June 24, 2019

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Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States and Stano Simor from the Czech Republic represent diverse music scenes in their respective nations with their contributions duly noted across the year. Their aim in joining this feature is to see what lies beneath each track of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Romania whose broadcaster, TVR has been drawn in slot number #17 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled It's My Life is written by Cristian Faur with vocals provided by Cezar.

He participated in many master classes with prestigious names of the music world, such as: Viorica Cortez, Jordi Savall, Sara Mingardo, Bobby McFerrin, Magda Olivero. Cezar is often invited to sing in the most important festivals and on well-known stages in the country as well as in Europe. He performed next to famous conductors like Fabio Biondi, Alan Curtis, Corrado Rovaris, Emanuelle Villaume, Ottavio Dantone, Diego Fasolis, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Werner Ehrhardt, George Petrou, Sergio Ciomei, Sergio Azzolini, Nicolae Moldoveanu, Vlad Conta and Ketil Haugsand. His repertoire is very large, starting with vocal-symphonic music and up to a great variety of opera roles that he plays on the biggest stages in the world. Born in 1980 la Ploieşti, Romania, in a family of musicians. 

Cezar Ouatu started studying piano when he was six and graduated the piano and choir classes at Carmen Sylva Art High school, in his native town. In 1998 he started studying canto and baroque music and soon became well-known, due to his voice, natural legerity and less common vocal limits. In 2001 he was accepted in the Giuseppe Verdi Music Academy in Milan, and in 2004 he graduated with maximum grades on the final exam at one of the most prestigious music academies in Europe. His first pop-opera single Cinema Paradiso was released on Christmas Eve, in 2012. For 2013, Cezar has already planned two international duets, with Andrea Bocelli and Angela Gherorghiu, as well as a single written especially for him by the legend of electronic music, Vangelis. Presently, Cezar works at his first pop-opera album The Voice, dedicated to love.

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

It’s My Life is the second Eurovision entry for Cristian Faur, the Romanian composer and writer. His first one proved to be a successful choice, as he was the first Romanian composer whose song entered the top three in the Eurovision final – that was in 2005, when Luminiţa Anghel & Sistem’s Let Me Try was highly appreciated by the public and jury. Romania opted for a relatively large national selection in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest featuring a total of thirty-two entries, twelve of which managed to make it through to the final. There was a former representative who took to the stage, that being Luminitha Anghel who was the favourite of the international public and managed a runner-up entry finish in the tele-voting.

Romania is one of the most successful countries to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest having maintained qualification in every semi-final they have encountered, even when it looked slightly more difficult. In recent years, the results have improved and mid-table results have become relatively the issue at hand with Zaleilah by Mandinga managing a twelfth place finish. The most successful finish for Romania up to this point in time has been a second runner-up finish, the first time happening in Kiev, Ukraine when Luminita Anghel & Sistem performed the song Let Me Try and the second one being rather recent as Paula Seling & Ovi sang the song Playing With Fire. They will be hoping for more success with their fifteenth entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 53%

Martin Isherwood: Wow! He sounds like a mezzo soprano at times which is quite an achievement. There's a hint of the 'Good the bad and the ugly' as it opens and given that it combines Musical Theatre, Opera and Dance music, this foreboding is somewhat justified. One of the strangest songs in the competition but could do very well for that reason.

Sharon Vaughn: This is a resounding no, on so many levels!

Stano Simor: Cezar is definitely a professional opera singer who is trying to fit into the typical conventions of a song competition oriented towards pop. The first preview clip saw to the combination of four (4) dancers doing a modern choreography, to the genre of dubstep. This represents two parallel worlds and might stand out based on that perception.

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tKihkMBmLs

Published in Editorials

In 2004, the introduction of the semi-final system was meant to let more countries enter the Eurovision Song Contest with the addition of a qualification phase to reach the elite stage of the final. The Netherlands was successful at the first hurdle but has subsequently missed out on a position despite the efforts of two broadcasters. This year, an internal selection saw to the choice of Anouk, a vocalist who is best described as a merge between Joan Osborne and Alanis Morissette. She is one of the most popular stars in the country and expectations for her to success are relatively high.

Yesterday marked the beginning of her journey in the international showcase with a debut rehearsal, technical but nevertheless, flawless. Juergen Boernig, Head of Press for escflashmalta.com as well as being the main individual behind Radio International has a team of professional personnel helping him interview the artists competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. Following her first rehearsal, he alongside with Lilian Brunell had the opportunity to speak to Anouk about her participation. In the short interview she discusses that her aim is to hopefully take The Netherlands into the final, and from there onwards, it would truly be a bonus. She loves the staging and feels that she wants to be as intimate as possible with the fans on the night of the first semi-final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest interviews and news.

Source: EBU (Image)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlh_jrRC6Bg

Published in Interviews

Good Morning! The editorial team of escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Radio International and escXtra.com will be bringing you all of the latest news directly as it happens from Malmö, Sweden. With an audio stream being presented by our latter partners, we are able to bring you also the reports from the rehearsals, something which everyone has become accustomed to in recent years. The European Broadcasting Union has decided to close off the rehearsals to the media in the first week with only viewing purposes set-up in what seems to be a cinema. The first day did not have a lot of drama noting that whilst Ukraine fell short of expectations, Estonia clearly surprised many present and that could already be the beginning of more things to come.

Today, another eight (8) countries will be rehearsing and we would like to apologise for some delays that you might encounter in our updates later on within the day. All videos will be made available by the official website during the course of the day and we would like to thank the media team for all of their sterling work. All of the entries being rehearsed today are from the first semi-final as it is officially brought to a close prior to the commencement of rehearsals for the second semi-final where Gianluca will be performing Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat on behalf of Malta. The second part of the first semi-final are most quiet when it comes to analysing on who could possibly qualify but nevertheless, one will be sure of a couple of surprises, maybe in the form of Cyprus and Moldova who are somewhat changing the opinion of people. Once more, we ask you to be patient whilst staying tuned to escflashmalta.com during the whole forthnight.

Montenegro

Well, kicking off things today is Montenegro, a country which is yet to succeed in terms of qualification. Nevertheless, things are very positive for this entry noting that 'Who See' along with Nina Zizic have no tuning issues and are making the best possible use of the stage. There had been doubts over whether this type of song would have been performed well when it came to the live performance but after a couple of runs, this seems to be the case. As expected, this is visually stunning in the same manner that Slovenia as an up-tempo stood out. It is slightly darker in the beginning with green smoke and all and lightens up towards a refrain.

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

Belgium

Roberto Bellarosa was the winner of the first edition of The Voice of Belgium but it makes you wonder at how bad the other contestants actually were because it seems that the vocals are not getting better considering that there are multiple runs. The staging of this song is done in a clever manner noting that there are two female dancers and three backing vocalists. Everyone is also donning black attire for some reason. The backdrop is relatively simple but laid down in blue with the lyrics of the chorus making an appearance. The song itself is modern and catchy and could be in with a chance should Roberto improve his vocals. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRSvBAG4lYE

Belarus

This is one of the entries which prior to the start of rehearsals was touted to qualify with relative ease and achieve the second best result for Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. Alyona looks absolutely stunning and everything on stage seems to be shining in glitter. She is joined on stage by a number of people including three backing vocalists and teo male dancers. Everyone is clothed at this point in time and one could easily notice that they are rehearsing in full costumes. The vocals are on key but the choreography apparently needs a bit of work according to our colleagues watching the rehearsal as it is falling a bit flat. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8VnNvQ0qOA

Moldova

Aliona Moon, last years' backing vocalist for Moldova takes to the stage in a dress which is made out of LED's, similar to the one she had in the national final and to the one used by Sabina Babayeva when she represented Azerbaijan last year. She kicks off the rehearsal singing in English before she switches to Romanian. The vocals themselves were slightly erratic in the first run but were perfected along the way as more run throughs took place. At the end of the song, she is lifted up slightly into the air creating a very intriguing effect, Melodifestivalen style. The press enjoyed the performance and this should sail onto the final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D737k8MR7Us

Ireland

One of the most successful countries to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest is Ireland and they have entered the final for the past three years. This year was looking like a far simpler task but I am not entirely getting the element behind Only Love Survives. I was not a fan of the song during the national selection having supported Aimee and Crashing Down. In Scandinavia there has been a lot of positive acclaim but even though the backing vocals are pulling this one through, Ryan is still pretty much ineffective. The idea of having male shirtless dancers might get it a better tele-vote than required. It might be an issue to get jury votes but nonetheless, this is a technical rehearsal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75lDzqIuza4

Cyprus

One of the few female ballads in the second part of the draw within this first semi-final. On the night, this will be followed by Roberto Bellarosa and therefore, Despina need not do much in order to stand out. Cyprus have internally selected a simple ballad and as a matter of fact things are extremely simple in terms of presentation which is also well thought of at this stage. Despina is wearing a gorgeous nude dress with black lace surrounding it profusely. The vocals are stunning, better than I expected especially towards the end but nevertheless, this is working well following Ireland and preceding Belgium. I think that this could very much manage to qualify, taking the place of what could have been an earlier definite qualifier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LR6Y2pxKFPs

Lithuania

Andrius Pojavis who will actually be performing in the same slot that Roberto Bellarosa performed earlier this afternoon is now on stage and he is wearing black leather, which seems to be a precedent when it comes to male soloists. In a number of performances and video interviews, the performer has not come across well but rather scary and that is still the case despite having a good set of vocals. He is also joined on stage by four backing vocals, three of them being male with the other one being female. According to our colleagues within the theatre where rehearsals are being viewed, there was no applause at all for this one and that could only mean that Lithuania might be staying in the semi-final for the first time in three years. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1T-RVZ26Z4

Serbia

Once more, the background of vocals becomes noted for the simple reason that the trio known as Moje 3 were the top three of The Voice in Serbia. They have decided to completely alter their outfits from the national final which is not a bad idea, unless you believe that the outfits they have come up with are more intriguing. Before they used to tell a story through the outfits but this element has now been lost. There is a rather hectic choreography by the three girls which does affect their voices but not to the extent of falling flat. This does sound pretty nice and considering the track that precedes it, somewhat sounds like a masterpiece. Serbia will once more move into the final where they won't cause any harm.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m47J4ago1Q0

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 as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Switzerland whose broadcaster, SSR has been drawn in slot number #16 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled You and Me is co-written by Georg Schlunegger, Roman Camenzind and Fred Herrmann with vocals provided by the group Takasa.

The Swiss public chose the rock ballad You And Me as Switzerland’s entry for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in a televised national final in December. The enigmatic band name Takasa means “to make pure” in Swahili, and epitomises the pure joie de vivre and love of music that the band embodies. It also stands for spirituality. Takasa is made up of six individuals for whom music is a passion. Sarah is 21 years young, and Emil celebrated his 95th birthday in February. They are brought together by a shared love of music and belief in God. Katharina, Sarah, Emil, Michel, Christoph and Jonas are as happy playing their music on the street as they are in church, as comfortable in a prison as they are in the Federal Parliament Building. Takasa’s journey will now take them on to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö.

True to their motto of “together we’re one”, this unconventional group - featuring the oldest Eurovision contestant ever - offers a performance of perfect harmony that is completely in tune with the “we are one” theme of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. You And Me was written by Hitmill Records. It describes the tensions in today’s society and how the “you and me” relationship between individuals is the only real way to resolve them. The group believes it is important for people to get along with each other across the generations, and to find unity in shared values. Takasa is a shining example of this timeless and topical message. Winning the Swiss competition to find the country’s Eurovision entry for 2013 inspired Takasa to make an album of music for Europe. Once again, it takes up the theme of building bridges and finding common ground. 

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

In keeping with this philosophy, the new songs were not recorded by Takasa themselves but by singers from all over Europe who came together especially for the project. Of course the CD would be incomplete without You And Me, this time in a unique “European” version. Once more, the selection process in Switzerland was a culmination and cooperation between the major broadcasters which represent all of the minorities in the country meaning that songs were presented by the Italian, French and Romanche broadcasters respectively. The final, which consisted of nine (9) songs in total took place on the 15th December in the at the Bodensee Arena in Kreuzlingen with Sven Epiney as host. The competition was quite intriguing and whilst the national public made the selection of Heilsarmee, the foreigners were mostly inclined towards the first runner-up entry entitled J'Avais Rendez-Vous performed by Caroussel. 

Switzerland were one of the pioneers of the Eurovision Song Contest and will be forever known as the inaugural winner of the competition thanks to Lys Assia and her entry Refrain. As a matter of fact, despite a history stretching more than fifty years, their triumphs have been limited to only two in total, the second one coming in 1988 with Celine Dion obtaining a one point advantage over Scott Fitzgerald of the United Kingdom to succeed with Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. Last year, the country failed to make it through to the final with the brotherly duo known as Sinplus failing to get their diction up to scratch as they performed the pop/rock song Unbreakable. They ranked in eleventh (11th) and considering that they had just managed a tenth (10th) place the year before, it seems that they are always set to be marginal qualifiers pertaining to the quality of their live performance. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 67%

Martin Isherwood: Very hooky title and lyric with a positive message Strong melodies with a nice deep Aaah Aaah and a few Heys! thrown in for good measure. Very strong pop / rock up-beat track.

Sharon Vaughn: Well, this is just one cliche' after another.

Stano Simor: This particular entry has all the prerequisites to advance to the finals. Non-violent pop with the endlessly repetitive chorus. This is the typical Eurovision song and therefore should qualify easily. The whole audience should be singing with the group during the 2nd chorus!

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBGpqq2LFSQ

Published in Editorials

Official rehearsals for this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest officially commenced yesterday but nevertheless, the very first confirmation of a nation for next year is coming from The Netherlands. There had been rumours that the nation might be taking a step back for the simple reason that the contract with currently broadcaster, TROS just came to an end with the internal selection of Anouk and the song Birds co-written with Tore Johansson and Martin Gjerstad.

Two of the main broadcasters in The Netherlands are joining forces under a new name, that of AvroTros in an effort to have fewer but bigger broadcasters. This idea was put forward by the Dutch government. Thus the current broadcasters for the Eurovision Song Contest and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be taking on the role of entering in the esteemed competition as from next year. This is definitely a bold move which is already going down well due to the fact that there is a lot of input for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest by Avro and thus they will surely do the same as they partake in the senior edition. 

There are several rumours over the selection format for The Netherlands for the upcoming year despite the fact that it has only been one day into the rehearsals thus far. The return of a Nationaal Songestival is very likely with a number of semi-finals and a final to pick the entry and the artist. The same set-up was set to be used this year but due to the public outcry to send Anouk to represent the nation, it was scrapped at the last minute. Birds, one of the favourites to qualify for the final and to reach a top ten position in this years' Eurovision Song Contest was rehearsed on the first day to huge applause from the press centre.  Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news from the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest as it unravels. 

Source: Nu.nl, eurovision.tv (image)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evv2SXOOWWk

escflashmalta.com is proud to enlist six of the most professional people in the music industry to analyse and assess the entries competing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. For the second semi-final, three of these with experience in several genres have been putting their respective thoughts forward with the sole aim to see what lies behind each track. The first semi-final along with the three finalist countries voting there have long been concluded as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Georgia whose broadcaster, GPB has been drawn in slot number #15 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Waterfall is co-written by Thomas G:son and Erik Bernholmwith vocals provided by Sopho and Nodi.

Sophie Gelovani was born on March 21st, 1984. She studied piano at the Musical School. In 2005, she graduated from the Ilia Chavchavadze State University, Faculty of International Relations, and afterwards she studied at the Musical School named after Zakaria Paliashvili. Today she is a teacher in the Musical School named after Iakob Gogebashvili. Sophie Gelovani's first TV success was her victory in the talent show Morning Star in 1999. She continued to win prizes in several international festivals, including the first place at the international musical contest Do-Re-Mi in Yerevan, Armenia in 2000 and the Grand Prix of the Songs of the World contest, which was held in Chisinau, Moldova in 2006.

In 2007, Sophie won the Grand Prix at the Vesna Romansa festival in Saint Petersburg as well as the first place at the Moscow International Contest. Most recently, she has participated in the TV project 10+10 in 2011/12. Nodi Tatishvili was born on November 5th, 1986. He graduated from Tbilisi Musical School and Georgia’s Technical University, faculty of Public Administration. In 2011, he graduated from the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance at Burlington School in London. Nodi Tatishvili took part in many international musical contests, including the International Music Festival and The Amber Star in Lithuania, Astana 2007 in Kazakhstan, World Star Quest, Slaviansky Bazar in Belarus, and Golden Voices in Moldova. Apart from that, his is the winner of the Geostar talent show in 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLVXC5Fm_nQ

Nodi is a versatile singer, which is proved by the fact that he sang several main roles in musicals, like Aleksandre Basilaia’s Chkhikvta Kortsili as well as Melodies of Vera District by Giorgi Tsabadze and Giorgi Shengelaia. He was the member of the choir at the Sameba (Holy Trinity) Cathedral in 2008/09. In 2011, his debut album was released under the title I Am Georgian. His first solo concert was held at the Tbilisi Philharmonic Hall in 2011. Georgia is one of the countries that has not been competing in the Eurovision Song Contest for an extremely long time but nevertheless have a relatively successful history noting that they have managed to qualify in four (4) of their five (5) appearances thus far. 

The disappointment for Georgia actually came last year when they were represented by a male soloist for the very first time. As a matter of fact, Anri Jokhadze's performance of the song I'm a Joker did not go down well, either in the rehearsals or during the live show. The country could only muster up thirty-six (36) points to finish in fourteenth place. It was surely a far cry from the stunning performance given by Sopho Nizharadze back in 2010 when she performed the song Shine to finish in third place during the semi-final whilst managing a ninth place at the end of the evening. The nation has reached the top ten on two occasions, and finished just outside the top ten on the other two meaning that it is always one of those countries to look out for when it comes to the scoreboard. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 73%

Martin Isherwood: Good chorus - although comes slightly out of the blue. Not sure what waterfalls have got to do with it. Lyrics feels a bit smugly, lovely dovey between the 2 of them and leaves one thinking - what about us? Great voices. Wow, what a key change - nicely done with a great break and re-entry then the mix engineer shoves the fader higher than it should really go! Big production. Because you loved me' by Ms Dion spring to mind in the chorus.

Sharon Vaughn: Mixed metaphors all over the place. But powerful vocal performance.

Stano Simor: Georgia sent a "great song" duet, which is very emotional and will work very well for the audience. Both singers' voices blend very well together. The composition is very well built piece because there are dramatic but also happiness parts what is working good for emotion of public. One of my favorites in the semifinal round.

Source: eurovision.tv

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

Published in Editorials

Good Morning! The editorial team of escflashmalta.com in collaboration with Radio International and escXtra.com will be bringing you all of the latest news directly as it happens from Malmö, Sweden. As a matter of fact, we are not opting out of bringing you comments from the rehearsals as they unfold but nevertheless, we might be slightly delayed for the simple reason that rehearsal videos from fan sites are not permitted this year during the first week because of technicalities. It seems that the first rehearsals are going to be the ones to tweak the final performances and that fan videos will only be permitted as from the second week onwards. Nevertheless, the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest will still be filming some impressions for each country that rehearses so do not fret. 

Things kick off with the first semi-final, and it seems that the Tuesday show is set to be quite the fire cracker considering that there are quite a number of favourites competing including Emmelie de Forest for Denmark, Zlata Ognevich for Ukraine, Anouk for the Netherlands and Dina Garipova for Russia. It is quite astonishing to denote that these four (4) will also be following each other when it comes to the running order with the producers thinking that their flow of music genres benefits each other. We have reason to believe that this might kill off the chances of one (1) of the four (4) tracks although this is yet to be seen through the rehearsals. It is important to note that due to the fact that Malta will be competing in the first half of the second semi-final, the first technical rehearsal will not be taking place before Wednesday afternoon. Once more, we ask you to be patient whilst staying tuned to escflashmalta.com during the whole forthnight.

Austria

Natalia Kelly, one of the youngest singers to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is the first to make use of the staging which looks extremely beautiful on the screens. Whilst the vocals sound strong, her presence on stage is not coming across as brilliant and this is something that was noticeable even during the national final. There is a lot of technical work which is needed especially in the camera shots but hence why these are just the first rehearsals. She needs to ease up on the stage and feel more comfortable. At the moment, people are somewhat stating that this track itself is a marginal qualifier but remember, that it is competing in the tougher semi-final and therefore, chances are much more limited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvJSeS9J6P0

Estonia

A toss-up is clearly indicated with the second rehearsal noting that Birgit is a solid performer having already proven her skills across the years through another two participations in the national final including a runner-up finish and also winning the Estonian version of Idol. In recent days, the track has been released to the public in various languages and once could note that the country ballad has so much more to offer that it's missing out in Estonian. Clad in black and white attire, she takes to the stage which is lit in dark colours which change according to the different parts of the music. This sounds brilliant and could very much surprise. Unfortunately, one cannot help but be left slightly cold with the actual song but nevertheless, she is definitely doing her best to lift it up. 

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

Slovenia

The first uptempo entry to compete in this years' Eurovision Song Contest comes from Slovenia and Hannah, who currently lives in the United States is joined by backing dancers and vocalists, the latter of which are hidden off stage. It seems that the issue with this is the vocals early this morning because visually, this is coming across brilliantly on the screens. Wearing large heels, she is literally strutting around the stage but everything is forgotten as she tries to hit the upper register of the song and fails miserably on each respective run. This is currently looking as a non-qualifier but nevertheless is getting applause in the current press centre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=814QQ9e8DA0

Croatia

Croatia have decided to take on a very traditional take on their participation in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and one has to start off by saying that the guys from Klapa s Mora sound incredibly good vocally. The whole performance might be seen as slightly static especially coming after Slovenia but nevertheless, this is providing an extremely nice contrast. There is applause in the press centre for this one as is expected. The clothes are also extremely traditional with long black coats and high boats. This is going to be another issue of whether the fact that a slow song coming after an uptempo track will prove vital because otherwise, Croatia might not be making it through. This would be extremely disappointing especially considering that this performance was just impressive.

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

Denmark

The flute sound at the beginning of the song is just beautiful and it does give one the instant goosebumpbs that both Fairytale (Norway 2009) and Euphoria (Sweden 2012) gave but nevertheless, this early draw is not doing her any favours. It seems that Emmelie is wearing a 1920s inspired dress for her debut appearance today and the vocals are relatively strong. It is important to note that the female backing vocals are very much being given credit in the performance. They are somewhat throwing everything into it including confetti, and pyrotechnics but nevertheless, charisma is surely key for Emmelie as she strusts on the catwalk. This is coming across really well on the screens although some shots definitely need to be edited out according to our sources. Huge applause from the press centre.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_KdoWrL2Iw

Russia

One of the eastern countries which practically everyone has to pay careful attention to due to the fact that the results that they tend to obtain are quite strong. Last years' first runner-up have a much better song in my opinion although it could be said to resemble a typical original X Factor winning single. The vocals by Dina Garipova are enchanting and this was the first goosepimples moment just based on the vocal performance. Dina is clad in a salmon pink dress which is making her look beyond her years unfortunately but it is unknown whether this will actually be the dress. In the meantime, the shots are very much on point and won't need a lot of changing. This will definitely challenge the top three. 

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

Ukraine

Once more, another favourite and the third in succession within the running order but it seems that the beginning of this performance is going to be the laughing stock of the whole entire audience in Europe. A giant is apparently carrying Zlata onto the stage and this is creating a couple of technical difficulties. They are quickly settled and we've got the first run over and done with. The vocals are impressive especially where the gospel is concerned. On the other hand, one has to denote that this song is clearly going nowhere and based on the duo that come before it, might be in trouble to be honest. Ukraine should qualify based on their typical results in the Eurovision Song Contest but this entry performed by another nation would really struggle.

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

The Netherlands

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this years' entry for The Netherlands due to the fact that Anouk will be taking to the stage with the hope of making the final for the first time since 2004. Powerhouse vocals, Anouk clearly puts in a lot of effort within this performance and the choir which is doing the backing vocals sounds incredible. It seems that she is going for a chic look this afternoon with everything in black and a padlock necklace. The staging is relatively dark apart from the chorus which lightens up with birds in the backdrop. Whoa! Second time round and this sounds even better. The Netherlands deserve to qualify this year. One of these past four entries will most likely fall at the first hurdle but as things stand, it could very much be Ukraine!

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

The Euro Fan Café is the only place in this year's Eurovision Song Contest home-city, Malmö, where it's program is specifically dedicated to Eurovision Fans. After several announcements on what is being held at Moriska Paviljongen (mostly known as Moriskan), here are some fresh new announcements about additions to the packed schedule for this amazing Euro Fan Café that everyone is waiting anxiously for them. escflashmalta.com is proud to support the Euro Fan Café, which is an innovative setup which is seemingly attracting fans already.

The Euro Fan Café Talk Shows

The Euro Fan Café just released the publication of their talk shows. These talk shows are very very interesting to attend. What will happen is that Eurovision fans gets to meet the performers closer and more personal than ever. Rick Jacobs, one if the editors on a companion website of ours www.12points.tv, will be the host of these talk shows. Jacobs was talking about this huge opportunity and great event and he said "As a huge Eurovision fan myself, I am excited to be able to meet with Eurovision contestants past and present. I am going to try to get them reveal their deepest and darkest schlager secrets each nights - who knows what will happen." 

The line up for the Euro Fan Café Talk Shows is as follows:

  • 7th May at 22:00 - Birgit Õigemeel (Estonia) and Roberto Bellarosa (Belgium)
  • 8th May at 22:00 - Despina Olympiou (Cyprus)
  • 10th May at 22:00 - Natália Kelly (Austria) and Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov(Bulgaria)
  • 10th May at 23:00 - Hannah (Slovenia) and Klapa S Mora (Croatia)
  • 13th May at 16:00 - Cezar (Romania)
  • 14th May at 16:00 - Dorians (Armenia)

With this list, more countries are expected to be announced soon so keep an eye on this website to know who of the performers will get his/her own Euro Fan Café Talk Show.

The Biggest Eurovision Quiz Ever

Apart from the Euro Fan Café Talk Shows, it has also been released that the biggest event of the Euro Fan Café will be a quiz! OGAE Sweden (Melodifestivklubben) and Moriskan came to an agreement to create this big quiz about the Eurovision! On the 13th May between 00:00 and 02:00, you can test your Eurovision skills! Obviously, the winner of the quiz will win something! That thing to be won is no other than a ticket to the Green Room on the final night, 18th May, where all the final contestants will be waiting for their performance, relaxing after it, waiting for the result and hopefully jumping up and down with the happiness after the results! The commentary of this quiz will be done by Sweden's stand-up queen Lena Frisk, so insane commentary, difficult questions and lots of laughter are three things surely to be waited for. 

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

Also, adding to this quiz, it was revealed that four past Eurovision acts are also invited to take part in this marvelous quiz. These artists don't need any introduction as they are familiar names in music industry and mire familiar with Eurovision fans. First one to be named is Bobbysocks. Bobbysocks is a duet formed by Elisabeth Andreassen and Hanne Krogh. Bobbysocks, Norwegian representatives in 1985, won the contest with their song 'La Det Swinge' which translates to 'Let It Swing'. La Det Swinge is written by no other than the magnificent composer/author Rolf Løvland, who wrote 'Nocturne' which was a winning Eurovision song in 1995 too. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNsBu4l3gts

Also, joining Bobbysocks at the biggest Eurovision quiz is Linda Martin who won the 1992 contest. Martin represented Ireland with the song 'Why Me?' Martin was also in a famous band in 70s and 80s called 'Chips'. 'Why Me?' written and composed by Seán Sherrad was the 4th win of a really successive country in the Eurovision Song Contest. Joining these two acts is no other than Hera Björk who was the Icelandic representative in 2010 with her song 'Je ne sais quoi' translating to 'I don't know what'. Lately, Björk won a competition in the United States of America and now has also released her 12th album named 'Because You Can' which the main single of this album, having the same name, peaked at number 21 on the Icelandic charts. The last and not least past act added in nonetheless, one from our own country. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6dpooV4tlQ

Adding to these three beautiful acts is Glen Vella who represented our country back in 2011 with his song 'One Life'. One Life ended up 11th in the first semi-final, nit making the cut to the final by just one point. Glen Vella is a certified by Victoria Music and Arts College London in voice. He is one of the most well-known artists in Malta and also, one of the most energetic people that lately participated in this contest bringing his own fashion of nerdy glasses to a trend. One Life was written was written by Paul Giordimania and Fleur Balzan, a writing and composing duo that has taken over Malta with their sings lately.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9YRL_pHxvU

A night of Melodifestivalen Stars

As it is quite obvious now that this year's Eurovision Song Contest would be held in Sweden, to be more precised, in Malmö, it is a chance for Melodifestivalen Stars to shine a bit, even though they didn't make it to represent Sweden. On Friday 17th May, a day before the actual Grand Final would be taking place, at 21:00, at the Moriskan, the event called Melodifestivalen Madness would take place. This event is part of the thirteen days packed with over fifty events at Euro Fan Café, where everything related to Eurovision is celebrated. This event is being presented in partnership to scandipop.co.uk. Scandipop is a leading UK website covering pop music from Scandinavia and mostly Eurovision songs. After the live performances, Karl Batterbee, the founder if Scandipop, would play a DJ-Set. He has had residences at G-A-Y London, and Stockholm clubs Torget, Paradise and Summer Nights City. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV1L0aqX02M

There are going to be three live performances by leading artists from Melodifestivalen which will commence at 21:00 on the 17th May. Appearing at Moriskan are no other than Pay-TV. This group is created by a trio of Claudia Cash, Neena Fatale and Chanelle Ferrari. This lady-trio is going to reunite in Malmö to perform their biggest hits. Including to these hits, one notices that they are performing their 2004 and 2005 songs, 'Trendy Discotheque' and 'Refrain Refrain' respectively. The ladies have turned down an invitation from Pope Francis I to make sure to meet their fans at Moriskan. Adding to this, Eddie Razaz is also appearing at Melodifestivalen Madness. Razaz competed this year with his song 'Alibi'. He is mostly known as a competitor in Sweden's IDOL in 2009 who was eliminated at week 6. 

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

Eddie was also part of the group 'Rebound!' who had several singles such as 'Hurricane' and 'Not Helpless'. The last act to perform at Melodifestivalen Madness is Stockholm Syndrome. Stockholm Syndrome is formerly known as 'Love Generation'. This group is another trio made up of Charly Q, Cornelia Jakobsdotter Samuelsson and Melanie Taylor. These girls participated in the Melodifestivalen in 2011 with their song 'Dance Alone' and in 2012 with 'Just A Little Bit' where that same year, Loreen was picked to represent Sweden and finally got Eurovision to Sweden. Stockholm Syndrome will sing their singles at this event but will also bring new tracks to Malmö so keep an open eye if you like this girl-trio.

Source: Press Release

A small amount of countries competing in the Eurovision Song Contest are yet to realise their full potential and succeed by virtue of qualification and one of them is Montenegro. Since seperating from Serbia, the nation is yet to make an impact and in four participations, disaster has struck on each occasion. The closest to being successful was in 2009 when Andrea Demirovic performed the track Just Get Out of My Life co-written by the successful Ralph Siegel, the same man behind the San Marino entry in this years' edition of the international showcase. RTCG, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of the country is taking a different route this time round. 

Who See, with the aid of Nina Zizic will be representing Montenegro in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Igranka. Through their delegation, we had the opportunity to speak to them briefly about their participation. The hip hop duo are were clearly in favour of representing their country 'in the world's biggest music event' adding that they hope that their song 'will popularise hip hop culture not only in Montenegro but even beyond'. On the other hand, on the mere mention of Malta, they seemed extremely positive saying that the 'Eurovision needs to head into warmer areas in Europe' and that Malta 'have wonderful beaches and good parties'. Montenegro's disapproval across the years has been attributed to tracks which have not reached the mainstream idea of music but nevertheless, it seems that this could be the chance to move forward and succeed according to pundits and opinionists. 

Within the next couple of hours, as rehearsals for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest commence in Sweden, the duo will be meeting up with Gianluca especially for the simple reason that they 'support his entry' and will be hoping that they could succeed together as they head onto the final. Montenegro will be competing in the first semi-final of this years' international showcase where they will not be opening the show as has always been the case in each of their four previous participations but rather at a modest number #9 meaning, mid-way through the show. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news with regards to the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: RTCG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BmHI_57vJk

Stano Simor from the Czech Republic, Sharon Vaughn from the United States 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 as we find ourselves within the middle section of the second semi-final. Attention turns to Albania whose broadcaster, RTSH has been drawn in slot number #14 with the producers thinking this position best. The song entitled Identitet is co-written by Bledar Sejko and Eda Sejko with vocals attributed to Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko.

Adrian Lulgjuraj (32) was raised in an Albanian family in Ulcinj, Montenegro. He loved Rock & Roll music since he was 13 years old. When he got his degree in law, at the age of 26, he dedicated more time to his passion – singing. He describes himself: “I do like my job as a lawyer, but when I am on stage, I feel like a beast, a different person, a Hulk.” In 2011 he published his first track called Te mori nje det at Top Fest 8 in Albania.With his second single Evoloj he won the award as “The best male artist” in Top Fest 9. Adrian worked as an assistant coach in the TV show The Voice of Albania, in the 2012-13 season. During his career he has has given many concerts in Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and FYR Macedonia. 

Bledar Sejko (42) was born in Tirana, Albania. He started to sing and play guitar when he was 12 years old. It was his father who noticed his interest in guitar and thus Bledar started taking lessons at an early age. He was always attracted to rock music but in his young years, following this style was not always possible in communist Albania. In 1987, he first took part in an international music festival, in Turkey, as a guitarist. His first performance on TV was in 1989, when he won the second prize with Qeshu Rini in the Festivali i Këngës, which still serves as the Albanian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest today. He went on to participate also in the 1992, 1993, 2005 and 2007 editions of the competition. 1990 was the most difficult year for the Albanian people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0VBLZGMdKo

Bledar participated in the change of system, he was part of student movement in December 1990 that brought the fall of communism in Albania. But mostly he contributed in the music scene. 1990 was the year that he created his hard rock band Megahertz. In 1997 Bledar left Albania for Italy where he lived for six years. Bledar played more with traditional Italian bands as a guitar player and singer during this period. In 2011, he supported Aurela Gaçe as a backing artist in the Eurovision Song Contest, playing the guitar. This year, he will finally take the lead as an artist, together with Adrian Lulgjuraj. The Festivali I Kenges, the national selection in Albania has a historic element to it noting that it is also still conducted with the orchestra. 

This years' first runner-up was none other but Anjeza Shanini, the first Albanian representative at the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2004. Albania have an intriguing history at the international showcase with this year making their first decade. In nine (9) participations, the country has only not been in the final on three occasions, which reflects to one third so to speak but nevertheless, have only reached the top ten on two occasions, the first time being in 2004 with a track entitled The Image of You which managed seventh place and the second time being last year when Rona Nishliu took to the stage and belted out Suus, finishing in fifth place. This year, many are seeing Albania as a definite non-qualifier noting that the track is something which is not perceived as current. 

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 50%

Martin Isherwood: Hard to know where or what the chorus is. Didn’t get the lyrics due to my appalling language skills Interesting vocal sound to start but good strong voice when it gets going Great production - nice drums and strings Kicks off like Pride U2 Good rock song - doubt it's a winner though.

Sharon Vaughn: Exciting musical skills and track... better than the song itself!

Stano Simor: Rock-folklor song which could reach out to the public within the Balkan region. Lead vocal has old- fashioned feeling. The guitar solo could definitely been done better to fit the song because it seems to have just been thrown in there. I am not sure this track will have a wide following. 

Source: eurovision.tv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pf-ZCI-UuA

Published in Editorials