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 2014 Semi-Final 2 Preview

Tonight sees the 2nd Semi-Final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest get under way in Copenhagen. 15 countries are battling it out for 10 places in the final. 10 countries have already qualified from the 1st Semi-Final, including the two favourites (Sweden and Armenia), so it is a bit easier to qualify from tonight’s Semi.

So who is performing tonight? All odds are from PaddyPower. As well as those taking part Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom will be voting, so that will help some countries.

Malta: Malta start us off tonight with this track that would could be mistaken for Mumford and Sons! It is one of my favourites. Very different from anything we have heard so far in the Semi’s. And could do very well, like Malta did last year. One to watch!

Firelight – Coming Home
Odds: 50/1

Israel: Israel will be trying to do what Latvia failed to do and qualify from starting 2nd. This entry is a marked difference from Malta. A good rocky pop song, sung in English and Hebrew. Israel has nearly always managed to Qualify to the final and with this entry, should be no different. I can see Eurovision audiences lapping it up for good reason!

Mei Finegold – Same Heart
Odds: 33/1

Norway: After two fast entries Norway slows us down with this haunting song. Listening to this you get goosebumps. There is no doubt Carl is an amazing singer and this track suits him perfectly. A very strong start to the Semi!

Carl Espen – Silent Storm
Odds: 25/1

Georgia: After those 3 we have Georgia, now this eh different. I am genuinely unsure what to say about it. Suffice to say, I will be extremely surprised to see it Qualify.

The Shin & Mariko – Three Minutes to Earth
Odds: 300/1

Poland: Poland last competed in 2011 and its great to have them back as they are normally a bit different and this year is no different with this Eastern Hip-Hop track. The video is quite suggestive so I can only imagine what they will do on stage!

Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic
Odds: 125/1

Austria: Now we have the only Drag Queen of this year, and a bearded one at that! To be fair to Conchita he has some voice! While some countries may not be happy that he is here, it is one Austria’s best entries in years. This song has a bit of a bond feeling to it. It has perfect placing after Poland and before Lithuania

Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix
Odds: 20/1

Lithuania: Are you paying attention? Lithuania speed things up again with this entry. It doesnt have great odds as songs like thos often don’t do well live. So it might be a year with no Baltic finalists

Vilija Matačiūnaitė – Attention
Odds: 250/1

Finland: Finland bring some soft rock to Eurovision. Its a really good song. One to bop away to. Stands out well in this semi, should qualify.

Softengine – Something Better
Odds: 50/1

Ireland: COME ON IRELAND! While it won’t win, it will hopefully qualify as it is a good Eurovision song!

Can-Linn (Feat Kasey Smith) – Heartbeat
Odds: 50/1

Belarus: Our second song about cake this year! But seriously who calls some their cheesecake? An odd song from Belarus, but could struggle to qualify.

Teo – Cheesecake
Odds: 250/1

F.Y.R. Macedonia: While the odds are long on this one, I really like this song! Its catchy and bops along nicely. While this won’t won the contest, could do very well for Macedonia as it is one of their more modern entries in a few years.

Tijana Dapčević – To The Sky
Odds: 250/1

Switzerland: Switzerland have been hit and miss over the past few years and I’m afraid this one is a miss. It has a country lilt to it, but the Netherlands have a better country song so could mean the Swiss dont qualify.

Sebalter – Hunter of Stars
Odds: 150/1

Greece: Another bit of hip-hop here but Balkan this time! This song could catch on. Expect to hear this over the summer at European beeches! But its a toss up here, could make it!

Freaky Fortune feat. Risky Kidd – Rise Up
Odds: 50/1

Slovenia: Slovenia slow it down slightly with this pop track. But it is a good track. Good vocals from Tinkara and an overall nice song.

Tinkara Kovač – Round And Round
Odds: 200/1

Romania: Their back! They last represented Romania in 2010 and hope to do better this year. And they have a good chance. This song is brilliant! Go listen to it now! Great song to end the night on a high note.

Paula Seling & Ovi – Miracle
Odds: 40/1

Thats it. The 2nd Semi, but who will qualify? As only 5 countries won’t make it, its hard to call!

  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • Romania
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Israel
  • Poland
  • Slovenia

The Second Semi-Final will be live tonight at 8pm on RTÉ2 and BBC3

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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 Two Preview

Welcome to the Preview for the Second Semi-Final of the Eurovision Song Contest, if you missed Semi 1 it’s here! I will of course be making a prediction, which will most likely be wrong!

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. France, Germany and United Kingdom will also be voting in this Semi-Final.

All the betting odds are from PaddyPower.com and are correct as of April 30th.

So on with the show!

01 Serbia: Željko Joksimović with “Nije ljubav stvar” (Love is not an object)

This is Željko 2nd attempt at Eurovision, having represented Serbia and Montenegro (as it was then known) where he came 2nd in 2004 with “Lane Moje“. This is a powerful song and definitely has the chance of doing well. It will be a top ten finisher, but will it win? I dont think so. Odds: 12/1

02 F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi with “Crno i belo” (Black and white)

We stay in the Balkans for the next entry, this starts off slow, but then really gets going. Lots of musical influences at play here with Kaliopi who is well known around the Balkans and could bode well for the voting, but can’t see her picking up too many votes outside of the Balkans. Odds:125/1

03 Netherlands: Joan Franka with “You and Me”

This is a happy, feel good song of Eurovision of old. The Netherlands hasn’t havent had the best results of late at Eurovision and I don’t think this year will be different with Joan. It is a nice song, but will the televoters like it? This could be rescued by the Jurors. Odds 50/1

04 Malta: Kurt Calleja with “This Is the Night”

Malta keeps up its tradition of sending modern songs. This is a better entry then some of the previous entries, but it isn’t as good as some of the entries,but it is catchy (ye eh eh eh eh). Kurt has a chance of qualifying I think. Odds: 150/1

05 Belarus: Litesound with “We Are the Heroes”

Litesound, whos members hail from Belarus, Russia and Italy, finally managed to win the right to represent Belarus this year. They have entered a bit of a pop/rock tune. Its not that great (needs autotune!) or memorable, could struggle to get out of the Semi. Odds: 100/1

06 Portugal: Filipa Sousa with “Vida minha” (Life of mine)

Portugal again attempts to do something different and this year has entered a ballad in the Portuguese “Fado” style. While there is no doubt that Filipa is an amazing singer, but it will have to depend a lot on stage presentation to get through. Odds 150/1

07 Ukraine: Gaitana with “Be My Guest”

The Ukraine likes to send strong women to Eurovision and this year is no different with Gaitana. This is a upbeat catchy song which will definately be heard in clubs! This will go down well in the hall, if the stage presentation is as upbeat and powerful as the song. One to watch. Odds: 66/1

08 Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova with “Love Unlimited”

A number of countries tried out dance songs last year and this year Bulgaria is trying out one. Love Unlimited is certainly a song you can dance too, but is it what Eurovision audiences want? Odds: 100/1

09 Slovenia: Eva Boto with “Verjamem” (I believe)

At the half way point is Slovenia, who have entered a Ballad. Eva has a beautiful voice and it perfectly suits this haunting song. This could be one to surprise us if it gets to the final. Odds: 50/1

10 Croatia: Nina Badrić with “Nebo” (Heaven)

Croatia this year sent one of the top performers in Croatia to Baku, and it has paid off. Nina has a wonderful song which will win people over. This is a song you should listen to ahead of the show! Odds: 80/1

11 Sweden: Loreen with “Euphoria”

Sweden, who were pipped at the post last year, are back with a vengeance! It is this year’s pre-contest favourite, which can be the kiss of death! But I think Loreen could pull it off. It is a song that ticks all the boxes and is definitely a possible winner! (Yes im typing while bopping around to it!) Odds: 9/4

12 Georgia: Anri Jokhadze with “I’m a Joker”

This is, erm, different. But it is a bit of fun at the end of the day. It wouldn’t be Eurovision without it! Interestingly Anri is the first male performer to represent Georgia! Im looking forward to see what he will do on stage with this! Odds: 125/1

13 Turkey: Can Bonomo with “Love Me Back”

There is no doubt of the Mediterranean influence on this song! Turkey have remember why they have done well in the past and sent Can Bonomo, a DJ, Producer and musician. This is a song that will be remembered and will certainly qualify! Odds 20/1

14 Estonia: Ott Lepland with “Kuula” (Listen)

Ott who won Estonian Idol in 2009; the lead role in High School Musical in 2010; the show Laulupealinn (Singing Capital) in 2011 and of course Eesti Laul, the Estonian national selection. He is hoping to add the Eurovision Song Contest to this list with this very powerful ballad. It stands out as being the only male ballad so far. He also wrote this song himself. He will do well! Odds: 50/1

15 Slovakia: Max Jason Mai with “Don’t Close Your Eyes”

Max is a bit of hotty, in the rocky kinda way! Max who is also a guitarist brings proper rock music to Eurovision this year. He reminds me a bit of Jon Bon Jovi! Its a good song and better then some of the other rock offerings we have had this year. Odds 100/1

16 Norway: Tooji with “Stay”

Tooji is Norway’s answer to Eric Saade, but with Iranian roots! (Read total ride) This is a good song, which Norway has managed to do over the past few years. But this is one of their best entries in a number of years. Odds: 25/1

17 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maya Sar with “Korake ti znam” (I know your steps)

And Bosnia sends another ballad. It is a lovely song and it is better then some of the other ballads this year. Maya is a fantastic singer, and will most likely own the stage in Baku. Odds 80/1

18 Lithuania: Donny Montell with “Love Is Blind”

I wonder will he wear the blind fold in Baku, it does work and he is very cute! But the song is only so-so. But it may still get through!  Odds 100/1

So that is all the entries for the Second Semi-Final.

Prediction

So who will get through to the final? Some of it easy to guess, some of it not! So in no particular order,

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway
  3. Ukraine
  4. Turkey
  5. Serbia
  6. Slovenia
  7. Estonia
  8. Croatia
  9. Lithuania
  10. The Netherlands.

What do you think?

Baltic Pride Suspended

balticprideNews in today is that the Baltic Pride Festival March has been suspended pending the outcome of a court case. From the Baltic Pride facebook:

Wednesday morning Vilnius District Administrative Court announced it will concider the request by interim Attorney General Raimondas Petrauskas and member of Kaunas city council Stanislovas Buskevicius to revoke the permit of Vilnius municipality to hold LGBT march “For Equality”.

Until the verdict is reached, the court suspended the permit as a temporary security measure.

Mr Petrauskas filed the request on Monday, quoting security issues as the basis to ban the main event of “Baltic Pride Vilnius 2010.”

“I have only one argument – maintaining public order. In case there’s a threat to people’s wellbeing and public security, the permit should not be given,” said Attorney General.

He claimed having received official information – that is currently classified – from operational services. “We have to weight peaceful march against public order and wellbeing. We could, of course, fence the area and guard so tha no one approaches it, but first, people have to come and leave it somehow,” said Mr Petrauskas.

He admits that his request might make Lithuania look homophobic, “but how will we look if there are reports about violence and other phenomena.”

The interim Attorney General claims to have information that radical and violent groups are organizing protests and provocations against the marchers.

“We have reason to believe that the state will not be able to provide proper protection for the participants in the intended location, i.e., streets of Vilnius,” – he claims in the request, asking to cancel the decision of Vilnius municipal authority to grant the permit for the march scheduled for 8 May.

The court also received a similar request from a member of Kaunas City Council Stanislovas Buskevicius, who claims that the march “would offend the values dear to Lithuania – decency, fidelity, fertility, human dignity.” According to politician, the state should not embrace the life style that goes against the values of the majority.

The organizers of “Baltic Pride” also filed a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office against its current head. Mr Petrauskas is seeking to influence their will and free choice in order to stop them from exercising their right to peaceful assembly, claim LGL chairman Vladimiras Simonko, Eduardas Platovas and Vytautas Valentinavicius.

According to them, Attorney General is abusing his power to “exert illegal pressure” without pointing out concrete breaches to public interest.

Please support the festival. Follow the news on Facebook and sign the Amnesty International Petition!

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Baltic Pride

More astute readers of the blog will notice the new advert on the top of the blog. This is to support one of the Campaigns of Amnesty International Denmark.

Next Saturday May 8th Baltic Pride is set take place in Vilnius, Lithuania. This will be the first Pride in Vilnius. So why is there a campaign?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the Baltic States are facing obstacles to holding their annual Pride march in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Amnesty International calls for the Pride march to be held in safety and in full respect of freedom of expression and assembly.

On Saturday 8 May, Lithuania is set to host the 2010 Baltic Pride which celebrates diversity and champions human rights.  It will be the first ever Pride event to take place in Lithuania.

However, LGBT people in Lithuania are still subject to discrimination and intolerance, and the Lithuanian authorities have cancelled all previously planned public LGBT events in the country.

Pressure is mounting on the Vilnius City Council to revoke its authorization of the 2010 Baltic Pride march.  There are still concerns that the necessary security arrangements will not be put in place by the Vilnius Police.

Show your support for the 2010 Baltic Pride and demand that LGBT people’s rights to freedom of expression and assembly are respected and protected in Lithuania.

Pride Parades took place in Riga in neighbouring Latvia in 2008 and 2009 and there were protests against these events. Please sign the petition to the Lithuanian President to ensure that this march goes ahead safely.

UPDATE: the interim AG in Lithuania has today lodged an appeal to have the parade banned on security threat grounds and has sought to have  permission repealed. The case is to be heart tomorow in the civil court with judgement expected by 12 noon local time. Amnesty Press Release with full details More on this when I get it!

UPDATE 2: ILGA-Europe, the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights and Amnesty International have also issued a joint Press Release on the issue

thanks to John James Hickey on FB for the post and updates

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Slovakia to Join Eurozone on January 1st

Image via WikipediaOn January 1st the Slovak koruna will join the French Franc, the German Deutschmark and the Irish Punt in the history of Currencies as Slovakia will officially join the eurozone and begin to use the notes and coins as of January 1st. The fixed exchange rate is €1 = 30.1260SKK.

With Slovakia joining it will increase the Eurozone to 16 members of the EU. The number of people using the euro will increase by over 5 million. This will make travel and business between Slovakia and the other Eurozone members easier.

Under the accession treaties for Countries who acceded to the EU in 2004 and 2007 are compelled to join the Euro. Of the post 2004 member states, Slovenia was the first to join in 2007 with Malta and Cyprus following at the start of this year.

2010 will see no countries joining the Euro, but Estonia is aiming for a 2011 changeover. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Poland are all aiming for a 2012 date for joining the Euro. Poland will have a long road to the Euro as it must hold a referendum and change its Constitution and join ERM II in the first quarter of next year, it is looking unlikely.

Lithuania was hoping to join the Euro in 2007 but high inflation forced the Government to change its plans. Lithuania is currently hoping to join the Euro in 2013.

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Previous Articles:
# Ditching The Euro
# 6 days to E-Day for Slovenia and Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Big Day

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Lisbon Treaty, State of Play, May 9th "Europe Day"

Latvia and Lithuania are the latest countries to ratify the treaty. While the Czech Republic has joined Germany in waiting for the courts to decided before they can offically sign off on the treaty.

AustriaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 24/04/2008

BelgiumParliamentary Vote. In Progress. Has passed the Senate (6th March) and the Chamber of Representatives (10th April). The treaty still has to pass the Brussels Regional Parliament, Flemish Parliament, Walloon Parliament, French Community Parliament and the German-speaking Community Parliament all due Mid-July

BulgariaParliamentary Vote. Approved 21/3/2008

CyprusParliamentary Vote.

Czech RepublicParliamentary Vote. In Progress. The Czech Senate decided to postpone the vote on the treaty and asked the constitutional court for its opinion on the treaty to see whether it is in line with Czech law
DenmarkParliamentary Vote. Approved : 24/04/2008

EstoniaParliamentary Vote. In Progress. Vote due in May.

FinlandParliamentary Vote. Vote due in the Autumn.

FranceParliamentary Vote. Approved : 08/02/2008

GermanyParliamentary Vote. In Progress. The Bundestag is due to vote on the 25th of April and the Bundesrat is due to vote on the 23rd of May. There is also a pending case before the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe which must be completed before the President will sign off on the treaty.

GreeceParliamentary Vote. Vote due in Spring.

HungaryParliamentary Vote. Approved : 17/12/2007

Republic of IrelandReferendum. Referendum due on 12th June.

ItalyParliamentary Vote. In Progress. The vote will take place some time after the 29th of April.

LatviaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 08/05/2008

LithuaniaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 08/05/2008

LuxembourgParliamentary Vote. In Progress. Vote due in June.

MaltaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 29/01/2008

NetherlandsParliamentary Vote. Vote due in the Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (Second Chamber) in the June and the Eerste Kamer (First Chamber) in Autumn.

PolandParliamentary Vote. Approved : 02/04/2008

PortugalParliamentary Vote. Approved : 23/04/2008

RomaniaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 04/02/2008

SlovakiaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 10/04/2008

SloveniaParliamentary Vote. Approved : 29/01/2008

Spain Parliamentary Vote.

SwedenParliamentary Vote. Vote due in November.

United KingdomParliamentary Vote. In Progress. Passed the House of Commons (11th March). House of Lords to vote in April. Date TBD for Gibraltar Parliament.

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Sources:
Europa
Wikipedia