June 24, 2019

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Good Morning! SVT, host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is adapting to the media that have now taken over the press centre following a couple of days within what seemed to be a cinema like setup. All of the delegations have now made their way into the town of Malmö in Sweden as they prepare for their first technical rehearsals starting as from 10:00 CETand set to finish at around 16:00 CET although the meet and greet sessions should somewhat prolong the timing slightly. All of the countries competing int he semi-final had the opportunity to rehearse on the stage twice already with a run-through of both semi-final one and two taking place in the past two days. 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. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. 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. All of the countries which have been directly qualified to the final including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and host country, Sweden will have the opportunity to rehearse for the very first time today and therefore, they will have a total of thirty minutes for their performances. The final taking place on Saturday will be covered on escflashmalta.com by Marc Calleja Bayliss, Editor-In-Chief alongside Brooke, winner of the Best Solo Artist at the 2013 Malta Music Awards and Lauren White, songwriter signed to Universal Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing. 

Spain

Being one of the seemingly few individuals to really like this song, I must say that it is coming across on stage much better than anticipated. The lighting is a mixture of dark and light colours but there are stars and white lights. Raquel, the lead vocalist is wearing a beautiful yellow dress which flows as she struts on the stage. The two men in the group are just behind her and they are also joined by two female backing vocalists for this performance. Raquel also makes use of the catwalk and considering that the walk is slow, this is surely looking good on screen. The vocals are good and I am sure that this will finish better than people think. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cWFLwjvgRE

France

The stage is bathed in red and there are flames in the backdrop. Amandine Bourgeious is clad in a black leather jacket and khaki pants but nevertheless, this is surely not the final outfit for the show considering that it is far too simple. The attitude on stage is very much like a typical rock-chic. The vocals are definitely on point this morning and sound sabsolutely amazing. There is a certain element surrounding the song which might not be explained in the best possible manner. I am not sure that the general public will be voting for this in heaps but the jury might love it for the simple reason that it stands out and sounds different from the rest. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_DZZ3m-YHU

Germany

Cascada! It was one of the biggest names to enter the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years to continue helping Germany achieve successful results. For those who watched the German national final, there aren't too many changes with the performance except that Nathalie, the lead vocalist is taking to the catwalk as if there's no tomorrow showing the other artists how it's really done. According to our sources, there is a lot of pyro involved towards the end of the song as she walks to the satellite stage to finish off. The vocals were good but they will definitely be better on the night. Nathalie also seems to be wearing her outfit for the night, a glittered dress with purple high heels to accompany the purple backdrop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp63vXCbcKQ

Sweden

The surprise winner of the Melodifestivalen takes to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest with Robin Stjernberg clad in what seems to be a chino and a long sleeved top. This is quite different from the beige, slightly ill fitted outfit worn during the national final. He is joined on stage by three dancers and teo backing vocalists and everything is kept very much similar to the original stage performance. There are lanterns in the hall for this performance and they are lit in red, keeping in line with the colour scheme of the stage. The choreography is different though and there seems to be the involvement of a podium. On the other hand, vocals are spot on and they are definitely strong this morning. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uI7rce_qKo

United Kingdom

Bonnie Tyler is a legend and taking to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest is surely an astonishing accomplishment to how far the event has moved in recent years. As has been mentioned on several occasions, Bonnie has decided to keep it extremely simple noting that she is joined by a couple of backing vocalists who are definitely giving their support where the vocals of the legend might be suffering a bit slightly. It seems that the United Kingdom are making use of a prop which sees Bonnie rising towards the end. It seems that everyone would like to lift themselves up slightly this year. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bJR49F4H3s

Italy

A beautiful song which definitely sends many weak at the knees. It is a typical Italian ballad and in todays' rehearsal, Marco was clearly tired and suffering from jetlag having given a concert in Milan, last night. As a matter of fact, he attended the rehearsals, wearing sweatpants, a white print shirt, a black leather jacket and a hat. The staging is kept dark and simple throughout the song as seen in the Sanremo competition earlier on this year. The vocals were amazing and everything is just coming across together so well. I just cannot imagine this being outside of the top five. Shoudl this come after a frantic number as I suspect, it will surely gain a lot of votes, both from jury and the public. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JuH-JAKzSs

Sharon Vaughn from the United States, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom 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 Germany whose broadcaster, ARD will be represented by Cascada and the track Glorious co-written by Yann Peifer, Manuel Reuter, Andres Ballinas and Tony Cornelissen.

Front-singer Natalie Horler and her team of producers and writers Yann Peifer (Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (Manian) have topped charts in more than 20 countries with their irresistible dance-pop songs. Collecting numerous awards (e.g. the World Music Award in 2007) throughout their career, they have established themselves as one of the top European dance floor acts of the present. Bonn-based Natalie grew up in Germany. The daughter of David Horler, an acclaimed jazz musician and arranger who worked with likes of Quincy Jones, Stan Getz and Tony Bennett, Natalie grew up around music, though was more influenced by stars like Maria Carey and Whitney Houston. At age 18 she started doing studio work and recorded several tracks for different DJs.

In 2004, through her studio work, she met Cologne-based producers Yann Peifer (Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (Manian) who invited her to front their new project, Cascada. Within 18 months, together they found international fame with their huge debut hit Everytime We Touch. A smash in the States before the band even toured there, the song quickly caught on across the globe, followed by a multi-platinum selling album of the same title. The success of the album gained the World Music Award in the category World's Best-Selling German Artist. The second album Perfect Day (2007), led by hit single What Hurts The Most, continued Cascada’s reign as one of the world’s Top Ten selling dance acts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvOtLIUyuds

German authors and producers Yann Peifer (aka Yanou) and Manuel Reuter (aka Manian) have shared a career path for many years. They met virtually by accident in 2004 in a recording studio in Düsseldorf and have been working together ever since. One of their first songs is Miracle, which in 2004 lead to the foundation of the Cascada project with lead singer Natalie Horler. In 2005 they produced the worldwide smash hit Everytime We Touch, which also gave the project its breakthrough and eventually won the World Music Award in 2007. Their productions now make weekly appearances in the European charts, and the second major Cascada hit Evacuate The Dancefloor, made the top ten worldwide and reached number one in the official UK charts.

In 2010, Lena Meyer-Landrut took to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Satellite which overcame the competition to rank in the top position with 246 points in total. In the following year, as the city of Dusseldorf hosted, there was a lot of talk on who could carry the torch and the broadcaster selected Lena Meyer-Landrut once more and once more managed another top ten position with Taken By A Stranger. Last year, despite Lena not returning for a third participation, the country selected a male in the form of Roman Lob and the country succeeded, achieving eighth place. In the years before that, the country had been lingering in the bottom positions despite the effort as seen through acts such as Roger Cicero and No Angels.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Martin Isherwood: Nice voice. Ok tune. All a bit a derivative. Very reminiscent of last year's winner - so probably won't do very well despite being an ok dance pop track. Already through anyway.

Sharon Vaughn: Just feels more and more and more of yesterdays past tracks. Nothing fresh.

Stano Simor: Cascada has a lot of experience on stage and several European hits. This is surely an advantage. Glorious is a song that has power. From the national final performance, it seems that Cascada is not selling the song well on stage and this has to change for success to follow. 

Source: eurovision.tv 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y77A9-hQAp0

Published in Editorials

This years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will definitely be regarded as a catalyst for change noting several alterations to the system were implemented, amongst them being the withdrawal of the running order as well as to increasing the weighing of the jury. In an exclusive announcement on escflashmalta.com yesterday, it was revealed that Gordon Bonello and Rodney Gauci will be the ones doing the commentary on both nights of the semi-final taking place this Tuesday and Thursday as well as on the Final on Saturday evening respectively. Viewership on Television Malta is already high and therefore, having a comical duo will definitely help increase this in a respectful manner.  In the meantime, in an article posted by our colleagues at escXtra, it has just been announced that Emma Hickey will be the individual reading out the Maltese Points on the night of the final. 

Emma Hickey is the same girl who appeared in the official preview video of the song Tomorrow, which will represent Malta in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Hickey is a model but she is also studying interior-design. It seems that the positive Irish comments are somewhat rubbing off well considering that Emma Hickey has a genealogy which goes to Ireland. Some of the other spokespersons include; Lena Meyer Landrut, who won the Eurovision back in 2010 with her song 'Satellite' for Germany and presented Germany in 2011 with 'Taken By A Stranger', for Germany. Also Tooji, last year's Norwegian representative, will be reading the points from Norway. Emma Hickey, the Maltese spokesperson for this year, is a model and we are all waiting anxiously about what she is going to say and how we voted. Keep up with escflashmalta.com for further news!

Source: escXtra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw

Good Morning! SVT, host broadcaster of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is adapting to the media that have now taken over the press centre following a couple of days within what seemed to be a cinema like setup. It is expected that the last delegations will be making their way into the town of Malmö in Sweden as they prepare for their first technical rehearsals on Sunday afternoon. All of the countries competing in the semi-finals had the opportunity to perform at least once with the entries competing in the first semi-final having a complete run-through yesterday. There were a number of countries which seriously rose in our respective estimates including Ireland and Cyprus who are most likely set to qualify, one thanks to the public and the other thanks to the jury. 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. As a matter of fact, stay tuned on our YouTube Page for all of the latest. 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 second rehearsals of the countries competing in the second semi-final amongst them being Malta whose entry Tomorrow will be performed by Gianluca. Rehearsals officially commence at 12:00 CET and will be ending at around 21:20 CET with a number of interludes in between for lunch and dinners amongst others. The second semi-final taking place on Thursday will be covered on escflashmalta.com by Antoine Farrugia, Senior Editor, alongside Davinia Pace, second runner-up of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 and Christabelle, four time Solo Bay Music Award winner.

Latvia

The second semi-final will truly kick off with some madness with PeR from Latvia taking to the stage in their shiny glittery outfits. Funnily enough, they do look like Jedward from a distance and that might be one of the few positives that come with this song. The stage is bathed in purple but there are a number of different colours when it comes to the spotlights including yellow, green, purple and blue. The song is lively and is given an edge with the whole stage team which involved another two performers. Mid-way through the song they all take to the catwalk where they perform a slowed down routine, an effect which will surely come across brilliantsly. The vocals are as good as can be expected and this is just that, a bit of fun!Latvia will not qualify!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxM3UhoYM3s

San Marino

Italian, one of the most beautiful languages in the world definitely gives the song a much required boost. Valentina kicks off the song holding what seems to be a ball of light. She is wearing a red dress which she covers with a black cape. She is joined on stage by a couple of dancers whose choreography is well coordinated with their choice of attire. The staging is a mixture of blue and red, alternating round pertaining to the current vibe of the music. Valentina is improvising in today's rehearsal but one cannot help but feel that the key change is not coming across as everyone would like. The 'enough is enough' element then is being performed completely different. San Marino is literally playing marginal this year. They could qualify but the early draw is definitely not helping.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AC3nQ2nPRwM

FYR Macedonia

Blue starry sky to kick things off within the third rehearsal and Lozano is vocalising relatively early in this performance but one can note that he cannot do any wrong because he sounds stunning. He is joined on stage by Esma and two female backing vocals. Esma is wearing what looks to be a huge red flamenco type of dress and it seems that her vocals are much better today but nevertheless, still not in line with the music in my opinion. For the parts where she is not performing, she seems to be swaying along with the music. The colour of the outfit does not fit in with the backdrop and therefore, stands out terribly. The colour scheme is altered for the mid-tempo parts and to help coordinate with the colour of the attire. I am not sure about this one in totality and disappointingly so, shifting this one to the non-qualifers. Next year, FYR Macedonia should send Lozano alone!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSjKexb0bJk

Azerbaijan

Firstly, it all looks a tad darker on stage today but nevertheless the black/blue backdrop is very much resembling a possible chandelier. Farid clad in an ill-fitting suit is standing on top of a box, and his actions are perfectly mirrored within the box thanks to a dancer who not only seems flexible but definitely not claustrophobic. Whoa! The choreography is much more stunning today and this is mostly because the videos for the rehearsals are being released. Mid-way through the performance, a dancer who was on the catwalk makes her way on stage whilst somewhat taking up most of the stage with her train. In the box, there are petals going round as both dancers mirror each other. This is visually and vocally impressive. Azerbaijan is still a possible winner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqr8AosdTrQ

Finland

Las Vegas! That is the backdrop being used for this performance and it does give one a clearer picture of what to expect from this performance. Krista Siegfrids has a stunning visual presentation planned for the audience noting that the colours are also extremely eventful. She is jined on stage by two backing vocalists, all female and thus dressed as bridemaids and also another three dancers who despite being female are more clad in grooms' attire. The vocal performance is good but something is not totally fine it seems today and thus she is a tad off but I am sure that this will not effect its chances. At the end of the performance, Krista takes it up a notch and kisses one of her backing vocalists and this will surely turn a few heads around. Nevertheless, it makes for the quirky presentation. Finland will qualify to the final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygRdu8XIx1M

Malta

Gianluca, clad in brown pants, a white shirt and a black waistcoat takes to the stage alongside the rest of his team including Louise Ann and Samaria who are wearing opposite type of outfits. The rest of the team is spread out well on the stage. There are no issues with nerves in the rehearsal today and Gianluca is definitely oozing charm and charisma. The backdrop used for the performance is the lyric video which was developed by Duane Laus. Mid-way through the performance, he takes to the catwalk where he plans to interact with the audience. The camera shots are stunning and as he returns to the main stage, everyone is clad together on a park bench. The vocals are on point and on key. This is coming across as really good and without bias, Malta will definitely qualify.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cysqPd1PJI

Bulgaria

Following the charm of Malta comes Bulgaria who are somewhat donned in dark staging for this performance with those predominant being red, black and blue. Elitsa & Stoyan are joined on stage by three female baking vocalists who are clearly static throughout most of the performance. Stoyan is literally performing for the arena because his shots are absolutely terrible this afternoon. Elitsa on the other hand is definitely doing the opposite but truthfully, this is off-key of definitely disappointing. Bulgaria selected this duo with the hope of making the final but with how things stand, it seems extremely likely that this nation will stay out of the Saturday show. It would be quite positive though because there would be no noise pollution. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y75rKvOJkNI

Iceland

Eythor stars his performance in the middle of the stage and he is directly interacting with the camera from the onset creating a great visual experience for those watching on the screens. He has decided against the white jacket in favour of the black one which was also used in the promotional shoot. This is definitely a better choice. The backdrop is dark but similar to the video featuring the sea, the night sky and also a lighthouse. Eythor beings about a pristine vocal performance and this has to be a difficult section within the second semi-final draw. During the bridge of the performance, four male vocalists are lifted into the stage and they help create more of an atmosphere. Harmonising and improvising the end is surely important for the message to get across well. Goosebumps all over, and this might cause a couple of people to shed a tear or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMeTKHzHs6g

Greece

The backdrop is kept extremely simple for this performance and I think the reason behind that is surely not to completely distract the viewer from the proceedings on stage which are seeing to an extremely energetic performance by Koza Mostra. Agathonas is in the middle of the stage and is standing still whilst the rest of the group apart from the drummer are literally going mad on stage. They are all clad in kilts, and almost knee high socks and this indeed does prove to be a feast for the eyes especially for the lads and ladies up in front, considering that the boys are really good looking. The vocals are good, not perfect but definitely competent for such an energetic performance. This is coming across extremely well on the screens and whilst Greece was definitely never in trouble of qualification, this is definitely going to mark their return into the final top ten. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX9tqySQwYA

Israel

The local press from Israel seemed to have been watching this performance from inside the arena considering the loud cheers heard at the beginning of the run throughs. Moran Mazor is wearing the dress which everyone seems to love to hate to be honest but it has been altered slightly from the national final. Nothing will ever take away from the vocal persistence that Moran puts in within every run that has given Israel back their dignity following a disappointing two years. This is the type of genre that they do best and should stick to it. It is important to note that this country tends to pick up votes from all across Europe when it has the right song and therefore, this will qualify. The high notes were perfect today and the simple backdrop is helping it stand out more. It could not be any different than Greece before it. Well, Well, Well Done!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5UQpgBBzq0

Armenia

This could have been an entry merited with making use of the backdrop but nevertheless, have opted for a completely different setup. The backdrop is extremely plain but what is fetching about this performance is that Gor Suyjan, lead singer of The Dorians actually looks extremely modern. This is one of the songs which has drastically improved since being selected for the Eurovision Song Contest earlier on this year but nevertheless, still not sure on where and how it will place on the night of the semi-final. The vocals are really good and he is doing some slight vocal acrobatics prior to the bridge. This sounds good but then he has a couple of odd notes towards the end. Marginal qualifer at the moment. Armenia had their perfect qualification record soiled two years back so there is no reason to believe that they might not fail once more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcFhXkJRH1Y

Hungary

Polished! I will not stop my review there because it is integral to see what each country is presenting to this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The official preview video is being used as a backdrop for this performance and it looks absolutely lovely but I have no idea why they're using all this green, unless it is to resemble one of the colours on the Hungarian flag. ByeAlex looks far more relaxed on stage for the performance this time round but this is still all too static at the moment which does the song no justice considering that it is indeed beautiful. In recent hours, ByeAlex was also featured on EuroNews and that is definitely a positive. He is joined on stage by a female backing vocalist and a male guitarist. As I said, the act looks better today but something is still missing. This could be the right answer following Armenia but I still think that it will be hard to get through this year. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTP54TP6udU

Norway

Margaret Berger was one of the contenders of the Eurovision Song Contest following her selection at the Melodi Grand Prix and is looking to continue building on momentum. During the first rehearsal there were a couple of issues which seem to have been ironed out for this evening. Margaret is flawless in terms of vocals and the addition of a reverb at certain parts of the song give it an echo, one which will dwindle in the mind. The backdrop is a mixture of blue and white but comes across as a chrome type of element. Stunning work and with the camera shots looking more well placed, this is definitely back in the running. I think everyone is hoping that Norway would host again after Sweden are becoming one of the worst hosts in recent years. Margaret is also joined on stage by three female backing vocalists who help her out in the parts where she sounds weakest. Stunning work and welcome back, Norway!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUNw3txQpvQ

Albania

One of the first entries to be selected for the competition. I am still quite bitter for them not choosing their first runner-up entry performed by Anjeza Shanini. The performance has not changed at all from the first rehearsal and technically speaking there is nothing wrong which would shoot this down or up the scoreboard. This is going to win the authentic rock vote because it does not play with the sentiment of another genre just like Armenia is trying to do at this position. The vocals are good, maybe slightly shouty at times but then again, it does comply well. The staging is kept simple with the band and red and black colours, as always resembling the flag of Albania. I am not too sure but I think this will be missing out on the final because some of the countries, seven in total have to miss out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKbpQ1_8EhE

Georgia

The set-up of the stage is very dark with blue being the predominant colour. Sopho is wearing a beautiful pale blue, white dress which is sparkling on the camera shots whilst Nodi is wearing a black suit. At the far right of the stage, there are three female backing vocalists including one which had accompanied Olivia Lewis at the Eurovision Song Contest. It seems that the typical effects can be rather costly and as a matter of fact not being used in all the runs but people can expect a great performance from a visual perspective. The vocals of the singers are just stunning together and everthing looks great on stage. Most people were thinking that this a very much oldfashioned ballad but it has translated well and seemingly staged like Running Scared, it could definitely surprise a couple of critics. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u12ixuehK4A

Switzerland

Silly! That is the first word that comes to mind when seeing this performance apart from the fact that the whole group is coming across as extremely static. It seems that they are even closer than they were during the first rehearsal. The vocals are strong and cannot be faulted but it seems that this song drags on for more than three minutes. That was not at all enjoyable and I seriously cannot see Switzerland making it through to the final despite having managed to reach the final two years ago and narrowly missing out last year. The wrong choice was made in the December national final and the country is currently paying the price of such a result. The first runner-up entry would have made a much more suitable candidate but due to the gimmick of the Salvation Army, they had the upper-hand back then.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ob3LxjnIx0

Romania

The final performance from the second semi-final is the one featuring Cezar and his pop/opera tune which surprised many when announced as the winner of the national final. So basically, as one could see in the video below, Cezar is wearing a dracula-like coat and is joined on stage by three dancers who are seemingly very flexible. The stage it bathed in dark lights with the crystals shining in ed and the backdrop in a mixture of black and blue. The vocals are crystal clear and they are on tune as they meant to be. Cezar is extremely talented but the fusion of elements is not really working in my opinion. The dancers go under the covers on the stage and reveal Cezar in his full glory. This is just a tad too much to be honest and I do not know whether it is too distacting for the jury and the public to note.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9Iix4eHDY

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 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 France whose broadcaster, France 3 will be represented by Amandine Bourgeois and the track L'Enfer et Moi composed by David Salkin to the lyrics of Boris Bergman. 

In 2008, Amandine won “La Nouvelle Star” (French Pop Idol). The audience instantly fell under the spell of her warm and hoarse voice, both powerful and fragile at once. In 2009, her debut album 20m² is certified Gold. For her second album Sans Amour Mon Amour in 2012 she records in the famous Abbey Road studios in London, with Amy Winehouse and Plan B’s staff. Amandine uses her inner emotions to sing, to write and feed her inspiration. Amongst some of her most beautiful memories: a duet she performed with Scorpions, and opening for Johnny Hallyday’s concerts in the historical Royal Albert Hall venue in London.

Amandine is proud and honoured to represent France at the ESC. She wanted to offer the audience a song she felt completely at ease with, a song close to who she was. L’Enfer Et Moi, written by Boris Bergman and composed by David Salkin, is in perfect harmony with her personality. For her fans and for the Eurovision Song Contest, she swears to give it her all! David Salkin began percussion. Then, he learned drums and guitar. At 15 years old, he was the drummer for the French singer Pierre Vassiliu during his first tour. He composed for Kadja Nin, Raoul Petite and Pierre Vassiliu, and played on stage and in studios with some of the best French singers, such as Alain Bashung, Jacques Higelin, Zazie, Florent Pagny, Stephan Eicher and Ismaël Lo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sjttHafsyE

Boris Bergamn is a very famous French writer. He was born in London of Russian origin, and arrived in France at the age of 14. In 1968, he created the lyrics of the song Rain And Tears, one of the big hits for the Greek band Aphhrodite’s Child. Then, he wrote for a lot of very famous French singers, such as Nana Mouskouri, Juliette Gréco, Richard Anthony, Dalida, Michel Delpech, France Gall, Patrick Juvet, Régine, Gérard Lenormand, Nicoletta, Christophe, Catherine Lara, Nicole Croisille, Marie Laforêt and Alice Dona. Boris Bergman is well-known by the fans of the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1973, he wrote the song Un Train Qui Part for Monaco (8th place). In 1975 he began again writing for Monaco with the song Une Chanson C’est Une Lettre (13th place).

Until the millennium, France was one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest managing to reach the top ten on several occasions, whilst also managing five victories in total, the last one coming back in 1977 with the song L'oiseau et l'enfant performed by Marie Myriam. In recent years, there have been a number of internal selections but despite enlisting notable artists, at times the live performance did not live up to the success and thus the result was somewhat disappointing. Last year, the country was represented by Anggun and the song Echo (You and I) which only managed to garner some points thanks to the jury as the public awarded her the dreaded 'nil points'. Their last top ten result was achieved back in 2009 with Patricia Kaas and her song Et S'Il Faillait Le Faire finishing in eight place. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 67%

Martin Isherwood: Strong voice with loads of character Good chorus Unusual snare sound at the start and interesting arrangement. Starts out like a French Amy Winehouse with a touch of Duffy and finishes like Adele 'rolling in the deep'. In the final anyway.

Sharon Vaughn: I love the feel and texture of this track/song ... it is a little different and that is good news.

Stano Simor: Amandine has a very good voice and French lyrics in general sound extremely sexy. Due to the fact that France is already competing in the final, they will most likely not be coming with a certain attitude to achieve success. It is a pleasant song to listen to but technically with minimal ambitions to reach a high position on the night of the final.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQJaab8j4fU

Published in Editorials

Television Malta, the main channel of the Public Broadcasting Services will be airing all of the shows which incorporate the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, have yet to reveal the individuals who will be providing the commentary for all of the show. The editorial team of escflashmalta.com has always worked alongside the team that represents Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest, bringing you all of the latest news in an exclusive capacity where possible. Anton Attard, Head of Delegation for Malta has just been in contact with the editorial team to confirm that the commentators for this years' edition of all of the shows will be none other than comic duo, Gordon Bonello and Rodney Gauci. Remember that Television Malta is showing both semi-finals and the final as are most of the broadcasters competing in this years' competition.

Gordon Bonello and Rodney Gauci are truly an inseperable duo when it comes to television noting that one does not appear without the other. They came to fame in a local television series known as Deċeduti but then gained more recognition taking on the roles of Ġorġ and Pawlu in a local television talkshow. To the european audience, they are known for being involved in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with Gordon Bonello being the main host alongside Elaine Saliba and with Rodney Gauci being the man who was interviewing the artists backstage. The commentary will surely be light and enjoyable to those watching the Eurovision Song Contest on Television Malta. The individual who will read out the points yet to be revealed but rumours has it that it will indeed be another male. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as we follow Gianluca and his entry Tomorrow in this years' showcase.

Source: Television Malta

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WmJXIR9xtw

Published in Local Music News

Gianluca, representative of Malta at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is currently visiting a children's hospital at Skane University in Lund. The aim of the visit is to enlighten the mood of the children who have been handed down a harsh judgement through life through their ilnesses. Whilst there, Gianluca will also be performing his entry for the international showcase entitled Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat whilst also performing with another singing doctor whose name is Igor Zindovic, a popular protagonist on the show Junior Doctors which airs on TV5.

Gianluca will be returning for his second rehearsal tomorrow afternoon but until then will continue to tour the sights and also practice the song alongside his team in order to ensure that the rehearsal tomorrow will be even stronger than it was the first time round. Juergen Boernig, our Head of Press alongside with his team of collaborators had the opportunity to speak to Gianluca and the rest of his team during the meet and greet session held a couple of days back and we are pleased to promote it just below. We would like you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news related to Malta and the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. 

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Egmj15a2y4A

Published in Interviews

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.

Press Conference

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.

Slovenia

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib0oixkrPNI

Estonia

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5OCKxCkRgs

Austria

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqfMf8smnCw

Croatia

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXA6hFXe82I

Denmark

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbwijempmcs

Russia

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8QthPkcJaI

Ukraine

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNkwa5cYnkI

The Netherlands

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNczfF3YI7k

Montenegro

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFXfebu7RqY

Lithuania

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTra9YtkyTQ

Belarus

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsYUy3JTIlg

Moldova

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cG-D8X2_xg

Ireland

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwfceYiFzZE

Cyprus

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQt4KrlCESY

Belgium

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvWB4qkDnFc

Serbia

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8LTA8_fWv8

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 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOh-3QQcukc

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. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-uwouMzUB4

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

Rating: 73%

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!

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5m8aCZSvws

Published in Editorials