February 19, 2020

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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


When the list of finalists in Romania was initially released, there was quite a buzz going on with regards to the fact that one of the groups had a massive fan base behind them and had already gained recognition in the music industry. The group Mandinga had initally come in the top three true but did not win the playback phase of the competition but then performed great live and ended up being the winners with the song Zaleilah. In recent days, the popularity of the group has expanded far beyond Romania following two strong performances and therefore, it might be a case of a surprise at this years' music competition.

This is actually the fourteenth appearance of Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest and following years of disappoinment, they managed to succeed on a number of occasions and have not failed to make the final in any of their respective attempts. In the past two years, they finished fourth in the semi-final and one of those entries entitled Playing With Fire finished in third place in the long run giving the country the best result ever tying it with Luminita Anghel and Sistem. In this interview, Juergen Boernig and Lilian Brunell speak to the group about their experience in Baku thus far as well as their clothing selections amongst other things.


Published in Interviews

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

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

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:30 - Montenegro

09:00 - Iceland

09:30 - Greece

10:00 - Latvia

10:30 - Albania

12:00 - Romania

12:30 - Switzerland

13:00 - Belgium

13:30 - Finland

14:20 - Israel

14:50 - San Marino

15:20 - Cyprus

15:50 - Denmark


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.


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. 


Video Courtesy of escXtra


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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra


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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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. 


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv



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. 


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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra



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.


Video Courtesy of escXtra

Thursday, 12 April 2012 01:15

Romania: Reviewing the song 'Zaleilah'

Time flies when one is having fun and in day three of our reviews, we head onto the sixth nation carefully analyzed by a set of professional individuals who hail from countries who have won the Eurovision Song Contest on more than one occasion. Together, they seem to have compiled a list of qualifiers but nevertheless, this will be revealed closer to the actual event. In the meantime though, all of the marks being presented within the reviews are an opinion on the song and not within the frame of the competition. Their chances of qualification will be rate more or less through this system but believe me, some interesting results will be noted. The sixth country is Romanian who will be represented by the group Mandinga with the song Zaleilah composed by Costi Ionita and penned by Elena Ionescu & Dihigo Omar Secada.

Mandinga is a unique band in Romania. The cultural variety, as a result of mixing Romanian and Cuban musicians, guarantees the best show on stage. The group is capable of pleasing the most heterogeneous crowds. Mandinga consists of 7 members: Elena (lead vocals), Alex (trumpet), Chupi (drums), El Niño (congas), Omar (piano), Zach (saxophone) and Tony (trombone). Only six of them will sing on the stage in Baku, Tony being just their Green Room supporter.


The band started 10 years ago. Since then they have become known as the best latino band in the country. They have released no less than four albums so far and at the moment, the band members are working on a new album which will be released soon. Mandinga's success has gone beyond the borders of Romania and that is because they were not afraid to create and launch new concepts for their shows. 


Anyone who meets Mandinga can see and listen to the 7 musicians playing latino music, latin jazz, balkan salsa or even club music, as they do in their Club de Mandinga show. Any Mandinga appearance on a stage turns into a spectacular show due to the blend of sounds, virtuosity and impeccable visual construction. Mandinga is representing Romania in Eurovision Song Contest 2012, after the group received both the public and jury votes in the Romanian national selection.

The Critics Voice Their Opinion

Jan Van Dijck

  • Can this song become a summer hit? Looks like Shakira’s sound in the beginning of her career. Big effort to please every European citizen. From Spanish lyrics to the sound of bag pipes. Just have my doubts where this song wants to bring us. It’s all very déjà vu. Well, here's a four (4) pointer from my end.

Knut-Oyvind Hagen

  • Balkan party! But I would have to be quite drunk to truly appreciate this. The song too simple, the production is too bad, and I wish that the singer would spend some more time practicing her singing. It seems like she has spent too much of her time in front of the mirror rehearsing ridiculous posing. I believe that two (2) points is enough for this track.


  • A summer smash song that will get a lot of people going crazy on the dancefloor. The accordion is really nice. Vocals could be better, the chorus drops a bit because of a way too relaxed performance. It still has a good melody which saves the song. I will give this six (6) points.


Entry Background

 Performers: Mandinga

 Composer: Costi Ionita

Authors: Elena Ionescu & Dihigo Omar Secada

 Song: Zaleilah

 Language: Spanish

Broadcaster: TVR

 History of the Nation

Romania have been trying to achieve victory at the Eurovision Song Contest since their very first participation which came back in the year 1994 but unfortunately, they would not debut well and their first really good result would ultimately come in 2002 when the duet Tell Me Why by Marcel Pavel and Monica Anghel finished in ninth place. Since then the country has achieved much more success finishing as the second runner-up on two occasions, the first coming in 2005 with Luminita Anghel and Sistem and their song Let Me Try and the second time with Paula and Ovi and their track Playing With Fire. The country remains as one of the most successful countries holding onto the 100% qualification record from the semi-final stage of the competition. Mandinga will be holding to add to that sublime record which last year saw another two names crossed off such a list including Turkey and Armenia.

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

Published in Editorials

Following the announcement of all chosen entries for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, all songs are now running worldwide, and everyone is getting a listen to them. The Baku Eurovision Song Contest is only a month and a half away, thus, many are already pointing out their favourites. This clearly shows in the iTunes chart, in which we find Romania, Spain and Sweden in position number 143, 150 and 152 respectively. 

This years’ Romanian Entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, Mandinga is going strong towards their appearance in Baku. As it was revealed earlier this week, Mandinga will be heading to both Belgium and the Netherlands to promote their entry ‘Zaleilah. This song might be heading to be one of the big hits of 2012. There is already huge interest in the song within several main record companies across Europe, amongst the German territory. In fact earlier this week an official record deal was signed between Mandinga’s Romanian company Catmusic and Universal Belgium to release Zaleilah within the next few weeks.


Pastora Soler was revealed to represent Spain on 21 December 2011. For the first time since 2006, the artist was selected internally by RTVE. However, the song was chosen through a national final. Pastora Soler sang three candidate songs in a televised national final that was held on 3 March 2012 at the Prado del Rey studios in Pozuelo de Alarcón, Community of Madrid. The candidate songs were chosen from her latest album "Una mujer como yo", released in October 2011, and from new songs submitted through her record company or by composers who usually work with her, rather than from an open call. One of the three finalist songs was chosen through an Internet vote where two songs competed for a spot in the final. The online vote was held from 15 February to 20 February, and users were able to cast one single vote. The remaining two finalist songs were selected directly by Soler and her team. In the final, the winning song was selected by a combination of televoting (50%) and jury voting (50%). The professional jury consisted of Sole Giménez (singer), Franco de Vita(singer-songwriter) and Óscar Gómez (producer and songwriter). Each of the three jurors awarded 12, 10 and 8 points. Whereas, the song with the most televotes was awarded 36 points, the second was awarded 30 points and the third, 24 points. In case of a tie, the song preferred by the televote would have won. Spain is a Big Five member and is therefore automatically in the final, held on the 26th May. In the running order draw, determined on the 20th March 2012, Spain got a wildcard (allowing it to choose the singing position) and opted to perform 19th. 


It came as no surprise when Loreen won Melodifestivalen, the Swedish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, but she did it with record figures; more than 670,000 of the four million viewers called in to vote for her song Euphoria. Afterwards Loreen was simply overwhelmed: “A fantastic feeling, I almost started sobbing... but now I want to see what I can do better. Two months of preparation can do miracles!” Euphoria, written and produced by Peter Boström and Thomas Gson, is Loreen’s third single release and has already spent three weeks topping the Swedish charts quickly surpassing Platinum status. Neighbouring Norway and Finland were quick to discover this uplifting future anthem and are currently also reporting no.1 positions. Loreen's highly anticipated debut album is scheduled for a September release. Italy was also present in the iTunes chart, but Nina Zilli and her feminnine song seems to be still one of those songs that have yet to be truly appreciated.

Source: Itunes


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