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*UPDATE* Today April 22nd the European Broadcasting Union has withdrawn membership services to Romanian Broadcaster TVR following non-payment of debts totalling over €14.5m (CHF 16m).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

Crowley set to join ECR

European_Conservatives_and_Reformists_logoIreland South MEP Brian Crowley, Fianna Fails sole MEP, is set to announce that he will be leaving the liberal ALDE Group in the European Parliament and instead will join the European Conservatives and Reformists according to Press Reports today.

If this does happen it will put in doubt Fianna Fails membership of the pan-European ALDE Party to which the party leader, Michael Martin is firmly in favour of.

Crowley’s decision to join ECR will mean that Irish MEPs are now spread across 5 European Parliament Groups.

  • EPP: 4 MEPs (Fine Gael)
  • GUE/NGL: 4 MEPs (3 Sinn Fein, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan)
  • ALDE: 1 MEP (Marian Harkin)
  • ECR: 1 MEP (Brian Crowley)
  • S&D: 1 MEP (Nessa Childers)

With Crowley joining the ECR they are now represented in 15 countries. The UK (Conservatives) and Poland (Law and Justice) make up the largest delegations with 20 and 19 respectively and the rest of the group made of MEPs from Belgium (4), Bulgaria (1), Czech Republic (2), Denmark (4), Germany (8), Greece (1), Croatia (1), Latvia (1), Lithuania (1), Netherlands (2), Slovakia (2) and Finland (2).

Crowleys transfer also solidifies ECR as the 3rd largest group in the parliament with 69 seats and pushing ALDE back to 66.

It will be interesting to see now what happens to Fianna Fails membership of the ALDE Party and how often Crowley will be voting with his colleagues.

 

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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The 17th Member of the Eurozone: Estonia

Symbol of the currency Euro, Black. Exact math...
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Estonia is set to join the Eurozone on the 1st of January 2011 according to the Irish Times. Estonia was given the all clear by the European Commission. Estonia will be the fifth of the 2004 intake to join the common currency following Slovenia in 2007, Malta and Cyprus in 2008 and Slovakia in 2009.

Plans by Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are still not on track, so they will not be joining the currency any time soon.

It is interesting considering the current state of the eurozone that it is willing to continue to expand.

The Commission stated that “None of the other eight countries assessed in the report is found to meet all the convergence criteria for adopting the euro” Those countries are: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden.

The Council of Ministers will have to approve this.

Hattip: European Movement Ireland

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Mourning

Mourning

“All Europeans are Polish citizens today.”


Post and text inspired by Julien Frisch

Another weekend of selections [Eurovision 2010]

Electronic scoreboard, as Johnny Logan announc...
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This weekend Armenia and Poland selected their representatives for the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo this weekend. Its getting closer and each weekend now will see a good few chosen.

Armenia selected “Apricot Stone” which is sung by Eva Rivas. This to me is a very typical Armenian entry! Its not standing out from previous entries and the chorus is just random, then again she is singing about apricots….

Poland has chosen “Legenda” by Marcin Mrozinski. It is a traditional eurovision song in my mind, but Marcin is a powerful singer. It could do well.

Next weekend sees Malta, Macedonia, Slovenia and Spain pick there representatives

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Von Rompuy wants a Euro Tax

So the Telegraph have a story on the fact that the new European Council President, Herman Von Rompuy, wants to bring in a new Euro Tax. This is to “bring transparency” to how the EU operates.

This hasn’t gone very smoothly for the new European Council Preisdent, and this really is his own fault! He made the announcement at a meeting of the Bildenberg Group, conspriacy theorists would know of this group very well, which isnt the most transparent of organisations, considering it meets in private.

Also the Von Rompuy seems to be overstepping the mark here. The Council cannot propose new legislation (or taxes), only the Commission can do this. While it is known that Borroso has an appetite for an EU-wide tax, but that appetite is not mirrored by the Member States. For tax all Member States must agree, and Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom have previously voiced opposition to any such tax. Also with the election of the FDP in Germany, I can’t see them being in favour of this as they were elected on tax cuts not more taxes.

It will be next year before any such idea comes to Council (possibly year after) and by then the UK Conservatives will be in power and they will definately be against the proposal!

So in essence this is the usual euro talk that could damage Von Rompuy and maybe lessen his influence as “chairman” of the European Council?

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The Lisbon Debate gets going – A bit of a round-up

Treaty of Lisbon
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You mightened have noticed it but the Referendum Commission was set up yesterday and Mr Justice Frank Clarke has been appointed as its Chair. According to the website

The new Commission is currently planning its information campaign for this impending referendum.

I am sure we are all looking forward to that campaign.

So today I got another email from the European Movement Ireland, this time they were point out an opinion article in todays Irish Times by Richard Greene, who claims

If you are against abortion, you should reject the treaty

Read the full article for the rest of the argument. The EMI of course point out the following:

The Lisbon Treaty will not bring abortion into this country.

  • Since 1991 we have had a protocol in EU Treaty law clarifying our position on abortion. That’s eighteen years now. And still no piece of EU legislation that has questioned or affected this Protocol. In fact, since 1973 there has not been a piece of EU law that has sought to change our position on abortion.
  • The Catholic Church has confirmed that our position on abortion is not affected by the Lisbon Treaty. During the first Lisbon Referendum, Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin said that ‘Catholics could vote for the Treaty in good conscience’.
  • We are not alone. There are in fact five countries that have clear restrictive measures on abortion – Malta, Spain, Poland, Portugal and us. In fact, Malta has even stricter rules than we have.
  • Just to make sure, we got an extra guarantee a couple of weeks ago from our European partners reassuring us that reasserts that our original 1991 protocol cannot be touched.

Moving on from the abortion issue which has raised its head early in the debate, Suzy has picked up on a Press Release by Lucinda Creighton TD (FG) who could have titled her PR a little better or of course maybe been a bit clearer to what she was on about in the PR. This is how the Yes campaign lost first time round folks!

Jim Murray over on blogactiv looks at another bad argument for the Yes side. It seems the problem on the Yes side is we can’t get the right thing across. Jim does raise the point though, that gratitude is not a good reason.

Of course the past is not irrelevant, and there are good reasons for voting for Lisbon on the basis of past experience – but gratitude is not one of them

You can’t fault that!

Also the first online poll is up and running on the Munster-Express site. The Generation Yes folk kindly notified me of this one on Twitter. Its about half-way down the front page, do give it a vote!

I will be doing this round up every so often, so if you see anything let me know on twitter or drop an email off to stephen[at]stephenspillane[dot]com and I will have a sconce.

UPDATE: Don’t forget about the Generation Yes meeting on Thursday in Cork! See the Generation Yes website for details of the other meetings

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Libertas – Nil Points?

I blogged yesterday about Predict 09‘s Irish Predictions, but tonight while looking through the country analysis I noticed something. Libertas will not win any seats in the European Parliament. In fact there is only vote share predicted for Ireland and Poland. In Ireland it is predicted at 7% and in Poland its predicted for 0% (+ the margin of error which is 4%). It is not predicted to win seats in Ireland or Poland. Let alone anywhere else!

Will this happen? I don’t know. Its highly unlikely that Libertas will pick up seats in Ireland (unless Sinnott joins them after the election), but they could pick up seats in the United Kingdom, where Labour and UKIP are predicted to be down.

Interesting times ahead for the Chairman.

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