13 December 2017

In Vienna, the capital city of Austria, dress rehearsals for the final night of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 are currently taking place, as twenty (20) participating countries were selected from the semi-finals through a mixture of public and jury voting in order to join the seven (7) pre-determined finalists, who secured their place as part of the guidelines of the event, as set forth by the European Broadcasting Union.

As participants drew their part of the running order in the post semi-final press conferences, the excitement grew with regards to how the final line-up will look like, and in the wee hours of morning, the European Broadcasting Union made public the running order in which each of the finalists will be presenting their respective entry.

01. Slovenia

02. France

03. Israel

04. Estonia

05. United Kingdom

06. Armenia

07. Lithuania

08. Serbia

09. Norway

10. Sweden

11. Cyprus

12. Australia

13. Belgium

14. Austria

15. Greece

16. Montenegro

17. Germany

18. Poland

19. Latvia

20. Romania

21. Spain

22. Hungary

23. Georgia

24. Azerbaijan

25. Russia

26. Albania

27. Italy

Unfortunately, Malta is not part of this line-up, despite the fact that Amber gave a stunning interpretation of her entry "Warrior", her original entry penned by Matt 'Muxu' Mercieca to the composition of Elton Zarb. Nevertheless, we urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter as our LIVE blogging continues, with Antoine Farrugia, Marc Calleja Bayliss, Brooke Borg and Davinia Pace during the final night of the worlds' most prestigious event in Malta.

Source: eurovision.tv

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It is fair to say that the search has commenced, with the Nordic countries looking for the best possible entries to represent them in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, set to take place in Vienna, capital city of Austria. In a three-part series, escflashmalta.com will be looking at the various selections, kicking off with Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) in Finland, and Melodi Grand Prix (MGP) in Norway.

Finland has had it’s most successful decade since they first entered the contest in 1961. Their win with Lordi in 2006 has certainly marked a positive turning point for the country. This might not equal the success of their Scandinavian neighbours, the combined score of Finland, a total of 544 points in all the finals, and only failing to make it through to that stage on two occasions, is nothing to be sniffed at for the many years when Finland battled Norway at the latter end of the table.

Semi-Final 1 (February 07)

Hans on the bass – "Loveshine"

Vilikasper Kanth – "Äänen kantamattomiin"

Norlan El Misionario – "No voy a llorar por ti"

Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – "Aina mun pitää"

Pihka Ja Myrsky – "Sydän ei nuku"

Satin Circus – "Crossroads"

 

Semi-Final 2 (February 14)

Jouni Aslak – "Lions and lambs"

Eeverest – "Love it all away"

Otto Ivar – "Truth or dare"

Opera Skaala – "Heart of light"

Shava – "Ostarilla"

Siru – "Mustelmat"

 

Semi-Final 3 (February 21)

Aikuinen – "Kyynelten Iahti"

Ida Bois – "Kumbaya"

Järjestyshäiriö – "Särkyneiden sydänten kulmilla"

Angelo De Nile – "All for victory"

Heidi Pakarinen – "Bon voyage"

Solju – "Hold your colours"

Whilst I might not be in a position to comment on the artists in contention, it is fair to say that the songs in itself represent diversity in terms of genre, and likability, giving Finland a plethora of entries to choose from. On the other hand, the other contender for 'nul points' during the year has definitely been Norway, having achieved the feat in 1963, 1978, 1981, and 1997.

Smashing all previous Eurovision records in 2009 and winning by comfortable margins in both 1985 and 1995 you can safely say that when Norway is on form it certainly wins with style. Therefore, Norway’s combined finals score for the past ten years is 1054 second only to Sweden. Yesterday, in a Press Conference organised by NRK, the 11 finalists were made public, much to public anticipation.

Final (14th March)

Alexandra Joner - "Cinderella"

Contrazt - "Heaven"

Erlend Bratland - "Thunderstruck

Ira Konstantinidis - "We Don't Worry"

Jenny Langlo - "Next to You"

Karin Parik - "Human Beings"

Marie Klåpbakken - "Ta Meg Tilbake"

Mørland & Deborah Scarlett - "A Monster Like Me"

Raylee - "Louder"

Staysman & Lazz - "En Godt Stekt Pizza"

Tor & Bettan - "All Over the World"

In the second part of the Nordic series, escflashmalta.com will be having a look at Iceland and Denmark, as the songs are set to premiere rather earlier than usual in one instance, whilst the list of finalists will be made public in the other quite soon. 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: NRK, YLE, escflashmalta.com

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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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Surprise! Alexander Rybak, winner of the 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with “Fairytale” is currently on a short private visit to Malta, most likely inter-related to either the upcoming edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest which is being staged in the Marsa Shipbuilding on the Mediterranean Island or to work on a track for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with rumours connecting him to two-time Malta Eurovision Song Contest participant; Franklin.

Since winning the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2009, Alexander Rybak has had an extremely respectable career, releasing four studio albums, and most recently having had a song included in the soundtrack of the DreamWorks Motion Picture “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news about the 2015 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place on the 21st and 22nd November at the Marsa Shipbuilding, home of the 2014 Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Alexander Rybak (Official Facebook Page), escflashmalta.com

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Wednesday, 18 June 2014 21:17

Norway: Alexander Rybak in New Music Video

"Into a Fantasy" taken from the DreamWorks motion picture, "How To Train Your Dragon 2" is the latest single by Belarusian born singer/songwriter Alexander Rybak. Since winning the 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, Rybak has led a highly successful career, going onto release four studio albums with Universal Music, three of which managed to reach the top ten, with the other peaking in the top forty.

His latest single, a stand-alone track "Into a Fantasy" is part of the soundtrack for the DreamWorks motion picture, "How To Train Your Dragon 2" and is played during the end credits for most countries in Europe. It's a typical Rybak song, with a stuttering violin in the beginning and then crisp perfection in terms of vocals. The music video accompanying the track which could be seen below has been shot on some of the highest points in Norway. It is worth keeping in mind that Alexader Rybak voices the lead role in the Norwegian version of the Animated Movie. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Alexander Rybak (Official Facebook Page)

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Traditionally, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest tend to have success in Europe and over the years, success post-competition is not always guaranteed. However, the 2009 winner, Alexander Rybak has managed to have one of his songs included on the soundtrack for the forthcoming DreamWorks animated movie How to Train Your Dragon 2. After sending the composition to DreamWorks, the violin-heavy song Into a Fantasy was well received and Dreamworks deemed it worthy as a part of the official soundtrack.

The songs itself is a fitting song for a movie soundtrack and is in true Rybak style. Given the success of the first movie and the big budget sequel, this is an excellent achievement for Alexander and here at escflashmalta.com we are looking forward to see how this is received in the States. Five years after winning the contest in Moscow, Alexander has landed himself a track on a Hollywood soundtrack. I am sincerely glad this guy has not faded into Eurovision obscurity. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: Olivier Vanhoutte (Alexander Rybak Management)

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It is almost 2 o'clock in the morning and the energy levels are slowly dwindling but nevertheless, we had to stay up in order to note down the running order for the final of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, as decided by the European Broadcasting Union. Following each of the semi-finals, a partial draw took place where the respective artist of the qualified country picked out a piece of paper stating whether they would perform in the first or the second half.

Performing first during the second semi-final was actually the right call by the European Broadcasting Union considering that it gave the show a feel good factor, one which definitely got the crowd in the arena and at home going. As the qualifiers were revealed, Malta was the sixth nation to be called out, calming down the bundle of nerves that had built up over the course of the evening. During the press conference, Richard drew the second half of the draw, which creating exciting prospects. We are now pleased to confirm that Malta will perform in slot number #22.

  1. Ukraine
  2. Belarus
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Iceland
  5. Norway
  6. Romania
  7. Armenia
  8. Montenegro
  9. Poland
  10. Greece
  11. Austria
  12. Germany
  13. Sweden
  14. France
  15. Russia
  16. Italy
  17. Slovenia
  18. Finland
  19. Spain
  20. Switzerland
  21. Hungary
  22. Malta
  23. Denmark
  24. The Netherlands
  25. San Marino
  26. United Kingdom

The editorial team of escflashmalta.com would like to thank our esteemed readers for following the comments of Karen DeBattista, Simon Casey and Christabelle throughout the course of the evening. We encourage you to visit our social media pages on Saturday when Daniel Testa, Matt Mercieca and Danica Muscat will be the guest writers. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: eurovision.tv

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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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It is fair to say that Firelight are having a blast as they prepare to represent Malta during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the track Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef. From photo opportunities, to interviews and features with both local and foreign media, it is hard not to take it all in and they are certainly enjoying every minute.

Following their rehearsal on Tuesday, Firelight bumped into two artists; Carl Espen, who will be representing Norway with Silent Storm during the second semi-final; and Mei Finegold who will be partaking on behalf of Israel with Same Heart. The Norwegian crooner, one of the favourites to triumph in this year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest had only words of praise towards Coming Home defining it as 'a track which will eventually get loads of airplay on the Norwegian radio stations as it reflects the music currently hitting the charts in Scandinavia'.

He was also keen to learn about the instrument that Richard plays during the performance; the Mountain Dulcimer having never seen one like it before. Richard quickly exchanged favours in singing an a-capella version of Silent Storm, something he also did during the meet and greet session which took place on Tuesday. Journalists in attendance for the meet and greet stated 'you shouldn't do that .. it's a competition' to which he replied to a rather rapturous applause 'we're here to have fun and enjoy ourselves with good music. This song is good music so there is no harm in singing it!'

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Mei Finegold is a backstage neighbour to Firelight, with Israel performing in slot number #2 just after Malta and this has provided the build-up to a more solid relationship. Both of them got to get to know each other during the course of their promotional tours with both being in attendance in The Netherlands and Russia a couple of weeks back. Michelle Mifsud, one of the vocalists of Firelight, confirmed that they are happy that the two teams got to know each other at a personal level. 

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'She is a mum like myself. We share the same passions for music and for our families. We both know what is it like for a woman to bring up your children while pursuing your dream as an artist’. On her part, Mei did not hesitate to declare that she has been whistling Coming Home quite a couple of times, something that has become synonomous to her daily backstage routine. We urge you to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com even on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news.

Source: TVM, Eurovision Song Malta

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014 20:45

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Norway

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 #3, we catch up with Norway (NRK) who will be represented by Carl Espen and the song Silent Storm written by Josefin Winther.

Carl was raised by his mum, with his two siblings. They lived on an island outside Bergen, called Osterøy. Even though the island is not more than a 40 minutes drive from Bergen city, it is a very rural and idyllic place. Carl has always loved to spend time in the nature, and was a real fishing enthusiast as a boy. His mother sang a lot, and his childhood home was always filled with music. Among his cousins, aunts and uncles, you can find the woman behind the song Silent Storm, Carl’s cousin Josefin Winther, a London based artist and songwriter born in Bergen in 1986. Four years younger than her cousin, Josefin has no problem recalling a day in her life being 12 years. Carl Espen had entered a local music competition on Osterøy, and Josefin was standing with her aunt in the audience.

Carl performed Wild World by Cat Stevens, and ended up winning the whole competition. Josefin was so proud. Since then Josefin has pursued her own career in music, and established herself as a critically acclaimed artist and songwriter. That fact that Josefin has followed her dream, has always been a big inspiration for Carl Espen. As a young man Carl enrolled in the military, and served for six months in Kosovo. In his adult life Carl became a carpenter, specialising in frames and glass. For the past 12 years he has been working for different companies within this industry. He has also done a lot of volunteer work for cancer research, and at night has worked as a doorman at Bergen’s rock bar Garage. Music has always played big role in Carl’s life, and he has carried this dream with him all along. 

Josefin has always thought that more people should hear his beautiful and unique voice, and in August 2013 she finally sat down a wrote a song especially for Carl. She saw that he had so much inside him that needed to be expressed, and she wanted to give him the opportunity to express it through a song that was truly his own. The result was Silent Storm. She played it to him and he knew straight away that this was his song. They decided to enter into the Norwegian national selection, Melodi Grand Prix, and the rest is history. The steps onto the Eurovision Song Contest stage on the 8th of May will not be many, but for Carl they will be crucial.

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Norway is a scandinavian country which holds the record for the most last place finishes but has still recorded three victories in total; the first one being in 1985 with La Det Swinge performed by Bobby Socks, the second one being in 1995 with Nocturne performed by Secret Garden and most recently in 2009 when Alexander Rybak entertained the masses with Fairytale. Following that success though has been quite difficult, failing to qualify in 2011, and then managing only last place in 2012 before returning back to the top five in 2013 with the song I Feed You My Love sung by Margaret Berger.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 86%

Greig Watts: I love the opening of this with piano and his haunting voice that draws you in nicely! And the chorus does lift me using his beautiful vocal again, almost Celtic, can I say that? Ha ha . Now I am waiting to see if the song builds, and it does and actually this is giving me Goosebumps while I listen, well done Norway good selection in my opinion. Interesting end with the big drop and silence, but I guess the song is called Silent Storm

Joseph Zammit: Not the happiest of songs in this year's competition I'm sure. Slow, brooding, and haunting, it has a soft piano melody throughout the piece with a beautiful vocal melody to go with it. A solid song with a solid build up and adding of instruments with a very hair-raising chord progression leading to the chorus. It is a sad slow song yes, however in my opinion, this song does not fall into the trap of becoming a dreary generic ballad with no feeling. 

It flows and builds up to a climax as any good song should. Overall I quite like this one, though of course, it is one of those songs which will most definitely find much difficulty in succeeding on a pumped up and energetic Eurovision stage. I particularly love it when near the end of the song, the musical climax stops as soon as he sings the word 'Silence'. It shows that there was some poetic thinking behind this song as well. I like that. 

Sharon Vaughn: Very moving, genuine and vocally mesmerizing.

John Scott: A very unique voice. It is very effective against the piano. Overall, a very strong ballad.

Source: eurovision.tv

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