Eurovision Song Contest 2014 Semi-Final 1 Preview

 

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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 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?

Portugal Approves Fiscal Compact

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 01:  Portuguese Pr...

Portugal today became the first state to approve the Fiscal Compact. 25 of the 27 EU Member states signed up to the tightened budget rules. The United Kingdom and the Czech Republic are the only two not to sign up. It is interesting that Portugal were first to approve the treaty as they were the third country to get a bailout of the EU/ECB/IMF after Ireland and Greece.

The Portuguese Government were supported by the opposition Socialists in passing the pact which was approved by 204 votes to 24, with two abstentions.

Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho told parliament that the pact represented a “moment of confirmation of the European consensus”

Antonio José Seguro, the Socialist leader, said: “This treaty is vital to Portugal staying in the euro.”

Mr Seguro said: “This treaty may be a response to markets, but it is not a response to the crisis and to the problems of Portuguese, to unemployment. It is an unbalanced treaty.”

Mr Seguro raises some valid points as the Pact also does not deal with issues of Bank Debt but it is part of a number of initiatives to try and fix the Crisis in the Eurozone.

Ireland will be voting on the Fiscal Compact on May 31st. Ireland will be the only country to hold a referendum on the pact.

Don’t forget you can read the Fiscal Compact here

United Nations Security Council Election Voting Results

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As promised here are the results from today’s elections at the UN General Assembly to fill 5 non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council. The quota in all elections was 127 based on the fact that 182 members were present and voting.

African Group:

  • South Africa 182

Asian Group

  • India 187

Latin America

  • Columbia 186

Western Europe and Other States

Round 1 Result:

  • Germany 128
  • Portugal 122
  • Canada 114

Round 2 Result:

  • Portugal 113
  • Canada 78

Round 3 Result:

  • Portugal 150
  • Canada 32
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Security Council Election Results

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 29:  Members of Security Co...
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A follow on from this mornings post on the Elections to the five non-permament seats on the UN Security Council.

The following countries have been elected:

  • African Group: South Africa
  • Asian Group: India
  • Latin America: Columbia
  • Western European and Other States: Germany and Portugal

While the African, Asian and Latin American seats were uncontested, the candidates still needed a two-third majority to be elected.Canada, Germany and Portugal were contesting the Western European and Other States Seat.

Germany attained the required votes on the first round of voting. On the second round Portugal finished higher then Canada. Following that announcement and before the third round of voting, Canada withdrew from the election. The General Assembly is currently voting on Portugal membership of the council.

The full voting results are here

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Elections to the Security Council

UN Security Council Chamber in New York.
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Today 5 new members of the of United Nations Security Council will be elected. They will replace Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Austria.

They will be elected for two years. The African seat is not being contested as South Africa as been endorsed by the African Union and is therefore unopposed. For the Asian seat, India is running unopposed and it is the same in Latin America where Columbia is running unopposed. The only election will be for the Western Europe and Others Group. Portugal, Germany and Canada are all vying for a place on the council.There are two seats available for this group so only one will lose out. Many do hope to see Canada win one of the seats.

Germany and India want reform of the UN to allow them (plus Brazil and Japan) to have permanent seats at the UN Security Council. This is of course opposed by many other UN member states especially Italy and Mexico. Russia and China also don’t like the idea.

I will post the results as soon as they are out.

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IMF says we are screwed

International Monetary Fund
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The Telegraph have an excellent article on the latest IMF report – “Will It Hurt? Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation” – and what it means for countries trying to make cuts.

In Ireland we cut to quickly. We forgot to bring in a stimulus like other countries. Cuts in budgets mean growth cuts, which will lead to a longer depression.

According to the report Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) and Ireland could be in for an extended recession. With bug cuts coming in Germany and France, they could be joining them, as well as making it less likely for Southern Europe to recover as no demand for goods.

Has the article states:

We are seeing a pattern – first in Ireland, now in Greece and Portugal – where cuts are failing to close the deficit as fast as hoped. Austerity itself is eroding tax revenues. Countries are chasing their own tail.

So what are Governments doing? Cutting more. It doesn’t bode well for the future. We need something to encourage spending, we need something to get other countries to buy our goods. How will we do that? I am not sure, but by leaving out the stimulus we cut too hard and fast. We could be stuck for awhile. This is not good for our government as,

The lesson of the 1930s is that politics can turn ugly as slumps drag into a third year, and voters lose faith in the promised recovery.

Most of the country has already lost faith in the Government and the other political parties are having varying support levels, (see here).

We have no choice but to cut. The deficit is too high. Its that or leave Anglo fall. Maybe that would mean the cuts would not have to be so deep and therefore we would have a fighting chance of recovery. I some how doubt our government will take that chance.

a tip of the hat to Peebles for the link

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Lisbon slowly taking over my life

Between trying to write a speech for the European Symposium next Tuesday as well as attending various meetings and events in the lead up to the Lisbon Referendum. As well as organising Generation Yes Events in Cork, I haven’t really had a lot of time for blogging.

On top of that I am going back to college!! Its crazy! I am afraid this old blog here is going to be slightly abondoned as I concentrate my blogging efforts over on IrishElection.com but if anything non-Lisbon comes my way, it will be posted here.

Please bear with me and service will be returned to normal after the election!

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Monday Links – 17/8/09

L' Oceanographic
Image by Iabcstm via Flickr

A bit late in the day then normal but still at least its getting done!

A friend has started blogging and she takes a look at racism in Ireland

Jason O’Mahoney has the improved Spoofers Guide to the Lisbon treaty

Beruit is getting on the Map, the openstreet map that is. Cool idea

Joe points out that us Eurobloggers are suffering an identity crisis!

Welcome to NAMAland

Why we love google, twitter and texting, we are hardwired for it!

Top 20 Northern Ireland blogs

Bryan looks at Mexico and its haters in the States

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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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