A week of national finals for Eurovision


The end of January seems to be rather tempting for holding national finals for the Eurovision Song Contest. And it will become even busier at the end of February, and beginning of March. Keeping track of all the songs that get selected to represent their country is fun, but can be a bit difficult given the great number of pre-selection and selection stages in every country and the even greater number of ESC participants this year.

A variety of styles, a motley of music genres, vocal skills, choreographies, tempos, and lyrics – that’s what we’ve had so far at the national finals. Last week saw a number of finalists, who already won their tickets to Belgrade. Who are they?

So much fuss around the national selection in Malta! Just like every year, right! Severe competition on the part of distinguished and venerable local Eurovision artists and an unclear end of the story were just part of the picture. Eventually, Morena, with her cheerful, up-tempo, and upbeat song Vodka managed to win the credit and hearts of most of the Maltese people and so they sent her to Belgrade.

In the Czech Republic Tereza Kerndlová became first in the national selection with the song Have Some Fun – a jolly up-tempo composition, reminding me of Nelly Furtado’s recent style. After last-year’s first and not particularly successful participation of the Czech Republic, this year, they haven’t given up and offer us a Slavic beauty with a fantastic disco hit.

Ruslan Alehno won Eurofest 2008 and will compete for Belarus with a song in English with the melodious Spanish title Hasta La Vista (Good bye). Mr. Alehno does not sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but his song can surely be a ‘terminator’ for most of the competitors during the Contest in Belgrade.

Otherwise, earlier in the Eurovision selection period, Albania chose its 2008 Eurovision entrant during Festivali i Kenges: Olta Boka with a touching and vigorous ballad in Albanian, Zemren e lame peng (We Gambled with our Hearts). 20-year-old pop star Sirusho will go to Belgrade for Armenia. She is currently working on a couple of songs, one of which will be selected to represent the country in Serbia in May. Her voice seems to be able to easily take on amazingly complex performances with an Oriental tinge, so typical for this part of Eastern Europe.

Women this year seem rather obsessed with grand names from history. Andorra, for example, will go for Eurovision with Gisela‘s Casanova. One of Morena’s, song was called Casanova as well. And Claudia Faniello, (aka Fabrizio Faniello’s sister), who also competed in the Maltese national selection, performed a song dedicated to the great painter Caravaggio.

Back to the Balkans, Bosnia & Herzegovina will be represented at Eurosong 2008 by Elvir Lakovic Laka and his song Pokusaj (Try). Nobody knows what the song is like because it won’t be aired until 3 March. Having checked out his crazy style, however, we can only expect the unexpected. This year for Eurovision, Turkey will rely on the unconventional sound and vision: TRT have charged the alternative rock band Mor ve Ötesi with the mission to defend Turkey’s Eurovision honour.

More on recently-selected Eurovision artists is yet to come.


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