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.

One of the strongholds of Eurovision, Sweden, has already hit the pace of the contest. Eight artists out of 32 to compete for the ticket to Moscow have already been announced by the Swedish broadcaster SVT. This year the competition is dominated by many popular names, such as BWO, who participate for the fourth time. The complete list is as follows: Jennifer Brown, Alcazar, Emilia, Lasse Lindh, Caroline af Ugglas, BWO, Måns Zelmerlöw and Sarah Dawn Finer.

  • Alcazar — Stay The Night
  • BWO — You’re Not Alone
  • Caroline af Ugglas — Snällä, Snälla
  • Emilia — You’re My World
  • Jennifer Brown — Never Been Here Before
  • Lasse Lindh and Band — Jag Slåss I Dina Kvarter
  • Måns Zelmerlöw — Hope and Glory
  • Sarah Dawn Finer — Moving on

In an interview for the official website of SVT, Martin Rolinski from BWO say: “We saw Dima Bilan winning and thought hell, we can make it so much better. And we will certainly do much better with this song.” Caroline af Ugglas participated in last-year’s Melodifestivalen with her song “Think for yourself.” In 2009, she embarks on a long journey with “Please, please.” Alcazar has already been part of the big Swedish Eurovision show twice. Lasse Lindh made his debut in Melodifestivalen in 2007 with a sad ballad “Du behöver aldrig mer vara rädd” (“You needn’t be afraid ever again”). Unlike last year, Lasse will try his luck with an up-beat punk track this time.

You must have noticed that the Swedish people know how to make Eurovision. They always send songs that stand every chance to win the Eurovision trophy. But before that, six weeks will see a grand Melodifestivalen show – six weeks of competitions, second chances, tears and entertainment.

As I’ve already informed you, the dates for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest to take place in Many 2009 in the Russian capital Moscow are as follows:

Semi-Final 1: 12 May 2009
Semi-Final 2: 14 May 2009
Grand Final: 16 May 2009

As EBU tells us, they decided to introduce the mix of televoting and jury voting for the 2009 Final. The organisers will keep the voting system for the Semi-Finals of the Eurovision Song Contest. The final decisions will be announced after 28 November. So, keep you fingers crossed that they arrive at a decision that is favourable for the show and not only for the telephone operators and the pan-European operator.

Apart from this, we are about to have many new services introduced to the ESC, such as a mobile distribution platform, iPhone trial, possibly Android and many more. But with news on this, you’ll have to wait till next year.

But hey, before this, have you already booked your hotel in Moscow? :) Be quick and at lest ask you boss for a two-week leave in May. See you there!

The Danish national broadcater DR has decided to change the rules for its national Eurovision selection. For ESC 2009, Denmark’s artists will no longer go through semi-finals. There will be a single show with ten songs to compete for the ticket to Moscow. The Grand Final will be held on 31 January next year, and the programme will be broadcast live on DR, who promise a huge show.

The 2007 Danish Eurovision entrant DQ will run in the contest again. He is just one of the almost 700 songs submitted for participation. A total of 684 songs were submitted for this-year’s Dansk Melodi, which is twice as much as last-year’s number of submissions.

Hadise is the Turkish 2009 Eurovision representative. There are only a couple of days before the official presser on 6 November, when the singer will be presented as the Turkish entrant. The Turkish delightful beauty will propose three songs to the Turkish national broadcaster TRT, who are to select one of them. Details about the rules will be advised soon.

Hadise is a generally acknowledged pop star in Turkey, very sexy and provocative in her style. She was nominated in the “Best Turkish Act 2008″ category during the MTV Turkey awards. Although her music is far from surprising, she’s fun to watch and the Eurovision fans will for sure find a fascinating artist in her face.

Yet another pleasant surprise from EBU in its aim to curb competition on the part of commercial TVs. This time – the biennial Eurovision Young Dancers contest, which promises an exciting comeback. The 12th edition of the contest will take place on Friday, 19 June 2009 in Oslo’s newly refurbished Dance House, a venue specially designed for modern dance shows.

The event is aimed at young dancers aged between 15 and 21, competing in modern dances, be it sole or in couples, as long as they are not professionally engaged. Seems like freestyle will rule the show :-) Professional international jury headed by the prominent British choreographer, dancer and director Wayne McGregor, will have its say and will try to persuade the audience into selecting the winners.

Broadcasters, which have already showed interest in participating in the contest are: ARD (Germany), BBC (UK), BNT (Bulgaria), CT (Czech Republic), ERR/ETV (Estonia), ERT (Greece), LTV (Latvia), MTV (Hungary), NPO/NPS (The Netherlands), ORF (Austria), SF (Switzerland), SVT (Sweden), TVP (Poland), VRT (Belgium), YLE (Finland).

The final running order for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest to be held on 22 November in Lemasos, Cyprus became known last week. The hosts Sophia Paraskeva and Alex Michael will lead you into the miracle of the kid’s show, appealing to children and adults alike.

Here is the list:

  1. Romania
  2. Madalina & Andrada
    Salvati Planeta

  3. Armenia
  4. Monika Manucharova
    Im Ergi Hnchyune

  5. Belarus
  6. Daria Nadina, Alina Molosh, Karina Zhukovich
    Sertse Belarusi

  7. Russia
  8. Mihail Puntov
    Spit Angel

  9. Greece
  10. Niki Yiannouchu
    A Night

  11. Georgia
  12. Bzikebi

  13. Belgium
  14. Oliver
    Shut Up

  15. Bulgaria
  16. Krestiana Kresteva
    Edna Mechta

  17. Serbia
  18. Maja Mazic
    Uvek Kad U Nebo Pobledam

  19. Malta
  20. Daniel Testa
    Junior Swing

  21. The Netherlands
  22. Marissa
    1 Dag

  23. Ukraine
  24. Victoria Petryk

  25. Lithuania
  26. Egle Jurgaityte
    Laiminga Diena

  27. FYR Macedonia
  28. Bobi Andonov
    Prati Mi SMS

  29. Cyprus
  30. Elena Mannouri & Charis Savva
    Gioypi Gia

The more I experience Eurovision, the more fascinating it gets. With the advance of the Eurovision season, the continent seems to get swept by a wave of local shows, each one more attractive, curious, and colourful than the other. The name holds true for Britain too.

The prominent British composer of musical theatre, author of the scores to “Evita”, “Cats”, “Sunset Boulevard”, and many others Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber offered to help Britain out of the perennial Eurovision predicament on the Island by writing the music for this year’s UK Eurovision entry.

Sir Webber managed a semi-joking tone by addressing the Brits on the BBC in search for the best 2009 British Eurovision representative: “People of Britain: I’m here to speak to you about a subject of considerable gravity, a subject that affects each and every one of us. I refer, of course, to our great nation’s continued failure in the Eurovision Song Contest.

With the typical British sense of humour, the famous composer appealed to the nation as if it were a quest the country is about to embark on, a prompt about his attitude towards the contest, or perhaps not.

Twelve years Britain has been waiting for a success in Eurovision. I haven’t seen any such party as they have it in the UK to celebrate Eurovision. Even if they do it to mock the participants, the atmosphere that you can feel in the country is simply beyond description. I hope we’ll have the same party this year again.

Who do you think will the 2009 host broadcaster for the junior Eurovision be? Whatever you thought, it is Ukraine and nowhere else that the little sister of Eurovision heads next year. Kyiv and the Ukrainian national broadcaster NTU won the opportunity to host and produce the huge TV show at the HoD meeting in Lemasos yesterday.

Just a quick reminder, in order to become host of the JESC you don’t need to win the contest, but only apply for the opportunity. The country winning the chance to host the show has to have a proper hall holding at least 10 000 people, the broadcaster should be experienced enough in big events, and the EBU need to decide if the political, economic, and touristic situation in the respective place is appropriate for the contest.

This year the small contestants are lucky to travel to Cyprus, where the organizers promise 25 degrees Celsius in November. Good luck to CyBC and to all participants. We’ll let you know the running order for the show shortly.

The Finnish public broadcaster YLE has invited 12 local artists to take part in the national selection for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. The artists invited in September are as follows: Janita, Tapani Nations, Kwan, Passion Works, Remu, Riikka, Sani, Signmark, Jari Sillanpää, Tiara, Vink, and Waldo’s People. This time the broadcaster seems to be looking more closely on its candidates: there is a preference to professional artists who work with record companies.

The competition songs will be announced in the beginning of December and the actual qualifications start on 9 January. The grand final will be held in Tampere Fair and Leonardo sports hall, on 31 January next year. The Finnish audience will choose its favourite song during three national semi-finals held every Friday in January. We’ll keep you updated about the progression of the national selection in Finland.

Indeed Malta is a small country and as people on the island joke, there is at least one person in every family, who has joined Eurovision as least once.

So, it’s small wonder there are gossips and rumours around the Eurosong in Malta, especially about former Maltese Eurovision artists.

Some say that Natalie Gauci, winner of Music Idol 2007, Australia shows interest in the European contest. Ms. Gauci seems to be looking for a winning song for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.

Bulgaria saw the start of its national television selection for 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. The show “Be a Star” (“Badi zvezda”) was launched last week. It will be aired every Thursday, and it aims at selecting three contestants every week. One of the participants will be selected by a professional jury, the other two will be the favourites of the viewers.

The jury features world renowned folklore singer Yanka Roupkina, the prominent Bulgarian jazz singer Vassil Petrov, and the notorious rap and hip-hop artist Misho Shamara (in the photo). The first selected performers are IVELINA with her song “Ready for love”, “I PROMISE” by PERFECT STRANGER and “Let’s try singing” by Venelina Milanova.

The Bulgarian broadcaster are obviously trying to make the best of Eurovision, by trying to make the pre-selection an event of national interest. We wish them good luck!

The Belarussian Eurovision Selection, aka EuroFest starts at 5 October. Until 20 November, the Belarussian Eurovision team will be accepting submissions for the contest. After this-year’s ESC, when Ruslan Alekhno did not make it to the Final, the aim of the “EuroFest” project is to choose the best song and singer to represent Belarus in Moscow 2009.

“EuroFest” will be divided for 4 parts. There will be a professional jury, who will choose 15 participants of the semifinal from all the requests. During a live TV show a jury and the spectators will further select finalists. The third part is a preparation for the final proper, which promises to be a grand show, according to the organizers. The winner, who will represent Belarus at the 2009 ESC will finally be selected by a jury

The best position achieved by Belarus so far is Koldun’s performance of his song “Work your magic” (6th place in the Final of ESC 2007).

Remember what happened last year at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam? Alexey Zhigalkovich with his song S Druzyami brought the victory to Belarus. The host of the 2008 Contest, however, is selected by application, and not by victory.

So, the sunny island of Cyprus will soon be swarming with thousands of Eurovision fans. Thrilled young singers, excited music mentors, and nervous mothers from all over Europe will join in to celebrate music.

When? The day is November 22, Saturday. And the place is Spyros Kyprianou Arena in Lemasos.

You can already buy tickets and bring your kids to this lovely concert. The party starts at 21.15 local time, or 20.15 CET. Two dress rehearsals will be held on the previous day and one on the day of the Grand Final.

The organisers promise sunny weather and high temperatures, so, don’t forget to pack your bathing suit as well :-)

Are you having some time off Eurovision? Yes? Shocking! Some people are working hard for us to be able to enjoy the party again and again. Me being among them, I’ll let you know what’s cooking about the up-coming Eurovision Song Contest ;-)

So, above all, Mr. Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia, announced that the contest will be held in Moscow and not in the Northern capital of the country Saint Petersburg as speculated earlier.

Channel One Russia will have the pleasure to host the 2009 Eurovision Song contest, to be held in May next year. The exact dates, announced recently by the EBU are as follows:

Semi-Final 1: Tuesday, 12 May 2009
Semi-Final 2: Thursday, 14 May 2009
Grand Final: Saturday, 16 May 2009

Probably, though not yet confirmed, the Olimpiisky indoor arena in Moscow will be the venue of the event.

As some Russian online newspapers have already suggested, just the repair works of the venue will cost some 10 million Euros. Russia as well as the municipality of Moscow have started drafting an action plan for getting ready for the event with keeping the expenses as low as possible. Complex reconstruction works of the venue will start pretty soon. Since its opening back in 1980 Sports Complex Olimpiisky has been hosting more than 600 events annually.

So, be quick to look for hotels, check out your friends living in Moscow, and book a flight to the Russian capital for mid-May. And don’t forget that this city is one of the most expensive places in the world. So, you have 8 months to work hard and earn enough money for this memorable week. Good luck.

So, there I am, lying in the passenger’s seat, a couple of days after the ESC Final, getting a ride from Belgrade back home, trying to catch some sleep. I start fumbling sleepily through the heap of albums and singles I got during the ESC weeks, searching for who knows what. I already know most of the songs by heart, and it’s not worth bothering, no, not this time. But an album catches my eye. Simon Mathew seems to be winking to me from the glossy cover, shouting – play me, play me.

So, the album I’ve been listening to in my car since from time to time since Eurovision 08 is Simon Mathew’s All For Fame, the perfect summer collection. It takes off with the merry upbeat tune of Get Me High, so much in Simon’s typical style. I wonder why Simon did not pick up Deep or Stay On for his Danish Eurovision entry, much deeper indeed. Great music!

Kicking Up A Storm is a breath of fresh air as well. The rest is left for you to discover. Well, if you listen to it 100 times, it might sound less and less original, and this is its major drawback. Yet, the vocal is nice and recognisable, making the “All for Fame” a must-have. Enjoy it!

Hellooooo Europe!

Finally the construction works on the Eurovision fan area, a.k.a. forum, have finished. We’re more than happy to welcome you to the old-new eurovision 2009 forum where you can discuss hot Eurovision topics, the latest news from the world music biz, and various other issues in the music sphere. In one word, you’re free to be your-eurovision-self.

If any problems with log-in of old users should occur, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the blog, so that we can fix it shortly.

Keep up the Eurovision spirit!

Winning the Eurovision Song Contest has become a highly debated topic. Fans and professionals from all over Europe and around the world discuss this event massively. I am constantly amazed to find out that serious reserachers like Oxford scientists and students make extensive research on Eurovision and publish papers on it. It seems like this European event plays a major role in the cultural life of the old continent.

Much discontent has been voiced over the televoting procesure, which was introduced just several years ago. In fact, the major changes came after 1993, when fresh former Yugoslav republics emerged on the political and Eurovision map. 2004 competition in Istanbul also saw many changes as more and more countries showed interest in the Contest. There was the need to centralise the event, which gave ground to the appearance of a centralised voting system.

Block voting, as it is called, could only appear with the new countries taking part in Eurovision. Many experiments, however, show that even if the results of the post-1993 countries (the participants who took part after 1993) are not taken into account, the final ranking will still be the same. According to Julian Vignoles from RTE, who made a so-called ‘pre – ’93 Experiment’:

Leaving out the votes of mainly Eastern ‘new countries’ who joined from the early 90’s, the 2007 result would have been:

  1. Serbia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Turkey
  4. Russia
  5. Bulgaria

instead of : Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria

So, what did it take for Russia to win this year? Even with the neighbour voting, this would have brought Dima Bilan only 72 points form the “kindest neighbours” – Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. This is a far cry from what got Russia to the top – 272 points coming from 36 countries. In fact, this is the number of countries supporting Russia last year as well. So, if it’s neigbour or diaspora voting, why does Ireland, Turkey, Norway, Andorra, and Spain gave Russia 5 points each. I don’t know many Russians living in Romania too, or in Serbia, Cyprus, or Montenegro for that matter. Greece also supported the winner with 7 points, just like Slovenia and Malta. Hungary voted for Russia as well, giving it second place (10 points).

Numbers can go on forever, and perhaps many Russians live all over Europe and click on their mobiles like mad during the televoting window. But many other nations do it as well. I don’t feel like discussing the quality of “Believe” or Bilan’s performance. Even if it were only for Plyuschenko that many people voted for, I, as a modest viewer, thought that if the Russian team brought these professionals on stage, then they respect the audience.

We are definitely about to experience a huge show in Moscow next year, don’t you think?

The European audience has just chosen its favourite 2008 Eurovision song – Belive!
He comes from Russia and this is his second participation in the Eurovision Song Contest.


Here is the top ten ranking:

  1. Russia
  2. Ukraine
  3. Greece
  4. Armenia
  5. Norway
  6. Serbia
  7. Turkey
  8. Azerbaijan
  9. Israel
  10. Bosnia & Herzegovina

After the slaughter of Dustin the Turkey, we are only left with 25 other potential winners.

Nine songs went on stage already and so far we’ve seen a great show. Croatia don’t make me particularly happy, but it’s a nice song, with nice lyrics. The granddan is still alive and kicking. Isis Gee from Poland is pretty mighty too. The Finnish heavy metal band Teräsbetoni seem to have negotiated successfully with the Finnish wireworks company and the stage during the performance of Missä Miehet Ratsastaa.

So, who’s gonna win? Journalists here at the Press center in Belgrade Sava Centre say it’ll be Portugal. My personal favourite is… I’ll let you know in a minute ;)

Enjoy the show

Here is the list of the 10 qulifiers from the Second Semi-Final.




  • Ukraine
  • Croatia
  • Albania
  • Iceland
  • Georgia
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Latvia
  • Turkey
  • Portugal

The pressconference of the ten coutries qualifying from the First Semi-Final for the Final has just finished. Here is what they had to say, trilled with emotions 15 minutes after hearing the good news.

Kalomira was all too excited. In her typical girlish style, she found it difficult to say who is the biggest threat to her at the Final. “There are a lot of good songs and great performances in the SF2,” she said. Representing such a Eurovision-minded country like Greece is very hard, as a Greek journalist suggested. Kalomira’s answer was that the reason why she were so nervous was because of the people. GThe felt extremely grateful for the good energy from all the people holding flags in the hall and for the support from all the Greek people. Number for the final: 21

Niko and Vlad said that they are ready for a great success at the Final on 24 May. “We hope it will be a great success in the Final,” Vlad said. He admitted that the most important element in their performance that let them pass to the final was the connection between him and Niko. Whether it’s only on stage, it’s for you to decide. Number for the final: 1

Bosnia & Herzegovina
When asked how it feels being in the Final the eccentric Laka said that he is excited, because he had to pee. Laka revealed us a huge mystery in the life of artists, seems like. Number in final: 6

The Finnish hard-rock band confided that the fact that they have qualified for the Final means that still there are heavy-metal people in Europe. When asked what he thinks about the support of Sweden and Norway, expressed in various local media, the frontman of the band said: “We, Scandinavians should stick together.” Number in the final: 8

Dima Bilan was abvously very high after his victory. Excited and maybe a bit confused, Dima could not say many connected things. He expressed his hope that in the future, people should stay all happy, because music is magic. World figure-skating champion Evgeni Plushenko said that he was scared and excited to go on stage. And although he is a world champion, Eurovision is somethng completely different for him. Number in the final: 24

Boaz said that he was surprised that he qualified for the final. “I’m waiting for the real final, though,” he said, implying that the semi-final was just a warm-up for the real fight. Number in the final: 7

As freshmen in Eurovision, the representatives of Azerbaijan said that their good results are very important for their country. Number in the final: 20

Sirusho said that the last thing she was thinking before going on stage was her “beautiful country, the people I met during my tours. I was taking all the love with me on stage.” Number in the final: 5

Isis Gee expressed her hounour for being among the finalists. “…it takes tremendous courage to be an artist in this contest. It takes a lot of strength,” Isis said. Mrs. Gee said that she always project her emotions through her music, which is the most eternal blessing in the world. And that she is happy for all the steps she walked to get to the final. Number in the final: 10

Maria did extremelly well, and she got the well-deserved place in the final. A fascinating question was asked – how she felt waiting for nine envelopes to be opened until Norway found its place. “It was nerve-breaking,” Maria said with a lovely sense of humour. She expressed her gratitude to all the fans who were shouting all the time. Maria got a really lucky number in the final: 25

Tonight we enjoyed a magnificent show. The First Semi-Final was a blend of wonderful songs and performances. Only 10 survived out of the 19 participants.

Here is the list of the songs qualifying for the Final on 24 May:


  • Greece
  • Romania
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Finland
  • Russia
  • Israel
  • Azerbaijan
  • Armenia
  • Poland
  • Norway

During Azerbaidjan’s performance the stage exploded in pyrotechnics, and the red light enhanced the effect of dealing with the fight between good and bad. People in Belgrade say that the guys from Bacu are very likely not only to go through to the Final, but also win the Contest. If it depended on the money flows invested in promotion – for sure. Let’s see what you have to say.

Slovenia followed with a curious light show, which is far from contemporary, and it’s purpose is not known to me. Would you support Slovenia?

The LED screens during Norway’s performance are simply fantastic – Maria, you are simply the best!

Poland follows with a smooth step. I wonder if the European audiences will like Mrs. Isis Gee, or her American style, or her brown complexion, so much as to “give their love for her”.

The First semi-final for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest has just kicked off. The hosts look amazing, the stage even more so.

First on stage comes Stefan Filipovi? from Montenegro with his Zauvijek Volim Te
What chances does he stand? With his simple show with four backing vocals, Stefan relies on strong voice and charming expression. His shirt, however, seems to contrast with his style.

Israel is just breath-taking. Boaz does know how to touch your heart. I guess he’ll manage to touch the hearts of most viewers.

Estonia with its parody is my least favourite, if it can be in the favourite list at all. Shut up, blokes.

The next to come are:

San Marino
Bosnia & Herzegovina

Semi-Final Predictions

Four amazing hours of Ukrainian party, and so many other participants performing during it: last night saw a massive Eurovision show at Euroclub, Sava Centre, Belgrade.

A show that we don’t get every day in Eurovision – this was last-night’s Ukrainian party within Eurovision 2008. Most delegations had come to the event marking it as one of the most significant nights withing the Contest.

Ani Lorak had invited the entrants of more than 10 other countries. On stage, we saw Sirusho (Armenia), Dima Bilan (Russia), Kalomira (Greece), Deep Zone (Bulgaria), Pirates of the Sea (Latvia), Boaz (Israel), Geta Burlacu (Moldova), Miodio (San Marino), Charlotte Perrelli (Sweden), Ruslan Alehno (Belarus), Morena (Malta), Diana Gurtskaya (Georgia), all coming out with mighty performances.

Special focuses of the night were Dana International, who wished good luck to Boaz, and most impressive last-year’s Ukrainina entrant Verka Serduchka. Verka gave a fantastic show singing 3 tracks, among them last-year’s cult hit “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” which reached position number 2 in the Final ranking, and two fresh hits. The new tracks follow the old path of her magesty Eurovision Queen’s art.

Ani sang her own interpretations of many world evergreens, such as Tina Turner’s “The Best”, Bon Jovi’s “My Life” to name but a few. The author of the lyrics of Shady Lady, the imminent composer Fillip Kirkorov attended the event, and supported on stage his newly-found hope, wishing her the best of luck.

Another fascinating moment was the presentation of a prototype instrument, which will be used by the Bulgarian entrants Deep Zone and DJ Balthazar. The Bulgarian band uses a Japanese Vesatax DJ guitar, which will be available on the market in not less than two years and promises to change the DJ image completely.

Seems like we are in for a terribly curious Eurovision year.

Now, I really have to add this after hours of fight: the net connection in my hotel is, unlike anything else in Belgrade, so impossibly bad, that you will have photo coverage of the event a bit later.

An ambitious Serbian project gathers six most beautiful Eurovision 2008 women for a special photo session.

Journalist Goran Iovanovic and photographer Zoran Ilic selected six most gourgeous ladies from Eurovision 2008 for a special photo session, which will be published in Alo daily newspaper, and Blitz Puls magazine. What’s so special about it, you might wonder. Well, something you don’t get every day is that the ladies wear nothing but the national flag of their country. Just like Marilyn Monroe with the US flag, back in the 40s.

The beauties, invited to participate in the project are Ani Lorak from Ukraine, Kalomira from Greece, Morena from Malta, Joanna from Bulgaria, Charlotte Perrelli from Sweden, and Isis Gee from Poland.

Asked how he decided to kick off this project, Goran said that he wouldn’t have missed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, when tens of lovely ladies come to Belgrade. Goran promised to send over photos, so you will be able to enjoy them pretty soon. If you are too impatient, and are luckily in Belgrade, have a look at Monday’s issue of Alo.

Indeed, I’m not a very diligent blogger, and I feel even worse talking to the hundreds of serious writers who analyse Eurovision in the manner such a contest truely deserves. Part of my failure to contribute to the world of letters might be attributed to the 30 degrees of Serbian heat pouring over my head. Or simply to the fact that I’ve been busy visiting various parties. And there’s been a lot of parties so far, and this is just the beginning.

So, once you enter Belgrade, you can immediately feel the atmosphere of a festival city. Everything from the posters, through the billboards, to the T-shirts and smiles volunteers wear makes you feel grand. Perfect organisation is too weak a word to describe the way people here work. Belgrade, the venue, the people, the weather… all tick like a Swiss watch.

I’m not tempted to analyse any of the songs. They are all different – some more than others, but most of them are worth noting. There is of course the camp show, the brit-pop crazy guy, the theatrical performance, the variety theatre show, a pinch of Molene Rouche, some parody as usual. But I do hope that true art will jubilee this year (I’m not saying, for a change).

Every night parties rock the Euroclub in Sava Center and the Eurocafe. It does look like a confluence of people, music, cultures, ideas and energies. (Not all positive, I must admit.) The more you dig into Eurovision, the further you go, the more you want to know how it’s made!

You must have already taken a glimpse at the stage – it is simply GOURGEOUS. Once you get inside the Arena, and have a close look at it, you can’t help thinking that the idea could have been carried out in a better way, which should not underestimate the value of this facility. Seen on screen, however, everything changes into a brilliant fairy-tale. Director Sven Stojanovic has come up with fascinating concepts challinging the viewer with curious points of view. The light director, the graphic designer, the sound manager, the stage manager… I must be missing out someone, they all know all 43 songs, and sing along the tracks during rehearsals. I simply adore the way these people work.

Okay, it’s all about the songs and artists, isn’t it? Why, do I need to tell you anything, when you’ve already picked your favourite? Mind you, I’ll post some curious pieces of news in a couple of hours, but let me first take a short nap after a night of three amazing parties.

I know you’ve been waiting for an interview with a Eurovision winner. It’s not this-years winner, of course :) In 2005, a lovely girl from Ukraine touched the hearts of the Eurovision audiences and won the European contest with her amazing wild-dance performance. Today, three years after her victory, Ruslana looks back (definitely not in anger!) at her career and very much into the future. She was very kind to steal some of her time, so precious during the preparation of her new album.

What is the greatest success in your career so far? And if you think you haven’t reached the top yet, what do you aspire for in the near future?

I hope that my greatest success will be in the nearest future. Now I work a lot for it. It has been more than 3 years since I won Eurovision and was named World Best-Selling Ukrainian Artist at the World Music Awards ceremony in Las Vegas in 2004. Just about time for my fans to demand something new and special from me. I’m very happy that my new album is finished. I really worked hard for it. In February, we had a great premiere of the Wild Energy show in Baku. Then came the Bulgarian National Selection for ESC in Sofia, the first Eastern European country that saw this new show. I am happily planning to come to Sofia again in the near future with the full version of Wild Energy.

Slavyanskii Bazaar was a considerable springboard for you as a serious artist. What, then, does Eurovision mean to you as an artists and as a person?

Eurovision for me was a “window on Europe” and a “window on the world” and to the world. Thanks to the Contest, Europe got to know me.

The “Eastern bloc” has been very active at Eurovision recently. For the last seven years, six winners came from Eastern Europe. How would you comment such a tendency?

I think, it’s because Eastern Europe reveals to the world the graceful and beautiful style it has. That style had not been typical for other countries. Eurovision every year sees a lot of pretty girls and handsome boys, but it’s not enough. If you want to win – you have to be special, stand out from the crowd, but also be special in a very sincere way.

Let’s have a look at your latest album. Listening to the tracks in “Wild Energy” makes me think of elemental energy and feelings. With your new album you seem to be moving away from Wild Dances in terms of style, despite all common motifs. What is the main idea of your fresh album?

My new album presents a completely new Ruslana. The main idea is to show the character of the Amazon. She can be a girl–wind, girl–fire, girl–water, girl–rock, but she falls in love and becomes vulnerable. She doesn’t know what to do, how to live with those feelings. This is a story of the all-conquering love, in a pop-fantasy style. This is especially prominent in my new song Moon of Dreams, a duet with the Grammy-winning American r’n’b singer T- Pain, who’s also worked with Kanye West, Bow Wow, Akon, Chris Brawn and others.

Wild energy – do you wish to harness and master it? Or perhaps you prefer to be submitted to its force, totally controlled by the wild energy?

My Wild Energy is always with me, no mater what I do. So it’s, I guess, both.

What type of character is Lana? What does she dream of and yearn for?

She is a real Amazon – beautiful, smart and independent woman. She knows what she wants for sure and she fights to get it. Lana dreams of love. That magic feeling that gives us inspiration and wings.

In fact, how did it all start? When did you realise that you were born for music?

I’ve been in since I was four. When I was a little kid, I studied at an experimental music school and sang in a band. My parents joke that microphone was my first toy and that I learned the notes before letters. I graduated from the conservatory with two educational qualifications in the field of music – as a piano player and a symphony orchestra conductor. Music has been in my heart throughout my life. I have realized that I was born for music since early childhood.

There are millions of wannabes who wish to become stars overnight, but their time in stardom is usually short. What, do you reckon, makes a star? What do you have to sacrifice or risk to stay on top?

The first thing that comes to my mind – be honest with yourself and with people. It’s very important. I’m always honest with my fans. If you work only for money and you sing a song that you must sing but you don’t feel it by your entire heart and soul – you will be a singer for one day.

And finally, wishing you good luck with your future career, I’d like to ask you, Ruslana, what do you pray for?

I pray for health of my parents, of my husband, friends. I sometimes pray for peace. I pray for a good future of Ukraine. I would like to live with music in my heart and wild energy in my eyes for the rest of my life.

Europe has already gone crazy with the Eurovision fever. Whereever you live in Europe, especially if it is the capital city, you’re most likely to have a Eurovision star visiting your place sooner or later. Because most Eurovision participants as as busy as bees promoting their entries.

Let’s see where we can get to see them these days:

The Turkish participants Mor ve ötesi, or “the Turkish ambassadors of rock music” as they call themselves in their blog, are embarking on a long long promo tour to make Europe sing along crazily their alternative rock track Deli (Crazy). Athens, Tbilisi and are on their PR map, to name but a few. Till mid-May they will have visited Skopje, Lisbon, Kyiv, and Baku.

The Russian hope Dima Bilan is going to Belgium and the Netherland. The Armenian singer Sirusho, who’s been discussed around massively, and has got the support of so many fans so far, and the Belgian band Ishtar are all going to Holland to promote their tracks. Amsterdam will also host promo gigs of Swedish Charlotte Perrelli and Boaz Mauda from Israel.

The Bulgarian guys Deep Zone & Balthazar are on a promo tour in Eurovision’s stronghold Malta, planning more trips to Lisbon, London, Bucharest, and Athens. Another artist planning to visit Malta pretty soon to present her track Have Some Fun is the Czech charmer Tereza Kerndlová. The Portuguese entrant, on the other hand, will be returning the visit to Bulgaria, where she’ll perform a duet with 2006 Bulgarian Eurovision participant Mariana Popova.

Belgium seems to be a hot spot for Eurovision stars this season: the Romanian representatives Nico & Vlad, the Ukrainian beauty Ani Lorak (born Karolina), Rebeka Dremelj from Slovenia, Dima Bilan, Laka from Bosnia & Herzegovina, and the representatives of this-year’s host Serbia – Jelena Tomasevic will attend a grand Eurovision party in Brussels: Eurosong.be.

After launching her own perfume, Diana Gurtskaya from Georgia is ready to kick off a promo tour staring from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Sweden.

I’ll do my best to keep you all updated, but it’s hard work with all this traffic going on throughout Europe. But we all enjoy it, right :)

25th April, 9PM is the Friday you need to mark in your organisers because this will be a huge huge preview Eurovision party, to mark the last month before the Contest in Belgrade. The party will rock will the early hours of Saturday, as the hosts promise to close the event not earlier than 3AM. The venue – Scala, London.

This will be a party, which’ll give all Eurovision fans living on the Island, the change to warm up for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. British, French, German and Dutch, as long as you like Eurovision, will be able to come and join in the hot show.

UK Eurovision Preview Party The main actor: DJ Dave Simmons will be blending in popular historical and trendy contemporary Eurovision sound. Several artists participating in this-year’s event in Belgrade will be special guests, among them Maltese Morena, the charismatic charmer from Ukraine Ani Lorak, American-born Isis Gee representing Poland this year, and the sweet Euroband from Iceland.

Well, this party definitely promises to become something that any Eurovision fan respecting themselves should not miss!

Peace will come on the wings of fragrance. Or at least that’s what Diana Gurtskaya’s producers thought in order to produce a perfume with the singer’s name.

The producers and popular Georgian perfume designers created an exquisite perfume branded with the name of Georgian 2008 ESC representative Diana Gurtskaya. Perfume «Diana Gurtskaya» is not aimed to puff the value of Diana Gurtskaya song, but simply to enhance her image. Reflecting Ms. Gurtskaya’s strong personality, the perfume also manages to blend her energetic and independent character, style, and Eurovision track creating a distinct recognisable identity.

A combination of hyacinth, iris, and pink pepper flavours topnoted with warm patchouli and ambergris accords creates a sensation of self-assertion,

Diana’s producers say, and continue:

This will complete and help getting to the audience the true essence of Diana’s inner world expressed in her song «Peace Will Come».

This product is part of a massive production that flourishes over every Eurovision season. The team of all artists are eager to please their fans, and come up with various, sometimes hilarious, ideas in order to boost up their performance. And fans reply with enjoyment of every piece of merchandise and promo item.

The French Eurovision participant Sébastien Tellier embarks on a long tour round Europe, and as his producers promise, he will be close to everyone’s home. Because the tour goes across the continent and tries to visit all major cities. Sexuality started on 1 March and will continue till 30 September this year, and it will for sure come near your place.

Here is a preliminary schedule of the gigs, and I hope you’ll be able to visit at least one of them. As you already know, Sébastien Tellier is produced by the major French artist Daft Punk. It’s good news big names enter the Contest. Keep it up, lads!

So, here’s the list of gigs:

tomorrow, 29 March: Nancy, France, L’Autre Canal

04 April: Evreux, France, L’Abordage
06 April: Morlaix, France, Festival Panorama
10 April: Ris Orangis, France, Festival Escalator
15 April: Milano, Italy / Italia, Magasini Generalli
18 April: Bourges, France, Printemps de Bourges
24 April: Montpellier, France, Le Rockstore
25 April: Lyon, France, La Plateforme
26 April: Strasbourg, France, La Laiterie
28 April: London, UK, Scala
30 April: Paris, France, La Cigale

02 April: Oslo, Norway / Norge, Bla
03 April: Bergen, Norway/ Norge, Bergenfest
04 April: Göteborg, Sweden / Sverige, Storan
06 April: Malmo, Sweden / Sverige, Jeriko
07 April: Stockholm, Sweden / Sverige, Berns
09 April: Berlin, Germany / Deutschland, Cookies
12 April: Tourcoing, France, Le Grand Mix
13 April: Bruxelles, Belgium / Belgique / België, Le Botanique
14 April: Amsterdam, Netherlands / Nederlanden / Holland, Melkweg
25 April: Istanbul, Turkey / Türkiye, Chill Out Festival
29 April: Massy, France, CC Paul Bailliart

04 June: Bordeaux, France, BT 59
05 June: Nantes, France, L’Olympic
06 June: Hérouville, France, Big Band Café
11 June: Saint Petersbourg, Russia, Stereoleto Festival
12 June: Moscow, Russia, Moscow Book Festival
14 June: Porto, Portugal, Casa Des Artes
28/ June: Toulouse, France, Le Bikini

02 July: Biarritz, France, Le Colisée
04 July: Sète, France, Théâtre de la Mer
05 July: Belfort, France, Les Eurockéennes
10 July: Liège, Belgium, Festival Les Ardentes
15 July: La Rochelle, France, Les Francofolies de La Rochelle
17 July: Spa, Belgium, Les Francofolies de Spa
18 July: Dour, Belgium, Dour Festival
20 July: London, UK, Lovebox Festival

08 August: Pully, Switzerland / Schweiz / Suisse / Svizzera / Svizra, For Noise Festival
09 August: Aulnoye Aymerie, France, Les Nuits Secrètes
10 August: Cannes, France, Festival Pantiero
15 August: Brest, France, Astropolis
16 August: Helsinki, Finland, Flow Festival
30 August: Brussels, Belgium, Brussels Summer Festival

07 September: Isle of Wight, UK, Bestival
30 September: Paris, France, L’Olympia

Deep Zone & Balthazar will do their best to make the Eurovision audiences enjoy their performance on 22 May in Belgrade this year. A fresh video clip to the track “DJ, Take Me Away” is being shot at the moment, which features the lead singer Joanna, who wears only special body-art painting.

To kick off their national tour round 20 Bulgarian clubs, Deep Zone & Balthazar flew with a balloon. For the last three weeks more than 30 000 people have visited the event. The hugest show is planned to be in Sofia on 29 March in a popular club in the Bulgarian capital.

Meanwhile, Deep Zone promise many surprises for the show during the Semi-Final in Serbia – for the stage performance of “DJ, Take Me Away” the audience will enjoy a spectacular show with burning DJ plates, a world’s break dance champion, a laser harp reminding of Jean Michel Jarre’s harp, hi-tech DJ guitars, which will be seen for the first time in history.

I wonder when Deep Zone made the time, but a week ago the band released their long-awaited album called “Album of the Year” (will it become?). It contains 11 club sound compositions of Deep Zone, Balthazar & JackRock.

We’ll see if a DJ project has any chance at Eurovision.

She comes from a sunny island in the Mediterranean. She is smart and beautiful, young, and above all – talented. She is Morena, and although her song, representing Malta at Eurovision this year is called Vodka, she does not promote drinking – rather, sobriety.

Watching the video to this-year’s Maltese entry, I felt like I were in a movie. An intense action video, where Morena plays the role of a top spy, a cat-like woman, who triumphs in the end. Very impressive, and perfectly combines with the rhythm of the song. You’ll be surprised, but no one drinks vodka in the video. Morena was very kind to spare some of her precious time and answer my queries. Enjoy and don’t forget to support Morena in May!


Dear Morena,

First of all, congratulations for your victory in Malta and let me wish you great success in Belgrade in a month and a half. Thanks for your time!

I’m interested to know if you like cooking.

Now that’s an interesting question! Let’s put it this way – I sing much better than I cook! I will let you draw your conclusions!

What do you think is the universal recipe for a successful Eurovision song?

I do not think there is a real recipe because the formula changes all the time! However, I think it should be a good song combined with a good voice, in the right year, with the right amount of luck!

What is the best meal that goes with Vodka? Or perhaps, the best company?

Hmmm… I really like your questions! I think it might be interesting to have Sushi and Vodka! As for the right company… Let me think! Okay – George Clooney , Svante Stockselius , Hilary Clinton, Madonna, and David Copperfield! I am sure it would get interesting to see what they have to say to each other after a few Vodkas!

How did it occur to you to perform a song about one of the most popular beverages in the world? Is this a wink to Russians, or to people who generally like drinking vodka and having fun?

Maybe you should ask the author that question! ? However, the song is not about the beverage – in this case VODKA is a code which I decipher as a spy! Perhaps it appeals to every country because everybody knows the word “ V O D K A” I think!

Malta is the epitome of Eurovision. Everything in your country seems to be related to the contest, and as your joke goes – when you vote for Eurovision, as if you’re voting for Parliament. How important is Eurovision in your career?

True! Here in Malta the Eurovision song contest is very popular and it’s taken very seriously, but not as seriously as sometimes people think! However, we love it, and I think it could benefit any artist from any country ‘cause it is a chance to show your talent to millions of people. So, I think it will be very good for my career, no matter what!

We miss two more national winners, but out of these picked so far, who has impressed you most. And who of this-year’s participants stands the greatest chances of success?

I have not had the time to watch or listen to most of the songs so I can’t really compare! But I have heard there is even a puppet this year!

And finally, Malta has few “neighbours” that are always loyal and traditionally support you. In this sense, how do you see the future of Eurovision having in mind neighbout voting?

Hmmm…. I’m trying to see who our neighbours are because Italy is our only neighbour and it does not take part. I’m not sure I can figure out any country that has “traditionally” supported Malta, and maybe if we did have such countries we might do a little bit better. Then again, I do believe that the top 3 songs are usually the best songs that are voted by every country and not just by the neighbours! I would not want to win by neighbourly voting, but by merit! If the neighbours had to help out that would be great, but I do not think we have that! So I guess it has to be exclusively whether the people like my VODKA or not! ? I hope they do! I think it was a good move this year to have two semi finals, so it looks positive for the future of the contest.

Thanks for answering. Wishing you good luck in Belgrade and all my best to Malta!

Hey! I really enjoyed this interview, and thanks for being so nice to make contact! Good luck and hope we can party, party, party, and Vodka, Vodka, Vodka together in Serbia! Na Zdarovye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, after weeks of national selections, months of suspense, ages of thrill and enjoyment… we lived to see the participants’ list for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest completed. Have your say and let Europe know which your favourite song is.


Comment on the Eurovision 2008 poll in the forums

Dustin the TurkeyThe fact that I’m a vegetarian has nothing to do with my choice for first interview for this Eurovision season. Because it’s far from surprising that I decided to turn to the true source of Eurovision inspiration. Driven by my zest to learn what’s behind Dustin’s grand success in Ireland, I asked him a couple of questions about Eurovision, music, life, and birds. Despite his hectic schedule he was very kind to answer them.

Hello there Dustin,

Congratulations for your victory and good luck with your promo tour and above all, with your participation in the Contest. You are one of the most impressive entrants in this-year’s Eurovision Song Contest. That’s why I’m eager to ask you how did it occur to you to take part in the European extravaganza?

Thank very much Tanya, very kind of you! I think you’re right I am most impressive. The reason I decided to enter is simply, the people of Ireland need me. We’ve a proud Eurovision history but for the last few years our acts have died a death out there, so it was obvious to all concerned that it was time to send an act that could not only sing well but was also very, very beautiful. So naturally I was the obvious choice.

My next query is, what do you see happening in Eurovision from a bird’s-eye view? Do you predict fur flying?

When you’re as talented and good looking as me you get used to some people being jealous, that’s fine by me. As for fur flying, if it happens I’ll be upset, not for me but for the millions of little kiddies for whom I’m a leader, role model, idol and hero. You see they find it so, so hard to understand how others don’t instantly see my genius. Being young and innocent they don’t understand how jealousy can be such a cruel mistress.

You are a major showbiz star, you have years of experience in TV together with Zig & Zag, you have your own entertainment show, you host Dustin’s Daily News… Won’t you miss all this?

I’ve no intention of quitting my TV life, I simply couldn’t do that to the children of Ireland, they’d be devastated, there’d be riots on the street. I am the air that they breath. That said if I got to have a go at a proper euro-wide showbiz lifestyle I’d be gone it a shot.

Your style is truly curious! It’s (on the brink of?) camp, yet catchy and sweet in its parody and criticism. Tell me, how do you think your performance in all its splendour and feathers can influence people’s voting? And if yes, why?

The key to my performance is the song itself. In many ways it’s more then just a song, it’s an anthem, an anthem for the new Europe. Many believe it’s a song that will heal the world of all it’s suffering and unite the people’s of the world. Me? I think it’s better than that, to be honest I never really imagined music could be as good and powerful as it is in my song.

Is your song an outspoken protest, or a helpless attempt at changing recent unfavourable developments in Eurovision? How do you relate camp style with neighbour voting?

I love Eurovision, I reject all notion of block votes and deal making, though if Bulgaria want to vote for Ireland, I’ll be sure to get Ireland to vote for Bulgaria.

You tend to release your albums right before Christmas. How do you feel during Christmas time, Dustin?

It’s not a great time for me or indeed any turkeys, I try to hide out somewhere that nobody pays any attention to or even looks at, so next year I should be safe enough in the European Parliament.

For all those people, birds and chicks, who don’t know you, can you tell us, what style of music has mostly influenced you during the years? The Emerald Isle is famous for its grand singers, such as Johnny Logan, U2, Linda Martin, Sinéad O’Connor, Enya, to name but a few. Do they whisper anything to you?

Andea Corr is forever whispering to me but for legal reasons I can’t reveal what she says. My main musical influence would be Bono, we’ve a lot in common, we’re both small little fellas with big dreams about helping others, neither of us can really sing and lots of people laugh along to our songs.

Tell me in the end, what can people learn from poultry? Not only as far as Eurovision is concerned, but in general.

They can learn that vegetarianism isn’t just for hippies.

And finally, Dustin, let me express my sincerest wish for success. I do hope that the European audience will appreciate true European music. You’re one of my personal favourites!

My pleasure Tanya, hope to see ya in Belgrade, GO ON YA GOOD THING!!!!!

Their place in the Eurovision Final is always guaranteed. Every year, despite their last-year’s positioning, these countries go directly to the Final. They are known as the Big Four. Whatever songs the UK, France, Spain, and Germany present, whatever artist they pick to send to the ESC, they are always to participate in the Grand Final.

And thanks God! Because otherwise, we would have to listen to these songs twice, which in many cases would be far from fun.

However, there have been some nice surprises recently. Of course we cannot expect to have the mega names of British, German or French music industry to join in Eurovision. I can’t picture at all Take That, Robbie Williams, or Carl Cox for that matter to apply for Eurovision. But we can witness some movement in the choice of artists in the Big Four, which can only give me satisfaction.

This year, France sends to Belgrade Sébastien Tellier with the song Divine. His track is produced by one of the most successful electronic music duos DAFT PUNK, popular not only in France, but to every fan of the electro beat. Divine is really a divine piece of music, worth your attention and your dance.

Germany seems to be really into Eurovision. Last year, Roger Cicero represented the country, and if you haven’t heard his name before, he is massively popular among Germans, and not only. He is an elite artists, an excellent jazzman with unobtrusive, charming style and immaculate performance. But – definitely non-Eurovision. This year – girl quartet No Angels will try their luck with the track Disappear. A truly Eurovision hit, a summer hit as well.

I don’t feel like commenting on Spain’s entrant out of pure laziness. Rodolfo Chikilicuatre‘s song Baila El Chiki Chiki is not even funny. Please, Mr. Chikilicuatre!

United Kingdom dispatches to Serbia Andy Abraham, as we have already advised, with a nice pop-soul song Even If.

As for the host country Serbia, we will enjoy Jelena Tomaševic‘s participation with the song Oro. Are we surprised that it is powerful ballad performed by a single singer? I don’t reckon that mimicking success can lead to another success, but let’s give it a chance.