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Don’t play that song again! Or did you already….

Posted by DINRIL on February 25, 2013

We figured that given the success of Loreen’s bangin’ dance anthem Euphoria in Baku last year (and indeed the very reason that your Eurovision contest is off to Malmo this year), that a brace of club floorfillers would find their way into the line-up of this year’s contest – and indeed we haven’t been disappointed. For while 2012’s performers couldn’t get enough of big ballads (off the back of Ell and Nikki’s Azeri victory), 2010’s hopefuls favoured post-Fairytale twiddly folk nonsense and the class of 2007 wanted to out-Lordi Lordi, so 2013’s crop seem to be hellbent on emulating our Swedish siren. Well some of them anyway. To kick off, here’s Slovenia’s Hannah Mancini going all Skrillex on Straight Into Love. We quite like this but we cannot envisage many people west of Bulgaria will:

And here’s Ireland’s Ryan Dolan, who snatched victory from under the nose of Aimee Fitzpatrick in this weekend’s national final with this little number, Only Love Survives. This reminds us of what Euphoria might have sounded like if it had had a few ethnic drum beats thrown in. And had been sung by a man. Or possibly it just sounds the kind of thing Malta might enter in a particularly average year. Your choice:

Not to be left out, Germany have also gotten in on the act with their effort from Cascada (you may remember them – adoptsTroy McClure voice – from such hits as Evacuate The Dancefloor and Every Time We Touch) with their much-hyped entry Glorious (much-hyped in that we’d actually heard of them as opposed to most of the other finalists). The song’s already whipped up a bit of controversy back home where it’s been accused of ‘copying’ Euphoria – but we can’t think what they’re on about. I mean they’re both upbeat dance tracks, they’re both sung by women, and they’re both in Eurovision – well, stands to reason doesn’t it? They must surely be the same song. Well they’re not really since Euphoria is a strong, powerful dance anthem while Glorious to us sounds like something Tulisa might pull out of the bag for an X Factor semi-final. You be the judge:

To finish, here’s the Greek entry, the wonderfully-titled Alcohol Is Free by Koza Mostra and Agathonas (i.e that bloke with the moustache). This isn’t really a dance anthem at all (unless you count the sort of dancing you do after partaking of much free alcohol) but since it is a) marvellous and b) sounds like nothing else in the competition we figured we’d include it anyway, if only to convince you it’s not all about drum machines and glowsticks this year:

 

 

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Posted in Eurovision 2013, Eurovision News, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia | 2 Comments »

(Almost) the last round-up, Part 2….

Posted by DINRIL on March 29, 2012

Mopping up the last few songs of the year, it looks like we’re set for an almighty battle of the ballad birds in Baku. Or at least between Azerbaijan and Bosnia and Herzegovina that is. The host nation are fielding this effort, When The Music Dies, by Sabina Babayeva, which is OK in a sort of ‘we REALLY don’t want to win this again’ kind of way. We confidently predict a triumphant seventh place finish. Or something:

And here’s Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Maya Sar, weighing in on the big and dramatic front with Korake Ti Znam. It’s epic, it’s beautiful and….we wish we liked it more. If it’s any consolation, we do actually feel bad about not liking it more. And she will undoubtedly qualify for the final where Eurovision Blog estimates Slovenia will wipe the floor with all the other Balkan ballads:

Speaking of ballads, look here comes another one! It’s Belgium’s Iris, performing her entry Would You in a hall of mirrors which looks like a set nicked from Munich 1983:

But enough of all this balladeering, along come Greece now to pick up the tempo, with Eleftheria Eleftheriou (a name which we just know is going to give us no end of spelling problems in the run-up to the contest) and her song Aphrodisiac. Which sounds pretty much like every bit of Greek ethno-pop which has dominated their Eurovision track record since the dawn of time. We hereby predict Eleftheria will wear a short, sparkly skirt, probably be joined on stage by carefully co-ordinated dancers and sail through to the final for a slightly underwhelming mid-table finish. Yawn. Word to the Greeks: we realise you’re on a budget at the moment but seriously, originality costs NOTHING:

Posted in Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, Greece | Leave a Comment »

Just Talk To Us Already: Greece

Posted by DINRIL on May 13, 2011

Hoping you will watch his dance, so to speak, it’s the very charming Loucas Yiorkas from Greece…

Introduce yourselves and tell us how you ended up representing Greece in Eurovision this year! Hello! I am Loucas Yiorkas and this is Stereo Mike and we are representing Greece at the ESC 2011 with the song “Watch my dance”. EMI, my record company proposed that I entered the pre-selection round which was a big surprise for me and also quite shocking. Mr. Kokkinos, the music producer of the company, had the idea for this collaboration with Stereo Mike. The original idea came from Mr. Liras to create a song combining a Greek folk rhythm (zeimpekiko) and a well know music genre (hip hop) which would make a very interesting sound.  So I took the zeimpekiko part and Stereo Mike took the hip hop part.

Are you looking forward to going to Dusseldorf ? What can we expect from your stage show? We are looking forward to going to Dusseldorf indeed. With regards to the stage show please allow me to keep this as a surprise.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate? Each country has 3 minutes on stage and anything can happen. There are most definitely some very good songs in this year’s contest.

Which is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time and which is your favourite from your home country? That would probably be “Lane Moja” by Zeljko Joksimovic (Serbia 2004) and from Greece “Die for you” by Antique.

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke (something we are aiming to change this year with our entry). How is it regarded in Greece ? For us here in Greece the fact that it is a European contest is regarded as something of high standard.

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time? I strongly believe that music is an art which brings people together and this is why many people still love it.

What will be the first thing you do if you win?
I think that I ‘ll try to be calm but very very happy in my heart.. I’d rather be spontaneous in my life so I’m trying not to think about this moment but just live it if it comes.

Have you heard the UK entry and what do you think of it? Is it a bit better than our recent entries or are we going to come last again? Be honest……:)
It is actually a very clever choice of performers with a very good song. I believe that Blue CAN win this year’s competition! 🙂

Did you enjoy your recent trip to London to promote the song? I very much enjoyed my trip to London . People seemed to like our song. We have good memories of this trip.

It’s become a bit of a standing joke in Eurovision circles that Greece and Cyprus always give each other 12 points. If you both make it to the final do you think Greece will keep up the tradition? What do you think of the Cypriot entry this year?
Greece and Cyprus are essentially the same nation and pretty much have the same culture. I think that the tradition will probably continue this year as well! 🙂 The Cypriot entry is also an interesting song as it combines Greek and Oriental elements.

And finally, tell me why Greece should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2012 and which city would you choose to host it?
Our song is a music proposition which is a novelty for the Greek and European music. In my opinion, the fusion and perfect marriage of the various music genres is how music advances.
There are many beautiful places in Greece which could host the ESC. It would be a tough choice.

Posted in Eurovision 2011, Eurovision News, Greece, Interviews | Leave a Comment »

Now then, where were we……?

Posted by DINRIL on March 4, 2011

Well now, hasn’t it been a busy old week in Eurovision land? With another mega weekend looming, let’s take a look at what’s been happening over the past few days as the entries continue to roll in….beginning with Slovenia. Now we’ve been a little disparaging to the Slovenians in recent years, naming them as possibly the only country in the whole contest who are more useless than the United Kingdom (hang on, maybe that’s more insulting to the United Kingdom….) but this year they have really taken us by surprise with a very striking ballad. Vanilja by Maja Keuc starts off unassumingly, gets better and then builds to a very dramatic conclusion – made even better by the fact that the lady in question can really belt out a tune. It is, in short, the best Slovenian entry to grace a Eurovision stage since that warbly woman sung opera in 2007. But let’s be honest, that’s not exactly difficult…..

And keeping up the dramatic theme is Cyprus, who enjoyed a bit of a renaissance last year with the Cypriot band who actually came from Wales – and they’re hoping for similar good fortune in 2011 with San Aggelos S’agapisa by the tongue-twistingly named Christos Mylordos. Here he is strutting his stuff at the Greek final earlier this week. Reckon that’ll help them to get some points off Greece…..??

Speaking of Greece, we may be the only people on the entire planet that actually quite like their entry this year (chosen in a very odd final which lacked a studio audience and had a rather low-budget Poundstretcher feel about it. The surprise winner – triumphing over the favourite Nikki Ponte – was this chap, Loukas Giorkas, who’s brought his rapping pal Stereo Mike (possibly the best name for a rapper we have ever heard. Whatever next? Dolby Dave?) along for an offbeat effort entitled Watch My Dance. It’s a little bit Greek, it’s a little bit hip hop, and we don’t mind it at all. But whether or not it will do that well remains to be seen….

And finally in this crop, we have Slovakia, who are fielding the second set of twins this year (after Jedward), imaginatively named Twiins. Given that the Slovaks were this close to pulling out this year (and then changed their mind after realising it was too late to do so), it’s actually quite nice to see them in the line-up, but for that reason only, because frankly their song, I’m Still Alive, is wetter than a salmon’s swimsuit. Girls – the world really doesn’t need another Atomic Kitten, OK….?

Posted in Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Slovenia | 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 »

Greece Is The Word…..

Posted by DINRIL on March 16, 2010

While we were all sat open-mouthed in wonder at Your Country Needs You on Friday night, the Greeks  (among others, comment on those coming very soon), were busy choosing their song for Oslo – and would you believe it, they’ve come up with one of our favourites so far. In a year dominated by beautiful young people singing heartfelt ballads, Greece has opted for a full-on Eurovision foot-stomper, of the sort that seem to be in very short supply this year – and it’s a welcome distraction from all the soul-searching that’s being served up by other countries.

Opa, by Giorgos Alkaios And Friends is the Greeks’ best effort since they won the bloomin’ thing back in 2005 –  a lively, traditional sounding Eurovision foot-stomper that appears to make use of such unlikely musical instruments as a Casio digital watch alarm. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the song is so irritatingly catchy it’ll stick in your head after about five seconds, and more importantly you just know this is going to absolutely own the stage come semi-finals night – just imagine, for example, if this suddenly pops up in the running order amidst seven ballads, how much it will stand out. Our only reservation really is that Greece only ever seem to do well in this contest when they enter pretty people whose clothes fall off at key moments in the song, as opposed to, er, hairy men playing bouzoukis. Which is what we have here. But if voters can overcome that small obstacle (because frankly we’re already having flashbacks to 2002’s Sagapo and breaking out in a minor sweat) then we think there’s a distinct possibility we could be back in Athens next year…..

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Greece | 3 Comments »

Did someone say Greek God……?

Posted by DINRIL on February 19, 2009

Not us. Heaven forbid. After all, it’s only Sakis Rouvas, representing Greece for the second time at Eurovision with the song This Is Our Night. The female sector of Team Eurovision sees nothing to get remotely excited about (Editor catches sight of Sakis’ black jeans, eyes start to glaze over…..) Oh all right then, Sakis Rouvas could belch the Athens phone book on stage and we’d be transfixed, is that what you want to hear?

Seriously though folks, we reckon Sakis has to be in with a chance. Although we’re not quite sure, we’ll just have to watch this another few thousand times to decide…..

Posted in Greece | 7 Comments »