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Calm down, don’t panic, we’re here….

Posted by DINRIL on February 11, 2013

First up, apologies for the lack of posts in recent months. It appears your editor has gone and landed a job at  this place, which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging, or at least hasn’t of late. But fear not, we are aware that preparations are well underway for Malmo, and we shall endeavour to try and keep up with them even if we’re not quite as prolific as before.

Still, we shall try to play catch-up over the next few weeks as the contest rumbles ever closer, and what better way to start than by taking a look at some of the songs which  have already been chosen. Our current personal favourite is the Maltese entry, from the simply adorable Gianluca Bezzina. Seems our man – who has a doctor’s degree and a penchant for snowflake sweaters – was a bit of a surprise choice over the more strongly fancied Kevin Borg (and just to keep it in the family his sister Dorothy squeezed a song into the national final too), but frankly we reckon it was well deserved – and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a fair amount of Tom Dice-style love in Malmo come May. Because really, the only way this song could BE any cuter would be if it were sung by a basket of kittens….

Posted in Eurovision 2013, Malta | Leave a Comment »

Shall we do a round-up then?

Posted by DINRIL on February 12, 2012

Gosh, sorry for being so behind in the current round of Eurovision mayhem (except we’re not really because you will also notice we are including the results of tonight’s shenanigans here). Once again a little thing called life managed to get in the way of our ability to blog. But anyway, here we are, with a big stack of songs for Baku – beginning with the French effort. Now we rather put our foot in it last year when we suggested that the Gallic opera lad might just walk away with Eurovision honours – only for him to flounder hopelessly as a result of his frightened rabbit appearance on the night. We suspect that the lovely Anggun however will do no such thing with this odd but very likeable effort Echo (You and I). And is it just us or does this have shades of Georgia 2007 about it (which in turn means it has shades of Madonna?) You decide:

And so to Malta, who chose their entry last weekend in their usual understated, short (well by their standards anyway) final – which we once again struggled to make head or tail of. Who was that random woman playing piano at the start? Why did the introduction go on so long? Where was Chiara? How could Claudia Faniello possibly be snubbed again? Should we stop asking questions? Anyway, following a scoring process which was almost as exciting as the contest itself and seemed to feature random people from all over the continent, this man, Kurt Calleja, was chosen with his song This Is The Night. And you know what? Meh. Claudia was better. There’s nothing wrong with this song exactly – and we’ve made it abundantly clear in the past just how much we love Malta’s enthusiasm for all things Eurovision – but this is already shaping up to be a strong year, and we sense this song will struggle to make an impact. Eleventh place in the semi again, maybe?

So that was last week, now on to this week, and let’s start with Hungary.  And having produced one of our favourite songs of 2011 in the shape of Kati Wolf’s What About My Dreams (even if the lady herself – who appeared on tonight’s national final in verbose mode, was mildly terrifying), they haven’t done too badly this year either. This year’s effort is by Compact Disco (which might just be the best name for a band EVER) and is called Sound Of Our Hearts. We quite like it. That is all:

Norway, meanwhile, rejected the charms of folk band Plumbo (possibly because they sound like the sort of people you would call out when your toilet gets blocked) in favour of this chap, Tooji – aka ‘this year’s Eric Saade’ – with this song, Stay. And it is actually quite fabulous. Except of course it’s too soon for Norway to win the contest again. Isn’t it. Isn’t it?

And finally we come to Iceland, who have opted for a big dramatic ballad this year in the shape of Jonsi and Greta’s Mundu Eftir Mer. We’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting to like this. We didn’t like it last time Jonsi entered a ballad for Eurovision in 2004, in fact we hid under the sofa cushions and pleaded with the producers to make it stop. This, on the other hand, is a very pleasant surprise – it’s strong, it’s performed well, it has violins. Could we possibly have another Icelandic dark horse on our hands?

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Eurovision News, France, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Norway | Leave a Comment »

Just talk to us already: Malta

Posted by DINRIL on April 20, 2011

Taking over the mantle of Eurovision Blog’s  ‘nicest person on the Eurovision stage’ from last year’s winner George Alkaios, meet Glen Vella from Malta. He has a very good sense of humour, don’t you know…..:)

Introduce yourself and tell us how you ended up representing Malta in Eurovision this year!
Sooo… I’m Glen, and I’m easy to get along with and have a very good sense of humour. I represented the Maltese Islands on a number of occasions abroad and also brought back home awards. I always learnt from past experiences, both being good or bad. I get inspired very much by soul music such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. This was my 5th time in the Malta Eurovision song contest. And this was the year where I really put all my energy to win the contest. I got the highest votes from the public and jury… so I guess they liked my song and chose me to represent Malta with One Life.

Are you looking forward to going to Dusseldorf? What can we expect from your stage show? I am really looking forward for the excitement that the Eurovision stage brings with it. I feel that I am well prepared mentally and musically. My aim is to give a good vocal and overall performance. I have to admit that I really wish that Malta makes it to the final as we’re really working hard for it and I would love to celebrate my 28th Birthday singing on the Big Stage on the 14th May…It will be my best ever birthday present

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate?
There’s a lot, I can’t name them all. But I listened to all of them. There’s a lot of different styles in compositions and a very good level of entries. It’s difficult to find a favourite out of such a strong lot.

Which is your favourite Eurovision entry of all time and which is your favourite from your home country?
There are so many that I think of one particular song and another comes to mind… I don’t think I can name them all but I always loved the winning songs!!

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) but in Malta it is a major event. Why do you think the Maltese are such big Eurovision fans?
Since Malta is a very small country, music industry is very limited, so Eurovision gives us the chance to show our productions on a larger scale and the Maltese people strongly believe in us singers and in our talents.

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time?
As already stated, many people have at heart the local singers and are always ready to support them, especially in this prestigious contest.

What will be the first thing you do if you win?
Regardless of the result in Dusseldorf, I will for sure continue with my singing career. I’m a down to earth person and am not dreaming about winning the contest and what might happen. But if I win, the first thing most probably I will start crying with joy and although I do not have wings, I will start flying…….I will thank God for giving me this experience and thank Him for surrounding me with so many special friends and people whom without their continuous help and support I would have not been able to make it to Dusseldorf.

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……:)
Olalala… I’m always honest 🙂 So, since I am a fan of Eurovision I listened to all of the songs, including the UK entry. I have also met the members of Blue while they were in Malta. I can say that I Can is a cool song! Good luck UK and to all the Blue team! We’ll definitely support you!

And finally, tell me why Malta should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2012 and which city would you choose to host it?
So let me dream a bit… Malta is a jewel island in the Mediterranean and people will be enchanted by its beauty and by the warm hearted Maltese people. We also have the best climate one can imagine and this will make it an ideal place to host Eurovision 2012. Malta being so small, we’d probably have the whole island hosting the festival. As for the place for the actual event, we’ve hosted large events such as MTV concerts etc so I’m sure we’ll find the best location!

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

Super Saturday! (well, all right, it wasn’t bad…..)

Posted by DINRIL on February 15, 2011

So after a few tentative early entries, Europe has finally gotten around to choosing its songs for Dusseldorf en masse, and so as the dust settles on the first ‘super Saturday’ of the season, let’s take a look at what they have in store for us this year.

First out of the gate is Finland, who have clearly taken advice from the Tom Dice Book Of How To Do A Winsome Boy With Guitar Ditty (nope, we’ve never come across any such book but we’re sure it would be a best-seller). Thus we have the rather cute Paradise Oskar, singing a pleasant little number called Da Da Dam, complete with very odd lyrics about a boy saving the planet which while slightly irritating are still a step up from the legend that was the 1982 eco-anthem Don’t You Drop That Neutron Bomb On Me. Now leaving aside the fact that Da Da Dam will do absolutely NOTHING to convince Eurovision cynics that the contest has moved on from its heyday of nonsensical titles, we actually have a sneaking regard for this song, the closest thing we have to a ballad in the contest so far and easily one of the most melodic tunes yet. Proceed to the final forthwith, young man….

And  so to Malta, whose disappointingly short final (whatever happened to those five hour epics then featuring Chiara duetting with the entire music industry of Valletta??) resulted in Glen Vella’s One Life being chosen as their entry. This one is going to have to work hard to win us over because while it’s certainly not bad it’s also a tad run-of-the-mill. Unless it can distinguish itself from the pack, we fear the Maltese could be left languishing in the final once again….

As for Belgium, well it appears that their comeback may well have been the shortest in Eurovision history as this year they have reverted back to their old quirky self and, er, gone accapella. Witloof Bay’s With Love Baby features band members impersonating musical instruments, doing lots of finger clicking, singing in harmony etc etc in an attempt to convince us that this is a good idea, but to us it still sounds like the kind of thing you might hear as the cabaret act in Pizza Express of a Sunday afternoon. Of course Europeans may see the appeal that has thus far passed us by and vote for it in droves, but we can’t see it ourselves.  Did these people learn nothing from Latvia 2006??????

There’s a sad story surrounding Iceland’s entry this year, meanwhile, since Sigurjon Brink, the singer who was supposed to perform it in the national final, died unexpectedly and tragically in January aged just 36. As such some of his musician mates got together to perform the song in the competition under the name Sjionni’s Friends – and to the surprise of absolutely nobody the track, Aftur Heim, has won the ticket to Dusseldorf. Regardless of what you may think of the song (‘endearing in a Denmark 2001 kind of way’ was the general consensus around here), we think Sjonni’s friends have done him proud:

And finally to Norway, who have a gem of a tune this year in the shape of Stella Mwangi’s Haba Haba. Stella – who was born in Kenya but has lived in la Norvege since childhood, was the hot favourite to win the national final and judging by the rampant hysteria from the crowd as she triumphs in this clip, she was clearly a popular choice. This, along with Jedward (*hides) is the song we can’t get out of our head at the moment, but we’ll stop just short of saying this could possibly score Norway another victory so soon after the last one until we’ve heard a few more songs. We will say, however, that we will be utterly stunned if this doesn’t make it to the final. Or if we anything any more ridiculously joyful on the Eurovision stage this year:

 

 

Posted in Belgium, Eurovision 2011, Finland, Iceland, Malta, Norway | 1 Comment »

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 »

That Was The Weekend That Was…..

Posted by DINRIL on February 22, 2010

So, we’re midway through national finals season, and now the songs are coming in thick and fast, with another trio of, how shall we put this, varying quality chosen over the past 48 hours. Let’s get cracking with FYROM (Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia), who last year were neck and neck with the Netherlands as our least favourite song in the contest. And guess what? This year they are in the exact same position! Jas Ja Imam Silata is by Gjoko Taneski featuring Billy Zver and Pejcin and confirms that our theory that in the rest of the world it may be 2010 but back in Skopje, in musical terms at least, it is still 1987. There’s an attempt to modernise it with a Linkin Park-esque rap bit in the middle but unfortunately for us this makes it even worse as it just smacks of someone who’s put his brother in the band and given him something to do because his mum told him he had to. It’s not quite as horrendous as last year’s effort but to be honest that’s not saying much. Watch, endure, and try and remember that this is the same country that just a few short years ago were coming up with the uber-cool likes of Ninananja:

And so to Malta, whose all-consuming passion for Eurovision appears to be alive and well, if their national final was anything to go by: we watched it on Saturday night, all 14 hours of it (well it felt that long at least: by contrast we expect the UK final to begin at 8pm on March 12 and be all done and dusted by 8.02….).  Still, the winning song, My Dream by winsome Liza Minnelli lookalike Thea Garrett, was certainly worth all the effort as this is one of the better Maltese efforts of recent years, a simple, understated ballad that we suspect will get plenty of love from the juries. Quite why, however, Ms Garrett is mauled mid-performance by a man dressed as a giant seagull we have no idea. We saw him sitting nonchalantly, in costume, in the Green Room as the results came in, looking as though it was the most normal thing in the world to be sat at a table wearing a giant beak. Still there’s no doubt in our minds that with a good performance on the night this song could fly (that’s enough of that – Ed). Wonder if Birdman will be talking about it on Twitter (er, we’ll get our coats…….)?

Sunday evening brought us the Slovenian entry, possibly the first ever ‘mash-up’ in Eurovision history. Except Narodno Zabavni Rock by Anzambel Roka Zlindere and Kalamari appears to think that blending traditional accordion-based folk music with tacky 80s rock guitar appears to be a good thing. The resulting effort is kind of the musical equivalent of a tuna and banana sandwich, just wrong on so many levels. And yet, there is something strangely appealing about it – in  its own way it is as awful as the Netherlands yet at least the band looks like they’re having fun and they give it their all. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and their song has stuck in our head. Actually we’re obsessed with it. And that tuna and banana buttie is beginning to sound like an enticing prospect. Help???????

Finally – and we’ll include it in the weekend since it happened on Monday – comes Spain’s entry, Algo Pequenito by Leo Sayer lookalike Daniel Diges.  It would of course be all too easy to start poking fun at the ‘clockwork toy’-inspired backing dancers – but just for a change we’re not going to, since the song itself is so completely lovely we don’t want to:

Posted in Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, FYROM, Malta, Slovenia | Leave a Comment »

We adore-a Chiara…..

Posted by DINRIL on February 9, 2009

……..as the old cinema advert used to go (apologies for the horrendously bad joke but the only other headline we could think of referred to it not being over till the fat lady sings and we didn’t want to go down that road……). The big news from Eurovision country is that Malta has decided, and after tuning in to the Saturday night webcast (which went on and on and on and on and on and then some……), the winner was that old Eurovision favourite Chiara, who will make her 3rd bid for the Eurovision crown with this cracking little song, What If We. What If We What, exactly?????? Haven’t the foggiest, but nonetheless this is one of our favourites so far, and we’re expecting it to be one of the performances of the night too. Is it us or is Eurovision 2009 shaping up to be the battle of the divas…….?

Posted in Malta | Leave a Comment »