Melfest 2017 Kicks Off in Gothenburg

July 4, 2017 0

Selection season for Sweden started Saturday with the first heat of the annual Melodifestivalen competition. Let the pop music battle royale begin! Sweden’s Melodifestivalen (aka Melfest) began Saturday with the first of four preliminary heats. Round one took place in Gothenburg with the following seven acts performing: Boris Rene – “Her Kiss” Adrijana – “Amare” Dinah Nah – “One More Night” De Vet Du – “Road Trip” Charlotte Perrelli – “Mitt Liv” Ace Wilder – “Wild Child” Nano – “Hold On” After the seven acts performed, the first two eliminated based on public voting were Adrijana and Charlotte Perrelli. “Amare” could be a good club hit, but it might trend too close to Iggy Azalea’s style to be attractive to a wider audience. Despite representing Sweden at Eurovision twice (and winning the first of those two times), Perrelli’s ballad got lost in the power pop shuffle of Saturday’s show. In the second round of voting, Nano earned the first slot in the Melfest finals with “Hold On.” While the vocals fall into the white blues/soul category, the instrumentation has electronic dance patterns. The camerawork uses a lot of tricks from last year’s entry “Human” from Oscar Zia, which might not […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Denmark— Anja Nissen — Where I Am

July 4, 2017 0

In a semi-final stacked with solo female vocalists, Denmark must find a way to stand out. Country: Denmark Song Title: “Where I Am” Artist: Anja Nissen Second Semi-Final: Position #9 Last year’s entry: “Soldiers of Love” — Lighthouse X (DNQ – 17th Place, SF2) After winning the contest in 2013 with Emmelie de Forest’s “Only Teardrops,” Denmark has had a mixed few years. They remained in the top ten in 2014, finishing in 9th, then failed to qualify in the last two contests. Will moving away from the boy-band concept, and back a solo female vocalist, help the Danes return to the Grand Final in Kyiv? Ben found this song growing on him, and I have to agree. The very beginning — tight harmonies from the backing singers — is strong and compelling, then quickly give way to a first verse and bridge that are politely described as “meh.” The first chorus is worth it, though, as Anja manages to sound both strong and vulnerable at the top of her range. The second verse gives her a little more room to be interesting, and then we skip the bridge and head directly into the chorus, which is the best part of […] [Read more…]

Netherlands 2017: Who the Heck are O’G3NE?

July 4, 2017 0

The Netherlands selected O’G3NE to go to Eurovision in May. What should we know about the sisters as we wait for their song? Who the heck are O’G3NE? The trio O’G3NE features twin sisters Amy Vol and Shelley Vol and their older sister Lisa Vol. The name comes from their mother’s blood type and that they are three women genetically connected.1 How did O’G3NE become a known quantity? On the non-Eurovision side of things, the Vol sisters won the fifth series of The Voice of Holland in 2014. Their single “Magic,” which they performed on the finale, reached #3 on the Dutch singles chart. They also did a cover of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On” because… obvs. That reached #86. This past September, the trio released the album We Got This, which reached #1 on the Dutch charts. Does O’G3NE have any previous Eurovision connections? Oh boy, do they. The sisters represented the Netherlands in the 2007 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. If you saw the documentary Sounds Like Teen Spirit, this was that Contest though O’G3NE was not featured. Their song was called “Adem in, adem uit” (“Breathe In, Breathe Out”): Unfortunately, Lisa, Amy & Shelley did not fare well at the Contest, finishing 11th out of 17 […]

The post Netherlands 2017: Who the Heck are O’G3NE? appeared first on What Else is On: telESCope.

[Read more…]

Norma John Brings The Drama for Finland

July 3, 2017 0

Is Finland doing okay, y’all? Finland tends to be the wildcard of the Nordic nations at Eurovision – I’ve jokingly referred to them as being the most hipster of the Scandi-bloc (given the more ridiculous outfits their judges panel tends to show off), but their taste is actually pretty eclectic – we’ve had everything from Softengine’s alt-rock “Something Better” (which placed 11th, their best since 2006) to last year’s more disco-inflected “Sing It Away” from Sandja…which didn’t make the finals.  I’m starting to get concerned that it’s getting to Finland, since they eschewed some lighter entries for a more dramatic entry this year, Norma John’s “Blackbird”: There were other entries I liked better in their final (“Helppo Elämä” from Lauri Yrjola stood out, in particular, and would have been my pick), but on re-listening, it’s easy to see why this one. Leena Tirronen’s vocals throughout are strong, and there’s a nice moment for pianist Lasse Piirainen to show off his skills as well.  There’s a dark drama to the full performance, and I’d love to see them find a way to make the staging bigger in Kyiv – at least get some more fog in there! [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Malta — Claudia Faniello — Breathlessly

July 3, 2017 0

“Breathlessly” by Malta’s Claudia Faniello is a lovely entry for Eurovision, but is that enough? Country: Malta Song Title: “Breathlessly” Artist: Claudia Faniello Second Semi-Final: Position 5 Last year’s entry: “Walk on Water” – Ira Losco (12th Place) Malta is repping for the powerful ladysinger ballads at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with “Breathlessly” by Claudia Faniello. How is the execution of this track? This song hasn’t made much of an impression on me, and I’ve been trying to figure out why. There’s nothing to dislike about the track: the lyrics are fine, the pace could be a little faster but it certainly isn’t plodding, and Faniello’s voice is perfectly pleasant to listen to. It’s taken a few listens in preparation for this piece to finally figure out what isn’t working for me: this should be a country song. Imagine if the strings in the orchestration were replaced with a guitar. This could easily be a hit song on this side of the Atlantic and an instant karaoke staple with even a slight hint of a twang. I fully understand why “Breathlessly” isn’t a country song: Country isn’t Claudia Faniello’s lane. Granted, I don’t think she would have to change much vocally with a […] [Read more…]

Cyprus 2017: Who the Heck is Hovig?

July 3, 2017 0

Cyprus kicked off Eurovision selection season for 2017 by internally selecting Hovig. We don’t know his song yet, so let’s learn more about him. Who the heck is Hovig? Hovig Demirjian is a 28-year-old singer who will be representing Cyprus at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest.1 How did Hovig become a known quantity? Hovig first gained notoriety in 2009 when he competed on the second series of Greece’s version of The X Factor. He made it to week 11 of the live shows, finishing in seventh place. He was knocked out of the competition by Ivi Adamou, who went on to represent Cyprus at Eurovision in 2012. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ei_o2SzeZg0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> Does Hovig have any previous Eurovision connections? Along with Ivi Adamou, Eleftheria Eleftheriou (Greece 2012) also competed on the same season of The X Factor. After competing in Greece, Hovig entered Cyprus’ national selection for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. While his entry “Goodbye” received a middling score from the jury, it ranked second in the public vote. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/49mYrdXqWi0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe> In 2015, Cyprus held the contest Eurovision Song Project to find its representative. Hovig was one of six finalists with the song “Stone in a River.” Though […]

The post Cyprus 2017: Who the Heck is Hovig? appeared first on What Else is On: telESCope.

[Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube First Rehearsals: Semi-Final 1

July 3, 2017 0

If YouTube provides a clue as to who will qualify from the first Eurovision Song Contest semi-final, there could be some major surprises in store. Rehearsals for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest kicked off Sunday, with the first half of the first semi-final taking the stage in Kyiv. On Monday, the second half of the first semi-final got their turn on the stage in the International Exhibition Centre. As has been customary for the last several years, Eurovision has released teaser snippets of each rehearsal, giving home viewers a glimpse into what is in store for next week’s competition. You know what that also means? MORE DATA TO SPECULATE UPON! We have been tracking the viewership of these snippets and have discovered some surprises that may reveal some potential shakeups to previous expectations for this year’s Contest. As of this writing1, here are the Top 10 first rehearsal videos from the first semi-final: Greece Belgium Finland Poland Montenegro Portugal Sweden Azerbaijan Iceland Latvia There are quite a few countries on that list that haven’t been part of the conversation this season, including Greece, Finland, Poland, and Iceland. Noticeably absent from the list are Armenia (11th) and Australia (13th). It’s possible that […] [Read more…]

Lucie Jones Will Never Give Up on the UK

July 2, 2017 0

No word yet on whether she’ll let you down, run around, or desert you. The United Kingdom has had a … rocky? … relationship with Eurovision the last two decades, mostly sending entries that probably wouldn’t have qualified if required to compete in the semifinals. After a short run of internal selections in the early 2010s, they’ve returned to a public voting process. This year’s “Eurovision: You Decide” television special has resulted in the selection of X Factor alumna Lucie Jones and her song, “Never Give Up On You.” My first thought, never having heard of Jones, was to wonder whether she had theater experience. Sure enough, after she was booted from X Factor early in the 2009 season (the same one that spawned personal Eurovision favorite Jedward), she played Cosette in Les Miz, Molly in Ghost the Musical, Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, and Maureen Johnson in Rent. That is a ridiculous / amazing lineup, and explains my instant affinity for her voice quality. In case that wasn’t enough, this song was written by 2013 Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest, with whom I share a birthday. And so I’m in the strange position of liking — nay, loving — […] [Read more…]

NaviBand Shares Historyja Majho Zyccia for Belarus

July 2, 2017 0

In case you don’t speak Belarusian, that’s “Story of My Life.” Belarus hasn’t had much success with final placements in the last few contests, but they do seem to have taken the baton from Moldova in terms of the delightfully weird. This year’s entry, “Historyja majho zyccia” (Story of My Life) by NaviBand, was selected by a combination of jury and public vote, and seems like a natural successor to 2014’s twerpy hamster date and 2016’s naked wolfman. This song reminds me of what Three Minutes to Earth (Georgia 2014) might have achieved if it hadn’t been such a musical hot mess: upbeat, high-energy without being manic, and unfailingly positive. I caught myself grinning like a fool the first time I listened to this entry, which is really something considering I’d just been trudging through the muck that is USian news these days. Both performers have great voices (just one or two minor pitch issues), and they do an amazing job of selling the emotion. I’m having a hard time finding fault, honestly. I have only two requests for NaviBand and their team. First: please, for the love of god, do not translate the lyrics for the main contest. The […] [Read more…]

Latvia Gets in “Line” Behind Triana Park

July 2, 2017 0

Latvia continues to experiment with electronic pop at Eurovision, selecting Triana Park’s “Line” as their entry for Kyiv. Finally, I get to take my turn to gush about Latvia’s selection process Supernova. To put it into perspective: my favorite song so far of the 2017 selection season–Franco Franco’s “Up”–didn’t even make it out of the semi-final and I’m not mad. I don’t know who convinced LTV to take a more experimental/college radio route in its approach to Eurovision entries, but I am here for it. Case in point: this year’s Supernova winner “Line” by the electronica group Triana Park. After five previous attempts1 to represent Latvia at Eurovision, the group finally found success with this track: Similar to “Love Injected” and “Heartbeat”, there’s a slow build behind palpable restraint, eventually bursting through to a moment of rocking out. Although the lyrics are repetitive and not all that complex, the delivery reminds me of “Heads Will Roll” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Also, since the band has been together for so long, they have a clearly developed aesthetic and stage presence that shines through in this performance. I will be curious to see how Triana Park will heighten the performance for the stage […] [Read more…]

1 5 6 7 8 9 95