Feb, 2008

Georgia will have a huge Eurovision show, not just a party, but a cut-throat competition between 12 very professional songs. I can’t decide for my favourite.

Here are some of them, all ready to fight for their right to represent Georgia in Belgrade. To be decided on 1 March.

Salome KorkotashviliCaptaine. That’s by far and away my top favourite, unless it turns out she can’t sing it live. A jolly wee song, which, if combined with a nice show, can go to the Final.

3GI’m free. Oh, yes! Three girls singing like mad, ala-Anastasia, though her voice is muck more hoarse, thus, more effective. An upbeat pop-rock track, very professional and well-performed.

Salome GasvianiShare your love. Salome is talented girl, who could easily convince you that Georgia is the cradle of world music. We’ve seen ballads with a distinct American sound, failing to perform well at Eurovision, but who knows. This time, it might be the year of the ballads. Well done!

Aleko BerdzenishviliThe beautiful girl. People out these seem to be hugely influenced by music from the US. But, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this song amazingly beautiful?! Slightly irritating male vocal, which we can get used to if performed in a huge hall with nice acoustics. And he can for sure sing live.

Tika PatsatsiaNever change. Singer, dancer, TV presenter, Miss Georgia. A bad rock girl! Shall we add – a potential ESC Georgia winner?

The rest are:
Diana GurtskayaPeace Will Come
Irakli PirtskhalavaFreedom
TeatroniGeorgia invites friends
Tako GachechiladzeMe and my funky
Guga AptsiauriDon’t look at me
Tamta ChelidzeGive me your love

Last weekend, more European countries selected their entries for the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. The list is almost concluded, some more are missing, among them the Big Four.

Here’s a list of the finalists and my humble commentary.

  1. Bulgaria: Deep Zone & Balthazar – DJ Take Me Away
  2. A pop disco track that could easily get you jumping. Yoanna (the vocal) could have done better with the singing, and the dress.. Yet, Bulgaria surprised us with a nice show, the side programme featuring Ukrainian star Ruslana, was much more fascinating than the 12 competing participants.

  3. Croatia: Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents – Romanca
  4. Did they call this type of song “old urban songs” (starogradska pesen)?? Well, perhaps there are still people who might well like them, but I doubt it. However, I have to note the high quality of the band and the concept behind the track. Good luck, guys, you might win the “worst song” on Eurovision award!

  5. Greece: Kalomira Saranti – Secret Combination
  6. A truly Eurovision song that can shake up Europe and get it dancing. Ethnic elements combined with disco sound – that’s a universal formula for success. The thing I enjoy most – the ballet ;)

  7. Iceland: Eurobandid – Fulkomid lif (This is My Life)
  8. It’s a cool Eurovision song. A typical Eurovision song, if you ask me. Hope more people vote for Iceland, ‘coz they deserve it simply for travelling on such a long distance from the this northern island.

  9. Ireland: Dustin The Turkey – Irelande Douze Pointe
  10. And that’s the cherry of the cake, the top of the top. A fantastic burlesque, a parody that mocks the original idea of Eurovision. Seems like the ancestors of Saint Patrick are fed up with finishing at final position. This morning, I listened to a French radio, where they had a special 10-minute comment on this song. The French are impressed and are very much looking forward to the result. Just like we all are.

  11. Macedonia: Tamara ft. Vrcak & Adrian – Vo ime na ljubovta (In The Name of Love)
  12. The Macedonian entrant will again go for the local language. An up-tempo track telling about love and passion, perhaps.

  13. Poland: Isis Gee – For Life
  14. Do we need to comment on this song again? A powerful solo female vocal, a touching ballad, a catchy and familiar rhythm. And so very professional! For Life definitely stands every chance to win the 2008 ESC. What do you reckon?

  15. Romania: Nico & Vlad Mirita – Pe-o Margine De Lume
  16. Oh, it sounds so Italian! It’s cool and romantic, and above all, well-measured.

  17. Ukraine: Ani Lorak – Shady Lady
  18. This song is a huge step beyond what we are used to see representing Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest. The good news is that Ukraine and Greece are not participating in the same semi-final, which will save us from watching the same (secret) combination twice.

After years of frivolous attitude to the Eurovision Song Contest, the UK are bringing out the heavy artillery. It was high time that the cradle of modern culture and music, where pop artists from all over the world teem and find inspiration, found the right direction in Eurovision. It was high time that London thought of showing the rest of Europe that they know a thing or two.

Six pop stars are taking part in this-year’s UK national preselection. All of them young, perky, and bold, terribly familiar faces to everyone in the UK, and many others oversees.

BBC’s show will be held on March 1st. The official website of the British Eurovision will be updated with the songs tomorrow, 22 February.

Rob McVeighI Owe It All To You: Ex Joseph, he sings a (lyrical) ballad.
Simona ArmstrongChanges: Quite in her style, Simona performs an ardent song.
Michelle GayleWoo (U Make Me): former EastEnder, sexy diva of popular stage Michelle Gayle promises a hot show.
Andy AbrahamEven if : Once an X-Factor participant Andy goes for Eurovision with fresh ideas.
LoveShyMr Gorgeous: Aimee and Emma aim to revive our loved British pop
The RevelationsIt’s You: Annika, Sarah, and Louise enter Eurovision with great expectations.

More are coming, so that by the end of the month we’ll have all the winners of the local ‘Eurovisions’ across Europe. Here’s some of the winners worth noting.

  1. Albania: Olta Boka – Zemrën E Lamë Peng
  2. Albania will compete with a nice ballad in Albanian. It’s a pity I can’t get a word, but there’s no need to: the female vocal is resolute yet mild. Could be better in terms of composition, but I reckon many people will like it.

  3. Andorra: Gisela – Casanova
  4. Wonder if this is the present state of the Eurovision Song Contest?! Andorra seems to be a million years away from Eurovision. This year’s representative of the small principality is Gisela – a cheerful girl – and I guess she’ll offer a “fairy-tale” show in Belgrade telling us about romance and the historical lover Casanova. But haven’t we heard this type of song many times already…

  5. Azerbaijan: Elnur Guseynov and Samir Javadzadeh – Day After Day
  6. There’s been a huge support for Azerbaijan’s debut in Eurovision: Eurovision stars, like Ukrainian diva Ruslana and Serbian winner Maria Serifovic, from across Europe joined in to say “Welcome” to one of three new-comers this year. In Belgrade we’ll see a male duet who, with heavy odds against them on part of the other two competitors, managed to grab the trophy. As for the song – pop-rock supported by high vocals, correct me if I’m wrong, influenced to a degree by the Russian school.

  7. Belarus: Ruslan Alenho – Hasta La Vista
  8. Does he stand a chance to win this-year’s ESC? Who knows, but Belarus has always been capable of surprising the audience. Yes, it’s good. Yes, he sings like a god, and yes – there are people in Minsk who can write good songs.

  9. Cyprus: Evdokia Kadi – Femme Fatale
  10. Cyprus can’s stop experimenting. Not even after a series of losses for one of the countries who’ve invested so much in Eurovision. Evdokia Kadi sings in Greek, for a change, what’s really notable having in mind what we’ve heard from Aphrodite’s island recently (in 2006, Annet Artani performed a typically American song, which sounded truly out of place, at least to me. Last year, Evridiki with her experiment in French – Comme ci comme ca did not even qualify to the Final). The traditional music that Evdokia has to offer seems to be much less annoying.

  11. Czech Republic: Tereza Kerndlová – Have Some Fun
  12. Prague sends to Belgrade a lift-me-up song. It does sounds like Nellie Furtado, doesn’t it? It strikes me as one of the few songs selected so far that can become a European hit, if nothing else. Keep it going, Tereza!

  13. Denmark: Simon Mathew – All Night Long
  14. Purely European sound, party atmosphere, cool looks, a naughty cheeky band – the recipe for good mood, if not for anything else. For me, this song embodies the spirit of Eurovision. Sing along:
    “The sun is up
    I’m feeling great
    I’m just enjoying life
    Right here in the shade…”

  15. Estonia: Kreisiraadio – Leto Svet
  16. Verka Serduchka in a mock pop-jazz-seventies-ridicule version, multiplied by three. Okay, it can be fun, it can be a show, but where’s the music gone? It packed and embarked on a long journey? Of course many people will vote for them, and why not :) But it’s not surprising in its goal to shock us with its “craziness”. Have a look at the British entries recently for inspiration, and you’ll get what I mean.

  17. Hungary: Csézy – Szívverés
  18. This is an ultimate romantic song. I can’t keep looking at Csézy’s dress though, it’s so distracting. I do hope she’ll make up to put on something simpler during the show ;) Well done on the language front!

  19. Lithuania: Jerominas Milius – Nomads In The Night
  20. One thing is for sure – Lithuania keep surprising us.

  21. Malta: Morena – Vodka
  22. Well, if there is anyone who can help Malta out of trouble and bring it to the Final, that’s Vodka. Cheers :)

  23. Norway: Maria Haukaas Storeng – Hold on be strong
  24. Scandinavia again offers a little piece of valuable music. Miss Storeng knows what and how to sing it – a track that appeals to all tastes. It can make you picture the Aurora Borealis though it’s not terribly romantic.

  25. Slovenia: Rebeka Dremelj – Vrag Naj Vzame
  26. Rebeka won Ema 2008 and here she is, representing Slovenia. She did it thanks to a pop song, a couple of backing vocals and.. good (to some) looks. Yet another song in a native language. Great!

  27. Turkey: Mor ve Ötesi – Deli
  28. A melodic rock track won the Turkish national selection and is eventually going to Serbia. What more can we want after years of typically traditional music mixed with modern elements that Turkey had to offer to the Eurovision audiences in recent years? A nice sensual male vocal supported by an energetic band – it can turn out to be a nice show.

Eurovision journalist Georgios Kalpakidis, aka Gorgi, whom the Eurovision community know as a highly influential, pushy, capable, and charming member of the OGAE Greek club, has decided to compete as composer at the Spanish national preselection with his song Destiny (Nuestro Destino). Teh song is performed by popular Spanish star Crystina Maez. Destiny is an uptempo track with lively charge and atmosphere. Sounds like a successful attempt.

Here is what Gorgi has to say about the new venture:

Right after Lithuania, I am giving it another shot for Eurovision 2008, this time for Spain! My song “Destiny” with lyrics written by José J.Santana and Miguel Loredo is taking part in the spanish preselection [...] We hope it will find a way to your hearts and finally a place in the country’s final to come! Keep your fingers crossed for us guys! The battle starts once more!
Besos a todos

Spain – one of the Big Four in Eurovision – participates in the Eurovision Song Contest every year by rule. Whatever they decide to do, however famous stars the Spanish broadcaster invites, Spain has rarely managed to achieve any serious success on the Contest.

There’s always this group of people, who are up against all holidays, but we want to make it clear now that we do NOT belong to this mob. We’d love to have a glass of wine anytime for any reason and parties keep us very much alive and kicking.

However, there’s this notable exception! What’s really the fuss on St. Valentine, we often wonder? Why does the world go mental on this day and embarks on a huge quest across seas of flirty, fluffy, feathery, and fleecy gifts painted in red? For my short experience on this planet, I’ve come up with a list of reasons why not to join in the common commotion and refuse to accept that day February 14 has anything to do with the red rivers of candies, chocolate, flowers, vibrators, underwear, and red(!) polar bear key-chains – all shaped like hearts or in heart-shaped boxes.

So here’s my six and a half reasons why I’d love to stay in bed on Saint Valentine’s:

  1. It’s February, people! Unless you live in the Southern hemisphere, it’s winter up here, and it’s snow and frost everywhere. So, I prefer to tuck myself under my crazy quilt and try to catch some more sleep.
  2. Those who are in love are so cheerful and merry, that those who are not look even more sulky and miserable. For this reason only, I’d love to stay at home and have my glass of wine contemplating the sparks of my imaginary fireplace.
  3. Pubs are packed as if they were giving away beverages for free. The waitress is never coming and she’s always forgotten something. Everybody’s shouting and kissing loud that I feel as if I were in the jungle.
  4. Waitresses and taxi drivers are human beings too: they have feelings, they love and are loved! And we should consider these facts! That’s why be understanding and stay in bed, so that waitresses won’t have to work till late and can meet the taxi drivers (who won’t have to drive till late) and enjoy the night together :)
  5. Staying at home means, above all, listening to your favourite music. Anywhere you go, they’ll play exactly what you don’t like, even if you’re in the pub you frequent (of course, if you can hear any music at all, given the noisy crowds in the paragraph above). Pubs get massively changed to attract people of all tastes, and this can pose a real threat to your ear and good mood.
  6. Staying in bed, you won’t have to buy one of these presents that face the inescapable fate – buried in a drawer, gathering dust for ages, forgotten by next Valentine. Better get a bottle of red wine in a jiffy and enjoy the effect of spirits on your and your partner’s good spirits.
    6 1/2. If you’ve been reading so far, you already know that the bed is the perfect place to spend Saint Valentine’s day. It guarantees a great time with your loved one, and can well be a kick-off of a fresh member of the gang. So, beware, too.

On 23 February, Warsaw will dance in the rhythms of its Eurovision Song Contest selection. Three wild cards, and a bunch of other popular names fill in the picture. Here is the final list advised by the local organisers from TVP:

  1. Zywiolak – the first wildcard in the show.
  2. Kasia Nova’s The Devil is a typical dance track, but not particularly special. Let me go on with the rest of the songs.
  3. Edi Ann’s song LOVEn’U is a tender and delicate, very much in the style of Mariah Carey, especially as Ms. Ann is very good at the high tones. Not bad indeed.
  4. Izabela Kopec – wildcard
  5. Starnawski & Urban Noiz – It’s not a Game one of the few men in the Polish Eurovision. Smacks of the States again, but with a good ballet on stage it could do quite well. I fancy the guy’s voice.
  6. Queens – I Say My Body
  7. Isis Gee – For Life: listening to a third soft ballad in Poland’s selection makes me wonder how the director of the show will deal with so many slow songs. But Gee’s song is so much worth listening to again and again as it’s extremely powerful and balanced. The white-dominated video enhances the effect as well. For me – the best, and very promising in Belgrade.
  8. Man Meadow – Viva la Musica is lacking in imagination and everything else..
  9. Afromental – Thing we’ve got – sounds so much like Justin Timberlake that I can’t stop listening to him. A soft melodic song that reminds one of the American tradition, especially combined with the reggae-like backing vocals. I’m sure if this is a winning combination at Eurovision, but it’s definitely worth noting.
  10. Plastic – Do something. Always look on the bright side of life, Plastic seem to be telling us. An upbeat merry and light track. Could go well with a curious choreography, though it’s not terribly potential.
  11. Sandra Oxenryd – Superhero that makes me think of the Scandinavian tradition in Eurovision. A bit like Carola, a bit like everything we’ve already heard. But give it an ear if you’ve got the chance. People might well like it.
  12. Natasza Urbanska – wildcard
  13. Margo – Dlatego walcz. A nice surprise in Polish, a song about love, strong and cheerful. Well, why not?

Baku ready to rock: Eurovision debutant Azerbaijan prepares a grand bombastic show for the selection of the first Azerbaijani ESC entrant in history.

On 2 February, one of the novices in Eurovision, Azerbaijan, will hold its National final – part of a huge campaign celebrating the first ever participation of the country in the Eurovision Song Contest. The event will be webcast live on the official ESC website at 17.30 CET.

The two-hour show will be followed by a press-conference, webcast at 19.45 CET, when journalists and fans will have the chance to ask the first Azerbaijani Eurovision entrant questions. The presser will feature three more former Eurovision participants – playful Sertab, who represented Turkey in 2003 with Everyway that I can, Ruslana, who brought the victory to Ukraine in 2004 with the song Wild Dance, and last-year’s Serbian entrant – Maria Serifovic, who bewitched Europe with her Molitva.

Azerbaijan Eurovision 2008 Three contestants will compete in the first edition of the National Selection in Azerbaijan: Elnur Gusseinov with If You Never Back – a pop song in English, with amazing opera solos and some traditional elements, Aynur Iskenderli with Don’t Forget My Love, an up-tempo pop song with traditional elements and music instruments, and the rock band Unformal with The End. I like the third one best – an experimental rock track, performed by a fascinating female vocal.

It all comes in a moment, when Azerbaijan music industry faces hardships: post-Soviet influence, severe piracy, and little appearance opportunities. That’s why the Eurovision Song Contest is seen a life-saving measure. Anyway, the country is full of talents, as experts say, and hopes.