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Saturday, 18 August 2012 16:30

Belgium: The Voice Featuring Natasha St-Pier

The Eurovision Song Contest has been known to be a competition which features up and coming talent in most cases with the reality being that most of the artists becoming well known in their respective countries. Having been living in France for a number of years, Natasha St-Pier decided to try out the competition back in 2001 with the track Je n'ai que mon âme finishing in a highly respectable fourth place, achieving the best result since 1995 when Nathalie Santamaria has reached the same placing with the song Il Me Donne Rendez-Vous. Since then, the Canadian born artist has managed to keep quite a high profile in France noting that she has released seven albums, including one earlier this year entitled Bonne Nouvelle which peaked at number #11 in France and Belgium and therefore, it comes to no surprise that she has been chosen as a coach on the upcoming edition of The Voice Belgique on La Une.

In recent months, Natasha St-Pier has gone on record stating that she is indeed quite happy at this moment in life and the album reflects that emotion in the best possible way. Chosen to be one of the coaches on The Voice is quite an intriguing element especially when knowing that there are  quite a number of artists from the Eurovision Song Contest all over the continent who have been chosen to appear on the respective show whose creator John De Mol was also spearheading the Dutch selection earlier this year. The broadcaster who takes care of The Voice Belgique is actually La Une, owned by leading French broadcaster, RTBF who will be in charge of selecting the entry and the song to represent Belgium in the 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Malmo, Sweden. It is quite interesting on whether the choice of Natasha St-Pier might reflect on the fact that the show might be used to pick the next representative. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news.

Source: www.tuner.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pvb4gtZEZvM

Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:55

Belgium: A Spotlight Shines on Lisa del Bo

Liefde Is Een Kaartspel is the name of the song that represented Belgium in the 1996 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and the performer of the track was none other than Lisa del Bo who is quite a well known figure in Belgium having released her debut single back in 1991 and continued released music until somewhat 2004 before taking an indefinite break from music or rather releasing new material, focusing on a number of performances around the country. Nevertheless, despite the several appearances, Lisa has not been on radio and television that much in recent years but now things will be changing especially due to the fact that she has changed the management company.

Amongst the new people that she is currently working with a number of new indivduals including none other than producer Patrick Renier who is not completely unknown to the Maltese public having been the composer of the song You Make Me Go (Uh Uh Oh Oh) performed by Deborah C and featuring Leila James which is still very much a huge success in Belgium noting that the track is currently charting on renowned station BayFM. Another leading credential which Renier brings to the table is the fact that he had worked on all of the major successful tracks that Belle Perez released including El Mundo Bailando which was used as a theme song for the show Pjazza produced by Where's Everybody a couple of years back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUlRb5TuP88

The new track that Lisa del Bo is currently promoting bears the name Hemelhoog and could be translated into Skyhigh. The composer of the track is as mentioned before none other than Patrick Renier whilst the lyricist is Sabien Tiels, a former participant of the Belgian national final back in 1996, the same year where she was beaten by Lisa. The single is a really uplifting track and the reviews have been somewhat glowing. She is being booked all over the country to perform the song and therefore, it seems that her comeback is working wonders. There is also huge support in the weeks to come noting that digital broadcaster Anne has picked up on the track and will be using it as a theme song for some of their shows and adverts in the coming weeks. You can hear the track just below and let us know what you think.

escflashmalta.com had the pleasure of watching Lisa perform live in the past couple of days and indeed, can vouch that she is indeed still remarkable. She is performing several songs from her repertoire as she kicks off the second leg of her career but then again, she would like to show that this is indeed a brand new chapter for her as an artist if the contacts that are made throughout the competition are then used to great effect of course. It also shows that despite the result that one achieves in the Eurovision Song Contest, it can still prove to be a successful platform in general. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news with regards to artists who have represented their country in the esteemed music event.

Source: escflashmalta.com, Lisa del Bo Official Facebook

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0aQ2i7UvTc

There are several elements which prove the point that the Eurovision Song Contest is very much an individual type of competition noting that singers from a number of countries from the European Continent would ultimately be hoping to surpass others but there are a number of contacts made which are normally used after the event comes to an end so that music careers can continue to evolve and flourish. Alexander Rybak has been one of the most popular names in the Scandinavian music industry since winning for Norway with the song Fairytale a couple of years back but nevertheless, the second runner-up finish for Paula Seling alongside Ovi with the song Playing With Fire continued her epic rise to fame status in Romania and surrounding countries. They have most recently worked on a brand new track and they will be promoting it along with their solo work during a special visit in Belgium.

The event which they have been invited to perform in is none other than the 2012 edition of the Antwerp Pride on Sunday 12th August but it has to be noted that they will not be the only Eurostars on show during the event especially due to the fact that the organizers have also been in touch with none other than Kate Ryan who represented Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2006 with the song Je t'Adore as well as Nicole & Hugo who had done the honours for the Benelux country way back in 1973 with the extremely iconic Baby, Baby. It is expected that Alexander and Paula will be performing their recent duet I'll Show You which was also written by the Norwegian singer/songwriter. We urge you to stay tuned into escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about these Eurostars noting that they are succeeding on several fronts in Europe with their respective music releases.

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHyYxvIyY0

The Team of Radio International is back this week and would like to invite to join the weekly Ultimate Eurovision Experience to overcome to Post Eurovision Depression during the summer 2012. The Show is broadcast on 106.8FM and Digital Cable 41 in the Netherlands and also via the internet via www.radiointernational.tv and will also be web-televised via the show's own Live Video Channel via the website. The simulcast will be from 2000 – 2300 hours CET this Wednesday.

Interview with Iris (Belgium 2012):  

Belgium last qualified for the Grand Final in 2010 in Oslo when Tom Dice won his Semi Final with the song "Me and my guitar". In 2011 it was Witloof Bay who almost get Belgium back into the Grand Final with the song "With love baby" but missed a few points and ended up at Number 11 in their Semi Final meaning not qualifying Belgium for the Grand Final in Duesseldorf. Now in 2012, Iris represented Belgium and on reached Number 17 in Semi Final 1 with the song "Would you". Lilian, Roger and JP met the young singer for a brief interview which you can hear on the showthis week. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z_5s5gnrCM

Eurovision Song Contest Spotlight - The Host Entries:  

After reflecting on the 57th Eurovision Song Contest over the past weeks Radio International now continuous to present a brand new series with the Eurovision experts in the UK and Ireland to take you through the summer. The new series is taking a look at the entries to the Eurovision Song Contest by the countries that were hosting the contest e.g. this year the Eurovision Song Contest came from Azerbaijan and the Azeri entry = Host Entry is Sabina Babayeva. This week it is the turn of Ross Bennett who will be joining the team in the studio from Brighton to take a look at the host entries of 1962, 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012. 

Home Composed Song Contest 2012 - Call out for submissions:  

As in previous years Radio International supports the Home Composed Song Contest which is a songwriters competition across Europe and beyond. 2012 marks the 21st edition of the Song Contest and the 2011 edition was won by Denmark and this year's edition is hosted by Spain. Contact the website of the Home Composed Song Contest to find out further details how to submit your entries and also what the schedule looks like. Samuel Bugia Garrido and his team is ready to guide you through the contest. Their email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Interview with Mandinga (Romania 2012): 

 What a nice delegation Romania took to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. Celebrating it's 10th Anniversary Mandinga represented Romania with the song "Zalelah" in Baku successfully qualifying heir home country to the Grand Final and reaching a remarkable Number 12 position. "Zalelah" is a dance Mandinga invites the audience to dance to. Although representing Romania Mandinga also has members in the group from Cuba. Lilian and JP had the great pleasure to meet Mandinga for a second time for an interview this time in Baku's Press Centre after their initial interview with Radio International at Eurovision in Concert 2012 in Amsterdam earlier on this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3ruy639kTQ  

Eurovision Song Contest News with Luke Fisher from escXtra.com:

Check out the latest developments connected to the Eurovision Song Contest. Whether it is music releases of Eurovision performers, appearances, special concerts, gossip, news, etc. Luke will have the latest updates during this week's edition of the show.

Join Radio International on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 from 2000 - 2300 hours CET, via the website or on FM. Radio International is available live via www.radiointernational.tv and on FM 106.8 and Digital Cabel Channel 41 in parts of the Netherlands. Should you not be able to listen live, the show will appear in the Programme’s Show Archive a few hours after it’s airing on the radio.

Eurovision Music Requests/Eurovision Quiz:

A big part of the show is playing listeners' requests. Submit your requests and / or greetings to your Eurovision friends through Radio International via the CONTACT Link on www.radiointernational.tv. But also don’t miss out on the weekly Eurovision Quiz where you can win a dip into the freshly filled up Goodies Bag or pick a Eurovision Song Contest from the past on DVD.

Interview with Pernilla Karlsson (Finland 2012):  

Unfortunately, no qualification for the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest for the lovely Pernilla Karlsson who represented her native Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Semi Final 1 at Number 12 when only the Top 10 per Semi Final advance to the Grand Final. The song "När jag blundar" translates to "When I close my eyes" and is performed in Swedish due to the fact that the area Pernilla comes from is a minority area where the language spoken is Swedish. This is a special interview as Lilian, Camera Man Roger and JP "kidnapped" the delegation bus of Finland and did the interview aboard the bus :) That's a first in JP's interviewing career :)  

Source: Radio International Team

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRC5NzxmrAA

This evening marks the opening of the Eurovision Song Contest with the very first semi-final of the prestigious music event being staged from Baku, Azerbaijan and as one could have noted from the past couple of days, there is surely a lot of excitement building up as eighteen (18) countries will be competing against each other for one of the elite ten (10) spots which are very much up for grabs. The countries competing this evening are a mixture of East, West, North and even Central and that is why it makes up for an extremely interesting evening. 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 Emil Calleja Bayliss; an upcoming lyricist having just finished as the runner-up in the Għanja tal-Poplu competition, Claudia Faniello; the runner-up in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and also Raquela; who has taken part in the Malta Eurosong on three occasions thus far with fifth being her best result. 

Good Evening! Welcome to the live report of the very first 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. The rehearsals were very well this afternoon and yesterday and therefore, everyone is ready for the first semi-final. 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 Ronald Briffa who is a special guest.

LIVE 

The hosts are on stage with the ladies clad in beautiful black and red dresses whilst the male is wearing a black suit which really suits him. The staging looks incredible on the television screens. It seems that the English language has improved from the rehearsals and therefore, they have toned it down speaking in German, French, English. They introduce the Eurovision Song Contest and we are off with the performance. Enjoy the evening people!

01. Montenegro

Raquela: The Opening track is shocking and unexpected. The verses are in a jazzy tune and therefore somewhat interesting. I wish the concept was slightly more clear ... but in its complexity it seems like they're bringing euronews on stage. The product is too weird though overall.

Emil: Dark Vadar at the Eurovision Song Contest. If he is trying to be funny he is failing msierably. If I had a buzzer, I would be buzzing constantly as probably the sound of the buzzer is more interesting. A guy sing talking with a giant trojan horse behind is surely not the way to impress. Will probably go down as the WORST song in EUROVISION HISTORY!

Claudia: I just cannot believe this entry and do not know whether to comment or not. I just cannot help but thinking to put this on mute at this stage as this is a track which does make up the numbers this evening. I do admire that he wrote this entry himself. I do believe they could have sent something better.

02. Iceland

Raquela: Beginning with a good and strong orchestration...vocals sound smooth and sleek..Hearing this song...brings Evanescence to mind.. Layout of performers on stage looks good...vocals sound really good in sync! Loved her dress!! Gorgeous!

Emil: A big Eurovision drammatic ballad - an instant Eurovision fan favourite since the day it was chosen. The singers looked a bit scary but they warmed up throughout the performance. The stage movement could have been a little more creative though. Typical Eurovision performance and I loved it.

Claudia: I like the dramatic aspect of the song, I think melody is a bit weak though for my liking. In the begging it reminded me of a well known Irish song known. The vocals are strong and this should do well this evening.

03. Greece

Raquela: The tune is catchy...seems like a candy twist to Greek traditional music and the performer is a sexy lady with an extremely thin voice in my opinion. The overall package of dancers leaves much to be desired although they seemed to pull it off.

Emil: Back in 2005 they found a winning formula so they decided to replicate this Greece. Found a singer who looks like Helena Paparizou and sent her to Eurovision with a similar song and a simlar presentation. Having said that she's HOT and will get a number of votes based on that. The song's catchy and the vocal performance was decent although the backing singer helped her carrying it through. Always fun to listen to this type of music.

Claudia: This is something which we have heard quite a number of times before actually because it is a very typical entry from Greece. I do like this song though, the best thus far even though I do not like the vocals too much.

04. Latvia

Raquela: Desperate housewives goes to Eurovision....but love the glamour! Catchy tune, good vocals and a good combination of voices put together. In it's simplicity it's still catchy and who knows what will happen with this track this evening. Melody line is very strong and can be hummed easily.

Emil: When you think that Desperate Housewives finished, you meet the new Housewives at the Eurovision Song Contest. They seem to be really desperate and the creator of that choreography deserves to either die or else given an award for making the audience laugh their hands off. The song is catchy and kind of sweet but the presentation is LAME. Vocally was good but can't believe what I just saw, I guess when mid-life crisis hits you can go to Eurovision.

Claudia: Like how the performer refers to music as being her oxygen ... I do like the chorus but then again, the act is quite weak and not really a fan of the song. I love her vocals when she does the higher bits but I think it starts low for her voice.

05. Albania

Raquela: Well, as Elaine pointed out, hairstyle is quite over the top. I'm hoping this will turn into something beautiful. She executes a perfect vocal rendition, hitting every single note!!! Simply Amazing! I am literally in awe!Very expressive...I have goosebumps!

Emil: Albania sent the evil queen from Snow White. Her voice is AMAZING and it simply blew me away. I guess my dog doesn't agree with my commets as she was shaking her head throughout. She's very talented and the highly drammatic performance will surely be a hit. I guess the jury might save this tonight.

Claudia: I love love how she sings with so much passion, it's a real pity I can't understand what she's saying! Wonderful vocals! Her voice and passion has stolen my attention and that says a lot... Goosebumps!

06. Romania

Raquela: Positive energy radiates from this group!! I love the cohesive unit of bagpipes, accordian and saxophone and drum. Her dress looks so fresh...and the colours look great. Orange and gold....so sexy..the song brings happiness, good times and joy! Just makes me want to get up and dance!

Emil: I have to confess this is my ringtone and I love this song to bits. I think it can be a massive Summer hit and I won't be surprised if it wins the Eurovision but she needs a stronger vocal performance as tonight's performance left MUCH to be DESIRED as it was quite weak. The choreography is fun and you can dance along to the tune. I guess this will go down quite well with the Maltese.

Claudia: I absolutely love back-pipes. It has a typical romanian sound, I'm not a fan of the vocals. Didn't do much to me honestly because she was someone off beat at times this evening. It is just another song honestly.

07. Switzerland

Raquela: A good vocal rendition, and despite it being a band, the voice is quite defined. Hard to grasp lyrics completely. But the overall scene, loving the laser effect...compliments the song. Seems like a good response from the public.

Emil: Not a fan of this song. Although the tune is strong, the fact that they are singing in English and I can't understand what they're saying is a bit irritating. The crowd's got in it too. I don't think this will have a chance tonight - the jury can save it but I highly doubt it. It's not catchy enough that the public will remember this and vote for it.

Claudia: I love his voice, I think this song could be a hit. It's so modern. Maybe the Eurovision Song Contest isn't the proper stage for it though. I would rather imaging it in another type of showcase though. This was meant to be a radio hit and I would definitely vote for this.

08. Belgium

Raquela: Overall a good song but not for such a stage. The tune does not seem memorable enough and her dress is somewhat cute and girly. The build up was somewhat impressive actually.

Emil: Simply ballad and I guess the inspiration behind her outfit was fom Malta's own Danica Muscat as it looks very similar to her outfit at this year's Malta Eurovision. A sweet love song that few will remember at the end of the night. Simplicity was surely the key for Belgium but I guess it was a bit too simple for my liking.

Claudia: I'm not crazy about her vocals, it has an old sound to it which is very much like the past decade actually. The overall outcome is very forgettable. She is so young though and she must be enjoying this whilst feeling very emotional.

09. Finland

Raquela: Love the dress, colour and style! Good and fresh melody line. Very pleasant to listen to...seems to bring the Corrs back to life noting their hiatus. Despite being a ballad, it has definitely captured my attention...I wouldn't mind listening to this again..

Emil: Back to back ballads and the fact that this is in Swedish gives it an edge. The singer is beautiful and oozes charisma as she sings. She looks like a girl out of a fairytale and although I think it might struggle to make it through it is still classy and atmospheric. It is different and the traditional feel to it makes it special.

Claudia: The very beginning of this song actually reminded me of the track I'm With You by Avril Lavingne. I like the serenity that comes with her facial expression but the song in itself is weak but then again, I have a soft spot for strings, nothing else really.

10. Israel

Raquela: It's got a radio-like effect , playful quality!!! This is a track which reminds me a lot of the seventies. There is something amiably retro to it. 

Emil: Love the rhythm to this song. They all seem to be having fun performing this odd entry. They tried to be funny but at least they presented some decent to our ears. The girls on the piano looks like she's high and the singer looks really odd perhaps like the Mad Hatter from Alice & Wonderland. Still I like this one. I guess it will do well tonight. It will surely be a bordering on whether to qualify or not.

Claudia: Ohh, Israel decides to go boogie this year. It's sounds to me like an opening song of a Japanese cartoon from the 70/80s.

11. San Marino

Raquela: The beginning of this song seems promising and well it suddenly becomes cheesy pop. Seems like a group I'd hire for a kid's party. Brings to mind the Spice Girls!!!! Voices however were in sync and overall catchy tune.

Emil: San Marino thought that whatever they send won't have a chance to qualify and it seems they decided to go for the stupidiest song ever. Pity after last year's strong effort. The girl can sing but this song surely doesn't allow her to show it. They took social networking addiction to a new level. Please don't forget to like our Facebook page we need more LIKES.

Claudia: I hate the subject. How stupid, sorry for being blunt. The act and her outfit are just hideous and her laptop just looks absolutely stupid.

12. Cyprus

Raquela: A lot of energy and I just keep being stunned at her beauty!! Looks like an underwater effect. This does stand a chance to make it through this evening.

Emil: I love everything about this performance except the vocals. Under than that I truly think they everything is perfect. The choreography is fun, the girl is sexy and the backdrop was SPLENDID. One of the fan favourites and I guess the public has to save it tonight after that performance.

Claudia: This track could easily be a club summer song for students and I believe that the track is just too low for her voice. She's the best up-tempo song so far and could be a dark horse this evening. I did dance to it!

13. Denmark

Raquela: Good voice...lost for words..maybe reminds me of natasha bedingfield? I didn't get the overall theme. This is very middle of the road and it is a maybe qualifier this evening.

Emil: Nice, simply and catchy. A radio hit and since it contrasts really well with the one before it, it will do well. The whole group looks relaxed and they all look cute. I guess this will sail into the finals tonight and will secure another good result for Denmark. Nothing else to add. Simplicity is the key and it works.

Claudia: Breathe of fresh air... Very radio! It's modern and I love how she uses her voice. I like this a lot actually.This my favourite this evening. I love the bass in the song.

14. Russia

Raquela: Now we've got a folk experience....seems fun to watch, and there is strong applause from the public...mmm I wonder what's coming! Its a risk! Evolves into an unexpected beat...seems like a dance beat! surprise surprise. I wonder what will pop out of that oven.....hahaha......maybe a Christmas tree? and...its they are...fresh out of the oven...BUNS.

Emil: How can you make a Eurovision crowd go crazy!? Get six grannies from an old people's home and they will all go mad. The song is catchy and somehow their vocal performance tonight is much better in comparison to their performances throughout the week. The song is catchy and I can't believe I'm saying this but they have a STRONG chance to win this. Never thought I would end up loving this but I kind of do. It's my guilty pleasure.

Claudia: The melody is very catchy and it gets you going but it wouldn't be a song I'd vote for. Pero if I was there I'd dance to it and I would definitely wave my flag. This could do well ...

15. Hungary

Raquela: Strong melody line. The modulations are excellent.Love it love it love it. Rhythm is strong, catchy. Wish it never ends........Finally a tune to look forward to.. This is my favourite so far. Very very good feedback from the audience.

Emil: I guess this is going to get lost tonight. It's a radio friendly song and Eurovision isn't the place for such a song. It seems something was missing but I cannot figure out what it is. Pleasant but that's it.

Claudia: What a beautiful instrumental beginning. I like the music but it does not really go anywhere special. It's modern, I wouldn't mind listening to it on the radio while driving my beloved smart.

16. Austria

Raquela:  Not liking the dance...party anthem. Too repetitive for my liking...

Emil: HAHAHAHA - Call me weird but I like this song. It's very tongue in cheek and different to what we've seen before. Don't know on its chances tonight. Perhaps some of the viewers are going to find the booty shaking a bit too much but it's cool, fun and the crowd seem to be dancing to this tune. It was very well presented and probably a number of people would be shaking their booty in Paceville to this song.

Claudia: I just cannot believe this song. I am sorry but I prefer to mute and not comment on it.

17. Moldova

Raquela: Ahh love the costumes and contemporary dance!! In fact, I love the movement in the song. My favourite overall stage performance and setting!! Vocals are spot on, especially backing vocals!!!

Emil: Love Love Love it! Love the music, the crazy choreography and all that makes this song. It's very entertaining. Different and FUN! We need more songs like these. Fresh and funny yet not over the top. The backing dancers/singers look crazy in a fun way and I really feel like getting up to sing and dance along with them. I seriously hope they MAKE IT! Fingers crossed. GO MOLDOVA!

Claudia: I can't understand a word this guys is saying. It's a cute song but didn't impress me much.

18. Ireland

Raquela: Seems like they followed the concept of the song..... but nothing more to add. That's all folks.

Emil: Saving the best for the last. Such a catchy song. I felt myself singing a long and doing their fist pump. The performance was strong and it looked great on screen. JEDWARD's energy is unbelievable and this transmits well. Not a fan of the outfits though - they look like they came out of a Star Wars movie but I guess that's the only down point to an overall strong performance.

Claudia: It is quite a pity that Ireland sent them to Eurovision this year noting the many classics that they have sent over the years.

The Show (Part 2)

The hosts are back on stage to say that the songs have come to an end and to open up the tele-voting noting that a person can phone up to twenty votes from a land-line. In the meantime, the recap of the tracks is currently being shown on screens. Not too much time in order to vote, some fifteen minutes but remember, Malta does not vote in this semi-final.

Prediction

Claudia's Qualifiers:  Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Switzerland

Emil's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Moldova, Romania, Russia

Raquela's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Switzerland

Qualifiers

01. Romania

02. Moldova

03. Iceland

04. Hungary

05. Denmark

06. Albania

07. Cyprus

08. Greece

09. Russia

10. Ireland

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan will be hosting this evenings' showcase of the Eurovision Song Contest where eighteen (18) countries will be competing for one of the ten slots which are up for grabs. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of predictions put forth by the bookmakers, by fans of the event and even by well known musicians, songwriters and people in the music industry. The fact of the matter is that we at escflashmalta.com brought together, four well known individuals including none other than songwriters Jan Van Dijck and Knut-Oyind Hagen from The Netherlands and Norway respectively as well as the upcoming songwriting/production team of Max Persson and Salar Gorgees. They spoke about the songs and rated them whilst the people were still rating them up to one o'clock in the afternoon. We allocated a fifty per cent (50%) billing to each and came up with quite an interesting prediction for this evening.

Whilst the votes of the four individuals, three entities were of course based on musical fortes, this might not have been the same with the people but that is what the Eurovision Song Contest is all about at the end of the day. There were some 1200 votes from all over the continent and they are the ones which had to face the consequences in the overall result with one of their selections missing out in the final tally. The qualifiers in no particular order for this evening according to the expert reviewers and the voters in the poll are as follows:

  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Latvia
  • Romania
  • Switzerland

Amongst the surprises, are surely Russia and Albania who have really impressed during the rehearsals but then again, the reviewers did vote based on the preview videos and not the actual rehearsals and the performances will definitely be impressing a number of people. Another interesting assessment is that Moldova who almost have a perfect record only failing to qualify once did not garner a qualification from the mixture of votes but nevertheless, look as sure fire contenders in this semi-final. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news. 

Source: escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81cE3DV_OYE

One of the youngest participants in this years' Eurovision Song Contest is surely Iris, who will be representing Belgium with the song Would You? which won a two song national selection earlier this year held on one of the most popular shows in the nation. The track which is a beautiful ballad has been receiving a lot of praise and the artist herself has a brilliant vocal range to carry it off actually. Iris is competing in the first semi-final and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of her Belgian counterpart Tom Dice who represented the country just two years ago with the beautiful track Me and My Guitar.

 

Belgium does not have the most stellar of records in the Eurovision Sogn Contest unfortunately but nevertheless, have been one of the most consistent competing countries from the Western world continuously participating each and every year except when having been relegated. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, they have only managed to reach the final on one occasion, but Iris will be vying to change that record this year and take the tally to at least two actually. Within this interview, Iris speaks about her song, her rehearsals and her music career in general which has been flourishing even so early in her life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2DMpdo3268

Published in Interviews

The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest has been quite an interesting ride thus far but the waters will definitely not calm down now as almost all of the participants in the first semi-final will be taking to the stage for their second rehearsal and this time round, things will be less technical and more of a run through sort noting that there have been thirty (30) minutes of allocated time for each participant today. Our nation and our representative who is taking his time off to go through the sites in Azerbaijan is enjoying his time there and will get another free day as rehearsals for him continue tomorrow late in the afternoon, nevertheless, there is a lot of interesting today with some of the acts that will be taking to the stage leaving a very positive mark following their first showing earlier this week. Some of the acts which people will surely be looking forward to are; IcelandAlbania, Romania, Belgium, Finland and Cyprus whilst Greece will be hoping that everything has improved following a shaky start to their preparations.

Good Morning and welcome to our fifth day of live coverage direct from Baku, Azerbaijan thanks to our premier four members of our team including Juergen BoernigLilian BrunellŠira Carolyn Bezalel who have been in charge of pictures and interviews in the past couple of days as well as attending press conferences as well as Garrett Mulhall, our mastermind really who has been leading the team in Baku to the best possible reporting possible noting his long and detailed rehearsal reports as well as his Irish exclusives whilst also giving Malta a role of support by also making himself available to the press conference which has also been recorded and posted in two parts here and here thanks to Juergen and the rest of his extremely reliable team. We are gearing up for the longest day of coverage this year noting that thirteen (13) countries will be rehearsing today but we are ready to bring you all of the latest and more!

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:30 - Montenegro

09:00 - Iceland

09:30 - Greece

10:00 - Latvia

10:30 - Albania

12:00 - Romania

12:30 - Switzerland

13:00 - Belgium

13:30 - Finland

14:20 - Israel

14:50 - San Marino

15:20 - Cyprus

15:50 - Denmark

 LIVE

We believe that people in the press centre has become used to the routine of late starts but it does get on one's nerves especially due to the fact that there should be a tight schedule implemented as from today. Nevertheless, the first vocal rehearsal is expected shortly and then we can commence with rehearsals from thirteen countries.

Montenegro

From the onset of things, it looks as if nothing much has changed from the very first rehearsal when Montengro comes onoto the stage. Rambo is covering his head with what seems to be a sort of a scarf or rather a shall and walks dauntingly across the stage passing the cardboard donky. Today he seems to have included the outfit he will be wearing during the semi-final which just happens to include a white shirt and a smart black blazer. Despite the fact that he is not getting anything right in terms of the song, his wardrobe is spic and span. He is joined on stage by three breakdancers who also have a poster which they open up mid-way through the performance. The poster says 'Euro Neuro Monetary Break Dance'. The vocals are also good as expected. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXYrI7EiMKg

Video Courtesy of escXtra


Iceland

I never like to be a stick in the mud about reporting from rehearsals but it seems that Iceland might be facing some daunting trouble for the very time and this is due to the fact that despite the immaculate performance that they gave earlier in the week during their first rehearsal. The addition of some props was included today such a smoke machine which is supposedly being used by Greta although this was to be expected because the Icelandic broadcasting is playing the Eurovision game in this performance. Nevertheless, the problem which we would like to mention is the fact that Jonsi was very much off key during the run through and therefore, did not really sound well. It seems though that the problem might be with the monitors and it is being adhered to at the moment actually. The backdrop featuring lakes, mountains and a smoky setting still looks incredible and this should still qualify even after this rehearsal but it might go down a bit in expectations today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVlSge7vs4I

Video Courtesy of escXtra


Greece 

My My, it seems that the Greek delegation knew that things were very much on the rocks last time round because this has to be the most improved rehearsal thus far noting that the backing dancers are in sync and doing a routine which is very much typical for the Hellenic nation. In the meantime, apart from the smashing routine which is coming across very well on stage, Eleftheria has improved her vocal performance and she seems to be enjoying herself out there as opposed to Sunday when she just could not manage to composer her emotions. Things have also changed in terms of backdrop which now features a blue background with a golden seashell. We have been told that she is also adjusting to the new camera shots and is actually getting a hang of the interaction with the audience at home. It seems that Greece are back in the game, and looking for yet another top ten result.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9AQQf3XGFI

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Latvia

The second rehearsal for Latvia and it seems that Anmary has also decided to bring out the outfit that she will be wearing on the night of the semi-final, in beautiful sea blue. The staging in terms of colour is somewhat cordinated for her outfit noting that it commences in blue before in a flurry of petals changes in a multicolour format and then just plain orange but wait, some circles are also seemingly appearing and disappearing. Once more, Anmary is joined by her four female dancers whose choreography despite still very silly is slick. The vocals are stronger than the first semi-final but there is nothing extraordinary that would make this a qualifier in less than a weeks' time. It has been noted that there is no element of fun in this song apart from the slightly satirical lyrics. It is coming across very well on screen but there is no real connection. The people present in the hall did not mind it though and they clapped along.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIOunPGfNT8

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Albania

I must start off by saying that I am always looking forward to another sublime performance of Rona Nishliu noting that she is magnificient to listen to. The concept of the staging in terms of Eurovision is somewhat highlighted in this entry actually with just a dark background, slight red and a spotlight on the artist. There is nobody else on stage barring Rona and this is what makes the track even more special in my opinion. As the song develops, the lighting is somewhat changed to black, white and red. It is yet unknown about what the artist will be wearing but we believe it will be a dress. Her hair styling though seemed perfect today. Her vocals were beautiful, astonishing and just perfect and she is managing to hold the song together with them. This is a qualifier in my books and deservedly so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20x_4evdGlM

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Romania

The backdrop for this song is one of the most impressive in this years' competition noticing that there are a number of graphical changes including hearts, drums and also a number of sun. The Romanian group are clad in white attire when it comes to the band whilst also noting that Elena is wearing an orange skirt and a black shirt. The vocals are very strong as they were in the very first rehearsal and this might be the surprise of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The betting odds have put this back up in sixth place despite being extremely just before the rehearsals commenced. Now it has become a definite qualifier for being well performed and catchy. The ending is one of the most interesting in terms of song structure and they are also enjoying themselves out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcDRrDveckA

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

 Switzerland

This was the first entry to be chosen for this years' Eurovision Song Contest and was actually invited to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest as a guest but nevertheless, this entry is not really sounding that great and the main problem seems to be with the diction of the performer which is not all what is hoped for in terms of pronunciation noting the strim instead of the stream. It is quite interesting to see that the vocal performance on the other hand is quite impressive still and that the main problem lies with the respective diction. The group is joined on stage is joined by a band and the main performers are just jumping around the stage. The backdrop seems to be taken from The Matrix noting that the green is exactly a replica of it. This is a sure non-qualifier in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TpIYDUlHtc

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Belgium

The second youngest participant in this years' Eurovision Song Contest takes to the stage for her second rehearsal clad in a short white dress and high heels. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists, all of which happen to be women. The backdrop for this one looks much better than the previous one noting that it includes trees and bubbles. The colour scheme features a mixture of blue and pink. The vocals for this one are very strong although the first rehearsal was even stronger as she was less excited. Nevertheless, there are nerves today and this might be problematic as that is why many people wrote her off in the first place. This is still a marginal qualifier but it all lies with Finland on whether they could come up with a better rehearsal than last week. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaKZDwGoJQg

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Finland

The second ballad in a row and one which is very similar to the one before it but nevertheless, the issue lies with whether the people would like to listen to a song in English about a relationship with a lover or whether they would like to listen to a song in Finnish dedicated to a mother. The new backdrop features fireworks during the last chorus of the performance and this looks very nice indeed. The vocal performance is powerful and sweet at the very same time and this works well on both the screens and in the hall. One of the issues with this might also be the dark staging but the power of the song is just too good. Whether this will qualify is yet unknown but people believe that one of this and Belgium will make it through to the finals. I am not too sure which one therefore, I would just say that this is marginal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwO87ETYjEw

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Israel

Israel return on stage for their second performance and the backdrop still looks as stunning as it did the first time round with a typical alarm clock going backwards. Actually on other side of the stage, there is also a pocket watch.The colour scehem is a mixture of orange and purple and this works well. All of the group is making use of the stage actually and this is visuall enchanting. The vocal performance is even better than the first time round and this is probably due to the fact that we are on later in the day. This is looking like a strong contender for the final and I believe that it will be making it through by virtue of reaching the top ten in the semi-final. The spotlights are being showcased at the best possible moments and that is why it has become an appeal to the audience visually. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-ll-w0trR0

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

San Marino

San Marino are in their outfits today with Valentina in a silver top and blue jacket topping off blue trousers. She is joined on stage by another four individuals who are are doing a number of things including acting as backing dancers and vocalists. There is also a laptop on stage which Valentina uses as a prop to log into her social network. The backdrop is one of the most intriguing in this years' Eurovision Song Contest featuring lyrics of the track itself as well and also pictures of random people. The performance is strong once more but nevertheless, this is not really looking like a qualifer at the moment but hey, it is fun and pretty enjoyable and that is why, no one will really mind this performance especially mid way during the competition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njvjrjw2Ikk

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Cyprus

This is the second rehearsal for Cyprus as it is for all of the other performers but one of the main differences is that Ivi has lost some of her spark today and it seems that it is very different to the first rehearsal especially vocally noting the fact that she has lost some of the high notes that were making this better. The real problem does not lie though within her capabilities which had already been shot down initially but more due to the issue of whether she can manage a decent performance live. This type of song has been debatable on whether it could be given a clear decent showing but the fact remains that it is a great visual spectacle for all to enjoy especially with the strong lighting patterns and also a great backdrop which give this song a clear edge over some of the others. Another positive point is the outfits which are being used, which featuring a shimmering silver lining. I believe that this song will qualify.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KFKmECJLfA

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Denmark

The final rehearsal of the day comes from Denmark and Soluna Samay and this comes into the competition as one of the favourites although it has not really done anything for me in the past couple of weeks losing all personal hopes of success. Nevertheless, there is not a bad point to disagree and I will be pleasantly looking forward for this in order to see the backdrop grapihcs which features a particular setting in different weather and seasonal conditions. The main artist along with the rest of the team is in clad in the clothing that they will be performing in on Tuesday. The vocal performance is strong once more but it does not really appeal to me. Another reason for this might also be the fact that it is looking too static on the cameras. This will qualify even though it is not to my liking but it will be the worst result for Denmark in quite some time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD4PMW2iltk

Video Courtesy of escXtra

It has already been quite the interesting journey with our set of critics, who are actually four but the last two join together as one of the upcoming production houses in Sweden. They have already highlighted which of the seven serve as their favourites and will now be moving on their eight track but nevertheless, their top ten might not reflect the marking as seen within these articles and this is because they are just rating how a song sounds to them on its' own thus far. The next entry comes from Belgium whose Flemish broadcaster had decided to send a newcomer to represent them in the event by the name of Iris and the track that she will be performing entitled Would You? was one of the two that she performed in a two song national selection. It is a co-write between three Belgians including; Nina Sampermans, Jean Bosco Safari and Walter Mannaerts.

After Sandra Kim (who won with J’aime la vie in ’86, when was just 13), Iris is the youngest ever Belgian Eurovision Song Contest candidate. This spontaneous flower from Noorderwijk (Herentals) is only 17, but is all set to give Europe an unforgettable performance. Iris was clearly bitten by the music bug when she was just a child. She skipped her way through her childhood, singing and dancing. She joined her local school choir. She sang a few local gigs and then, suddenly, she was ‘spotted’ in 2010 at a talent competition, jointly organised by Flemish teen magazine ‘Joepie’ and ‘Sonic Angel’ (the record company behind Tom Dice, who came 6th in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with Me and my guitar). Iris won herself a record deal and soon afterwards released her first hit single Wonderful. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeiYk6biZq8

When the VRT (the Flemish public broadcaster) announced that Iris would be representing Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, she was still relatively inexperienced and had never before appeared on national TV. The VRT was won over by her youthful enthusiasm, her fresh look and her intriguing stem. For Iris this announcement was a dream come true. She had been dreaming of singing at the Eurovision Song Contest since her childhood. Together with the VRT, Iris (and record company Sonic Angel) went in search of lyricists and composers. Two songs were finally selected: Safety net and Would you. On Saturday 17 March 2012, Flemish TV viewers made the final choice. When she represents Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, Iris will be singing Would you.

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

Jan Van Dijck

  • A simple ballad, very powerful performed. I believe that it is Iris voice that makes this ballad so interesting. It has a strong chorus. Hope it will reach the final! Let's give this a clear seven (7) points.

Knut-Oyvind Hagen

  • The Belgian song starts very promising, naked and genuine. It loses some of its impact halfway through or so, and ends up somewhere between horrible and fantastic, but still I want to give credit to the singer. It won’t reach the left side of the score board, but I wouldn’t be astonished if Belgium reaches the final. It is very borderline so hence, my five (5) points.

Pitchtunes

  • This is a ballad that doesn’t touch you emotionally. Iris is off pitch too many times. Because of this songs “naked” sound her voice needs something extra to shine through. Unfortunately, she doesn’t succeed in doing that. Well, five (5) points will suffice this one though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pGWkV7y6As

Entry Background

Performer: Iris

Composers: Nina Sampermans, Jean Bosco Safari and Walter Mannaerts

Authors: Nina Sampermans, Jean Bosco Safari and Walter Mannaerts

Song: Would You?

Language: English

Broadcaster: VRT

 History of the Nation

Like Switzerland, Belgium is one of the founding countries of the Eurovision Song Contest and finished in the bottom position a total of eight times but then again, their results have been quite positive except since the introduction of the semi-final system which has seen them slumber to disaster unfortunately. They have only made it out of the semi-final once, and that was in 2010 with Tom Dice and his song Me and My Guitar who would go onto finish in sixth place at the end of the evening. Last year, they missed out on the final ever so slightly with Witloof Bay and their song With Love Baby finishing in eleventh place. The nation will be hoping that Iris can put her nerves aside and manage to put Belgium through to the final once more hoping that another top ten result could be viable.

Source: Eurovision.tv for the Biographical Information and all respective media

Published in Editorials

One of the most important promotional events of the year took place in Belgium, a nation which is competing within the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The event brought together the delegations from Armenia, Greece, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ireland, Belgium as well as Malta. The schedule included performances on the television un the show TVL as well as a live performance during the Pink Nation event.

Our representative for 2010 namely Thea Garrett performed her entry My Dream written by Jason Paul Cassar and Sunny Aquilina looking extremely charismatic during the performance. According to reports, the artist really did well within the country and was received well by both people as well as the media present. In the meantime, you can see the performance from the program through the youtube video below which has just been uploading in an extremely high quality version.

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