October 23, 2019

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ESCflashmalta Team

ESCflashmalta Team

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

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

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:30 - Montenegro

09:00 - Iceland

09:30 - Greece

10:00 - Latvia

10:30 - Albania

12:00 - Romania

12:30 - Switzerland

13:00 - Belgium

13:30 - Finland

14:20 - Israel

14:50 - San Marino

15:20 - Cyprus

15:50 - Denmark

 LIVE

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

Montenegro

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra


Iceland

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra


Greece 

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Latvia

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Albania

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Romania

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

 Switzerland

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Belgium

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Finland

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

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

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Israel

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

San Marino

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Cyprus

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

 

Denmark

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

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

Video Courtesy of escXtra

The problem of lack of sleep might actually lead to oversleeping the following day but nevertheless, the interest continues with today being the most exciting day yet for several fans due to the fact that a number of strong songs will be taking to the stage of this years' Eurovision Song Contest for the very first time. Everything has gone smoothly thus far actually in Baku, Azerbaijan with Ictimai and the European Broadcasting Union doing a great job when it comes to the organizations aspect. Whether you have left for work or school, we would like to wish you Good Morning and welcome to the fourth day of LIVE coverage. In the previous three days, thanks to several individuals, we have managed to bring about the best possible coverage and we hope to continue more of the same in the next couple of days especially this week when things are more hectic than they will be next week.

For the fourth day running, I would like to thank this years' team for escflashmalta.com which features newcomer; Šira Carolyn Bezalel as well as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall, the latter of which is is Head of Operations in Baku and is leading the team to such positive coverage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. Yesterday members of our team were present during the Maltese rehearsal first hand and had only words of praise to say whilst they also made it to the press conference where Kurt thought his apple jack move to the media present. Today is quite special due to the fact that the runaway favourite Sweden will rehearsal but there will also be rehearsals by strong entries coming from Turkey, Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia.
 
Schedule of Rehearsals
 
08:00 - Slovenia
 
08:45 - Croatia
 
09:30 - Sweden
 
10:15 - Georgia
 
11:55 - Turkey
 
12:40 - Estonia
 
13:25 - Slovakia
 
14:25 - Norway
 
15:15 - Bosnia & Herzegovina
 
15:55 - Lithuania 
 
LIVE
 
Things improve day by day as they say and timing is very important. It seems that we are just behind by not too much today and that is why, progress is important. Forty minutes have been allocated to each performer for the last time today as tomorrow marks the beginning of the second rehearsals, with half an hour each instead of the longer forty minutes. The first sound check for Eva is on and it seems we are ready to commence quite in spectacular fashion this morning.
 
Slovenia

 
The fourth day of rehearsals open up with a Balkan ballad whose backdrop is kept extremely simple showing what seems to be a black cape flowing in the wind. The colour scheme is a mixture of black and red and there is this misty feeling going along. It might be that everyone is in their costume actually with several white dresses on show. Eva is joined on stage by the five female backing vocalists who were with her in the national final. They are not standing far away though and a warm effect is created with a very simple choreography. In Europe it is very early but it is not in Azerbaijan and the vocals by the young performer are strong and have no trouble. In the final chorus, the backdrop changes and features sparkles in a golden brown colour. I think the song in itself did not come across as powerful as it shoul but still a good start. It is unknown whether Croatia with a same sound can actually kill it's chances out there.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXgEGMS2jhA
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Croatia

 
Following Slovenia, come their neighbours Croatia with a similar kind of sound and this is the very first time that Nina is performing the Eurovision version of her song live. She is clad in a back dress and is joined on stage by three female backing vocalists and two male dancers. The bacdrop is as expected features shots from the video which for those who have not seen it includes a lot of fog and clouds. The spotlights play a pivotal role in brigning out the best elements of this song and it seems that the choreography despite quite simple is very much polished. The vocal range of Nina is incredible and considering her recent surgery, she is still performing very well. The music of this song is just beautiful and mesmerizing. Mid way through the performance, the two dancers stretch out a banner and dance with it whilst Nina continues improvising with her voice. This is very strong and in my opinion has become a qualifier.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoCgx3QemRc
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Sweden

  
The media attention that was in the hall for Loreen was staggering. People were climbing over each other to get a good vantage point. However - was it worth it? Well being the firm favourite you know that people will be expecting more from you tehn other countries. They will also expect your First Rehearsal to be note, camera and dance perfect which is not the case. Regearsals are there to iron out any problems and Loreen had some issues. We all know the song "Euphoria" and their is even a store in Baku called Euphoria - how strange. The song is a huge Electro Euro Pop anthem that only Sweden know how to do. Loreen is singing on stage with 2 female backing singers. It was clear that she was holding back on her voice but the backing vocals need some work - but that is what the rehearsal is for The song still sounds wonderful and that is hard to say when you have been listening to it for months now. The local people who have not seen or heard the song were very excited from Loreen's performance.
 
This bodes well as the majority of people looking at Eurovision and voting in it will be looking at the songs for the first time when the show airs so your song needs to have impact and this does. Again this is same performance that took place in the Swedish National Final. Loreen is dimly lit with just spotlights on her face which is highly dramatic. The stage is dark with some intermittent flashes of lighting There is the same dance routine as she used in Melodi Festivalen and guess what - yes you are right - she uses the same male dancer again here in Baku. When the key change takes place in the song - YES the same again - we have snow on the stage. However the backdrop of the stage turns into a massive snow blizzard which looks stunning. So as for today's theme for the performances - we are doing "Cars" - so Loreen's performance would be "A pimped out Volkswagen" - Highly reliable but looking and sounding great. What do you think? 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wLqR0AOeSc
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Georgia

 
It seems that this rehearsal started quite problematic as the microphone was not working and he is not using a hand held one due to the choreography which seems to be quite busy. The main singer is joined on stage by four ladies and everyone is dressed in black. The backdrop features what seems to be the star of Britain's Got Talent actually before being altered to more designs further on. In the meantime, the colour scheme for this one is a mixture of black, red and white. It is quite funny how he is trying to look like a Casanova but comes across as too fake and disinterested at times. Nevertheless, the vocal performance is mostly good until he tries to reach the higher register of the falsetto which fails miserably. Mid-way through, a female dancer comes on as well and adds more to the meaningless performance. Now that was a car crash, a devastating one. This is surely a definite non-qualifier.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvOfVk6NpWY
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Turkey

 
It is no surprise that the Turkish rehearsal was very busy as Can Bonomo is a well known star in Azerbaijan. Personally I like this song. It has a great Turkish Ethno/Pop vibe to it. Can is a very likable character and has good vocals. He reminds me of Ben who was the lead singer of the 80's British pop band Curiosity Killed the Cat. Can's vocals were very strong as were his backing singers. His pronunciation was also very good - and you know how I like that! The back drop to the stage is extremely vibrant and colourful. We start with blue lighting on the stage. For the chorus the colour is bright red. There is a strong nautical theme where we see animated scenes of the ocean with anchors, boats and lighthouses.
 
This is interwoven with scenes of anchors through animated scenes of mountaintops with love hearts. Can is accompanied by 5 men on stage with him who provide the backing vocals and dancing. For the actual climax of the song the dancers physically align themselves in a formation to replicate a ship with Can as the captain. It looks very effective. The staging of the song is wonderful and Can is a likable character with a relaxed presence on stage. As he is performing after Georgia this will be to his advantage as the Georgian song and performance has divided the press conference. Turkey will be sailing into the final. I think this could bring Turkey into the Top 10 in the final. If this was a car it would be a stylish cheeky little Mini. It is classic with a little twist. 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip-jmK-SwcI
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Estonia


My close friends know how much I adore the Estonian entry as soon as he took to the stage for his rehearsal, I must say that I was somewhat in a trance over what the performance could look like. It seems like the Ott Lepland might actually be clad as he will be in the semi-final in a black, blue and white outfit featuring a waistcoast and tight jeans. He is joined on stage by one backing vocal who is wearing a beautiful white shimmering gown. The backdrop graphics are just beautiful and feature three dimensional objects but as soon as the bridge kicks in the colour switches from dark red and black to pink with a number of rose petals being used for the backdrop. It also finishes in complete darkness and you could hear a pin drop in such a quiet setting once he finishes but the audience present awaits for him to finish before clapping. Stunning, this could be the surprise of this years' Eurovision Song Contest. A ballad performed with poise and perfection which will stand out from the rest and will surely shine in between the likes of Turkey and Slovakia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Pvi3lMee5
 
Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Slovakia

 
This is a song which has been flying way below the radar due to the fact that Slovakia have never made an impact at the Eurovision Song Contest but nevertheless, it might be that change can come for everyone because Max Jason Mai who is joined on stage by a band is not only only enjoying himself but looking every bit of a qualifier at the moment. The fact of the matter is that this is the only soft metal type of song in the competition and features an extremely catchy refrain. As expected, the focus of this song lies in the lighting which is superbly orchestrated. One problem though might be that the stage is too much based on one particular point and therefore, the interaction lies with just that end. The music is quite beautiful and for all of the first time listeners, this might stand out. The vocals are good and the diction is understandable considering that English is not a first language for people in Slovakia.22

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jDTb1hZc7w

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Norway

 

The Norsk Melodi Grand Prix just happens to be one of the competitions which we followed in full detail within each respective semi-final and the winner was none other than Tooji who seems to be following in the footsteps of his Scandinavian counterpart Eric Saade. The colours used during the backdrop are red and black but nevertheless there also seems to be a tinge of organge. He is joined on stage by four dancers, two of which are male and two of which are female. The vocal performance is strong as it has always been and one would never actually note that this is the very first time that Tooji is actually performing noting that prior to this he was a model and also works with children who are battling physcological issues. I believe that this will be one of those songs which will surely make it through to the finals especially after last years' disappointment. 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eafjl6bssSY
 
Video Courtesy of escXtra
 
Bosnia & Herzegovina

 
The penultimate performance of this years' second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest actually features a Balkan ballad which has become somewhat very typical in this showcase. Bosnia & Herzegovina are represented by the beautiful Maya Sar who is standing in the middle of the stage playing a piano. This looks beautiful on screen actually especially when the backdrop is featuring an old city.with Roman columns. The vocal performance is stunning as expected and she does not miss a single note noting that she did give the performance of a lifetime during the song presentation a couple of months back. Following the upbeat entry from Norway, this sounds great and calm and should entice viewers to vote whilst the jury will surely like the transition as well. A masterful performance, well done!
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Popb0c2g54Y

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv
 
Lithuania

 
The stage is bathed in blue for the final rehearsal of the day featuring Donny Montell who beings about a different type of track to the Eurovision Song Contest as it is a ballad turned pop song mid way. The down side of this live performance is that the main performer has decided to take to the stage on his own. There has been a lot of comparison between Donny and Sasha Song, which is quite interesting especially when they have performed together in the past. The spotlights are working wonders during his song and fill up the stage when there is no backdrop but when the backdrop does indeed come forth, it features miniature black silhouettes. It seems there might have been some problems with it. The vocals were good but not amazing unfortunately.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpEobAARgbE

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

Lack of sleep due to the levels of excitement which are quickly rising up due to the fact that the Maltese Delegation will be taking to the Crystal Hall in Baku, Azerbaijan for their very first rehearsal on what seems to be the most spectacular stage of the Eurovision Song Contest in recent years. The first rehearsals in which each country is allocated forty minutes are very much a technical run through in general. Anyways, as you get ready for work, school or even maybe an exam, Good Morning and welcome to the third day of LIVE coverage from this years' music competition. In the previous two days, thanks to several individuals, we have managed to bring about the best possible coverage and we hope to continue more of the same in the next couple of days especially this week when things are more hectic.

For the third day running, I would like to thank this years' team for escflashmalta.com which features newcomer; Šira Carolyn Bezalel as well as Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and Garrett Mulhall, the latter of which is is Head of Operations in Baku and is leading the team to such positive coverage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. In the past two days, this has been the promise and it has been kept and today, the team will be more attentive to bring about the latest news about Malta and the song This Is The Night which will be performed on the stage for the very first time. Apart from Malta, there should be plenty of interest today especially for the songs of Serbia, Ukraine, The Netherlands and also outsiders Portugal.

Schedule of Rehearsals

08:00 - Serbia

08:45 - FYR Macedonia

09:30 - The Netherlands

10:15 - Malta

11:55 - Belarus

12:40 - Portugal

13:25 - Ukraine

14:25 - Bulgaria 

LIVE

In the past couple of days, there have been a number of issues with regards to getting started on time actually and it is quite interesting that despite starting a bit late, this is the day in which they were closest to being on schedule. As you can see within the schedule above, the first eight participants in the second semi-final will be taking to the stage and the first vocal run through of Serbia has just finished meaning that the full run through will commence in just seconds of minutes. Stay tuned for all of the updates, throughout the day.

Serbia

Opening to the beautiful sounds of the violin this morning with a dark setting in what seems to be a pink and later a blue starry setting. Zeljko Joksimovic is joined on stage by his 'orchestra' wo are clad in a mixture of black and white, a scheme which would definitely work in the final. As expected, the setup is just astonishing for this entry and the backdrip only changes during the lead up to the birdge. The band moves in different directions momentarily leaving the focus of the performance on Zeljko himself who is giving a masterful vocal interpretation. The addition of the female backing vocal works wonders. As always, this is one song which could be a surprise and win the competition. A superb start and a huge reaction in the hall from the audience present.

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

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

FYR Macedonia

The second rehearsal of the day featrues Kaliopi and the popular singers from the Balkans is very fashionable in a male like suit this morning actually, very suitable as well. The stage is bathed in dark colours once more and the backdrop features revolving images which show a piano at times. She is joined on stage by a band including a guitarist, a bassist, drummer and also a violinist. The vocals from the main performance are very strong and this was somewhat ecpected considering the long career that Kaliopi has had. She literally enjoyed being out there and took it in her stride. This was the best rehearsal from FYR Macedonia in years and this might actually be heading into the final.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zzK8ovS9xk

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

The Netherlands

The Dutch are yet to really make an impact on the Eurovision Sogn Contest since the semi-final system was introduced and they are hoping to do it this year when they are presenting a different kind of song bearing the name You and Me. The lead performer of this track is still wearing the tribal hat it seems but what is spectacular is the fiery red backdrop which features a lot of shapes. Joan is joined on stage by a number of people but then again, she does not look completely sure of the performance and it is worrying that she does not move at all and keeps her place in the middle of the stage. The vocals do not need any work because she is not tested in any way. Whilst there is not a lot which can be done, I am not sure that will actually qualifier to the finals. It seems that a new orchestration has been worked and that is something which actually works very well. At the end of the performance, the five people joining her on stage, all playing instruments come full circle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZoD854qbTw

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Malta

Kurt and his band came on stage today with a smile and energy that just lit up the room. Kurt asked you to believe that "This is the night" and I think it could well be for Malta on May 24th. What a summery upbeat song . People watching the rehearsal were all clapping and getting into the groove of the song Kurt's vocals were on key all the time and his diction was perfect - which is a welcome change from some of strange English that we have heard. The band that are supporting Kurt sounded wonderful too. There is one female backing vocalist who blends in with Kurt very well. There are 2 male guitarists, a DJ and a female drummer all of which interact with Kurt vocally well to create a strong wall of sound. This performance just blasted out of the blocks. The backdrop has a sea of people dancing on the video wall which is highly impressive. It adds to the carnival atmosphere of the song.

The colours used are red and orange with strobing lights. Again this is visually strong. Kurt and his band have their great dance routine that we are all trying to learn in the press hall now. I have had a few mishaps!! Kurt works the stage and interacts wonderfully with his band members. The camera angles are spot on and Kurt knows how to work the screen. When the climax comes in there is a great dreakdown and the lights on the stage gone from the red to black and white which is highly effective The DJ comes out from behind his booth and does some really slick break dancing while Kurt hits some really high notes. Everything came together on this first rehearsal and the view across the press centre is that Malta are going to the final. If Malta was a fruit they would be a "Passion Fruit" - fresh, fruity and very tasty. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j7dkqoJQ8E

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Belarus

Malta was followed by a lunch break and I must say that despite the fact that most people do not like the brand new version, I absolutely love the new opinion and the backdrop is quickly transformed into a blue version of the matrix whilst the blue and yellow lighting is also somewhat predominant. This performance does not need a lot of staging due to the fact that the group already features four members in total, and another three which join the proceedings. The interesting thing is that all are male and therefore, this is one of the few songs which does not have the inclusion of a female. The vocals by the lead singer are good but the problem is the diction which is not fully understood but in defense, this is the best song that Belarus has sent since Work That Magic by Dmitry Koldun. A good rehearsal indeed but will it be enough to qualify? That is yet to be seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pcPPdZ1E5A

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Portugal

Just as the music starts, the colour scheme is quick transformed into a mixture or pueple and blue with the backdrop showing a typical setting of a small seaside town, most likely on in Portugal. Filipa is performing one of the most traditional songs in this years' competition. She is joined on stgae by five backing vocals, giving the song the feel of a true ballad. The vocals by the main performer do not need any work and the backing are resoundingly amazing as well. This is looking well on screen especially due to the very slow movements by everyone on stage. In the chorus, the backing builds a gospel like feel and the anthemic sound is given a lot of importance. Filips herself is enjoying her time on the stage and in the bridge, she pours out all of her emotion. Whether this song will qualify is another issue, I think it is somewhat borderline at the moment as I cannot see it doing overwhelmingly well but nevertheless, everyone knows what happened back in 2008.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk_3West-E4

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Ukraine

This song is a chant for the European Football Championships. Instantly catchy and full of wonderful hooks that anyone can easily identify with.The voice on Guitana was absolutely amazing. Her vocal range is stunning and amazed the crowd that had congregated for the rehearsal. It is hard to believe that she is the only set of vocals that are on the stage.The Ukraine are always assured to put an amazing show on every year at Eurovision and this year is no exception. A stunning backdrop of paint being thrown in slow motion of different colours. There are port movable 4 screens on the stage that begin the performance in a boxed formation from which Guitana and her 5 male dancers emerge. The screens then also display various eye catching images from dancing male dancers to crowd scenes of computer icons. It is a busy stage performance - almost like a traffic junction in Baku at rush hour - but I love that!

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

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv

 

Bulgaria

The final rehearsal of the day comes from Bulgaria who are actually being represented by Sofi Marinova who won the right to represent the country in a national final. I believe that this is the first time she is wearing her hair down but nevertheless, the focus on the performance is surely based on the backdrop which is a flurry of lines and bubbles. I believe that this song is missing out on a lot in terms of performance just by opting not to use any backing dancers which could have aided it a lot. Nevertheless, the vocals of Sofi are impressive and I beleive that she can carry it off alone. I still cannot see this song qualifying though unfortunately which is somewhat of a pity in reality but there is nothing extremely special about it that could take it past eleventh place.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aELzPRJSYo

Video Courtesy of escXtra

Some people find it tough to wake up early in the morning but when one has other things to do such as study during the same time of the Eurovision Song Contest, time is merely just a number. Good Morning everyone and welcome to day one of our LIVE coverage from this years' music extravaganza which is taking place all the way on the far east of the continent in Baku, Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their track Running Scared which came out on top leaving Italy and Sweden in the first and second runner-up positions. We are preparing very good coverage for you this year noting that escflashmalta.com is being represented by a good sized team this year introducing newcomers Šira Carolyn Bezalel and Patrick Strouk to the fray alongside with Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell and of course, our Head of Operations; Garrett Mulhall who as you all know ran the coverage most notably by himself on location last year. I am also proud to be working with our partners including Keith Mills and his team from All Kinds of Everything and also Luke Fisher and his Team from escXtra.

Everyone has a job to do during his stay in Baku, and we are well equipped to co-ordinate the best possible footage from the press conferences and also exclusive interviews with artists as they come off the stage. The rehearsal coverage will be as prompt as possible as soon as videos are put up when they are not being reported on location and even faster when people on location are covering them. Today marks the beginning of a journey, one which will take the fans and the organizers through a number of rehearsals, press conferences and so forth therefore, stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all the best possible coverage we can manage. Just a reminder that Malta is competing in the second semi-final but nevertheless, there is still a lot of interesting during the first with favourites inluding Iceland, Greece and Romania taking to the stage during the day along with outsiders Belgium and Finland and possible dark horse Albania therefore, it will definitely not be a boring day. Kurt Calleja will take to the stage for the very first time on Tuesday afternoon, Azeri time.

Schedule of Rehearsals

  • 08:00 - Montenegro 
  • 08:45 - Iceland
  • 09:30 - Greece
  • 10:15 - Latvia
  • 11:55 - Albania
  • 12:40 - Romania
  • 13:25 - Switzerland
  • 14:25 - Belgium
  • 15:10 - Finland

LIVE

An interesting note is that the commencement of the rehearsals has been delayed indefinitely due to some technical issues. In fact there were only some minor issues with the stage which needed to be adhered to and it seems that they have been well worked upon and in fact, the first rehearsal is now set to begin an hour and a half later than originally planned.

Montenegro

Basically at this stage, we can note that due to the fact that Rambo could not have brought along a live donkey onto the stage, they are making use of a wooden figure of the animal in order for one to relate to the official preview video. Rambo Amadeus is of course dressed in casual clothing but the staging does look quite interesting with a dark setting and vibrant lighting throughout the song. He is joined on stage by a guitarist and also a drummer whilst there is also a good backing by three breakdancers who seem out of place apart from not carrying out the full choreography. A truly disturbing start for the semi-final and this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

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

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Iceland

The very first rehearsal of Iceland has also just finished and one could easily see that the staging for this one is as Eurovisoin as could be. For the first time this year, I am already amazed at the backdrop actually which is cery reminscent of the official preview video. It looks like the duo are wearing the same outfits from the national final to see that it looks well on stage. They are joined on stage by four backing vocals and this is looking awesome visually. The vocals are spot on quite quickly and this is as always a favourite to qualify and highly likely to make it to the top ten in the finals. Impressive indeed because it looks like they are ready to conquer this years' competition with such an initial performance. They will most likely work with the camera shots now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox9SoL5gqJo

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Greece

Well Eleftheria has some work to do in regards her vocals but that is what rehearsals are for. What was interesting to see was that the backing singer was carrying more of the main vocals than you would expect. At times it was pitchy but in her defense she sang with gusto that would be fitting of the "Land Of Fire" where we are now. The Baku stage is amazing and BIG and a lot of countries are going to find it difficult to fill the stage and make their presence felt. Eleftheria and her dancers tend to stay in the centre of the stage and for us in the audience makes you feel somewhat cheated as you really want a rousing performance/routine to match the potential of the song The stage backdrop is glittering with varying blue and pink shapes and swirls. What Greece have failed to do is when the climax of the song takes place they don't replicate that with the visual effects thus not giving the song it's full potential.  This song has great potential if the vocals are rehearsed more and if the wide camera angles are removed from the shots as they make the song feel lost. The song though is instant in it's appeal and you can't help but sing along with the song. As I always say a good song sung not so good - will be forgiven more easily. This song will easily qualify for the final. Not a winner but a good bet for a Top 10 position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1RTb0Z7_0A

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Latvia

Latvia is one of those songs which one would either love or hate but somewhat somewhere in between comes my opinion. The staging for this one is quite generic as the design is very retro. The lyrics are still abysmally dull unfortunately and bear no real meaning. In fact, the colour scheme is a mixture of blue, yellow and red. Anmary is joined on stage by four backing vocalists of a female nature who carry out the most ridiculous choreography ever. It seems that they were just brought about from the street as it is such a clueless set of moves. The vocals are not bad but also need a bit of work. Whilst this is being worked about for the cameras, more than half of the stage is empty and it is not a small stage area which needs to be filled and this could also be looked into. Nevertheless, this was good a rehearsal as expected at this point in time and there will be room for improvement in the days to come.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYBo62yrZz8

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Albania

Following the break, the next performance comes from Albania who are being represented by Rona Nishliu. The setting of the stage is just beautiful actually with the performer in the middle od the screen as lights shine one by one on her. She is clad in black attire today and her hair is in a beehive fashion. She stands there in the middle of the stage with black and black being predominant in terms of colours. As expected, her vocals are spot on and she managed to shine throughout all of her run throughs. During the refrain, the lighting changes putting the singer in the best possible spotlight and during the bridge, there is a lot of emphasis on white lighting. The backdrop in itself seems to feature window panes which also drastically change colour. This rehearsal was perfect, there are no changes needed!

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

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Romania

Most of the backdrops will most likely be changed but nevertheless, the next one is quite cool noting that Romania have decided to go for elements very much connected with their song which include drums, women and hearts. The group is clad in so many different colours, it all looks a little bit too happy but nevertheless, there is a huge positive element going round. The main singer is of course Elena Ionescu and she looks extremely beautiful in a red revealing outfit. What is even more enchanting though is the choreography of the group which is simple and does not require any more work honestly. The group is working well together and it shows that they have been rehearsing this quite a lot prior to their departure. The vocals in the beginning are slightly shaky but they are quickly adjusted and Romania is one of the songs which will surely stand out especially coming after Albania which is still a borderline qualifier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6f5rnKGFZA

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Switzerland

Ohh, loving the blue staging for Switzerland and it seems that they have already decided to test run similar clothing to their performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in just a weak. The blue is quickly changed to green in the chorus although what is different and still work is the raging spotlights which come on evertime the line unbreakable is sung. Nevertheless, in the second part of the song, the lighting is red. The problem with the diction has somewhat improved in the past couple of months and the vocals are definitely faultless at the moment but despite this, I believe that this song does lack that special something which would make it qualify. Last year, Switzerland were quite lucky to pass on virtue of just one point surpassing Malta putting it in eleventh position.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhQVzsJt3H0

Video Courtesy of escXtra


Belgium

The youngest performer in this years' Eurovision Song Contest takes to the stage for the very first time for her runthrough and she is wearing white clothes in this casual rehearsal. The focus on this song has to be the voice and prior to this performance, there have been issues on whether she can actually deliver but what she has done is that she has tranformed her innacuracies with a sort of twinge which is reminiscent in country music. She is not along on stage as she is joined by three female backing vocals. The performance is simple but the performance area is bathed in purple and pink which works very well with this type of song. I must say that this song did not do much for me but I am really loving the interpretation here and she may just be the dark horse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywMdlTSOjJ8

Video Courtesy of Eurovision.tv


Finland

Finland bring about the final rehearsal of the day and the stage is bathed in sparkling blue lights. It is important to note that Pernilla is really smiling as she performs her song and without a doubt is enjoying every second of this experience being the second most youngest performer in this years' competition. The lighting is impressive and works extremely well with such a ballad. The singer is joined on stage by a cello player and the cameras are working the angles perfectly to make sure that both make a number of appearances. The skirt that Pernilla is wearing might be similar to the one she will be using in the semi-final actually because a wind machine has been switched on with the main reason honestly being to see how the article of clothing would sway. The vocals are perfect and the few people in the hall seem to be quite happy with the overall performance.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhx2vBz8j0U

Video Courtesy of escXtra

Friday, 14 May 2010 05:12

A Little Nordisk Melodi

For the past few years the Nordic countries have consistently worked hard to provide Eurovision with a winning candidate.  Sweden, first of all annually holds one of the most extensive and long running national finals, rivalled closely by Malta. Sweden also has one of the most impressive Eurovision track records as since their last win in 1999 Sweden has managed to qualify for a place in the final even after the introduction of the Semi Finals in 2004.

This makes them one of a handful of countries whom have managed to have a place in the final every year for the past decade.  Melodifestivalen 2010 was no exception, some of Sweden’s most loved and famous artists once again banded together for the chance to represent Sweden in Oslo. There were no outright winners or early predictions in the competition; there were of course popular songs and some good songs managing to qualify from the second chance round.  This year 18 year Anna Bergendahl won the competition by coming second in the jury vote but winning the public securing her win. The song is a charming ballad with few or no gimmicks; she has a nice voice and performs well. She lacks the stage presence her predecessors bought to the competition however; it is refreshing to have some fresh talent brought from Sweden.

Norway has had a mixed  history in Eurovision, still holding the highest number 0 points scores in the history of the competition.  The past two years have seen this reversed in 2009 Maria Haukaas Storeng managed to secured a 5th place in Belgrade before producing one of the most talked about ever Eurovision entries and winner. Alexander Rybak ratkked the Eurovision record book in Moscow and gives Norway one of the most peculiar records in the competition as they now have the records for the highest number of low scores and now the highest score ever. This year 21 year old Didrik Solli-Tangen is singing his ballad “My Heart is Yours” which beat early favourite boy band A1 to the right to represent the host country. Didrik’s ballad is very emotional but is reminiscent of a typical Westlife song. However, Didrik bravely performs it by himself and the home entry really isn’t one that is unpleasant on the ears. I wouldn’t assume it to be a winner, but this one will be picking up votes from right across the board.

Denmark has now become the less successful country from the Scandinavian peninsula over the past two years. In spite of qualifying for the final in 2008 & 2009  they have failed to neither make the top 10 nor really leave any lasting impression on the stage. Arguably similar for Sweden however Denmark’s acts lacked any real strong charisma or originality. Anyway, Denmark will be represented by Chanee and N’evergreen in Oslo this year and although the performance had a few cheesy elements the singer sing excellently live, which is not a bad thing at Eurovision. Their song “In a moment like this” is a power ballad sang as duet. The song was sung flawlessly a number of times in Melodi Grand Prix 2010 and I am sure they will have had time to perfect their onstage performance and as much as I would love for this to win, I do fear that some of the other songs will over shadow this.

Iceland has had a terrible few years not at Eurovision just in general terms, through economic collapse and now sending half the worlds aviation into turmoil. Iceland has however sent some of the most remembered acts to Eurovision in recents years. In 2008 Eurobandið had started out with high hopes but ended disappointingly outside of the top 10 yet last year Yohanna equalled their best ever result finishing second, albeit miles behind Norway. For 2010, Iceland has sent Hera Björk with her song “Je ne sais quoi” an up-tempo entry with only the title being sung in French the remainder being sung in English. This is certainly an enjoyable one, but I doubt this will make a huge impact in the competition as there are a number of better songs.

Finally, Finland; who have had steady success since their win in 2006. This year however, they have decided  to send a rather unusual song. Kuunkuiskaajat  "Työlki ellää" is a little like a Nordic folk-like pop song. As it is sung in Finnish it is difficult to understand exactly what the song is actually about and the onstage performance is actually quite bizarre I just think this is a little too weird and Eurovision fans will not appreciate this. So, Once again the Nordic countries have tried to send decent or at least memorable songs. I am quite a fan of Denmark and Sweden followed closely by Norway, but this may not be what fans think.

Kurt Calleja will be representing Malta in the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan and alongside the members of the Public Broadcasting Services are making sure that the promotional campaign is done well by virtue of touring the best possible countries which up to this point has included the host nation; Azerbaijan where he made an appearance during the national final just last week. It has just been confirmed that he will be making an appearance at the Bulgarian National Final on the 29th February 2012.

At this point in time, we have heard that other offers have been made by The Netherlands for the Eurovision on the 21st April 2012 and also the United Kingdom for the London Eurovision Party on the 29th April 2012. It is expected that Kurt will be making at least one of the two trips. We can also exclusively reveal that Kurt Calleja is currently in Germany accompanied by Peter Carbonaro who both said that they are in the country through different methods. Nevertheless, their visit to Germany is to master the song 'This Is The Night' written by Johan Jämtberg, Kurt Calleja and Mikael Gunnerås.

Cap-Sounds have been supporting the Maltese entries at the Eurovision Song Contest for quite some time. Last year, they stepped in late into the game after the Public Broadcasting Services made an effort to try and change the label following comments by certain people in the media. Nevertheless, the product was released onto the music market with distribution by Universal Music Germany. The Public Broadcasting Services did not release any information about this matter so I guess all this will be revealed in due time. Stay tuned to ESCflashmalta for more exclusive news as Kurt and his team go to Baku, Azerbaijan.

The last rehearsals and preparations for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest have just finished at the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre at Ta’ Qali. Although they are taking place behind closed doors, the team of ESCflashmalta dedicated itself to provide all the latest and exclusive news to its readers in regards to the Eurovision Song Contest and the process for the selection of the 25th Maltese entrant. As we all know, the winner of the Maltese final will be decided by a panel of six judges and the public vote which is equivalent to a two-member jury.


Close sources revealed that the three of the six juries are: the head of French delegation, Bruno Berberes; head of Cypriot delegation, Evi Papamicheal and the TVM newscaster who hosted the previous two editions of the Maltese selection, Keith Demicoli. Both head of delegations own a lot of experience and Berberes is also part of the reference group of the EBU. Today marked the final preparations for tomorrows' semi-final actually with a full on dress rehearsal organized once more behind closed doors although we have good sources keeping us informed that the members of the voting panel were actually present this evening accounting their first opinion of the respective acts.

It is important to note that the dress rehearsal was followed closely by ESCflashmalta was a vantage point outside the venue where the acoustics and the music was at the maximum best. The first part (after 12 songs) of the show went on at a very smooth pace actually with one of the acts particularly stepping it up amongst the rest to shine but the problems crept in the show mid-way when there was an issue before the song 'Pure' by Claudia Faniello, hence noting an extremely long pause. When she ultimately got to performing, her song was stopped mid-way through the session and was asked to sing again due to the issue. The evening went on without any problems though and it seems that everything is ready for tomorrow evening.

There were a total of three songs which seem to have stepped up to the competition with their live vocal rendition but one of them has a clear winner written all over it at least in terms of a vocal performance. For the confines of the song festival, we will not make a revelation as we do not wish to influence our readers although the song which comes towards the second part (last 12 songs) of the competition will definitely be one of the contenders on Saturday with the right starting position. The hosts being Elaine Saliba and Ronald Briffa seem well prepared with the script being quite enchanting and funny whilst the clips seem to be simple with each artist presenting himself in a traditional and formal way.

ESCflashmalta would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best of luck to all the participants and do not forget to vote for your favourite song in our poll noting that it will ultimately close just hours before the semi-final will take place. There will be eight entries eliminated tomorrow night and we will be vying to keep you posted with all the latest news as our man of the hour, Andy Muscat takes the reins and comments on the songs in the competition tomorrow evening.

Source: ESCflashmalta

“Min Imissu?, Malta’s current satirical TV show aired prime time on Television Malta, has already gained success after a couple of weeks which featured popular Maltese personalities. “Min Imissu?” comes from the producers of popular TV Series Deceduti and L-Evangelisti. It’s a unique comedy show where a variety of elements and characters are all blended together and juiced up with a solid dose of actuality, satire and good natured humour in a cabaret style show. In each programme, we meet a particular guest, who meets up all the different characters and who surely must be ready for any type of criticism!Tonight’s guest will be one of Malta’s most popular female singers; Thea Garrett.

Thea Garrett was one of the surprise finalists in the 2010 Malta Eurovision and she stunned the nation when her dream became reality winning both the public vote and the jury vote with her power ballad 'My Dream'; she represented Malta in Oslo where she finished in 12th place in her semi-final. After that experience Thea didn't look back and started working on establishing herself in the local music scene. Her debut singe 'Frontline' managed to garner success on the local airwaves and even reached the peak position on Bay Radio which is considered as the penultimate success for local artists. Recently, Thea launched her second single 'Walk On By' which also managed to enter the top ten on Bay Radio's chart but the single didn't emulate the success of the first. Last night, Thea also achieved another success in her young career as she was one of the nominees for the Best Female Artist at this year's Malta Music Awards.

So tune in tonight with the cast of “Min Imissu?” at 20:40 for a hearty dose of sketch based comedy from Gordon Bonello, Manolita Ellul, Maruska Mallia and other familair faces which keep the viewers entertained from week to week.  The lovely presence of host presenter Andreana Debattista, a former finalist in the Malta Eurovision adds that extra glamour so it is surely the ideal programme to chase away the blues and set the audience in the right mood for the week ahead.

Source: Facebook

Friday, 21 October 2011 19:30

Breaking News: PBS Receives 161 Submissions

The Malta Eurovision Song Contest has managed to keep up the interest that it has in recent years remaining as the premier entertainment showcase in the local music industry. In the past two days, during specific hours as decided by the Public Broadcasting Services, both in the morning and in the afternoon, entries were received for the annual event out of which a panel of judges will be making their respective choices based on studio versions as recorded by local and foreign producers. This year, the submissions process managed to move at a commanding pace with a number of performers queuing to submit their songs at the very last couple of hours.

It was widely expected that during the evening news bulletin, the number of submissions would be revealed and indeed it was as the newscaster stated that the amount of entries vying to represent Malta in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest set to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan reached 161 in total. This number represents the interest which is being shown throughout the board be it with both local and foreign songwriters who seemed to drop in to help our artists with their ventures within the competition. The number of submissions is higher than the 141 entries received for the 2011 edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and this is quite a surprise so to speak especially when looking back at the amount of entries received by the Public Broadcasting Services for the selection since back in 2005.

  • 2011: 141 submissions
  • 2010: 123 submissions
  • 2009: 182 submissions
  • 2008: 225 submissions
  • 2007: 228 submissions
  • 2006: 213 submissions
  • 2005: 186 submissions

Foreign interest was quite high it seems as the entries are coming from a variety of nations including Sweden, Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, and Ireland amongst others. It is expected that a number of well known local songwriters have submitted songs including the team of the decade featuring Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg as well as this years' representative team made up of Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan. The dates for the studio version phase is yet to be announced but those who make it to the next phase will only be sent an email to confirm their participation. If things are not held up, the process might continue as early as next week according to our sources.

Source: PBS, ONE (Image)

Sunday, 01 May 2011 08:59

ESC 2011: Day 1 Rehearsals - LIVE

Good Morning and welcome to our first live coverage from this years' Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Dusseldorf, Germany. Our team tells us that things are buzzing within the city with the event taking place there in the next couple of days that is. A huge press centre and a huge arena, things are looking very professional at the moment seeing that Germany wish to improve on their first hosting back in the Eurovision Song Contest held in Munich in 1984 following the win of Nicole with the song 'Ein Bischen Frieden'.

Anyways, the show has already started in terms of rehearsals this morning as we have our collaborator Keith Mills as well as myself in place to bring you the live reports from each of the ten rehearsals as Juergen Boernig and the rest of his team are taking care of press conferences and pictures so stay tuned because these two weeks are surely going to be an interesting couple of days for all Eurovision Song Contest lovers. Also joining in on the fun now is our very own International Relations Officer, Garrett Mulhall. As you saw in the schedule, the first ten countries in the first semi-final are to take to the stage today whilst Malta is set to take to the same stage tomorrow morning with Glen Vella kicking off proceedings with the song 'One Life'. Please check out our photo gallery with the latest updates from the rehearsals being uploaded on here or on the homepage of our site.

Poland

Considering the huge arena, the stage is comparatively small but what is really impressive is the background behind the stage as the LED screens used manage to create a 3D sort of effect which will surely impress during some songs. This mornings' first rehearsal comes from Poland and one has to say that the act looks already very slick. The main singer who is dressed in black leather this morning is joined by three female backing dancers who do their best despite a first rehearsal, and two backing vocals, a man and a woman. The orange and dark lighting is like seen within the official preview video but the vocals are spot on from Magdalena and it seems that the only thing she is still shaky about is the choreography and she almost fell at one point in those extremely high heels.

Video courtesy of Eurovision.tv

Norway

Well and off we go with one of this years' favourites. Stella Mwangi seems to have changed the choreography of the song for the Eurovision Song Contest performance on the 10th May. She is joined on stage by three backing vocals and also two dancers, all of which do some sort of dance moves at some points. It seems that they have developed a new dance called the 'Haba Haba'. The vocals are not bad this morning but I cannot help saying that she needs much more work in that department to manage to impress. The stage is bathed in a flurry of lights although it seems that those predominant are blue and orange. With regards to clothing, she has decided to keep her Melodi Grand Prix dress for this morning. Despite the vocals, one cannot help sing along to this song especially early in the morning.

Video courtesy of Eurovision.tv

Albania

The first Balkan feel of this years' festival comes from Albania. Aurela, the singer with the extremely vibrant red hair is joined on stage by three backing vocals, a drummer and a bassist. The stage which is bathed in red and black is depicting wings in the background whilst the lightning is sending spotlights all of the place and this is looking really slick in the hall. The vocals from the singer are spot on most of the time and it seems like she is seriously enjoying herself out there. Amazing job from the people at NDR who have managed to come up with this design this year. A competent first rehearsal and I must say that is has stood out thus far.

Video courtesy of Eurovision.tv

Armenia

An extremely energetic performance from Emmy who is joined on stage by four male dancers and a female backing vocal. The backdrop looks absolutely amazing with stars jumping up and down making being the cause of a very interesting effect actually. The vocals are not bad considering that this is only the second time in which she is performing this song live. The choreography is already spot on and I must say that this might be the best improvement of a song that I have seen thus far today in comparison to former performances. Very competent and at the moment, a definite qualifier.

Video courtesy of Eurovision.tv

BREAK

Turkey

The lighting for this song is extraordinarily impressive actually as it looks very much like a concert rig in the middle of the ocean of some sort. The band looks a little bit static at times but they are doing their best to move about. In the meantime, there is a dancer in a ball sort of shaped structure on stage and she seems to be trying to get out of there whilst doing acrobatics.The vocal performance has no fault and this is surely going to be one to look out for despite being somewhat underwhelming for most people when chosen.

Video courtesy of Eurovision.tv

Serbia

You know this song is not being mentioned by many people as a contender and I cannot see why this is so? Nina is electric on the stage. This song is a throw back to the Motown era of the 1960's. Nina certainly knows how to sell a song and she does this in bucket loads. Serbia have embraced the 1960's with the subtle dance moves by Nina and her 3 backing singers. You can't help but think that you are looking and listening to a The Supremes.

The staging is wonderfully psychedelic with bright round coloured shapes on screen. But the charm of this song is amazing. Nina works the camera like a true professional with every inch of her persona. She brings the song to yet another level and I am certain that the viewing audience will warm to her charms. As for her voice - DOUZE POINTS. In all her rehearsals she did not miss a single note and the reaction by the audience was amazing. There are some great close ups of Nina and her singers as well as some well staged sweeping shots of the stage. This is one to look out for.

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Russia

Alexei is extremely charismatic and provides a faultless performance vocally. The set is black and grows with the song. Vertical white lights provide the staging. And not content with that Alexei and his 3 male dancers have coats that have matching lights on them that beat in sync with the music. Now did we see that before last year with Safura? And not content with flashing jackets they also have the shoes that glow too. Not content with that there is a platform that Alexei jumps up and down on throughout the song. One might say that this is "Blinging" to say the least. A stark contrast to the Russian performance from last year.

One cannot deny that this is a very well polished Russian Performance. The dance moves were very tight and slick and the vocals were spot on. However the new slower start to the song is the talking point of the arena. Why oh Why? Why would you spend 30 seconds of a 3 minute song singing something that bares no resemblance to the main track. Furthermore the song has a great build to it but then finishes abruptly. Why? There really is no need for the slow intro. Better to spend the time on getting to the chorus and finishing the song off more appropriately. However this song will qualify with ease and Alexei will charm the young female vote.

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BREAK

Switzerland

If you were to turn the sound off this Swiss Performance you could be mistaken for thinking that you were looking at Portugal from 2009. The staging is colourful and almost cartoon like with sun rises and bright clouds floating across the screen. Anna was wearing a short red shimmering dress. I really think that if they are going with the sweet innocent staging then maybe a lighter coloured floating dress would be more in keeping. When it came to the third time of singing the song, giant bubbles were introduced into the performance. Now when I say huge I MEAN HUGE! However you really could not notice them on the stage except for the pubbles they left on the floor after they burst. Maybe a health hazard for the next performers on stage - or is that the plan from the Swiss. My suggestion would be to lose the bubbles.

As for the singing - Anna was sweet and charming. Her vocals were good. She did however seem to be a little stage struck and looked a little uncomfortable. However that is why we have rehearsals. They are there for the artist to sort out their teething problems and get comfortable with the stage. At the moment there is still some work to do for Switzerland. Qualification would be borderline with their performance

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Georgia

Yes - a Marissa Tomei look alike sings for Georgia this year. Georgia are looking so strong for qualification after their performance this afternoon. They did have some problems with their first performance today and this resulted in a time delay before they returned on stage. However when they did it was electric. They are all dressed in very dramatic Black Leather costumes with accents of vivid colours. The backdrop for the performance is a mixture of large Gothic Church Windows and Ruins. The lighting is dark and very moody but it is really in fitting with the song. Eldrine grew in confidence with each performance and she look a lot more comfortable on camera. She has a raw quality to her voice and she really began to sell the song to the camera. Her group are equally dramatic. They are dimly lit but when they have a close up they are certainly present on the screen. This song will certainly go big in the huge Esprit Arena and will be a crowd pleaser. This song certainly looks like a strong contender for qualifying.

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Finland

Well Paradise is on top of the world looking down on us at Eurovision. This song looks stunning on screen. It is a black screen with an AMAZING blue revolving image of the earth from outer space. It is the same image throughout the song but it is striking visually. And with Paradise standing solo on the stage it is a real contrast to the rock anthem from Georgia before it. However it is a shame that the song is not as stunning as the visual presentation. It is a simple song and it is Paradise and his guitar. However the song starts off at one pace and fails to build or have any light or shade.

His vocals are good but the song is not challenging. Yes the song has a message that is "We all need to be aware of the environment" but the song is presented very literally with the lyrics. I do hope that Paradise does change his outfit for the show as his shirt was rather distracting and was cause for concern with those around me in the arena - it could be a contender for the Barbara Dex Award! Personally I think this is a song with some charm but I fear it may get lost in the Semi Final.

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