Editorials & Opinion

🇩🇪 Slideback Superstars: looking forward to summer with Germany

🇩🇪 Slideback Superstars: looking forward to summer with Germany

This week it is Aline’s turn to give some attention to a song from Germany. Who still knows this classic from the 80s? It immediately makes you happy and it is also a timeless summer hit. Throwback to Brussels 1987 You may be surprised why I chose a 1987 song. After all, I am only 21 years old. Hereby I want to prove that I am indeed aware of the Eurovision history. I have done my research work and I still discover Eurovision songs that I have never heard before. I listen a lot to ESCRADIO and that is really a big tool for me. In recent years I have heard many songs that I already knew, but which I did not know were Eurovision submissions. One of them was “Lass die Sonne in dein Herz” by German band Wind. Another reason why I opted for this is because the 1987 edition took place in Brussels. So far the only time that Belgium has organized the Eurovision Song Contest. About the song Lass die Sonne in dein Herz was the second of a total of three Eurovision participations. The German group Wind participated in 1985 with ‘Für Alle’, good for …
Analysing the patterns among 13 years of Eurovision semi-final draw allocation pots

Analysing the patterns among 13 years of Eurovision semi-final draw allocation pots

This is an updated version of an article published on 26 January 2019 With a Eurovision Song Contest that was getting increasingly popular year on year, the one semi-final introduced in 2004 had already become unsustainable by 2007. In Helsinki, 28 countries battled it out for just ten places in the final. On the other hand, ten countries were granted automatic qualification no matter how popular their entry was in 2007. The introduction of two semi-finals in 2008 meant that every entry, with the exception of the Big Four and the host nation, would start on a level playing field. Yet, the EBU decided to make that playing field even leveller. Step forward, the draw allocation pots… That 28 country semi-final… With two semi-finals now in place after the battle royale in the 2007 semi-final, the EBU had to conduct a draw in order to allocate countries to each semi-final. Prior to the allocation draw, the countries were separated into six pots which grouped together countries who had a tendency to award points more often to each other than to other participants. By doing this, it would ensure that so-called “voting blocs” would be split evenly between the two semi-finals, thus reducing their …
EXCLUSIVE: An evening with VICTORIA in London

EXCLUSIVE: An evening with VICTORIA in London

This week, ESCXTRA had the privilege of attending VICTORIA’s artist showcase in London. This exclusive opportunity allowed us to not only speak to this year’s Bulgarian representative but also offered us the chance to further understand her musical inspirations. Oliver Lewis and Tom O’Donoghue were on hand to cover the event which includes a series of performances from VICTORIA herself, live and unplugged. VICTORIA: Versatile, contemporary and emotive VICTORIA’s artist showcase was an intimate, exclusive evening full of music professionals, singers and songwriters. Although the poster and other promo material mentioned her participation in Rotterdam, it was not the focal point. Instead, the evening focused on VICTORIA as an artist, her journey, growth and versatility as an artist. VICTORIA performs an Artist Showcase at Tileyard Studios in London, January 2020. © Tom O’Donoghue/Tomodo Photography However, the evening was not detached from Eurovision. Instead, the contest was used as a ‘bookending’ mechanism. Prior to her performances, many in the room only knew VICTORIA as ‘Bulgaria’s Eurovision entrant’. After she finished her set, the room knew her as VICTORIA: a competent and contemporary artist who happens to be representing Bulgaria but is at the periphery of contemporary commercial music. Before she took …
🇨🇾 Slideback Sunday: When Cyprus howled at the moon…

🇨🇾 Slideback Sunday: When Cyprus howled at the moon…

This week’s ‘slideback’ sees Alexi and the team put the 2016 Cyprus entry under the microscope – Minus One and their song ‘Alter Ego’… When I saw that I had been assigned Cyprus for my Slideback Sunday, I knew instantly the song I wanted to go back to and explore. For me, it is one of the more underrated songs from recent years and I felt it was the perfect track to rediscover and one to get Eurofans listening to once again. ‘Alter Ego’ by Minus One flew the Cypriot flag in Stockholm in 2016, finishing 21st – a result that still rankles with me to this day. The song is not too dissimilar from MaNga’s entry for Turkey six years previous – and I would say it is just as catchy, even if the live performance was not as good. So its finish of an admittedly disappointing 21st still confuses me. It’s incredibly memorable, has an ‘ear wormy’ chorus, and even includes a howling wolf – what is not to like! What do the team think? Costa 2016, in my opinion, was the strongest year in Eurovision history in terms of song quality. Apart from one or two countries …
🇬🇧 Why everybody wants Fleur East to represent the UK at Eurovision…

🇬🇧 Why everybody wants Fleur East to represent the UK at Eurovision…

After a few years of a fairly active BBC as a result of a return to a national selection process in 2016, British Eurovision fans find themselves in a position they haven’t found themselves in since 2015… January and a very silent BBC. UK fans eagerly awaiting… ANYTHING Since finishing in last place in Tel Aviv, we’ve had one slice of news from the UK broadcaster. Yes, back in September, the BBC revealed that they would be teaming up with BMG to “select a song with broad international appeal and securing an artist who embodies the spirit and values of the Eurovision Song Contest”. Step forward Fleur East Now, as always, Eurovision fans are eagerly hoping the BBC will pull out all the stops and select a fantastic performer and a fantastic song. As a Brit myself, I’ve been hoping for the exact same. So there I was, reading my Twitter feed this evening when I saw this little tweet from former X Factor star Fleur East: It will be in March now! Xx https://t.co/Mb8fi0WV6U— FLEUR EAST (@FleurEast) January 13, 2020 As soon as any British musician teases an announcement or makes an unexpected schedule change to their music release …
🇱🇹 Slideback Sunday: The night of the collective “Aww”

🇱🇹 Slideback Sunday: The night of the collective “Aww”

This week’s ‘slideback’ sees Matt and the team put Lithuania’s 2018 entry under the microscope. Dear Eurofans, we present Ieva Zasimauskaitė and “When We’re Old“… I absolutely love the beginning of the performance. The first shot is the back of the stage looking out at the arena full of audience phone lights being held high. Then the front stage lights are brought up to mark the start of the song. A beautiful start that really sets the tone. I know that the Lithuanian delegation had a hard time convincing the Lisbon production team with their exact staging requirements. But the close up shots are perfection: stunningly lit with a clean, all black backdrop – not easy to pull off in live performance. In the absence of LEDs in 2018, the Lithuanian team made good use of the on screen video overlays of different couples and families. Gently gliding in a soft pink flowing dress, Ieva moves to the bridge section of the stage and ends the performance with the killer blow of looking into her actual husband’s eyes and singing “I’m not afraid to grow old if I have your hand to hold.” I have a very specific memory of …
XTRA Debate: Staging Emotions Part 3 – Performing Anger

XTRA Debate: Staging Emotions Part 3 – Performing Anger

We all know that staging is a huge part of the modern contest. Be it a slick dance routine, pyro, lighting effects or clever camerawork: staging makes the performance just as much as the song or act. This visual element of performance works to marry up with the song to become a strong overall package. Much like the song itself, effective staging can manipulate our emotions, incentivising us to vote for or against something. However, we rarely take the time to really consider the ways in which staging can dictate our emotional interpretation of a performance. The lyrics of a song certainly make us feel a certain way… Can staging have the same impact? In the final part of Staging Emotions, we will consider how anger and/or aggression operates on the Eurovision stage. Is anger an emotion doomed to fail on the Eurovision stage? Or are there ways in which anger can be successfully staged? Considering the role of staging internal emotions, as well as how gender may impact staging choices – how does anger work with Eurovision? Anger’s role Eurovision is often depicted as a happy-go-lucky song competition with bubblegum pop, ‘bops’ and cheesy utopian happiness. Anger, therefore, is the …
🇳🇱 Tim’s Rotterdam Experience

🇳🇱 Tim’s Rotterdam Experience

Last Month, I went ahead to Rotterdam to explore the city ahead of the contest itself in May. On this article, I will tell you all my experience and what I think of Rotterdam as the host city. DISCLAIMER:The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of the site and its management. The main purpose of my trip to Rotterdam, was to scout the city itself and I wanted to explore the city before Eurovision hits Rotterdam. I’ve done this for the past two contests, where I visited Lisbon and Tel Aviv ahead of the contest. My Vlog of my visit to Rotterdam Getting to and around Rotterdam As The Netherlands is in Mainland Europe, you are able to either fly or take the train to Rotterdam. In fact, the government even passed a resolution to potentially run international trains for Eurovision 2020. For this article, I will mainly focus on flying and then focus on how to make your onward journey to Rotterdam. Flying to The Netherlands My journey started from London Stansted Airport. At the time of writing, you are able to fly into the following airports, and …
🇦🇲 Slideback Sunday: “Kelly Kelly!” (Armenia 2008)

🇦🇲 Slideback Sunday: “Kelly Kelly!” (Armenia 2008)

Forever compared to the other members of the iconic 2008 bop trilogy alongside “Shady Lady” and “My Secret Combination”, we give Sirusho’s “Qélé Qélé” some well-deserved appreciation. Over 11 years since it first came into my head, it hasn’t left since! Yes im hay hoooghiiiiiiiiits eekaaa beeereeeemHove saaareeeriiiiiiiiluyseee aeereeeeeviiiiiiiiii With 2005, 2006 and 2007 being substantially weaker years, 2008 was the first contest where I had more than a couple of favourites. Among them were Serbia, Greece, Georgia, Ukraine and Portugal. But my ultimate favourite that year was Armenia. Being a dumb 9-year-old at the time, I heard “Kelly” and ran with it, especially as Kelly Clarkson was my favourite artist at the time. I sure did get a kick yelling “Kelly Kelly!” as a tribute to my man-hating, part-Greek fave… But back to Sirusho; the song is a bi-lingual Eurovision classic, featuring an Armenian-language intro but otherwise predominately English lyrics, featuring an Armenian refrain (‘qélé’ (Քելե) being a colloquial term for ‘come on’). Written by Sirusho herself, the song remains one of the strongest dual-language ditties to ever grace the Eurovision stage. Qélé Qélé has aged impeccably and remains a standout from that Grand Final. The song was hardly …
XTRA Debate: Rethinking the role of jurors going into the 2020 national final season

XTRA Debate: Rethinking the role of jurors going into the 2020 national final season

We are only one song into the Rotterdam pre-season, and we already had our first national final controversy! When fan favourite “Me Tana” was revealed to have been scored considerably lower by the Albanian jurors than the international jurors in this month’s Festivali i Këngës, it made me question the metrics by which songs are scored in national finals. Although a ‘predictable’ national final isn’t as tense or thrilling, should jurors just vote for the most popular song, because there is merit in popularity? Or should they just vote for the performances they like, despite views, streams or fanbases? In this debate, we are discussing what we want from jurors going into 2020. Festivali i Këngës for the past couple of years has proven to be one of my favourite national finals. It’s insanely long, it’s often ridiculous, about 1/3 of the broadcast is dominated by ads and the song quality…varies. Despite this, the shows have an undeniable charm that the more polished national finals of Norway, Denmark and Sweden lack. Bonus: the line-up always introduces me to new sounds and new Albanian icons for me to obsess over. That said, the format is out of date. In my opinion, …
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