November 18, 2019

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha

The problem of lack of sleep might actually lead to oversleeping the following day but nevertheless, the interest continues with today being the most exciting day yet for several fans due to the fact that a number of strong songs will be taking to the stage of this years' Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time. Everything has gone smoothly thus far actually in Baku, Azerbaijan with Ictimai and the European Broadcasting Union doing a great job when it comes to the organizations aspect. Whether you have left for work or school, we would like to wish you Good Morning and welcome to the fourth day of LIVE coverage. In the previous three days, thanks to several individuals, we have managed to bring about the best possible coverage and we hope to continue more of the same in the next couple of days especially this week when things are more hectic than they will be next week.

For the fourth day running, I would like to thank this years' team for which features newcomer; Šira Carolyn Bezalel as well as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall, the latter of which is is Head of Operations in Baku and is leading the team to such positive coverage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. Yesterday members of our team were present during the Maltese rehearsal first hand and had only words of praise to say whilst they also made it to the press conference where Kurt thought his apple jack move to the media present. Today is quite special due to the fact that the runaway favourite Sweden will rehearsal but there will also be rehearsals by strong entries coming from Turkey, Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia.
Schedule of Rehearsals
08:00 - Slovenia
08:45 - Croatia
09:30 - Sweden
10:15 - Georgia
11:55 - Turkey
12:40 - Estonia
13:25 - Slovakia
14:25 - Norway
15:15 - Bosnia & Herzegovina
15:55 - Lithuania 
Things improve day by day as they say and timing is very important. It seems that we are just behind by not too much today and that is why, progress is important. Forty minutes have been allocated to each performer for the last time today as tomorrow marks the beginning of the second rehearsals, with half an hour each instead of the longer forty minutes. The first sound check for Eva is on and it seems we are ready to commence quite in spectacular fashion this morning.

The fourth day of rehearsals open up with a Balkan ballad whose backdrop is kept extremely simple showing what seems to be a black cape flowing in the wind. The colour scheme is a mixture of black and red and there is this misty feeling going along. It might be that everyone is in their costume actually with several white dresses on show. Eva is joined on stage by the five female backing vocalists who were with her in the national final. They are not standing far away though and a warm effect is created with a very simple choreography. In Europe it is very early but it is not in Azerbaijan and the vocals by the young performer are strong and have no trouble. In the final chorus, the backdrop changes and features sparkles in a golden brown colour. I think the song in itself did not come across as powerful as it shoul but still a good start. It is unknown whether Croatia with a same sound can actually kill it's chances out there.
Video Courtesy of

Following Slovenia, come their neighbours Croatia with a similar kind of sound and this is the very first time that Nina is performing the Eurovision version of her song live. She is clad in a back dress and is joined on stage by three female backing vocalists and two male dancers. The bacdrop is as expected features shots from the video which for those who have not seen it includes a lot of fog and clouds. The spotlights play a pivotal role in brigning out the best elements of this song and it seems that the choreography despite quite simple is very much polished. The vocal range of Nina is incredible and considering her recent surgery, she is still performing very well. The music of this song is just beautiful and mesmerizing. Mid way through the performance, the two dancers stretch out a banner and dance with it whilst Nina continues improvising with her voice. This is very strong and in my opinion has become a qualifier.
Video Courtesy of

The media attention that was in the hall for Loreen was staggering. People were climbing over each other to get a good vantage point. However - was it worth it? Well being the firm favourite you know that people will be expecting more from you tehn other countries. They will also expect your First Rehearsal to be note, camera and dance perfect which is not the case. Regearsals are there to iron out any problems and Loreen had some issues. We all know the song "Euphoria" and their is even a store in Baku called Euphoria - how strange. The song is a huge Electro Euro Pop anthem that only Sweden know how to do. Loreen is singing on stage with 2 female backing singers. It was clear that she was holding back on her voice but the backing vocals need some work - but that is what the rehearsal is for The song still sounds wonderful and that is hard to say when you have been listening to it for months now. The local people who have not seen or heard the song were very excited from Loreen's performance.
This bodes well as the majority of people looking at Eurovision and voting in it will be looking at the songs for the first time when the show airs so your song needs to have impact and this does. Again this is same performance that took place in the Swedish National Final. Loreen is dimly lit with just spotlights on her face which is highly dramatic. The stage is dark with some intermittent flashes of lighting There is the same dance routine as she used in Melodi Festivalen and guess what - yes you are right - she uses the same male dancer again here in Baku. When the key change takes place in the song - YES the same again - we have snow on the stage. However the backdrop of the stage turns into a massive snow blizzard which looks stunning. So as for today's theme for the performances - we are doing "Cars" - so Loreen's performance would be "A pimped out Volkswagen" - Highly reliable but looking and sounding great. What do you think?
Video Courtesy of

It seems that this rehearsal started quite problematic as the microphone was not working and he is not using a hand held one due to the choreography which seems to be quite busy. The main singer is joined on stage by four ladies and everyone is dressed in black. The backdrop features what seems to be the star of Britain's Got Talent actually before being altered to more designs further on. In the meantime, the colour scheme for this one is a mixture of black, red and white. It is quite funny how he is trying to look like a Casanova but comes across as too fake and disinterested at times. Nevertheless, the vocal performance is mostly good until he tries to reach the higher register of the falsetto which fails miserably. Mid-way through, a female dancer comes on as well and adds more to the meaningless performance. Now that was a car crash, a devastating one. This is surely a definite non-qualifier.
Video Courtesy of

It is no surprise that the Turkish rehearsal was very busy as Can Bonomo is a well known star in Azerbaijan. Personally I like this song. It has a great Turkish Ethno/Pop vibe to it. Can is a very likable character and has good vocals. He reminds me of Ben who was the lead singer of the 80's British pop band Curiosity Killed the Cat. Can's vocals were very strong as were his backing singers. His pronunciation was also very good - and you know how I like that! The back drop to the stage is extremely vibrant and colourful. We start with blue lighting on the stage. For the chorus the colour is bright red. There is a strong nautical theme where we see animated scenes of the ocean with anchors, boats and lighthouses.
This is interwoven with scenes of anchors through animated scenes of mountaintops with love hearts. Can is accompanied by 5 men on stage with him who provide the backing vocals and dancing. For the actual climax of the song the dancers physically align themselves in a formation to replicate a ship with Can as the captain. It looks very effective. The staging of the song is wonderful and Can is a likable character with a relaxed presence on stage. As he is performing after Georgia this will be to his advantage as the Georgian song and performance has divided the press conference. Turkey will be sailing into the final. I think this could bring Turkey into the Top 10 in the final. If this was a car it would be a stylish cheeky little Mini. It is classic with a little twist.
Video Courtesy of

My close friends know how much I adore the Estonian entry as soon as he took to the stage for his rehearsal, I must say that I was somewhat in a trance over what the performance could look like. It seems like the Ott Lepland might actually be clad as he will be in the semi-final in a black, blue and white outfit featuring a waistcoast and tight jeans. He is joined on stage by one backing vocal who is wearing a beautiful white shimmering gown. The backdrop graphics are just beautiful and feature three dimensional objects but as soon as the bridge kicks in the colour switches from dark red and black to pink with a number of rose petals being used for the backdrop. It also finishes in complete darkness and you could hear a pin drop in such a quiet setting once he finishes but the audience present awaits for him to finish before clapping. Stunning, this could be the surprise of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. A ballad performed with poise and perfection which will stand out from the rest and will surely shine in between the likes of Turkey and Slovakia.
Video Courtesy of

This is a song which has been flying way below the radar due to the fact that Slovakia have never made an impact at the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, it might be that change can come for everyone because Max Jason Mai who is joined on stage by a band is not only only enjoying himself but looking every bit of a qualifier at the moment. The fact of the matter is that this is the only soft metal type of song in the competition and features an extremely catchy refrain. As expected, the focus of this song lies in the lighting which is superbly orchestrated. One problem though might be that the stage is too much based on one particular point and therefore, the interaction lies with just that end. The music is quite beautiful and for all of the first time listeners, this might stand out. The vocals are good and the diction is understandable considering that English is not a first language for people in Slovakia.22

Video Courtesy of


The Norsk Melodi Grand Prix just happens to be one of the competitions which we followed in full detail within each respective semi-final and the winner was none other than Tooji who seems to be following in the footsteps of his Scandinavian counterpart Eric Saade. The colours used during the backdrop are red and black but nevertheless there also seems to be a tinge of organge. He is joined on stage by four dancers, two of which are male and two of which are female. The vocal performance is strong as it has always been and one would never actually note that this is the very first time that Tooji is actually performing noting that prior to this he was a model and also works with children who are battling physcological issues. I believe that this will be one of those songs which will surely make it through to the finals especially after last years' disappointment.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
Bosnia & Herzegovina

The penultimate performance of this years' second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest actually features a Balkan ballad which has become somewhat very typical in this showcase. Bosnia & Herzegovina are represented by the beautiful Maya Sar who is standing in the middle of the stage playing a piano. This looks beautiful on screen actually especially when the backdrop is featuring an old city.with Roman columns. The vocal performance is stunning as expected and she does not miss a single note noting that she did give the performance of a lifetime during the song presentation a couple of months back. Following the upbeat entry from Norway, this sounds great and calm and should entice viewers to vote whilst the jury will surely like the transition as well. A masterful performance, well done!

Video Courtesy of

The stage is bathed in blue for the final rehearsal of the day featuring Donny Montell who beings about a different type of track to the Eurovision Song Contest as it is a ballad turned pop song mid way. The down side of this live performance is that the main performer has decided to take to the stage on his own. There has been a lot of comparison between Donny and Sasha Song, which is quite interesting especially when they have performed together in the past. The spotlights are working wonders during his song and fill up the stage when there is no backdrop but when the backdrop does indeed come forth, it features miniature black silhouettes. It seems there might have been some problems with it. The vocals were good but not amazing unfortunately.

Video Courtesy of

Each individual present at the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is defined through a particular role and then there are some which might not be in attendance such as myself who still have a job to carry out. The Maltese Delegation also has external personnel including Elaine Saliba who will be commenting on the three shows being the two semi-finals and the final following a great job hosting the Malta Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year as well as former host of the same competition; Keith Demicoli who will be the one reading out the points of the Maltese jury and televoting combined. This exclusive revelation came by virtue of the Maltese Head of Delegation and Public Broadcasting Services Chief Executive Officer; Anton Attard who is currently in Baku, overseeing that the preparations are going according to plan. This marks the beginning of a new chapter between the broadcaster and who will together help promote and support the Maltese entry at the esteemed music event.

Keith Demicoli started out at Television Malta as a newscaster and has been quickly working his way up into the ranks at the station actually noting that he has become somewhat of a cult figure, synonymous with the world of the Eurovision Song Contest noting that he has been given the position of host at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions, the first being in 2010 alongside Pauline Agius and the second being 2011 with Valerie Vella. During the 2012 edition of the national competition, it is important to note that Keith was selected to be the head judge and therefore, already has know how on how to give the points. It will be quite a spectacle as the dashing Keith Demicoli is up to the screen during the final ready to give away the votes of the entries which will be competing in the final. In the meantime, remember that today was the beginning of a new journey for Kurt Calleja and his entry This Is The Night who rehearsed the song for the very first time to positive acclaim. Stay tuned to for more news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Anton Attard (Head of Delegation)

Lack of sleep due to the levels of excitement which are quickly rising up due to the fact that the Maltese Delegation will be taking to the Crystal Hall in Baku, Azerbaijan for their very first rehearsal on what seems to be the most spectacular stage of the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years. The first rehearsals in which each country is allocated forty minutes are very much a technical run through in general. Anyways, as you get ready for work, school or even maybe an exam, Good Morning and welcome to the third day of LIVE coverage from this years' music competition. In the previous two days, thanks to several individuals, we have managed to bring about the best possible coverage and we hope to continue more of the same in the next couple of days especially this week when things are more hectic.

For the third day running, I would like to thank this years' team for which features newcomer; Šira Carolyn Bezalel as well as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall, the latter of which is is Head of Operations in Baku and is leading the team to such positive coverage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. In the past two days, this has been the promise and it has been kept and today, the team will be more attentive to bring about the latest news about Malta and the song This Is The Night which will be performed on the stage for the very first time. Apart from Malta, there should be plenty of interest today especially for the songs of Serbia, Ukraine, The Netherlands and also outsiders Portugal.

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:00 - Serbia

08:45 - FYR Macedonia

09:30 - The Netherlands

10:15 - Malta

11:55 - Belarus

12:40 - Portugal

13:25 - Ukraine

14:25 - Bulgaria 


In the past couple of days, there have been a number of issues with regards to getting started on time actually and it is quite interesting that despite starting a bit late, this is the day in which they were closest to being on schedule. As you can see within the schedule above, the first eight participants in the second semi-final will be taking to the stage and the first vocal run through of Serbia has just finished meaning that the full run through will commence in just seconds of minutes. Stay tuned for all of the updates, throughout the day.


Opening to the beautiful sounds of the violin this morning with a dark setting in what seems to be a pink and later a blue starry setting. Zeljko Joksimovic is joined on stage by his 'orchestra' wo are clad in a mixture of black and white, a scheme which would definitely work in the final. As expected, the setup is just astonishing for this entry and the backdrip only changes during the lead up to the birdge. The band moves in different directions momentarily leaving the focus of the performance on Zeljko himself who is giving a masterful vocal interpretation. The addition of the female backing vocal works wonders. As always, this is one song which could be a surprise and win the competition. A superb start and a huge reaction in the hall from the audience present.

Video Courtesy of


FYR Macedonia

The second rehearsal of the day featrues Kaliopi and the popular singers from the Balkans is very fashionable in a male like suit this morning actually, very suitable as well. The stage is bathed in dark colours once more and the backdrop features revolving images which show a piano at times. She is joined on stage by a band including a guitarist, a bassist, drummer and also a violinist. The vocals from the main performance are very strong and this was somewhat ecpected considering the long career that Kaliopi has had. She literally enjoyed being out there and took it in her stride. This was the best rehearsal from FYR Macedonia in years and this might actually be heading into the final.

Video Courtesy of


The Netherlands

The Dutch are yet to really make an impact on the Eurovision Sogn Contest since the semi-final system was introduced and they are hoping to do it this year when they are presenting a different kind of song bearing the name You and Me. The lead performer of this track is still wearing the tribal hat it seems but what is spectacular is the fiery red backdrop which features a lot of shapes. Joan is joined on stage by a number of people but then again, she does not look completely sure of the performance and it is worrying that she does not move at all and keeps her place in the middle of the stage. The vocals do not need any work because she is not tested in any way. Whilst there is not a lot which can be done, I am not sure that will actually qualifier to the finals. It seems that a new orchestration has been worked and that is something which actually works very well. At the end of the performance, the five people joining her on stage, all playing instruments come full circle.

Video Courtesy of



Kurt and his band came on stage today with a smile and energy that just lit up the room. Kurt asked you to believe that "This is the night" and I think it could well be for Malta on May 24th. What a summery upbeat song . People watching the rehearsal were all clapping and getting into the groove of the song Kurt's vocals were on key all the time and his diction was perfect - which is a welcome change from some of strange English that we have heard. The band that are supporting Kurt sounded wonderful too. There is one female backing vocalist who blends in with Kurt very well. There are 2 male guitarists, a DJ and a female drummer all of which interact with Kurt vocally well to create a strong wall of sound. This performance just blasted out of the blocks. The backdrop has a sea of people dancing on the video wall which is highly impressive. It adds to the carnival atmosphere of the song.

The colours used are red and orange with strobing lights. Again this is visually strong. Kurt and his band have their great dance routine that we are all trying to learn in the press hall now. I have had a few mishaps!! Kurt works the stage and interacts wonderfully with his band members. The camera angles are spot on and Kurt knows how to work the screen. When the climax comes in there is a great dreakdown and the lights on the stage gone from the red to black and white which is highly effective The DJ comes out from behind his booth and does some really slick break dancing while Kurt hits some really high notes. Everything came together on this first rehearsal and the view across the press centre is that Malta are going to the final. If Malta was a fruit they would be a "Passion Fruit" - fresh, fruity and very tasty.

Video Courtesy of



Malta was followed by a lunch break and I must say that despite the fact that most people do not like the brand new version, I absolutely love the new opinion and the backdrop is quickly transformed into a blue version of the matrix whilst the blue and yellow lighting is also somewhat predominant. This performance does not need a lot of staging due to the fact that the group already features four members in total, and another three which join the proceedings. The interesting thing is that all are male and therefore, this is one of the few songs which does not have the inclusion of a female. The vocals by the lead singer are good but the problem is the diction which is not fully understood but in defense, this is the best song that Belarus has sent since Work That Magic by Dmitry Koldun. A good rehearsal indeed but will it be enough to qualify? That is yet to be seen.

Video Courtesy of



Just as the music starts, the colour scheme is quick transformed into a mixture or pueple and blue with the backdrop showing a typical setting of a small seaside town, most likely on in Portugal. Filipa is performing one of the most traditional songs in this years' competition. She is joined on stgae by five backing vocals, giving the song the feel of a true ballad. The vocals by the main performer do not need any work and the backing are resoundingly amazing as well. This is looking well on screen especially due to the very slow movements by everyone on stage. In the chorus, the backing builds a gospel like feel and the anthemic sound is given a lot of importance. Filips herself is enjoying her time on the stage and in the bridge, she pours out all of her emotion. Whether this song will qualify is another issue, I think it is somewhat borderline at the moment as I cannot see it doing overwhelmingly well but nevertheless, everyone knows what happened back in 2008.

Video Courtesy of



This song is a chant for the European Football Championships. Instantly catchy and full of wonderful hooks that anyone can easily identify with.The voice on Guitana was absolutely amazing. Her vocal range is stunning and amazed the crowd that had congregated for the rehearsal. It is hard to believe that she is the only set of vocals that are on the stage.The Ukraine are always assured to put an amazing show on every year at Eurovision and this year is no exception. A stunning backdrop of paint being thrown in slow motion of different colours. There are port movable 4 screens on the stage that begin the performance in a boxed formation from which Guitana and her 5 male dancers emerge. The screens then also display various eye catching images from dancing male dancers to crowd scenes of computer icons. It is a busy stage performance - almost like a traffic junction in Baku at rush hour - but I love that!

Video Courtesy of



The final rehearsal of the day comes from Bulgaria who are actually being represented by Sofi Marinova who won the right to represent the country in a national final. I believe that this is the first time she is wearing her hair down but nevertheless, the focus on the performance is surely based on the backdrop which is a flurry of lines and bubbles. I believe that this song is missing out on a lot in terms of performance just by opting not to use any backing dancers which could have aided it a lot. Nevertheless, the vocals of Sofi are impressive and I beleive that she can carry it off alone. I still cannot see this song qualifying though unfortunately which is somewhat of a pity in reality but there is nothing extremely special about it that could take it past eleventh place.

Video Courtesy of escXtra

Kurt Calleja is representing Malta in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan and his journey commenced early yesterday morning actually having departed from the small Mediterranean country with a flight to Istanbul, Turkey by virtue of the national airline, Airmalta. When at the airport in Turkey, the team was received by none other than Reuben Gauci who just happens to be the Maltese Diplomat in Istanbul. Along with an Azeri travel agent, the whole delegation was treated to a tour of the city which is somewhat popular for being a border between Europe and Asia intertwining the cultures together.

Kurt of course was in Turkey just a couple of weeks ago where he met the representative Can Bonomo who will be competing in the second semi-final with Malta. The song along with the performer were well received and it is somewhat hoped that this will show on the night itself. Later in the afternoon, the whole delegation left the city of Istanbul to head to their final destination which is the host city of the 2012 edition of Eurovision Song Contest. This route is not the typical one actually with most participants going through Germany but on their flight, they met up with the delegations from Serbia and Bulgaria along with a number of journalists and other fans. Kurt Calleja will be rehearsing for the very first time later on today so stay tuned to for all of the latest news.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services Press Release (Daniel D'Anastasi)

Another day is over in Baku, and today, Israel had the honour of opening the rehearsals for the day being the tenth country in the running order. Seventeen countries (17) countries have now rehearsed for the very first time noting that that they happened to be the ones competing in the premier semi-final to take place on Tuesday, the 22nd May. Tomorrow will mark the first day of rehearsals for the entries in the second semi-final including the Maltese representative, Kurt Calleja and his band with his track This Is The Night. Perhaps today’s most ‘satisfying’ rehearsal was from the Irish twins, Jedward. I am giving importance to the term actually since I did not really hear the vocals at their best, maybe it’s just because it was the very first rehearsal although to give them credit, they still sounded in key and well prepared. For the second year in a row, Jedward are representing Ireland. This year they perform the song Waterline written by Nick Jarl and Sharon Vaughn who have written for the likes of Agnes Carlsson and Westlife.

They are hoping to do as well, if not better, than they did last year with Lipstick. The twins were dressed in bright blue sparkly tailcoats and I think that this will actually be their look on Tuesday. Their choreography had similar elements to their  2011 entry, and they displayed the same energy as they showed a year ago. A particular note in this year’s setup is surely the colour blue and the ‘water’ theme. Infact, the Irish team have opted to insert a small water fountain as part of the choreography. I’m not 100% sure if it really worked as planned, especially during the very first run through. I think that the twins will eventually be encircled by the water in a particular moment of their performance, and it seems that during the final rehearsal, this, in fact, made an impressive effect. made for a very impressive effect, and everyone looked much happier at the result. Pyrotechnic effects are also expected.

It should be a wonderful performance, thanks to all these ‘touches’, but surely, the twins need to improve their voice performance, together with their 4 backing vocals and also, perhaps be a little bit more synchronized in their simple choreography. Ireland is the most successful country in the Eurovision Song Contest. They first took part in the 1965 Contest in Naples, participating in every subsequent Contest but two: the 1983 Contest in Munich and the 2002 Contest in Tallinn.   Ireland won the Contest for the first time in 1970 with Dana performing "All Kinds of Everything". In total, Ireland has won the Contest seven times, more than any other country, including an unprecedented three consecutive victories in the 1990s (1992, 1993 and 1994 - the most consecutive wins accumulated by a country to date). The decade also saw yet another victory in 1996 and two second place finishes (in 1990 and 1997), which gives Ireland the best overall performance by any country in the history of the Contest.


It is still the second day of the lead up to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and there are a host of countries which are taking to the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan for their very first rehearsal noting that today marks the end of the first semi-final leaving the acts in the second semi-final to take the role tomorrow and the following day. The second rehearsals are scheduled to commence on Thursday morning therefore, it will be quite an interesting set of days indeed. In the meantime, apart from the performances which are being re-worked to fit into the staging put forth by the European Broadcasting Union, the team of editors is excruciatingly busy taking images, reporting and also interviewing acts exclusively. In fact, once more, huge thanks to Juergen Boernig from The Netherlands and his team of people, Garrett Mulhall from Ireland and also Šira Carolyn Bezalel from Croatia who are giving us the exclusive content. Nevertheless, huge thanks to all of the escXtra team led by Luke Fisher from the United Kingdom who are doing a splendid job and giving us their support as well.

It seems that flying over between press conferences, and interviews, Juergen and his team have managed to share with us some of their exclusive content including interviews with none other than the Israeli group at this years' Eurovision Song Contest who just happen to be Izabo and also with the composer of the San Marino entry who is Ralph Siegel, one of the most popular songwriters at the Eurovision Song Contest who can definitely be coined to be a veteran at this point in time. The Israeli group were somewhat disappointed with the backdrop of their rehearsal this morning and one could expect a lot of changes come the second rehearsal which is scheduled for later in the week actually and they were so frustrated that they cancelled their very own press conference but still did not cancel the meetings they had with the press meaning that our team was still lucky to get the interview in and in fact, Lilian Brunell and Juergen Boernig spoke to the group about the lead up to the competition and also their first rehearsal which you can see below.

The second interview of the day was one which actually has not yet been covered by anyone. Ralph Siegel has been in the business for a very long time and many people remember that he is actually a winner of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Ein Bischen Frieden which he wrote for Nicole way back in 1982 which just happens to be thirty years ago this year. The song came into the mind of the songwriter just ten years after his first experience at the music competition and in fact, Lilian Brunell focused a lot on the history of the individual before then turning around the attention on the song for San Marino which he co-wrote with his typical writing partner. The song has received a lot of acclaim mostly negative but nevertheless, publicity which can be somewhat acknowledged in the best possible way. Many people have said that i might actually qualify because it is a hot mess and it might do well with the tele-voters. Many people are writing it off with the juries but I think San Marino know their tactics in that department actually. You can view the interview just below as well through our YouTube account.

Once more, another early wake up call with many people in Europe definitely prepping either to leave for their respective classes or work of course but the preparations for the Eurovision Song Contest continue and they are pivotal to the overall presentation. Good Morning people and welcome to the second day of  LIVE coverage from this years' music extravaganza which is taking place all the way on the far east of the continent in Baku, Azerbaijan following the victory of the track Running Scared performed by Ell & Nikki leaving Italy and Sweden languishing in the next two positions. One could have noted that through our team and collaborators, we are well equipped to bring you the best possible coverage that we can with our current resources.

Once more, I would like to comment this years' team for which features newcomers; Šira Carolyn Bezalel and Patrick Strouk along with others such as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall who is Head of Operations in Baku. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. Yesterday was the beginning of a trip, one which will surely be filled with new experiences for everyone involved through a series of preparations such as rehearsals, press conferences and media requests for example. Just a reminder that Malta is competing in the second semi-final but nevertheless, today will see a number of brilliant tracks take to the stage including Cyprus, Denmark, Russia nd Ireland which are quite popular with the fans it seems. 

Schedule of Rehearsals
  • 08:00 - Israel
  • 08:45 - San Marino
  • 09:30 - Cyprus
  • 10:15 - Denmark
  • 11:55 - Russia
  • 12:40 - Hungary
  • 13:25 - Austria
  • 14:25 - Moldova
  • 15:10 - Ireland
Good Morning everyone! Maybe it is important to note that this morning, we are on schedule and that the Israeli group Izabo are rehearsing their entry first. The issues with the stage were sorted out yesterday hence why things are spot on this morning. It should be quite an interesting day once more so stay tuned for our live updates!

Great backdrop this morning as rehearsals kick off with Israel and their retro track. In fact, a clock is being shown going back in time noting that the track is taking the people to a different era in music. There is a lot happening on stage actually because apart from the band, the group are joined by another two backing vocals who are making use of the catwalk. They make use of elaborate hand movements but nevertheless, this track is really catchy and is garnering attention. It has been reported that during the second run-through, they have made use of pyrotechnics. The lighting scheme remains pink and red throughout but the use of the spotlights is magnificient, giving the song that extra edge. The vocals do not need any work either and sound incredible. In my eyes, this is a definite qualifier and a great way to start.
To be more direct, the backdrop fittingly is a series of clocks of all sizes and sytles - remember the song is called "Time" - keep up with me people With red and white lighting throughout the song this works very well HOWEVER and the use of capitals means it is a big "HOWEVER" the majority of the band look like they don't want to be here. A smile to the camera and some energy in them would really transform their performance. After all they are getting a fully paid trip to the beautiful city of Baku - and it is beautiful. So why the long faces guys. Top Tip - Israel have a kooky little song that sounds good and looks great but they need to look as though they are enjoying themselves. This is borderline to qualify in it's current state. SMILE - I am!
Video Courtesy of


San Marino

Well this has to be one of the most anticipated rehearsals of the competition. Valentina Monetta has the funniest entry in the competition but she is really nice and has also recorded a video for us at just last week during her stay in Israel. Following a number of run throughs, Valentina took to the stage to perform the song in full actually. This is oh so bad that it is oh so good. The lyrics use that well known Eurovision technique of mentioning as many well knon phrases that translate into any language - so we heard a lot of "Log On", "Uh Oh" etc which you cannot forget or get out of your head. The song is catchy and a euro/tech/funk style to it The backing singers were in tune and supported Valentina. Throughout her rehearsals she sang well and her pronunciation has improved since the Eurovision In Concert show in Amsterdam. The staging and the performance is where we go cheesy BIG TIME and I love it. We got a glimpse of the costumes that they will be wearing. The San Marino national colours are in overdrive with Blue and White being the colours de jour.

They range from a pilots to a sailors to a skimpy cheeky number for Valentina herself. The backdrop is very striking. They have a virtual web connection imagery with Facebook Pictures zooming across. Intersected are Twitter like bubbles with the lyrics of the song. If that wasn't enough Valentina has her own Laptop on stage that she uses to log onto "The Social Network" while her backing singers were sporting a Mobile Phone and an I-Pad. High Tech beyond belief - but throw in a cheesy dance routine that I found myself doing - sorry yes I was dancing again (must be the heat here in Baku). This song is throwing EVERYTHING it has at the entry and it had the audience in floods of laughter. I think we were laughing "with" San Marino and not "at" them. Personally I loved them and would love to see it in the final but one fears that people will not see the irony in the song. Chances of qualifying are tough - but we would love them to though

Video Courtesy of


The Mediterranean country comes into this years' Eurovision Song Contest with high expectations having been put at the upper part of the lists when it comes to fans' predictions and being in the first semi-final is also an additional help. The staging for this entry is extremely dark and should be softened a bit unless they wanted to keep the dark element of the preview video in tact. The architectual designs look nice on the backdrop but the focus is completely on Ivi herself. She is standing on top of a platform with four female dancers carrying out an extremely elaborate choreography around her. At the far left end of the stage, there is also a male backing vocal. This performance is seemingly working even on the screens but there is still work to be done.When it comes to the main voice, Ivi is better than expected but she has adjusted the key to her tone at this stage. She manages to stay on beat and does not lose breathe at any point. I think this was a positive rehearsal for Cyprus, much better than that of their counterparts; Greece!

Video Courtesy of


Denmark comes into the Eurovision Song Contest with two great results behind them and this is one to look out for according to the bookies and despite it's initial appeal, it has falled by the wayside with me but nevertheless, still catches a lot of attention. Soluna is joined on stage by a band which are of course adopting the idea of mimicking themselves playing the instruments. The outfit used by the main performer is the same as the one in the Dansk Melodi Grand Pirx and it is unknown on whether she will be using it for the semi-finals. There is nothing to fault in this entry really because I adore the backdrop being used featuring changes in weather and so forth, actually quite similar to Sognu from France last year. When the fully graphical detail is not shown, bubbles going up into the sky are shown. The vocals are spot on and I believe this is a qualifier based on this rehearsal but it will be interesting to note whether it will appeal to a select audience or whether it will manage to captivate everyone.

Video Courtesy of



Everyone by now knows that the Grannies from Russia are a phenomena. They have a very "cheesy" - so cheesy it might be an Extra Vintage Mature Cheddar - but it is liked by everyone! Starting off in a classic old folk song and then turning into a great pop disco song. The song is a celebration of life and calls for people of all ages to party - and the hall was full of people trying to get a glimpse of The Grannies. They are in demand today and I think will be in their Semi Final too. The staging and the performance are still somewhat similar to what we have seen, in fact the Grannies (like in their National Final) are in traditional Russian attire. Also on the stage is the same stove - YES stove - on the stage. The start of the song is quiet and the stage is dimly lit.

Once the song changes tempo the back drop resembles something like the Star Ship Enterprise going into Warp Speed where you arrive in a map of Europe that is glittering and flashing. They really use the stage and lighting to the maximum. As for the choreography - well there is very little yet there were 2 choreographers on the stage. The song has an endearing charm that people like it more if the Grannies sing or dance out of time and this will ensure that it scores well in the Semi Final. Personally I loved the song and the performance. Others believe that the Juries will take an instant disliking to the song and the novelty factor that it has. Would I change anything about the performance? Not a single thing. This is going straight to the final and I think could have all of Europe going back to Russia next year. Stiff competition for Jedward and Romania. What do you think?

Video Courtesy of



Another extremely dark setup for this one before they are all well lit in spotlights in order to give them a sense of identity. The backdrop is once more quite generic featuring very modern like designs but then in the refrain, there is a drastic change with pink and purple becoming predominant and showcasing beating hearts in order to comply with the rest of the lyrics. The stage set up is quite simple with the main performer juoined by his band and a female backing performer. The singer who is performing this one very good vocally takes to the catwalk during the bridge and he is the only one who seems to be daring and it is a good way on how to use all of the stage in reality. This is sounding pretty good and might be a qualifer as it has improved leaps and bounds since their initial performance way back in the national final where they had not been my favourites. I have a feeling that the odds will be shortening on this later on.

Video Courtesy of



Honesty is an important virtue and I have to be honest in saying that I was not fond of the Austrian entry at first but nevertheless, this has gone up in my standings just for being exciting and entertaining in the best possible way. The two performers in the group are wearing very similar outfits to the national final and once more, they are joined by three dancers who are making use of poles during the performances. The lighting is very colourful and somewhat reminiscent of last years' Rockefeller Street by Estonia. The ladies are showing the audience their best assets during the performance especially when it fits in compliance of the song. One of the two main performers also takes to the catwalk which is not being used much more by the performers. When performing the name of the song the spotlights are working their way in with the music and this looks good. Austria have a very different song but I am not sure they can qualify this year.

Video Courtesy of



Moldova are known for bringing on a lot of energy to the Eurovision Song Contest with a traditional sound somewhat being present each year. The young performer has gained a lot of experiences in recent years and it shows on stage. The staging is very well lit, bright and effective showing a dancing girl as the backdrop along with with a number of speakers at times. He is joined on stage by five ladies, all of which are well involved in the choreography but two of which focus on the backing vocal. Pasha is spot on vocally and Moldova may just be the most improved track also in terms of presentation as the big stage has really helped. In the bridge, he sits on one of th edancers and one has to add that it looks very rude indeed but nevertheless, the element is fun and I would definitely bet on this song qualifying just because it is catchy, quirky and just plan enjoyable.

Video Courtesy of



The rehearsal that many people have been waiting for has arrived as Ireland are the last country to take to the stage. The outfits that they are wearing today are the same ones which were used for the Late Late Show last Friday. The backdrip for this one was always going to be interesting especially if water was used and in fact, splashes of the ocean could easily be seen behind them. On each side of the twins, there are two backing vocalists, a male and a female including former You're A Star winner Leanne Moore. Midway through the performance, just behind the boys, a fountain just sparks splashing out water yet it is all extremely tidy. This is one of the best vocal performances that the boys have ever given and despite being assured of qualification thanks to a strong draw, they are hindered by a strong performance of Moldova just before them. Could this just be a performance that could better their result of last year? I believe so! Well Done Ireland!

Video Courtesy of escXtra

Earlier this year, during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, the public convincingly decided to send Kurt Calleja and his team over to Baku, Azerbaijan in order to carry the flag with the track This Is The Night which is both penned and composed by a trio of songwriters including Johan Jämtberg, Mikael Gunnerås and Kurt Calleja himself. The track faced stiff competition during the event but after coming on top, there has been a lot of mixed reactions from negative camps yet hope is an important asset which should never be lost and I speak for the majority of the public in saying that the country is behind Kurt and his song hoping to achieve qualification for the very first time since Chiara did the country proud during the 2009 semi-final with the song What If We when the event took place in Moscow, Russia.

As has been the case for most of the participants in recent years, the team for this years' Eurovision Song Contest was given a send off through the programme Ħadd Għalik, hosted by Angie Laus, a leading lady of the production house Where's Everybody known for being the brainchild behind the official preview videos for Malta in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012 apart from offering their equipment and their studios during the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in both 2011 and 2012. Kurt was playing with his family against his band and managed to win by just three points. Whilst his plane departs for Baku during the wee hours of the morning, he is expected to arrive late in the evening ready to take on the stage for the very first time on Tuesday morning for his very first rehearsal. Stay tuned to for all of the latest news about Kurt Calleja's experience in Baku being the only national media alongside the Public Broadcasting Services to be present on location this year.


Despite a late start to the day due to unforeseeable technical problems causing everyone to move their watches and schedules back by an hour and a half, there were no other major issues during the day with the rehearsals keeping their respective forty minutes which were allocated to them initially to rehearse on the stage in Baku, Azerbaijan where the Eurovision Song Contest is being held for the very first time following the victory of Ell & Nikki last year with the song Running Scared written by Swedish songwriters. Nine countries took to the stage today and there have already been talks of changes in some performances but one which was perfect in terms of setup, visual presentation and vocals was surely Iceland who are being represented by Greta Salome & Jonsi with the dramatic ballad Never Forget written by the female counterpart.

Following Montenegro, many songs will look strong but Iceland has always been one of those songs which people have been talking about. Despite the fact that it received a lot of positive acclaim when it was in Icelandic, leaving the people wanting more when in English, they managed to turn that around and received warm applause from the people in the arena and also those in the press centre. The song which is entitled Never Forget as mentioned above has been set in a dark blue setting with beautiful mountains in the backdrop. What also makes it impressive is the spotlights which shine around the stage and also the foggy mist effect that is being emitted. The staging is just superb and the addition of the backing vocalists is just an aid to the already powerful vocal range emitted. It is a stunning presentation and it should go down well with the rest of Europe. I do not want to give the song the kiss of death of course but I must say that this is now officially a contender having even rise to seventh place to win with the bookmakers whilst placed third in the semi-final just behind Russia and Denmark who will both be taking to the stage tomorrow.

Iceland have not yet managed to win the Eurovision Song Contest and actually host an extremely similar record to Malta noting that this will be their twenty-fifth participation in total with their best results thus far being runner-up finishes in 1999 thanks to Selma and her track All Out of Luck and also in 2009 when Yohanna took to the stage with the incredible Is It True. One was a ballad whilst the other was an uptempo pop song. It is important to note that following years of disappointment with the introduction of the semi-final system, Iceland managed to turn the tables around with the song This Is My Life sung by Regina Osk and Fridrik Omar, the latter of which just happens to be the head of press for this years' Icelandic delegation. Last year, they also managed to reach the final with Sjonni's Friends and the song Coming Home. This years' duo spark interest because apart from their incredible vocal capabilities they have strong people skills noting that their press conference was a huge success. Our team present in Baku, Azerbaijan also managed to get an exclusive interview which you can see below. Good Luck Iceland, keep the good performances coming along!

Some people find it tough to wake up early in the morning but when one has other things to do such as study during the same time of the Eurovision Song Contest, time is merely just a number. Good Morning everyone and welcome to day one of our LIVE coverage from this years' music extravaganza which is taking place all the way on the far east of the continent in Baku, Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their track Running Scared which came out on top leaving Italy and Sweden in the first and second runner-up positions. We are preparing very good coverage for you this year noting that is being represented by a good sized team this year introducing newcomers Šira Carolyn Bezalel and Patrick Strouk to the fray alongside with Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and of course, our Head of Operations; Garrett Mulhall who as you all know ran the coverage most notably by himself on location last year. I am also proud to be working with our partners including Keith Mills and his team from All Kinds of Everything and also Luke Fisher and his Team from escXtra.

Everyone has a job to do during his stay in Baku, and we are well equipped to co-ordinate the best possible footage from the press conferences and also exclusive interviews with artists as they come off the stage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. Today marks the beginning of a journey, one which will take the fans and the organizers through a number of rehearsals, press conferences and so forth therefore, stay tuned to for all the best possible coverage we can manage. Just a reminder that Malta is competing in the second semi-final but nevertheless, there is still a lot of interesting during the first with favourites inluding Iceland, Greece and Romania taking to the stage during the day along with outsiders Belgium and Finland and possible dark horse Albania therefore, it will definitely not be a boring day. Kurt Calleja will take to the stage for the very first time on Tuesday afternoon, Azeri time.

Schedule of Rehearsals

  • 08:00 - Montenegro 
  • 08:45 - Iceland
  • 09:30 - Greece
  • 10:15 - Latvia
  • 11:55 - Albania
  • 12:40 - Romania
  • 13:25 - Switzerland
  • 14:25 - Belgium
  • 15:10 - Finland


An interesting note is that the commencement of the rehearsals has been delayed indefinitely due to some technical issues. In fact there were only some minor issues with the stage which needed to be adhered to and it seems that they have been well worked upon and in fact, the first rehearsal is now set to begin an hour and a half later than originally planned.


Basically at this stage, we can note that due to the fact that Rambo could not have brought along a live donkey onto the stage, they are making use of a wooden figure of the animal in order for one to relate to the official preview video. Rambo Amadeus is of course dressed in casual clothing but the staging does look quite interesting with a dark setting and vibrant lighting throughout the song. He is joined on stage by a guitarist and also a drummer whilst there is also a good backing by three breakdancers who seem out of place apart from not carrying out the full choreography. A truly disturbing start for the semi-final and this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Video Courtesy of


The very first rehearsal of Iceland has also just finished and one could easily see that the staging for this one is as Eurovisoin as could be. For the first time this year, I am already amazed at the backdrop actually which is cery reminscent of the official preview video. It looks like the duo are wearing the same outfits from the national final to see that it looks well on stage. They are joined on stage by four backing vocals and this is looking awesome visually. The vocals are spot on quite quickly and this is as always a favourite to qualify and highly likely to make it to the top ten in the finals. Impressive indeed because it looks like they are ready to conquer this years' competition with such an initial performance. They will most likely work with the camera shots now.

Video Courtesy of


Well Eleftheria has some work to do in regards her vocals but that is what rehearsals are for. What was interesting to see was that the backing singer was carrying more of the main vocals than you would expect. At times it was pitchy but in her defense she sang with gusto that would be fitting of the "Land Of Fire" where we are now. The Baku stage is amazing and BIG and a lot of countries are going to find it difficult to fill the stage and make their presence felt. Eleftheria and her dancers tend to stay in the centre of the stage and for us in the audience makes you feel somewhat cheated as you really want a rousing performance/routine to match the potential of the song The stage backdrop is glittering with varying blue and pink shapes and swirls. What Greece have failed to do is when the climax of the song takes place they don't replicate that with the visual effects thus not giving the song it's full potential.  This song has great potential if the vocals are rehearsed more and if the wide camera angles are removed from the shots as they make the song feel lost. The song though is instant in it's appeal and you can't help but sing along with the song. As I always say a good song sung not so good - will be forgiven more easily. This song will easily qualify for the final. Not a winner but a good bet for a Top 10 position.

Video Courtesy of


Latvia is one of those songs which one would either love or hate but somewhat somewhere in between comes my opinion. The staging for this one is quite generic as the design is very retro. The lyrics are still abysmally dull unfortunately and bear no real meaning. In fact, the colour scheme is a mixture of blue, yellow and red. Anmary is joined on stage by four backing vocalists of a female nature who carry out the most ridiculous choreography ever. It seems that they were just brought about from the street as it is such a clueless set of moves. The vocals are not bad but also need a bit of work. Whilst this is being worked about for the cameras, more than half of the stage is empty and it is not a small stage area which needs to be filled and this could also be looked into. Nevertheless, this was good a rehearsal as expected at this point in time and there will be room for improvement in the days to come.

Video Courtesy of


Following the break, the next performance comes from Albania who are being represented by Rona Nishliu. The setting of the stage is just beautiful actually with the performer in the middle od the screen as lights shine one by one on her. She is clad in black attire today and her hair is in a beehive fashion. She stands there in the middle of the stage with black and black being predominant in terms of colours. As expected, her vocals are spot on and she managed to shine throughout all of her run throughs. During the refrain, the lighting changes putting the singer in the best possible spotlight and during the bridge, there is a lot of emphasis on white lighting. The backdrop in itself seems to feature window panes which also drastically change colour. This rehearsal was perfect, there are no changes needed!

Video Courtesy of


Most of the backdrops will most likely be changed but nevertheless, the next one is quite cool noting that Romania have decided to go for elements very much connected with their song which include drums, women and hearts. The group is clad in so many different colours, it all looks a little bit too happy but nevertheless, there is a huge positive element going round. The main singer is of course Elena Ionescu and she looks extremely beautiful in a red revealing outfit. What is even more enchanting though is the choreography of the group which is simple and does not require any more work honestly. The group is working well together and it shows that they have been rehearsing this quite a lot prior to their departure. The vocals in the beginning are slightly shaky but they are quickly adjusted and Romania is one of the songs which will surely stand out especially coming after Albania which is still a borderline qualifier.

Video Courtesy of


Ohh, loving the blue staging for Switzerland and it seems that they have already decided to test run similar clothing to their performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in just a weak. The blue is quickly changed to green in the chorus although what is different and still work is the raging spotlights which come on evertime the line unbreakable is sung. Nevertheless, in the second part of the song, the lighting is red. The problem with the diction has somewhat improved in the past couple of months and the vocals are definitely faultless at the moment but despite this, I believe that this song does lack that special something which would make it qualify. Last year, Switzerland were quite lucky to pass on virtue of just one point surpassing Malta putting it in eleventh position.

Video Courtesy of escXtra


The youngest performer in this years' Eurovision Song Contest takes to the stage for the very first time for her runthrough and she is wearing white clothes in this casual rehearsal. The focus on this song has to be the voice and prior to this performance, there have been issues on whether she can actually deliver but what she has done is that she has tranformed her innacuracies with a sort of twinge which is reminiscent in country music. She is not along on stage as she is joined by three female backing vocals. The performance is simple but the performance area is bathed in purple and pink which works very well with this type of song. I must say that this song did not do much for me but I am really loving the interpretation here and she may just be the dark horse.

Video Courtesy of


Finland bring about the final rehearsal of the day and the stage is bathed in sparkling blue lights. It is important to note that Pernilla is really smiling as she performs her song and without a doubt is enjoying every second of this experience being the second most youngest performer in this years' competition. The lighting is impressive and works extremely well with such a ballad. The singer is joined on stage by a cello player and the cameras are working the angles perfectly to make sure that both make a number of appearances. The skirt that Pernilla is wearing might be similar to the one she will be using in the semi-final actually because a wind machine has been switched on with the main reason honestly being to see how the article of clothing would sway. The vocals are perfect and the few people in the hall seem to be quite happy with the overall performance.

Video Courtesy of escXtra