24 September 2017
Wednesday, 16 November 2016 19:31

JESC 2016: First Rehearsals on the MCC Stage

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest rehearsals kicked off yesterday at the Mediterranean Conference Centre with all countries being allocated forty minutes each and divided over two days. Escflashmalta.com was on site to bring you a recap of the first run of rehearsals. 

Italy kicks off the rehearsals with a simple performance yet one must note it is extremely effective and works well with the song. The singer delivers a strong vocal performance this early in the morning and there’s nothing much that is hindering this from doing well. 

Ireland is about next and the focus here is once again on the singer’s interpretation of her number. She does a good job at it. They are keeping things simple here yet again, with the use of smoke. I feel this might not appeal to the kids voting unfortunately, although they’re doing nothing wrong.  

Cyprus follows Ireland and the singer is oozing confidence on stage. He follows an extremely busy routine yet he his vocals are nearly spot on. Visually it is looking good and the dancers give the song the boost it needs. I guess this will go down well with kids. 

The Netherlands delivers an energetic performance, vocally the singers are quite strong yet in certain parts of the song it is looking a bit too busy on screen, possibly cause of their outfits and the backdrop which seem to clash a bit. I guess with a bit more work this could do well.

Israel is the first country to rehearse after the break and the duo does a great job at it. The focus is on the voices and ensuring they connect well with the audience at home. Great camera work and everything looks very polished for Israel. They look sweet and surely enjoying this experience. 

FYR Macedonia is up next and delivers strongly during her runs, she is has on stage three dancers and they all seem to be having a good time on stage, perhaps some shots need adjusting but overall it is a great effort for this number and it will probably appeal lots to teenagers.

Malta is next on stage and Christina is slowly adjusting to the stage, she is accompanied on stage by five dancers and the backdrop is rather colourful. Christina does a great job on the vocals for the first day of rehearsals. One would expect the whole act to be polished by Sunday.   

Poland is last to rehearse today and the singer sings her heart out, simple visuals yet effective for this kind of song.  Not sure on how this will grab the kids jury, but she is surely doing everything the way it should be done. 

Russia kick start the rehearsals for today, they have a strong message and the four girls do a good job in delivering their entry. Some of the moves they are doing looked too rehearsed and slightly unnatural but things that surely can be fixed by Sunday. 

Ukraine are next on stage and the whole act is rather impressive, the dancer gives the song the extra boost it needs and the singer delivers an emotional performance of this lovely ballad, apart from a couple of shots everything looks great and I guess it will be a contender on Sunday. 

Albania is third on stage and the girl stands there and delivers her entry strongly. The visuals really compliment the whole performance and the girl’s vocals are rather impressive. I guess this might not appeal to the kids’ jury but it is impressive anyways. She surely has the cute factor in her favour.

Belarus take on the stage with a extremely slick performance – the song is a catchy one and they deliver one of the best performances we have seen so far. The singer is extremely confident and seems to be having a great time on stage. There’s some camera work that needs to be adjusted but will surely be done by Sunday.

Bulgaria is up next and there seems to be a certain buzz around this one, the singers sings her heart out, she clearly looks like she is enjoying her performance and everything blends really well. I would surely say this has a great chance of winning the contest this year. 

Armenia, the girls can surely sing and they give a good performance. They are surely not holding back and all of them seem to be having a great time on stage. This number has a retro feel to it and the graphics boost this element. Good to note, that only one of the singers is currently on voice rest to ensure that she is hundred percent by Sunday.

Georgia takes the stage next and the girl has some of the most controlled vocals this year, the song is nothing extraordinary but has a good buildup after the grand opening. It is good to point out that this song will be closing off the show so that might give a slight advantage. 

Serbia is up next with one of the most infectious numbers at this year’s Junior Eurovision, the girl has some strong pipes and she really performs her number well. She starts off on a hover board and she gets off it toward the latter part of the song. Stands a good chance of doing well I guess as the kids will be singing along to this number after the first minute. 

Australia picked up yet another strong song to represent them at a Eurovision event. The singer delivers the song really well and her charm comes across on camera. She takes the stage alone but it does not hinder the performance at all, one would expect that this scores well.

That brings to an end the first run of rehearsals for each and every country, each delegation will be looking at what they can improve and better, so tomorrow each and every element will be finalized before heading into the run-throughs of the rehearsal. 

We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about Christina Magrin and her participation in this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest, in Valletta.

Source: escflashmalta.com, junioreurovision.tv

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Tuesday, 15 November 2016 23:17

JESC 2016: The Final Running Order Made Public

During the opening ceremony which took place last night, the allocation draw of the Junior Eurovision which will be taking place on Sunday, 20th November was decided. During the show, they actually chose at random the country singing in first place and the country singing in last – Ireland drew first, whilst Georgia drew last. 

The other countries then were either drawn in either the first half of the show or in the second part of the show. Malta was drawn up in the first half of the draw. The final running order is determined by the producers of the show. The running order of the 2016 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest is as follows: 

01. Ireland: Zena Donnelly - Brice Ar Bhrice

02. Armenia: Anahit & Mary - Tarber

03. Albania: Klesta Qehaja - Besoj

04. Russia: The Water of Life Project - Water of Life

05. Malta: Christina Magrin - Parachute

06. Bulgaria: Lidia Ganeva - Magical Day

07. FYR Macedonia: Martija Stanokjkovic - Love Will Lead Our Way (Ljubovta ne Vodi)

08. Poland: Olivia Wieczorek - Nie Zapomnij

09. Belarus: Alexander Minyonok - Musyka Moih Pobed (Music is my Only Way)

10. Ukraine: Sofia Rol - Planet Craves for Love

11. Italy: Fiamma Boccia - Cara Mamma - Dear Mum

12. Serbia: Dunja Jelicic - U La La La 

13. Israel: Shir & Tim - Follow My Heart

14. Australia: Alexa Curtis - We Are

15. The Netherlands: Kisses - Kisses & Dancin'

16. Cyprus: George Michaelides - Dance Floor

17. Georgia: Mariam Mamadashvili - Mzeo

Throughout the week, escflashmalta.com will be on hand at the Mediterranean Conference Centre proving you with recaps of the events that take place during the day, while giving extra attention to Christina Magrin, who is representing Malta at this year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Stay tuned to this portal even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: junioreurovision.tv

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The European Broadcasting Union made an official announcement this morning that 39 countries have submit paperwork to participate in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria. Despite the withdrawal of Ukraine, this is relatively exciting news, as the event will feature two more countries than last year, following the return of Serbia, Cyprus and the Czech Republic. Malta is one of the few countries to have selected both the singer, and the entry, with Amber set to perform "Warrior" written by Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca in one of the two semi-finals.

The participating countries are as follow; Albania, Armenia, Austria (Host), Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (Big 5), FYR Macedonia, Georgia, Germany (Big 5), Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy (Big 5), Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain (Big 5), Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (Big 5).

The European Broadcasting Union has also divided the semi-finals with respective number of participants, due to the fact that the number of participating countries is odd. As a result, 16 countries will partake in the 1st semi-final on the 19th May, as opposed to 17 countries which will partake in the 2nd semi-final on the 21st May. The allocation draw will take place on the 26th January, and will be streamed live through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: eurovision.tv

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"Heartbeat" co-written by Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren, Patrizia Helander, with vocals provided by Kasey Smith and featuring Canlinn, led to a disappointing result for Ireland, failing to qualify to the grand final, finishing in 13th place, much to the dismay of the national broadcaster and an extremely large fanbase from the seven-time winning country.

The mentor-led system which Ireland has used in the past four years, has led to a mixed series of results, even though qualification was acquired between 2011 and 2013, twice with X Factor twins, Jedward. In 2015, Ireland is adopting a different approach, and is thus organising an open national selection, as had been previously stated by the Irish Independent.

Amongst the artists who will be putting their name forward are none other than former UK X Factor finalists; Jedward, who as mentioned above, have already represented the Emerald Isle on two previous occasions, as well as Mary Bryne. Signed to SyCO Records, the singing sensation released two studio albums, both of which reached the top ten chart in Ireland. Her latest release, a third studio album, on an independent record label, also managed to chart within the top ten, noting that her fan-base is well and truly alive. 

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In recent days, escflashmalta.com caught up with Karl Broderick, the songwriter behind Bryne's entry for the Eurosong 2015, and he stated that one is to expect a "modern, timeless ballad that's a cross between 'Clown' by Emeli Sandè and 'Let It Go' by Idina Menzel. I was delighted to discover Mary is also a huge Eurovision fan and jumped at the opportunity to represent her country." We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about Ireland and their plans for Vienna, Austria. 

Source: Irish Independent, Eurovision Ireland

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Coming Home, written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by the group Firelight, on behalf of Malta at this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, might have not lit up the scoreboard on Saturday evening but still managed to garner a considerable following for people to go to iTunes and purchase the song. The group, who have been busy recording their debut album, out soon, have just entered the first official music chart in their career, that being the one in Ireland.

According to the Irish Recorded Music Association, which counts both physical and digital sales in Ireland, Coming Home by Firelight is a new entry at #93, further signifying that the 3 points achieved from the Emerald Isle on the night of the final were not a fluke. It is also worth noting that considerable digital sales for Firelight were recorded in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom although their final chart positions will only be revealed in a couple of days time. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: IRMA

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It has been an entertaining fortnight with certain entries falling well below expectations with others coming to terms with new found fame following first rehearsals on the stage found at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Tonight! The second semi-final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with fifteen countries set to compete against one another in hope of garnering one of the ten available slots, and in doing so joining the big five; Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as host country; Denmark. 

In Malta, the focus will definitely be on the group Firelight whose entry Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef will be first to take to the stage this evening. This will be the first time that the Mediterranean Island, and winner of the 2013 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest will open the show. On behalf of the Public Broadcasting Services, Carlo Borg Bonaci will serve as commentator this evening, reprising the role he had during the first semi-final. In the final, Daniel Chircop will be taking over as commentator. In the meantime, we have asked our panel of professional reviewers to come up with the names of the countries they believe will get through to the final this evening and this is the cumulative list which they have come up with;

  1. Malta
  2. Israel
  3. Norway
  4. Austria
  5. Finland
  6. Ireland
  7. Belarus
  8. Switzerland
  9. Greece
  10. Slovenia

We urge you to tune into escflashmalta.com through Facebook and Twitter this evening with Antoine Farrugia, Christabelle, Simon Casey and Karen DeBattista micro-blogging on the acts competing in the second semi-final. Once more, we remind you that the comments passed forth by our special guests do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the escflashmalta.com editorial team. Remember, the second semi-final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest kicks off at 21:00 CET on Television Malta.

Source: escflashmalta.com, eurovision.tv

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Monday, 28 April 2014 19:06

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Ireland

It has become customary for the escflashmalta.com editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #9, we catch up with Ireland (RTE) who will be represented by Canlinn ft. Kasey with the song Heartbeat co-written by Hazel Kaneswaran, Jonas Gladnikoff, Rasmus Palmgren and Patrizia Helander.

Kasey Smith is 23 years old and hails from the northside of Dublin. She is from a known family of singers going back to her grandfather who was a showband singer. She rose to fame with the BT Music Award nominated girlband Wonderland in 2010 under the tutelage of Louis Walsh and Westlife’s Kian Egan. After Wonderland, Kasey travelled to Nashville, Tennessee where she focused on her solo career, writing songs and getting as much on-stage experience as possible in the city’s vibrant music scene. Upon her return to Ireland, Kasey competed in the 2013 Eurosong competition where she finished third place with the song Kiss Me. In the 2014 contest, Kasey went one better, teaming up with traditional Irish music act Can-linn and winning the right to represent Ireland at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen.

Heartbeat is a passionate song ‘that shows why we are recognised globally as makers of fine music’ says Kasey’s mentor Hazel Kaneswaran. The song was co-written by Hazel, who sang for Dove in 1996 and has since presented numerous TV shows and performed around Ireland; Jonas Gladnikoff, who wrote two successful Irish Eurovision entries, Et Cetera in 2009 and It’s For You by former winner,Niamh Kavanagh, in 2010; Rasmus Palmgren, writer of the current Swedish Idol winning song, and Patrizia Helander, Swedish Idol 2007 finalist and experimental artist.

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Ireland is known to be the darling of the Eurovision Song Contest, having been triumphant on no less than seven occasions, the last one being back in 1996 when Eimear Quinn performed The Voice which in turn has no co-relation to the current television series. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Ireland has had mixed fortunes at the event, failing to qualify in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and having managed to make it through to the final for the past four consecutive years with acts such as Niamh Kavanagh, Jedward and Ryan Dolan. RTE is definitely banking on this act to continue their recent bout of qualification whilst hoping to improve on the result achieved in the final.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 63%

Greig Watts: I like the start and the vocal has grabbed me, so I am wondering where the song will take me. Is it going to be dance or heavy chorus??? I bit of a mix, and all there’s an irish fiddle or something in there too for extra value. I guess its one of the naturalist flowing songs so far (to my western ear), will this be a song that hasn’t got enough else to make an impact, if it was just a song contest it could do well, but not sure that’s the case. Like the song though

Joseph Zammit: Oh Ireland. Poor poor Ireland. The emerald isle with the beautiful songs, whatever happened to you? You used to produce beautiful ballads, strong songs, and smile inducing melodies. And now you give us this. The equivalent of what a fading pop star would write and produce to have one final shot at a hit for the clubs to play but fails miserably. 

But please dear reader, do not mistake this song as any Euro-dance track, oh no no. Because even though they do not fit with the rest of the song, she decides to throw in a fiddle and a flute  to remind us that deep down she is still Irish. All she needed to do was bring in a leprechaun to do a rap bit in the bridge. Apart from that it has a generic yet catchy chorus in the middle that unfortunately, makes it very easy for it to get stuck in your head.

Sharon Vaughn: This story holds the track and her performance is strong yet not over-done. The song is current yet remains true to its Celtic roots.

John Scott: Interesting instrumentation for the song. The chorus is good, but I liked some of the other folky songs better.

Source: eurovision.tv

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Published in Opinions
Thursday, 24 April 2014 15:00

Malta: Firelight Drumming Up OGAE Support

It is only a matter of days now before Firelight jet off to Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark in order to represent Malta in the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Coming Home written by front-man Richard Edwards Micallef. Fans across Europe have been selecting their favourites for this years' international extravaganza by casting their vote in their respective branch of the OGAE Network, one in which Malta has not performed well in recent years, even though the actual results would then turn out to be different.

In just a couple of hours though, Malta was awarded with 9 points from two different branches, the first one being in Luxembourg where the Mediterranean nation has always performed well and the second one being that in Ireland which bodes well for the coming weeks considering that the Emerald Isle will be competing alongside Malta in the semi-final. Prior to their departure from Malta, Firelight have continued working hard on ensuring the best result for the country at the event. They are considered to be a dark horse in the competition due to an international sounding track. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: OGAE Network

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Danmarks Radio, host broadcaster of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just revealed the running order for the international competition taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Represented by Firelight and the song Coming Home, written by Richard Edwards Micallef, Malta will be opening the second semi-final on the 8th May 2014.

Prior to the announcement of the draw for the running order, Malta had never been given the opportunity to open the semi-final of such an illustrious show. At first glance, one might be shocked but personally I had a strong feeling that this could happen given the diversity of the genres that make up the first half of the second semi-final. Seventh in qualification with the bookies, Coming Home is facing a fate bestowed to the likes of Nije Ljubav Stvar, This is My Life, Run Away and Love In Rewind, all of which have successfully qualified to the final of the continental competition. 

01) Malta: Coming Home - Firelight

02) Israel: Same Heart - Mei Finegold

03) Norway: Silent Storm - Carl Espen

04) Georgia: Three Minutes to Earth - The Shin & Mariko

05) Poland: My Slowanie - Donatan & Cleo

06) Austria: Rise Like a Phoenix - Conchita Wurst

07) Lithuania: Attention - Vilija Mataciunaite

08) Finland: Something Better - Softengine

09) Ireland: Heartbeat - Can-Linn ft. Kasey Smith

10) Belarus: Cheesecake - Teo

11) FYR Macedonia: To The Sky - Tijana

12) Switzerland: Hunter of Stars - Sebalter

13) Greece: Rise Up - Freaky Fortune ft. RiskyKidd

14) Slovenia: Round and Round - Tinkara Kovac

15) Romania: Miracle - Paula & Ovi

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It is quite interesting to denote that those entries which opened the second semi-final have proven to be much more successful than those opening the first semi-final. In the meantime, the situation in the first semi-final is even moreso intriguing especially with the first half of the show induated with ballads, despite that they try and preserve themselves as individualistic. Favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest with odds shortening by the second, Armenia is set to open the first semi-final in a bizarre twist.

01) Armenia: You're Not Alone - Aram MP3

02) Latvia: Cake to Bake - Aarzemnieki

03) Estonia: Amazing - Tanja

04) Sweden: Undo - Sanna Nielsen

05) Iceland: No Prejudice - Pollaponk

06) Albania: One Night's Anger - Hersi

07) Russia: Shine - Tolmachevy Sisters

08) Azerbaijan: Start a Fire - Dilara Kazimova

09) Ukraine: Tick-Tock - Mariya Yaremchuk

10) Belgium: Mother - Axel Hirsoux

11) Moldova: Wild Soul - Cristina Scarlat

12) San Marino: Maybe (Forse) - Valentina Monetta

13) Portugal: Quero Ser Tua - Suzy

14) The Netherlands: Calm After the Storm - The Common Linnets

15) Montenegro: Moj Svijet - Sergej Cetkovic

16) Hungary: Running - Andras Kallay-Saunders

One has to remember that ten countries per semi-final will get through to the final show set for the 10th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark meaning that nine nations will be left out in the cold having not been selected amongst the best that the continent has to offer. In the final, the qualifiers will join entries from Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom and host country Denmark who have already been given an extremely late draw following a random draw. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: eurovision.tv

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In 2003, Ireland was returning to the Eurovision Song Contest following a year of relegation, all pertaining to the disappointing result achieved by Gary O'Shaughnessy and the track Without Your Love. It was Mickey Joe Hart who triumphed, ahead of favourite, Simon Casey, who in turn went onto get a recording contract with Universal Music Ireland. This was the right platform for the young Irish singer/songwriter to succeed, going onto release two studio albums; The Heart (2003) and Not Like Me (2007).

In recent years, Simon has continued to perform across the country, releasing a host of charity singles and making several guest appearances. Following a number of creative differences, he called time on his partnership with Universal Music Ireland and started working on new material in an independent manner. As a matter of fact, a brand new single entitled Lilac Wine off the third studio album Song, set for release towards the end of 2014, has just been published and is available for puchase on iTunes. Simon Casey has been an avid supporter of escflashmalta.com and will reprise his role as guest commentor during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in a couple of weeks' time. Stay tuned for more news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: Official Facebook Page

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