September 21, 2019

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In the past couple of years there had been somewhat of a surge of winning countries from the western world but Azerbaijan decided to change that trend when they finished as the winners with the track Running Scared performed by Ell & Nikki but then again, it was not to last long noting that the results of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest decided to crown Sweden with their entry Euphoria performed by Loreen meaning that for the third time in four years, a country from the western side of the continent will be hosting the annual event to the positive outcome of many who believe that things are somewhat more easily accessible when dealing with people who find it quite easier to speak in English with somewhat of a freehand but nevertheless, we will be taking a closer look at the results as announced by the respective spokespersons in each country.

This evening saw the Russian Grannies finish in second place despite the fact that in the past three years, the country has not managed a top ten despite many people noting that Russia is a country with a lot of neighbours and has always done well. The same goes for the second runner-up as Serbia's Zeljko Joksimovic along with his song Nije Ljubav Stvar managed to overcome recent history such as the non-qualification on 2009 and then the mid-table results of 2010 and 2011 noting that the ex-Yugoslavian block was not enough to garner them the required support which have been speaking about. One of the most interesting and unexpected results surely came from Albania whose Rona Nishliu and her powerful vocal rendition of Suus saw her finish in fifth place, the best ever result from the country following their seventh place as achieved by Anjeza Shanini during their debut way back in 2004 with the track The Image of You. The country had even failed to qualify last year despite sending forth one of their most popular performers. Other countries which managed to finish in the top ten for the first time in two years were none other than Turkey who were represented by Can Bonomo and his song Love Me Back and also Estonia with their entry Kuula performed by Ott Lepland. Both countries had done badly in 2011 with the latter finishing in last place and the former not even qualifying to the final for the very first time in a long time. One other country which had done badly in the past seven years but also returned to the top ten was Spain whose Pastora Soler finished in tenth place with the song Quedatè Conmingo (Stay With Me)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pfo-8z86x80

Then there are those countries whose fortunes seemed to have vanished into thin air or either fell by the wayside despite being seen as possible winners supposedly. Amongst these were none other than Italy who seem to have placed the highest out of those songs which were tipped as the front runners this evening. Nina Zilli was representing the country with the song L'Amore è Femmina (Out of Love) and despite a masterful performance, she only managed ninth place despite being my personal favourite and also fourth with the bookmakers. Nevertheless, the biggest fail of the evening was the fifth place with the bookmakers being none other than the United Kingdom as Engelbert Humperdinck and his song Love Will Set You Free could only garner twelve points to finish in twenty-fifth position spared only by Norway whose Tooji could not manage to get the votes with only charm and looks for his performance of Stay. Another huge disappointment surely comes for Greece whose entrant Eleftheria Eleftheriou could only conjure seventeenth place for her rendition of Aphrodisiac meaning that the Hellas nation found their way out of the top ten for the first time since 2003 when Mando had performed the track Never Let You Go which had also finished in seventeenth position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0kGpDEvtbQ

In the meantime, other countries entered the final for the very first time in years including none other than Malta whose Kurt Calleja and his band along with their track This Is The Night failed to enthrall Europe during the final with a performance that was not as ecstatic as it was during the semi-final which I rate as one of the best performances of our country since we started participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. There was a missing element in the performance and that showed quite a lot unfortunately because Kurt himself was not smiling and decided to change the notes near the end. Nevertheless, it was a proud moment to see Malta competing in the final and even better the result achieved by Chiara with What If We back in 2009 by a mere place and also ten points actually. Azerbaijan really fell in love with the Maltese entry this year noting their eight points. The FYR Macedonia also returned to the final for the very first since 2007 and it was quite a positive experience because their biggest star, Kaliopi reached twelfth place with Crno I Belo making it their most successful entry in the Eurovision Song Contest thus far tied with the result achieved by Elena Risteska for the beautiful entry Ninanajna way back in 2006.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUnEZp-qHxs

In the meantime, despite the very positive outcome of Sweden by virtue of now becoming the third tied country to win the most editions of the Eurovision Song Contest joining the United Kingdom and Luxembourg, the Scandinavian countries suffered one of the worst results in years unfortunately noting that Norway have continued to add to their tally of last place finishes as Tooji and his song Stay only managed to get seven points in total therefore making this their eleventh time to finish in last place. Denmark did not fare too much better actually noting that they had been in last place for quite some time but then somewhat managed to pick up twenty one points in order to finish in a relatively better twenty-third position having finished in fourth and fifth place in the past two years. We believe that Soluna Samay Should've Known Better than compete with such a song. Despite the hype, Iceland did not manage to do so well either failing to win enough points to improve on last years' result finishing in twentieth position with Never Forget performed by Greta Salome & Jonsi. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZaxIY1VAbM

Published in Editorials

The lead up to the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has surely been one of the most significant ones in recent years especially due to the fact that there is a lot of national interest with Malta competing in the finals for the very first time since 2009 when Chiara had taken to the stage for the third time leading her to achieve her lowest showing in the competition. Nevertheless, this evening might be about change because there has been a lot of talk in recent hours that Malta might actually be the country to look out for during the voting with betting odds shortening and improving putting up into a better mid-table position at this stage. At the end of the day, passing the first hurdle has already been a tough cookie to crack and tonight, we are sure that Kurt Calleja and the rest of his band will definitely give the best performances of their entry This Is The Night.

 

Good Evening Europe! Welcome to this years' Eurovision Song Contest brought to you from Baku, Azerbaijan. It has been quite an exhilarating competition this year noting that we have taken you throughout the two weeks with the best possible coverage noting that our team has always been on the alert to make sure that you are updated with the latest interviews, predictions and other tidbits. This evening is going to be special because escflashmalta.com will be leading you throughout the competition with four commentators, the first one being none other than former Junior Eurovision Song Contest representative Sophie who last year made her debut in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Swedish songwriter Magnus Kaxe who has written tracks for the likes of Celine Dion and Clay Aiken amongst others, Local recording artist and Bay Radio charting sensation Christabelle who has also tried to represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in the past and of course, Marc Calleja Bayliss, our very own Chief Editor.

The Show (Part 1)

Many people are somewhat gasping at how good the opening of this years' Eurovision Song Contest it and it does feature a lot of traditional elements with drums, flutes and everything traditional and it is the strongest that this could actually be. Once more, we listen to the reigning winning entry of the Eurovision Song Contest as Ell & Nikki take to the stage with the song Running Scared. The female hosts are clad in white dresses and are on their own due to the fact that Ell had just been performed. In the meantime, a video clip of the arena being built is also being shown on screens. 

LIVE

United Kingdom

Sophie: A very simple song and performance! The style is a bit old fashioned for me, but I'm sure people will warm to it! It's a lovely little ballad, but will everyone remember it after 25 more songs, probably not.

Magnus Kaxe: Nice track and Engelbert sings really great! The chorus is amazing! Though the ending wasn't that good. But all in all, a good performance.

Christabelle: Not my fav song but my predictions are that he will do well because he has a huge fan base .. Love the melody of the song though.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Engelbert Humperdinck is the first act of the evening and he is clad in black attire as he has been throughout all of the rehearsals this week. Despite his old age, he seems to be holding well onto his vocals singing clearly and distinctively/. He is joined on stage by a guitarist and also a couple who are dancing a mixture of waltz and ballet. I must say that I am impressed with his rendition this evening and the people are definitely enjoying this because they are really getting into the performance. Unfortunately I still cannot see this in the top ten because he murdered the song during the Jury Rehearsal and will definitely not hit the top ten but that was a good opener.

Hungary

Sophie: This song sounds like something I've heard before, It's not very original.. Could tonight be Hungary's night, I'm not too sure! Also the diction isn't very clear, would have liked to understand the words more, but at least it's in English!

Magnus Kaxe: Electro vibes - in my taste. :) Unfortunately the singers voice is a little bit weak. Power production, love the bass and kick drum. Good punch! One of my favourites.

Christabelle: Loved this song in the semifinal Aswell!!! Great interpretation but it's not a Eurovision song in my opinion but it's one great track still.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Well there has been a change in costume from the semi-final with an orange and black leather jacket. This is the most modern track in the competition and would definitely be played on the radio wherever actually. The vocals today are unfortunately very much over the place and it seems that the dreaded number #2 position has hit once more. This was one of those songs that has been stated to have been saved by the jury but I must say that they might have not made the right choice. A very poor performance of what was in my opinion a very good song.

Albania

Sophie: Not too sure about the snake-like hair round her neck! This song is a bit too much for me, it starts off so lovely and peaceful and then goes down hill in the chorus as it's a bit too shouty for my liking! But most people think shouting is good singing, so this will probably do well, it's pretty memorable!

Magnus Kaxe: Cool singer. She reminds a littke bit of Björk. The song is beautiful and has advanced buildup. Demanding to sing. The melody range must at least over 2 and half octaves. The longer higher notes were unfortunately not that nice to hear...saldy enough.

Christabelle: What a great voice! I wish that I could understand what she s saying hehe but I guess I have to just look at her and her snake around her neck.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Rona has to be one of the most decadent performers in this years' Eurovision Song Contest as she brings to the stage powerhouse vocals as she has always done within each and every performance. The early draw though is definitely not helping and I just cannot imagine this finishing in the top three even though she will most likely finish in the left hand side of the scoreboard. The stage is bathed in black, white and red for most of the performance and she has been saving up her voice as much as possible throughout the day to make sure that she gives a stellar performance. Well done Albania, you should be proud of that performance.

Lithuania

Sophie: A good vocal performance from Donny however he isn't as strong as he was in the semi-finals, he's actually going off pitch on a couple of notes! Very musical theatre in the beginning then changes to a more funky beat! Liked the song on the whole, however his nerves got the better of him.

Magnus Kaxe: This is just silly. Don't understand this ridiculous "song" at all. Love is blind and I wish I was deaf. At least for these three loooooooong boring minutes. Hope it gets zero points tonight.

Christabelle: What's up with the blind fold hehehe I know it's meant to be love is blind but hehe.. The song is quite good and he has a great voice ... The only thing I don't like about him are his dance moves hahha

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This had to be one of the surprise qualifiers during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest and wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black glittery blindfold, he takes to the stage and performs what seems to be a ballad earlier on but then mid-way through the performance he changed the tempo completely and turns this into a dance song. His beautiful eyes might be distracting for some but tonight I am definitely listening to his voice crack unfortunately which is quite disappointing. I do not think that this will do well this evening.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sophie: Such a beautifully sung ballad by Maya, her voice is so pure and has a lovely tone to it! The setting on stage is also really outstanding! The only thing I don't like is that she stops playing the piano at the end however the piano in the track keeps going... But a good performance on the whole.

Magnus Kaxe: I love these kinds of songs. Not a typical Eurovision song. The arrangement and production is huge. She sings beautifully. Unfortunately I don't think the song will get that many votes tonight. I keep my fingers crossed that i will though! It deserves to be in the top ten. Easily.

Christabelle: Again I wish she was singing in English!!! She has such a beautiful voice :) loveee the dress!!! And her hair too! :) this is a great ballad! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Honestly enough, when this song was previewed for the very first time, I believe that it would be a contender for this years' competition but then again, things changed and this song somewhat became slightly boring at times and this is due to the fact that one cannot understand the lyrics. The stage is completely black in the beginning but changes to red and blue to show what seems to be a sunset like atmosphere. The vocal performance is stunning as always and the wind machine effect in the end is just beautiful. Could this surprise this evening or will it be forgotten? We will see!

Russia

Sophie: I absolutely adore these women, I'm not sure if the beginning is supposed to sound off tune, but makes the rest of the song seem even better! Such a feel good song and performance, I can't get over how cute they are! This will probably do really well.

Magnus Kaxe: In opposite to many I don't find this amusing at all. Suddenly there's a cirus on stage. It has nothing to do with talent or professionalism at all. The old women are cute. That's all.

Christabelle: So simple!! Love russia this year.. Their voices aren't as strong as the others but it is a really catchy song!!! I won't be surprised if this song will be the winner the nannas are too cute!! Party people, come on and dance!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: There we go, the first real contender for the evening is Russia as their lovely grannies take to the stage. The vocal performance does not really need to be flawless but I believe that they are doing the best that they can. The performance is just lovely and the colour scheme featuring blue, red, yellow and green looks so great on stage. The people in the hall have gone crazy and everyone is up on their seats and dancing away with the ladies. Mid-way through the song they just start mumbling in Russian and then, here come the freshly baked goods. This is just amazing and will be one of the songs to beat.

Iceland

Sophie: This is quite a strong song, however I feel that something is missing! Greta & Jonsi's harmonies are perfectly pitched, and I love the violin break, but the song doesn't really go anywhere, it just has a couple of nice moments, but that's it!

Magnus Kaxe: A touch of scandinavian and irish folk tune. Song sounds to be good song, especially the chours. But i'm not convinced by the singers and their perfomance. Boring. Easy to forget.

Christabelle: Loved their voices in the first semi final. Loving the fact that she uses the violin :)

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This is one of the most successful songs in Malta apparently being bought through the digital iTunes store and here they are this evening clad in black attire in a musical like atmosphere. It seems that Jonsi has managed to bring out the very best vocal this evening noting that the beginning was pitch perfect and then when Greta joins, it is just beautiful. I mean this melodramatic ballad has always been tipped to do well and I believe that Iceland will be making their return back into the top ten this year having last been there with Yohanna in 2009. Well done!

Cyprus

Sophie: Love the staging of this! The dancers are outstanding.. The vocal performance is really strong considering the amount of energy Ivi is putting into the dance movements! Such a typical infectious Eurovision song, very memorable, and energectic! I'll be surprised if this doesn't place high tonight.

Magnus Kaxe: Yeah! This is going to be the big summer hit this year! The beach bars in Malta and Ibiza will play thison repeat. Simple, effecient and a tempting sing-along chorus. On my personal top three list tonight!

Christabelle:  Cyprus was my favorite song from the first semi final . I think it's very similar to Greece though! Another Helena paparizou in my opinion but this is one of my favorites for sure!!! Such a catchy song too!!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The beginning of the song is much better than it was during the semi-final and it seems that Ivi has patched up a lot of elements which were not working then to make them work this evening. The backdrop does feature a lot of architecture and the colour scheme is mostly blue, white and grey. The choreography for this one is just superb and one of the elements that she is mostly using is her sex appeal but mid-way through the performance she seems to have lost her voice but hey, she just starts to ramble something to get the people going. This is a good performance though and Cyprus might be getting their best result in ages because she also got a very huge applause. 

France

Sophie: Anggun's voice is a bit shakey, it's probably due to nerves, however she pulled it off nicely! Very original having gymnastics in the rountine, loved the costume too (maybe she should have covered her pants a bit more) hehe..

Magnus Kaxe: Whistle! Good song. Like the chord progression. Nice synth sounds with a 80's touch. Unfortunately too anonymous to make a lasting impression tonight. It's a tough competition!

Christabelle: Anngun has a very distinctive voice! She s 40 years old omg!!! I can't believe it what a great body! Love the whole concept of the song! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The performance of France was always going to be extremely eye catching especially due to the fact that she is joined on stage by a pair of backing vocalists and also three gymnasts who carry out what seems to be a very elaborate choreography, maybe promoting the Olympics. Anggun in the meantime is wearing a silver, golden dress with a train and she is carried on the stage at times. Her vocals are flat almost through the performance and why has to remember that she is a star in her native Indonesia and adopted France. This will not do well this evening.

Italy

Sophie: Love the style of this song, you wouldn't expect this sort of song for the Italian entry.. But I think it will do well, just think she could have done with a couple of male dancers around her like on her music video and it would have made me love it even more.

Magnus Kaxe: Has Amy Winehouse risen from the dead? No, but her musical heritage has come alive again. Is it as as good as Amy? No... Good, but a really strange harmonic modulation from the verse into the chorus. But I believe is going to well tonight. In its own genre it stands out. People will notice. And remember when the recap of all the tracks comes. I believe it's going to be in the top five.

Christabelle: What a fantastic song!!! Italians never disappoint!!! Great jazz tune!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Well Nina Zilli is definitely rocking the stage this evening with a beautiful silver dress and that Ammy Winehouse type of hairstyle. The mixture of English and Italian does work well and she is definitely toying with the track at times in order to show just how strong she is vocally. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists who just carry out their part exceptionally well. This is just an incredible performance and I do still believe that Italy can pull off the victory this evening. She interacts with the crowd well, what a performance!

Estonia

Sophie: Wish I could understand the words to this song, I would imagine it to be a love song! The vocal delivery is really good and strong. Very simple staging, but a song as strong as this doesn't need anything fancy going on.. Hope it is memorable enough for people to vote for after they've heard all the songs!

Magnus Kaxe: So what's the name is song? Yes I heard it. Approx a million times. Kula kula kula kula. Nicely written tune. But so so so so slooooooooow.... No. Doesn't work for me.

Christabelle: Great voice!!! but all I can understand is Kuula :) and he's easy on the eye too!! Such a simple performance just showcasing his wonderful voice.. I wonder what kula means in his language 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Time and time again, I have said that this is the performance that I voted for within our semi-final and I have maintained my stance that it is a beautiful entry, a charming ballad which is performed extremely well by a performer who is well known in his native country. He is still clad in the same outfit he had during the semi-final and of course, the complimentary vocals of the backing is just stunning. He is definitely enjoying this performance on stage and will most likely see a lot of votes from the jury coming forward this evening. I am not sure this will appeal to the tele-voters though.  

Norway

Sophie: Such a great, catchy song! Makes me want to get up and dance along, the whole thing is staged perfectly! He's a very good mover and keeps his vocal at a good level while bouncing around the stage. Hope this one does well!

Magnus Kaxe: Wow is Eric Saade back for Sweden this year again?! No, it's a Norwegian copycat. Tooji. Trying to be modern with a Ben Benessi synth sound. And some arabic rymth sounds. But this was modern...five years ago. The chorus is simple and Simplicity is good if it's done in a good way. But this is not good. But the dancing is tempting and the track will probably get a lot votes tonight. But not from me.

Christabelle: Stay Norway !!! How cool !!! He doesn't have an amazing voice but wow what a performance and what confidence on stage! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: So you think you can sing? I am not so sure because Tooji is definitely not performing well this evening starting off on a very bad note and does not really recover. The colour scheme is a mixture of orange, red and yellow and this does look very well on the cameras. He is joined on stage by four dancers, two of which are male and two of which are female. The choreography is extremely tight and does look very good on the screens but many people are comparing the song to the one of Sweden last year. The difference is that he could actually perform well! Quite the disappointing performance on the whole. 

Azerbaijan

Sophie: Wow! What a strong ballad, Sabina has such a great voice.. Her diction isn't perfect, but that's understandable as English is probably not her first language! I think this would have been better without backing vocals, frankly she didn't really need them! Staging was beautiful!

Magnus Kaxe: Love the the piano arpeggio in the background. Predictable song that definately won't give Azerbajan a victory this year. But maybe that's the purpose - not too win. It's a very expensive happening to arrange for the winner country.

Christabelle: Sabina is one beautiful girl! She has a beautiful voice!!! And wow look at her dress !! She really deserves to be there she has the whole package! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Azerbaijan are hosting this years' edition and they will surely be receiving a lot of support this evening because Sabina Babayeva who is clad in a beautiful outfit which changes colour according to the backdrop is joined by a well known Azeri performer and also three backing vocalists. She is performing a very melodramatic ballad which will surely go down well across the board with a number of countries. This is just a beautiful performance and I am almost convinced that this will make the top give this evening. Huge applause in the hall and it seems that everyone is enjoying this entry. A huge well done to Azerbaijan for this evenings' showcase and for this performance. 

Romania

Sophie: I love this song! It's so catchy and fun! Love the 'band' in white, they make the song so lively! Mandinga's vocals are much better tonight, this song reminds me of Shakira's 'Waka Waka' song, in a good way! I really hope people love this song as much as I do, and vote for it..

Magnus Kaxe: Next summer hit makes an entrance. Love the beat. Accordion used in a clever way Chorus fits well with the production. This is going to one of the top tracks tonight.

Christabelle: Loving the fact that she included orange in her colour scheme! In the semi final she had some technical difficulties so she was playing with her microphone and ear set but she makes up for it with such a great Eurovision song!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Huge applause from the crowd for Romania as Elena Ionescu takes to the stage clad in a short red dress with just minor black touches. She is joined on stage by the rest of the members of the group Mandinga and is clearly enjoying her performance but it seems that this has not been her week following trouble with her earpiece during the first semi-final and then also forgetting a line during the jury dress rehearsal. This evening despite trying to give her all, I believe that the vocals were very much off key throughout most of the performance and what is really making this song special is the backdrop and the shots. I still believe that they could scrape a top ten performance though. 

Denmark

Sophie: Love the style of this song, it's not very Eurovision, so I'm doubtful how well it will do! It's a very pleasant song, and quite catchy too.. I remembered it from the semi-finals, so that's a good thing.

Magnus Kaxe: The singer reminds a little bit of Alanis Morisette. Though the song isn't even close to be an Alanis track. Though it doesn't mean that this is bad. Effecient chorus. Though I would love to have heard more varity in the song composition and production. Becomes boring after a while.

Christabelle: She is so cool!!!! Love the sailor hat!!! And she is an inspiration to all her country ... I love her and her unique voice! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Soluna Samay is back on stage and this was also one of the acts which was very much successful with the Maltese followers noting that it managed to climb up to number #3 in the local iTunes charts. The track in itself is very middle of the road as has been quite successful for Denmark in recent years but I do not believe that this track will really be setting the scoreboard on fire as they have done in the past two years. It seems that Soluna Samay also started on a very bad note by being out of breathe and it has not improved actually.

Greece

Sophie: Another high enegry performance, don't really understand what message this song is trying to put across, and the singer is a bit over the top with her movements and facial expressions, but otherwise I quite like it! Another catchy one, should do well.

Magnus Kaxe: A typical song from Greece. Heard it thousand times before. In comperence to similar tracks from Romania and Cyprus this is falls out of my interest. And the singers don't manage to sing it...mostly out of tune.

Christabelle: She's making all the boys go crazy no wonder everyone is saying what a gorgeous figure she has! Greece always send fantastic songs to the final :) great tune! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: I must say that the traditional Greek element in the beginning is still just wonderful and clad in the same white, red, and black sparkling dress which does wonders for her body, she performs the song with some style. There had been talk that she could not really carry this song live but it seems that despite having much stronger vocals, she is still using her sex appeal to get some more extra votes. The choreography is very traditional and they have really thrown everything into this performance. Greece will have yet another top ten result at the end of the evening.

Sweden

Sophie: This is one of the favourites, you can tell by the reaction of the audience! I love the song, it's quite 'David Guetta' style. What's interesting is that you would expect a completely different performance to what Loreen is giving, but it totally works... It's very out of the ordinary, love it!

Magnus Kaxe: Now it's time for my native country Sweden! This is by far the best track has sent to Eurovision in years! This is suggestive, tempting and sensual at the same time. Ok, I'm Swedish but this is my favourite track this year. By far. I hope the rest of Europe sees the same what I'm seeing. And hearing.

Christabelle: I have no words for the Swedish song except Simply AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The strobe lights in the beginning of the performance are still there and what a beautiful start by Loreen who performs this pop/dance number to the best possible this evening. The backdrop for this one is kept completely black actually with the lighting being a mixture of purple and blue. I must say that she has gone from strength to strength during the rehearsals but this evening is definitely her best performance to date. Vocally, she is just brilliant and I believe that this will be the song to beat this evening especially after such an an exceptional performance.

Turkey

Sophie: This is a very different song, do not know how well it will be recieved. Personally it's not really for me, but that's just my opinion! He looks like quite a fun guy, and his personality comes out through his performance, but that's as far as it goes!

Magnus Kaxe: Now we are sailing out on the seven seas. Silly stage show. I like the balkan beat and vibe of the track but the guy sings with terrible English pronunciation. And what a vibrato he has! Though the audience seems to be cheering a lot. Maybe they see and hear something I'm missing.

Christabelle: Not my fav but everyone loves it ! I love the pirate theme and the song is catchy but not my fav.. He's a fantastic performer though!!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Huge applause from the people in hall as expected considering that Turkey and Azerbaijan are very close neighbours. Can Bonomo is wearing a leather jacket, a striped shirt and matching pants. He is joined on stage by a set of men who are clad very similar to him. The backdrop is one of the most intriguing featuring a cartoon based seascape. The vocals this evening are as good as they have been all week and the choreography is exceptionally strong but what makes this song special is the very endearing camera work which seems to have been personally tailored very closely. This will be one of the tracks to look out for this evening and will surprise. 

Spain

Sophie: Another strong ballad! Love the dress, not too sure on the harsh eye make up and pulled back hair, it's a bit too much for such a pure song! Would love to hear the English version, as I would be able to connect with it much more, but this song builds nicely to a great climax at the end. Should do very well!

Magnus Kaxe: So what has happened? This sounds amazing! So beautiful! Builds slowly and majestic in background. The spanish words sings great with the Celine Dion-ish melody.Together with Serbia and Bosnia this is the best ballads this year. Top five!

Christabelle:  What a goddess!!! Her voice is simply amazing and I love this song!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Pastora Soler is clad in a white floor length gown and she is wearing her hair in an up style. She decides to front the stage on her own this evening or rather during the beginning of the song. This is a beautiful ballad which has been getting a lot of attention in the past couple of days. The staging of the song is kept rather simple with simple blue lighting in terms of spotlights on the performance. The vocals are just stunning and despite the reports that she has been asked not to win this years' competition,  it seems that she might actually do especially considering that she gave two great performances both this evening and also last night. She is joined by a choir of backing vocals towards the end of the performance this might just be the one to beat.

Germany

Sophie: Love this one! Roman delivers this song perfectly, it's got 'Cold Play' written all over it! Really suits his voice, one of my favourites..

Magnus Kaxe: Time for the country where I'm living for the moment. Germany! First of all - lose that hat! A Ronan Keating look-a-like. A typical british song that works well on radio. Unfortunately I've heard it a million times before and this version is not one of the best.

Christabelle: Germany!!! One of the top contenders this year! Stunning man stunning voice excellent song! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Roman Lob looks very much like a bad boy actually with that tattoo on his chest and he is as always clad in casual attire and also a hat which has become somewhat his signature. The vocals this evening are off key almost at the very start and this is quite a disappointing performance from someone who had been receiving a lot of attention in the lead up to tonight. The staging is also kept very simple throughout with just a band present on stage but then again the lights are just wonderful and he does interact well with the camera-work. He does manage to pick it up near the end though and it seems that it could actually do well tonight. I do have a clue.

Malta

 

Sophie: Great performance by Kurt and the Malta crew, lots of energy and really got the crowd going! Not sure if he should have changed his improvisation at the end, prefered it on the semi-finals.. So happy to finally have Malta back in the final! Great job guys!

Magnus Kaxe: You have a really good song this! Kurt makes a great job with his charisma, great vocals and funny, tempting dance. :) I keeping my fingers crossed! Should be in the  top ten.

Christabelle: This was another great performance from Kurt and his team! Well Done!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: There has been a lot of buzz for the Maltese entry in the past couple of hours actually and it seems that this is a dark horse to do well this evening with a thumping beat which clearly makes Germany forgettable. It seems that he has decided to change a number of aspects in the vocal performance including the falsetto which has vanished during the performance. One has to add that it was a good performance but I believe that he could have even done better but nevertheless, that was just amazing and it is great to have Malta back in the finals. 

FYR Macedonia

Sophie: This a rather random song, featuring lots of different styles! Although it is placed towards the end I don't think it's got that special something to urge people to vote for it. Not for me I'm afraid

Magnus Kaxe: Great song. But I have a really hard time to hear it beacause of the bad vocals. And the production is terrible. Can't believe this made it to the finals! Just as Lithuania this should  have zero points.

Christabelle: At first I thought she was hoarse but now I realized that she has such a unique voice!!! Such a cool tone in her voice!! And I love the song too.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This was a remarkable performance from Kaliopi this evening because she used heart and emotion to make sure that FYR Macedonia would get hear and made sure to impress her country once more this evening. 

Ireland

Sophie: Aaaah Jedward! Didn't like these boys to begin with but they've grown on me, and I love them now! Such a fun song, another catchy one! Love the fountain, and the ending is awesome! Their energy and movements are amazing, loved their performance.. Well done boys!

Magnus Kaxe: Typicalwritten  song from Sweden that you could hear ten years ago. Predictable and  boring. Last years' song was much better!

Christabelle: They're great performance, their voices aren't so strong but love the song and the whole staging and concept!! I can't believe they wet their hair!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Jedward have already represented Ireland last year where they managed to achieve to achieve a very strong position by managing eighth place. This year, they have decided to return with a fountain on stage and an even stronger song. It seems that they have decided to drop their entry by just a couple of keys but this is sounding very strong nevertheless. Mid-way through the performance, they enter the fountain and have some great shots on them from the cameras. I must say that this evening has not really been the evening for everyone but this will definitely be in the top ten as their fans will be calling like crazy.

Serbia

Sophie: This song begins so peaceful, the music sounds like a something out of Mulan! Such a strong male vocal, really confident.. I wouldn't usually like something like this but it was a great performance.

Magnus Kaxe: The longest intro tonight. 45 seconds! Beautiful song with echos from The Lord Of The Rings. I'm happy to hear the song sung in the Serbian language. The singer is doing a great job! Top five!

Christabelle: Serbia. Beautiful voice. Though, wish he were performing in English.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The late draw is definitely helping Serbia secure a top placing this evening and this will be the song to rack up a lot of votes from the Balkan block actually. The initial instrumental is too beautiful and as soon as he opens his mouth, he just calms the individual down and makes one want to listen. The lighting during this song is just wonderful and it works so well with the performance. The vocals this evening are just wonderful and I honestly believe that we might be going to Serbia next year.

Ukraine

Sophie: This song is a bit puzzling for me, I love the music and melody to this song however the lyrics don't make much sense to me! They're a bit repetative! Sounds really similar to Kelly Rowland's 'When Love Takes Over', but I like the presentation over all.

Magnus Kaxe: Chord progression stolen from David Guetta's "When the love takes over". Sounds like a cheap copy of that track. The melody of the song is anonymous with no flow. And the singer mostly screams.

Christabelle: Great way to end the evening! Loving this performance! Makes me want to get up and dance ! What fantastic diaphragm control!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: One of the main reasons why Ukraine picked this song is due to the fact that it is also the one which is being used as the official song for the European Championships. The vocals are as always spot on and on key and it seems that she is giving a masterclass performance this evening. She is joined on stage by a number of dancers who also play the trumpets but the screens being used are the ones which draw a lot of attention because there is an army of people all of whom are doing to the song. I must say that I do love the performance but not sure where this will place.

Moldova

Sophie: I like this song, if I heard it on the radio I wouldn't change over to another station, however I don't think the stage performancedoes it any justice! The choreography is a bit weird and the singer looks a bit weird too, but I think it should be recieved well by the audience!

Magnus Kaxe: Like the brass arrangement of the song. Though the song a little to simple to stand out in the tough competition. He sings great! But why do they have to wear clothes that look like a circus?

Christabelle: Reminds me of Colin Farell ! Very entertaining performance. Unique choreography for sure! The dresses are fantastic .

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Colin Farrell seems to be representing Moldova this year and he does so in impressive fashion because this has to be one of the catchiest songs of the evening with a very upbeat message in the lyrics. The choreography is just amazing still and I just cannot imagine this doing badly especially having been awarded the late draw. The backdrop also works very well with the overall staging and I must say that this it the first time in years where Moldova would definitely garner my vote. 

The Show (Part 2) 

The hosts are back on stage is much more formal clothing than they were in the beginning. They open up the voting of course and the recap is currently being shown to the viewers across Europe. In order to vote from Malta, you would have to call 522020XX or send a text to 505157XX. We would like to wish Kurt Calleja the very best of luck with the result!

Result

1st - Sweden

2nd - Russia

3rd - Serbia

4th - Azerbaijan

5th - Albania

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 pre-qualified entries for the final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest have already had their technical rehearsal, spread over a period of two days, the first being on Saturday where they had forty (40) minutes of allocated time and the second being on Sunday where they were allocated another thirty (30) minutes in total as were all of the other competitors in the competition. One of the main features prior to each semi-final is that we will be releasing the results of the polls and the reviews combined in order to see whether they were close to the actual results, nevertheless, we can now also reveal the comments put forth for the six finalists which include the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Azerbaijan, Spain and Germany. The reviews were carried out by none other than Valerie Vella.

 

The female host on local television does not need a lot of introductory notes and this is because she is well known with the fans of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and also around Europe having occupied the role of spokesperson, commentator, national final host and also as the Head of Press during the actual competition. She has exclusively decided to voice her views with us and of course with you our readers about the tracks which have already qualified to the final due to their respective status when it comes to finances along with the honour of the previous winner and therefore host country. We would like to make it a point that these views are not those of escflashmalta.com but are personal views of an individual with years of experience within the field.

United Kingdom

The last time the UK came up with something decent in recent years was with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s composition ‘It’s My Time’ in 2009. Actually, they gave me the feeling they had given up on the contest altogether. I must say that the UK pleasantly surprised me this time round. Love songs rarely come more classic and soothing than this. Meaningful lyrics combined with a perfect diction and technique make it a surefire hit ….at least for me….but I must confess that I’m a big fan of good ballads, so I might be slightly biased here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFNv9pjqZkk

France

For France this year we’ll see the diminutive but very shapely Anggun. Famous in the 90s for her song "Snow on the Sahara", the Indonesian-French singer's entry is a sprightly pop entry. Whether it catches the imagination of European audiences remains to be seen however….I must say it hasn’t grown on me yet, but I like the whistling sound all throughout the song. Its interesting to note that songs in French have repeatedly failed to garner any significant placings in recent years, but that could well change this year if she manages to put up a good show. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnSmB7uBo-Y

Italy

A quite unusual song that grabs you from the very first note. Nina oozes style with her stage presence and impeccable voice. I must say I’m surprised the Italians chose to sing in English after the romantic Italian language to have worked wonders last year as they placed second. It seems that after the 14 year absence from the ESC, the Italians are doing their utmost to keep away from the stereotypical Italian ballad. All in all … Like!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coqLVynejo8

Azerbaijan

Although this is the only the 5th appearance of Azerbaijan in the ESC , they seem to be on the right track year after year. Strong entries, spectacular stage performances, and, let’s face it, big budgets, have landed them top ten placings every year. They seem to strike the right note whatever the style of the song. This year’s ballad has potential, but what are the chances of winning twice in a row? Besides, polished as it may be, it’s not really a winner to me. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8ejpLyXSuY

Spain

Where do I start? I like her voice and I don’t mind the melody line, but that’s just about it for me. It’s an average classical ballad. I doubt it will stand out, especially when faced with other, stronger ballads in this year’s festival. Had Spain not been one of the Big Five, I’m pretty sure the chances of seeing them in the final would be close to zero….yawn!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fL-s0eRRYTE

Germany
 
A young cool male after 2 years of cute Lena. A chill out song that tends to bore me by the time its over. A repetitive chorus which lacks creative lyrics....but usually that goes down well with viewers. I believe that a potentially winning song is one that people can hum or sing through parts of it the first time they hear it, because let's face it, most of the people voting on the day would have never heard the songs before even though they are widely available on the various media. Hopefully he will keep up his unwavering voice when singing live.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxA6TWLttZo
Published in Editorials

Yesterday had to be one of the most intrguing days in the world of the Eurovision Song Contest with many fans and accredited media looking forward to seeing the rehearsals of the prequalified finalists who have all put in a lot of effort with regards to their entry. The day did not run extremely late and kept in tow with the schedule as much as possible and that is why, many had the time to get ready for the Official Opening Party which was of course held with splendour in Baku, Azerbaijan. This is the very last time that people have to wake up early to follow the days' latest ventures noting that as from tomorrow things change and rehearsals become dress rehearsals in the late afternoon when it comes to Central European Time. Amongst the rehearsals which many are looking forward today, there are surely Estonia, Norway, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom and Germany. So stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news live from Baku.

All of our team members have put in a lot of work to make sure that you get the best experience possible when following escflashmalta.com and therefore, a round of applause for our main members including Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Šira Carolyn Bezalel for the pictures and the interviews as well as to our head of operations in Azerbaijan, Garrett Mulhall who has been busy dealing with the rehearsals amongst other things. Yesterday, there were eleven acts who took to the stage and this will be the same case today with the rest of the countries in the second semi-final perfecting their respective entries whilst the finalists making sure to improve on their first rehearsals yesterday. Everyone might be a little bit a little tired following the official welcome party last night. We are yet to hear how it went but we will be keeping you posted with all of the latest, so as I said before, make sure to stay tuned to escflashmalta.com throughout the day.

Schedule of Rehearsals 

08:30 - Estonia

09:00 - Slovakia

09:30 - Norway

10:00 - Bosnia & Herzegovina

11:30 - Lithuania

13:00 - United Kingdom

13:30 - France

14:00 - Italy

14:50 - Azerbaijan

15:20 - Spain

15:50 - Germany

 

LIVE

Sorry for not being here earlier people but as you can expect, very rough morning it seems for people in Azerbaijan because the rehearsals began extremely late and we are like in the first day where we are somewhat an hour more than originally scheduled. Estonia seems to have concluded their rehearsal just now and we will be reviewing it just now whilst uploading the video of the rehearsal in this article.

 

Estonia 

The baltic nation is the one up today and Ott Lepland is for the second time wearing his blue waistcoat and trousers along with a white shirt and a dark blazer matching his trousers. He is joined on stage by a female backing vocalists whom we have already seen the outfit she will be wearing but has decided to stay casual today. The backdrop is one of the most visually stunning of the competition being yellow and white throughout the first bit before changing in a pink one full of petals. Ott Lepland has decided to start improvising this morning and some of it actually sounded very good. He certainly seems to be enjoying himself on the stage and this song will not only qualify to the finals but once there it can get their best result in years being the only real ballad which stands out this year for just being different. 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ClAio1OICM

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Slovakia

Astonishing light show at the beginning which is further more shown on the screens also through a spectrum of lights. Max Jason Mai on stage and in full costume it seems with make up included. He is joined on stage a band as predicted and making sure to show Europe his physique by wearing an open black leather jacket joined by very tight black leather pants. The song is a typical rock song and is the only one in this years' competition. The staging of this is perfect because the performer is not staying in one place but going around the stage for the best possible effect ont he cameras. The vocals are strong but I am not sure that this song will completely appeal to the people even if he is doing everything in his power to interact with the people. I am almost sure that this is not their year to qualify once more this time round.

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Norway

The lighting in the beginning is awesome with purple, blue and red being very high featured. Tooji is wearing his costume from the national final this morning with a hood on his head which he quickly removes heading into the first chorus. He is joined on stage by four dancers; two of which are male and the other two are female. There is also some additional vocal help with a male backing singer on the left hand side of the stage. The choreography is exceptionally slick and this is looking very strong on the screens. We had the opportunity to speak to Tooji and he is really nice and shows that he does put in a lot of work in whatever project he takes up. Vocally this sounds almost perfect today but it is visually amazing. Norway are back into the finally and might also finish in the top ten.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwg8QPyFXE

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Beautiful melody right from the start for Bosnia & Herzegovina who are being represented byt he wonferful Maya Sar who seems to be wearing the dress for the semi-final this morning. She is clad in a dark black sparkling gown with shoulder pads. She starts at the piano playing it to the music whilst performing with a dark background right behind her. It seems that there has been a change in backdrop for this one with the old ruins of a Greek city not appearing anymore. Mid-way through the song, she stands up revealing the dress in it's full entirety. A flawless vocal performance from Maya but despite the beauty of the song, I am just not so sure that all of the Balkans can make it through and I would be sad to see this one go unfortunately. 

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Lithuania

The second rehearsal from the second Baltic nation competing in the second semi-final actually comes from Lithuania and Donny Montell is wearing a white shirt with black trousers and a matching blazer. The graphics behind him are kept dark with just blue lighting shining on stage but then, they commences and it shows what seems to be empty void rooms. He is working the cameras well and this could well be a song that qualifies in the manner that is being presented. Mid way through the song, he removes the blindfold which he starts with and carries out with flip as he has always done. The backdrop features people dancing in the uptempo song. The vocals were impressive indeed. I am very uncertain about the result of this song though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HrHQ9gIKJ8

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

United Kingdom

A slight change of scenery for the performance of the United Kingdom today with one main spotlight on the guitarist in the beginning before moving onto the main performer, the most popular entertainer to compete in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The backdrop for this seems to have been slightly altered as well featuring what seem to be magical rays. The dancers are back on the stage although they do seem to be too much on the far left side. The colour scheme is kept dark but the music and the lights work well and suddenly there is some red on stage as they are heading towards the first key change which is whoa, amazing! Engelbert is hitting all of the notes and this is definitely a top ten performance now. I am impressed by this and I hope he can manage to hold it off towards the final later on this week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxx6u75q0nk

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

France

Anggun is back on stage for her second rehearsal and the stage is bathed in red lights today and it seems that she might actually be wearing something which she might wear during the final today when it comes to the top although she is still sporting that cape. She is joined on stage by three acrobats who carry out the choreography and also two backing singers who are really putting in a lot to aid the performance. The staging has pretty much everything thrown in it at this stage. The background features several men doing sports as well as musical bars. The choreography is very elaborate as Anggun is even carried like a queen at times. The vocal performance is good but not flawless but I just cannot imagine this track troubling the top eight at this stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzskcA5btto

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Italy

Nina Zilli returns to the stage for her second rehearsal and there have been changes such as the fact that the backing singers, three in total have been moved to the left hand side of the stage as opposed to yesterday. Their movements are more coordinated today and they are definitely enjoying themselves. The beautiful Italian singer is clad in a shimmering silvery blue design which looks astonishing on her and she is wearing her hair in a bun although this will most likely be changed yet she does look great. The singing is as it was yesterday, right on key and she is improvising today which is great as she is making the song more personal. The backdrop has stayed the same keeping with the modern black and white touches. This looks great on stage and on the monitor. Sweden be afraid, very afraid as Italy is in the mix!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riru99O1iVk

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Azerbaijan

As we reported yesterday, Sabina will be rehearsing in her beautiful white gown in each and every rehearsal due to the special effects that is carries noting that it does change colour along iwth the backdrop. The focus is on the performer with a white spotlight but she is joined on stage by three female backing vocals and one male backing vocalist and this is looking very well on screens. The dress is looking immaculate and the vocals are very strong as they were yesterday. The idea with the dress is a first for the Eurovision Song Contest and whilst it is impossible for Azerbaijan to win twice in a row, I predict a top ten finish, even a possible top five finish because this ballad is just beautiful and has been written to interact with the audience. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7l-6mSo474

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Spain

Pastora has decided to keep her dress for the final night hidden it seems as she dons more casual clothing for her second rehearsal. The backdrop is quite simple but suddenly there seems to be a stream of water going down behind her. She is alone on stage for more of the time actually and just lets her vocal range do most of the performance. She walks to different parts of the stage noting that she is an experienced performer. The vocals are astonishing and as she heads into the chorus prior to the key change, the backdrop becomes a flurry of stars with strobelights all over. She is joined by five backing singers after this and they help her give the song a choir effect. The staging also features a brand new design. Stunning performance from Spain and this is also a contender this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySybV3anTqs

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Germany

Germany have went from a mediocre entry to a very strong song and Roman is clearly taking in every ounce of this experience with him. In his native country, he has already become quite popular with his entry for the competition charting at number three (3). Once more, focus in this song is on the lights instead of the backdrop as was the case within the preview video. He is joined on stage by a band which includes the piano, drums, bass and also a guitar. Despite this looking very strong on the screens, I am not actually understanding everything that he is uttering and this can be quite problematic actually. Nevertheless, the refrain is catchy and this track is going to be a hit outside of the Eurovision Song Contest. This will most likely finish between eight and twelfth place on the night! A good rehearsal but it has dropped ever so slightly although this will not effect it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pacrXD4A_Xc

Video Courtesy of escXtra

The difference in time zones has somewhat affected a number of sleeping patterns for individuals and whilst weekends are normally used for sleeping in, things do eventually look up once one is gearing up for another day of attending rehearsals, press conferences and also shooting interviews with participants. Most of the participants competing in the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest have already taken to the stage for two rehearsals including the ones of the first semi-final but nevertheless, there are some acts in the second semi-final who will take to the stage between today and tomorrow whilst the very first rehearsals of the host nation and the big five are expected to take place today as well marking a very special element about the days' proceedings. One of the most interesting areas that has been affected daily is the timing which has never been kept well noting late starts and late finishes with some people spending a whole day in the press centre in order to wrap up their daily coverage. Despite the fact that Malta will not be rehearsing today, the interesting rehearsals surely come from Slovenia, SwedenTurkeyGermanySpain and the United Kingdom.

 

The work and promise that our team members in Baku, have shown in the past couple of days has been beyond extraodinary and I thank them daily for their hard work so once more, a shout out to Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Šira Carolyn Bezalel for the pictures and the interviews as well as to our head of operations in Azerbaijan, Garrett Mulhall who has been busy dealing with the rehearsals amongst other things.Today, eleven (11) countries will be taking to the stage in total but the pre-qualified finalists have forty minutes on stage because it is their first rehearsal actually. Keeping things in mind, when the first rehearsal is staged, there will be a number of issues and therefore, when they take the stage for a second time tomorrow, one will be expecting them to perfect the act therefore, this is to be kept in mind before drawing up a complete opinion of the track. Kurt Calleja did Malta proud yesterday and currently ranks in seventh place, when it comes to the present press in Baku, Azerbaijan. Stay tuned with escflashmalta.com throughout the day for all of the latest updates about the proceedings.

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:00 - Slovenia
 
08:30 - Croatia
 
09:00 - Sweden
 
09:30 - Georgia
 
10:00 - Turkey
  
11:30 - Germany
 
12:15 - France
 
13:00 - Italy
 
14:00 - Azerbaijan
 
14:45 - Spain
 
15:30 - United Kingdom
 
 
LIVE

Only ever so slightly late today but not too bad indeed considering the long day that does lie ahead. Each of the second semi-final participants still have thirty minutes on stage instead of the initial forty minutes. First there is a vocal run to see that everything is working well and then, the rehearsal in full commences.

 

Slovenia

The youngest performer in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is back on stage and she does not seem to be daunted to perform in front of millions on the night. She is wearing a beautiful white dress with flowers stitched onto it. She is joined on stage by five female backing vocalists also clad in white who have a simple choreography to carry out. The backdrop features a shimmering piece of material along with beautiful white lighting which acts as a form of series of stars. The vocals are perfect from Eva and the accompaniment of the backing vocals is also sounding beautiful. This is going to be in the final hands down coming at the middle of the semi-final and is completely walking over Croatia which comes right after it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgkZa47mnh0

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Croatia

The second rehearsal of the day as mentioned above comes from Croatia and there are a number of similarities between the two tracks. From what I have heard, Nina is very much a star in the Balkans and she does transpire that on stage actually which she is using from the middle. She is clad in a black dress with a white ruffled bow at the back. On stage she is joined by three female backing vocals and two dancers who seem to be holding onto a piece of drape which they use to perform with during the latter bit of the performance. The backdrop features clouds, very similar to the preview video once more. The basis of the lighting is blue and white. The vocals are good but there are some notes which do not sound too well unfortunately. I will hold onto my nerve and say that this will not qualify and leave room for Slovenia to pounce in and take the votes despite her popularity in the Balkans. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwkEYD457Ns

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Sweden

Sweden comes into the competition as the huge favourite with a lot of media attention and many find themselves in the hall for this rehearsal. The initial strobelights work so well with the beat of the song and are coming across so well on screen. Loreen seems to be in much better shape vocally today and she seems to be wearing her semi-final outfit today which features a black dress hidden under a black cape. She is joined on stage by three female backing vocals and also a male dancer who comes in towards the latter part of the performance. They co-ordinate the moves together at one point and this looks stunning but what is really beautiful is the background of strobelights. The people in the hall love it but am I convinced this will win, not entirely sure but it has a fate in the top three definitely sealed given it has already become a hit all over the continent. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vRQSyrN24A

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Georgia

Anri is clad in a red robe as he performs the operatic bit of the track but he removes it to unvile a very smart suit with a glitter shirt. He is joined on stage by four female backing vocalists/dancers who have a simple choreography task to carry out. The backdrop for this one seems to have been altered just a bit and it seems that the star is now missing. On stage, there is also a white piano which he plays mid-way through the song. At the latter end part of the track, a dancer dressed in red also comes forth. The vocals are good even though crazy and this song might be getting on the nerves of some people but I believe it might actually qualify with this staging. They are enjoying the whole performance, and well this is just mad but I guess mad enough. Just for the record, it is not my personal cup of tea and I would not like it to qualify but hey, the majority speak for themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7qHw58LDY0 

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Turkey

Turkey is getting a lot of attention in Malta with Can Bonomo appearing on the most popular show in the country last night. He is back on stage for his second rehearsal and there have not been a lot of changes with this one actually with the backdrop still showing the cartoonish sea along with a dark storm which lies ahead in the rough seas. The singer who is wearing a white shirt and black jeans is also sporting a long tailcoat cardigan and is joined on stage by five male backing dancers. The choreography is enegetic but very slick indeed. Turkey has returned with what they do best and this song is not only going to qualify to the final, but once there will reach the top ten. I am singing along to this quite easily. At the latter end of the song, the cardigans are put together to form a sailing boat and there level of excitement and enjoyment is very apparent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iYHM4Ivmyw

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Germany

The very first rehearsal for Germany in thsi years' Eurovision Song Contest and this is the first time that it is actually being fully staged noting that Roman Lob had performed it by himself during the national final. He is joined on stage by a drummer, bassist, pianist and a guitarist. The focus on the stage performance is definitely on the lighting with the spotlights used very effectively as they had been during the preview video. The backdrop seems to be experimental but features a red three dimensional set of spots going round. The vocals are stunning and Germany are sending a typical pop entry which could well be a great radio hit noting that it has managed to peak at number three in Germany, one of the biggest charts in Europe. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_pNP99BGT0

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

France

Anggun came on stage with casual clothes and a white train. Three (3) big cubes were brought onto the stage. The French Team consisted of 2 backing singers, one male and one female and three (3) acrobats performing gym movements throughtout the song . A windmachine was used to create a Carola effect. The vocals went perfectly, however the acrobatic part looks far too hectic and is totally distracting the viewers from the singer and the song. On the other hand the blue background with gymnastic effects is not attractive enough. Nevertheless, this did not come across too badly on the screens and it seems that Anggun was not too happy with the performance, stating that there was a lot of room for improvement during the press conference which was very well attended by the media present considering her stardom across the continent. 

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Italy

Nina Zilli takes to the stage for her first rehearsal wearing a white dress very much reminiscent of what they used to dress like way back in the sixties. The backdrop for Italy is a mixture of black and white lines and this is also used as a colour scheme. She is joined on stage by three backing vocals, two are female and the other being male. This song is kept simple and one has to add that her movements are just adorable with her hands kept in the right place during the performance. The backing need to coordinate better in terms of movements though. Mid way through the performance, spots are coming across along with diamonds. The shots are still slightly messy but this will most likely do better with long shots. She owns the stage and Italy are contenders for victory especially after such a strong first rehearsal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZKIyE1TmTY

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Azerbaijan

This host country is being represented by the beautiful Sabina Babayeva and my my what an outstanding performance this was. It is important to note that as published earlier on today, the performer is wearing a white dress which changes colour according to the stage background. She is also joined on stage by a male backing vocalist and three female backing vocalists who are also dressed in white.There might be the issue of this being a static performance but we have come to know from our colleagues that this is really looking great on the screen because at the end of the day, the focus of this track is the voice of Sabina and her accompaniment are doing their best to compliment her. I must say, this is another strong rehearsal considering it is the first one. The backdrop was slightly too laid back but they might be deciding on what to put on it.

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Spain

Beautiful backdrop with shimmering lights, sort of like a waterfall before they become more like shooting stars. Pastora takes to the stage alone and as she enters the chorus, there is a new element of a pyramid on stage. The cameras are keeping a lot of track on her and she is enjoying the element of the close ups. Mid-way through the performance, the backing singers, five in total come out onto the stage and they give the song a special touch. Spain seem like contenders for the very first time in years with this song actually and what a performance. Pasotra is flawless vocally and hits the high notes of the song beautifully. I am sure that Spain will be in the top ten but can they pull out a victory? Huge reaction in the hall!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E35-GMwB6U

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

United Kingdom

Engelbert has got to be the most famous performer at this years' Eurovision Song Contest followed by Jedward and Pastora Soler and his rehearsal has been expected for quite some time noting that he was supposed to perform first due to this running order position but due to a number of scheduling conflicts this was not possible. He is clad in casual clothing today and is joined on stage by a guitarist as in the preview video and also a couple who are dancing along to the beautiful tune. The vocals need a lot of work especially in the upper register as when he changes the tone, it is not really sounding well and that would definitely detract votes from the juries, an element which the United Kingdom should be playing with. This was a first rehearsal and they will have a second one tomorrow but work is definitely required.

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

The most noteworthy participant in this years' Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan is surely Engelbert Humperdinck, one of the biggest stars of the olden days with a large number of hits including tracks such as Release Me, The Last Waltz, A Man Without Love, and After the Lovin' amongst others. The selection of the British Broadcasting Corporation did not go without any criticism from the British and the foreign press actually but nevertheless, he has somewhat been tipped as one of the favourites with the United Kingdom being almost at the top of the list in terms of the Betting Odds ranking in position number #4 at the current moment. It will be quite interesting to see how the performance of the track Love Will Set You Free will go down with the rest of the continent.

 

Engelbert is currently signed to Conehead Records which is an independent recording label to which stars such as Peter Andre, Stacey Solomon and Rhydian Roberts are also signed. The single was released last Monday and it seems that Engelbert was out to promote the track prior to leaving to the Eurovision Song Contest making appearances on the Graham Norton Show on BBC1 in the United Kingdom and also on the Late Late Show on RTE in Ireland where Jedward where also guests. In both shows, the legendary performer decided to perform his track LIVE for the very first time and despite the age, his performances were still above average yet not perfect and might require some work before going to Baku, Azerbaijan. Stay tuned to all of the latest news from the Eurovision Song Contest with our live coverage on escflashmalta.com thanks to our team on location including Juergen Boernig, Garrett Mulhall, Patrick Strouk, Šira Carolyn Bezalel and Lilian Brunell along with our collaborators including Luke Fisher of escXtra and Keith Mills of All Kinds of Everything.

Source: BBC, RTE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq1-6qsjIo8

The 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan and it is quite interesting to note that whilst the preparations are going on at full speed, several countries are finishing off their promotional tours noting the visits of the Turkish and Azeri representatives in the Maltese Islands over the past couple of days. In the meantime, many have been keeping an eye on the way that the polls and the betting odds have been developing and it seems that there have been no changes in recent days or weeks apart from  a switch between the second and third position. The leading country for this years' competition is Sweden who are represented by a track entitled Euphoria which has been described as a mixture between dance and pop and performed by Loreen.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that the Melodifestivalen winner seems to be the favourite even in terms of sales noting that it has charted at number #1 in Sweden and Finland whilst also making the charts in countries such as Norway and Malta, there are another four tracks which together make up the top five and in fact these are L'Amore e Femmina performed by Nina Zilli for Italy, then it would be Buranovskiye Babushki with their song Party for Everybody for Russia. In fourth place comes Serbia with Zeljko Joksimovic and his beautiful ballad Nije Ljubav Stvar and then in fifth place it would be the United Kingdom and their represented Engelbert Humperdinck with the classic entry Love Will Set You Free. Other notable names which have kept high positions in this years' betting odds include none other than Ireland who are represented by Jedward and Waterline as well as Iceland whose Greta Salome and Jonsi will perform the entry Never ForgetKeep a close eye on the songs that will be presented in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Source: Oddschecker 

The British Broadcasting Corporation has been on a number of occasions that they do not take their annual participation in the Eurovision Song Contest seriously and hence, have been trying to take up a new approach and that is to send acts who have already gained credibility over the course of time such as Blue last year whose song I Can managed to reach eleventh place, the best result this decade considering that they had finished in last place in the previous year thanks to Josh Dubovie whose song That Sounds Good to Me was written by Pete Waterman, the same person behind hits written for Steps and Kylie Minogue amongst others. This year, they have decided to send a legend in the form of Engelbert Humperdinck.

The chosen artist does not require a lot of introduction known by many to be the British version of the great Elvis Presley. Engelbert has managed to do what many artists aspire to do and that is sell millions of records apart from obtaining stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and last but not least, a nod for a Grammy. He has won a number of awards and is mostly known for his song Release Me released way back in 1966. It peaks across the boards and gave the artist his fame. He has gone onto release a multitude of singles and albums and continues to perform sold out concerts including one in Malta just a couple of months ago. The song that he will be performing at the Eurovision Song Contest is entitled Love Will Set You Free and will be released as a physical and digital single on the 30th April 2012 under the Conehead Label.

The Conehead Label has been steadily rising as one of the leading labels in the United Kingdom having managed to attract a number of artists including X Factor stars Rhydian and Stacey Solomon but then again, one could also notice more famous artists such as Peter Andre and Bodies Without Organs who tried to represent Sweden on a number of occasions, failing to grab that ticket. Engelbert is one of their most recent signings actually and apart from releasing his Eurovision single on this label, he will also be releasing an album, one which will surely be entertaining for his fans as it will celebrate his 75th birthday. Stay tuned to www.escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news about the United Kingdom.

Source: Conehead Records

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFNv9pjqZkk