Emil Calleja Bayliss
The Beland community has always been the one to organize different events that help promote local talent and attract locals to their events. It all started back in 2006 with the concert Alive and from then onward they never looked back. Last year they took the initiative of organizing a week full of concerts with different number of guests throughout the week. escflashmalta.com was on site for most of the days and the crowd just got bigger and bigger with each passing day; surely something the organizers hoped for from the start. This meant one thing – the event was a huge success and when you have a successful formula you stick to it hence why the Beland Music Festival is BACK.
The festival will open on the 12th of May and will come to an end on the 20th of May and if last year’s event is anything to go by, this year’s festival will probably be better and even bigger. Slowly it is establishing itself as one of the event all the lovers of local music look forward to, in fact a number of people have been asking about the festival for quite some time. For the second straight year, the festival will take place in the Market Square in Zejtun and like last year it will take the form of an open air concert which will run for nine straight days. Each and every day has a special theme or a special act assigned to it which also includes a foreign tribute band of one of the biggest bands that ever existed.
Saturday - 12th May at 20:30
Winter Moods Live
Supporting Act: The Crowns
Sunday - 13th May at 10:00
Wheelspin Car Show
‘Belt l-ghannejja’ - Maltese folkloristic music (Ghana) will be performed by local folk singers and guitarists, with Kelinu Cutajar (Is-Superstar)
Sunday - 13th May at 12:00
‘Belandfest’ - Marathon of entertainment with activity for all the family and many attractions including dance shows, animation teams and music performances. There will also be the mobile Blood Donation Unit to encourage people to donate blood and save lives.
Sunday - 13th May at 20:30
‘Delicata Wine Night’ - Live concert by Cash & band, Planet Feed and Antz Walking.
Monday - 14th May at 20:30
‘Nostalgija’ - Special concert gathering most of the well-known local singers together to perform live their Maltese classics that have been entertaining the public over the last four decades. Amongst the artists taking part are Freddie Portelli, Bajzo, Georgina, Christian Arding, Bartolo Sisters (daughters of Sammy Bartolo), Tony Camilleri, Joe George and Mike Spiteri, all live with the Band of Mro. Paul Abela.
Tuesday - 15th May at 20:30
‘Malta Pop Show’ - Pop concert with Malta's most famous Pop singers, including Claudia Faniello, Gianni, Richard Edwards, Fabrizio Faniello, Muxu, Christabelle, Urban Echoe, Keith Dance Studio and more.
Wednesday - 16th May at 20:30
‘Think Floyd - The Definitive Pink Floyd Experience’; International Live tribute show of the legendary group Pink Floyd.
Thursday - 17th May at 20:30
‘The Green Gathering’ - Exactly one month before the feast of Zejtun, all the Beland family and feast enthusiasts will meet at Market Square for this big gathering.
Friday - 18th May at 20:30
Airport Impressions Live
Supporting act: Dry Connections
Saturday - 19th May at 20:30
‘Alive The Concert’ - A big concert with Malta's best voices, including Chiara and Glen Vella.
(UEFA Champions League final will be shown on Big Screen).
Sunday - 20th May at 19:15
Zejtun Youth Mass
Sunday - 20th May at 20:30
‘Beland Spectacular’ - The grand closing of the week, with the Beland Band in the leading role in a live concert with a number of famous singers, namely; Mary Spiteri, Lawrence Gray, Thea Garrett, Mikaela, Wayne Micallef, Eleanor Cassar and Raquela.
One can see the festival as an opening to the summer months activities as other activities take place all around the island during the summer months but most of them would not be held on such a grand scale. To organize such a massive event is not easy and Beland would not have been able to provide such a field with different artists were it not for the support they found from their sponsors. The event is free of charge but those in attendance are encouraged to give a small donation that will go directly to Puttinu cares as for another year, the event is being held in aid of Puttinu Care which works for such a noble case. So remember from the 12th of May to the 20th of May your entertainment spot should be in Zejtun at the Beland Music Festival. escflashmalta.com is proud to support this event in fact aiding in the production of the 'Malta Pop Show'. Stay tuned for more information.
Source: Facebook Official Page, The Beland Music Festival
The Kurt Calleja mania is taking over the country and ‘This is the Night’ can easily be heard on the local airwaves, in the discotheques in Paceville and occasionally you also hear it whilst driving past a Eurovision maniac whose sound would contend with some of the biggest sound systems on the island. One thing is for sure; Malta is still and will always be a Eurovision mad nation and although some do not admit it they still watch it and secretly love it even though they loath it when coming to speak about it in public.
It seems that this years’ mania is taking a serious turn. Xarabank in collaboration with PBS has decided to organize a flash mob dance with this years’ entry and in order to get people prepared they released an online video on the dance steps one has to follow to get ready to join the ‘This is the Night’ craze. Looking at the video and the dance steps, it looks like fun and enjoyable and a lot of people commentated that they have included the routine in their daily exercise whilst preparing themselves to get fit for summer.
The department of health was also thinking of joining the fun to promote this activity in order to get people moving and doing some exercise; this will surely help considering that Malta is known for its obesity problem. Lately though the department started getting a number of calls from annoyed fans who were opposing the flash mob idea that Where’s Everybody alongside PBS and Kurt’s team came up with because people are getting injured trying out the dance.
Disgruntled parents have commentated that although it looks fun and definitely harmless their children ended up hurting themselves. In fact after numerous phone calls which came from different factions of the society, the department of health decided to announce that the famous ‘INVERTED W’ which also became known as the ‘applejack’ is dangerous to attempt unless you are a fully trained dancer with plenty of experience behind you. It remains to be seen whether the flash mob dance scheduled on the 14th of April in Valletta will take place and whether or not the applejack will be removed from it.
Although embarrassing to admit a number of our readers came forward to let us know that they are recovering from sprained ankles after attempting this move. A physician who works at the emergency section at Mater Dei said that the week after Kurt won they had around ten cases of sprained ankles all varying in terms of injury extent. The physician said that they didn’t see a number of cases after that until recently when the video with the choreographer Warren Bonnello went online – from then on, the cases increased drastically.
Although for the commoner who has not tried the move, it looks odd, very odd those who tried it seem to think otherwise. It remains to be seen whether Kurt Calleja and his team will use this in their final performance at the Eurovision considering that it attracted a lot of attention and can surely be a hit with the international audience. The Eurovision Song Contest is known for these antics and if all the team, including Amber who joined the team recently, can pull it off without injuring themselves they should really have a go at it – maybe it will be the extra oomph we need to make it through to the finals.
Another Malta Eurovision came to end and the triumphant participant this year was the ever so popular Glen Vella who managed to win the contest with a minor difference of just two points ahead of the runner-up, Richard Edwards. This was Glen’s fifth participation in the contest and the third time on his own. He made his debut back in 2005 where he placed a credible sixth, in 2008 he joined forces with Pamela but unfortunately the duo did not manage to make it through to the finals. A year later he joined forces with 4 other singer; Leontine, Luca, Fiona and Pamela and together they formed the group Q where they managed to place third with ‘Before You Walk Away’.
It seems that from this year on, Glen was destined for success as after his third place finish, he went a step further last year where he placed second as a soloist with ‘Just A Little More Love’ whilst this year he managed to triumph with ‘One Life’. This gives the formidable song writing duo Paul Giordimania and Fleur Balzan their first win at the Malta Eurovision – and having been so close in the past two years – with two runner-up finishes in 2009 and a runner-up finish last year – it seems that finally this team has been recognised for their hard work.
The song-writing duo is no stranger to success as they managed to win several contests both locally and abroad; this includes the Golden Stag Festival – the second largest festival in Europe after the Eurovision Song Contest. This win also coincides with the 20th anniversary since Paul Giordimania represented Malta as a singer at the Eurovision Song Contest with ‘Could It Be’. Glen Vella has always been touted as one of the front runners for this year’s contest but for Glen and his team this meant more hard work as they did not want to disappoint with their overall product.
Everything came down to the wire, as before the last vote ev erything stood to a standstill. Glen had won the televote with Baklava coming in second place and the lesser known Richard Edwards coming in third. Overall though it seems that the technical glicth during Richard's performance did not effect the final result although some did expect the singer to be given the chance to sing again.The first three judges did not agree with what the public had decided though as they awarded Richard Edwards with the highest points and gave Glen lower points but in a twist of fate, the last three judges awarded Glen Vella the full points and put Richard Edwards down in second place.
Riccardo Cocciante, in fact had the deciding vote and he gave Glen Vella the full twelve points thus awarded him the victory. Overall though, the judges’ vote went to Richard Edwards ‘Finally’ with 64 points with ‘One Life’ and ‘Over & Over’ coming in joint second with 54 points. This elevated Kurt Calleja’s solo debut in the contest to third place. After the public witnessed one of the best contests in recent year which ended in one of the closest races in history – the Eurovision Fever took over the local streets with a lot of people discussing the close result. Kurt Calleja’s third place finish surprised everyone but the entry was well received by the public.
Richard Edwards seems to be the break-through talent of this year’s contest and a lot of people have argued that this was the entry that the Maltese should have voted to represent them in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest; the feedback from the foreigners seem to echo this too. Others argued that after sending three ballads in a row, Malta needed to send something fresh, lively and with a bit of groove; Glen Vella’s ‘One Life’ fits the description perfectly. The singer’s charm, charisma and energy on and off stage are breathtaking and this will certainly go down well with the Eurovision crowd who will surely take Glen Vella into their hearts – something of utmost importance in such a contest.
As another contest comes to an end, with new talent emerging and surprises taking place – it will be Glen Vella’s ‘One Life’ flying the Maltese flag in Dusseldorf. If the Maltese delegation works well, listens to the suggestions being passed on by different fans that have the Maltese participation at heart and tries its best to be media friendly and keep Glen Vella reachable than I can truly say we are destined for success. With some minor adjustments to the song and a more striking unique performance – Malta can do well. Success does not come overnight but one has to work hard to achieve it – something Glen and his team has strived for a long time.
The majority of the countries that qualified seem to come from the Eastern part of Europe with the only exceptions being Belgium, Portugal and Iceland which come from the Western part of Europe. The semi-final touted as the weaker of the two, had in store a number of surprises.
Starting off with our country, Malta, Thea has gathered massive popularity amongst the Eurovision community and although she was not one of the favourites to qualify, her performance on the night made her stand out, and most of the international fan websites, along with comments from different fans along the globe believed that Thea should have made the finals with relative ease – surprisingly so Malta did not make it. The judges should have been able to elevate Malta amongst the finalists, but having countries like the United Kingdom, Ireland and Turkey who have awarded Malta high points recently not voting in our semi-final proved to be vital. The buzz around is that Malta just missed out a place in the finals and ended up 11th in the semi- final.
Another two countries which were touted to qualify to the finals by the betting odds and fan website were none other than Slovakia and Latvia – both ruined their chances with weak interpretations of their entries and this proved vital as their Eurovision experience ended in the semi-final. From the countries that qualified there were a number of surprises – Moldova and Bosnia Herzegovina were certainly not amongst the favourites to make through Saturday’s final – but strong performances along with some help of neighbourly voting helped them to qualify. The Russian song which was being called the ‘coffee break’ of this year’s contest, surprisingly so made to the finals – making the Russians one of the few nations that have always qualified to the finals. Even when they don’t bother in presenting a decent song – the Russians will make it – their neighbours love them too much to forget them at Eurovision.
The Belgian song, considered to be one of the best in this year’s competition was always surrounded with doubt on whether it will qualify or not. This is not because of Tom Dice’s vocals or because the song was below par, but Belgium have never qualified to the finals since the semi-finals were introduced – in fact this was a brilliant result for the country and probably the only glimmer of hope that if one sends a good song, the European public and the jury might like it and put it through to the finals. The Portuguese entry was also a surprise qualifier, and many considered it to be the main competition for the Maltese song. Portugal have managed to qualify for the past three years now, and this year they certainly made it through thanks to Filippa’s great live vocals and the favourable draw.
Estonia was considered to be one of the songs that it is too good for Eurovision as its style is certainly something different and it does not have the wide appeal other songs might have and this seems to have been its downfall. On the other hand, the chirpy happy tune from Finland didn’t manage to impress the viewers along with the jury as it didn’t manage to qualify. Many locals considered it to be a sort of tune which would have fitted perfectly the movie ‘Heidi’. Poland’s staging was considered by some strange, and the whole legend act did not translate to the viewers, even though Marcin gave a strong interpretation of his entry. The FYR Macedonian song was probably too common and lifeless to be considered by the voters – the staging didn’t help either and being put amongst the stronger entries in the semi-final pushed it even lower.
Greece, Iceland and Serbia along with Albania were always considered the main favourites to make it through the semi-finals – presenting upbeat numbers and strong performances made their passage to the finals rather easy. Belarus managed to make it through – it was always considered a borderline song – and it seems that neighbourly voting helped in pushing it amongst the top 10 of the night. The dream ends for some and continues for other. Malta’ dream, for another year stops here, and one wonders whether it is even worth participating anymore – our artists do get the so called exposure, but sometimes the disappointment is too much to bear after working so hard.
Qualifying from this semi-final was always going to be hard, as it has been touted to be of a higher level than the previous one which took place on Tuesday. Where there any surprises? Of course, but in a semi-final where at least 12 entries deserved qualification, it always meant that sine entries were going to be left out.
The biggest shock of the night certainly was the qualification of Cyprus, who last qualified for the Eurovision Final in 2004 where they got a top ten finish and thus won a place in the final for the following year. Cyprus presented a song, similar to the Belgian song, which won over the public on Tuesday and it seems that it also worked tonight. One must note that few predicted this entry to qualify, although through the rehearsals, the media noted that the song is a potential qualifier – the doubt surrounding it was neighbourly voting and the fact that it was a harsh semi. They managed to defy the odds and make it; probably having such a contemporary feel went down well with the Scandinavian countries voting in this semi-final along with the Irish and British.
The two biggest shocks of the night were the non-qualification of Sweden and Croatia. Sweden was touted as a potential winner of ESC and also as the singer who is most likely to have an international career after Eurovision. The visual performance for Sweden was simple and very effective, but probably the song was too ordinary to be remembered, and being sung early didn’t help matters either. This will be the first Eurovision final without the Swedes since 1976 – some remarked that neighbourly voting had an effect on Sweden not qualifying, but the same cannot be said to Croatia. Femminem who represented Bosnia Herzegovina in 2005, didn’t have much luck in tonight’s semi-final even though they have popular appeal around the Baltic area. They were touted as one of the front-runners in this semi and with a strong song and performance – their qualification was almost certain – but in a game like this it seems nothing is certain unless you’re Russia, Turkey or Ukraine.
The Lithuanian blokes presented this year’s joke act – but it didn’t go down well with the public to put them through – although I wouldn’t have ruled them out if they were in the first semi. The song is fun and darn catchy. The Swiss song was nicely presented and the vocals were very strong but the song sounded dated, and probably that is why the song didn’t manage to make it through. Same thing can be said about the song from The Netherlands – an entry which wouldn’t have been out-of-place in the 70’s. The Slovenian song incorporated two styles of music together – and although there were few who thought this was genius, the majority thought this was one big mistake – the presentation didn’t help matters either. Bulgaria also didn’t manage to make it out of this semi; they presented a decent number which should have gone down well with the public but as an entry it was never a favourite to qualify and being in a semi-final full of strong entries it was always going to be a challenge.
Other entries were seen as borderline qualifiers, these included Ukraine and Georgia, but after the strong vocal performances by their singers and quality songs presented, it would have been a real mystery if they did not make the cut – especially keeping in mind the number of friends they had in this semi-final. Having Niamh Kavanagh, a former winner representing the nation known for winning the trophy a total of seven times with a typical Irish ballad, was always going to go down well with both the televote and the jury. In fact the Irish and Israeli ballads were always two of the front runners to qualify for the final and with their heartfelt numbers they managed to touch the hearts of the voters and make the final. Singing last always help; adding that to a strong rock song, which is totally different to what other countries presented, and being sung by a band that won an MTV award is an extra added bonus – especially if you’re Turkey. This was a sure qualifier, and wouldn’t be surprised to see it towards the top of the scoreboard on the final night – if the rockers unite like they did for Lordi, Manga clearly stand a chance to win it.
The Romanian song has always been a good up-tempo number, and its presentation has always been interesting. The live vocals are exceptional, especially those from the female singer – and they certainly had all the ingredients to make it through. In what is being touted as the most open Eurovision in recent years, this might also stand a chance to win this year’s contest. The singer from Armenia, had a story to tell in her song, and it seems that the audience connected to her story and voted her through. The good up-tempo number with an ethnic feel and traditional music incorporated certainly works and I would it stand a great chance to fight off for victory on Saturday.
Denmark has dominated most of the website polls and fan club votes whilst Azerbaijan has led the betting polls before the contest started – so it was no real surprise that both of them made it to the finals even though they had struggled throughout the rehearsals. Denmark went from a sure qualifier to a borderline non qualifier in the betting odds, but Azerbaijan held on to their lead – and we might actually see these two fighting it out for the win next Saturday. It would be an interesting battle between Safura, who will open the show and Chanee and N’Evergreen who will close it.
Let’s see who will win this year’s edition now that the finalists are known. May all the finalists give a spectacular show on Saturday and may the best song triumph in this year’s edition.
Azerbaijan won the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Running Scared’ performed by the duo Ell & Nikki who were chosen via a television show, and the song was then chosen through an internal selection and the juries picked ‘Running Scared’ who coincidentally came from the same writers who composed last year’s Azeri entry. This was Azerbaijan's fourth ever participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. Their debut was back in 2008 where they finished in eighth place with ‘’, a year later they managed to go further up the scoreboard placing third with ‘’ whilst last year they managed a fifth place finish with Safura’s ‘’.
‘Running Scared’ was always one of the songs touted to do well, but few expected it to triumph as other countries like France, UK, Ireland and Estonia were considered stronger contenders for the title but towards the end of voting, the other countries were running scared as they realised that their Eurovision glory for this year is over. In fact a lot of speculation and rumours have been circulating since yesterday, as soon as the results were announced. After the disappointing finish, a number of countries are considering complete withdrawal from the competition since they feel it is somewhat useless to keep participating when they cannot do well even if they pull out all the stops.
One of the countries debating withdrawal is none other than one of the big five countries namely France. France was the outright favourites for this year’s Eurovision. Amaury was a popular choice amongst the French and amongst the Eurovision fans, but it seems that they hype in the lead up to the contest got to him as on the night he did not deliver as strongly as he had done previously and ended up in fifteenth. A very disappointing result considering ‘Sognu’ had better odds than Alexandre Rybak’s ‘Fairytale’ who ran away with the trophy as it scored more points than any other Eurovision winner. The French had their hopes crushed when their song got a mid-table result, as Amaury was seen as a winner in the eyes of the French and many thought Paris 2012 was almost assured but it wasn’t.
The UK have pulled out all the stops to get a good Eurovision result, in 2009 they sent Jade Ewen with a song composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and the country got their best result since 2002 second runner up finish, finishing fifth. Hitting the bottom of the scoreboard last year, meant that the BBC wanted to up their game and they got the boy band BLUE to represent them. Blue achieved success all over Europe ten years ago, they reunited recently and decided to do Eurovision to recreate interest in Britain – but their eleventh place result is considered a major flop that will surely send their careers in taters. After this disappointing result, it seems that UK are also contemplating on future Eurovision participations. If both France and UK leave the contest, the EBU would need to evaluate on what to do as both countries are two of the biggest financial contributors.
The participation of Greece and Slovakia is also in doubt for next year as both countries are facing financial turmoil. Slovakia in fact wanted to withdraw this year but since their decision was taken after the stipulated period – it was better for the country to participate rather than withdraw. Greece on the other hand has been facing financial problems for quite some time and their Eurovision participation has always been in question in recent years, although since they are a country who normally does well they somehow always find a way to finance their participation. Another country in doubt for next year is Armenia – after their first non qualification at this year’s contest and the Eurovision being won by a country who they have political problems with, their participation is very much in doubt.
Nine countries have already confirmed their participation, with more confirming in the upcoming days. I guess we’ll have to wait and see who will be in it next year but just a day after the 2011 Eurovision things don’t look promising. Some countries might have valid reasons, whilst for others it might be a case of sour grapes. One has to keep in mind that in the past fifteen years, fifteen different countries won the Eurovision so it is not a case of one country really dominating the winning proceedings.
Lithuania first entered the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1994 but unfortunately, they did not make an impact with the juries, failing to obtain one single point leading to a four year withdrawal prior to returning in 1999 seeing them pick up some votes from all of Europe noting that tele-voting had just been given prominence for the second year in a row. Ultimately, the country would either fail in the semi-finals or obtain mid-tables placings but in 2006, things changed when LT United and their track 'We Are The Winners' managed to finish in sixth place. In the past three years, they have managed to make it to the final on two occasions including with the song 'C'Est Ma Vie' performed by Evelina Sasenko. This evening, they will choose another entry and the list of songs is quite interesting with a renowned vigour to do well it seems.
Laba Vakara and welcome to the final of the Lithuanian Final which was preceded by four semi-final shows, aired throughout all of last month. Fourteen (14) acts made it through to this stage, two (2) as wildcards and the other (12) directly through the votes of the public and the jury. Following the first round of performances this evening, there will be another round featuring the best three (3) acts as decided by the jury and the public. Three guests will also headline the show, being Anggun who will be representing France, Kurt Calleja who will be representing our very own nation of Malta and Gaitana for Ukraine. You can follow our live report on www.escflashmalta.com and also the live webcast through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest which is providing a signal.
The Independent - Baby
We start off with the first song for the evening, an alternative punk rock song performed by three guys. Their performance is energetic but the song isn't that strong for Eurovision. It will be quite a challenge for them to do well I think, but you'd never know. Somehow they reminded me of our local band Red Electrick in terms of style but something that was surely different is that with Red Electrick you can understand what they're singing about whilst with this band you cannot. They score 32 points.
Alive Way - Amazed by you
Two bands in a row. The vocal performance by the singer who is accompanied by four musicians is good. The song is better to the one before it but still nothing impressive. It's a ballad with rock elements in it and it builds up nicely - but its lyrics are a bit of a cliche. Something we have heard over and over again. They score 34 points.
Greta Smidt - The one
Classic pop follows next. Somehow this reminds me of Lady Gaga. The singer is in a red dress and is joined on stage by four dancers. The song is clearly influenced by Lady Gaga's electro-pop sound. She gives a good vocal performance and the lighting used does help the overall presentation of the song. Nothing extraordinary but surely the best thus far for the Eurovision stage. She gets 32 points.
Sati - Light is the one
Surely a Bjork wannabe. The song is distinctive and on the Eurovision stage it can either impress or fail miserably. She is in a light blue with white dress and she looks like an Ice Queen. The presentation of the song is quite strong and the dancers do give the song an extra lift. It's a song you either love or hate. She gets 31 points.
Vytautas Matuzas - Take it back
Surely the best of the night and I won't be surprised if this wins it tonight. A guy in a wheel chair rapping seems odd but this guy is surely talented. He is joined on stage by three cellists and a guy playing an electric guitar. A female vocalist joins in and gives the song an amazing touch. Surely that is the way to go Lithuania. Rap with some strong electric touches to it - it surely sounds current and can score well at the Eurovision. The songs scores 37 points.
Monika - Happy
It has a Swedish feel to it. The song starts slow but it picks up the pace quickly and becomes a classic pop song. The lyrics are a bit childish but they kind of work with this kind of song. The singer has an outfit change as the tempo changes. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists and two dancers. Her vocal rendition is quite strong but the song doesn't really make anyone happy. Well the judges were happy listening to happy as they give the song 41 points.
Vig Roses - Come back home
Two female singers in black dresses singing a powerful rock songs. The song is really different from what one normally hears, it is a strong song and the music is a bit dark but it really works. The singers compliment each other well and the lighting in the song in AMAZING. I really really like this one and their performance was really strong. I guess they have an outside chance tonight. Certainly one of the strongest entries tonight and if they select this it will be like a breath of fresh air at the contest. They get 33 points from the judges.
Multiks - Star
The singer is joined on stage by three bassists. The song is an attempt at electro-pop but it kind of fails. The singer delivers a relatively weak performance and it really sounds cheap, especially coming after the previous act. I can't see this standing a chance tonight. It is too weak and the Lithuanians who vote for it surely do not really have any taste in music as the song goes nowhere. Surely one of the weakest tonight. They get 24 points.
Katazina - Euforija
The sound of the accordian is surely the best thing about this song. The singer clad in a beige dress gives a good performance of her entry but I am not really keen on her movements on stage. She seems she is trying a bit too much. Having said that the sound of the accordian gives the song a traditional feel to it and it might appeal to an older audience. She gets 32 points.
Simona Milinyte - One of a kind
Where to start!? The outift and overall look is a bit hideous. The vocals aren't really strong either and the fact that towards the letter of the song she kind of starts shouting for help didn't really impress me at all. To think that this is a favourite tonight kind of scares me. I know it is written by Swedes and apparently rumours stated that this was offered to Carola but she rejected the entry. Whatever the case, it is not really a strong song. She gets 31 points.
Beissoul - Why
He's asking himself why and I am sure some are asking the same question on why did the song make it to the finals with those vocals. It is a ballad with touches of electronic sounds. The main singer is joined on stage by four strong female vocalists who seem to be stronger singers than he is and when they join in the song sounds much better. The lyrics are plain uninspiring and I can't see this song doing well tonight. What were the juries thinking? He gets a surprising 39 points.
Bekeso Vilkai - Letter by letter
A laid back jazz influenced ballad. Surely magic after the previous number. The main female vocalist is joined on stage by four male backing vocalist who do all the harmonies in the song. Some might describe this song a bit old fashioned but I think it has a chance to do well and it will be something different from the country. It is a song some people are going to love whilst others will hate. It receives a surprisingly warm applause in the hall. She gets 44 points.
Donny Montell - Love is blind
One of the favourites for tonight. The song starts off as a ballad but it quickly changes to an uptempo number. It s a good song and it has a good feel to it. The singer is very energetic and tries his best to sell his song. His vocal rendition is very good but overall I think that the song does not have that something special or different to stand out. The judges think it does apparently as they give it the maximum of 50 points.
DAR - Home
A classic Eurovision song in my books. A pop ballad performed by a boyband who look a bit too old to be cold that. Surely the public favourite tonight and I can see this flying the Lithuanian flag in Baku. Catchy and has winner written all over it. The only negative is that the song reminds me of others in it genre, something to be expected but still goon enough to win I think. They score 46 points.
We have a recap of all the song right now where the top three songs are expected to make it to the super-final.
THE SHOW - PART 2
Anggun is next on stage and she seems to be taking Europe by storm appearing in most of the National Finals she can get to. She performs her Eurovision entry Echo and her worldwide hit Snow in the Sahara.
The finalists are:
Donny - 24
DAR - 20
Monica - 25
Local singer Kurt Calleja takes the stage next and gives a confident performance alone of 'This is the Night.' Malta's promo tour continued in Lithuania and it seems that the local team is trying to promote our entry in a number of forieign countries. So far Kurt has visited Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.
LOVE IS BLIND WILL REPRESENT THE COUNTRY IN BAKU, AZERBAIJAN.
The concert period is well underway and it seems a number of organizers this year decided to hold concerts and shows with some of Malta’s top artists. Echoes – The Concert can be described as a celebration of four of the best local artist at the moment. The show will feature 2012 Malta Eurovision winner , 2012 Malta Eurovision runner-up , two time Maltese representative and 2009 Malta Eurovision runner-up . Each artists will be performing around eight songs each from their vast repertoire – this is likely to include original songs in both Maltese and English, and also cover versions the singers sing from time to time.
The four main starts will also be joined by two young artists who although they can be considered as some of Malta’s new blood, they are no strangers to the showbiz world. These are Domenique Azzopardi and Danica Muscat who both reached the final stages of the Malta Eurovision in the past two years. The show will also include Mystic dancers who will animate the show with their choreography. This concert will take place on the 24th of March, in the New Hall of Safi’s Primary School. The show kicks off at 20.30 and will be hosted by Joseph Barber. Tickets are selling at just 7 Euros and they are going relatively fast so if you’re interested it’s better to hurry up; they can be obtained by phoning on 79594083 or from Safi Local Band Club or the Local Council itself. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all the latest about Maltese events involving some of the best local talent.
Greece has surely been one of the most successful countries in recent history; most of the years the country presented strong songs and their results surely reflected this. The last time the country won the contest was with the ever popular Helena Paparizou with the song 'My Number One'. ERT will have four different acts competing to win the right of representing Greece at this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The final will be presented by Giorgos Frantzeskasis and Maria Kozakou. Like in Malta, the winner of tonight's show will be decided through a mix of 50% jury and 50% tele-vote. The French, Cypriot and Bulgarian representative will feature in the show alongside with last years' Greek representative who gave the country another top ten finish. Those interested in watching the show cans either watch the show either on Eurovision.tv or else on ERT's official website.
The show opens with a choreography with a number of dancers who dance to some of the most popular tunes which include; 'We Found Love' and 'I'm Sexy And I Know it'. The most interesting thing about this national final is that the show itself is being held from inside a shopping mall; everyone knows that the country has been hit by an economic crisis and this is clearly proof of this but the concept is cool and from the opening act it looks like that this will work tonight. Next up on stage is last year's winner Lukas Yiorkas featuring Stereo Mike with their song 'Watch My Dance'.
A number of singers who will be competing against Greece pass on their messages to the eventual winner and all the participants - quite an interesting concept. Another great gesture is that tonight all the money the station gets from the tele-voting will be heading towards charities; earlier on the hosts also assured all the viewers that Greece's Eurovision participation is not causing any financial burden on the country. The judges for tonight's show are; Maria Lahana from ERT, Andreas Pilarinos who is a musician, Michalis Tsausopolous who is a head of three Greek radios, Tasos Tryfonos who is another head of another radio station and Foreini Giannoulatous who is the head of International relations in ERT.
1. Baby I'm Yours - Dora (Illias Pantazopoulos, Franc & Nektarios Tyrakis)
Dora is joined on stage by four female dancers all dressed in black. She performs her song in a mini pink dress; the song itself is nothing out of the ordinary and the choreography itself was far from imaginative. It is a common pop song which most probably will not really impress at the Eurovision Song Contest unless the song is given a revamp and its show is stronger.
2. Killer bee - Cassiopeia (Christos Dantis, Leonidas Chantzaras)
Three females in black and blue perform the uptempo pop dance number. The song is catchy and the choreography involves a lot of strutting but it works perfectly. It surely stands a good chance tonight, although having said that normally Greece doesn't go do these kinds of songs. Girl power at its best and the three females surely rely on their sex appeal to sell their song.
3. No Parking - Velvet Fire (George Samuelson, Leonidas Chantzaras)
A pop rock number is up next and Greece has really gone for unconventional songs this year. The female singer looks a bit odd and the male singer/guitarist looks like he's trying his best to fit in. In general the whole act looks odd and the song itself is weak. Surely if the Greeks don't want to have a chance of doing well, this has to be the entry they have to send.
4. Aphrodisiac - Eleftheria Eleftherious (Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenstromand, Dajana Loof)
The big favourite for tonight performs in a short beige dress and she is joined on stage by four male dancers. The choreography is simply out of this world and works perfectly with the song. The dancers give the song that extra edge and Eleftheria makes sure that your eyes are on her during her number. The song itself is a typical Greek song; along the style of Helena Paparizou and Kalomira which both were successful for the country. I see this storming to victory tonight, if it doesn't win the only possible reason I see for this is because they might be afraid of winning the contest with such a number.
Angunn seems to be touring each and every Eurovision country which is participating this year and with no exception she visits Greece. She is followed on stage by Ivi who will be representing Cyprus in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest. Ivi hails from Greece, so she surely feels at home here in fact she is given quite a warm reaction by the crowd present in the shopping mall. Whilst the singers are waiting in the green room they all start singing 'Die For You' together - it seems the atmosphere is quite relaxed backstage. Sophie from Bulgaria is up next on stage. She performs her dance track 'Love Unlimited' to the Greek audience and it goes down well with those present in the mall.
Aphrodisiac - Eleftheria Eleftherious to BAKU. Greece has a great chance to do well, one just hopes that she is able to carry the performance live in Azerbaijan, other than that the country surely has the formula to do well. :)
As part of the coverage that we are focusing on for the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest, we have recently been in contact with Stella Mwangi who will be representing Norway in the biggest musical event in Europe. The singer/songwriter from Norway is looking forward to share her tune with all of the European viewers. She speaks to us about her career, her Eurovision participation and more in this exclusive interview.
It seems that everyone fell in love with you entry Stella as you were the instant favourite to win the Melodi Gran Prix. What was your reaction to this? Did it put extra pressure on you?
It was incredible! Winning the Melodi Grand Prix in Norway has transformed my dream to reality. I've been making music and releasing music for a long time. But Eurovision has helped me take it to the next level. I'm so grateful for this opportunity.
Most of the people now have heard your entry, but if you had to describe your entry to a fan what would you describe it and why do you think so many people fell in love with your entry as soon as they heard it?
My song Haba haba is filled with lots of positive energy and rhythms. The songs message is about celebrating every little step you take towards your dream. Haba Haba (Hujaza Kibaba) which is in Swahili means, Little by little fills up the measure. These are wisdom words that I got from my grandparents in Kenya.
Some critics and fans alike said that your entry is influenced by the World Cup song ‘Waka Waka’. What is your reaction to this? Do you look at this as a positive thing or a negative?
I actually take that as a compliment. But if you look at my discography you’ll see that my first solo single (Take it back) which I released in 2007 is filled with African rhythms such as Waka. I’ve always loved this music style. And I’m African, this is the type of music we sing and dance to! J
Your rise to fame within the Eurovision circle came with ‘Haba Haba’ but you have been in the industry for quite some time. Some of your work has in fact been picked up by Hollywood film producers. What can you tell us about this?
Yes this happened in 2002 when I met the producer Jay-arr and his artist The DNC. We wrote a lot of songs together, and then in 2005 Jay-arr moved to LA. And I guess we can say that he was ‘in the right place at the right time’. A publishing company known as Position Music and Choice Tracks heard some of our songs and fell in love with them. Not too long after Jay-arr called me and said that they had placed our songs on American Pie and CSI New York. And from then on we got our songs pitched in to Army wived, Scrubs and Las Vegas to name a few.
You are half Norwegian and half Kenyan and you seem to embrace this fact as you carry your heritage within your songs. How important do you think it is to always be faithful to your heritage and promote things you believe in?
When my family and I moved to Norway from Kenya in 1991, the first thing my parents told us (me and my siblings) was ‘when in Rome do as the romans do’. But it was still very important not to forget where we come from. That’s why my parents started teaching us our mother tongue after school from when I was 8 years. And I love them so much for that, because whenever I’m in Kenya I feel fully Kenyan, and when I’m in Norway I feel fully Norwegian.
Having hits beyond the country you live in is sometimes difficult but you also managed to achieve this feat. What was the secret to this success and which countries did you manage to delve into?
I’ve always been the type to have Plan A, B C. I knew that I had to do as much as I could to elevate. I started releasing my music in Norway but felt like it went kind of slow, so that’s why I decided to release my songs in Africa at the same time. Working this way, made me become a true Go getter and kept catching every opportunity I got.
Apart from being a singer you are also a rapper. If you had to chose just one of them, which profession would you chose and why? Do you believe that one of them brings out the real you more than the other?
I’ve always been a huge fan of music cause that’s the way I express myself. As long as I get to express myself then I don’t care whether I’m singing, rapping or dancing.
Back to the Eurovision Song Contest – it has been touted that this year’s musical event is one of the weakest contests in recent history. Did you hear this year’s entries? If yes, what is your idea on this and do you have any favourites apart from ‘Haba Haba’?
The songs I’ve heard so far are good and very different from each other. I believe the Eurovision show in Dusseldorf will be amazing, I can’t wait!
Malta will be represented by Glen Vella’s ‘One Life’. The Maltese song bears a simple positive message in it ‘Live and let live’ whilst your song also gives a very positive feeling. Did you hear the Maltese entry? What do you think about it?
I still haven’t gotten the time to listen to all the songs yet so haven’t heard this one. But I love music with a positive message so I’m looking forward to hear it.
Norway has won it recently with Alexander Rybak’s ‘Fairytale’ which boosted his career immensely. How are you looking at this experience? Do you think, that whatever the result is, your career will get an actual boost out of it?
Oh yes, no matter how it goes I feel like a winner already! Just winning the MGP in Norway was enough to get me where I wanted to be. I got a record deal, a new album on the way and a performing tour lined up. So I am more than happy, I am blessed.
How long have you been watching the Eurovision Song Contest? Do you consider yourself to be a fan of the contest? Do you have an all time favourite song – one that represented Norway and one from the actual Eurovision?
My family and I used to watch it a lot when I was younger. I remember promising myself that I would once stand on a stage like Eurovision. And here I am! :-)
My all-time favorite is Bobbysock with ‘La det svinge’.
Would you like to pass on a message to your fans and readers at www.escflashmalta.com?
I hope my song Haba Haba will make y’all smile and dance! J For daily updates, please follow me on www.twitter.com/stellamwangi ;)