of year again! Eurovision Time! Like every year I do a preview of the Semi’s and attempt to predict who will get into the final.

This year the 57th Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Baku, Azerbaijan. 42 countries will be taking part. Montenegro returns this year to the competition while Poland and Armenia wont be taking part.

10 countries from each of the Semi-finals will proceed to the Final and join the five automatic qualifiers, the Big Four (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and last years winners and this year’s host Azerbaijan.

The voting will be again be by a combination of Televoting and Professional Jury.

The First Semi Final will take place on the 22nd of May, followed by the Second Semi Final on the 24th of May and the final taking place on May 26th. All shows start at 8:00pm GMT (9:00pm CET)

Ireland has been drawn in the First Semi-Final and along with the 18 countries in this final Azerbaijan, Italy and Spain will be voting in this Semi.

All odds are from Paddy Power and correct on April 15th. Odds are for winning the overall contest.

01 Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus with “Euro Neuro

If you tune in late during the first semi and you can’t figure out whats going on, its probably cause Rambo Amadeus is on stage doing what is described as “crazy jazz-funk music”. Im not sure if you would class it as music. Cant see this getting out of the Semi. Odds: 125/1

02 Iceland: Gréta Salóme & Jónsi with “Never Forget

Iceland is one those countries I normally like and this year they have a duet. This is a bit of rock duet and is a good one. Jónsi previously represented Iceland in Istanbul in 2004 with “Heaven” and came 19th. While Gréta Salóme is a multi talented singer/songwriter who also plays the violin. They combine well on this song and should do well in Baku. Odds: 22/1

03 Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou with “Aphrodisiac

I won’t even attempt to pronounce this ladies name, who is a good singer. She came to fame through X-Factor 2 in 2010, even though she didn’t win. This song is like many past Greek entries. Upbeat pop and catchy! I can definately see myself singing along to this! This should definitely qualify. Odds 22/1

04 Latvia: Anmary with “Beautiful Song”

“She was born in a distant 1980, in the year that Johnny Logan won” that is the first line if this entry from Anmary. She got her start when she came 2nd in The Talent Factory. This song is about fame and name drops a number of famous people. Its an interesting song, and one I do enjoy. Will it stand out at Eurovision is the question. Odds 100/1

05 Albania Rona Nishliu with “Suus” (Personal)

And the first Ballad is from Albania. Some years Ballads are few and far between and that can help make them stand out. Rona certainly has a voice that suits this song. She does a wonderful job with and hopefully can do it on the night. Odds: 100/1

06 Romania: Mandinga with “Zaleilah

Bagpipes, an accordian, a catchy summer tune, whats not to love? Mandinga bring a bit of the the summer party to Eurovision with this song and I for one enjoy it. Mandinga play latino music, latin jazz, balkan salsa or even club music and this song certainly sounds like the perfect mix of them! Odds: 33/1

07 Switzerland: Sinplus with “Unbreakable

And now a rock song! Sinplus are brothers Ivan and Gabriel Broggini who grew up listening to Queen, Bob Marley and U2. This is a good song, but not one you would listen to a lot. Odds: 100/1

08 Belgium: Iris with “Would You?

Belgium send a young 17 year old to the contest, hoping to do what Sandra Kim did in 1986. Here Iris is singing a ballad, which to me is a bet meh and the odds are reflecting this. It will be hard for this to get out of the semi. Odds: 125/1

09 Finland: Pernilla Karlsson with “När jag blundar” (When I close my eyes)

And at the halway point, Finland sends a Swedish Ballad to Baku this year. It is another ballad, but its a nicer one then Belgium, but coming straight after them could harm it. It could sneak out of the Semi. Odds: 80/1

10 Israel: Izabo with “Time

Israel are taking a different direction this year and are sending Izabo, a band that combines Psychadelic Rock, Disco and Punk flavoured with Arabic spices. This is certainly different and should be some fun on stage in Baku. This may well qualify. Odds 100/1

11 San Marino: Valentina Monetta with “The Social Network Song

This is a bit of a strange song about love online and using social networks for love. Its one those songs that is trying to be current. Im not sure if it works. Odds: 150/1

12 Cyprus: Ivi Adamou with “La La Love

This is another summer song that will be in my head for awhile. A more upbeat song then normal from Cyprus but a good move, but coming after the pop song from San Marino might make it harder for them.

13 Denmark: Soluna Samay with “Should’ve Known Better

Denmark is another country I always like and this year is no exception. An excellent song which is a pop song along the lines of Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift which are popular at the moment. This should qualify no problem. Odds:14/1

14 Russia Buranovskiye Babushki with “Party for Everybody

Buranovskiye Babushki or the Russian Grannies as they seem to be known as hail from Udmurtia, a republic between the Kama and Vyatka rivers in Russia. They are certainly very different to anything that has come to Eurovision in the past! They beat a past Eurovision winner to get to Baku so I think they are very much in contention for the top spot! Odds: 5/1

15 Hungary: Compact Disco with “Sound of Our Hearts

After the Russian Grannies we have Compact Disco a dance act from Hungary. It certainly stands out after the last song, but if thats the only reason it won’t go further in the final. It certainly a song that will chart around Europe so will be in the final. Odds: 80/1

16 Austria: Trackshittaz with “Woki mit deim Popo” (Shake your ass)

This duo have their own unique genre “tractor gangster party rap” which may go down well in Ireland! For me it is a bit shouty, but one that will be played in clubs around Europe! I will be in the mix to qualify, but will the name but people off? Odds: 80/1

17 Moldova: Pasha Parfeny with “Lăutar

This is a fun song from Pasha who is well used to winning international music festivals and is hoping to add a Eurovision win to his collection. This is a song that I certainly enjoy, but the bookies don’t think Pasha can take the top prize. Odds 100/1

18 Ireland: Jedward with “Waterline

And to finish out the show, its Jedward!! Jedward, (John and Edward for anyone who has been living under a rock) Irish twins from Lucan, Dublin, try a second time to win Eurovision. Last year they came 8th in Dusseldorf with “Lipstick“. This is fast, uptempo pop song and should see them into the final. At the moment they are 3rd favourite at the bookies with odds of 10/1. Come on Jedward!

Prediction

This is always the hard part, who I want to get in, and actually will. These are the ten acts I think will qualify in no particular order.

  1. Ireland
  2. Russia
  3. Greece
  4. Iceland
  5. Denmark
  6. Romania
  7. Austria
  8. Israel
  9. Finland
  10. Moldova

Who do you think will qualify?

Belgians Fooled!

Via France 24

Belgians fall for media spoof on Flemish independence

Belgians were still recovering after a television channel announced in a spoof programme overnight that the Flemish part of the country had declared independence and that Belgium was no more.

Some six months before the probable renegotiation of powers between Belgium’s French- and Dutch-speaking communities, the RTBF programme raised inter-communal tensions with its “breaking news” style programme on Wednesday evening.

To back up the prime time report, RTBF aired “live” footage of trams blocked at the new “border” and interviewed real-life politicians welcoming or denouncing the Flemish parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence.

The exercise was only intended as a thought-provoking introduction to a debate on a question which has long divided the two halves of Belgium.

But an overwhelming number of viewers were fooled and the station’s switchboard was jammed by panicked callers.

“I’m 39 years old, and I’m not really what you would call the sensitive type, but I cried,” said one viewer, Caroline Case, in a letter to Thursday’s Libre Belgique newspaper.

“The Fiction that Shook Belgium,” screamed the paper’s front page, while Le Soir daily headlined with: “Belgium Died Last Night”.

Political leaders had only one word for the stunt: irresponsible.

“It’s very bad Orson Welles, in very poor taste,” Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s spokesman told the Belga news agency, recalling the 1938 radio adaptation by Welles of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” which caused widespread chaos, with thousands of Americans actually believing the Martians had invaded.

“In the current context, it’s irresponsible for a public television channel to announce the end of Belgium as a reality presented by genuine journalists,” he said.

Francophone socialist party leader Elio Di Rupo told Le Soir: “At a time when our country is rocked by separatist leanings, it is irresponsible and anti-social to make people believe that the Flemish have voted for independence.”

The fact that the programme was on state-funded television also rankled.

“This programme is irresponsible. It totally discredits an institution that the French community has put a lot of investment into,” said Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders.

At the beginning of the broadcast, RTBF displayed a message at the bottom of the screen “this is perhaps not a fiction”.

That, too, was an echo from the past, recalling “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, or this is not a pipe, the title of the painting by Belgian Surrealist master Rene Magritte.

But half an hour in, at the demand of the minister for audiovisual affairs for the French-speaking community, Fadila Laanan, the message “this is fiction” appeared.

“I find it questionable to use such a tactic, which frightened people unbelievably,” Laanan declared. She said that she herself had received a number of panicky calls and text messages.

The channel invited viewers to text messages to say whether they had been fooled, and according to early results, 89 percent said they had believed the programme at first.

A diehard six percent continued to believe it even after they were told it was a hoax.

A special number given out at the beginning of the programme was flooded with over 2,600 calls during the nearly two-hour spoof and the television’s website crashed.

Even some ambassadors in Brussels admitted to being taken in and sending back messages to their respective capitals, according to the president of the Belgian Senate.

Around six million of Belgium’s 10.5 million people live in the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, 3.5 million in French-speaking Wallonia, and one million in Brussels.

Today the country’s richest region, Flanders remains troubled by painful memories from the 19th century when the aristocracy and bourgeoisie, who spoke French whether they were from Wallonia or Flanders, held sway.

God, im still hungover after last night hence no morning briefing this morning as i had exam yesterday and then proceeded to get very drunk!