#tbt: “Refrain” (1956)

July 1, 2017 0

As we look forward to the next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, let’s take a look back at how all the craziness began. Background Song Title: “Refrain” Artist: Lys Assia Country: Switzerland Year: 1956 Back in the mid-1950s, the European Broadcasting Union wanted to test out the live capabilities of television and radio across Europe. Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, which began in 1951, was instantly popular and had a format that seemed adaptable for an international audience. This led to the first iteration of what became known as the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1956, representatives from seven countries gathered in Lugano, Switzerland to present a total of 14 songs. The first Eurovision winner was Lys Assia of Switzerland with her song “Refrain”:   Legacy This edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was like no other, and not just because it was the first edition. Each country submitted two songs for consideration, making this the only Contest with multiple entries from a single country. Of the seven countries, Switzerland and Luxembourg were the only ones to have both of their entries performed by the same singer—Lys Assia and Michèle Arnaud, respectively. That’s not the only thing Switzerland and Luxembourg had in common […] [Read more…]

#tbt: “Refrain” (1956)

July 1, 2017 0

Switzerland's Lys Assia performs "Refrain" at the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. (Screen: YouTube)As we look forward to the next edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, let’s take a look back at how all the craziness began. Background Song Title: “Refrain” Artist: Lys Assia Country: Switzerland Year: 1956 Back in the mid-1950s, the European Broadcasting Union wanted to test out the live capabilities of television and radio across Europe. Italy’s Sanremo Music Festival, which began in 1951, was instantly popular and had a format that seemed adaptable for an international audience. This led to the first iteration of what became known as the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1956, representatives from seven countries gathered in Lugano, Switzerland to present a total of 14 songs. The first Eurovision winner was Lys Assia of Switzerland with her song “Refrain”:   Legacy This edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was like no other, and not just because it was the first edition. Each country submitted two songs for consideration, making this the only Contest with multiple entries from a single country. Of the seven countries, Switzerland and Luxembourg were the only ones to have both of their entries performed by the same singer—Lys Assia and Michèle Arnaud, respectively. That’s not the only thing Switzerland and Luxembourg had in common […] [Read more…]

This Week in Eurovision: Israel’s Rising Star and Lithuania’s Marathon

July 1, 2017 0

Happy 2017! Now that we can start saying “this year” when referring to Eurovision 2017, let’s see what’s happening this week. Israel: HaKokhav HaBa Israel will be kicking off its selection to find this year’s Eurovision Song Contest representative for Kiev. HaKokhav HaBa (known internationally as Rising Star) will begin its fourth series Monday with the first of 10 heats, with the finale expected to air March 6. The format has proved to lead to Eurovision success for Israel: the country’s four-year qualifying slump ended in 2015 with series two winner Nadav Guedj landing in ninth place with “Golden Boy.” Last year’s champion Hovi Star also reached the Eurovision final with “Made of Stars,” finishing in 14th place. Lithuania: Eurovizijos 2017 Over in Lithuania, the marathon known as Eurovizijos 2017 will start Saturday. This year, 51 participants have been shortlisted to compete for a ticket to Kiev. Among the participants are Eurovision alumni Vilija Matačiūnaitė (2013) and Sasha Son (2009). The format has been tweaked this year so that participants won’t have to compete every single week. The first four episodes will feature a quarter of the entrants singing, with only a handful advancing to the second round. The marathon runs until March […]

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Broadway in Boston is “Waiting for This Night”

June 12, 2017 0

Something sounds familiar in a recent Broadway in Boston ad… Hat tip to Ben for spotting this one during Sunday’s broadcast of the The Tony Awards: That’s a pretty impressive lineup hitting Beantown next year. Oh, and did you catch the song in the background? That would be a cover of Lithuania’s 2016 entry “I’ve Been Waiting for This Night” by Donny Montell. Kinda random, kinda awesome. [Read more…]

Things to Know When You Go to Eurovision

May 16, 2017 0

Are you thinking about going to Eurovision 2018? Here are some tips to maximize your ESC experience. I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv, Ukraine. Kyiv proved to be a capable host, but it’s understandable how Americans interested in going might have been intimidated by the prospect — there’s no real direct way to get to Kyiv and current foreign policy with Russia added a layer of excitement that had me bookmark the most direct route to the embassy. Now that we know Eurovision 2018 will be in Portugal, here are some tips you can use to prepare for your first Eurovision experience. 1. Figure out your itinerary My trip to Kyiv doubled as my honeymoon, so we decided to make it a European adventure. We flew into Budapest and spent a couple days there. We took the train up to Vienna, Austria, stayed there for the weekend, then took the train to Bratislava, Slovakia. We took a short flight from Bratislava to Kyiv in time for the first semi-final and stayed through the end of Eurovision weekend. Not only did we get to experience four European countries in a single go, we saved […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 First Semi-Final: Our Predictions

May 9, 2017 0

Will we go 10-for-10 in our guesses for who will qualify out of the first Eurovision semi-final? After much number-crunching, YouTube watching, head scratching, and consensus building, we have finally compiled our data and have made our prediction for which ten acts we think will advance out of the first semi-final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. The 10 acts that we think will advance, presented in alphabetical order, are: Armenia Australia Azerbaijan Belgium Finland Greece Latvia Moldova Portugal Sweden Let’s talk about our confidence levels, shall we? Azerbaijan, Belgium, Portugal, and Sweden are the acts in which we are most confident, as they have all appeared in the top 10 of every single metric we have measured in this process. Armenia, Australia, Greece, and Moldova we also feel pretty confident about. Each had one metric that fell out of the top 10, but have otherwise strong records. Australia is the iffiest of the group, as Isaiah’s rehearsal footage was his low-scoring metric, which may indicate a slide in popularity. Moldova has been just making it into the top 10 of most rankings, though one of our gut predictions has “Hey Mamma” as 14th. The two acts that are gambles on […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube Rehearsals: The Autoqualifiers

May 8, 2017 0

We take one last look at the Big Five and Ukraine’s rehearsals and see how their YouTube numbers stack up. The six autoqualifiers for the Eurovision Song Contest — France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, and host country Ukraine — also had the chance to rehearse on the main stage in Kyiv twice in the last few days. Here is how their stats measure up to the rest of the field. Italy The Contest frontrunner currently1 holds the lead for both the first rehearsal and second rehearsal YouTube views. The first rehearsal clip for “Occidentali’s Karma” is the second-most-watched clip of the entire field, with more than 245,000 views. The second rehearsal, which happened Sunday, will probably cross 100,000 a few hours after this post goes live. Spain “Do It for Your Lover” currently sits in second place in this smaller group. The first rehearsal has more than 172,000 views, putting that clip in the top ten of first rehearsal footage. The second rehearsal clip is not as strong, landing in third for the autoqualifiers. France Alma’s “Requiem” has the most-watched official video of this group2, but she sits in third place with about 190,000 total views between the two […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube First Rehearsals: Semi-Final 2

May 4, 2017 0

There is a clear YouTube front-runner after the first round of Eurovision semi-final rehearsals. The second set of rehearsals for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest began Thursday in Kyiv, Ukraine. With more than 24 hours passing since the participants of the second semi-final wrapped their first set of rehearsals, let’s take a look at how those videos are faring on YouTube. Process nerds: the reason we’re doing a 24-hour delay in reporting data is to allow for the videos for those performing in the second half of the second semi-final to rack up views. As the data is about to show, an extra day on YouTube for those in the first half probably isn’t that much of an advantage. Here are the rankings1: Netherlands FYR Macedonia Romania Serbia Bulgaria Belarus Lithuania Israel Estonia Denmark The video for the Netherlands is currently dominating the first semi-final rankings, with more than 314,000 views. FYR Macedonia is behind by almost 200,000 views, and current first semi-final leader Greece has only 157,000 views. Either some loyal O’G3NE fans are hitting the repeat button, or we might want to add Netherlands to the list of challengers for the win at the Grand Final. Lithuania is […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 YouTube First Rehearsals: Semi-Final 2

May 4, 2017 0

There is a clear YouTube front-runner after the first round of Eurovision semi-final rehearsals. The second set of rehearsals for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest began Thursday in Kyiv, Ukraine. With more than 24 hours passing since the participants of the second semi-final wrapped their first set of rehearsals, let’s take a look at how those videos are faring on YouTube. Process nerds: the reason we’re doing a 24-hour delay in reporting data is to allow for the videos for those performing in the second half of the second semi-final to rack up views. As the data is about to show, an extra day on YouTube for those in the first half probably isn’t that much of an advantage. Here are the rankings1: Netherlands FYR Macedonia Romania Serbia Bulgaria Belarus Lithuania Israel Estonia Denmark The video for the Netherlands is currently dominating the first semi-final rankings, with more than 314,000 views. FYR Macedonia is behind by almost 200,000 views, and current first semi-final leader Greece has only 157,000 views. Either some loyal O’G3NE fans are hitting the repeat button, or we might want to add Netherlands to the list of challengers for the win at the Grand Final. Lithuania is […] [Read more…]

Eurovision 2017 Entry: Italy – Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma

April 26, 2017 0

Will Italy’s Francesco Gabbani win the whole megillah with “Occidentali’s Karma” in Kyiv? Country: Italy Song Title: “Occidentali’s Karma” Artist: Francesco Gabbani Last year’s entry: “No Degree of Separation” – Francesca Michielin (16th Place) I started writing about Eurovision for the 2011 Contest, the same year Italy returned after a 13-year hiatus. My favorite entry that year was “Madness of Love” by Raphael Gualazzi, which almost won thanks to a ton of “welcome back” points and a fantastic song. Since returning, Italy has missed out on the Top 10 twice — in 2014 when RAI decided not to use Sanremo as its selection process, and last year when their singer was the Sanremo runner-up. This year’s Sanremo champion, Francesco Gabbani, won over the festival with a dancing gorilla and a catchy-as-all-get-out track: Normally I try to challenge the notion of the declared favorite winning, partly because a foregone conclusion (see 2012 and 2015) is hella boring. However, this song has so much going for it. The construction of the song brims with charisma, though the abridged version has removed my favorite part. The first verse begins with very basic instrumentation and vocals, building up to the party of the chorus. In the […] [Read more…]

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