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What have you got to say for yourself…Slovakia?

Posted by Caroline on April 9, 2012

He’s the first Slovakian representative ever to tackle the Eurovision Blog interview! So let’s all say ‘hi’ to Max Jason Mai…

Introduce yourself and tell us how you ended up representing Slovakia in Eurovision this year!

I am a rock musician trying to conquer the hearts of the rock fans. The fact that I should represent Slovakia came from RTVS and I accepted their offer. I recorded my song Don´t Close Your Eyes in USA with one of the best producers in the business Micheal Elvis Basquette. My aim is not only to represent my country. The aim is to represent all the rock fans from wherever they are. I am a MAXimalist and believe in maximal success!

Are you looking forward to going to Baku? What can we expect from your stage show?

Of course I am looking forward! I heard it was a wonderful city. I am sure I will enjoy my
stay there. We are working hard to set up a great stage performance. But let me keep it secret
for now.

Slovakia failed to make it out of the semi-final last year, how do you plan to change that this year?

My plans are simple. To do my best. To try to make viewers´ hearts beat faster. If that is enough or not will be decided by people and the jury.

Why do you think it took Slovakia such a long time to make a return to the contest after its initial appearance in the 90s?

To answer this question you have to ask the management of RTVS. I dont know much about the reasons. Most probably it is a matter of money.

Which of this year’s other entries do you rate?

Any easier question? (er, no……:))

There a lot of ballads this year; do you think from that point of view Don’t Close Your Eyes will stand out from the pack?

Totally! And I hope in a positive way. Always!

Here in the UK Eurovision is regarded by many as a bit of a joke, an attitude which a lot of us are trying to change. How is it regarded in  Slovakia?

Slovakia doesnt have a large ESC history so the Slovaks are just building up their relationship
with ESC 🙂

Why do you think so many people still love it so much even after all this time?

ESC is a world apart and ones you taste that world, u are captured by it.

Have you heard the UK entry yet and what do you think of it, and our somewhat older representative? Any chance of some points? (please…..:))

Mr. Humperdinck sounds like Tom Jones to me. I like the fact that he is still travelling, promoting the song…music makes him happy and that is a great thing. Music is a powerful fairy. Isn´t that wonderful? Regarding the points… I am not a jury member so I am not giving any points.

And finally, tell me why Slovakia should have the chance to host Eurovision in 2013 and which city would you choose to host it?

Hosting ESC next year would be a big challenge for us. That would be a quite unexpected situation 🙂 Because honestly…how big is the chance for such a small and unknown country like Slovakia to win?

Posted in Eurovision 2012, Slovakia | 1 Comment »

(Almost) the last round-up….

Posted by Caroline on March 26, 2012

First things first, we must apologise for the radio silence in recent days. While the rest of the Eurovision fraternity has been frothing about this that and the other, we have been engaged in a small trifle called ‘work’. But hey, there was only so long we could put off taking a look at the rest of this year’s entries, now that they have been chosen, so let’s get going with this little number from Slovakia. Now if you get get over the hair metal posturing and rather shabby looking set then this effort, Don’t Close Your Eyes by Max Jason Mai, isn’t half bad actually. So much so that we almost think the Slovakians could even be in with a chance of making the final this year. Mind you we thought that in 2010 and look how that one fared:

Next we have Portugal’s Filipa Sousa with her effort Vida Minha. Er, Portugal, you know how you’ve never actually won Eurovision? Well songs like this are the reason why, OK….? I mean we’re all for playing it safe, especially after what you sent to the contest last year, but in truth this actually leaves us longing for Homens da Luta to stage a comeback:

Time for something completely different now, and here’s Romania’s Mandinga with their song Zaleilah. Now this one really does tick all the boxes in the Eurovision book of cliches – wacky men playing the accordion, bonkers dancing, a lady whose clothes seem to fall off entirely by accident (in this instance before the first verse has even kicked in). Oh and bagpipes. And you know what? We bloomin’ well love it. OK, so sound-wise this is basically Cotton Eye Joe for the Facebook generation, but it’s so utterly joyful and catchy that we just can’t resist it. And we have a sneaking suspicion that along with Israel this could be one of those ‘dark horse’ entries which sneaks up the scoreboard when nobody’s looking and nabs about a zillion points:

Finally in this batch we come to the remarkably similar effort from Moldova (now there’s a surprise), Pasha Parfeny’s Lautar. Just a few things we would like to point out to Pasha here – firstly, you look like Colin Farrell, secondly the double checkered fabric look should really be avoided at all costs, and finally you, sir, are bonkers. How else do you explain the moment in this performance when you mount one of the dancers and begin riding her like a horse? That said we actually rather like this song, and you can pretty much guarantee they will exchange points with Romania, since both songs sound so remarkably similar and are the product of, how shall we put this, eccentrics:

Next up: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and anyone else we’ve forgotten….



Posted in Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia | Leave a Comment »

Now then, where were we……?

Posted by Caroline 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 »

Party Of Five….

Posted by Caroline on March 1, 2010

The national final season continues apace, and while we are having slight palpitations at the thought of next weekend, when songs are being chosen by the fistful, this weekend brought us another five to wine, dine, get to know and then invite back to our place for a nightcap. Let’s start with the Slovakian entry – and while we are the first to admit our hopes weren’t high after the long-absent central Europeans made one of the worst comebacks in contest history in 2009, we have to admit this one’s come as quite a pleasant surprise.  Horehronie by Kristina might come across as Ruslana-lite, and it’s not exactly world-class, but it’s still a damned sight better than we were expecting, and we might even venture to suggest this one has a chance of putting the Slovakians back in the final:

And so to Latvia. Now we’re convinced that one day the Latvians, the people who have in recent years brought us singing pirates, accapella singing accompanied by stick puppets,  Italian cod-opera and, er, that bloke who jumped up and down a lot last year, will at some point just enter a nice normal song and we’ll all be really disappointed that they have lost their ‘wacky’ edge. This year is not that year. What For (Only Mr God Knows Why) isn’t exactly a bad song as such, but the execution is so wondrously bizarre – singer Aisha (and you’ll note we use the word ‘singer’ in the loosest possible sense here) stands atop a giant podium initially in a dress that makes her look about nine feet tall, while a man playing an accordion wanders amid women in togas doing their washing. And that’s one of the more straightforward moments.  The whole thing reminded us curiously out of something from the musical Annie (only with slightly more grown-up orphans) and as such we can’t quite decide whether we like it or not. Still, if they don’t do well then the laundry ladies are more than welcome to come round to Team Eurovision HQ, since the washing machine is currently broken:

Then there’s the Bulgarian entry, Angel Si Ti by Miro, which in a shock move is a 2010 Eurovision entry which actually sounds like it was composed in 2010. It’s a bangin’ dance tune of the type we’ve come to expect from the Bulgarians in recent years, and the kind they seem to do so well, and if we’re being honest Miro is more than easy on the eye, with the kind of dazzling dental excellence that is seen on the Eurovision stage all too rarely. But of course we want him to get through to the final because of the quality of his music. Oh yes of course we do:

Belarus, meanwhile, slipped their entry in quietly with very little fuss and bother (are you listening, Malta??), so much so we almost forgot about it. Far Away by boy/girl group 3+2 is pretty standard Belarussian rock of the sort we’ve come to expect from them year after year after year after year (yawn. The magnificence of Koldun is beginning to look like a hazy memory), but it’s still a considerable improvement on last year’s effort.  Just one thing though, how weird is the audience for this one? Half of them look as if they’d rather be anywhere but watching yet another Eurovision entry which is likely to be on the next plane back to Minsk the second the semi-final is over, the other half just look a tad lost and puzzled:

And last but not least, we have the return to the contest of Georgia, following their controversial withdrawal from last year’s proceedings. This year’s effort is called Shine (we’re trying not to think about the Netherlands’ horrendous, similarly-titled effort from last year), a big epic ballad by the winsome Sofia Nizharadze. And we have just two words: potential winner. End of:

Posted in Belarus, Bulgaria, Eurovision 2010, Eurovision News, Georgia, Latvia, Slovakia | 5 Comments »

Another Great Big Round-Up!

Posted by Caroline on March 9, 2009

There’s been such a recent flurry of activity on the national finals front that we just can’t keep up with it all. So let’s just round up some more of the entries into one handy, easy to manage post – beginning with Israel’s effort from renowned chanteuse Noa and Israeli Arab singer Mira Awad:

‘Pleasant’ is the word which springs immediately to mind, and we’re not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but the partnership is certainly an interesting one. Whether or not this gets lost in the mix on the night is another matter entirely.

We doubt, however, that the Ukrainian entry from Svetlana Loboda is likely to be forgotten in a hurry…..

Now it could be just us but we’re trying to decide whether this is a complete work of genius or a total crime against Eurovision. Either way there is so much to enjoy about it – the comedy moustaches, the seemingly spontaneous drum solo, Svetlana’s ridiculously OTT outfit, the way in which one of the backing dancers is holding her upside down over his shoulders like some latter day caveman – that we’re prepared to overlook the fact that for all intents and purposes it is a tuneless wail of a song. We are, however convinced that only a Eurovision country as popular and successful as Ukraine could possibly get away with something like this – in other words Andrew Lloyd Webber, don’t even think about doing something similar in 2010…..

And onwards to host nation Russia, this year represented by, er, a Ukrainian, Anastasia Prohodko:

Now a friend of Team Eurovision reliably informs us that this is “very Russian” – which is all very well except it will have a hard time appealing to anybody west of Kiev. Are the Russians trying really hard to ensure that they don’t have to host again next year or are we beng a tad cynical?

And so, onwards, to the first Slovakian entry in years, a duet sung by Kamil Miculcik and Nela Pociskova:

And the less said about that one the better. Except possibly that Kamil looks scarily like the kind of actor you used to see in,er,special 1970s movies for the single gentleman. On that note, let us move swiftly on to Estonia’s Urban Symphony:

Now we quite like this, and think it could even be the song to drag Estonia kicking and screaming out of semi-final doldrums for the first time ever. Our only reservation is, that since we already have Norway and Slovenia strutting their stuff with fiddles, could this be one violin too many? Hope not, because we actually think this deserves to qualify.

And finally, we have recent winners Serbia, this year fielding twosome Marko Kon and Milan Nikolic:

And, er, frankly we’re speechless.Yes, it’s certainly nice to see the Serbs letting their hair down a bit after a run of very serious songs, but there are ways of lightening the tone and, er, ways of lightening the tone. And we’re not convinced that entering a gruff-voiced Michael Moore lookalike (albeit one who appears to have stuck his finger in a live socket before coming on stage) accompanied by some random bloke playing the accordion is how to do it. Let’s just say it’s “catchy” and leave it at that, shall we……..?

Posted in Estonia, Israel, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine | 2 Comments »