Eurovision

Today the official sale of tickets for the 55th Eurovision Song Contest kicked off. As many as 90 000 tickets can be purchased through the official Norwegian ticketing service Billettservice, both online and through the company’s call center.

Mind you, if anyone else sells Eurovision tickets, for any of the events, chances are these are fake. The event venue is Telenor Arena in one of Oslo’s neighbourhoods Bærum.

This year, there are no tickets for the Dress Rehearsals of the two semi-finals – only the live shows can be watched in the hall.

First Semi-Final – 25 May – from 75 to 37 Euro
Second Semi-Final – 27 May – from 75 to 37 Euro
• Final (second Dress Rehearsal) – 28 May – from 75 to 37 Euro
• Final (third Dress Rehearsal) – 29 May – from 75 to 37 Euro
• Grand Final – 29 May – from 200 to 100 Euro

not including booking taxes.

As the new rules of the Eurovision postulated a couple of years ago, all the countries should participate in a semi-final. Except for the host country and the Big Four. On Friday, 7 February, the EBU drew the semi-final allocation, the distribution of votes of the big 4 and Norway, and the respective halves (first / second) in which the countries will compete.

By the way, tickets are on sale as of today :-)

Here are the two lists:

Semi-Final 1 – 25 May 2010

First half:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Estonia
Finland
Latvia
Moldova
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia

Second half:
Albania
Belarus
Belgium
FYR Macedonia
Greece
Iceland
Malta
Poland
Portugal

Semi-Final 2 – 27 May 2010

First half:
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Denmark
Israel
Lithuania
Sweden
Switzerland
Ukraine

Second half:
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Georgia
Ireland
The Netherlands
Romania
Slovenia
Turkey

Here is the allocation of the voting of the Big Four and the host country:

First Semi-Final: Germany and Spain
Second Semi-Final: Norway, UK, France

Norway came up with the theme for the 55th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, to be held between 25 and 29 May in Oslo: SHARE THE MOMENT!

Eurovision Oslo theme

After the deadline for participation in the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest passed, a total of 39 participants have confirmed their participation in the most popular European music event.

There are no surprises but for the come-back of Georgia. Here is the final list of participants in the 55th Eurovision.

Albania —– Armenia —– Azerbaijan —– Belarus —– Belgium —– Bosnia & Herzegovina —– Bulgaria —– Croatia —– Cyprus —– Denmark —– Estonia —– Finland —– France —– FYR Macedonia —– Georgia —– Germany —– Greece —– Iceland —– Ireland —– Israel —– Latvia —– Lithuania —– Malta —– Moldova —– The Netherlands —– Norway —– Poland —– Portugal —– Romania —– Russia —– Serbia —– Slovakia —– Slovenia —– Spain —– Sweden —– Switzerland —– Turkey —– Ukraine —– United Kingdom

You have to know that May is one of the finest and loveliest moments to be in Norway. Make sure to book a ticket to Oslo as soon as possible. Shortly I’ll offer a list of survival tips in one of the most expensive countries in the world.

See you soon :-)

The Netherlands wins 7th Junior Eurovision Song Contest

Kyiv (Ukraine), 21 November 2009 – The Netherlands won the 2009 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. It was the seventh edition of the kid’s Eurovision entertainment event.

Ralf Mackenbach with Click Clack managed to gain a total of 121 points. Luara Hayrapetyan from Armenia ranked second, and Ekaterina Ryabova from Russia finished on third position.

Here is the final ranking by points of the 13 participating countries:

  1. The Netherlands — 121
  2. Armenia — 116
  3. Russia — 116
  4. Belgium — 113
  5. Ukraine — 89
  6. Sweden — 68
  7. Georgia — 68
  8. Malta — 55
  9. Belarus — 48
  10. Serbia — 34
  11. Cyprus — 32
  12. FYR Macedonia — 31
  13. Romania — 19

By tradition, the host country of the next Junior Eurovision Song Contest was chosen through bidding. In 2010 the 8th edition of the JESC will be held in the capital of Belarus – Minsk.

Oslo is already getting started for the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest. The brand new hall Fornebu Arena in Bærum, Oslo, which is also Northern Europe’s largest indoor stadium, will gather more than 15 000 people in May next year.

Fornebu Arena Norway Oslo

Get ready for an exciting trip to Norway’s capital on:

  • Semi-Final 1 on Tuesday, 25 May 2010
  • Semi-Final 2 on Thursday, 27 May 2010
  • Grand Final on Saturday, 29 May 2010

You will remember that Norway won the Eurovision trophy thanks to Alexander Rybak and his magnificent “Fairytale”, who, with the record 387 points easily brought Eurovision to Oslo.

Norway is the 54th winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. Alexander Rybak performing Fairytale won with 387 points leaving Iceland, Turkey, and Azerbaijan behind.

The top ten is:

  1. Norway
  2. Iceland
  3. Azerbaijan
  4. Turkey
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Estonia
  7. Greece
  8. Portugal
  9. France
  10. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Go, Norge, go! Takk skall du ha, Alexander!

If you’re watching the show tonight, then you are watching the guys from New York, who are entertaining us at the moment – Fuerza Bruta from New York. A colourful water show is something you don’t want to miss.

Lithuania: Sasha Son — Love
Israel: Noa & Mira Awad — There Must Be Another Way
France: Patricia Kaas — Et S’il Fallait Le Faire
Sweden : Malena Ernman — La Voix
Croatia: Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea — Liepa Tena
Portugal: Flor-de-lis — Todas As Ruas Do Amor
Iceland: Yohanna — Is It True?
Greece: Sakis Rouvas — This Is Our Night
Armenia : Inga & Anush — Jan Jan
Russia: Anastasia Prikhodko — Mamo
Azerbaijan: AySel & Arash — Always
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Regina — Bistra Voda
Moldova: Nelly Ciobanu — Hora Din Moldova
Malta: Chiara — What If We
Estonia: Urban Symphony — Rändajad
Denmark: Brinck — Believe Again
Germany: Alex Swings Oscar Sings! — Miss Kiss Kiss Bang
Turkey: Hadise — Düm Tek Tek
Albania: Kejsi Tola — Carry Me In Your Dreams
Norway: Alexander Rybak — Fairytale
Ukraine: Svetlana Loboda — Be my Valentine! (Anti-crisis Girl)
Romania: Elena — The Balkan Girls
United Kingdom: Jade Ewen — It’s My Time
Finland: Waldo’s People — Lose Control
Spain: Soraya — La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me)

A magnificent show is what Russia is offering us tonight. An imposing opening featuring Dima Bilan performing last-year’s winning song. So far we’ve heard 8 songs, most of them deserving to win. Who is going to win tonight? Hang on till after 12.00 CET, when the winner will be announced.

The second dress rehearsal for the Grand Final just started. Here is the running order, which we’ll be watching tomorrow evening at the final itself. See you tomorrow.

  1. Lithuania
  2. Israel
  3. France
  4. Sweden
  5. Croatia
  6. Portugal
  7. Iceland
  8. Greece
  9. Armenia
  10. Russia
  11. Azerbaijan
  12. Bosnia&Herzegovina
  13. Moldova
  14. Malta
  15. Estonia
  16. Denmark
  17. Germany
  18. Turkey
  19. Albania
  20. Norway
  21. Ukraine
  22. Romania
  23. United Kingdom
  24. Finland
  25. Spain

The 2nd semi-final just ended and with its end the 25 positions for the Grand Final of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest have been filled in.

The lucky 10 are as follows:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Croatia
  • Ukraine
  • Lithuania
  • Albania
  • Moldova
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Norway
  • Greece

The battle seems to be between Greece and Norway. Are we going to see Greece hosting the European extravaganza for a second time in 5 years? We’ll see on Saturday.

10 out of 18 counties performing at the First Eurovision Semi-final made it to the Final on Saturday later this week. The happy artists who managed to win their way to the top are as follows:

  • Turkey: Hadise — Düm Tek Tek
  • Sweden: Malena Ernman — La Voix
  • Israel: Noa & Mira Awad — Noa & Mira Awad
  • Portugal: Flor-de-lis — Todas As Ruas Do Amor
  • Malta: Chiara — What If We
  • Finland: Waldo’s People — Lose Control
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina: Regina — Bistra Voda
  • Romania: Elena — The Balkan Girls
  • Armenia: Inga & Anush — Jan Jan
  • Iceland: Yohanna — Is It True?

These guys can have a rest of two days and enjoy Moscow. They will join the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Russia at the Final on Saturday.

19 other countries compete on Thursday.

Do I need to say that most of the songs performed tonight were terrible? Perhaps the most fascinating thing on stage was the performance of the Russian military choir accompanied by a balalaika player and t.A.T.u appearing a bit later with their hit “Nas ne Dogonyat” (“They’re Not Gonna Get Us”).

Especially terrible was Krassimir and his Illusion, or as some commentators said “it was the most kitsch performance tonight”. Hadise from Turkey had the b est voice not being able to sing a single note correctly, but she was the first to qualify. Armenia was quite a disgrace too, but the two sisters made it to the top ten too. Of course I hope to see more quality music in a couple of days.

It took me a while to think through the welcome party we had yesterday in Moscow. An amazing 2-(was it more)-hour show in the Russian capital marked the official opening of the European song contest 2009.

Stars such as Phillip Kirkorov, Alsu, the German popular band from the 70s Genghis Khan, and Lys Assia sang and made people forget at least for a while about the word economic crisis.

The winner of the 1991 Eurovision, the Swedish singer Carola also performed her hit from 2007 Invincible. The heart of the mountain, who brought Eurovision to Ukraine in 2004, the wild dancer Ukraine rocked the stage with her rhythm for the joy of the crazy mob.

t.A.t.U sang their hit from 2003 Ne ver’, ne boisya, ne prosi – the once rebellious girls now looked a bit more appeased. A more rebellious artist, though, went on stage to present her/his rebellious of the time “Viva la Diva” – yes, you know I mean Dana International. Other legendary artists went on stage to remind us of the good old days of Eurovision…

Well, watching all these singers, whatever they do, I can’t help thinking about Sir Terry Wogan and his brilliant witted comments in the 70s and 80s. So, think twice before you pack your suitcases for Moscow. As you know it is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Though it’s an amazing place and you might have the urge to drop in at the Palace.

natalya-vodyanova-and-andrey-malakhov The second dress rehearsal for the Eurovision Song Contest starts just minutes ago. A spectacular hall welcomes the viewer, but the hosts Natalya Vodyanova and Andrey Malakhov seem to be a bit embarrased. Hopefully the two following rehearsals will give them some self-confidence.

The show opens with Montenegro – an upbeat dance song. For a change, the singer feels at ease with her English and at least we can understand something. It might well be because the text is timple enough… Get Out of My Life and Andrea Demirovic.

Get a fancy dress costume for your party. It’s fun.

I have recently spoken to a friend of mine, who lives in Moscow. She’s been working in the Russian capital for a year now and is also trying to bribe me into going to Moscow too. It’s such a paradise, she often says. I guess it’s true, but it’s also true that Moscow is of the most expensive cities in the world as well. Still, my friend assures me that you on live on about 1000 Euros per month, if you pay for bills, transport, etc, well, basically, live on the cheap and still okay.

As you are probably planning a Eurovision trip, you might be interested in some tips on how to financially survive in Moscow. Here is a piece of UNcommon sense to make your life easier in Moscow, if you still have any doubts whether to go or not.

  • coach surfing: CouchSurfing is a very popular method of travelling in staying abroad. It is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers, tourists, students, adventure-seekers… and local people in the places they visit.
  • hitch-hike: If you are a lover of hitch-hiking, this method will help you move round without paying. I know a person who got from Portugal to Ukraine hitch-hiking, but he is an extreme case. A way to travel better still is..
  • low-cost flights: you don’t need to be told that the second best way to travel is with a low-cost air company. (The ultimate best is the free trip, of course)
  • sandwiches to go: you can make your own sandwiches while in Moscow – buy and bring the lightest foods, suck as packed cheese, and you’ll make it!
  • volunteer as part of the Eurovision organisation: get in touch with the organisers of the contest. They might need volunteers. Chances grow if you speak more than two languages.
  • get something to do in Moscow: you should have already done this… at least a month before the show. Ideally, if you can afford a place to stay, you can combine a part-time job and watching the rehearsals.
  • drink a lot … and you won’t be able to care less where you are.
  • Have a go with Moscow famous museums, libraries and bookstores.. These are free places, where you can spend hours on end, not spending a single ruble, having some time away from the Press Centre.
  • don’t miss the countries’ parties every night – but choose carefully! Most countries offer food, but others rely on buffet only. Select the countries with the best PR and the most massive promo campaign – they are sure to spend money on the promo party at the Eurovision village as well
  • and finally…

  • marry a Russian girl / boy. If they are rich – all for the better! :)

Now you are equipped with all necessary skills and information for a successful survival in Moscow. Good luck!

After a short break, here I am again, ready to sum up the full participants’ list for ESC 2009 in Moscow, which will take place from 12 to 16 May. Explore the participants and share your opinions on the new contenders for the Eurovision trophy.

Semi-Final 1, 12 May 2009:

  1. Montenegro: Andrea Demirovic — Just Get Out of My Life
  2. Czech Republic: Gipsy.cz — Aven Romale
  3. Belgium: Copycat — Copycat
  4. Belarus: Petr Elfimov — Eyes That Never Lie
  5. Sweden : Malena Ernman — La Voix
  6. Armenia : Inga & Anush — Jan Jan
  7. Andorra : Susanne Georgi — La Teva Decisió (Get A Life)
  8. Switzerland : Lovebugs — The Highest Heights
  9. Turkey: Hadise — Düm Tek Tek
  10. Israel: Noa & Mira Awad — There Must Be Another Way
  11. Bulgaria: Krassimir Avramov — Illusion
  12. Iceland: Yohanna — Is It True?
  13. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Next Time — Neshto Shto Ke Ostane
  14. Romania: Elena — The Balkan Girls
  15. Finland: Waldo’s People — Lose Control
  16. Portugal: Flor-de-lis — Todas As Ruas Do Amor
  17. Malta: Chiara — What If We
  18. Bosnia & Herzegovina: Regina — Bistra Voda

Semi-Final 2, 14 May 2009:

  1. Croatia: Igor Cukrov feat. Andrea — Liepa Tena
  2. Ireland: Sinéad Mulvey & Black Daisy — Et Cetera
  3. Latvia: Intars Busulis — Probka
  4. Serbia: Marko Kon & Milaan — Cipela
  5. Poland: Lidia Kopania — I Don’t Wanna Leave
  6. Norway: Alexander Rybak — Fairytale
  7. Cyprus: Christina Metaxa — Firefly
  8. Slovakia: Kamil Mikulchík & Nela Pocisková — Le? Tmou
  9. Denmark: Brinck — Believe Again
  10. Slovenia: Quartissimo feat. Martina — Love Symphony
  11. Hungary: Zoli Ádok — Dance With Me
  12. Azerbaijan: AySel & Arash — Always
  13. Greece: Sakis Rouvas — This Is Our Night
  14. Lithuania: Sasha Son — Love
  15. Moldova: Nelly Ciobanu — Hora Din Moldova
  16. Albania: Kejsi Tola — Carry Me In Your Dreams
  17. Ukraine: Svetlana Loboda — Be my Valentine! (Anti-crisis Girl)
  18. Estonia: Urban Symphony — Rändajad
  19. The Netherlands: The Toppers – Shine

FINAL, 16 May 2009:

  • France: Patricia Kaas — Et S’il Fallait Le Faire
  • Spain: Soraya — La Noche Es Para Mí (The Night Is For Me)
  • United Kingdom: Jade Ewen — It’s My Time
  • Germany: Alex Swings Oscar Sings! — Miss Kiss Kiss Bang
  • Russia: Anastasia Prikhodko — Mamo

After wabbling for a while whether or not to participate in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, Georgia came up with a fascinating disco way of making up for their political argument with Russia. As we don’t want to mess with politics, we’ll only let you wonder what Stephane & 3G intend to say with their Eurovision song We Don’t Wanna Put In

Here’s the entry itself:

Stephane & 3G will represent Georgia in Russia, after they did not succeed to get the ticket to Belgrade last year, when they came 4th in the Georgian national selection. Now the quartet (Stephane himself and three charming ladies) are happy to go for the victory in May.

No matter what the controversy resulting from the ambiguous meaning of the title, thought to contain reference to the former Russian president Vladimir Putin, the lyrics have not been changed to far. There is still one possibility: at the HoD meeting (mid-March), when all heads of delegation gather in Moscow, they can vote if the song in any way breaches the rules of the Contest. Some may consider that the Georgian entry violates the rule that songs should not express any political messages. If Georgia is pressed to introduce last-minute changes to the lyrics, they might not be able to get back in the show on time. This might practically mean banishing for the Georgian participants. Not that we wish so.

We personally consider that it is a nice peaceful song, which induces happiness and free boogie between nations, rather than anything else. I hope that everyone else will join us in this opinion.

This-year’s band consists of Nini Badurashvili, Tako Gachechiladze and Kristine Imedadze and of course the popular producer, performer and composer Stephane Mgebrishvili. This is the third time Georgia takes part in the Eurovision Song Contest. In 2007, the fantastically talented, flamboyant, and amazingly cheerful Sopho got her country to 12th position with the song “My Story”.

Tonight Sofia saw a two-hour show, produced by the Bulgarian National TV, which selected the country’s winner for the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow this year. After 12 performances, the winner was chosen by audience voting – so finally, Krassimir Avramov with Illusion will represent the Balkan country in May 2009. Krasi took over the competition with 55.52%. Krassi Avramov a.k.a. The Voice, who lives and successfully works in the US, came up with a grand show. His voice reaching extremely high octaves, the impressive dancers and the folklore elements did win him the trophy.

Three of the 12 participating songs were produced by the Bulgarian media:
Poli GenovaOne Lifetime is not is not Enough — Poli is a former BonBon (remember that they were the first Bulgarian participants in the Junior Eurovision in Rotterdam, 2007)
Mariana PopovaCrazy – who took part in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens but with little success. The only noticeable thing of the 2006 Bulgarian entry was the participation of the scandalous transsexual pop-folk star Azis. Today, Mariana’s techno solo was nothing to remember, really.
Grafa Vrag (Enemy) – one of the kids of the Bulgarian pop music, who took of his music career, when he was 8 or so, and now, in his early thirties, has already celebrated 20 years on stage.

The rest of the other noticeable entries at the Final were the following:

Nora - a former Music Idol participant closed the competition. Her powerful voice, however, was not enough to win her the ticket to Moscow.

Lyubo Savov – the father of Dian Savov, one of last-year’s DJs flying the Bulgarian flag in Belgrade last year, also decided to challenge the first place in the national selection tonight.

Moscow came to Sofia in the face of the winner of various European prizes, and Ani Lorak’s producer Phillipp Kirkorov, who came specially for the show. He performed several hits, one of them the Russian version of Brotherhood of Man’s hit “Save your kisses for Me”. The happiest were my mum’s generation though.

Among those attending the contest in the hall were Stoyan and Elitsa (Bulgarian reps in ESC 2007) and Joanna (the charming vocal, ESC 2008). Deep Zone came out to announce the winner and wish them good luck.

I couldn’t help but noticing that most of the finalist songs were ballads, most were sung in English, and 90% of them had no idea what Eurovision means. All this resulting in an attitude of eternal satisfaction that I did not watch the national final live but stayed at home and viewed it from my cosy sofa. The only entry I felt sorry for not seeing live was the winning entry indeed. So, go for it, Krassi!

Bulgaria will participate in the first Semi-Final on 12 May 2009. So far the countries best result has been in its third year in 2007, when Stoyan Yankoulov and Elitsa Todorova reached top 5.

My personal favourite is Right On Time, but most of the members of the Facebook group Eurovision Song Contest 2009 – Greek Entry would rather support This is our night. Or you might take a fancy to Out of control, with its up-beat tempo, which changes several times during the song. Make sure to check out the discussions, even if your Greek is not good enough.

And the aim – the aim is clear – to bring Greece to the top of 54th Eurovision. As ERT online reported, Sakis said that “Every day I wake up and go to bed with this thought.” Who else can do it but Sakis, who has so many years of experience at the Eurovision stage?!

Here is some more detail on the entries: sakis-rouvas1

Out of control
Composer: Dimitris Kontopoulos
Lyrics: Alexandra Zakka

Right on time
Composer: Dimitris Kontopoulos
Lyrics: Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb

This is our night
Composer: Dimitris Kontopoulos
Lyrics: Craig Porteils and Cameron Giles-Webb

Whichever of the three entries you prefer, the Greeks know how do throw a party and to make the best of a show. On 18 February a grand (as always) spectacle, will be held in Athens Arena in the Greek capital, when one of the three songs will receive the ticket to Moscow. It will be selected by a 50-50 jury-audience blend voting. Special guests of the show will be the representatives of Cyprus, Montenegro, Belarus and perhaps Malta.

Best fancy dress online shop. Get a costume for you and your friends! :)

The Finnish hard-rock nation decided to take a considerable turn in their Eurovision taste: this time round they are sending to Moscow a pop band – the famous Waldo’s People. Tampere saw a huge party last Saturday, when the song Lose Control got almost half of the votes of the audience and won the ticket to ESC 2009.

Waldo’s People got really popular across Europe in the late 90s. You will probably remember them with the hits of the time Feel So Good, It’s About Time and Move Your Body, as the band split 8 years ago, to come back together last year. They have four albums under their belt and enough confidence to challenge Eurovision.

Finland’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest dates back to 1961. For the 48 years of its participation it possessed the trophy only once, in 2006, when Lordi simply smashed the competition with their Hard Rock Hallelujah. These are moments that history remembers well.

After a nervous evening, when RTV Andorra organised the national selection for Moscow Passport To Moscow (Passaport a Moscou), the citizens of the mountain country of banks chose their 2009 Eurovision representative – Susanna Georgi. The pop entry La teva decisió was selected by a blend jury-audience vote, who were all unanimous in their choice. Ms. Georgi overtook her competitors gaining a smashing 56% of the total votes.

A fan group on Facebook is gaining serious speed in support of the charming artist.

Andorra will have to participate in a semi-final first and then possibly make it to the Final on 16 May. This will be the sixth participation of the country in Eurovision. So far, no one from Andorra has managed to qualify for the Grand Final.

In the heyday of the Eurovision season, Romania selected its 2009 Eurovision representative – this time a girl. Elena Gheorghe will sing the song The Balkan Girls – an upbeat pop song.

Romania has long traditions in Eurovision, and is constantly seducing its former entrants. For this reason, among the jurors who selected the song was also the old Eurovision acquaintance Mihai Traistariu.

Although in recent years, Romania has relied on songs performed in Romanian or Italian, this time the solo artist will sing in English. This is a serious turn, which in the combination of the pop style and with the even better dances of Elena, might bring success to the Balkan country.

Romania has participated in the European music event since 1994. For its ten participations, it made it to the third place thanks to Luminita Anghel and Sistem and their song Let Me Try

How can you never give up participating in Eurovision?! There are people, who are always back in the game, willing to do their best and bring the trophy to their country.

There is such a person (we know he’s not the only one), who cannot leave Eurovision and keeps on producing songs for it. This is the beautiful and well… talented Sakis Rouvas, who will represent Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. The song to be composed specially for the show in Moscow, will be written by the prominent composer Dimitris Kontopoulos, who’s also behind Sakis’s hot summer hit Kai se thelo (I want You).

sakis-rouvas

sakis-body

You will remember that Mr. Rouvas participated in the 2004 Eurovision, when he finished in the top 3, and came back on stage as a host during the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest in Athens. Now, let’s see what’s going to happen in Moscow this spring.

By the way, Greece was the first country to select its entrant this season. Perhaps hoping that the early bird will catch the worm…

Are you ready for a brand new start? At least that’s how the lyrics of the 2009 Dutch entry go. The Dutch boy band De Toppers will try to make it to the top in Moscow with their song Shine. A jolly, typically Eurovision entry, which has nothing to surprise us with, but still, keep an eye on the trio from the Netherlands.

De Toppers consists of Gerard Joling, who’ve already gained some experience with the Eurovision Song Contest in 1988, Gordon, a popular TV presenter and scriptwriter, who took part in the Dutch national selection from Eurovision in Dutch in 1990 and 2003 and Rene Froger. The guys got together in May 2004 and since then have been holding many concerts, including the one i mid-June this year.

The Netherlands joined the show in 1956 with Corry Brokken’s song Voorgoed Voorbij (“Over Forever”), which scored second. The same lady won the contest just two years later with Net Als Toen (“Just Like Then”).

The British made a great choice this year for their traditional participation in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The result took the commitment of the great composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, who wrote the song It’s My Time – performed by the talented and beautiful British star Jade Ewen.

The 2009 UK Entry for Eurovision Song Contest 2009 is a powerful solo ballad, bathing in the splendid and tender atmosphere created by Jade. The song is already popular throughout the UK, Malta, Greece, and in other Eurovision countries.

The Brits hope for a position in top ten and it will be well-deserved indeed. Indeed, many people think that the song is not strong enough to win the trophy. Others are fast to say that it’s a great voice and the songs well deserves a top position, but won’t get it as it’s not a typical Eurovision song.

The UK has won the contest 4 times (’67, ’76, ’81, and ’97) and joined the Eurovision Song Contest in 1957 with Patricia Bredin’s song “All”, who finished 7th.

Do you remember the celebration of kids’ music in Lemesos last year? And the well-deserved winner Bzikebi from Georgia? JESC 2008 seems to have been successful for organisers and participants alike (at least for most of the participants). Some countries keep on participating, others have decided to give it up, so the number of participants for JESC 2009 is 15.

The 7th Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be held in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. Singers from 10 to 15 years of age will compete for the chance to be called Winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. As long as you fall in this age group, you have written and can perform your song, go for it and apply in your country’s selection.

Hera (but no Zeus) will fight hard to represent Denmark in Moscow in May this year. Ms. Hera Björk will sing the song “Someday” – a strong solo. “It is a great song with a catchy melody, fun to sing…,” says Hera herself in an interview for DR Denmark” There’s been so much information and campaigning about the Iclandic diva, that the rest of the competition seem to fade away, though not quite.

The young singer was born in Iceland, but has moved to the Danish capital four years ago. In fact the lot behind the song also come from all over Scandinavia and are well known for their fervent Eurovision activity: the composers Christina Schilling and Jonas Gladnikoff from Sweden, and the Swedish authors Henrik Szabo and Daniel Nilsson.

As you might remember from previous posts on Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, Ms. Björk will be competing with nine other artists in a new-style Danish domestic show – a single national final will select Denmark’s favourite.

The ten artists competing in Copenhagen on 31 January are: Christina Undhjem, Claus Christensen, Jeppe Laursen, Jimmy Jørgensen, SUKKERCHOK, Brinck, Hera Björk, Johnny Deluxe, Marie Carmen Koppel and Trine Jepsen.

Here is a short list with some notes for you to keep an eye on the Danish Melodi Grand Prix:

Brinck Believe Again — His earlier hit I don’t Wanna Love Her is a truly mild ballad with inspiring lyrics and genuine sound. Pop star Ronan Keating himself stands behind the project Believe Again.

Claus ChristensenBig Bang Baby — Yet another pop singer with substantial experience in Eurovision who can cry at the top of his voice “vote for me”.

Christina UndhjemUnderneath My Skin — Born in Norway, Christina has a taste for lyrical mystical music and she can do it well.

Hera BjörkSomeday
SUGAR shocksDet’ det
Trine JepsenI Never Fall In Love Again
Wildcard: Jeppe LaursenLucky Boy — and indeed he is…
Wildcard: Jimmy JørgensenAlice In The Wonderland — if music can be nostalgic, that’s his music
Wildcard: Johnny DeluxeCrazy
Wildcard: Marie Carmen KoppelCrying Out Your Name

Have you ever thought that Eurovision artists can be or become popular in the US? It is possible only if the music is universal, which electronic music, and the music of DJ Balthazar specifically, is.

So, here he is, the charming and talented DJ Balthazar, a.k.a. in his country DJ Baltazvyar (DJ Balta-beast), going on a long tour across the USA. At the very start of the new year Balthazar is getting ready for his next tour – in mid-January he embarks on a journey to the various US cities, which will be his first tour in North America. His hectic schedule features 6 gigs in some of the hottest night clubs in Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Mmm, are you thinking of getting the plane to Hollywood?

In 2008, DJ Balthazar has eventually become one of the most popular Bulgarian DJs, thus one of the missionaries of Eurovision across the Atlantic. He managed to export the Bulgarian electronic music industry to countries such as Egypt, the UK, Portugal, Malta, Slovakia, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Yesterday, at a special ceremony in Moscow’s GUM shopping mall, the mayor of Belgrade Dragan Dilas handed over the symbolic keys to the «Eurovision» Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov. “Heavy burden!”, Mr. Luzhkov said assessing the weight of the Eurovision symbol. “But, we will keep it!

The mayor of the Serbian capital, Dragan Dilas handed Moscow’s mayor the symbolic key emphasising that he was pleased to bring the key to a congenial city, which Moscow is. The ceremony of handing over the key first took place in Belgrade, and was initiated by Helsinki, the 2007 host city.

The final of one of the oldest European music contests will take place from 12 to 16 May in the capital’s Olimpiyskiy Sports Complex. The Russian government already assured the city of Moscow that it will make sure to fix the potholes on the roads in the capital till May next year. Twenty-two hotels in Russia’s main city have already been booked for the Eurovision week.

On December 6th, the German city of Essen welcomed the 2008 Eurovision winner Dima Bilan for a second time, and saw his biggest concert in Germany so far. The Grugahalle concert venue was crowded during a one-night concert – more than 8 thousand people came to see the Eurovision star. The great demand of tickets was also the reason why the concert was rescheduled earlier to the day of St. Nicolas.

Not only due to the concert, but for all his merit, Bilan’s popularity grows greater and greater. So much so that he was nominated in two categories of the third edition of ESC Radio Awards and got the two trophies, as expected. Now Dima can bring home the Best Song and Best Male Artist Awards for Eurovision 2008. Would you agree that he deserves these awards?

The complete list of the 2008 ESC Radio Award winners is as follows:

Dima Bilan (Russia) – Best Song, Best Male Artist
Ani Lorak (Ukraine) – Best Female Artist
Euroband (Iceland) – Best Group

Just a week ago the Macedonian Radio Television announced the start of its national Eurovision campaign, called Festival “Skopje 2009”. The festival will be held on 19, 20 and 21 February 2009 in the Universal Hall in Skopje, Macedonia.

Fresh changes have been introduced this year: two Semifinal and a Great Final shows will decide the fate of the Macedonian song, which will participate in the 54th ESC, in May 2009. A professional jury will pick up 32 songs to compete in the two Semifinals (16 in each). Only 8 entries from each Semifinal will survive to see the Great Final on 21 February 2009. The winner will be decided by a blend of jury/televoting procedure.

It’s fascinating how the rules of the local selection suggest that all the songs have to be performed in the Macedonian language. Over Christmas, to be precise 25 December, is the deadline for submission of entries. The 32 songs to compete for the ticket to Moscow will be announced in January next year.

Special thanks to Gordana Andrasevska, MKRTV HOD ESC 2009 for this piece of news

After 10 years of Eurovision break, the Slovak TV finally announced that the country will take part in the 2009 Eurovision Grand Prix. Representatives of the national television said that Slovenia boasts many talented composers, writers and singers, and is absolute ready to compete at Eurovision with great chances of success.

March 8 next year will see the Slovak national final, but until then, the best will have to be selected among many candidates. As for candidates, absolutely everyone is free to join in – this will be an open competition for all national talents. During the final, a professional jury panel will pick up the Slovak winner for the 54th Eurovision Song Contest.

“If you feel capable of imitating Massiel, Karina or Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, and want once and for all to bring Eurovision to Spain, this is your chance.” This is how the Spanish broadcaster TVE has decided to select its 2009 ESC representative – via an online announcement on Myspace.

This year they are not only looking for the most capable, talented, attractive, and charismatic representative of Spain at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow, but also for one of the five jurors who will help select them. 50 songs qualifying for the semi-final will be selected in a mixed jury and audience vote.

This is not the first time TVE has turned to online applications to pick its Eurovision entrant, remember? Last year they had the same process, which they reckon proved successful and sent Rodolfo to Serbia. The deadline is December 19, so if you feel like joining the extravaganza, be quick!

After the great show on Saturday, get down to Planet Earth and start thinking about the next JESC.

As you might already know, but lets remind you again, next year the Junior ESC 2009 will take place in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, or Kiev. The month when the contest will be held is November, 2009, and the exact date will be announced pretty soon. The exact place will become clear next year, perhaps some time after the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

Lets go Ukraine! but before this, we are going to Moscow, right ;)

The Georgian bee trio Bzikebi (The Wasps) won the sixth Junior Eurovision Song Contest minutes ago. With 154 points they bzzzed the competition away. The bees were magnificent on stage, in yellow and black, they performed a lovely typically childish yet very complex song. And the lyrics consists of a single word only – “bzzz”, performed with immaculate mixture of tones and melodies.

Congratulations, Georgia!

The show in Cyprus began minutes ago. As the hosts said, tonight, for one night only the island of Aphrodite is the centre of Europe! Viewers from 15 countries from across Europe, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Azerbaijan and even Australia will enjoy the show. Talented young people from 15 European countries will be on stage performing for YOU!

A quarter of an hour before the show in Lemesos you can cut the air with a knife – the hall is almost full, the performers are already backstage, with their make-up and stage constumes on, eager to start.

Who are you going to vote for? And who do you think will the winner be? I love the Georgian track, and Oliver from Belgium has a lovely song too! Ukraine has a great lively, pically children’s song, combined with a nice kids’ show… Well, I keep my fingers crossed for all the kids to be happy with what they will have done tonight!

Less than 3 hours to the sixth Junior Eurovision Song Contest held in Lemesos, Cyprus, the participating kids are ready for the time of ther lives. And it is really the time of their lives, if not for any other thing but for them being close to Dima Bilan. Yes, the winner of the 2008 Eurovision in Belgrade, is in Lemesos, and will perform for you tonight!

Last night saw the Dress Rehearsal, when the national juries voted for their favourite songs. Half of the outcome of the contest will be determined by their vote. The Dress Reharsal went generally without problems, apart from a mistake during the Cypriot song, when the guy at the steady cam tumbled over and created a small confusion.

Anyway, watch the show tonight and vote for your favourite song! As the organisers say, voting, you will be supporting UNICEF and all the kids in Africa, who have nothing to eat and no fresh water to drink. And above all, enjoy the show.

The Junior Eurovision Song Contest saw its Dress Rehearsal minutes ago.

Robbie William, Shakira, David Beckham, and Whoopi Goldberg greeted the participants, wishing Cyprus a great show and encouringing the audiences to vote more in order to support UNICEF’s cause to help children in need.

Tonight the national juries are voting too back home, and their vote will contribute 50% to the final result of the competition.

Kids from 15 countries meet in Lemessos, Cyprus to selebrate mucis, friendship, fun, and sun through their music. I’ll be reporting soon how the rehearsal proceeds.

Thermometres show 22 – 24° C these days, of course if you are in Limassol (Lemesos) at the sixth Junior Eurovision Song Contest. It’s sun and fun in the sun!

The rehearsals kicked off successfully. Most of the participants have already had their first sound and light checks – most of them are happy with the results. The kids already met the hosts – Sophia Paraskeva and Alex Michael. They got to know each other at the special welcoming party, marked by a special spirit of friendship and joy.

I’ll try to keep you updated as much as possible about what’s going on in the heart of children’s music world.