December 11, 2019

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Tori Amos, an eight time Grammy Award nominee from the United States of America, with countless hits to her name including "Cornflake Girl", "Professional Widow" and "Caught a Life Sneeze" took to the stage in Linz, Austria and performed "Rise Like a Phoenix". It was a late addition to the set-list but definitely a welcome one with the audience going mad as soon as the first notes were played.

"Rise Like a Phoenix", the winning entry of the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with vocals provided by Conchita Wurst was not the commercial winner of the music competition with first runner-up "Calm After the Storm" by The Common Linnets scoring higher in several charts across the globe, yet with endorsements coming from the likes of Cher and Tori Amos, it is no wonder why this song has re-defined the whole concept of the international music competition. We urge you to stay tuned to through Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news from the world of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Rise Like a Phoenix co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas with vocals provided by Conchita Wurst on behalf of Austria was the clear choice of both the professional juries and the public across the whole of Europe. It is also worth noting that first runner-up, Calm After the Storm performed by The Common Linnets was decided through a consensus even though the Maltese Jury made up of Paul Abela, Manolito Galea, Corazon, Elton Zarb and Pamela thought otherwise pushing it down to a bottom three position.

Having thoroughly analysed the results, we have come to the conclusion that Malta's entry Coming Home written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by Firelight did not connect with the audience and languished in a dire bottom three position had it been up to the public only, as opposed to the clear and sensible respect of the professional juries who ranked the entry in 5th place by the close of the voting. Nevertheless, the polarised result saw Malta languish in 23rd place with just 31 points. 

It was relatively disappointing considering that Firelight gave a spirited performance of their folk/pop tune Coming Home. At this stage, I would like to thank Patrick Strouk, Emil Calleja Bayliss, Antoine Farrugia, Juergen Boernig and the rest of the team at Radio International for all their editorial work as well as special guests; Christabelle, Brooke, Daniel Testa, Danica Muscat, Karen DeBattista, Rikki Lee, Simon Casey, Davinia, Matt Mercieca and Miriam Christine. Last but not least, THANK YOU for following even on Facebook and Twitter.


Friday, 25 April 2014 15:30

ESC 2014: An In-Depth Review of Austria

It has become customary for the editorial board to engage professional individuals from the music industry to assess the songs competing in the Eurovision Song Contest as presented to the European Broadcasting Union during the Heads of Delegation Meeting. Greig Watts, Joseph Zammit, Sharon Vaughn and John Scott from the United Kingdom, Malta, Sweden and the United States have been entrusted with the second semi-final, comprising of sixteen songs and set to take place on the 8th May 2014 at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark. Making use of the running order and moving onto number #6, we catch up with Austria (ORF) who will be represented by Conchita Wurst with the song Rise Like a Phoenix co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas.

Conchita Wurst was born as Tom Neuwirth on November 6th, 1988 in Gmunden/Austria. The young artist had always dreamed of a career in showbiz. It all really started in 2006 when he took part in the talent show Starmania. In 2007, he joined the boy band "jetzt anders!", which however only survived for less than one year. He first performed as his alter ego Conchita Wurst, the famous long-haired full-bearded lady, in the talent show "Die große Chance" in 2011. 

Since then, he certainly has not gone unnoticed in Austria. More recently, Conchita Wurst participated in the ORF production "The hardest jobs of Austria", where she worked in a fish factory, and in "Wild Girls", where a group of candidates had to survive in the deserts of Namibia/Africa together with native tribes. "For me the most special and honoring thing is that Austria shows tolerance and acceptance and I’m so happy to be this statement. I’m allowed to be the voice of their beliefs during this time and this really makes me very proud."

"We, and not at least myself, want to stand for a society without hate and discrimination. And if I’m honest, I think everyone of the contestants should stand for the same, cause we are joining a very opend minded project, so they should be open minded too." This is just a part of the exclusive interview organised by which could be seen on the biography page.

Austria has only won the Eurovision Song Contest one occasion, that being back in 1966 when Udo Jurgens who had already represented the country twice took the podium with Merci Cherie. Since the introduction of the semi-final system, Austria has not been as successful though noting that following a couple of years off, they returned in 2012 to mixed success going into the final with Nadine Beiler and then finishing dead last with the Trackshittaz.

Professional Critics Voice their Opinion

Rating: 70%

Greig Watts: This one has already got a lot of press for obvious reasons, I am going to try and judge the song without interference from that, and actually I like the way it feels a bit Culture club/Boy George (funny that) to start with, and then it goes all James Bond in the chorus and 2nd verse. Almost has a Shirley Bassey meets Adele vibe, and actually im really liking the song and almost wishing it didn’t have all the hype around it as it could be a potential winner and the vocalist actually performs it really well, would be nice to just judge the song, but from my own experience in the competition its not just about the song these days

Joseph Zammit: Well this is certainly an interesting one. Here we have the mandatory gay/drag act that has become a staple on the Eurovision stage. This time however, it comes with a twist! The male singer in full drag, also has a full beard! Originality points all round!! Not much to say about this one because the music has nothing to it. Watch any James bond movie and you would have heard this song. It can easily be the new Bond theme for the upcoming Bond movie, 'James Bond – Not a Close Shave!' Also, on a personal note, can there for once be a drag act song which is not about self revelation and fighting oppression? All in all, a relatively predictable and unoriginal song.

Sharon Vaughn: Her voice is divine, and the song is compellingly appropriate for the artist and her journey. However, it does feel a bit Vegas and over the top.

John Scott: The I found the song to be quite effective with interesting retro elements. It sounds like a great theme for a James Bond movie. The song is a great match to his voice.


Published in Editorials

Conchita Wurst, the Austrian representative at this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Rise Like a Phoenix co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas was officially performed LIVE for the very first time during the local version of Dancing with the Stars, a reality programme known to have a distinctively high viewership. ORF, the public broadcaster know that the internal selection of Conchita will ultimately raise cause for concern amongst the more conservative countries competing in the international event but kudos to them for taking a stance, and working the proper tricks of promotion.

Whilst not one of the favourites to triumph come May, Austria are set to qualify according to bookmakers who are putting them in eighth place, just behind Malta whose entry Coming Home, written by Richard Edwards Micallef and performed by Firelight is currently in fifth place. Conchita clearly gave a performance to be reckoned with, noting that the Bond-sounding anthem has been given a great visual presentation with lights, dry ice and some glitter towards the end. It is all about the key-change in the long run and Austria might be getting their best result in years should people vote according to the song. Stay tuned to for all the latest news.

Source: ORF

It was just weeks after the Eurovision Song Contest that the public broadcaster responsible for the participation of Austria at the international event announced Conchita Wurst as the next representative opting to forego the national selection process, following the disappointment at the hands of Natalia Kelly and her song Shine. There is no such thing as bad press, but it is worth noting that the artist, a man with a beard in drag has received a lot of negative criticism in both Russia and Belarus, with boycott being a severe possibility.

In a press conference held in Vienna earlier today, it was revealed that the song that Conchita will be performing in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest bears the name Rise Like a Phoenix and has an inspirational message, one which is empowering to both men and woman. It is co-written by Charly Mason, Joey Patulka, Ali Zuckowski and Julian Maas and is being promoted through an official music video which you may watch below. We urge you to stay tuned to for all the latest news about the 2014 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest set to take place at the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark on the 6th, 8th and 10th May 2014.

Source: ORF

In music, a year is very much a reflection of historical evidence and when it comes to 2013, Malta will very much remember the remarkable success that it achieved on both a local and an international field. As the public prepares to drink champagne and sing the tune of Auld Lang Syne along with Happy New Year, originally released by Abba, we aim to have a look at the most memorable moments of the year in this editorial. As a matter of fact, we have been through the major news items for both the general Eurovision Song Contest as well as the local music scene and one could easily denote the progress that has been made on both a national and a foreign level of vocal talent and songs in general.

January; a relatively quiet month in the local music scene with the Public Broadcasting Services busy prepping for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, which was set to take place during the first weekend of February. Nevertheless, for the third year running managed to exclusively reveal the names of the hosts of the selection; Gordon Bonello, Rodney Gauci and Elaine Saliba. In the local music market, Corazon and Lynday both unveiled new singles; Save Your Smile and Daphne but the focus was definitely on the foreign music market with no less than three countries revealing the names of the artists who would represent them at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest including; France (Amandine Bourgeois), Armenia (Gor Suyjan) and Denmark (Emmelie de Forest).

February; The month of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was upon us, and following a somewhat technically disappointing semi-final, the Public Broadcasting Services upped the ante for the final night, which saw to the success of Gianluca Bezzina and his entry Tomorrow co-written by Boris Cezek and Dean Muscat. It managed to beat the favourite, Needing You sung by Kevin Borg and co-written with Danne Attlerud, Michael Clauss, Simon Gribbe and Thomas Thornholm. Following the evening, held their annual awards, seeing to the success of Klinsmann, Chris Grech and the aforementioned Kevin Borg, with NET Television being the place where they were given. In the meantime, both Cyprus and Slovenia made use of internal selections in revealing Despina Olympiou and Hannah Mancini as their representatives.

March; In a relatively surprise announcement, L-Għanja tal-Poplu announced that they had received almost forty (40) submissions for the local competition, amongst them from the likes of Romina Mamo and Rita Pace. Keeping in line with the local music scene, Ira Losco followed up the release of her single What I’d Give with a brand new album entitled The Fire which has been denoted by critics as the most notable release in the local music industry. During the same period, on an internal level, stars Marco Mengoni and Cascada were chosen to represent Italy and Germany respectively, or rather confirmed their entries in entirety at this point. Gianluca’s promotional campaign as he represents Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest had officially commenced with the first ever lyric video.

April; At this month dawned, most of the country had made their respective selection for the international competition and thus focus quickly turned on on the outlook of the local music scene as Karen DeBattista managed to beat Marie Claire Attard Bason to become the first finalist of the 2013 Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, through the Passport 2 Indifest challenge on Sas-Sitta. It was later on revealed that she would be performing the song Riflessi composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss. In the meantime, L-Għanja tal-Poplu took place with Cherise Attard finishing in first place with the track Hawn Siġġu Nieqes composed by Mark Spiteri Lucas to the lyrics of Paul Ellul. At this point, Ira Losco continued her radio and digital success, aided by her first concert in quite some time.

The month of May, and thus the Eurovision Song Contest had quickly arrived and several readers of had their eyes on Gianluca Bezzina whose Tomorrow was a proven hit and indeed succeeded in not only reaching the final, but finishing in eighth place, the nations’ best result in seven (7)  years. The big winner was Emmelie de Forest from Denmark whose song Only Teardrops enchanted both the jury and the public at home. kept their annual coverage with guest commentators including Simon Casey, Davinia, Claudia Faniello, Brooke, Lauren White, Magnus Kaxe and Christabelle. Thousands of people viewed the respective reports and with the aid of the team of Radio International and Eurovision Ireland, the competition was analysed and covered in the most profound and detailed way possible.

Summer could not kick off on a more positive note with the release of On The Dancefloor by Jan Cortez, setting the tone of the season and earning airplay on 89.7 Bay. As always, the preparations for the Joseph Calleja concert were being held at this point in time, as the line-up was revealed to include Rebecca Ferguson, Zucchero and Gianluca Bezzina, fresh off his success. In the meantime, on a positive note, it was announced by the Culture Department that local artists will get the chance to perform at the Isle of MTV with Kristina Casolani and Gianluca Bezzina both booking their spots at the event. No clarification was given over the choice especially with the top tier of artists; Jon Lukas, Davinia, The Crowns releasing brand new material.

As the temperatures were getting warmer, NET Television decided to publish the list of the names who had got through the final of the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, and also shot music videos, in an attempt to continue the fine tradition, which started with the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. Maltese, as a national language had definitely it’s most intriguing month due to the fact that apart from the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, it was revealed that the International Festival of Maltese Song was set for a comeback, and no sooner than in November. Some of the most prominent names in the industry put their first foot forward and the line-up was miles better than that presented at the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with the likes of Miriam Christine, Janvil, Fiona Cauchi, Roger Tirazona and Olivia Lewis who was making her comeback as well.

August, known to be the last official month of summer saw to the release of Fed Up by Maxine Pace, who would later on be given a prominent role in the Maltese delegation during the surprise return of the country at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. Joseph Calleja gives his annual concert with only a handful of performances garnering a standing ovation, one of them being of the song Xemx which he performed in a duet with Gianluca Bezzina. Glen Vella, representative of Malta in the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest released a statement where he acknowledged that Finally by Richard Edwards should have represented the country, and most likely achieved a much better result. By the end of the month, the International Festival of Maltese Song had a logo and Red Electrick had a brand new single, The Runaway which would top the local music charts for several weeks.

Double the amount of entries received for L-Għanja tal-Poplu were received by the International Festival of Maltese Song, and whilst this number was encouraging, there was still a sheer amount of disappointment with many sceptic over the quality of the competition. Joseph Calleja was recognised as the world renowned tenor he has become by receiving a nomination at the Class Brit Awards. The Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza took place with Fabrizio Faniello sweeping the top prize with the track Aħfirli Jekk Trid composed by Minik to the lyrics of Rita Pace. The surprise of many came when during the evening news bulletin, on the 25th September 2013, Malta had internally selected Gaia Cauchi to do the honours and represent the country at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

The 2014 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest might be months away, but the preparations from artists, songwriters and producers had commenced and a flurry made use of to reveal their intentions including; Tiziana Calleja, Gloriana Arpa Belli, Eleanor Cassar, Richard Edwards, Klinsmann, Melanie Zammit, Kaya, Janvil, Claudia Faniello, Danica Muscat, Fabrizio Faniello, Neville Refalo and Josef Tabone amongst others. Olivia Lewis gave an interview to a Radju Kottoner, stating she was planning to release a debut album in Maltese in the very near future, one which include all her hits along with brand new and original songs. The Public Broadcasting Services accepted entries for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with several submissions, eventually totalling to a record breaking  210, the largest amount since the national broadcaster took over the selection process in totality.

November, the month in which there were three major events; kicking off with the International Festival of Maltese Song which was not only the return of Olivia Lewis, but also her success with the song Hawn Mill-Ġdid composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Joe Julian Farrugia. In second place was Mark Tonna and his track Poeta Bla Kliem composed by Mark Scicluna with lyrics by Emil Calleja Bayliss and in third place, Dario and Grecia Bezzina with the song Solitaire composed by Dario Bezzina to the lyrics of Rita Pace. Malta’s return to the Junior Eurovision Song Contest proved successful, as The Start co-written by Matt Mercieca, Elton Zarb, Gillian Attard and Gaia Cauchi emerged as the clear favourite in the week leading up to the competition, and then finishing as the remarkable winner.

Just a day before the final though, the public broadcaster revealed the names of the acts through to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest 2014, a list which comprised of several newcomers such as Raquel Galdes, De Bee and Daniel Testa whilst also noting former Eurovision representatives in the form of Fabrizio Faniello and Miriam Christine. It was always going to be a year to remember, but nevertheless, several broadcasters were at this stage revealing their intentions for the upcoming edition of the international competition, seeing to the return of Portugal and Poland, whilst Valentina Monetta, The Common Linnets, Tijana Dapcevic and Conchita Wurst were internally selected to represent San Marino, The Netherlands, FYR Macedonia and Austria respectively. As the year came to an end, Ukraine and Albania made their respective choices and the Public Broadcasting Services unveiled the music videos accompanying the entries in next years’ selection process.


Published in Editorials

ORF, the Austrian national broadcaster responsible for the country's participation at the Eurovision Song Contest announced Conchita Wurst as their next representative earlier this year. She was the third internally chosen female vocalist, following in the footsteps of FYR Macedonia and San Marino who will be represented by Tijana Dapcevic and Valentina Monetta respectively. Conhita was leaked as the next artist to represent the western nation earlier than planned by the broadcaster confirmed the news relatively quickly. Without a shadow of doubt, they will be more careful when it comes to revealing the song.

It was thought that a song selection would be taking place in the hope of keeping in line with the tradition of letting the public have a say but nevertheless, the management of Conchita Wurst and the broadcaster have come to an understand that they should pick the track together. Ultimately, Conchita who has garnered fame in Austria through the Got Talent franchise wants to feel comfortable and with experience of performing in front of major crowds, the experience should be invigorating and enlightening. In 2012, she narrowly missed the chance to represent the nation as her entry That's What I Am finished in second place with 49% of the final vote. Stay tuned to for all the latest news.

Source: ORF

Tuesday, 10 September 2013 09:51

Austria: Conchita Wurst Chosen to Fly the Flag

ORF, the broadcaster responsible for the participation of Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest has just announced to the media that Conchita Wurst will be flying the flag in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the past two years, the country has held a national selection to select both their artist and entry but due to budgetary cuts, this was the best way forward. Conchita has already tried her hand at going to the international event having previously finished as the first runner-up with the track That's What I Am back in 2012.

Therefore, the Eurovision Song Contest will be seeing yet another novelty act following in the footsteps of Guildo Horn who represented Germany in 1998 and Alf Poier who represented Austria in 2003. Conchita is a celebrity in Austria having also finished in second place in the third edition of Starmania. The artist who beat her was none other than Nadine Beiler, the last individual to take the nation through to the final with her song The Secret is Love. This news item was leaked out to the press, most predominantly OTS and but then ORF confirmed it to news portal, later on. Stay tuned to for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Sources:, ORF,