Marc Calleja Bayliss
Good Morning! It seems that the host broadcaster is somewhat adapating the schedule to the artists considering that rehearsals will not be commencing prior to noon. All of the delegations are expected to arrive between today and tomorrow as the countries competing in the big five will be taking to the stage for their first rehearsal on Sunday. In the meantime, the press centre has also officially opened today and therefore, accredited individuals will definitely feel more at ease with familiar surroundings. The first two days of rehearsals saw everything move in a swift manner but there where a couple of technical issues during the second two days of rehearsals and as full run throughs start taking place, it is expected that odds and ends will be corrected even by the respective delegations. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.
escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest and some of those uploaded include Gianluca from Malta and Farid Mammadova who will be representing Azerbaijan. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Today, as already noted above will see to the beginning of a run-through for each semi-final. It is expected that rehearsals will be ending at around 21:00 CET with a number of interludes in between for lunch and dinner amongst others. The first semi-final is up today and that is the show taking place this Tuesday which will be covered on escflashmalta.com by Emil Calleja Bayliss, Head of Commications as well as Claudia Faniello, runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2008 and 2012 and Simon Casey, runner-up of the Irish final back in 2003 and successful recording artist in Ireland.
SVT, the host broadcaster in conjuction with the European Broadcasting Union held a press conference earlier this morning to welcome all of the media to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. There were a number of questions addressed to the organisers of this years' event including with regards to the use of the press centre as from today and the possibility of any returning countries as from next year. In the meantime, Jan Ola Sand, Executive Supervisor of the European Broadcasting Union revealed that next years' edition of the international spectacle is set to take place on the 13th, 15th and 17th May pertaining to decisions taken up by the winning country.
Hannnah is clad in leather attire, and joined on stage by three male dancers and two female backing vocalists with a darkened backdrop resembling the one used in the preview video. The graphics as a matter of fact are kept extremely simple in order to keep the focus on the choreography and the singing, which frankly speaking should be distracted from. Mid-way through the performance, Hannah takes to the catwalk from where she performs the bridge of the song to a series of spotlights which light up the arena. Visually, this looks absolutely stunning but vocally, it is definitely in complete contrast.
Whilst Slovenia is visually stunning, this entry is vocally stunning and one cannot help but enjoy listening to Birgit perform because there is something in her capabilities, an element that makes you want to listen to her even more. She is joined on stage by four male backing voclaists and the backdrop is mainly black with green diagrams, having additional gold ones for the chorus. The spotlights in the bridge do wonders and this is surely coming across really on the screens. This was a competent second rehearsal from Estonia but nevertheless, still remains a marginal qualifier due to coming on so early.
Natalia Kelly is wearing a white top, silver like jeans and beautiful shoes to match the outfit accordingly. She is joined on stage by five backing vocalists who carry out a simple yet effective choreography. For most of the performance, the main stage is used but nevertheless, Natalia decides to strut a bit and with a wind machine in action, this does indeed look fantastic. The vocals whilst not flawless sound much better today and like Estonia which in the running order will actually come after it, this is still very marginal. The reason being that once more, this is an opening song and therefore, might be forgotten by the end unless it makes a real impact on the public. I have a sneaky feeling that the jury will love it though.
One of the more traditional entries to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is Croatia who have decided to send the genre known as Klapa. The most effective element in this song is surely the vocals which are perfect. The setting is extremely beautiful noting that int he background, there are stars and what seem to be resembling the Northern Lights. The clothing used is also traditional with the group saying that it is normally worn by Croatian knights. Technically speaking, the music is quite catchy, as in the beat and therefore, I believe that this one is throwing off three entries before hand. I am thinking that this one has just turned into a qualifer in favour of the others that preceded it. Well Done, Croatia!
Ohh! Someone has been to the hairdresser it seems because the hair looks absolutely lovely this morning. Emmelie is clad in a white dress, the one used for her album cover and which has been specifically designed for the Eurovision Song Contest. There is a wind maching effect relatively early and this is proving problematic for her dress because it's going up a tad too much and causing the singer to worry. The staging for this one is not simple but kept the same as it was in the national final. Three backing vocals, two females and a male and two frummers, both male. The vocals are strong for most of the song but are sounding pretty strained towards the end. Still making the top three nevertheless!
Pristine Vocals! That's the first thing in mind when one watches Dina Garipova perform. The Russian singer is wearing what seems to be a pink/salmon type of gown which has a beautiful design but slightly off colour. The staging is kept well lit noting that in the backdrop there is a mixture of pink, and blue with white being somewhat predominant in the chorus. Mid-way through the song, Dina is joined on stage by four backing vocalists who have a simple choreography which is somewhat similar to the one used by Belarus back in 2010. It has also been reported that audience members will all be given a bracelet on arrival to the arean of Tuesday which will light up during the key change towards the end. This is looking beautiful and I would not discount Russia on winning this year!
Bizarre! These one word expressions tend to describe a whole performance especially when at the beginning of the song, there's a giant clad in Roger Pontare's clothing scheme from the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest who is manhandling Zlata onto the stage. The stage is lit in completely dark blue and there is dry ice across the whole stage. Zlata is wearing what seems to be a dress made up of three colours, blue, purple and red, a candidate for the Barbara Dex Award. In the beginning, backing vocalists are airlifted onto the stage with a dumb-waiter like system. The vocals are solid as they have always been and whilst this one will sail into the finals, the whole performance is just ridiculous.
Anouk commences her performances on what has been donned the satellite stage and there is a certain aura surrounding he performer noting that her facial expression is somewhat flirtacious at the beginning. The backdrop is just stunning featuring a dark sky which lights up quickly when the chorus kicks in. On the main stage, there are three backing vocalists whose harmonies are strictly on cue and definitely on key in every run. This atmopsheric ballad is definitely coming across well on screen and The Netherlands should be proud of having this as their entry whatever the result. Anouk keeps to her position throughout the song which might be seen static but goes on well with the song. She is clearly enjoying the rehearsals and why not when the simplicity of this is completely trouncing the mess coming from Ukraine. Beautiful!
Smoke! Who See come out of the smoke dressed in astronaut outfits and this is clearly going to look relatively mad following the performance of The Netherlands. Funnily enough, this is not even looking half as mad as Ukraine. Nina is somewhat in the background but her vocals are solid and definitely add to the hip/hop vibe of this entry. The backdrop is a mixture of green and yellow, somewhat modern and very appealing visually. Montenegro are always in a bit of a tussle but nevertheless, they somewhat surprise people each time and might succeed in qualification this year which would definitely alter their perception of the competition, slightly!
The first technical rehearsal for Lithuania was remarkably disappointing because it came across as too static especially considering that this is a competition which judges on several aspects. The stage is bathed in purple lights and Andrius is wearing a black leather jacket, black pants and a white shirt. The vocals are good but nothing extraordinary. I believe he has even altered the key in a couple of verses to make sure that all of the notes are reached. His eyes and hand movements are very innapropriate and he seems very uncomfortable. On stage, he has a number of backing vocalists, all of which are singing well but do not have a major role. Lithuania will be missing the final for the first time in three years following yet another disappointing rehearsal.
The noughties were known for these type of songs in the Eurovision Song Contest but it is remotely intriguing that they have never went out of fashion and tend to do relatively well. Alyona Lanskaya is definitely throwing everything including the kitchen sink into this performance considering that she comes out of a disco ball in the beginning and is then showered by an extraordinarily exhausting dance routine.She is as a matter of fact joined on stage by dancers and backing vocalists. The lighting is red, and yellow with some blue thrown in for contrast. The vocals are strong nevertheless, and this is definitely seemingly like a qualifier at the moment.
A star studded night is definitely the idea of the backdrop with stars and white bright lights being predominant in the performance. She is joined on stage by three dancers and a pianist although it is important to note that Pasha Parfeny is not making an appearance today. The dancers whilst not required for this entry are not distracting because the focus is definitely on the dress, one similar to Sabina Babayeva at last years' Eurovision Song Contest. It changes colour according to the feeling of the track. The vocals from Aliona was not good, or excellent but they are perfect! Many people have discussed the idea to turn to Romanian rather than stick in English and this does indeed add to the authenticity of the competition. Ohh Ohh, mid-way through the song she rises up and seems several feet high. Stunning!
Ryan Dolan is on stage for Ireland this is definitely his best day thus far since he has been chosen for the Eurovision Song Contest noting that the vocals are on point and the whole act is coming together quite nicely. The backdrop is featuring a number of symbols, all related to Irish tradition and could also be seen as tattoos on the dancers and drummers respective. The whole stage act looks really polished today and the backing vocals are well tuned to the rest of the song. Truth be told, I never thought that Ireland would qualify for this years' final but my perception has just changed drastically following this rehearsal. Well Done to all of the team for a sterling performance.
A couple of years back, Malta had a couple of songs in the national selection which started acapella and they both were laid back and pretty much endearing. Cyprus is even more authentic for the simple reason that it is performed in Greek. Despina Olympiou is clad in a nude dress which is embroidered beautifully with lace. It suits her figure well and the look is just stunning. The backdrop is kept very simple with light blue throughout. It seems that she is harmonising slightly this evening and that is definitely positive because she adds more charm to the song. The vocals are just stunning today and the higher register is reached withou any issues. Perfect! With a late draw and the jury going for it, Cyprus are heading into the final!
It is quite difficult to understand certain phrases when Roberto is definitely not a native speaker. Back to the stage though, it seems that the artist is overcoming his nerves. Clad in a dark suit, he is joined on stage by two female dancers and three backing vocals. All of them are somewhat enjoying this performance with the choreography being just enjoyable to watch. Like Malta, Belgium is making use of their song lyrics in the background and this is definitely a positive as they are blared out to the people. The bridge is coming across better and it seems that Roberto is feeling more confident. This is a very competent rehearsal from Belgium. I am still unsure whether this will be screaming out to reach the public and the jury but he is definitely doing his best.
Pop! The definition of this lies in the typical trash songs that come from girl-groups and Serbia have definitely gone for this type of number. The ladies are almost flirting with each other on stage in their weird colourful outfits. The staging is a mixture of pink and purple but definitely works with the whole setup. There atr three female backing vocalists on stage which are kept to the right hand side, when facing the audience. The choroegraphy of the girls is quite silly but nevertheless, this is is the closing number and people will enjoy finishing off with a thump. The vocals are much better today than they were during the first rehearsal. They are enjoying themselves on stage and therefore, that is the most important. Serbia are qualifying into the final with relative ease, possibly a top five finish in the semi-final.
I Feed You My Love, co-written by Karin Park, Robin Lynch, Niklas Olovson with vocals provided by Margaret Berger will be representing Norway in this years' Eurovision Song Contest following an overwhelming victory at the annual Melodi Grand Prix back in February. Despite finding success on the second season of Idol in Norway, where she finished as the runner-up, Margaret has had to work hard to assure her place in the industry and following two albums, the last one being seven years ago, she feels comfortable to return to doing what she loves best. Her entry for the Eurovision Song Contest has been perceived in a positive manner having been instilled as one of the favourites by the general public whilst also charting at number #4 in Norway, making it her highest charting single to date.
The first technical rehearsals have proven problematic for some countries although to be fair, the issues have literally been attributed to the technical side and Margaret as a professional took her time and improved with every run. She felt at ease on the stage and gave consistent performances. On the way to the arena, the broadcaster responsible for Norway decided to record a special message for you, the readers of escflashmalta.com as Margaret Berger hopes to make it through to the final stage on Saturday, alongside Gianluca whose entry Tomorrow for Malta is competing in the same semi-final. The special message has been uploaded to our YouTube Channel and could be seen below as we remind you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news from the rehearsals which unfold throughout the day.
Source: NRK, Roxy Recordings
Stano Simor from the Czech Republic, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom and Sharon Vaughn from the United States represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded and yesterday marked the conclusion of the acts competing in the second semi-final as well, leaving only the remaining direct finalists, which amount to three. Attention turns to Spain whose broadcaster, RTVE will be represented with the song Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End) co-written by Raquel del Rosario, David Feito, Juan Suárez and performed by the group, ESDM.
ESDM - El Sueño De Morfeo (Morpheus’ Dream) is a Spanish pop-rock band with Celtic influences formed up by Raquel del Rosario from the Canary Islands, Juan Suarez and David Feito, both from northern Asturias. They have been working together for ten years and are known for their solid pop songs with rock touches and folk flavours supported by the remarkable voice of Raquel. Fresh, young and recognisable the band ESDM delivers powerful live performances that have been successfully witnessed by more than two million people in Spain and Latin America, and has sold half a million copies of their four studio albums.
Contigo Hasta El Final (With You Until The End). The song, composed by the band, talks about two people who meet and rediscover love. They decide to undertake together the journey of life, to the end. Musically, it is a journey of emotions from an epic introduction where the Celtic bagpipe stands as main player, to then make way for a mid-uptempo, and leading to a rocker theme. Apparently, this years' selection procedure was mostly based on the success that Spain achieved at last years' Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, it seems that pundits do not agree with the choice seeing them in the latter part of the scoreboard. This is not a fair assessment of what is an extremely beautiful song performed by a group who knows their way around the music industry.
Spain has been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest for more than fifty years but nevertheless, have only succeeded on two occasions, the last of which was back in 1969 when victory was shared between four entries. The song entitled Vivo Cantando by Salome was a truly enchanting piece. The dawn of the millennium was to see the country succeed noting that in the first five years, there were four top ten results for the nation including fan favourites such as Europe's Living a Celebration performed by Rosa and Dime sung by Beth. In recent years, results have not been so successful though and the country has failed to enter the top ten but with success achieved in the 2012 edition, one could definitely dream of more to come in the future.
The power of a live performance is exceptional when it comes to this group and that was a main reason behind their choice having given successful concerts in Spain and Latin America with their studio albums between 2005 and 2012 selling around half a million copies. Following their selection as the next representatives for Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest, they stated that this was a way to thank their fans for all of the support. They have just released a brand new album with Warner Music Spain, this being their sixth in total. It's entitled Todos Tenemos Un Sueño and it includes all of the tracks which they presented for the national final including an English version of their Eurovision Song Contest entry, under the subtitle they are using for the official title.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Striking introduction but it suffers from a bit of an identity crisis, moving from an acoustic / country folky sounding track into an upbeat pop rock track with more feel changes than soft mick! All very nice. A bit like The Corrs meets Katrina and the Waves meets Lee Ann Womack.
Sharon Vaughn: This is a lovely interpretation of a beautiful song with heart in it.
Stano Simor: The composition of this song is extremely well built and the concept to go from a ballad into a mid/uptempo number is clearly well defined. This should get the audience going for it but nevertheless, would not be surprised if not!
During the voting of both the semi-final and the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, there is always an entertainment act which takes to the stage and try to ease the tension slightly whilst keeping the public bouyant. Television broadcasters have a tendency to show advertisements during this time unfortunately but nevertheless, the public should enjoy what this years' host broadcaster, SVT has prepared with a multi-tude of performers set to take to the stage for more singing performances.
During the first semi-final, which will see sixteen (16) countries compete for ten (10) slots being offered in the final, there will be none other than Loreen, winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest who will be performing a new version of her winning entry Euphoria co-written by Thomas G:son and Peter Bostrom. This brand new version will involve a childrens' choir who will also be doing sign language. It will be similar to her Melodifestival guest appearance earlier this year but even bigger. Loreen has become one of the most notable winners of the international spectacle with the single achieving platinum status in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Darin, a former participant in both the Swedish Idol and Melodifestivalen has been enlisted to be a guest performer during the second semi-final in which Malta will be competing. As a matter of fact, Darin has already hit the music market in Europe with two of his albums charting in Finland and Germany whilst managing five number #1 hit albums in Sweden. You're Out of My Life, his Melodifestivalen entry charted at number #3 in 2010. Joining him there will be Agnes whom people will definitely remember through her smash hit, Release Me co-written by escflashmalta.com contributor, Sharon Vaughn. Signed to Universal Music Sweden, her latest collection of original songs entitled Veritas, released in September peaked at number #3.
In the final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest, the special guest, somewhat expected really will be none other than Carola, the woman who has represented Sweden on three occasions, the first time in 1983 with Framling, finishing in third place, second time with Fangad av en Stormvind in 1991, finishing in the top position and last but not least with Invincible back in 2006, managing a fifth place finish. Carola is an icon in Sweden and it has been revealed to the media that she had known she would be the interval act during the final when she was the interval act at the Melodifestivalen Final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Good Morning! All of the delegations competing in the semi-finals have arrived at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest on the fourth day of rehearsals because the shows' first technical runs will officially come to a close today as the press centre will officially open as from tomorrow. Following a somewhat error free two days, yesterday posed a couple of problems in terms of sound quality where Malta and Bulgaria were involved although all of the issues were fixed as the runs went along. SVT, the host broadcaster is very well organised and thus are keeping their reputation in tact. Some of the camera shots requested by delegations will be executed during the second rehearsal which will be completely open to the scrutiny of the media. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.
escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest and some of those uploaded include Ryan Dolan from Ireland and Dina Garipova who will be represent Russia. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. Today will mark the conclusion of the second semi-final and therefore, we continue see through the competition that Gianluca will be facing during the Thursday showcase. We would like to remind you that the second semi-final on escflashmalta.com will be commented upon by Antoine Farrugia, Senior Editor as well as Davinia, second runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and four time Solo Bay Music Award winner, Christabelle.
One of the few uptempo numbers in this years' competition in a genre that is rarely submitted into the Eurovision Song Contest, that being Ska. The backdrop itself is made to look modern during the performance with the colour scheme used being a mixture of dark and light colours, for example black with yellow. Koza Mostra along with Agathon Iakovidis are dressed very casually for the first technical rehearsal so it is rather unknown whether this will be their attire for the night of the semi-final. The group have their instruments with them and this is all still funny and very much enjoyable. It is a rather good start to the day and one definitely cannot lament about the actual vocals, which are solid throughout each run.
Translating this from the stage of the national final to the Eurovision Song Contest has been rather effortless considering that ballads should benefit from the lighting. Moran, who has been seen as the artist with the least fashion sense on the choice of the attire at Kdam is seemingly set to use the same dress for the international showcase. There is no gimmick in this particular track with Moran standing in the middle of the stage and belting out her beautiful ballad. She is joined on stage with two backing vocalists and this is all sounding extremely well on television. The addition of a pianist suits the songs as well and one cannot fault any decisions taken in the performance because this should qualify with relative ease.
Their return was much more anticipated when people where discussing the possibility of a return from Sirusho but it was then revealed that The Dorians would be honouring the country. The song itself is not bad and is written within a specific genre, that being a rock type of ballad with the emphasis on the former considering that it was indeed written by Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. The vocals in this one are strong and one would definitely not mind listening to it after the beauty of Israel but nevertheless, it does come across as slightly dull and boring. We know it's relatively early but then again, the energy seems to be missing in every run, hence why this is branded as dull. Nevertheless, this is Armenia competing in a weaker semi-final, so it will qualify!
A song which I personally like to listen to especially if I would like to relax a bit. ByeAlex will not be alone on stage, as he will be joined by two backing singers, one of which will also be playing the guitar. Following Armenia, this also seems rather dull in terms of performance or maybe it seems that the artists forgot to bring their 'A-Game' to the rehearsals. The idea of just standing there on this stage does not really work especially if you're presenting a mid-tempo kind of track. Some people have choreographies with their ballads, so certain things have be to be thought of well. The backdrop is the music video, the one with the cartoon and that is a nice element to the song. I am not sure on what this will achieve but it might be on the border to qualify.
It just so happens that I have just received the promotional disc accompanying the entry from Norway in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Our colleagues in Malmo have come forward that after two run throughs, Margaret Berger is having some issues with her in-ear monitor, similar to the problems that Malta faced yesterday. Funnily enough, this always seems to happen following the break. Margaret is clad in the same dress she was wearing at the Melodi Grand Prix, with some minor adjustments but nevertheless, why change a winning package. The vocals are troubling, even in the second run through where the technical issue has been sorted out. The only differences that one could note from the national final is that there are three backing vocals on stage.
Rock! The first word that comes to mind when this entry comes up on my iPod and even though this genre can be melodic, I cannot find anything positive with regards to the track. It was one of the worst entries during the national final in my opinion especially in comparison to around five entries which could have represented them. Nevertheless, this will be picking up the specific vote of people who might not be in tune with the Eurovision Song Contest but love this kind of music. Across the screens, this is a bit messy but nothing that cannot be fixed whilst the vocals fit in accordingly with the music. Coming after a pretty disappointing rehearsal from Norway is helping them out a bit. Still can't see this qualifying!
In this weak semi-final, the average song would definitely sound better and not too many songs can actually sound worse after Albania. The beauty of Georgia lies within the vocals of Sophie & Nodi, noting that the spark between them seems real and very much alive. In each run-through, despite having some fine tuning issues, the vocals have been beyond perfect. The female artist is clad in a long white and light blue dress, along with a couple of sparly bits on the shoulders whilst the male is wearing a typical suit. There are three backing vocalists, all female and one of them having joined Olivia Lewis back in 2007. The backdrop as expected features a waterfall. This is definitely qualifying and could, with the right draw make an Azerbaijan 2011 impact.
For some bizarre reason, this is currently doing well in terms of polling numbers despite not really setting the betting odds on fire. The staging is pretty much kept the same as it was during the national final but since the loss of the uniforms and their actual name, the whole performance has started to fall flat. One of the most positive elements about this is definitely the vocals but they also seemed to tire out after just a run or two. Switzerland will most likely not be in the final for the second consecutive year and probably hitting the latter part of the table towards the end. Rather disappointing as the chorus of the song is quite catchy yet it is just not coming across, at all!
Cezar seems to have taken the path of the devil in terms of this performance but nevertheless, he is also sporting a cruxifix, so that could be something to consider both as 'art and gutsy' at the same time. He is clad in a black, long coat, slightly metallic-looking and showcasing his phsique after receving various compliments from the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. Whilst not being lifted in the air throughout the performance, there is something that sees him lift up but it seems that he is indeed just moving forward. The effect on camera is stunning. The vocals are as expected, good but don't know whether Europe will go for this. It seems to be a marginal qualifier, possibly taking a spot from someone who fails.
escflashmalta.com had the opportunity to have a short conversation with Daniel D'Anastasi, Head of Press for the Maltese Delegation at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest following the first technical rehearsal that took place. Despite some early issues which were encountered during the first run, they were quickly fixed as Gianluca and the rest of the team including Samaria, Louise Ann, Kenny, Gabriel and Christopher grew in confidence. There are a couple of things which need to be altered slightly including some camera shots but nevertheless, it was an extremely positive rehearsal.
In the meantime, as per the typical schedule setup by the European Broadcasting Union and the respective host broadcaster, this year being SVT, Gianluca and the rest of the delegation will tomorrow embark on a tour across Sweden and therefore, that is the plan for the itinerary. Friday is another 'off' day for the whole team noting that the schedule is currently being filled up with a series of events including a trip to a hospital where Gianluca, our representative will be meeting up with some young children who are braving the elements and surviving through sickness. This is an incredibly touching moment and means even more considering that Gianluca is a doctor and therefore has a tendency to meet with patients on a daily basis. Gianluca's second rehearsal will be taking place on Saturday afternoon and it will be open to the media so therefore, in collaboration with Radio International, Eurovision Ireland, and escXtra, escflashmalta.com will be bringing you all of the latest news.
Source: Daniel D'Anastasi (Head of Press), Television Malta
escflashmalta.com is proud to enlist six of the most professional people in the music industry to analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. For the second semi-final, three of these with experience in several genres have been putting their respective thoughts forward with the sole aim to see what lies behind each track. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we find ourselves within the last entries for the second semi-final. Attention turns to Norway whose broadcaster, NRK has been drawn in slot number #13 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled I Feed You My Love is co-written by Karin Park, Robin Lynch, Niklas Olovson with vocals provided by Margaret Berger.
It's not difficult to understand why. Margaret embodies all the essential ingredients for a worldwide super star, one with the real possibility of a colourful career in front of her, the kind of potential longevity rare in the current popular music climate. With classic beauty, songs, the elusive “x-factor”, and an indescribable aura in the mix, this artist is being likened to a captivating blend of her Nordic female counterparts like Björk and The Knife with the delicious, all-important essential of strong, timeless electro-pop songs in her back pocket to substantiate comparisons with these iconic idols. Of course, this Trondheim born “overnight sensation” has been a work in progress ever since she was five years old, as an artist and songwriter in her own right.
Behind this schooled musician and artist is a paradox: a person so unique and yet so relatable. Now at 27 years of age, her time in the music business to date is already interesting, successful and not without its heart-breaking setbacks. In 2004, at the young age of 18, she was voted runners-up in Norway Idol, released her debut album Chameleon and was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy as best newcomer. In 2005, Berger won the Norwegian Grammy award for the engaging and somewhat controversial video of her single Lifetime Guarantee and in 2006, her critically acclaimed, much loved Pretty Scary Silver Fairy album, did not reach the commercial heights she had hoped for.
But Berger was onto something bigger and unbeknown to herself, was creating a popular “brand”, from which she is now enjoying the fruits of - through fashion projects, DJ-ing and being a unmistakable presence and name in the Norwegian underground electro scene. Margaret can even admit herself that she's always played life in a "quirky way" and has always made a statement not by meaning to, but by simply being who she is. So perhaps who she really is, is a perfect marriage of contrasts, and by no accident, describes her music in the same fashion: edgy but beautiful, tough and playful, experimental but grounded, layered and authentic. One of the main ingredients to have seen Norway succeed across the years, has been the national selection process known as the Melodi Grand Prix.
Norway, one of the most successful countries if one takes into account the number of participations within the final noting a total of forty-nine (49) out of a possible fifty-one (51). The disappointments have been relatively recent, the first one coming in 2007 at the hands of Guri Schanke and her entry Ven a Bailar Conmingo co-written by Thomas G:son which crashed with just forty-eight (48) points and eighteenth (18th) position. The second time round was even more recent as Stella Mwangi and her song Haba Haba, a fan favourite had to endure just thirty (30) points to finish in seventeenth (17th) place. Norway have recorded three (3) victories, the last of which coming in 2009 as Fairytale swooped to victory winning both the jury and the tele-voting in a handy manner.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Interesting title. Unusual but effective lyrics. Great voice. Great tune. Fantastic production - what a drum sound! Got a feel of 'Diamonds are forever' or 'Tomorrow never dies' about the tune. Very strong overall although the chorus could punch harder.
Sharon Vaughn: Modern and intense. A lovely artist and a stunning performance.
Stano Simor: Norway traditionally comes with a powerful presentation. Cool, fashion and minimalistic but effective show . I do not think Norway this year has brought a typicall homegrown type of Eurovision entry but nevertheless, this is extremely professional in terms of production and thus would help elevate the competition in general.
Tomorrow, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with lead vocals provided by Gianluca had a first go on the stage of this years' Eurovision Song Contest as rehearsals from the second semi-final commenced. The afternoon has somewhat been plagued by a series of sound issues that have effected rehearsals of Finland, Malta and Bulgaria when it comes to the first run but all of the technicalities are fixed as countries head into the rest of their allocated time. Following Azerbaijan and Finland was always set to be a challenge for our entry but the sheer excitement of the actual performance continues to ascertain positivity amongst the international community.
The lyric video created for the international and local public to sing-a-long to the song in preparation for the Eurovision Song Contest is being used as a backdrop, an effective idea as the audience could grasp the concept and sing-a-long. The lighting used on stage is relatively light featuring a mixture of orange, blue and green as opposed to the darker colours being used by other countries. For most of the performance the staging is kept very similar to the national final performance with Gianluca making use of the catwalk towards the end of the song before turning back to the main stage where he joins all the rest of the team on a park bench, as is reminiscent of the music video. The vocals following the first run got better as Gianluca grew in confidence whilst noting that is saving his voice for the actual performance next week as the fourth run came to an end. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Good Morning! It has already been two days since the official start of the fortnight that will see through this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The entries competing in the first semi-final had their first technical rehearsals spread out over two days and it seems that the organisation led by the Swedish broadcaster, SVT is very much well planned. There have not been too many issues with regards to camera-work and several delegations are happy with the current presentations. Others will be getting their wishes granted during the second rehearsal which will be completely open to the scrutiny of the media. escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Eurovision Ireland, escXtra and Radio International are bringing you all of the latest from the rehearsals.
escflashmalta.com thanks to Juergen Boernig, the Head of Press is currently also processing a couple of video interviews with artists who will be representing their country at the Eurovision Song Contest and some of those uploaded include Anouk from The Netherlands and Natalia Kelly from Austria. In the meantime, you may also have a look at our photo gallery whilst staying up to date through both our pages on Facebook and Twitter. This is definitely going to be an intriguing day for all of the fans of Malta on this portal considering that Gianluca will be taking to his debut rehearsal on the magnificient stage in Malmo. The first eight countries competing in the second semi-final on Thursday will be rehearsing today.
Remember that we are currently preparing a set of live reports during the nights of the shows with the second semi-final being headlined by Davinia, second runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and Christabelle, Solo Award Winner at the Bay Music Awards for four years running. The European Broadcasting Union along with the Swedish broadcaster, SVT have just revealed that the green room host of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will be none other than Eric Saade. The young performer represented Sweden back in 2011, achieving a second runner-up finish with the song Popular. He has been extremely successful in the music industry with his albums in Sweden never charting lower than number #2 and with his last two specifically also being certified Platinum just days within their release.
Starting the morning with an actual silver lining because PeR from Latvia are dazzling in sparkling attire as they represent Latvia. In recent years this nation has not been successful and one is not really hoping that fortunes will change with this respective entry. There is nothing wrong with the presentation noting that the performance is based mainly on the centre stage where the duo have a tendency to jump up and down in a frantic Jedward way before going onto sing the final chorus from the satellite stage. This is the opening entry for the second semi-final and it should be seen as fun but nevertheless, I do not really understand the concept behind it.
Recreating the music video is not always the best option but nevertheless, San Marino are a fan favourite this year and therefore, everything will be viewed as viable. Valentina is on stage in her black dress and starts off by keeping a large lit ball close to her, almost like a mother holds her child. The staging is dark prior to the key change where the black dress or rather more of a cloak is removed to reveal ... a red dress, yes exactly like the music video. This is coming across really strong vocally and whilst San Marino have a disappointing non-qualification record, they are hoping to turn that round this year. It is certainly possible and this is leaning towards becoming a certain qualifier.
Firstly, seems like the delegation is yet unsure of whether to perform in English or native tongue pertaining to the use of the former in the first rehearsal. If I Could Change the World is the official title that is being used it seems so that should be clarified. Lozano sounds spot on in terms of vocals from the onset but when Esma comes on, it sounds strained and despite the additional help of a female backing vocal, it is not sounding any better. It seems that this is very much dead in terms of qualification chances unless they can iron things out for the second rehearsal especially when it comes to the messy stage presentation that penetrates the screens.
Fresh off from hosting the Eurovision Song Contest last year, Azerbaijan are definitely doing their best to return to the winners' circle. Farid, a tourist in Malta not too long ago is clad in grey including shirt, trousers and waistcoat. It seems that the staging is definitely going to help this stand out ahead of Finland who are planning a superb show. Farid starts his song on a box, in which there is a male dancer who is copying his every move. This is deemed clever and impressive. There is also a female in a long red gown on stage to add to the art of it all. Farid himself is very strong vocally and this is coming across better than anticipated.
Krista has somewhat been a revelation in the lead-up to the Eurovision Song Contest noting that she went on from not being a favourite of the international fans to one of those to look out for in a matter of weeks through her bubbly personality. She is clad in a wedding dress as revealed in several interviews including the one on escflashmalta.com and is joined by two backing vocalists and three dancers, the latter are dressed up as bridesmaids. For the second entry in a row, everything is being thrown into the performance including a wind machine which causes some problems for Krista. Vocally, this was near flawless. I predict this qualifying as the entry before it and the one after it, those being Azerbaijan and Malta!
Despite some technical issues during the first run, the second run could not have been any different with Gianluca, his two female backing vocalists being Louise Ann and Samaria along with the rest of the band including Kenny D'Ugo, Gabriel Cassar and Christopher Tate having a resoundingly successful performance. The vocals during the second run-through were really strong and to give you an idea of the show on stage, it seems that Malta is making use of the lyric video for the background which will definitely aid to create a sing-a-long vibe with bright colours throughout. Gianluca is clad in casual attire as was he during the promotional tour incorporating chinos, a shirt and an open jacket. This was a good start but things should improve by the second rehearsal on Saturday.
Deja Vu, that is the element which reignites my memory when watching this performance in full. Elitsa & Stoyan are wearing what seem to be traditional outfits with red being the most predominant colour. For the second rehearsal in a row, there are some problems with the inner ears that are given to the vocalists and this affects the vocals. Apart from the duet, there are three backing vocalists, and an additional dancer who plays the bagpipes on stage. First time round back in 2007, it was original and different hence the positive result but with the juries back in the Eurovision Song Contest, I can't see this entry getting out of the semi-final this time round.
Men! The first word that comes to mind with regards to this performance, considering that there are five men in total, the main vocalist and four backing singers as reported by escflashmalta.com during the past weekend. The staging is relatively dark, similar to the one used to the national final and the clothing is very much the same as well as he wears a white shirt, black waistcoat and white blazer. The vocals are strong and this is definitely this years' Estonia especially considering the improvisations that he is doing throughout the performance. The lighting is incredible and this is coming acoss really beautiful on the screens. It is Gianluca's favourite and we definitely have it in oue top three within this semi-final.
Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States and Stano Simor from the Czech Republic represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Romania whose broadcaster, TVR has been drawn in slot number #17 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled It's My Life is written by Cristian Faur with vocals provided by Cezar.
He participated in many master classes with prestigious names of the music world, such as: Viorica Cortez, Jordi Savall, Sara Mingardo, Bobby McFerrin, Magda Olivero. Cezar is often invited to sing in the most important festivals and on well-known stages in the country as well as in Europe. He performed next to famous conductors like Fabio Biondi, Alan Curtis, Corrado Rovaris, Emanuelle Villaume, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Werner Ehrhardt, George Petrou, Sergio Ciomei, Sergio Azzolini, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Vlad Conta and Ketil Haugsand. His repertoire is very large, starting with vocal-symphonic music and up to a great variety of opera roles that he plays on the biggest stages in the world. Born in 1980 la Ploieşti, Romania, in a family of musicians.
Cezar Ouatu started studying piano when he was six and graduated the piano and choir classes at Carmen Sylva Art High school, in his native town. In 1998 he started studying canto and baroque music and soon became well-known, due to his voice, natural legerity and less common vocal limits. In 2001 he was accepted in the Giuseppe Verdi Music Academy in Milan, and in 2004 he graduated with maximum grades on the final exam at one of the most prestigious music academies in Europe. His first pop-opera single Cinema Paradiso was released on Christmas Eve, in 2012. For 2013, Cezar has already planned two international duets, with Andrea Bocelli and Angela Gherorghiu, as well as a single written especially for him by the legend of electronic music, Vangelis. Presently, Cezar works at his first pop-opera album The Voice, dedicated to love.
It’s My Life is the second Eurovision entry for Cristian Faur, the Romanian composer and writer. His first one proved to be a successful choice, as he was the first Romanian composer whose song entered the top three in the Eurovision final – that was in 2005, when Luminiţa Anghel & Sistem’s Let Me Try was highly appreciated by the public and jury. Romania opted for a relatively large national selection in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest featuring a total of thirty-two entries, twelve of which managed to make it through to the final. There was a former representative who took to the stage, that being Luminitha Anghel who was the favourite of the international public and managed a runner-up entry finish in the tele-voting.
Romania is one of the most successful countries to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest having maintained qualification in every semi-final they have encountered, even when it looked slightly more difficult. In recent years, the results have improved and mid-table results have become relatively the issue at hand with Zaleilah by Mandinga managing a twelfth place finish. The most successful finish for Romania up to this point in time has been a second runner-up finish, the first time happening in Kiev, Ukraine when Luminita Anghel & Sistem performed the song Let Me Try and the second one being rather recent as Paula Seling & Ovi sang the song Playing With Fire. They will be hoping for more success with their fifteenth entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Professional Critics Voice their Opinion
Martin Isherwood: Wow! He sounds like a mezzo soprano at times which is quite an achievement. There's a hint of the 'Good the bad and the ugly' as it opens and given that it combines Musical Theatre, Opera and Dance music, this foreboding is somewhat justified. One of the strangest songs in the competition but could do very well for that reason.
Sharon Vaughn: This is a resounding no, on so many levels!
Stano Simor: Cezar is definitely a professional opera singer who is trying to fit into the typical conventions of a song competition oriented towards pop. The first preview clip saw to the combination of four (4) dancers doing a modern choreography, to the genre of dubstep. This represents two parallel worlds and might stand out based on that perception.