September 18, 2019

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Rui Andrade, a male vocalist who has finished as the second runner-up in the Festival da Cancao on no less than three occasions including earlier this year is set to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark as part of a team of backing vocalists. In yet another exclusive, we have learnt that the singer/songwriter from Portugal will be accompanying the Tolmachevy Sisters during their performance of the song Shine composed by Philipp Kirkorov & Dimitris Kontopolous with lyrics by Ralph Charlie, John Ballard & Gerard James Borg.

Participation in the Portuguese national selection was handled by none other than Olivier Vanhoutte, a longtime friend and editor who has declined to give a comment with regards to the story. Nevertheless, other outlets have confirmed this story which will add to the international intrigue surrounding the Russian entry at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. The question which many will ask is whether this will turn up to be a wise marketing move or appear to be a desperate attempt at trying to secure votes. We urge you to stay tuned to for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the continental competition.


Friday, 04 April 2014 10:50

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Russia

It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Martin Isherwood, Deo Grech, Stano Simor and Matt Mercieca from the United Kingdom, Malta and the Czech Republic have been entrusted with the first semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 6th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and thus moving onto number #7, we catch up with Russia (RTR) who will be represented by Tolmachevy Sisters an the song Shine composed by Kontopoulos and Kirkorov with lyrics by Ballard, Charlie and Borg.

The twin sisters Anastasia and Maria Tolmachevy are from Kursk, a small town 500 km away from Moscow, where they are living now. They are 17 years old now and are graduating from the middle school this year. Anastasia and Maria are singing since they were little girls. Their mother is a music teacher who led and supported her daughters in their music career. Anastasia and Maria sang in various music studios. They participated in many junior song contests. But their breakthrough was in 2006 when the sisters took part in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Bucharest and won the competition reaching 154 points with their performance Vesennij Jazz (The Spring Jazz).

In 2007, Russia 1 Channel broadcast the documentary film about their success in the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest The Phenomenal Twin Sisters. In the same year, Anastasia and Maria stared in the New Year`s Eve television musical Kingdom Of Crooked Mirrors where they sang together with Alla Pugacheva, the Russian participant of the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest. The sisters also released their album Polovinki (The Halves). Later they took part in various concerts, for example at the Red Square, in different music television shows like Saturday Night at the Russia-1 Channel.

The Tolmachevy Sisters were special guests in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam and in the 2010 Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Minsk. Anastasia and Maria took part in the opening act of the First Semi-Final of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. They have been given the challenge of a lifetime, that to possibly become winners of the senior edition of the continental competition after triumphing in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest as much as seven years back. It will not be an easy feat though, without bringing up certain elements which do not constitute as grounds of reason in music.

Russia is well and truly one of the most successful countries to partake in the Eurovision Song Contest, having finished as the first runner-up in 2000 at the hands of Alsou and the track Solo before managing a string of top ten finishes, finally culminating in their first ever victory back in 2009. The song Believe performed by popstar Dima Bilan had been noted from the onset, especially because he had done well on one previous occasion. Since then, Russia has still flirted with the top ten but also obtained one of their worst ever results in 2011 when Alexey Sparrow and his song Get You could only garner 77 points to finish in sixteenth place.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 51%

Martin Isherwood: Strong melodies in the chorus. Nice sentiment in the lyrics. Good voices. Strong hooks. 60s feels with timpani and strings, quite like The Pierces: 'Glorious'.

Deo Grech: This is so ironic, indeed. Last year they presented a prophetic entry with the lyrics which went like this: ''what if we came together as one....what if we chose to bury our guns....why don't we always reach out to those who need us the most''.  Well it's high time they act what they preach. Full stop!

Stano Simor: This year Russia dissembled selection of songs and artist. Lackluster song in the style of outdated pop, which is not written for the voices Tolmachevy Sister .They  don 't have the space to show  their vocal potential in this song.

Matt Mercieca: Song is super average , but at parts I feel like I’m about to love it, but then something keeps me back, Im so lost, this is a little confusing, I love it one second, I think its rubbish the next! 


Published in Editorials

The Tolmachevy Sisters, winners of the 2006 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, were internally chosen by the public broadcaster, RTR as the representatives on behalf of Russia at this years' international competition. They will be performing a song entitled Shine composed by Dimitris Kontipoulos and Philipp Kirkorov with lyrics by John Ballard, Ralph Charlie and Gerard James Borg. The official presentation of the song took place earlier today through and their YouTube page, but nevertheless, it does indeed sound like a demo.

Shine is a mid-tempo number, one which seems to have been rushed into submission due to the Heads of Delegation Meeting which took place earlier this week in Copenhagen, Denmark. Whilst not dated, the song is very much influenced by music of the past, predominantly a merge between the seventies, and the eighties. We expect this song to be re-arranged in time for the Eurovision Song Contest, with a final version to be presented in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned to for all the latest news.

Source: RTR

RTR, one of the two public broadcasters in Russia, responsible for selecting an entry for the Eurovision Song Contest every other year has decided to scrap the national selection process in favour of an internal selection following recent developments in the nation found at the far east of the continent. The Tolmachevy Twins, winners of the 2006 Junior Eurovision Song Contest were chosen to carry the flag, hoping that success will be around the corner once more.

The Tolmachevy Twins will be performing the song Shine composed by Philip Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulous with lyrics by John Ballard, Ralph Charlie and Gerard James Borg. This experienced team has already had ample success at the Eurovision Song Contest, but none have managed to get as far as victory noting that the lyricists have already been former runner-ups at the event with tracks such as Hold Me (Azerbaijan 2013) and 7th Wonder (Malta). Shine is set to be revealed by the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest in the next couple of hours. The editorial team of would like to wish the very best of luck to local lyricist Gerard James Borg with chances of Maltese representation in the final on the increase.


Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan was hosting the Eurovision Song Contest this time last year in a setting which was relatively different as the event was organised on a bigger scale. The idea of giving the international spectacle a more intimate feel commenced as of this year and seems to be working wonders. Nevertheless, Azerbaijan is a nation which has always used the necessary means possible to success and this is definitely seen within the results achieved by the nation across the years. Their worst result thus far is eighth place achieving during their debut with the song Day After Day performed by Elnur & Samir. 

This year, they are being represented by Farid Mammadov and his entry Hold Me which is a co-write between Dimitris Kontopoulos, John Ballard & Ralph Charlie Al Fahel. Farid had the opportunity to visit Malta this year, and as a matter of fact, an appearance on Xarabank aired on Television Malta, the main organ of the Public Broadcasting Services will be shown tomorrow evening. Following his first technical rehearsal, it seems that almost everything is going his way except for the attire but then again, that is just personal opinion. The whole setup looks impressive and the idea to have a dancer in a boxer who mimics his moves is just stunning. Juergen Boernig and his team in Sweden had the opportunity to chat with him following his rehearsal yesterday. Stay tuned to for more interviews. 


Published in Interviews
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 05:51

Azerbaijan: Reviewing the track 'Hold Me' has enlisted three individuals from different music industries to help analyse and classify the tracks competing in the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest noting that they come from the United Kingdom, United States and the Czech Republic respectively. In the earlier section of the draw comes Azerbaijan, which has been drawn by the producers in slot number four (4) following the performance of the FYR Macedonia. The idea of the producers is to have as many different genres as possible spread out in order to keep the competition flowing both for the public and the jury alike. Ictimai Television, broadcaster for Azerbaijan will be represent by Farid Mammadov whose entry Hold Me is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos with lyrics by John Ballard and Ralph Charlie Al Fahel.

Farid, age 21, has effortlessly proven that he is one of the finest vocalists in Azerbaijan. To win the national final Farid provided a touching performance of the song Hold Me a very strong romantic ballad. The song is composed by Dimitrios Kontopoulos, who previously produced Eurovision songs for Ani Lorak, Sakis Rouvas and had 27 number one hits in Greek national airplay charts. The main source of inspiration to Farid has been Azerbaijani music as well soul, jazz, and pop. He was raised on Mugham, a form of traditional Azerbaijani folk music and very complex vocal art. Meanwhile, since the age of eight Farid got engaged to the soul and jazz music, in particular Stevie Wonder. At his very first concert he performed Wonder's all-time-hit I Just Called to Say I Love You. He is also a talented songwriter. At the semi-final of the national selection Farid performed his own song Gel Yanima (Come to Me).

His competitive spirit is also shown in Farid's strong passion for sports. He enjoys participating in freestyle wrestling, which is regarded as the Azerbaijan's national sport, and Brazilian martial art capoeira. There is no doubt that he inherited sporting abilities from his parents. Farids mother was a silver medalist for the Soviet Union in gymnastics. Not to mention both parents are also into music with Farid's mum playing piano and his father used to sing and play keyboards in a rock band. Farid was honoured to work with such outstanding mentors in his country as Vagif Gerayzade and Aybeniz Hashimova before he became a mature solo singer. Although it was his dream to sing for Azerbaijan, he previously had never participated in national selections to the Eurovision Song Contest, as he felt like the time was not right for him.

Over the last few years he has developed his singing ability to the point where he was ready to succeed. Farid managed to win not only the jury vote in the final, he also gained the highest number of televotes from the audience during the qualifying rounds. In autumn 2012, as many other finalists of the Azerbaijani national selection, Farid took part in the casting process for the new international music talent show The Big Stage (Böyük Səhnə). In the show top-rated songwriters, producers, choreographers and vocal coaches from Azerbaijan, USA, the UK, Greece, Sweden and Ukraine worked closely together to create a very special artistic environment for young performers with the only aim to polish their skills and help the emerging talents. There at the creative campus of the show Farid came to the Dimitrios Kontopoulos' attention - the composer of Hold Me.

In 2008, Azerbaijan entered the Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time and managed to finish in a respectable eighth place with the song Day After Day performed by Elnur & Samir but things have only got better and that remains to be their worst result thus far noting that they managed a second runner-up finish in 2009 with Always sung by another duet, this time being Aysel and Arash and then ultimately finishing on top of the leaderboard in 2011 with the song Running Scared sung by Ell & Nikki. They will be hoping that their success within the top ten will continue this year and it has no reason not too considering that Farid is an extremely competent performer with the song being relatively strong. Malta and Azerbaijan have built a strong bond over the past couple of years and therefore, it is not surprising that Farid will be stopping by Malta this coming weekend.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 87%

Martin Isherwood: Very strong chorus. Lyrics works well. Very strong voice. Not sure about the key change - feels a little bit forced. Love the production once the track is in fully. Hints of 'Glorious' Andreas Johnson or Robbie Williams Millennium in the chorus. Great song!

Sharon Vaughn: There are not a lot of words to describe this song except that it is pretty much Eurovision by numbers but nevertheless, done in extremely well, bliss!

Stano Simor: Azerbaijan gives you traditionally depends on a strong representation and promotion. Hold Me has a strong melody, simple text that will be easily understood by the audience including countries of the far east, which is a strong demographic when it comes to this competition. The song has been seemingly written for Farid's vocals as it fits him perfectly. This should get Azerbaijan a very strong result, not in the semi-final but in the final!


Published in Editorials

Ten artists competing with original songs took to the stage of the Azeri national final at the end of the preselection season back in March with Farid Mammadov and his entry Hold Me composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos to the lyrics of John Ballard and Ralph Charlie ultimately selected to take on the honour of representing the nation. A promotional tour has somewhat become essential for the country in recent years noting that appearances all over the continent have been very much planned. We are in an exclusive position to reveal that Farid Mammadov will be coming to Malta in a weeks' time for a recording of the programme Xarabank produced by Where's Everybody and hosted by Peppi Azzopardi. 

Azerbaijan and Malta have a somewhat special connection noting that Kurt Calleja and This Is The Night was very much well appreciated during last years' edition of the international spectacle. This has always augured well and in return the former country has also received the maximum points for three successive years. Farid Mammadov has already been to countries such as Greece and The Netherlands with Malta being just another stop, albeit an important one. Television Malta, the main organ of the Public Broadcasting Services will be using the most popular programme to showcase both Farid Mammadov and Gianluca in the days leading up to the their semi-final. The recording will be taking place within the next couple of days but the broadcaster is set for the 10th May 2013. Stay tuned to for all of the latest news about this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest whilst thanking Where's Everybody for providing us with this news item.

Source: Where's Everybody,