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*UPDATE* Today April 22nd the European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn membership services to Romanian Broadcaster TVR following non-payment of debts totalling over €14.5m (CHF 16m).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 Grand Final 2013

Tonight is the night. 26 countries take to the stage in Malmö to compete to be the winning act of the 58th Eurovision Song Contest. The running order for tonight is as follows:

01. France
02. Lithuania
03. Moldova
04. Finland
05. Spain
06. Belgium
07. Estonia
08. Belarus
09. Malta
10. Russia
11. Germany
12. Armenia
13. The Netherlands
14. Romania
15. United Kingdom
16. Sweden
17. Hungary
18. Denmark
19. Iceland
20. Azerbaijan
21. Greece
22. Ukraine
23. Italy
24. Norway
25. Georgia
26. Ireland

Things you should know

The running order of the show was set by SVT, the host broadcaster. Normally countries are put in a draw to decide the running order, but SVT have controversial changed that replacing that draw with one that decided which half of the show an act would be in. This is supposed to ensure that the contest is more exciting and that similar entries won’t be too close, but I wonder will it change anything. The only country that had a position drawn was Sweden has host and they got number 16.

Also there is a change with the voting. Normally the top 10 in the Jury and Televote are compared to get the the final figures, this normally means that if you score high enough in one, you should get some points, but now the entire results will be compared meaning that acts have to score well with the jury and the voting public to ensure they get points on the night. This will be interesting  and the voting might be less political tonight.

Bloc Voting

None of the former Yugoslav entries this year made it into the final for the first time since the Semi-Finals were introduced and Albania also miss out on qualification. While Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina did not enter this year, surely that is not the reason for this. But it does mean that there is a big “bloc” vote tonight that is missing its traditional partners, so where the votes will go will be interesting. It could benefit a number of countries including Greece, Romania, Ukraine and Russia.

Also with a all of the Nordic countries after qualifying the bloc voting could be split. Whether or not this will affect Denmark as all its neighbours have qualified will be one to watch.

The Curses

There are a number of curses associated with Eurovision. The most famous being the curse of number 2. The curse is that the act drawn to be the 2nd song will not win. This is because no entry has ever won from this position. This year the curse has fallen on Lithuania. So sorry Andrius, you can blame SVT!

The other curse is lesser known, but is the Curse of last years host. This hasnt always been true, eg Ireland in the mid 90’s, but has been true for Russia 2009 and Norway in 2010, but will it be true for Azerbaijan?

The Betting Odds

Its notoriously difficult to predict the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, but looking at the betting odds it certainly seems to be Denmarks to loose, but with Norway also having a strong entry, Denmark might not run away with it. The top 10 according to PaddyPower are:

  1. Denmark 4/6
  2. Norway 11/2
  3. Ukraine 9/1
  4. Russia 12/1
  5. Azerbaijan 14/1
  6. Netherlands 25/1
  7. Italy 25/1
  8. Ireland 25/1
  9. Greece 33/1
  10. Georgia 33/1

Armenia, Estonia, Spain and France have the worst odds with 250/1.

My Favourites

I am not going to make a prediction, but here are the 5 songs that I will be supporting tonight in no particular order.

Denmark: Fantastic song and a firm favourite, been listing to it all week! Start looking up accommodation in Copenhagen as the Danes know how to put on a show!

United Kingdom: Bonnie is back and its a fantastic song. While its isnt in the bookies top 10, it is definitely up there for me!

France: Amazing song, full of soul and reminds me of Amy Winehouse. Just brilliant

Greece: One of the fun songs this year and there isn’t many! Delighted this got trough. Go on Greece!

Ireland: At the end of the day I am a patriot and I will always support the Irish entry! But with Ryan closing the show, he will certainly be in the mix!

Now remember to enjoy the night! I will be tweeting during the final if anyone is interested!

 

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Eurovision 2013: Semi Final Two Preview

Welcome to the preview of Semi Final Two of the 58th Eurovision Song Contest. Earlier I previewed the entries in Semi Final One which takes place on Tuesday 14th of May. Semi-Final Two takes place on Thursday 16th of May in the Malmö Arena in Sweden. 17 countries are vying for ten places up for grabs for the Final of the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday 18th of May. Statistically this is the harder Semi-Final as there are more entries, but a lot of the favourites are in Semi-Final One meaning that it might be easier for some of the weaker acts to get through to the final.

As well as the 17 countries participating, Germany, Spain and France will be voting in this Semi Final. All odds taken on 08/05/2013 from PaddyPower.com

1. Latvia: PeR with “Here We Go” Odds: 150/1

One of the more rockier entries opens up this semi-final. I am not sure what to make of this. To be honest I cringed a lot. While I do like a bit of rock music, this isn’t a very strong entry.

Prediction: I am not sure if you would consider this singing. So I do not see this getting through to the final.

2. San Marino: Valentina Monetta with “Crisalide” Odds: 80/1

Malta bring us back to Ballads which made up much of the first Semi-Final. This is a much better entry then last year. San Marino have threatened to pull out of the 2014 edition if doesn’t qualify. It is worth noting that it is a fan favourite coming second in the OGAE International Poll.

Prediction: This isn’t a bad song. But with Italy not voting in this Semi-Final it could find it hard to pick up votes. It may struggle, but I think it will Qualify. Also the curse of number may strike.

3. F.Y.R Macedonia: Esma & Lozano with “Pred Da Se Razdeni” Odds: 150/1

Macedonia have decided to use the formula that worked for Azerbaijan back in 2011 and have sent a duet. Granted this is very much a unconventional pairing! But musically it works. The only issue here is that it does not really catch you. Macedonia will also suffer as many of its Balkan neighbours are in the other Semi-Final.

Prediction: While a good song, I can’t see it getting the votes. Pity.

4. Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov with “Hold Me” Odds:25/1

Another curse associated with Eurovision is the curse of last years hosts. Many people will be watching closely to see if it strikes Azerbaijan this year after their hosting last year in Baku. This year they have entered a ballad by a male singer so that does mark it out from most of what we heard in Semi Final One.

Prediction: Azerbaijan I think will continue its run of successful entries and will qualify for the final easily, but will it be in top 10?

5. Finland: Krista Siegfrids with “Marry Me” Odds: 66/1

Finland who have one of the more dodgier records in Eurovision, has this year sent a song that is assured of qualifying. This is a fun uptempo song that you find yourself nodding along to. Its  “uh-oh, ding dong”‘s tick plenty of Eurovision  boxes! But it doesn’t harm its chances.

Prediction: A fun song, Finland will qualify easily and finish mid table.

6. Malta: Gianlucca Bezzina with “Tomorrow” Odds: 80/1

To be honest I was waiting for this type of folk type pop that is becoming popular again. This song about love certainly is one to make you smile!

Prediction: Should Qualify.

7. Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov with “Samo Shampioni (Only Champions)” Odds: 200/1

Now Bulgaria normally sends something a bit different and this year is no exception. This is certainly different! There is so much happening style wise here that I don’t know where to start. Not my cup of tea.

Prediction: Is going to languish in the Semi’s… I hope.

8. Iceland: Eythor Ingi with “Ég Á Líf” Odds: 100/1

Back to the slow ballads with Iceland and apart from the name of the country I can’t pronounce anything else to do with this entry. It isn’t popular in this house with the sister saying “that its sounds like its from an old Irish film like Songs for a raggy boy, or a chessy song from an ad”. Also Iceland decided not to translate their entry this year, I’m not sure if that has worked for them.

Prediction: Won’t qualify.

9. Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis with “Alcohol Is Free” Odds: 66/1

Now this is more like it. Greece bring us back to some rock, and they do it better then Latvia. While I agree with the sentiment of the title of the song, I am assured that Alcohol is not free in Greece! This one will have you bopping along and saying “Alcohol is Free” very fast for the chorus!

Prediction: This will qualify.

10. Israel: Moran Mazor with “Rak Bishvilo” Odds: 150/1

Israel have decided to also send a ballad this year. While Moran is an excellent singer, yet again this song doesnt hook. It will struggle to qualify if at all.

Prediction: Israel somehow always qualify, so no change there.

11. Armenia: Dorians with “Lonely Planet” Odds: 100/1

Armenia are back following their withdrawal from the 2012 edition as it was hosted by Azerbaijan (arch-enemies, not just in Eurovision). They have entered a soft rock song this year and while it does stand out, it may have a hard time getting votes as it shares this Semi-Final with Azerbaijan.

Prediction: Sorry Armenia, try again next year.

12. Hungry: ByeAlex with “Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)” Odds: 100/1

This is one of those songs that have a 50/50 chance of qualifying. It is very different and simple. Its one to just listen to and close your eyes. Go on.

Prediction: Im not sure what Eurovision voters will make of this. I think it will squeek into the final.

13. Norway: Margaret Berger with “I Feed You My Love” Odds: 13/2

One of this years favourites. It came 3rd in the OGAE International Poll, so Eurovision could be staying in the Nordic countries. After Hungry, Norway’s Margaret gets us going again. This does remind me of the entries the Ukraine used to send. Uptempo, rocky and sexy. Will go down well with the audience and should do well with the voters…. the juries are another matter!

Prediction: Norway on course for a rare top 5 finish! Will easily qualify.

14. Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko with “Identitet” Odds: 150/1

Albania brings us some more rock. It is a bit nondescript though. Nothing stays with you after listening to it. Could struggle with votes.

Prediction: With very few balkan countries in this semi, I dont see this qualifying.

15. Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani with “Waterfall” Odds: 22/1

Georgia is also trying out the duet strategy that worked for Azerbaijan in 2011.  It is a stronger pairing then Macedonia, and so should do well. This song also seems to have that power and step up that is missing from many of the ballad entries this year.

Prediction: Will Qualify and will challenge for a top 10 finish.

16. Switzerland: Takasa with “You and Me” Odds: 150/1

If in doubt send in the Army! Well the Salvation Army. Yup, that is what Switzerland is sending this year! Takasa features the oldest person to grace the Eurovision Stage, 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer on double bass! This is a lovely twee song, but at least they are trying and a warning it grows on you!

Prediction: This song grows on you, so I wouldnt be surprised if it qualifies!

17. Romania: Cezar with “It’s My Life” Odds: 80/1

Wow, can he hit the high notes! That was a little unexpected! While it isn’t as good as last years entry from Romania. It certainly is a good entry.

Prediction: Something unexpected and with it finishing the show it should Qualify.

That is San Marino, Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Georgia and Romania to qualify. We see if that actually happens! Semi-Final Two will be broadcast at 8pm on Thursday 16th of May on RTÉ2 and BBC3.

Handbook and App

Don’t forget the excellent 2013 Eurovision Handbook is available for download for your Kindle or Kindle enabled Device. Do get it as it is aid of the Irish Cancer Society, plus it is full of all the information you need for this years contest!

Also Eurovision has launched free companion apps for the show available for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. They look great and you can vote via the App (Paypal account needed for billing). See Eurovision.tv for more details.

 

 

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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?

[Eurovision 2010] Final Preview

The modern logo was introduced for the 2004 Co...
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So it is time to have a look at the final five entries in this years Eurovision Song Contest. It is time to look at the big 4 and last years winner. I will be marking these out of ten, as there is no prediction to make!

SpainDaniel Diges “Algo pequeñito” (Something Tiny)

This is less poppy than Spains normal offering and it is growing on me. I love the circus theme to the video and it is influenced in the video. 7/10

NorwayDidrik Solli-Tangen “My Heart is Yours

There has been some comparisons between Norway and Ireland this year and I think that is misplaced as Niamh’s song is so much better. I find this to be a very boring ballad. But ballads are everywhere this year so it will pick up a few points. and more fiddles at the end… hmmm… 4/10

United KingdomJosh Dubovie “That Sounds Good to Me

The UK haven’t had a whole lot of good luck recently at Eurovision, so this entry is a nice song. Its easy listening and one to tap the foot along with. It could do well also. 6/10

FranceJessy Matador “Allez Ola Ole

France went all experimental for a while and then went back to basics. This year they are entering a fast paced dance song, that will be heard at the world cup I would say! (no handball grudge here btw) Its a cool song. 8/10

GermanyLena Meyer-Landrut “Satellite

All I can say is this is in my top two songs this year (Denmark is the other one). This is an amazing entry from Germany, and Lena is an amazing singer. This song has already gone platinum in Germany. I love it, its catchy and has a good chance of winning this year! 10/10

So that is all the songs looked at. I can go back to concentrating on politics and other issues here until 22nd of May when the Semi-finals begin. In the mean time if you are a eurovision fan, head over to ESCIreland.com where you will find lots more Eurovision news and opinion.

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Who has picked so far? [Eurovision 2010]

Eurovision-heart
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As I am in a sort of Eurovision mood I felt like looking at the countries who have so far selected there entries for the Eurovision. Seven countries have picked their representative. Ireland will pick its entry on March 5th.

While Bosnia Herzegovina have announced that Vukasin Brajic will represent the country in Oslo with the song ‘Munja i grom’ (Thunder and Lightning), the song will not be performed before March 7th. So we will have to wait a bit longer for it.

Finland has picked its entry and it has chosen Kuunkuiskaajat to represent them with the song “Työlki ellää”. Its very different from there song last year! Its more folk, then modern. It could do well, depending on what everyone else picks.

Albania has also picked its entry. They are going with Nuk Mundem Pa Ty by Juliana Pasha. It is a pop song and very like a lot of modern music. It has a catchy rhythm.

Iceland has also decided its entry. It is going with “Je ne sais quoi” by Hera Björk. This song brings me back a few years and reminds me of Eurovisions gone by. Quick tempo and up beat. I could dance to this quite easily.

Denmark, a country who’s entry I always like, has gone for Chanée and N’evergreen who will sing “In a Moment Like This”. Yet again Denmark doesn’t disappoint me. This is a beautiful duet by two fantastic singers. I really like it!

Switzerland have picked Michael von der Heide to sing “Il Pleut De L’Or” in Oslo. It is a pop song. Its not a song that grabs me and reminds me more of elevator music.

The host country, Norway, has also decided upon its entry. Norway went for “My Heart Is Yours” by Didrik Solli-Tangen. This is a lovely ballad. I thought the days of beautifully sing male ballads were gone with Johnny Logan but Norway is bucking the trend! Fair play!

A number of countries have picked the singer or song, but haven’t them up yet. They include Turkey (maNga), Georgia (Sopho Nizharadze), Bulgaria (Miro), Ukraine (Vasyl Lazarovich) and The Netherlands (“Ik ben verliefd, Shalalie”).

The running order draw takes place on March 22nd, so all entries will be known before that.

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[Eurovision 2009] The results

MOSCOW - MAY 16: Alexander Rybak of Norway is ...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Im just looking at the results of the Eurovision Voting. Ireland came 11th in the  televote vote just missing out. Well done Girls!

We got 52 votes in total including 10 points from Spain! Croatia who came 13th in our semi were the ones saved by the Jury.

The Irish vote in the Semi was dominated by our new migrants. 12 points went to Lithuania, 10 Points went to Poland and only 8 Points to Norway in the Semi.

In the first Semi, Finland were saved by the jury, which I think is surprising. Iceland won this semi with 174 points just beating Turkey by 2 points!

Norway of course qualified easily in our Semi with 201 points who went on to win the Final with a record breaking 387 points. They receieved 12 points from 15 countries and they recieved points from every participating country. The lowest being 2 points from Turkey.

I think you could see the Jurys having an influence in how the voting went and I hope they retain this system.

So who’s going to Norway?

PS: the full results are on the Eurovision Website

(Oh and this is probably my last Eurovision Song Contest post, next up will be the Eurovision Dance Contest in Spetember!)

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PSA’s and stuff on youtube

Public Service Announcement by Erase The Hate National Organization. PLEASE NOTE: Some of the images contained in this PSA may be too graphic for some people. Viewer Discretion is Advised.

ILGA Adoption Ad

Amercanized version of a popular Nowegian Ad about LGBT Youth

Absolute Cut Ad