November 21, 2019

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Without the loud screeching at the beginning of each show that we have witnessed this week by the hosts of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, I would like to wish everyone a good evening with one of the most pivotal shows ready to begin in around half an hour. Following the two semi-finals, one held on Tuesday and the other last night, the full list of the finalists was revealed and despite some surprises, it should be one of the most intriguing finals in recent years and this is because, people are not sure who could actually win with a number of counties, all putting their best foot forward to take on the rest of the continent. This will be the very first final in quite some time to feature countries such as Malta and the FYR Macedonia who have been absent from the final evening for three and five years respectively. Each country had the same amount of rehearsal time and most of the production during the week was flawless with only some minor errors which will surely be tweaked in time for tomorrow evening.

There will be a total of twenty-six (26) acts competing to win this years' Eurovision Song Contest with twenty (20) having qualified through their respective semi-final, the highest contributing countries known as the Big Five (5) and of course the host country of the year which would have been the winner of the previous year. This afternoon, there was the first dress rehearsal of the final and it was also the first time that the songs were seen in this respective running order. It seems that Malta is really looking great in contrast to the songs that are found at each end of the competition, both before and after us. We would like to wish Kurt Calleja, Amber, Warren, Christian, Rebecca and Kevin the very best of luck with their performance this evening as they do their utmost in order to woo the judges and hopefully achieve a high placing for Malta this time round.

LIVE

The Show (Part 1)

The opening act of the final is actually quite noisy so to speak with a lot of people playing drums and doing what seems to be a very traditional type of folk dance. This looks nice actually but then again, we move onto the reprise of last years' winning entry being Running Scared by Ell & Nikki. They seem to be performing live and this is still a beautiful song so to speak. The hosts are trying not to shout this evening actually and this is because they must have heard of the comments in recent days. They are clad in beautiful attire and have somewhat improved. They are speaking in English, French, German and Azeri it seems.

01. United Kingdom

The very first performance of the evening is by Engelbert Humperdinck, a legend by his own standards and definitely growing old now being more than seventy five years of age. He is clad in black attire and is joined on stage by a guitarist and two dancers who perform a smooth waltz which is somewhat mixed with ballet. In the beginning, there was an extremely bum note unfortunately and this will definitely harm his chances with the jury. He does miss another one and this is sounding like one of the worst performances from the United Kingdom in quite some time. The higher notes in the meantime seem to be just right this evening and he may still amass a number of points. I am not sure that they will manage a top ten placing tomorrow night but the people in the hall do enjoy it. Prediction 12th - 18th

02. Hungary

The lead performer of the group is clad in the same black attire that he was wearing during the semi-final but it is quite an authentic look. Many people believe that this was the track that managed to scrape out the tenth position and qualify thanks to the Jury Vote because many people were surprised that it would actually make it but nevertheless, it remains to be one of the most contemporary tracks in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The vocals are very good but I do not think that this song will stick to the minds of the viewers this time round because of the rough early draw and because of the fact that they are performing in the number #2 slot which has been doomed for a number of years as no winner has come out of it. Prediction: 22nd - 26th

03. Albania

Another semi-final one qualifier, one which has been suspect of garnering massive jury support. However, she may have qualified, she is definitely one of the best vocalists in this years' competition bringing out the best range that I have seen within a performer for quite some time. This is a candidate for the worst dressed award though with Rona wearing what seems to be a blue gown with a black circle around her neck. She impresses with her simple song and staging noting that the spotlights and the red colours are kept throughout. The audience in the arena is clapping mid-way through the performance and so are the people in the press centre. She never drops a note and that is why she is amazing. Could Albania actually better their best result of seventh place with this? It could be from the reaction this is getting. Well done Rona! Prediction: 6th-15th

04. Lithuania

This has to be one of the slowest beginnings to a final of the Eurovision Song Contest in years and here we have Donny Montell still clad in his smart black suit which is somewhat very reminiscent of something his friend Sasha Son would be wearing. He does have a blind fold in the beginning but then removes it mid-way through the song when the track becomes very much inspired by the recently deceased Donna Summer. The vocals for this one have always been strong and one cannot help feel surprised at how this managed to qualify to the final. It was a surprise but could suffer the same fate of Lithuania a couple of years back with the same aforementioned Sasha Son which is quite unfortunate. Prediction: 24th-26th

05. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Maya Sar was somewhat the second surprise of the evening last night even though Bosnia & Herzegovina boast one of the most successful records at the Eurovision Song Contest having a 100% qualification record which has been kept in tact. We believe that the main help last night for the main draw and coming after an uptempo song like the one from Norway but this time round despite crystal clear vocals, I just cannot see this song really troubling the scoreboard. The staging is just black for most of the time but then changes to dark blue and red at times to try and imagine a sunset. The piano and the violins are so beautiful but that dress is also a contender for the Barbara Dex Award with the black shoulder-pads. Perfect song but not for this competition. Prediction: 15th-20th

06. Russia

Russia have one of the catchiest entries in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and despite besides the fact that the track is quite silly actually. The performers for this one are none other than six grannies, who are quite cute in their own manner. The vocals for this one normally do not have to be astoundingly great but the people do enjoy a bit of a party and that is why, the press centre and the audience in the arena are just going crazy at the moment. This is the very first song which is uptempo and therefore, it was always going to obvious that it would be strong and in fact, they are seen to be favourties for victory tomorrow night. I would never imagine what Terry Wogan would have said to this though. This is a very good performance but I believe the juries will take it down and see it not winning in the long run. Prediction: 3rd-5th

07. Iceland

This evening, everyone is in their costume performing in front of a relatively full arena for a rehearsal and also the juries. Everyone is clad in the outfits that they were wearing in the semi-final meaning a black suit for Jonsi and a beautiful black shimmering gown for Greta. Every time he performs in front of an audience, it seems that Jonsi goes down a notch and he seems terrified performing this evening. Nevertheless, the backdrop featuring the mountains and the beautiful geography of Iceland is just beautiful. She normally carries his vocals most of the way through but I believe that she is complimenting him today and that they are managing to be on the same level. I believe that this could be a dark horse during the final because it is coming across so well. Prediction: 7th-10th

08. Cyprus

Another uptempo entry is needed this evening and this is one of the track which clearly has everything going for it including the song, the choreography and the visuals but then comes Ivi who has proven herself to be an incredible person but very much lacks the voice. She is definitely having her worst performance tonight and she just cannot seem to keep up with the tempo of the song at times. Oh My! This is atrocious from the sound of the press centre and it is quite funny how such an esteemed performer like her has managed to kill the song all on her own. They did their best to hide the vocals behind the choreography. I daresay that I could sing this song even better and interacting with the audience does not work at all. This might actually finish in the last five places if it does not improve until tomorrow unfortunately. Prediction: 16th-24th

09. France

Very good first note from Anggun considering that there have been a number of vocal issues with performances in recent days. She is clad in sexy attire including a cape which seems to flow with the wind actually. Just as she enters into the first minute though, it seems that she is very much shouting at times. She is joined on stage by a whole circus including three gymnasts who are shirtless in order for her to attract a couple of more votes and two female backing vocalists whom don't worry are fully clothed. She tries to take up this performance as light as possible and try to enjoy it but it is not coming as good as she would like it to show on the screens. The overall outcome is not bad but I think that all the high hopes that France had are not going anywhere. Prediction: 17th-26th

10. Italy

I have been telling people that Italy is my favourite and this remains to be the case as we head into this rehearsal this evening. She is wearing what seems to be a silver dress meaning that she has opted in using the dress in the picture which had seemed to be the first choice. The English/Italian version of the song is actually much better than the fully Italian as the diction does still work in this one. She is joined on stage by thee backing vocals who have a quirky simple hand motion type of choreography. This is coming across well on screen but something tells me that Nina is not doing enough in order to win this evening although the difference is that last year, no one expected Italy to finish as the runner-up. She connects with the people asking them to clap your hands and once more I believe that this could do it. This was a very good performance although I think she has had better before. Prediction: 1st-5th

11. Estonia

Ott Lepland is next on stage and this has to be the most beautiful ballad in the competition being performed by a good looking individual. The very first time he performed this song in the national final, I easily thought it blew everything else out of the water. He is still doing the vocal acrobatics during the performance but nevertheless, this is the very best I have heard them and he is definitely heading into second gear this evening as he performs to the juries all across the continent. This did get my vote from Malta last night and I just can imagine this doing well tomorrow. The camera shots are good but the interaction with the audience seems to be quite minimal but he does put in a lot of emotion. Prediction: 8th-15th

12. Norway

The first of two of the most energetic performance of the evening comes from Norway with Tooji from Iran performing for Norway. he is joined on stage by four dancers, a mixture of men and women and they are still clad in their tattered clothing. Last night, vocally this was not all that great but nevertheless, it seems that they managed to do enough and I believe that it is more a case of nerves rather than not being a good singer. Once more, this performance is looking great on screen as it did last night and they are making use of pyrotechnics to which the crowd in the audience just goes completely mad. This is just astonishing and Norway can also surprise but I just do not think they would trouble the top ten. Prediction: 11th-15th

13. Azerbaijan

This is the time for Azerbaijan to triumph at what they have managed to achieve musically because Sabina Babayeva in my opinion is miles better than both Ell & Nikki put together. They managed to find such a wonderful performer to sing a song which is also very beautiful featuring an element of a ballad along with traditional sounds. She is joined on stage by backing vocalists, females and also just one male but this staging is kept very simple with the lights show on the stage synchronised with the ones on her dress. This is an exceptional vocal delivery and the crowd inside the Baku Crystal Hall are just going mad with such a beautiful song. I believe that Azerbaijan are heading into the top ten and they could also manage a top five if lucky. Prediction: 3rd-8th

14. Romania

Honestly enough, it is just so good to hear this song being performed in the best possible way without any trouble. Elena Ionescu is a beautiful performer and she revel in her beauty by using the camera to her advantage. She is joined on stage by a five member band, all of which play different instruments. The vocal performance here is very strong and following that initial problem that Romania faced earlier on this week during the semi-final, it seems that she has overcome all of her nerves. She is definitely enjoying the time she has on stage but what is this, she lost her words and missed a line, and that just ruined it for Romania. I cannot think that the juries will like that in the long run. The pyrotechnics work well on the cameras but nevertheless, the chances are harmed and this will definitely not win after that blunder. Prediction: 5th-10th

15. Denmark

People in the press centre are very much bored of seeing her in this outfit even though it is a nice outfit to perform in. This is the middle of the road type of track, one which Denmark have used to their advantage on a countless amount of occasions in the Eurovision Song Contest. She is joined on stage by a number of people on stage which form her band of course. There is nothing wrong with this vocally but it is turning out to be quite dull and boring unfortunately. I believe that it is a hit outside of the world of this competition. I would also like to let you know that it did manage to climb up to number #3 in the Maltese iTunes making it the second most successful entry in our country. This is looking great on screen as well. Prediction: 13th-17th

16. Greece

Eleftheria Eleftheriou is also a very beautiful lady and she is wearing a beautiful short dress featuring three colours; orange, blue and white. She is also joined on stage by four dancers and a backing vocalist. The backdrop behind them is showing the sea and also seashells and it looks very strong visually. As I have noted this afternoon, this is one track which has had the kitchen sink through at it in order to look very Greek in terms of performance and staging. The vocals are fine this evening and they might actually be the best that I have heard thus far. I must say that Greece have come a very long way this year from looking like a complete no-hoper to a definite top ten finisher. Prediction: 7th-10th

17. Sweden

This is just one country which has managed to split the people into two groups, those who believe it can win and those who say that she will not win because it is over-rated but nevertheless, the performance is just immaculate and there is nothing to fault in this one. There is a huge applause in the arena and I do have my sneaky suspicions that this was the runaway winner during the semi-final last night and it will just increase on her lead tomorrow when all of the countries vote. The vocals are strong but I do believe she was better during the semi-final last night. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists and a dancer. This is looking strong on screen but what really impresses me actually is the long song mid-way through the song with the black backdrop, snow falling and the lights shining upon her. This is definitely the one to beat but what, Loreen also forgets a line and could Sweden have also hurt their chances. Prediction: 1st-3rd

18. Turkey

Can Bonomo has to be one of the nicest people in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and he was also one who came to Malta during his promotional tour where he and Kurt became the very best of friends. He is still wearing his leather pants and leather jacket with flocks of sea gulls draped in the inside part. He is joined on stage by four men and this seems to be the only performance which is fully masculine. The backdrop changes a lot of weather patterns but his vocals do not change and remain good throughout the competition. The audience in the crowd definitely enjoy being included in the track so much so that they start shouting mid-way. I believe that this could do well and even scrape a top ten result but not sure. Prediction: 9th-15th

19. Spain

This is one of the simplest performances this year and that goes to say a lot actually because there have been quite a number of songs which have been performed by their own but what Pastora does is bring out her best vocals this evening for the juries. The people in the press centre and in the audience are clapping along to this one especially when she hits the high notes that very difficult to reach. There has been talk that Spain might not want to win in order not to host the next edition of the competition and it seems that this could easily happen if she continues to perform in that manner. She is joined on stage by five backing vocalists who help her within the chorus. This is just perfect, and everything is going for it. Prediction: 1st-6th

20. Germany

Roman Lob came to fame for having won the competition known as Unser Star fur Baku and since then he has become quite noteworthy with this song being a hit in his native Germany, one of the largest music markets in the world. The staging for this one is kept very simple indeed with a band joining the performance giving it more of a feel of a track from the likes of Coldplay. It is written by some of the most well known names in music and it does show actually. The vocal performance is good, he knows how to use his voice at times to tighten up the vowels or rather relax them. This is coming across quite lovely on screens and whilst this could make the top ten, it will not really trouble the top five in my opinion but it is quite an interesting year for the Big Five. Prediction: 6th-12th

21. Malta

Once more, that lovely thumping beat in the beginning is one which I love to hear as it signifies us being in the final once more. Kurt is quite smart this evening as he was last night and the vocals are very strong earlier on as he interacts with the audience very early. The band joining him on stage are also doing their utmost to show their connection on the cameras. This is really looking good as it did last but night but I just cannot believe that I am saying this but Kurt is doing an amazing job during the jury performance. It seems that the focus will be on the lead performer for tomorrow night but what is infatuating is the choreography which has got a lot of people dancing in the past couple of hours. He speaks in Azeri mid-way through the song and that just sends the crowd in a flurry. He is receiving one of the biggest applauses of the evening. Prediction: 5th-15th

22. FYR Macedonia

Honestly enough, I was very happy to see the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia making it through to the finals for the very first time since 2007 and why not especially with Kaliopi being the queen of pop music in her country. She performs what is quite an underwhelming song with perfect pitch vocals and this is definitely not one which will be troubling the left side of the scoreboard. She is joined on stage by a band and some backing vocalists and they do sound very good. The shots are also as they were yesterday and that is quite a good thing. This sounds strong and looks great but I just cannot see it impacting all of the continent into voting for it at this stage of the competition. Prediction: 15th-20th

23. Ireland

It has been decided that Jedward go for spikey hair for the final performance of the competition and this seems to be a general consensus towards the people who prefer them in this manner. The main vocals of the brothers sound somewhat low in this one but nevertheless, they seem to be very much in tune. They are joined on stage by four backing vocals, two on each side, a male and a female and there is also a fountain which is being used as the main prop of the competition. This sounds great and looks strong on screen. They have also included pyrotechnics and Ireland could be heading for their best result in years. They are still in the water at the end and thus the hair does get flat. Prediction: 3rd-10th

24. Serbia

Zeljko Joksimovic has to be one of the most experienced performers at the Eurovision Song Contest and he does show that because he oozes charm and charisma every time he performs. This track is quite inferior to Lane Moje but I believe he did want to create something different in the long term. He is definitely enjoying every second he says on the stage and he does do his best to impress the juries this evening. This is a beautiful song which is definitely going to do well tomorrow night garnering votes from all of the Balkans and also the Baltics apart from other countries who will enjoy the orchestra in the track. The late draw is definitely an additional help in my opinion. Prediction: 2nd-8th

25. Ukraine

Ukraine have always been one of the more successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest by always making it to the finals of the competition and therefore, there had been a lot of high hopes when it comes to this track due to the fact that it is the official song of the European Championships. The vocals for this one are good but I still believe that Gaitana does shout sometimes when she performs. The choreography is lovely though and I am in love with the extra LED screens which show a whole group of people dancing to the song. This might surprise people as Ukraine did manage to do just that last year but I believe it will rank just outside of the top ten or just manage to creep in. Prediction: 9th-14th

26. Moldova

The final performance of the evening comes from Moldova who are definitely getting a vote from me tomorrow night because this is just amazing and you have to love the choreography which is funny and quirky at the same time. There is a lot of positive acclaim towards this song and you just cannot help but laugh at times. The vocals of Pasha are just amazing and he manages to carry it off in the best way he could. The outfits might not be the cup of tea of everyone but they are authentic. One think though, Moldova have a track which is very traditional featuring that saxophone which is quite lovely. This is also looking very strong on screen as well so we'll how things go about. Prediction: 5th-15th


The Stage (Part 2)

Following all of the performances, the hosts are back on stage and they introduce the recap of the performances and I have to say that there are a lot of high hopes for Malta actually with one particular blogger putting it in a top five position and I do believe that we can manage to hit the top ten. When listening to the songs in their order, I believe that it is a very strong final this time round.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a music competition which brings about the whole continent together, even when it comes to countries who have not always seen eye to eye in other matter but nevertheless, this week showed how performers from several nations interacted together to see themselves garner the most out of this experience. We head into the day knowing who the twenty (20) qualifiers from the respective semi-final actually are for the very first time in three years, we have made it into the final with our song This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja and his band made up of Warren, Kevin, Amber, Rebecca and Christian. This also marks the very first time since escflashmalta.com was established that we are in the final and we are proud to be covering the event once more with our team present in Baku including none other than Šira Carolyn Bezalel, Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell, Patrick Strouk and Eric Lehmann and of course, last but not least, our respective Head of Operations in Baku, Garrett Mulhall.

Good Afternoon and welcome to the very first dress rehearsal of the final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan having won the competition last year thanks to the song Running Scared by Ell & Nikki. There are a total of twenty six (26) performers taking to the stage this afternoon and this will be the first of three dress rehearsals, the one this evening being the most important noting that the jury will be basing their votes on what will be staged this evening. In the meantime, everything seemed to have gone smoothly during the first two semi-finals actually with just a small issue with Romania having not heard sound through her earpiece within the first semi-final. It should be quite an interesting final so make sure to follow all of the proceedings through escflashmalta.com

LIVE

01. United Kingdom

Marc: The British representative at this years' Eurovision Song Contest happens to be the most famous one in the competition with Engelbert's career spanning decades. He takes to the stage wearing a suit performing the track Love Will Set You Free and this sounds much stronger than it did back in the initial rehearsal. He has dropped the higher notes a key and this sounds much better now. There are also two dancers and a guitarist on stage and they add to the ambient. A great opener and this could very well put the United Kingdom in the top ten.

Garrett: We couldn’t see or hear the show on the video link but from our colleagues in the arena Englebert performed excellently and hit the high notes of the song. The dancers on stage were subtle and it came across well. Good Job The Hump.

02. Hungary

Marc: Hungary might have the most contemporary song in this years' Eurovision Song Contest especially with the track sounding like it came out of a radio station. The vocals are good as they have always been but one just cannot help that this song seems to be taking up someone elses' space in the final. This is a very strong performance but this draw will definitely not help with the dreaded number #2 position never managing to really put anyone in a good final placing.

Garrett:  I really cannot get excited about this song. Sounding like a B-Side Depeche Mode Song it was performed well but lacks any real impact and following The Hump it will get lost in people’s minds.

03. Albania

Garrett: Rona puts on a stunning performance of her song. Passionate and the same wonderful vocal abaility that brings cheers from the audience as one could easily listen to now.

Marc: Without a doubt, Rona is still one of the very best performers in the 2012 edition of the competition and she is clad in the same attire that she donned during the semi-final. This is just flawless vocally and she really puts the emotion into the  track.

04. Lithuania

GarrettThe surprise qualifier for some people – Donny gets his trade mark blind fold entrance to the song and when the upbeat element to the song kicks it makes a lot of impact. As my friend Roy Delaney said – this is 2 different George Michael songs sandwiched together. Not a contender but good to see them in the final.

Marc: Last nights' surprise qualifier shows that this type of song can still be appreciated by the masses although we have a sneaky suspicion that the jury were the brains behind this qualification. This is a strong performance though and he is definitely trying to show he belongs here.

 05. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Garrett: Simple staging but we are back to another ballad. A cute song sung well but I can only see this doing well with the Blakan countries. Not a winner in my opinion though because it could get lost.

Marc: This was one of those entries which no one expected to make it through last night because it was somewhat too calm for the general liking but the juries might have had a say in the qualification of the song. Maya is an incredible singer and she uses her vocal skills in her black gown this afternoon as well. A good performance but quite forgettable so early in the draw.

06. Russia

MarcRussia remains one of the most popular acts in this years' competition but the draw is once more too early for them and it seems they have some sound problems in the beginnings. Nevertheless, this is a fun entry and one could not see it failing at this stage. The grannies might be heading for a surprise top five finish unless the juries put them down completely which could be the case actually as they are definitely not the best vocalists.

Garrett: Thankfully a fast song that really gets this Eurovision Final started. The cameras focussed in on the Pin Up Granny aka the smallest Babuschka. This had the whole stadium on their feet chanting. There is no doubt that this is going to score HUGE with the televote but how will the Juries like it. So far Russia walking all over the competition.

07. Iceland

MarcIceland return with an extremely improved performance of their entry and this is actually looking more like a contender after Russia at this stage. We have no clue why they have decided not to go with their outfits today but nevertheless, this is looking very strong on screen and Iceland may just manage to crack the top ten the way things have developed. The vocal harmonies sound very strong and one just cannot help noting that things are really positive for the small country.

Garrett: Back to a ballad but this is a quality ballad. Jonsi and Greta performed excellently and now looking good for a Top 10 place. The Juries will like this a lot and is visually stunning. Job well done Iceland.

08. Cyprus

MarcIvi Adamou has to be one of the worst singers in the competition with her vocal performance being terrible once more noting that she is shouting through the song today. Once more, they have decided to go without their outfits for the actual final as this is a rehearsal for the media. Things will definitely change this evening when the juries come into the fray. The song is very catchy and has to be one of the best ones this years' but nevertheless, I just cannot see this bothering the top ten positions in the scoreboard even though the left side is guaranteed.

Garrett: This is one that we have a close affinity to as we have befriended the Cypriot delegation. Ivi gave a stellar performance. Her vocals were spot on and we know that the delegation were having difficulties with the mixing of the vocals from the stage but they managed to get that sorted. Ivi was electric on stage. The camera angles were spot on and the choreography was slick. Ivi is having great fun and this comes across on the camera – We might be heading to Limasol next year is Cyprus wins – and this is their best chance in a long time

09. France

MarcAnggun is a celebrity and today, she took the stage with the cape ready to perform her entry and it seems that things have really improved since the first two rehearsals. The choreography is still very much like something coming out of the circus but it is definitely not looking bad on the monitors. The vocal run is very good and one has to note that she has really upped her game but nevertheless, she needs to keep things going for this evening. 

10. Italy

Marc: Nina Zilli is one of the most notable performance in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and she is definitely enjoying her time on the stage. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists and they could be found on the left hand side of the stage. The performance is kept very simple with a number of hand movements but there does not seem to be a lot needed to make this look or sound great because Nina is really performing the song well especially the English parts. She does interact with the audience and the people will like this come Saturday night. Italy is definitely a contender and I believe that they could win.

Garrett: Well you could not have 2 contrasting performances. Nina from Italy is sensational and following the circus routine from France this looks even stronger. Nina is dressed as a Silver 60′s Diva and sounding sensational. The Boom Boom Boom’s are captured on the cameras and are striking. This just gets better every time you hear it. Italy 2013 anyone? Turin I hear is the preferred choice of the Italian Delegation should they win.

11. Estonia

Marc: The Estonian entry was the first song that I have voted for in years actually and I believe that it is the most beautiful ballad in this years' competition. I have to be completely honest in saying that I preferred it when it was staged in a simpler way when it comes to vocal acrobatics but nevertheless, it still sounds perfect but the way that he is performing it could actually go wrong. Ott just happens to be one of the most popular names in the Estonian music industry and performing in the Eurovision Song Contest is an event which he has been hoping to do for quite some time. He took his first chance and he managed bringing about a great vocal, a great song and a stunning performance.

Garrett: Ott as usual puts in a passionate performance of this simple ballad. Less is more for this song and I think this could do better than people are expecting. Keep an eye on this one.

12. Norway

Marc: There has been a lot of comments in recent hours on whether Norway deserved to qualify but nevertheless, I believe that he did his utmost in order to make sure that the Scandinavian country makes it through to the final. He has taken to the stage in same attire he did last night and with many saying that he is good looking, this might surprise on Saturday night. The staging for this one is incredible especially the tight choreography. The vocals are very good and somewhat better than last night but he has to manage to keep this up.

Garrett: This is a strange one. In the hall it sounds as if the vocals are off key but on the video feed it came across great. A complicated dance routine that executed with military percision. This has gone up in my expectations.

13. Azerbaijan

Marc: It is coming across that Azerbaijan would not mind winning two times in a row because Sabina Babayeva is performing this song in the very best possible way that she could. She is joined on stage by four backing singers; three of which are females and another one being a male. She is definitely enjoying performing for her country and the fact that she is wearing what seems to be a dress co-ordinated with the lights is just impressive. I believe that this could be another top five finish for Azerbaijan especially if they can manage to keep up this performance. The ballad is one of many this year but it should still impress.

GarrettThe host nation comes on. Sabina looks amazing and it is a very difficult song to sing but Sabina was almost 100% perfect – just one big note that was pitchy but I am sure she will be fine on the night. This song has really grown on me and I like it and expect a good Top 10 finish.

14. Romania

Marc: Romania is the only song which faced problems during their initial performance in the first semi-final with the main performer failing to listen to the sound of the song from her earpiece but today clad in a completely different outfit, she does not seem to have any problems and the group is definitely helping her get the morale up. The performance is quite energetic and fun especially when it comes after Azerbaijan which will surely be a different change than how the evening will ultimately play out. This is still a possible contender in my opinion especially after such a strong performance.

Garrett: A good upbeat song that is going to stand out from Axerbaijan’s ballad. Summer summed up in 3 minutes. Romanis is looking and sounding great. Not sure if it is a winner but heading for a Top 10 again for Romania.

15. Denmark

Marc: This has never really been my cup of tea but the issue with this song has always lied with the amount of times that one listens to it because it does become quite boring after a few listens. The staging for this one is somewhat kept similar to the very first semi-final where it is predicted that it has done quite well. The vocals are very strong but nevertheless, coming after Romania, this is sounding somewhat quite dull. Denmark have a middle of the road kind of song as they have presented on numerous occasions and they will most likely reach another mid table position quite disappointing after the past two years. 

16. Greece

Marc: This song has always been impressive in terms of staging and visuals and therefore there is not really too much of an issue going on with this one. Eleftheria Eleftheriou is actually Greek as we confirmed during the press conference for the qualifiers for the first semi-final but nevertheless, she does have better, if marginally better, vocals than Ivi Adamou. The song is catchy but then again it is quite typical especially coming from Greece. They have thrown everything into this performance and they really want to impress but I believe that Greece might just be scraping through a top ten result this year, if they manage it.

17. Sweden

Marc: Loreen clearly gave the best performance of her life during the semi-final last night noting that she managed to qualify with relative ease we would imagine. The staging for this song is kept simple with three female backing vocalists on stage along with a male dancer who comes on later on into the performance. She is enjoying the time on stage once more and she is performing her heart out. This is the track which has already been very successful all across the continent but will it be possible for her to win the competition being the main favourite ahead of Russia and even Italy coming within this draw.

GarrettLoreen is doing it when it is necessary and getting the great performances in. She was holding back on the full performance but it is coming together. The lighting of Loreen is getting better with each take and Sweden are getting themselves back into contention. A great reaction in the hall.


18. Turkey

Marc: It seems that Turkey and Malta have worked to build very close relations and we were extremely happy that Can Bonomo managed to qualify from the semi-final last night. Can Bonomo is once more back on stage without changing any of the performance as he is clad in a leather jacket and leather trousers with his backing vocalists acting also as dancers clad in black capes. The track is somewhat very catchy and easily to sing and hum to especially the bits where he says 'hope onto my ship baby, I'll make you fly' and then he also adds a 'na na na'. This will most probably be on the left hand side of the scoreboard. Very good rehearsal.

Garrett: Well this is almost like having 2 home singers performing as the local audience love Turkey. Can is singing well and his English is better than some of his European counterparts. Visually strong and with the reaction it will get in the audience it may sway televoters and bring Turkey hig in the leaderboard. Still not convinced on the capes and the boring grey colour of them but we are stuck with them now.

19. Spain

Marc: Pastora Soler is also one of the most popular artists to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, one could definitely see the many Spaniards who have come to support their artist who very much looks like she could win the competition.She is pitch perfect when it comes to her vocal performance the choir that comes towards the end is just immaculate. This is definitely the best chance that the country has had in a very long time and one could see this causing an upset and ultimately finish within the top spot but will the people really go for this type of song.

Garrett: One word – “Sensational”. Dressed in pale blue, Pastora delivers a song full of passion and emotion. She commands the stage and the camera. As she was singing the press were claspping for her. She is really the true professional. A beautiful performance and simply staged this has to be a contender if there is any justice.

20. Germany

Marc: Roman Lob is said to be one of the most good looking performers in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and he brings about another contemporary track which has already set the charts alight in a number of countries including his native Germany and also Austria. The performance is very much simple with a band performing the track just behind him but the lighting and the backdrop is what give this track an edge. He is enjoying every bit of the performance and he has crystal clear vocals whilst singing. Well done Germany for a very strong first dress rehearsal. Could they managed to finish in the top ten? I'd think so!

Garrett: Roman performs adequately but for me this is a very average song and sounding like it should be on a Coldplay album. I cannot get excited about it at all and do not see all the hype about it. Feeling this will be in the bottom part of the leader board.

21. Malta

Marc: Kurt Calleja is next on stage and honestly, the people are excited that we will be competing in the final for the very first time since 2009 when Chiara had made it to the finals with the song What If We. At this stage, we can notice that the performance is very strong with everyone doing their best to make sure that it does come out well in the long run. The vocals from Kurt are just perfect this afternoon and he seems to be continuing what he managed to do last night. There is a lot of buzz going around that the female vocal could be even stronger and we believe that this is the case as well. Nevertheless, glad to see Malta back in the final and let's hope for a good result in the end.

Garrett: WOW I have been banging the drum about this song for a long time and there is a buzz growing for Malta and that they could be in for a good result here in Baku. They are looking and sounding amazing. The dance routine is capturing the imagination of people and Kurt looks wonderful on camera. Watch out for Malta.

22. FYR Macedonia

Marc: The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia have not been in the finals for quite some time and their biggest star, Kaliopi has managed to do just that. The song is quite an interesting pop/rock number which is performed to sheer excellence. This will be one of those songs which will reach the mid-table on Saturday night and this is because there are just two many songs of a very high quality this year because such a track would have done much stronger last year.

GarrettKaliopi was looking and sounding great. Passionate performance and a rocky look to the song. We really like her and this is going to do well for FYR Macedonia. She knows how sell a song and does this wonderfully

23. Ireland

Marc: Jedward are back to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second year in a row with what appears to be a much stronger song entitled Waterline. The staging of this track is just incredible with a fountain making an appearance despite not being operational along with a beautiful backdrop which is depicting a stream of water. The vocal performance is good but I believe that they did perform much better during the semi-final on Tuesday. This is one of the most visually enticing performances of the evening and one could definitely see them doing better than they did last year in terms of result.

Garrett: Well Jedward were on the stage now. Vocals were on the money and thge balance between Jedward and the backing singers was better that others that performed today. They did not use the water feature for this rehearsal but were in their costumes and their hair was down. Looking and Souinding great – and I am not being biased. This will be a good crowd pleaserperformance. JOB WELL DONE!!

24. Serbia

Marc: Zeljko Joksimovic has become one of the legends of the EurovisioN Song Contest having been here on so many occasions, either as a performer or as a songwriter. This is definitely a beautiful song with a lot of orchestration which definitely picks it up as a track. I do not believe that he can improve on his result achieved in Istanbul but one has to keep in mind that he is performing very late in the draw and therefore, he could definitely place high in the final with a possible victory looming as well.

Garrett: Well this is a song that I have never really felt brough something new to the table for 2012. If this was bak in 2008 then I would have been raving about it but as it has been done before so I personally would not have it as a winner HOWEVER the International press are calling this as a potential winner. It is sung wonderfully and the stage performance is very good but I am not a huge fan of the song. Still this could be a winner.

25. Ukraine

Marc: The European Football Championships are not too far away now and things are somewhat looking good for Ukraine for the second year in a row noting that they did finish in fourth place last year with a song that was not predicted to do well. Gaitana is a great vocalist but sometimes, I just cannot get the hype because she does tend to shout in certain bits of the song. The idea of having the LED screens on stage is interesting and created an ambient of a football match or a flashmob. This could also scrape into the top ten.

Garrett: Well I am not sure why but Gaitana has taken the song up a key and it has lost some of the power from the vocals. I am not sure if this is because of a problem with her ear monitor but I cannot see the reasoning for going up a key. She had to pull out of the high note in the song and it just sounded all wrong. I hope they revert to the original key. Still a potential Top 5 for me.

26. Moldova 

Marc: This is the final performance of the evening and one has to add that this a very classy performance with a twist. Pasha Parfeny seems to be the Moldovan version of Colin Farrell but that does not seem to bother him in reality. The choreography is still as quirky as it had been before hand and the performance is still very strong. The vocals are spot on and I just believe that this could be the best result for Moldova with the possibility of finishing in the top five if they are quite lucky with the outcome. 

Garrett: This was a fun performance and a great way to round off a great show. Visually and vocally strong and a dance routine that is very Benny Hill. You cannot help but be caught up in the feel good factor of this song. Not a winner for me but will score well and if the rumours are right – Moldova may have won Semi Final 1.

The Show (Part 2)

The hosts are back on stage and they are still quite dull unfortunately but nevertheless they are doing the job in the best way possible and hence they open the tele-voting and also announce the recap which of course seems to still be very much in tatters during the first run but then is fixed for the second run of the recap. This is the most open Eurovision Song Contest in  years and people believe it is quite a strong edition. They will now be rehearsal the interval act and also the voting segment to make sure that all is going well, therefore, we will be returning to commentate on this evenings' dress rehearsal which will be much more crucial as the jury will be casting their vote.

The first semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just come to an end and for the very first time in years it seems that the people are somewhat happy with the outcome in terms of qualifiers with ten (10) nations passing through to the next stage of the competition which will be held on Saturday evening where a total of twenty-six (26) countries will be competing to take home the honour of winning the prestigious music event which is the most followed non-sporting celebration in the world. From our standpoint it seems that our reviewers of the evening got most of the qualifiers right with Raquela managing to predict seven, Claudia managing to predict eight and Emil managing to get nine right. In the meantime, the experts and the readers of our website correctly predicted seven entries through this evening with Switzerland, Latvia and Finland put through instead of Russia, Albania and Moldova.

Just a reminder that this evenings' qualifiers were announced in no particular order. In the meantime, we would like to point out that the final envelope which has become the 'golden envelope' does not hold any special significance but they just wanted to add the suspense in general for the last qualifier which this year were none other than Jedward and their entry Waterline for Ireland. Here comes a reminder of the qualifiers this evening in the order that they were announced whilst we await the draw for their final starting positions to take place. The press conference is now being shown on the official website which you can follow here. The announcements will be made in the way that they were announced this evening.

Running Order in the Final

01. United Kingdom

02. Hungary

03. Albania

06. Russia

07. Iceland

08. Cyprus

09. France

10. Italy

13. Azerbaijan

14. Romania

15. Denmark

16. Greece

19. Spain

20. Germany

23. Ireland

26. Moldova

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

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

One of the countries dealing with a struggling economy in Europe is surely Greece whom this year will be represented by none other than Eleftheria Eleftheriou, an artist signed to Universal Music Greece. The fact of the matter remains that the selection and the participation is taking place due to the backing of the recording label as was instructed by ERT, earlier on this year. It seems that the issues are somewhat more deep tied than expected though and despite a short promotional tour of Turkey, The Netherlands and Belgium, it seems that the problems have continued with the lack of representation at the actual competition.

During the weekend, the executive board of the broadcasting company, ERT met up to discuss the plans for Baku, Azerbaijan and it was decided that apart from the performer and her backing act, the only people going forward with her would be the Head of Delegation, a certain Ms Kousoulas and also Mary Cossack who seems to be in charge of the staging. Other personnel in the public relations area will be dealing with issues from Athens where the broadcasters' headquarters are situated. Greece are of course competing in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest and are favourites for qualification and also a possible top ten finish with the song Aphrodisiac. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news as soon as it becomes available.

Source: OGAE Romania, ERT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isPtzi5cxBg

Tuesday, 10 April 2012 23:36

Greece: Reviewing the song 'Aphrodisiac'

Two reviews have been noted down in the preparation of seeing, and checking out all of the entries in the first semi-final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in a region which might not even be European at times, that is Baku in Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, the third slot of the running order has been granted to none other than the country with one of the most successful records since the millennium and that is of course Greece. Low budgeting profiles have been a case in point this year and with the nation being politically tormented in recent months, it was a great show by Universal Music Greece to step in and host a national final which in the end was won by Eleftheria Eleftheriou who will be performing the track Aphrodisiac co-written between Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström and Dajana Lööf.

Eleftheria Eleftheriou was born on the 12th of May 1989, in Paralimni, Cyprus. Since childhood she had a great passion with music. Her one and only dream was to become a singer. In addition she loves also painting, dancing and playing sports. In her school years she took piano and music theory lessons.At the age of 15 she started phonetic lessons. At the age of 16, she became soloist in the national folk orchestra of RIK broadcasting corporation, in Cyprus. She participated also in various music contests. When she graduated from high school, she started her Music and Performance studies, in the University of Surrey in London. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sen99obBuuI&ob=av2e

She became popular from her participation in the talent show X-Factor 2, in 2010, where although she was not the winner, she definitely made a great impression to everyone. Right after the show, she collaborated with Sakis Rouvas, singing together in his live performances. The same year she started singing with one of the famous Greek singers, Nikos Vertis. Together, they also toured abroad, in Europe and Australia. In 2010 she released her first personal single Tables Are Turning, while in April 2011, she did the vocals in the huge hit single of Housetwins, Never. In the autumn 2011, she initiated her cooperation with Universal Music, getting ready to make a big step in her career. She is totally obsessed with Eurovision Song Contest and she keeps her body, voice and soul…ready to go on stage of the Baku Crystal Hall Arena.

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

 Jan Van Dijck

  • A typical Greek Eurovision pop song “made in Sweden”! Very much in the style of “( I Would) Die For You”, “My Numer One” and “ Yassou Maria” Therefor the song doesn’t sound very original to me, but quit sure it will achieve a place in the big Final. Once more a seven (7) pointer will surely be my mark.

Knut-Oyvind Hagen

  • Greece is party country “number one” in this contest, and they keep their reputation one more time. It’s fun, a pretty chic and guys, and the chorus is of the catchy kind, that makes you want to dance. I have to say though, that this composition is totally soulless, I have heard it all before, in better versions. But keep up the party! Let's see, I would go with six (6) points for this one.

Pitchtunes

  • This song makes you want to dance. It’s has some similarities to Helena Paparizou’s song ‘My Number One’. The chorus is catchy and easy to remember. Could be a potential winner or at least one of the top candidates. We both agree that this number deserves a solid nine (9) out of the final ten (10) points.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isPtzi5cxBg

Entry Background

Performer: Eleftheria Eleftheriou

Composers: Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström and Dajana Lööf

Authors: Dimitri Stassos, Mikaela Stenström and Dajana Lööf

Song: Aphrodisiac

Language: English

Broadcasters: ERT

History of the Nation

The very first appearance of Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest actually came way back in 1974 and it was definitely not a bad result albeit the seven points that were received in the long run but three years later, they would achieve their very first top five result by virtue of the performance given by Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy to the song Mathima Solfege. This result would ultimately be their best until repeated in 1992 with the singer Kleopatra who performed Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida. It has been noted though that the millennium has proved positive for Greece noting down that they reached third in 2001 thanks to Antique and their song Die for You before ultimately grabbing victory in 2005 thanks to their lead singer Helena Paparizou and her entry My Number One which pipped Malta to the position. Their run of results after this has seen them always reach the top ten actually.

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

Published in Editorials

Like in the previous years, SVT is making four preview shows featuring all the 39 countries participating in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest which will be held on the 25th, 27th and 29th of May respectively.

These shows started on April 27th till May 18th. There are five experts reviewing the songs weekly. The show is hosted by Melodifestivalen producer Christer Björkman. Last April 27th and last night, these five experts voted for all of the 17 songs participating in the first Semi-final.

These are the results:

19 Points to Latvia
18 Points to Portugal
18 Points to Albania
16 Points to Iceland
16 Points to Moldova
16 Points to Malta
13 Points to Greece
13 Points to Slovakia
13 Points to Belgium
13 Points to Belarus
--------------------------------
12 Points to Russia
09 Points to Bosnia & Herzegovina
09 Points to Finland
09 Points to Poland
08 Points to Serbia
04 Points to Estonia
03 Points to FYR Macedonia

The five experts are none other than: Lena Philipsson (2004 Swedish Eurovision representative), Kayo Shekoni (singer, former member of Afro-dite, 2002 Swedish representatives), Rennie Mirro (musician), Thomas Lundin (Eurovision expert, TV host ) and Marie Serneholt (singer, former member of A-Teens). You can watch the latest show here.

Note that the reviews for the second semifinal will start as from May 11th and will take up till May 18th.

Source: SVT

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