RTP, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest was set to be privatised earlier this year but it seems that the decision was overturned by the Government at the last minute. This was seemingly the reason behind the non-participation in the event noting that the Western nation is the one of the countries with the most nods in the competition without having yet won. Vida Minha, performed by Filipa Sousa was the entry to be performed under the Portuguese flag last year but could only muster up thirteenth place despite an impeccable performance in the second semi-final.
In 2008, following four years of disappointment, the country made it through to the final for the very first time since the system was implemented with Senhora do Mar (negras Aguas) receiving the first runner-up position before achieving a mid-table position in the final.This was the case in the next two years with their last successfully qualified entry coming in 2010 in the form of Ha Dias Assim performed by Filipa Azevedo. Portugal is seemingly set to show the final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which is a requirement for all of the participating countries. This shows that their great respect towards the competition continues and with insiders saying that they will be returning in 2014, one will be hoping that this is the case. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.
Tomorrow, co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat with vocals provided by Gianluca will be performing in sixth position within the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmö, Sweden. This was decided by the producers of the international spectacle who are working in accordance with the European Broadcasting Union in order to ensure a stunning evening filled with original music representative of each country. We would like to invite you to the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience. Apart from the means of FM Radio in the Netherlands on FM 106.8 and the audio stream from the studio via www.radiointernational.tv and on Digital Cable 781 & Cable 8.1Mhz in the Netherlands, the show will also be web-televised via the Radio International TV Channel from the studio and linking up the many international Eurovision fans and friends and play your requests and read your messages out on air. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET when fans can join in and chat amongst each other via the Chat Room and request their favourite Eurovision entry.
Malta are yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest managing to finish in second place on two occasions, the first time in 2002 with Ira Losco and her entry 7th Wonder composed by Philip Vella and penned by Gerard James Borg as well as in 2005 with Chiara and her self-penned song Angel. Nevertheless, that does not mean that they are not putting their best efforts to work noting that this time round, they are seemingly giving the opportunity to Gianluca and his song Tomorrow as mentioned above. During the selection process, we had the opportunity to interview most of the finalists along with some of those who failed to make it through to the final. One of the former acts though were surely the group Scar who are well known in the country with a string of radio successes especially off their latest album, Breaking Radio Silence which included their award nominated track, White Lie. The interview with singer/songwriter Konrad Pule encompasses the past, present and the future. They competed with a track entitled Superstar.
Portugal will not be taking part in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the broadcaster responsible for the participation, RTP caught in financial struggles and issues of privatisation but nevertheless, we expect them to return in due course. The country has never managed to finish on top of the leaderboard of the international spectacle and their last two participations were non-qualification attempts unfortunately. Filipa Sousa and her entry Vida Minha did not have the appropriate draw to carry her through to the final because the song was truly magical. We had the opportunity to speak to the former representative about her participation as well as her respective career at the moment. Nevertheless, this will not be the only interview from Portugal and this is due to the fact that we also had the chance to speak to one of the contenders in the 2012 national selection, Gerson Santos with his track Redescrobrir Portugal. Unfortunately the track was not well received and did not do well in the final, only managing one (1) point but nevertheless, that does not take away from the talents of any individual.
There will also be an interview with Rene Romkes, organiser of the Eurovision In Concert. Radio International is always keen to present songs during the show apart from the weekly features and therefore, collaborating the two ideas together will see the emergence of Eurovision UnverCover whereas tracks performed at the Eurovision Song Contest will be covered by other singers. The actual tracks will be played first followed by the cover and this will make things interesting. Apart from this feature, there will be new material played on the show by a number of former representatives including Lara Fabian. All of the latest news is also covered during the weekly broadcast noting resources from escflashmalta.com and escXtra where Luke Fisher, the Editor makes a weekly round-up. A round up of the current betting odds of this years' Eurovision Song Contest will be conducted by Alasdair Rendall. Follow the show through the official website and also send your requests through the contact link which is found on the aforementioned website.
Source: Radio International
RTP, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest have just revealed that they will not be taking part in the upcoming edition of the continental event despite having a tremendous backdrop behind them including three qualifications in the past five years achieved in 2008, 2009 and 2010 thanks to Vania Fernandes, Flor-De-Lis and Filipa Azevado. Ultimately, they would manage mediocre placings in the final but definitely gave them the edge to continue participation. Despite their marvelous attempt at mastering yet another Fado type of ballad earlier this year during the event which took place in Azerbaijan, they couldn't do better than thirteenth place achieving 39 points from across the board including eight points from France and six points from The Netherlands.
Nevertheless, this was not enough to convince them to take part in the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Portugal is the longest competing country in the Eurovision Song Contest without a victory having taken part a total of forty six times thus far with a total of nine entries achieving top ten status, the last of which being in 1996 with Lucia Moniz and her track O meu coração Não Tem Cor which achieved sixth place with a total of 92 points. According to insiders, the reason of withdrawal is a merge between the recent privatization of RTP along with financial difficulties within the country and the broadcasting house. Despite the fact that Portugal will be missing during the Swedish edition of the continental event, it seems that they are already making plans for a possible participation in the 2014 edition. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest as soon as it becomes available.
This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja and his band alongside the additional vocals of Amber represented the country in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which took place in Baku, Azerbaijan. The betting odds and the polls did not think much of it unfortunately but nevertheless, with a strong performance in each rehearsal and then on the night of the semi-final, Malta sailed into the finals achieving seventh position making it the first entry to reach that stage since 2009 when What If We by Chiara had done the honours. Broadcasters have just become releasing their jury results and it seems that initial results show that the juries very much preferred the song over voters at home.
The first two countries to show this were none other than Portugal and Germany, both of which had the right to vote in the second semi-final with the latter being a big five country and therefore allocated by the European Broadcasting Union to vote by draw and the former being represented by Filipa Ruas and her beautiful entry Vida Minha which languished in thirteenth position. The Portuguese jury decided to award Malta with a total of three points but it seems that the voters at home did not think much of our entry and thus did not rank in the final top ten unfortunately and the same goes for Germany which saw Malta finish in eight place with the jury and yet no points in the combined effort signalling that in the semi-final, Kurt and his team were somewhat easy on the eye and technically correct. This Is The Night has also surpassed the 1,000,000 (million) in views making it the first Maltese video ever to have such an accolade.
Source: Nelson Costa, Eurovision.de
It has definitely not been the easiest possible ride to get this far but nevertheless, the preparations have now been concluded and the staging of the second semi-final is ready to take place this evening with eighteen (18) countries competing against each other for one of the elite ten (10) spots that are being offered in order to complete the final being staged on Saturday evening which will also include the Big Five otherwise known as France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as the host country of this years' competition being none other than Azerbaijan. This will be quite the evening with Malta in contention and seemingly looking to be the dark horse according to many including the press who have been ranking our country in sixth position.
We are definitely vying on making it even more interesting with three individuals signing up to do the live commentary including none other than our very own Elaine Camilleri; who is current Head of Press having been in charge of covering most of the local music related items in the past couple of months, Simon Casey; a well known Irish pop star known for his haunting vocals having once tried to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest with a song that would ultimately climb up to number #1 seeing him catapult to fame and last but not least Raquela; who has taken part in the Malta Eurosong on three occasions thus far with fifth being her best result and who joined us for the commentary of the first semi-final earlier this week.
Good Evening! Welcome to the LIVE report of the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their song Running Scared, the ballad which soared and impressed the tele-voters and the juries putting it in first place overall. Tonight, ten (10) countries will continue their journey on hoping to win the competition, some of which for the very first time. The hosts this evening are two extremely beautiful women known as Leyla and Nargiz as well as the charismatic Ell who was one half of the winning team last year. In Malta, we would like to remind you that the commentator for the evening will be none other than Elaine Saliba, a formidable hostess in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest and last years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as well as her co-host during the national final being none other than Ronald Briffa.
Raquela: Hmm pretty great pop ballad...great start to the show....professional performer and performance... sounds great...loving the orchestral instruments on stage and the build up of song is good but I don't know whether it will be memorable though
Simon Casey: Our second semi-final is under way. Nice ballad to start with undertones of Coldplay's 'Paradise', I hope Chris Martin isn't tuned in! Zeljko is a really good crooner. Think this song should certainly qualify tonight.
Elaine Camilleri: Beautiful, classical ballad with a particular twist in the second part of the song. The male voice is stunning ... one of my favourites, I've got to admit it. The intrsuments make it unique.
02. FYR Macedonia
Raquela: Starts off with piano again...hmm seems like i've heard this ballad before...not memorable...overall however, the song is not bad.
Simon Casey: Was thinking this is just another ballad but good tempo change. Undoubtedly Kaliopi has a good voice but I just didn’t enjoy the song. Reminds me a little of Kate Bush..
Elaine Camilleri: Strong female voice, soft start which twist to a 'slight' rockish style.... I particular like the mixture of the violin with the electric guitar. But i still have doubts about it ...
03. The Netherlands
Raquela: Oh my! I'm sure everyone would agree...this is a Cher look-alike!! 70's folk pop.....doesn't sound interesing at all...ok next??
Simon Casey: Very quirky and Hippyish. A little unsure as to where the song was going until it hit the chorus, although I did enjoy the performance and there’s a good vibe to it. Love the Warbonnet.
Elaine Camilleri: Particular song, but it will surely fade in this evening's show. The voice seems a tad shaky ... She does remind me a bit of Kate Middleton;
Raquela: Might come off as biased, but loved the performance!! and it sounds refreshing after those forgotten ballads!! go Kurt!!! stage performance impeccable! I'm sure the audience enjoyed this one! It should definitely go through!!!
Simon Casey: I think this is Malta’s best entry in a while and can imagine this song being big on the Clubbing scene. Great performance from Kurt. Loving the fancy footwork!! (You should be proud) Go Malta!!
Elaine Camilleri: A single adjective describes this performance ... AMAZING :) His voice is PERFECT and even Amber's, a good mix! The backdrop really makes a great impression and the camera shots are brilliant. It should make a 'hit' after the Netherlands country song ... we'll see, but Kurt and his team should be proud of this! performance! Maybe this will be OUR NIGHT ...
Raquela: Hmm "We are the winners?"....not too sure about that! Not loving the outfits, but that's my opinion! Commercial sounding song and they sound smooth and professional so that's good...
Simon Casey: Good performance but I just found the song a little repetitive. The stage setting reminding me a little of the Mad Max movies! With odds of ten out of eighteen, they should qualify!!
Elaine Camilleri: Mmm ... those microphines ... those outfits ... quite a catchy refrain ... and they already know that 'they are the winners' ...
Raquela: Very traditional song...singer projects an emotional ballad and vocals are spot on...she looks gorgeous on stage and dress is beautiful, but not a fan of the coreography...great overall performance though.
Simon Casey: Found this song a little intense and for me this performance didn’t go anywhere. I don’t think Filipa will be around for the weekend.
Elaine Camilleri: Back to ballads ... it sounds like Zorro's soundtrack 'I want to spend a Lifetime loving youuu' ... though tecnicaly speaking, the vocals sound great ... I love that tangoish feeling and I love her dress.
Raquela: Coldplay evovling into David Guetta, stunning lady performing an impeccable song definitely designed to get everyone up, both physically and emotionally....great song!!! She executes a flawless performance...I do hope she gets through as I'd love to watch this number again on Final night!! wow! my favourite so far!
Simon Casey: Good dance track and Gaitana put in a great performance. Really catchy chorus. Certain to qualify tonight but possibly because the voters will associate it with 'When Loves Takes Over' by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland
Elaine Camilleri: A big 'NO NO' to that dress and the dancer's outfits ... seems like Donna Summer returned (RIP Donna Summer). I love the backdrop and the song, is in the 'not bad' section, her voice is amazing and frankly, the refrain is quite catchy. It will pass ...
Raquela: This is an unexpectedly enchanting Saxo-beat-like song. The opening riff makes this track memorable. An enlivening upbeat number...
Simon Casey: Don’t like being too critical but this was another weak song entry. Would have preferred hearing Sofi singing something not so dancy, as she has a very decent voice. A very big stage for a small girl to fill, there should be an act behind her, even someone pretending to be a dj!
Elaine Camilleri: Hello 'Saxobeat' song, nice to meet you in Eurovision again ... and yes, I love this song loads ... great voice, great music ... all the attention is surely on her voice. Pity, I'm not understanding the lyrics heh ... A finalist for sure. Big like. Very modern in her outfit.
Raquela: It’s a sweet melody and singer . She’s incredibly pretty. Not a bad number and song is expressive and emotional. Song, singer and backing vocals sound pretty professional. Loving the build up of the music towards the end....
Simon Casey: An enjoyable performance from the ladies. Quiet a haunting song and Eva has a very powerful voice. Surely should qualify tonight. Although a few tuning issues between them!
Elaine Camilleri: An intense vocal moment again. Maaaaa I love those outfits ... again, pity we don't understand their language but the voices and the music are great. A good chance to qualify ... really the year of ballads eyyy .
Raquela: After watching a consecutive number of ballads, I'm appalled by their much improved quality...and this is definitely one of them!! Gorgeous! The video of this song complements its style...Highly artistic, musical and expressive....Another professional performance..Can see it making it through..
Simon Casey: A singer songwriter from Croatia, I didn't really like the song, although she has a great voice. Perhaps if she had someone write a song for her things might have been better. A very forgettable performance for me.
Elaine Camilleri: Wonderful backdrop, wonderful outfit and another intense vocal moment. Again ... the language factor! I also like the choreograph and those 'bells' ... a possible qualifier too ... would like to listen to it next Saturday.
Raquela: ah was looking forward to this one!Loreen delivers a good performance. Her moves might come off as somewhat weird but I simply love her and her simplicity, as well as that of the stage! I am most certain that she will make it to finals!! She deserves it!! Great performance and great song!! Loved it!!!
Simon Casey: My favourite performance tonight. Loreen should place very high in the final on Saturday night. Catchy and instant. A song you could see doing well in the single charts in any European Country.
Elaine Camilleri: And here's this year's favourite ... Ehh the audience are really enjoying this number. Great interpretation. Nothing to add more. The choreography always left me impressed ... a Definite qualifier.
Raquela: Love his confidence!!! song doesn't do much for me but I appreciate it for it's difference and unexpectedness! There seems to be too much going on...but overall it was a good performance!
Simon Casey: Anri has a good range but that’s that. This song is going nowhere. Very like a musical number, a bad musical number. Bad costumes, bad choreography, bad song. Certainly not going to follow up on last years result.
Elaine Camilleri: Georgia's Janvil hehe ... different style at last with a misture of styles (not particularly sure about this) ... although this kind of song without the choreography = nothing in my opinion. He's truly a 'womenizer' with those 4/5 cabarret ladies ... may qualify thanks to the neighbour thingy ... stands out after all those ballads.
Raquela: He bounces around to the beat and the coreography is simple and cute. He has a cute and sometimes cheeky smile. It has a cheeky dark melody... Song is good....emm....ok it's a boat! hehe overall good song...
Simon Casey: One of the better performances tonight. A song with a sample of the Country's traditional music can do well. Very individual, certainly one we will remember in the morning..
Elaine Camilleri: Traditional (seems like a Moldovian style) ... mmm I'm not a particular fan of this song I must admit it ... I'm seeing seagulls or what?
Raquela: A beautiful opening melody! Love the his vocal timbre....and very handsome..Staging is simple.. Loved the modulation ..not sure it's memorable but I think it might make it through...
Simon Casey: A great vocal from Ott, really good singer. I have no idea what he’s singing about but a good ballad is a good ballad. I think he’ll qualify the final.Simple stage production for this song just goes to show the right singer can fill the stage.
Elaine Camilleri: ehhh I adore this male ballad ... he sings his heart out and puts pure emotion in the interpretation. I was definetely 'listening' to you beautiful Estonian hehe ... he gives me goosebumps :) I really do hope this qualifies ...
Raquela: Musically, not something I'd listen to. But for it's style, I guess it's a pretty good track, but lead vocal was slightly off at times...well seems to get a good response from audience...ah! there he goes, dad's just lowered the volume!
Simon Casey: Nice to hear something heavy, decent song. A good voice, reminiscent to American Idol runner up Adam Lambert with some bum notes thrown in!!!
Elaine Camilleri: This song really doesn't 'leave you to close your eyes'! Hard rock hits the stage, I particularly like this song although I'm not a rock fan at all, but I like most the 'refrain' part ... may qualify ...
Raquela: Ah Norway and its dazzling male singers....It’s a crowd pleaser and he's a very good dancer!! Overall a very cool performance...but song doesn't 'STAY' in my head...
Simon Casey: Another instant hit. Good song and will easily qualify tonight. Intro straight out of Benni Benassi's 'Touch me' which continues throughout the whole song, shame because the rest of the melody is extremely catchy.
Elaine Camilleri: Norway; I was really looking forward to this number! I definetely like it! Feels like you're in a club ... wowww ... 'start moving to the beat' ... I like the choreography and his voice is ok. A qualifier in my opinion. I want him to 'Stay' in the competition! plus, he's a handsome guy! God Bless Norway! ;)
17. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Raquela: a fresh ballad with a sweet opening melody, but doesn't do much for Eurovision in my opinion....she is very expressive..and loving the violins' part in the song...overall a good performance but not memorable!
Simon Casey: Another nice ballad but nothing special from Maya. I think I've heard something like this in a hotel elevator somewhere..
Elaine Camilleri: Another ballad ... another song which lyrics are understandable unfortuantely ... but ... it gives you goosebumps ... I think it was the best female ballad of the evening. Her voice is so pure and clear ... & 'the piano and the singer' theme is perfect ... with a touch of flute ... beautiful. Will qualify.
Raquela: the slow ballad is beautiful to listen to but chord progressions have been heard before...i quite like the surprising up-tempo section that swings in action...pleasant to listen to...
Simon Casey: The blindfold!! Normally the interpretation of a song is left up to the listener..This could've found it's way onto a Bros album. Dodgy Michael Jackson dance moves. This years second semi final finishes on a low..
Elaine Camilleri: It's like I've ended up in a musical, wuwww I like it and it feels good! and yes, I would like to listen to this again on Saturday. The last position may be an advantage to him! He seems so young, yet so confident and his number reminded me of an 80's song. A perfect ending.
The Show (Part 2)
We have just had the time to speak with the Maltese Head of Delegation who was very happy with the performance telling us 'A brilliant execution by Kurt and the Band. Nothing Short of Excellent' and with that, we move onto the hosts who introduce the tele-voting. Here comes the recap of this evenings' competition. Make sure to vote for the favourite track of the evening by calling on 522020XX or sending a text on 506157XX. Remember that people from Malta cannot vote for Kurt Calleja but we can definitely wish him the very best of luck! The interval act features all of the last five winners together under one roof.
Guest Commentators' Prediction
Raquela: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine
Simon Casey: Estonia, Malta, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine
Elaine: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine
02. Bosnia & Herzegovina
06. FYR Macedonia
This evening, the city of Baku in Azerbaijan will be hosting the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest with eighteen (18) countries amongst them Malta competing for one of the ten slots which are up for grabs. The bookmakers think that they have a tail end on what should be qualifying this evening but based on the rehearsals, this has to be the most open semi-final in years with the press centre having no clue on what can qualify from places five to ten despite being seemingly convinced of the first five placings and very much borderline on the sixth which just happens to be our very own Malta which have a thirty point lead over the rest of the field. In the meantime, escflashmalta.com organized a set of a reviews which included well known personnel such as Tobias Larsson, Marion Welter, Magnus Kaxe and special guest Brooke Borg who come from Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and even Malta. They commented about the songs, rating them out of ten before making their selection of who should qualify in typical Eurovision Song Contest point system.
In the meantime, the public votes were also closed earlier this year, and for this semi-final, we are pleased to announce that we managed to get some 1,500 votes in total and therefore, it could be a more clear result that it was for the first semi-final which was some two hundred (200) votes less. We allocated a fifty per cent (50%) billing to each and came up with quite an interesting prediction for this evening. It is important to point out that the votes came from all over Europe and the rest of the world and therefore, we know that they could prove to be quite a different bunch in the long term. The qualifiers in no particular order for this evening according to the expert reviewers and the voters in the poll are as follows:
- Bosnia & Herzegovina
Honestly enough, this is a very sensible billing and could very much be realistic when the qualifiers are revealed this evening because many people do not have a clue over who will ultimately make it through. The surprises at this stage would be none other than Georgia who have sent in their worst song this year but hold a 100% qualification record thus far, FYR Macedonia who despite having not qualifying for quite some time look to be garnering a lot of support and with Kaliopi being a popular artist, might actually take someone else's spot from the Balkan region such as that of Croatia or Bosnia & Herzegovina and Portugal whose ditty Fado number might actually impress following two uptempo songs from Malta and Belarus. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news and follow the live report this evening with our very own Elaine Camilleri, Irishman Simon Casey and performer Raquela.
Eighteen countries have one goal and that is to make it through to the finals of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is being staged in the city of Baku within Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with the song Running Scared which won the tele-voting and came second in the Jury prompting it to finish at the top of the board overall. The fact of the matter is that the first semi-final went on last night and it seems that everything except one thing went right, with Romania having some problems in their inner-ear actually but nevertheless, this did not affect their final result with the track getting through to the finals. This evening, the juries from all across the continent will be busy once more or well, they will be busy tomorrow as this performance will be the one taped for the juries standing up in all of the eighteen competing countries as well as those of France, Germany and the United Kingdom who will be voting in this semi-final.
The first week was tense and filled with excitement with our team present in Baku taking up a number of different roles including interviewers, reporters and even photographers. These include none other than Garrett Mulhall, Šira Carolyn Bezalel, Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell, Patrick Strouk and Eric Lehmann whom I continuously thank for all their hard work and dedication. The earlier dress rehearsals did not go as well as planned unfortunately noting that there were some camera work issues with Belarus and therefore, had to be restarted twice in the long term but we are sure that things will be fixed for tonight. This is not an easy semi-final to be in and therefore the juries will be quite busy to see which tracks stand out amongst the rest. It is normal that there will be some surprises tomorrow night as the coverage takes place. We will be providing live commentary during the evening with Raquela, Simon Casey and Elaine Camilleri.
The hosts, the two females and the male are on stage introducing the semi-final entries and also refer to the fact that there are already six pre-qualified entries in the final coming from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and also the host country being none other than Azerbaijan. In the meantime, things are set to commence for this dress rehearsal.
The very first performance of the evening will be coming from Serbia and this year, they are being represented by the wonderfully talented Zeljko Joksimovic. The music of this song is just beautiful and the orchestration just work well as an opening track to the second semi-final especially following the horrendous act that opened the first semi-final. The vocals by Zeljko are spot on and the whole act just looking dapper in their black outfits. The music seems to be somewhat reminiscent of the song Paradise by Coldplay in the beginning but then takes into the form of a mild version of Lane Moje. This song will definitely qualify tomorrow night especially after that performance.
02. FYR Macedonia
This has to be one of the most beautiful songs in the semi-final especially the start which is very much focused on a piano musical background. Kaliopi as you can see in the image above is wearing a very smart black suit and she does look a true professional taking that stage. The staging in itself is quite dark with a lot of purple and blue somewhat being featured along with black and white as the title does imply in the long run. There has been a lot of talk about the future of FYR Macedonia in this years' competition. Kaliopi does give an entertaining performance and is flawless throughout, I am taking a limb out on this and saying that it will qualify.
03. The Netherlands
There is a lot of clapping in the press centre as this song starts to be shown on the monitors and Joan is the first performer of the evening to use fire on stage giving her performance somewhat of an American Indian type of flair as you can see in her outfit noting the headdress. She is clad in a beautiful blue gown and gives a very good vocal rendition but I cannot help but feel that her vocals are somewhat tired this evening. The performance is somewhat weird in itself but then again, who knows what the tele-voters will think when seeing this being performed live on stage. Towards the end of the song, Joan is somewhat losing her voice tonight. I cannot see this qualifying now.
Kurt Calleja is on the stage and he is clad in a grey shirt, a black blazer and tight black pants. He is joined on stage by five members and we all have to note that they have a great uniting element between them. The performance is pretty much as it has always been, very sharp and tight in a number of different parts. I believe that Kurt is performing the song amazingly well this evening and his entourage is really helping him deliver a strong performance. The vocals are good as they have been in the past couple of days. The juries should enjoy this performance especially following Joan because it is fresh, funky and just plain catchy. Things are definitely looking up for Malta and I believe that we will honestly make it through and qualify.
Belarus bring to the stage, a song that has been sent to the Eurovision Song Contest a million times actually noting that they have also gone for this type of song in the past with Ruslan Alenko and unfortunately did not qualify. There were a number of issues with the diction this afternoon but it seems that they have managed to elaborate a few on them and are performing this one better. Nevertheless, this song was never a favourite of mine and I believe that with the draw that they have, they would have done much better with their runner-up entry. The lads are clad in rock type of attire even when they are performing a pop/rock type of track. The lead singer is playing about with his vocals this evening and goes off key. Not good from Belarus and this will not qualify.
Filipa Sousa looks absolutely beautiful in her golden glittery gown but personally, I would have preferred it if she were to go more traditional in terms of an outfit. Nevertheless, she does work the stage well and is performing her ballad to perfection. She is joined on stage by five backing vocals and this is very Eurovision by numbers with the choreography based mainly on the backing vocals' hand movements. Fado has already been in an outing to the Contest and was very successful actually with qualification in second place and also managing a mid-table placing in the final but based on the position it has in this semi-final, it will not qualify to the final.
The Official song of the European Football championships is receiving a lot of applause in the press centre just as soon as it starts and it is definitely getting on my good side as I am dancing to this on my seat. Gaitana is wearing a white dress which seems to have been shredded just before heading onto the stage. She is joined on stage by four dancers who play the trumpets but what looks amazing on stage is the fact that she has four LED screens which depict a large army of people who are all playing their musical instruments. The performance does come across very well and her vocal performance is very strong indeed. The problem is surely her dancing though she does put in a lot of energy. This is so sailing into the final with Ukraine looking to get another top ten result when there.
The worst performance of the evening will be coming from the likes of Bulgaria as they have managed to even trump over Georgia now. Sofi Marinova has decided to take to the stage on her own and this was a huge mistake noting that a dance track will surely require choreography. The vocals used to be good but then they were just bundled out completely when the rehearsals commenced. This is a mess and a nil pointer possibly. At least, one knows that things do improve after this once more. Just in case, you have not noticed, I do not believe that this song will qualify which is sad as the country do try their best.
Eva Boto is a beautiful young lady and she does bring about a certain aura of innocence to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest as she represents Slovenia. She is trying to follow in the footsteps of the wonderful Maja Keuc who represented the country last year and made it to the finals. She is joined on stage by five backing vocals all of whom are clad in white. Most of the performance was in tune and in sync but the second chorus was completely off key unfortunately and that is quite disappointing. Nevertheless, she picks it up quickly and this is a track which will be qualifying tomorrow night leaving people probably stunned that she managed to do it.
You would easily notice that this is a Balkan performance because of the dark blue light in the beginning but then it would develop slightly different than those before them. Just after the opening bit, Nina seems to have gone down a key and it sounded very wrong unfortunately. She does not need a lot of help from Balkans where she is already immensely popular but then again, she does continue like the professional she is and swifts her short black dress. She is joined on stage by a number of dancers who keep the performance very simple and artistic. The vocals continue in a strong manner and she does manage to hit all the notes at the top. This is commendable but I believe that Croatia will just miss out tomorrow night and therefore not qualify.
Loreen comes into the stage as the main favourite for the competition and despite the fact that her performances have been below par at best, it seems that she has really upped the game for this evenings' performance because she sounds absolutely divine. The choreography is artistic and works well on screen with the dark backdrop and the beautiful lighting. She is of course joined on stage by three female backing vocals and mid-way through the song and within the bridge, snow is being shown and this really gives the song a great effect. The choreography near the end is very similar to her performing with the male dancer doing his best to keep up with her. Vocals are strong and Sweden are back in the mix to win this years' Eurovision Song Contest. This will most likely win the semi-final and thus qualify.
Whilst Bulgaria is just plain horrible, this is just plain mad and I just cannot believe that this semi-final has these two songs which bring down the level of the competition completely. Anri Jokhadze is performing this song, the best he has in my honest opinion but will that be enough for him to take it to the next round of the competition. Georgia have a very good record at the Eurovision Song Contest having always managed to pass through but the fact that this is mad just does not help at all. He is somewhat joined on stage by a number of people who do carry off the vocals very strongly. This looks very nice on the screens, and this will qualify in my opinion.
Can Bonomo is looking like the recipient of the maximum points from the tele-voting tomorrow night considering that he made a number of television appearances in the country. He is joined on stage by four male dancers and one has to note that this is looking to be very interesting. Can Bonomo is clad in a white shirt, black trousers and also a black cardigan which seems to have a bird design on the inside. The vocal performance is strong as it has always been and you just cannot help feel excited for the Turkish performer who seems to be an adopted Maltese from all of the times that we have been hearing of him. This will definitely qualify.
An extremely simple setting for this song in the beginning with a black backdrop and just one bright spotlight on Ott. This has been performed immaculately all week but this afternoon, he dipped a little bit in terms of quality as he has decided to vocally improvise his performance. He is clad in a white shirt and also in matching trousers and waistcoat combination. I just cannot believe that he has managed to nail all of the notes this evening. The jury will definitely adore this even though he is trying too hard to impress in my opinion. He receives a very warm applause in the press centre. The draw will be helping him and he will definitely qualify tomorrow night.
This is the only rock song in this years' Eurovision Song contest bu many people believe that it is too much out there to eventually make it through to the final. Max Jason Mai is definitely not bad looking and he tries to impress with his physique in order to garner some votes and whilst this might work in some small numbers, we do not believe that it will be enough to make an impact. The lyrics are actually quite interesting but instead of closing my eyes, I would definitely want to close my ears as this is just too harsh and his vocal is definitely not good this evening with his high notes being way off key at times unfortunately. This is a definite non-qualifier.
Tooji has to be one of the most charismatic performers in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and he brings about the second most energetic performance of this semi-final following Malta. He is joined on stage by four backing dancers and the staging is actually quite interesting with a large number of yellow lights along with spotlights which are vertical on the screen. The clothing is kept very similar to the one there was in his country actually with the vest, tight pants and also leather jacket. The choreography is tight and looks very strong on stage. This will be one to look out for actually and I believe that this will also qualify as it is very similar to Popular by Eric Saade last year.
17. Bosnia & Herzegovina
This is a very simple performance noting the simple backdrop in fading blue. Maya Sar has twice been a backing performer in the Eurovision Song Contest and has decided to take the stage on her own this time round. The song is just beautiful but I just cannot see all of the countries in the Balkan region making it through to the final and I just fear that this will be the one to miss out on the final stages of the competition. The vocal performance is very strong and Maya has gone from strength to strength but unfortunately, she ranks eleventh in my list of performances this evening and will therefore just miss out on the finals.
The final performance of the evening comes from Lithuania and they are being represented by a performer who actually looks very young performing on stage. He is wearing a black suit and a white shirt and starts the song blindfolded and performing a ballad. Mid-way through the song though he removes the blindfold and does a back-flip to which he starts performing an uptempo number. The shots actually look very good on the cameras and whilst this remains to be quite borderline, I just cannot include them in my personal list as they would finish twelfth in my opinion. Nevertheless, a very good performance and he is quite better than the song.
The Show (Part 2)
The performances have just finished and the hosts are back on stage to introduce the recaps and also the voting period which is a total of fifteen minutes this year as opposed to having voting possible throughout the whole show. There is a lot of interesting comments going round round and it seems that Malta is dividing people this year, noting that Kurt Calleja and his team have done their best thus far. The juries tend to like Malta but then the problem lies with the tele-voting so we will be hoping to attract the people from over Europe tomorrow night as the semi-final is staged. Another recap is now being shown before the interval act featuring Marija Serifovic, Ell & Nikki, Lena, Alexander Rybak and Dima Bilan come on stage. The pre-qualified six entries are shown on screen at the moment.
03. Bosnia & Herzegovina
04. FYR Macedonia
07. The Netherlands
The official journey for the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest started yesterday with the host broadcaster of the music competition putting up a sublime show for the first semi-final which saw a total of eighteen countries competing for the ten coveted spots. Unfortunately, eight countries did not make it through last night and were therefore sent home. There were no major surprises actually with many people still wondering about how Hungary managed to qualify even though the song is one of the most current in terms of music. Nevertheless, that is over and done with now and with sixteen finalists now officially known, preparations for tomorrow commence as the dress rehearsals for the second semi-final are set to take place today and tomorrow, even just before the show itself.
As has been all the case during the week, I would like to sincerely thank our Head of Operations, Garrett Mulhall who has for the second year in a row done Malta proud whilst still keeping his Irish roots intact within each occasion. Apart from him though, I should and will thank the lovely Šira Carolyn Bezalel who has been busy taking pictures and attending press conferences along with the rest of our team members including Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell, Patrick Strouk and Eric Lehmann. I believe that the best portal this year goes to escXtra for keeping the people intact through their live chat and videos and for this we thank them and salute all of their team. They will be supporting escflashmalta.com also with the coverage of the dress rehearsals. We would like to remind everyone that Malta is competing in this semi-final.
Clearly it seems that they are doing the introductions very much the same way that they did them during the first semi-final last night. I must say that the hosts are not as bad as they were earlier on during the week but nevertheless, they are definitely not winning the award for the best hosts ever. Yet another time, they are telling the rest of Europe about the fact that the Big Five and also Azerbaijan, the host country are already competing in the final alongside the qualifiers from the first semi-final.
Marc: This is a great opener to the second semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and will definitely give the viewers the excitement that this will be a much better show than the first one they witnessed. Zeljko is very much still clad in the same outfits that they were in the last rehearsal meaning, very smart black outfits. In the meantime, the lighting is very much blue and dark. The vocals are very strong from Zeljko and one just cannot help thinking that this song is still in the running to finish in the top five although I am not sure that it can manage to win at the moment. With the right draw though, anything can happen!
Garrett: This is a well crafted song and sung well. I have never been overly excited by this song as I think it would have made a wonderful entry 5 years ago or so but the Eurovision has moved on since then. Saying that you cannot deny the song is good (not a winner) but a certain qualifier. It will though clear up on the votes from the Balkan countries. Will qualify and will be between 14-8 in the final
02. FYR Macedonia
Marc: Kaliopi is literally rocking the stage mid-way through the song but one has to commend the stunning vocals which she brings about to each and every performance. Today is no different and I am sure that the jury will love listening to her vocals tonight. The song is very much a pop/rock track which indeed starts out slow and then develops as it goes along. The guitar in the song is what makes it identifiable along with the perfect vocal screech that she gives away during the bridge. Many people did also like this track in English and I believe it would have had more impact in such a language.
Garrett: This was electric. She gives an amazing performance. A great rock song with that big high note. This for me is better that Slovenia who is also in the same Semi Final and could be a fight for the final qualifying spot. A Strong Edgy performance. Battle Royale for the 10th qualifying spot.
03. The Netherlands
Marc: Joan Franka is one of the nicest people in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and she has a great accent in English. The song which she brings about to the stage is a simple pop/country type of track which might not be identifiable all across Europe. She is wearing this beautiful blue dress as seen above along with the American Indian headdress. She has never had any issues in performing this track and is not having any of them now either. On stage, she is joined by a band who seem to be carrying mostly native type of instruments. This is just a ditty little number and I must say, the best song from The Netherlands in quite some time.
Garrett: Charming as always. Joan still in her sky blue dress and Indian head dress. Her band are charming and Joan's vocals are childlike. Nothing that a great guitar stomper to get the crowd going. The Netherlands are surrounded by a whole lot of cowboys as far a song quality. This has to make the final. The Netherlands will qualify.
Marc: Great thumping opening beat in the beginning as has been the case for quite some time since the new arrangement was brought forward. Kurt is in a great shape this afternoon as he has been for quite some time and he is clearly enjoying his time on the stage in Baku. He is joined on stage by Kevin, Rebecca, Warren, Amber and Christian, all of whom have roles during the performance. Kurt has been getting a lot of attention in the media for his dashing good looks. One has to point out that Amber is doing a great job with her bits and she sounds flawless at times. This is another strong performance and I just cannot find anything to fault today. I do hope that he will give his utmost during the jury dress rehearsal this evening. Well Done to the Maltese Team!
Garrett: Kurt oh Kurt oh Kurt. This is the night you take Malta to the final. As always Kurt sings this perfectly and he is just so good on camera. He is really electric and his interaction on the stage with the rest of the band is wonderful. The dance routine still has people hooked and is visually wonderful. This has to go through. Malta will make the final.
Marc: There are problems with the Belarussian performance and in fact, they manage to kick off with the third run noting that the cameras were not switched on for this entry and therefore the shots were not appearing. The lead singer is clearly an energetic lad and the rest of the people on stage do compliment the performance well. The vocals are strong but then again, that will surely not be a positive when the diction is all over the place and I just cannot understand a word which he is saying. The performances over the week were not all good from Belarus but this is one of their worst unfortunately. They clearly need to up their game for the jury dress rehearsal this evening if they want to have at least a hope of making it through.
Garrett: Major problems. you knew from the first few seconds of the song starting that the lead singer was not happy – like myself as I am not a fan of the remix of this song. But it became clear that he could not hear the song in his ear monitor so the dress rehearsal was stopped not one not twice but 3 times until the band could hear their backing track. This certainly threw their confidence and they were pitchy and out of key in places. I am also opposed to hearing “We are the WEINERS” instaead of “Winners”. They have a big fan base in Eastern Europe that might help them get through. For me it is like a Madonna Song – “Borderline” for me.
Marc: Should have Portugal been in the other semi-final, I would have been sure that they would have made it easily bring about what seems to be their best chance of doing well in this competition. Fado has just been recognized as a heritage type of music and it is so beautiful. Filipa does enjoy her time on stage because her smile does say it all. This track is staged in a way that is very Eurovision by numbers but that does not take anything from it. She is wearing a long shimmery dress and the backdrop seems to be featuring the sights in Lisbon. The vocals are flawless and it could definitely surprise at the end of the evening.
Garrett: Filipa sings the song well and it is presented well. Simple and elegant which is what you need to do with a song like this. Unfortunately this is not really the contest for a “New World” track. I fear that Portugal will not score well with the televoters at home. Will miss out on the final.
Marc: The Eastern nation has been quite a successful competitor in the Eurovision Song Contest over the years and this year they have decided to send about the official track of the Euro competition. Gaitana is wearing the dress as seen above, meaning a ruffled white one and she is joined on stage by four trumpet players who also act as dancers. In the meantime, this is becoming one of the most visually appealing tracks this year noting that she does bring about some four LED screens which show a large amount of people. The vocals are good although I do not believe that they are at their best this afternoon.
Garrett: One of my favourites in the contest and it pains me say this but the week of rehearsals have taken it’s toll on Gaitana’s voice and she was very pitchy and hoarse. Overall this was the weakest that the song has been performed over the entire week’s rehearsals. No I am wondering if this is a sound issue following on from Belarus. Overall this should get through but not as comfortably as it should have. In the final though.
Marc: Bulgaria have been trying to send the best possible track that they could over the years although they have not managed to interact well with the European audiences it seems. This year, they have decided to send what is a smashing dance track which they still managed to ruin due to the fact that she is performing the song on her own instead of having a full fledged choreography as the song really deserves. She looks very lost on stage and I just cannot see any thing positive about the staging. They are surely competing for one of the lower end spots in the semi-final unfortunately for yet another year.
Garrett: What is heavens name are they thinking?? The vocals were dreadful which makes me think that that the ear pieces are not fully working. But this was the worst performance so far. Off key – makes you think of Gemini from the UK – it was that off key. Now where do I start as to the styling. Content to make a dance track static with no dancing in it – they have put her in a white pvc tight jacket and ULTRA short skirt and thigh hih matching boots. It makes her look like she is Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman – the curb crawling scenes. Dreadful and certainly going home!! Last in the Semi Final
Marc: Eva Boto is officially the youngest performer in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and without a doubt, she manages to bring class and elegance despite her extremely young age. The vocal performance this afternoon goes without a hitch as she has managed each and every time. The backing vocals look very angelic actually and this is coming across very wlel on screen. A sublime rehearsal and I believe that this will be making it through although will reserve my predictions for tonight when it will really matter. If they do manage to make it, they will be quite happy noting that Slovenia is one of those countries who do not make it to the final consistently.
Garrett: Well at least this was the first in several songs to be sung in tune so thank the Lord. Not my personal cup of tea as it sounds too much like “Molitvia” which is another song that I found highly overrated. All dressed in white and all so safely staged I can now see this qualifying despite this not being my cup of tea. Looking like they are dressed as Cream Deserts it should still qualify. Now looking like it will qualify.
Marc: This could have not been a worse draw for Croatia, coming back to back with Slovenia who have opted to send a similar type of Balkan Ballad. The issues lies with the fact that Nina is very popular whilst Eva is still a newcomer but based on the song, I believe that Slovenia trumps her easily. I am not sure which one of them will qualify but I am sure that not both of them will. She is the black dress as seen in the picture above whilst her backing vocalists are wearing white. The vocal performance is flawless, and daresay the best that she has given thus far. Croatia have not been in the final since 2010 and will be hoping that this is their year.
Marc: The expectation of Sweden tomorrow night is inevitable and one cannot help feel like you have entered a completely different world with this track which is already dominating the digital charts all over the continent. Loreen is clad in black attire with what seem to be tassels on the arms. The backdrop features snow as it was materialized during the Melodifestivalen. She is joined on stage by three female backing vocalists, also in black who do absolutely remarkable harmonies. For the last chorus, she is also joined by a dancer who along with the performer carries out a similar routine, very modern in presentation. This is visually stunning and sounds amazing! Sweden might still be the ones to beat when it comes to this years' Eurovision Song Contest.
Garrett: Oh this was so underwhelming it was scary. The stage is far too dark and at times Loreen could hardly be seen on the screen. Why have the Swedish delegation taken this decision. You cannot get the emotion that we all know that Loreen portrays as you clearly cannot see her!! Furthermore when it came to the snow scene it was not so much a blizzard but someone shaking their dandruff over Loreen. The entire performance needs more lighting and passion. Sorry but this is not looking like a winner at all and if the changes are not made then Sweden will be heading for a disappointing vote. Will scrape into the final
Marc: I dread having to comment for this song because Anri is actually a very good singer with a ridiculous type of song unfortunately. He is wearing a black outfit with a sparkling silver shirt underneath. He is joined on stage by four female dancers who seem to be coming out of a burlesque movie. The overall outcome of this song is not that good and I just cannot believe that they decided to send this track to Azerbaijan but then again, they did not have anything better in the national selection. The camera shots though are very good and it does come across well in terms of performance.
Garrett: This I have always thought was a very poor song but coming after the dark and dreary set of Sweden – Georgia looks fun and fresh and got a huge reaction in the hall. This was high high energy funk/pop/rock/camo and I can see qualifying. A surprise qualifier!
Marc: The Turkish entry in this years' Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most noteworthy tracks actually but then again, aren't they always on top of things at this competition? They will be hoping to remove the bad memories of last year when they did fail to qualify to the finals but this time round things are different as they do bring on a different type of track. Can is on stage alongside four other men and they look much slicker this time round with leather jackets, in what seems to be a traditional format. The vocals are spot on and the performance is very quirky indeed. This will be one to watch out for in my opinion.
Garrett: Can is dressed in a black leather cap and jacket and looking more Village People. His dancers are in blankets and this is all looking somewhat dark on stage. The vocals were suspect and weak in parts. If they are going to stay with the blankest as part of the act them they need to make them in a vibrant colour. With enough friends in this final this should qualify.
Marc: Ott Lepland takes to the stage and it seems that he is clad in the same outfit which he wore for the last rehearsal prior to today meaning the one which is seen in the picture. He is joined on stage by a female backing vocalist who is wearing a long white dress. This is coming across so beautiful on the screen. He has decided to include a number of different vocal ranges for the performance and he is playing around with the notes which whilst sounds beautiful might not be as effective. This should definitely qualify with relative ease though and despite me holding my predictions until tonight, I just cannot help but share my love to this song.
Garrett: If it isn’t broken then don’t change it. What have the Estonian Delegation done with their presentation. They have completely changed the melody of the song and it is ridiculous. The bridge from the verse into the chorus they have changed. They increase it up a key and it seems forced!! Please Estonia revert to the original as it was the simple presentation that made this song special and stand out from the crowd! If they do not revert to the original then Estonia will fail to qualify.
Marc: This track is the one which is very much out there in this semi-final due to the fact that it has to be the only rock song in this years' Eurovision Song Contest with Belarus having coming close in their first version of the song. Max Jason Mai is trying to show off his body in order to impress with his physique and as you can see in the picture above, he is wearing a black leather jacket and black leather pants. The vocal performance is very good and there is nothing which I would definitely change but this type of music is just not for the music competition and Slovakia might have to sit out of the finals for yet another year.
Last year, Norway did not manage to make it through to the final even though they brought about what was the most energetic song in the competition and also being a favourite. This time round though, they seem to note have that kind of problem because they bring a track which despite being full of energy, has already been successful. The track si very similar to the one which represented Sweden last year but it is coming across so well on the screens for having a very tight choreography. The vocals are very strong in this one and I just cannot believe that they came so far.
17. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Marc: I have just made my mind that Bosnia & Herzegovina is surely not qualifying and I am so sad to actually say that because Maya Sar is a beautiful woman and she is an amazing performer but this is looking too bland on the screens and I just cannot see the tele-voters going for this. My opinion might change this evening but the dark setting, the black dress, the piano, it is just too simple. The positive point is that it is coming after Norway and might relax the audience and put them in a good quiet mood heading into the final performance of the evening. I am still not sure about the outcome. We'll see.
Marc: Donny Montell looks like a young boy in terms of appearance but he does bring about a great vocal range to this performance. This performance is kept very simple as he does take to the stage on his own but at the end of the day, this is one which really works and it is also a borderline qualifier in my opinion. He is enjoying his performance quite a lot actually and the fact that he changes the rhythm is quite interesting indeed. This track goes from a ballad to a dance song in just a couple of minutes into the track. It is different but funnily enough works well on the cameras and that is what they wanted in the long term.
The Show (Part 2)
There are a number of recaps being shown as the televoting window is opened and following the fifteen minutes, it does indeed close as what happened last night. The interval act is now rehearsing for the very first time and the hosts do look really stiff today once more. Hoping that they will loosen up for tomorrow evening as it looks too staged at the moment. Dima Bilan is the first on stage performing Believe and the others following him immediately with Lena performing Satellite. It is important to note that all of the last five winners are performing the song with traditional Azeri music accompaniment.
The weather at this years' Eurovision Song Contest has got to be one of the hottest in quite some time noting that the temperatures in Baku are soaring with some taking their time in getting used to the climate but nevertheless, the sixth day of proceedings will surely keep on interesting as the rest of the participants that did not rehearse yesterday are set to take to the stage for the second time today alongside the countries in the first part of the second semi-final. As was the case in the past twenty four hours, the second rehearsals are much more of what is expected to be seen on the respective nights of the semi-finals actually with most of the technical issues sorted out and with the camera shots supposedly to the delegations' lighting. If yesterday is anything to go by, then people will also get to see a number of outfits once more today as there is the question of whether the lighting and the backdrop are working accordingly. There is a lot of interest to see how the second rehearsals of Russia, Ireland, Serbia, The Netherlands and of course Malta will look so make sure to keep yourself updated today.
Yesterday, one of core members of the team in Baku, Azerbaijan could not be present in the hall as he was sick and therefore hoping that he will indeed return today, I would like to continue wishing Garrett Mulhall, our head of operations, a speedy recovering. He has been working hard as have the rest of our team which includes Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Šira Carolyn Bezalel. Together, they have covered rehearsals, press conferences, got interviews and taken pictures and that is why this team works well together. For the second day in a row, this will be the longest day of our coverage noting that for yet another time, there will be thirteen (13) countries who will be rehearsing today but we are ready to bring you all of the latest and more! Do not worry, we are of course, giving special insight to the Maltese Delegation and entry for yet another time in order to keep you adjourned with what Kurt Calleja and the rest of our team is doing with the track This Is The Night which is amongst the top ten qualifiers according to the accredited media who are ranking Malta in seventh place at the moment.
Schedule of Rehearsals
08:30 - Russia
09:00 - Hungary
09:30 - Austria
10:00 - Moldova
10:30 - Ireland
12:00 - Serbia
12:30 - FYR Macedonia
13:00 - The Netherlands
13:30 - Malta
14:20 - Belarus
14:50 - Portugal
15:20 - Ukraine
15:50 - Bulgaria
It must be a miracle actually because Ictimai, the host broadcaster seems to be on time for the very time this week and that is quite important because it shows that they managed to overcome all of their scheduling issues. Nevertheless, the first rehearsal is already ongoing and we will begin our report very soon so we urge you to stay tuned with thirteen countries all hoping to impress in their final run through before going to their first dress rehearsals on Monday. We will be covering the accredited media dress rehearsals through our collaborations with escXtra and All Kinds of Everything who will be on hand to comment on them live as well.
Well, this has been one of tracks which people are starting to fall for due to the cute Russian grannies but nevertheless, it is one of those songs which quickly stick into you head. The lighting in the beginning is beautiful with blue spotlights acting as search lights along with the music. The performers are wearing their traditional costumes from the national final which will also be used today. On stage, there is a cooker and suddenly they just starting dancing around with a tray of food. The backdrop looks very good as well because whilst it is kept simple with a couple of designs, it is coming across as very effective. Our team also tells us that the camera work has improved a lot and the vocals from the grannies are not being hindered in any way either so Russia is a definite qualifier and a contender in the final.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
This is one of the most comtemporary songs of the year and as soon as it starts, the focus seems to be on the extremely simple yet elaborate background which deals with an outline of the world. This changes to starts and more outlines in reality. Compact Disco are joined on stage by a female backing vocalist and the vocals were strong in each and every run through today especially when in unison. The problem with this track seems to lie in the camera work because it is looking extremely messy on the screens. I must say that from the first semi-final, this should make it through to the final. A very competent second rehearsal and could surprise if worked out well enough to be honest but there needs to be these slight tweaks that would make it a stronger contender. Hungary were in the final last year so why not.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
Austria bring to the stage, one of the most diverse entries of the year with the track speaking about shaking your bottom. The staging is once similar to the national final with the group joined on stage by three female dancers clad in yellow/black highlighter dresses which are of course fully lit when the stage goes completely dark mid-way through the performance. It seems that the cameras are not really getting this concept through well though. The boys in th emeantime also have lit up shin guards and should pads. Unfortunately the elment is not coming across that well. The backdrop is showing a mixture of colours inlucindg blue, orange and pink. This does sound great but their chances of qualification hang in the balance I believe because there might be people who would not get in touch with this track.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
There are a number of trakcs which can be coined as cheeky in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and this is surely one of them. This has to be one of the most impressive backgrounds in this years' event. There is a lot going on true but what is intriguing is the large pair of red lips. The colour scheme is mostly a mixture of red, orange and yellow. Pasha is still in a white shirt and brown shorts. He is joined on stage by five female dancers, two of which have backing singer roles as well. The choreography is fun and cheerful and one cannot say that this is not working because indeed it is. The vocals are strong and he is enjoying his time on stage, smiling throhgout. It seems that there been a change in choreography within the bridge because of the move that included the singer sitting on a dancer and looking very uncomfortable. Well done Moldova, this is sailing into the final!
Video Courtesy of escXtra
Vocally it was better than their first rehearsal. Some sites had been saying that the first verse sounded a little hollow and the harmonies needed to be a little tighter following their performance on Monday. Well it was clear that the team had taken this on board and have been rehearsing since Monday. The song sounded much better and more polished – good work guys. There is still some work just to get the backing vocals 100% in sync with the guys and the track but I have no worries that this will come by the live shows. Linda Martin came onto the stage just before the second performance to have a word with the singers and what ecer she said it did the trick and the harmonies certainly moved up another gear. Jedward themselves were very good vocally. Still some more tightening of the harmonies to do but that is what rehearsals are for but I felt that the guys were much more in control and have faith that they will be ready for the remaining rehearsals.
Again we have the wonderful water backdrop on the screen. The blue colour is very striking both in the hall and on the screen. Jedward wore the white coats with all the European flags on it - The same ones that they wore on the Late Late Show last Friday. Again this will not be their live show costumes as these will be Silver And Gold Suits. What was great to see was that the Water Feature was working much better today and the water was shooting over 20 foot in the air. It was like looking at one of the many fountains that are here in the Baku. It looked wonderful on the stage and again I looked at it on the TV screens and the camera angles showed it wonderfully. I spoke to Liam McKenna (Jedward Road Manager) and he told me that there is still more to come from the Water Feature. It is plain to see that at the end of the song the twins put their mics down and they will be jumping into the water itself. They did not use the pyrotechnics on this performance as I guess they are keeping them for the final full dress rehearsals. Visually this was a much better performance and the guys gave it their all. I like the camera angles and it looks good on screen. The blue water backdrop is wonderful on stage. Overall I am very happy with the improvememt in the performance.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
Zeljko is a class act and therefore, he does not take a lot of time to get into his best to rehearse his entry. This is one of my personal favourites and one which has been marked to be a front runner up this years' competition. The dark staging works precisely with this kind of song because of the kind of music, an orchestral background based on violins and a piano. He is joined on stage by a number of people all of which carry instruments, some of which are traditional to the Balkans only. On the backdrop in the bridge, one could note that world going round. The vocals are just perfect in every run and this is still every bit of a contender for the victory. Serbia will finish high in this years' competition and will definitely be in the final despite being the opening act of the second semi-final. The audience in the hall loved it and applauded loudly.
Video Courtesy of escXtra
Exclusive Statement from the Maltese Head of Delegation
Prior to the rehearsal of Kurt Calleja and the rest of his team later on in the afternoon, Anton, Attard, the Maltese Head of Delegation took some time out to speak to us about the rehearsal and this is what he had to tell us: 'We have asked for minor amendments because we were quite satisfied with the first rehearsal. This is good news because the band get to focus on singing rather then technical issues. It's important that they have fun.' Once more, we are very much looking forward for the second rehearsal hoping it will be even stronger than the first one actually.
It is unknown what Kaliopi will be wearing on the night of the semi-final but she looks quite chic in just plain casual attire today. The staging for this one has not changed a bit as she is joined on stage by a violinist, a guitarist, bassist, a cellist and a drummer. The key factor here is the vocal of the artist herself who seems to be in best form coming into the competition. Kaliopi also represented her country many years back but this time things are different actually noting that she seems prepared. The spotlights are adjusted accordingly with the music whilst behind her are shots of black and white, something that the song just translate into. This is a good performance but following Serbia, I am not sure whether it will stand out as much nevertheless, this is the best chance for the FYR Macedonia to qualify in a very long time!
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Joan had decided on her clothing for the semi-final it seems and despite this being a ditty little number, those feathers on her head will definitely put people off but anyways, she is wearing a beautiful blue gown and is in the middle of the stage whilst a band is on another side and her backing singer is on another side. Joan is sounding much stronger than her first rehearsal today and the backdrop is quite enjoyable to look at featuring a look of colour and flames. Could this be the second Dutch entry to qualify through to the finals. I am still not convinced because it is coming too early in the drawn but nevertheless, this will definitely not be boring. Many people are listing this as marginal so it is quite an interesting prospect.
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One of most intriguing aspects on why there is a lot of attention on Kurt this year is mainly because they find him attractive. The rehearsal today was brilliant from a technical point of view with the backdrop kept the same as it was the first time round meaning that it featured silhouettes of people in a club enjoying themsleves to the music. The band is of course doing a great job supporting Kurt on stage but Amber is the one who is really stealing the show out there. Her vocals mid-way through the track sound incredible and the journalists are really enjoying her bits during the track. Due to the early draw, there is still uncertainty on whether it would stick to the minds of the people but this ia very good rehearsal once more with no trouble. Kurt and his team are doing their utmost and I believe that we will qualify between the seventh to ninth region. It is important to also note that their vocals were great on each run having heard all of the respective performances given today. We are yet to confirm this but it seems that Kurt and his team are in their outfits for the Eurovision Song Contest semi-final featuring a black open jacket and yellow t-shirt whilst the team are all clad in white suits.
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Many people commented that Belarus and Malta are somewhat similar but then again we are coming out on top each and every time in terms of performance. This has not changed too much from the first rehearsal actually. The backdrop is still very artistic and modern featuring shapes. The lighting is predominantly blue na dyellow with slight shades of white. The group are also in their semi-final costumes it seems which are are sleeveless vests in black and metallic attire. This is working on the screens and vocally does not seem to have any issues actually. I believe that this does indeed have a fighting chance to make it but will most likely be the first or second song not to qualify within the semi-final by finishing eleventh or twelfth.
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Exclusive Statement from the Maltese Head of Delegation
Speaking to escflashmalta.com following the rehearsal, Anton Attard, Maltese Head of Delegation and Chief Executive Officer of the Public Broadcasting Services stated 'Overall, this was another good rehearsal. The band are a set of great people to work with.' The Maltese press conference is on in the next couple of minutes, and we will be keeping you posted with what goes on.
I am very much loving the element of fado in the Eurovision Song Contest noting that it has not been existent for a long time actually. Filipa takes to the stage in fashion wearing a beautiful dress with a stunning immprint. She is joined on stage by five backing vocals and this is clearly a case of being a track known as completely Eurovision by numbers. The fact of the matter remains that there is nothing to fault this track by and when it was chosen in the national final, they made sure to pick a strong entry as they had quite a good selection of songs. The simple choreography is working well on the cameras and the focus of this remains on the strong vocals. They are a strong point and are sounding beautiful. This worked a couple of years ago but not sure whether it will this year. If this qualifies, it will most likely reach a lower end part in the scoreboard.
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Gaitana is back on stage for her second performance and this has clearly improved even visually today noting that the backdrop is showing splashes of water in different colours. She also makes used of four other LED screens like the British representatives used last year. Within them, she makes use of virtual people and this is a good idea noting that in the meantime, she has nother four people on stage who play the trumpets and carry out a stunning choreography. Gaitana is wearing a white gown wit a slit on her right leg. The sreens come together near the end and form a huge flock of people who carry out a flash dance. This is sailing into the final and Ukraine might also surprise in terms of end result as they had done last year.
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The final rehearsal of the day comes from Bulgaria and she is definitely clad in normal attire for the rehearsal today. I believe there has been a change in colours for the backdrop lighting noting the beautiful purple that is being used this time round. In the meantime, the backdrop in itself still features lines actually as if in a sea but suddenly other structures appear such as a hearts. The vocals are strong as they have always been and despite fact that there are hgih hopes for this song, I just cannot see it qualifying. In fact, there were better songs competing in the national final. Nevertheless, it will achieve a respective non-qualifying position. I do love the lighting mid-way through because it looks as if there are a lot of camera flashes.
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Lack of sleep due to the levels of excitement which are quickly rising up due to the fact that the Maltese Delegation will be taking to the Crystal Hall in Baku, Azerbaijan for their very first rehearsal on what seems to be the most spectacular stage of the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years. The first rehearsals in which each country is allocated forty minutes are very much a technical run through in general. Anyways, as you get ready for work, school or even maybe an exam, Good Morning and welcome to the third day of LIVE coverage from this years' music competition. In the previous two days, thanks to several individuals, we have managed to bring about the best possible coverage and we hope to continue more of the same in the next couple of days especially this week when things are more hectic.
For the third day running, I would like to thank this years' team for escflashmalta.com which features newcomer; Šira Carolyn Bezalel as well as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall, the latter of which is is Head of Operations in Baku and is leading the team to such positive coverage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. In the past two days, this has been the promise and it has been kept and today, the team will be more attentive to bring about the latest news about Malta and the song This Is The Night which will be performed on the stage for the very first time. Apart from Malta, there should be plenty of interest today especially for the songs of Serbia, Ukraine, The Netherlands and also outsiders Portugal.
Schedule of Rehearsals
08:00 - Serbia
08:45 - FYR Macedonia
09:30 - The Netherlands
10:15 - Malta
11:55 - Belarus
12:40 - Portugal
13:25 - Ukraine
14:25 - Bulgaria
In the past couple of days, there have been a number of issues with regards to getting started on time actually and it is quite interesting that despite starting a bit late, this is the day in which they were closest to being on schedule. As you can see within the schedule above, the first eight participants in the second semi-final will be taking to the stage and the first vocal run through of Serbia has just finished meaning that the full run through will commence in just seconds of minutes. Stay tuned for all of the updates, throughout the day.
Opening to the beautiful sounds of the violin this morning with a dark setting in what seems to be a pink and later a blue starry setting. Zeljko Joksimovic is joined on stage by his 'orchestra' wo are clad in a mixture of black and white, a scheme which would definitely work in the final. As expected, the setup is just astonishing for this entry and the backdrip only changes during the lead up to the birdge. The band moves in different directions momentarily leaving the focus of the performance on Zeljko himself who is giving a masterful vocal interpretation. The addition of the female backing vocal works wonders. As always, this is one song which could be a surprise and win the competition. A superb start and a huge reaction in the hall from the audience present.
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The second rehearsal of the day featrues Kaliopi and the popular singers from the Balkans is very fashionable in a male like suit this morning actually, very suitable as well. The stage is bathed in dark colours once more and the backdrop features revolving images which show a piano at times. She is joined on stage by a band including a guitarist, a bassist, drummer and also a violinist. The vocals from the main performance are very strong and this was somewhat ecpected considering the long career that Kaliopi has had. She literally enjoyed being out there and took it in her stride. This was the best rehearsal from FYR Macedonia in years and this might actually be heading into the final.
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The Dutch are yet to really make an impact on the Eurovision Sogn Contest since the semi-final system was introduced and they are hoping to do it this year when they are presenting a different kind of song bearing the name You and Me. The lead performer of this track is still wearing the tribal hat it seems but what is spectacular is the fiery red backdrop which features a lot of shapes. Joan is joined on stage by a number of people but then again, she does not look completely sure of the performance and it is worrying that she does not move at all and keeps her place in the middle of the stage. The vocals do not need any work because she is not tested in any way. Whilst there is not a lot which can be done, I am not sure that will actually qualifier to the finals. It seems that a new orchestration has been worked and that is something which actually works very well. At the end of the performance, the five people joining her on stage, all playing instruments come full circle.
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Kurt and his band came on stage today with a smile and energy that just lit up the room. Kurt asked you to believe that "This is the night" and I think it could well be for Malta on May 24th. What a summery upbeat song . People watching the rehearsal were all clapping and getting into the groove of the song Kurt's vocals were on key all the time and his diction was perfect - which is a welcome change from some of strange English that we have heard. The band that are supporting Kurt sounded wonderful too. There is one female backing vocalist who blends in with Kurt very well. There are 2 male guitarists, a DJ and a female drummer all of which interact with Kurt vocally well to create a strong wall of sound. This performance just blasted out of the blocks. The backdrop has a sea of people dancing on the video wall which is highly impressive. It adds to the carnival atmosphere of the song.
The colours used are red and orange with strobing lights. Again this is visually strong. Kurt and his band have their great dance routine that we are all trying to learn in the press hall now. I have had a few mishaps!! Kurt works the stage and interacts wonderfully with his band members. The camera angles are spot on and Kurt knows how to work the screen. When the climax comes in there is a great dreakdown and the lights on the stage gone from the red to black and white which is highly effective The DJ comes out from behind his booth and does some really slick break dancing while Kurt hits some really high notes. Everything came together on this first rehearsal and the view across the press centre is that Malta are going to the final. If Malta was a fruit they would be a "Passion Fruit" - fresh, fruity and very tasty.
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Malta was followed by a lunch break and I must say that despite the fact that most people do not like the brand new version, I absolutely love the new opinion and the backdrop is quickly transformed into a blue version of the matrix whilst the blue and yellow lighting is also somewhat predominant. This performance does not need a lot of staging due to the fact that the group already features four members in total, and another three which join the proceedings. The interesting thing is that all are male and therefore, this is one of the few songs which does not have the inclusion of a female. The vocals by the lead singer are good but the problem is the diction which is not fully understood but in defense, this is the best song that Belarus has sent since Work That Magic by Dmitry Koldun. A good rehearsal indeed but will it be enough to qualify? That is yet to be seen.
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Just as the music starts, the colour scheme is quick transformed into a mixture or pueple and blue with the backdrop showing a typical setting of a small seaside town, most likely on in Portugal. Filipa is performing one of the most traditional songs in this years' competition. She is joined on stgae by five backing vocals, giving the song the feel of a true ballad. The vocals by the main performer do not need any work and the backing are resoundingly amazing as well. This is looking well on screen especially due to the very slow movements by everyone on stage. In the chorus, the backing builds a gospel like feel and the anthemic sound is given a lot of importance. Filips herself is enjoying her time on the stage and in the bridge, she pours out all of her emotion. Whether this song will qualify is another issue, I think it is somewhat borderline at the moment as I cannot see it doing overwhelmingly well but nevertheless, everyone knows what happened back in 2008.
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This song is a chant for the European Football Championships. Instantly catchy and full of wonderful hooks that anyone can easily identify with.The voice on Guitana was absolutely amazing. Her vocal range is stunning and amazed the crowd that had congregated for the rehearsal. It is hard to believe that she is the only set of vocals that are on the stage.The Ukraine are always assured to put an amazing show on every year at Eurovision and this year is no exception. A stunning backdrop of paint being thrown in slow motion of different colours. There are port movable 4 screens on the stage that begin the performance in a boxed formation from which Guitana and her 5 male dancers emerge. The screens then also display various eye catching images from dancing male dancers to crowd scenes of computer icons. It is a busy stage performance - almost like a traffic junction in Baku at rush hour - but I love that!
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The final rehearsal of the day comes from Bulgaria who are actually being represented by Sofi Marinova who won the right to represent the country in a national final. I believe that this is the first time she is wearing her hair down but nevertheless, the focus on the performance is surely based on the backdrop which is a flurry of lines and bubbles. I believe that this song is missing out on a lot in terms of performance just by opting not to use any backing dancers which could have aided it a lot. Nevertheless, the vocals of Sofi are impressive and I beleive that she can carry it off alone. I still cannot see this song qualifying though unfortunately which is somewhat of a pity in reality but there is nothing extremely special about it that could take it past eleventh place.
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