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And Your Second Semi-Final finalists are….

Posted by DINRIL on May 27, 2010

as follows:

GEORGIA

UKRAINE

TURKEY

ISRAEL

IRELAND

CYPRUS

AZERBAIJAN

ROMANIA

ARMENIA

DENMARK

All of which means that a) we got eight out of ten which isn’t bad at all (and since we admitted Georgia and Ukraine could pull off a surprise we are prepared to count that as full marks or at least we would if anybody would let us), b) we kind of figured Denmark would still sneak in even though, to be honest, they could have been better (not sure how well they’ll do, mind) and c) what the FRICK happened to Sweden and Croatia? The latter isn’t so much of a shock but losing Sweden, who have never missed out on a semi-final qualification yet (heck, haven’t missed out on a contest since 1976) is a real shocker – even more so because word of mouth from Oslo had Anna down as a potential winner. Oh well. If it had been Denmark who missed the cut no doubt everybody would be gasping at that and hey, we did say there would be some surprises in this semi-final. We just didn’t expect that to be it…….

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Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News | 1 Comment »

We Hereby Predict….Part Two

Posted by DINRIL on May 27, 2010

While we’re still dining out on our ridiculously accurate predictions for the first semi-final, the second one is giving us some headaches (and a bit of a sleepless night last night, it has to be said – although that may have something to do with snuffly nose and the sunlight streaming in at 4am…..) But hey, the second semi is tonight and Team Eurovision’s gotta do what Team Eurovision’s gotta do. So here goes, with our predictions for the second semi-final qualifiers….

TURKEY

Why? Easy one to start with, because they’re Turkey and they would literally have to send an orchestra of mountain goats banging on pots not to have a chance of qualifying. They deserve to though – We Could Be The Same is our favourite Turkish effort in years (even more so than Deli the other year, and we all know how much we loved that song) and the rehearsal footage we’ve seen looks like something out of Glastonbury. There’s nothing else like it this year. Result!

SWEDEN

Why? Well Sweden haven’t lucked out on a semi-final yet but there’s a lot of positive buzz surrounding this one in Oslo and we’re beginning to think this could be the little song that could, the one that we have inevitably overlooked (there’s always one, every year….). Still think it’s pleasant rather than remarkable but rehearsal footage looks very strong indeed and this could well be the tune that appeals to the casual viewer on Saturday night who hasn’t been listening to the songs for the past 22 years as we all have. Besides, if Belgium can do it…..expect a tussle between those two for scoreboard supremacy on Saturday night!

AZERBAIJAN

Why? Well because it’s the favourite, it’s a lovely song with a very appealing singer, and because we want her turquoise dress. Word of mouth from Oslo is mixed, however, and while we still think this’ll make it through we’re not quite so sure about its potential to win the entire contest. Shame because we quite fancied the idea of next year’s being in the middle of the night….

ARMENIA

Why? Because it’s a proper, solid, Eurovision song despite its rather silly title, because word of mouth on the performance is absolutely stellar and because Eva Rivas has the best hair in the entire contest. Seriously. You could stuff a mattress with it. Obviously that has no bearing on the song, however, which is excellent and deserves to qualify anyway – and if the buzz we’re hearing out of Oslo is to be believed this could even be a potential winner. So maybe we will get our contest in the middle of the night after all.

ROMANIA

Why? We’ve been championing this one as one of our contest ‘dark horses’ for some time now (this and Belgium and they came up trumps on Tuesday) and what’s more we’ve seen these guys in action – Paula and Ovi performed at the Eurovision Preview Party in London and did a grand job. Besides, it’s a fun song, and the more of those we have in the final the better.

IRELAND

Why? Do we need to tell you why? Niamh Kavanagh is Eurovision royalty, she’s won it once, she’s brilliant (we saw her at the Eurovision Preview Party too and can verify this), she has a classic old-school Eurovision ballad and you just know she is going to own that stage. There’s no question of her qualifying, the real issue is – can she win it again????? Frankly we wouldn’t rule it out!

ISRAEL

Why? Here’s a song we failed to appreciate initially, but the thing about Israel is that when they do epic ballads well they do them really, really well (and when they do them badly they do them really really badly – remember Eddie Butler in 2006 anybody? Nope, didn’t think you did). This song falls into the former category thanks to Harel Skaat and his big, powerful voice – the only slight quibbles we have are that a) from the rehearsal footage we saw he appears to be about four foot tall and looks a bit tiny and lost on that great big stage and b) this worked beautifully with the orchestra in the national final, will it look slightly lost without it in Oslo? We reckon he’s in regardless but we’re not sure this is the potential winner we once thought it was. Suspect it will do well regardless…..

CROATIA

Why? Eurovision veterans Femminem (who contrary to rumour are not named after a brand of ladies’ painkiller) have a decent song on their hands here although whether they can withstand the onslaught of ballads in the second semi is another matter entirely. We reckon they’ll make it because Croatia have a habit of getting into the final even when you don’t think they will, but without a lot of neighbourly buddies on their side this year they might not get there that easily.

DENMARK

Why? Oh we’re so not sure about this one at all. If you’d asked us two weeks ago this would have been top of our list but the winsome twosome have had some of the worst word of mouth out of rehearsals in Oslo to the extent that this High School Musical-esque arm-waver is no longer the sure thing it once was. Latest is Chanee and N’Evergreen have upped their game somewhat but if their performance does turn out to be terrible this could easily be on the next plane back to Copenhagen instead of topping the scoreboard as we thought it would be on Saturday. We’re keeping them in for now – just – as we do sense that the juries might step in and save them from the axe if the worst happens. But we’re by no means confident about this.

And finally…..

CYPRUS

Why? Again, we are soooooooo uncertain on this front. To be honest the tenth finalist could come from anywhere – we’re hearing good things about Ukraine (not at all keen on the song but apparently the performance is very good), we think the sheer ridiculousness of the Netherlands could appeal to the old school audience, and Lithuania could even make it into the final on the strength of their sparkly pants. And we still love the Georgian song in spite of the rather silly performance that appears to be accompanying it. Cyprus however we reckon is a safe bet – it’s a good, solid song, nicely performed, and the only real danger is whether it’ll be lost in the mix of ballads a bit (bearing in mind it’s on right before Croatia and Georgia in the running order). And with Greece already in the final they’ll be guaranteed at least one ‘douze points’.

So there you have it. Onwards to the semi-final with a good deal of trepidation and guaranteed licking of wounds to follow………

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News | 4 Comments »

We Asked, They Answered: Azerbaijan

Posted by DINRIL on May 27, 2010

The lovely Safura from Azerbaijan drip drops (sorry, that is officially the worst pun of the entire season) her interview answers into the Eurovision Blog inbox…..

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Azerbaijan’s Eurovision representative this year!
My name is Safura and I’m 17 years old. I started to sign when I was three and never stopped. I started following Eurovision since 2008 when Azerbaijan competed there for the first time. When I saw a huge success of Aysel & Arash last year I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to give it a try. So here I am right now ready for the big show.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?

There will be passion with a touch of fire, because that’s what my country is all about. My song “Drip Drop” is addressed to a young men and there will be one really talented dancer from Ukraine.

Which of the other entries this year do you rate?
I really like Sopho from Georgia. Her song is very soulful and passionate. It is very emotional. I also like Manga’s song and performance.

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?
I think there is always time for a song. Just look around and see how many people are interested in Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds? I think the juries will add some professional point of view to the voting process. But I believe no matter what kind of system they use there will be a winner who truly deserves it.

Have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Azerbaijan  could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)
Yes I’ve heard the song. Josh is a good looking guy and his song is quite good as well. I am sure he will get the votes he deserves from the audience. Best wishes from me!

Posted in Azerbaijan, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Interviews | 4 Comments »

And Your First Semi-Final Qualifiers Are….

Posted by DINRIL on May 25, 2010

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Moldova
Russia
Greece
Portugal
Belarus
Serbia
Belgium
Albania
Iceland

We have no further comment to make except for – nine out of ten! We RULE………:) (but poor Malta, she gave such a good performance and it was always going to be between her and Portugal in the battle of the ballads) Onwards and upwards to Thursday, people, when we don’t expect to get nearly so many correct…….

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News | 3 Comments »

We hereby predict…..

Posted by DINRIL on May 24, 2010

…….that the ten countries who will qualify from Tuesday’s semi-final are as follows (in no particular order):

BELGIUM

Why? Because we’ve had our eye on this song as a possible dark horse for months (and now everybody in Oslo who’s clapped eyes on Tom Dice during rehearsals has jumped on our ‘possible winner’ bandwagon.) Coming after the pomp of the Polish entry we think that this simple tune performed by one man and his guitar will really stand out on stage. And besides, it’s about time Belgium were back in the finals (you think we have it bad in the UK? Belgium haven’t even been in the final since 2004!). And now they will be! With a proper song that’s not in a made-up language! We’d could even venture to suggest this might win the first semi, but hey, let’s not go nuts here….

ICELAND

Why? Because given the great effort Hera Bjork must have made to dodge the volcanic ash cloud and make it to Oslo, it would be wholly unfair to send her straight back on the next plane (actually make that bus, train, coach or similarly slow-moving land-based vehicle). Oh and the song’s quite good too. And it’s on last. And all that guff. You get our drift.

ALBANIA

Why? This song’s crept up on us, and it’s not until comparatively recently that we’ve realised how good the English language version is. The fact Juliana has ditched the Su Pollard haircut helps enormously too although tonsorial quibbles aside the lady really can sing. Expect this one to fly.

SERBIA

Why? Because it’s our favourite song this year and we’ll cry if it doesn’t. This is of course not a good reason to put a song through so let’s just say that there’s nothing else like it in the contest and given the fact the first semi-final isn’t nearly as strong as the second it will really stand out (and let’s face it anything will coming after Latvia). It is one of those songs which could benefit from a spot of neighbourly voting but to be honest we think it’ll get there on its own merits. Balkan Balkan Balkan! Etc.

GREECE

Why? Because Greece always get through, do you need any other reason? This might not be quite so up to the standard of some of their recent efforts but it’s still damned good fun and deserves to make the final. Unless of course the voting public at large share our opinion that all white clothing on middle-aged men is just not a good look……

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Why? Word from Oslo is that this is a powerful little number on stage so we’re going to stick our necks out and go along with that. It’s not a bad little song, if a tad old-fashioned, we reckon it could still go either way but since it sounds like one of those ones which improves vastly when performed live we’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.

BELARUS

Why? Yes. We know. Erk. So not a favourite and we’re still somewhat crushed that they ditched the far superior Far Away in favour of this gubbins. But the Editor’s daughter (aged very nearly four) likes the sparkly butterfly outfits so on the strength of that we’ll give it our seal of approval.

MOLDOVA

Why? There are a lot of slower quirky tunes in the first half of the draw and as one of the few bona fide dance numbers in the first semi we reckon this will stand out. There’s a chance it might get forgotten since it’s the first song on Tuesday night but the new voting system should, in theory, take care of that. Plus we want Olia’s boots…..

RUSSIA

Why? Because they’re Russia, we can’t think of any other reason other than that since this is possibly a contender for our least favourite Eurovision song of all time (and that is up against some pretty stiff competition let us tell you). But the thought of a contest without Russia just seems a tad odd to us, and we also suspect our friends in Eastern Europe might ‘get’ this song a bit more than we do. So for that reason we reckon they’re in. But we’re not happy about it. (SULK)

And finally……MALTA

Why? This was a tough one to call for us, ’twas between Malta and Finland (and we’re not entirely sure about our choice, we still think the Finns could sneak it….). But we’re going with Malta purely on the basis of the rehearsal footage we’ve seen. Of all the balladeers this year, Thea seemed one of the most natural and at ease (with the possible exception of Ireland’s Niamh Kavanagh but we’ll come to her on Thursday). Combine that with the gimmick of Birdman and you’re on to a winner. Well, a qualifier at least. We wouldn’t go that far. Either way, we’re saying that all important last spot is hers……

And on that note we’re off for an early night before the week of madness kicks off in earnest. Zzzzzzzzzzz…………

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News | 4 Comments »

We Asked, They Answered: Malta

Posted by DINRIL on May 24, 2010

And the interviews just keep on coming! This time it’s the turn of Malta’s Thea Garrett (minus Birdman) to step up to the Eurovision Blog questionnaire. Got your eyes on our Josh, have you love?????

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Malta’s Eurovision representative this year!

I started singing when I was six years old but I never participated in any music festivals or contests. I took voice technique lessons for the past years which were based on musical theatre. I spent three consecutive summers studying musical theatre at Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. I was chosen to sing as a backing vocalist to the famous Spanish singer Paco Pena which took place in the West End. I participated in the Voice of Tomorrow West End contest and ended up in the final 20.
I accompanied the North West Choir from the UK as a soloist whilst performing an oratory at the Anglican Church in Valletta. I am currently a member of Enkor, a gospel classical choir, with whomI also perform as soloist.
Recently I sang with famous Italian singer, Gigi D’Alessio on the opening night of his world tour in Rome and was again invited to sing in Milan, where this time Gigi accompanied me on his piano and let me sing one of his favourite songs as a soloist.
I was 14 when I went to Jason’s studio for some studio experience. I recorded Ave Maria and he promised me that when I was old enough he would write a song for me for the Eurosong, which he did along with Sunny Aquilina.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?
Meeting all the other contestants. My stage show will be very similar as I do not find it fair to change what the viewers voted for during the final of the Malta Eurosong.

Will the ‘Birdman’ from Malta Eurosong be joining you in Oslo?
Yes, my seagull will be with me all the way.

Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from your home country?
Why Me by Linda Martin in 1992 is my all time favourite. And my all time Maltese favourite is Little Child by Mary Spiteri, which participated in the same year that Linda Martin won the Eurovision.

Which of the other entries this year do you like?
The Irish entry by Niamh Kavanagh.

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?
No actually I think it is a good year as there are different styles and a bit of everything.

Malta has never won Eurovision and if you don’t mind me saying so, it’s about time you did. Do you have a strategy to change your country’s fortunes and bring the contest to Malta?
I will do my best and hope for a good result.

We watched Malta Eurosong online and it seemed to me as if it’s a huge event there (certainly compared to the UK’s national final which was paltry by comparison). Just what is it about Eurovision that makes it so popular in Malta, as compared to other countries?
It is the biggest singing contest that every singer dreams of winning. The Maltese people unite to select the best possible entry to represent Malta and hopefully do well.

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?
Yes, because if the judges vote professionally, they will vote for the song and not the country.

And finally……Have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Malta could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get, and you’ve always been very nice to us in the past……?!)
Personally the UK is my favourite country and honestly I plan to move there for good in two years time. That Sounds Good To Me is a good song but HE looks good to me! 🙂

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Interviews, Malta | 1 Comment »

Bon Voyage…..

Posted by DINRIL on May 20, 2010

……to our very own Josh as he prepares to make his way to Oslo – but he’s not flying there, oh no. According to BBC News,  the Royaume-Uni representative is travelling to Norway by land to try and avoid delays created by Iceland’s volcanic ash cloud, and is about to undertake an epic 36-hour journey (parts of which will be shown during BBC3’s Eurovision coverage) to get there.

So Europe, please, when you come to vote just bear in mind the Herculean effort the lad has made to get to the contest and be nice to him. And in the meantime Josh, you might want to start giving some thought to how you’re going to get back again…….

Posted in Eurovision 2010, United Kingdom | 1 Comment »

We Asked, They Answered: Greece

Posted by DINRIL on May 19, 2010

Could this be the nicest person of the 2010 season? It’s Greece’s Giorgos Alkaios (he’s the one at the front in the picture), who’s left his Friends at home in order to take on the Eurovision Blog interview….

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Greece’s Eurovision representative this year!
Hello everyone! My name is Giorgos Alkaios and I have the honour of representing Greece together with my friends in the 55th Eurovision Song Contest. I have been involved in the music industry all my life and music is my passion and my friends. I mean that I share this passion with my friends and all together we are trying to show to Eurovision song contest the other side of the Greek music scene.  I am very pleased to have won in our national final, since competition was difficult this year. I was competing against 7 excellent musicians and music groups of my country, we were all friends helping each other for the best result. The fact that I won, made me really excited but I would  be also happy to support any other participant if he had got the ticket to Oslo.

Who are your Friends? We only know the name of Giorgos Alkaios but who are the other members of the band?
My friends who will be on stage with me are the exceptional Pontiac Lyre player and musician Lazos Ioannidis, and the dancers Anastasios Kanaridi, Yevgen Buli, Iakovos Gogua and Petros Zlatkos giving all their energy for a really powerfull choreography.
However, there are also my friends with whom we work together in our record company “Friends music factory” and we have written the lyrics of the Greek entry OPA. These friends are Giannis Antoniou, Dionysis Schinas, Kassiani Karagioule, Dimitris Chortarias, Stavros Apostolou, Tolis Schinas and Manos Chortarias.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?
I believe that representing my country, especially with Greek lyrics is very fulfilling. Participating in the ESC does not only mean competing against fellow artists, it also means meeting and getting together with other people who share our passion for music.  OPA’s performance will be a celebration of friends, musicians being close together, passing the Greek music to the audience. The choreography will be very different and powerful. We are on hard rehearsal schedule these 2 weeks in order to give the best out od it! We are very excited with what we prepare for our performance but let’s keep it secret till we reach Oslo. Then we will talk again 🙂

Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from your home country?
I like many songs from Eurovision song contest during the years, but of course I cannot forget Johnny Logan ” What’s another year” and “Hold me now”and Celine Dion for sure! Their songs are just exceptional. As for Greek Participants, we are so close friends with Antique, Helena Paparizou, Sakis Rouvas and Kaiti Garbi that I keep their songs enclosed deep in my heart so as to give me all the energy  I need for Oslo.I cannot wait to meet with musicians from all over Europe and make new songs.. my new favorites!

Which of the other entries this year do you rate?
I like many songs from this year’s Eurovision Song contest, there are many ballads with great voices and some mid tempo songs with great rythm.Those that we have up tempo songs are just few, but we hope all of us to create a wonderful show. Let me see the songs presented on stage, because some audiovisual details might make me change my mind! As you know really well, Eurovision is music, sound and show all in one, so everything plays its important role to the whole presentation.

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?

I have listened to all entries and I believe that this years Eurovision is a year of ballads and midtempo. I like very much listening to the music of my colleagues coming all over Europe and I believe that the songs are very good on the whole. They might not be very up tempo, but that doesn’t mean they lack in quality. Music has its own language and inspires each person in a different way. We can never say we have good or bad songs as this is totally relevant to each one’s personal taste.I personally believe we have great voices this year!

A lot of websites are tipping Greece for their second victory with your song. Do you have a strategy in mind to bring the contest back to Greece?
That would be just great! It is really good to hear from most people so good things on our work. Together with my friends we are trying to bring to the Eurovision Song Contest the other side of the Greek music scene. OPA has the unique quality of passing energy to the people,and as a greek expression of celebration, hapiness and good mood, is an effort for all to let bygones be bygones and start all over again. Therfore I would say that this my ‘strategy’ for the ESC in Oslo and along with a big smile and discipline we hope for the best.

The UK gossip website Popbitch said that Greece were “The only entertaining act so far” in this year’s Eurovision, due to all the ballads that are in the contest this year. What do you think of this statement?
OPA is indeed an entertaining and cheerful song, while it serves a purpose: to make people optimistic about the future! As musicians, we have worked with my friends days and nights, we have given our soul for that song this is why we love singing it. I am not a competitive person,  I wish all participants to be all together, help each other and exchange ideas. The one who is going to win is the one that will have the chance to live the unique moment of Eurovision ever after.

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?
I think that the re-introduction of the juries might be a good strategy to fight against neighbouring voting and in some way it has indeed changes people’s minds. The jury voting does increase the credibility of the ESC and puts forward the true quality of music. However, I am personally not influenced by the voting procedure, this is just typical issues. The thing is that we will live the Eurovision experience and try our best for Greece! I do not think the result. Oslo is only music to me!

Have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Greece could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)
I have listened to the UK entry and I think it is a very powerful pop song which will be loved by the audience. It brings memories to me from early 90s, hits from Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley…lots of songs. I am sure Greek people will feel the same! Good luck UK and thank you very much.

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Greece, Interviews | 5 Comments »

We Asked, They Answered: Switzerland

Posted by DINRIL on May 15, 2010

Now here’s a first. When Switzerland’s 2010 participant Michael von der Heide agreed to talk to us, we dutifully sent him a batch of questions over, in English. He in turn replied to them. In German. Thank heavens for a very good translator who managed to make sense of what the Il Pleut De L’Or singer was saying…..

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Switzerland’s Eurovision representative this year!
My name is Michael von der Heide, I’ve sung since my childhood. Since then I’ve recorded 8 albums and many singles, won a few prizes and have had the good fortune to collaborate with many great musicians and singers (Nina Hagen). I also write songs for other artists. When I was 9 years old, I was allowed to watch Eurovision for the first time. I was unbelievably fascinated with the spectacle and fell in love with the Swiss singer Paola, who sang ‘Cinema’. I sang a duet with her many years later. Apart from that I had the pleasure of working with various icons of Swiss Eurovision history – with Daniela Simmons, Lys Assia, Sandra Simo amongst others. As a child I told my mother I’d sing one day at the Eurovision Song Contest – et voila….!

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?
My whole team and I look forward to this big adventure and want first and foremost to deliver a great performance, which also suits “il pleut de l’or”. Il pleut de l’or has also now come out in English as ‘It’s Raining Gold’…have a listen and have fun!

Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from your home country?
I love music above all – therefore I can’t and won’t limit myself to one song. There were soooooo many wonderful songs like Waterloo, Hold Me Now, Fairytale, Ooh Aah Just A Little Bit (?!??!)…Swiss contributions: Cinéma, Pas Pour Moi, Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, Canzone Te, T`en Vas Pas.

Which of the other entries this year do you rate?
I like lots of songs, for example the ones from Israel, Iceland, Romania, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden and of course ‘That Sounds Good To Me’, the one from the UK.

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?

I see the situation differently, of course! 🙂

Switzerland hasn’t won Eurovision in a while, despite having a decent track record in the contest. Do you have a strategy to try and reverse this trend and bring the contest back to Switzerland?

Yes, that’s true, Celine Dion’s last victory with ‘Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi’ was a good while ago! I have no strategy – I hope, pray and sing and will give my best. I’m going to stand on the big stage in Oslo…not in court.

Do you think Switzerland still has a special place in the hearts of Eurovision fans as the first country ever to win the contest?
I can’t make that judgement, but I hope so!

You have a very German sounding name yet your song is in French. Are you from French or German speaking Switzerland?
But Michael is really a very international name, don’t you think? That’s true about my surname. In English I’d be called ‘Michael from the fields’ or similar. I lived in the German part of Switzerland until I was 16 and then moved to the French part, where I had my first singing lessons. Later on I lived in Paris and also spent a year in London.

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?

I don’t know, but I’m very excited (or stressed…not sure here!). It’s very hard to judge music, as with beauty…how can one measure it? It’s easier in sport.

And finally……have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Switzerland could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)
The UK is THE country of pop music! I met Josh two weeks ago at a concert in Amsterdam. There were 16 countries there performing their current song live and your singer was great! Switzerland will HAVE to give him points. ‘That Sounds Good To Me’ is very charming…..

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Interviews, Switzerland | Leave a Comment »

We Asked, They Answered: Cyprus

Posted by DINRIL on May 15, 2010

They maintain that Life Looks Better In Spring, but will life look better in Oslo for Jon Lilygreen and The Insiders? We’ll find out on May 27, but in the mean time the Welsh lads doing it for Cyprus take on the might of the Eurovision Blog interview…..

Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you ended up being Cyprus’s Eurovision representative this year!

Jon Lilygreen singer/songwriter from Newport South Wales UK, freelance musician who loves playing live. Jon (drummer/producer) and Sylvia (piano BV) run a small recording studio in the Welsh Valleys and they use me as a session musician from time to time. Cypriot songwriter Nasos Lambrianides sent a couple of basic songs over to their studio Gold Disc Productions to be demoed and they asked me to sing. We thought nothing more about it until Nasos phoned Jon G just before Christmas and said that two of the tracks had reached the final 10 in the Cypriot Eurovision heats. He asked us if we’d like to fly out to Cyprus and perform in the final – we did and to our amazement we won!

Who are The Islanders? We know you’re Jon Lilygreen but what about the rest of the band?

The band was put together by Sylvia and Jon G, and consists of freelance musicians who work in their studio on a project basis http://www.goldcd.co.uk . Jon L, Jon G and Sylvia already played on the record and we then added Katherine Squire and Sean Watts on BV as well as Charalambos Kallonas a friend of Nasos on bass.

What are you most looking forward to about taking part and what can we expect from your stage show?

We’re all freelance musicians who make our living from playing. As well as being good mates we really enjoy making music together and it’s this joy and excitement that we hope the audience can see and feel and enjoy. No fancy gimmicks, just a stage full of musicians who LOVE playing!!
Which is your favourite all time Eurovision song and your favourite from Cyprus?

Of all Eurovision acts ABBA has to be the best, amazing songwriters and fantastic musicianship. We were lucky enough to meet a couple of artists (among them last years entry Christina Metaxa) who have already represented Cyprus in Eurovision in the past and they were very nice and helpful! Our favourite must be ‘Stronger every minute’ the 2004 entry for Cyprus .

Which of the other entries this year do you rate?

Tom Dice from Belgium has a really nice song which we all really like, and Germany’s song is also very catchy. We were lucky enough to take part in the Greek selection so we also heard their entry ‘Opa’ and we’ve meet the Bulgarian artist Miro who was a very nice friendly chap (smitten editor goes a bit wobbly at mention of Miro’s name and heads off for a long liedown…..). Other than that we’re looking forward to travelling to Oslo and meeting all the other artists there and hopefully have time to jam and play with all of them!

Many Eurovision fans have said it isn’t a great year for songs, what do you think about this?

None of us have really had much time to listen to the other tracks since winning the Cyprus heats so we don’t really know the other entries, but we’re really looking forward to meeting everybody in Oslo and hearing all the other tracks live.

Cyprus has never actually won Eurovision despite being in the contest for decades. Do you have a strategy to try and change their fortunes and bring the contest to Cyprus?

Cyprus is an amazing place with the friendliest and most laid back people in Europe! It would be fantastic to be able to take the competition to Cyprus next year! Our plan is to do what we always do – play to the best of our abilities and really enjoy our performance and the fact that we get the opportunity to stand on a stage with some of our best mates and play for several million people! It doesn’t get much better than that and hopefully the audience will feel that joy and enjoy the performance us much as we will. Let’s rock hard, have as much fun as possible and may the best act on the night win!

Eurovision always suffers from accusations of political/neighbourly voting. Do you think the new voting system with the re-introduction of juries has gone some way to changing people’s minds?

It is good that there will be a professional jury of musicians in each country as well as the audience vote, however as long as we do our very best on the night we’ll be happy regardless of the voting system!

We’re told you’re actually Welsh, whereabouts in Wales do you come from? Is there any chance we could persuade you to defect and represent the UK instead (since your song is actuallybetter than the UK one)?

We’re a motley crew and the band has it’s base in South Wales. I’m from Newport, Sean is also Welsh and comes from Cymmer, Jon G is Scottish but lives in the Rhondda Valley with Sylvia who comes from Norway and finally Katherine is from Totnes in Devon. None of us ever thought of entering the Eurovision Song contest and it all happened by pure coincidence. The people of Cyprus have put a lot of trust in us as we were the first act ever in Cyprus to get full marks from both the jury and the televoters so we are extremely proud to represent them this year and we’re going to go to Oslo all guns blazing! However, thanks for the compliment – it’s mad that while our entry was produced and recorded in a tiny ex-miners terraced cottage in South Wales the BBC drafted in Pete Waterman. Whatever you think of his track the man is a legend and it’s crazy that we’re now in competition with him as well as the biggest studios in Europe.

And speaking of which….have you heard the UK entry this year and if so what do you think of it? Any chance Cyprus could give us some points (if we asked nicely, since frankly we need all the help we can get……?)

The chap who is singing seems like a nice lad and like we said above Mr Waterman is a pop music legend. In terms of points if the Brits vote for Cyprus we’ll see what we can do!

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