Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s Anti-pick of the 50s/60s

Xtra’s Anti-pick of the 50s/60s

This week, for a change, all of our team’s picks will be those songs that we simply can’t stand. As always, all opinions are those of the writer giving them, and not necessarily of escXtra as a whole! Starting off the week is a song that some consider to be the true winner of 1968 – Rodrigo most certainly does not. United Kingdom 1968: Cliff Richard – Congratulations (2nd place) Much controversy arose a couple of years ago when it surfaced that, allegedly, Spain had bought the 1968 contest, being the only reason why Massiel’s ‘La la la’ defeated Cliff Richard’s ‘Congratulations’. Whether true or not, I still can’t believe that there are people so deluded that think that the latter is, in fact, a better song than the former. ‘Congratulations’ is all sorts of annoying, and every time I hear the first couple of chords I want to put an end to my life (well, probably not so badly, as how else would I rant about it). The point is, I simply don’t get the hype around that song. I find that there are really no redeeming features to it, perhaps Cliff’s voice excepted. But the lyrics (granted, La …
A look at the 2016 Sanremo artists

A look at the 2016 Sanremo artists

RAI revealed the twenty names competing in the 2016 Sanremo Festival earlier today. Despite not knowing any of the songs, that was plenty of reason for us here at escXtra to take a look at these names. What can we expect from them and who are in with a shot to represent Italy in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest? Our Italian editor Matteo and I had a little chat about Sanremo and together we came up with a list of people who may have a chance at actually winning the competition. We both agreed that if you’re a Patty Pravo fan, you’re probably going to end up being disappointed. It comes as no surprise that the 67 year old can’t be considered as a frontrunner in February. Nineteen left! So, who are our frontrunners? Our frontrunners Annalisa Annalisa is pretty much the pop princess of Italy who will never become queen. With names such as Laura Pausini and Emma Marrone dominating, it’s hard for Annalisa to join that list. Nevertheless, the 30 year old is a well respected singer with her own sound. It’ll be her third go in Sanremo, after placing ninth in 2013 and coming fourth last year. All …
Xtra’s Pick of the 21st Century

Xtra’s Pick of the 21st Century

It’s Friday and so it’s time for a recent Eurovision song. Nick takes us back to a Turkish favourite this time… Turkey 2005: Gülseren – Rimi Rimi Ley (13th place) I am not a big fan of most Turkish Eurovision songs. Often they just didn’t send anything remotely appealing to me. However, some songs I quite like and this is one of them, even when it took me some time… Over at our partner site escChat.com, the chatroom I visit on a daily basis, this Turkish entry has turned into a real classic. And that is how it started to grow on me and it is now one of three Turkish entries I enjoy – the others being Dinle and Petr’oil. So what is it that I enjoy so much about this? It’s just the sheer happiness that Gülseren delivers on stage. This is just being Turkish without knowing the limits and interestingly, I’ve seen many Turkish fans saying this was a ‘disgrace’ for their nation. And you know, that’s something I don’t understand. This is an entry that’s hard to forget, mainly because of Gülseren’s performance. The highlight in this performance for me is the drum section in the middle, started by …
Xtra’s Pick of the 90s

Xtra’s Pick of the 90s

A bit later on the day than you’re used to from us, but here’s our pick of the 90s, coming from Nick again, introducing us to an entry he thinks only he likes! Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995: Davor Popović – Dvadeset Prvi Vijek Sometimes, you feel like there are songs no one else even remembers apart from you. This one is one of those for me. I discovered it a while ago when I was going through Eurovision history and never realised how much I like this Bosnian entry. Bosnia-Herzegovina, a country which often does reasonably well in the Eurovision Song Contest. An eternal qualifier – you know the drill. They also had some less impressive results, like this one. 49 year old Davor entered the stage already having had quite the career in the former Yugoslavia with his group Indexi with a song about the 21st Century, or well a song about a lost love, warning her for the 21st century, which is coming. Davor only managed to gather 14 points with his performance, bringing him nineteenth only. I’m sure you know the feeling of hearing a song and thinking it’s absolutely great, until you ask your friends what they think and their …
Xtra’s Pick of the 80s

Xtra’s Pick of the 80s

It’s Wednesday, which means we travel back to the 1980s from today’s pick of Eurovision past. Peter has chosen today’s song, which is an early glimpse of a future Eurovision icon. Greece 1980: Anna Vissi – Autostop (13th place) Any recent Eurovision fan will be familiar with Anna Vissi, and her triumphant homecoming performance at the Athens contest in 2006. Well, except it was neither triumphant nor homecoming seeing as she finished 9th and is from Cyprus, but still who could argue with that 15,000-strong crowd, who were eating out of the palm of her hands? This was an established diva at the top of her game, performing to adoring fans. Well we all have to start somewhere, right? Rewind 26 years, and Anna Vissi had already made a name for herself in Greece, with a couple of successful singles and albums under her belt, but she was still fresh-faced when she stepped out on stage in The Hague with her backing group The Epikouri (one of whom was her Anna’s older sister Lia who would go on to represent Cyprus herself in 1985). Now I don’t know Anna Vissi personally, but I have a hunch that given everything she …
Xtra’s Pick of the 70s

Xtra’s Pick of the 70s

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for us to travel back to the decade of love, peace, and disco fever. Today, it’s Sophie’s turn to introduce you to another song from the 70s. Germany 1975: Joy Fleming – Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein (17th place) Apparently, this song was the inspiration for this year’s Eurovision theme as it is about how “a song can be a bridge”. With Joy Fleming’s powerful soul voice the German entry of 1975 really hits it off with me and I think it would have deserved a better result than placing 17th. I got to know about Joy Fleming in 2004 when she was a jury member of the German national final “SSDSGPS” to help picking out Max Mutzke to represent Germany. Back then, I didn’t even know that she had once participated in the contest herself (Shame on me, but there was a time when I was not that into Eurovision yet. I can’t even imagine how my life must have been like back then. Sad and boring, I assume.) Anyway, Joy Fleming seems to be one of the many people that can’t really seem to get away from Eurovision once they …
Xtra Review: Who should sing for Switzerland?

Xtra Review: Who should sing for Switzerland?

Switzerland completed the long process of whittling down hundreds of potential Eurovision entries yesterday and are left with 6 songs from the three Swiss broadcasters, who will compete on Saturday 13 February to be the one to go to Stockholm carrying the Swiss flag. With 10 years having passed since the last top ten finish for the country and many failures to qualify, Switzerland is in desperate need of that Eurovision hit – when Sebalter’s 13th place is considered a success you know you’re in trouble. Can any of the half dozen songs in contention deliver that overdue success for Eurovision’s original winners? Peter has listened to them and here he gives his opinion on whether that elusive gem is among the selection. UPDATE: Since this review was originally written, Stéphanie Palazzo has been disqualified from the selection and replaced with ‘Disque d’Or’ by Kaceo, which Peter has also reviewed. ———————– Bella C – Another World We start with a very dramatic ballad of the James Bond variety. I love a good James Bond theme, and a James Bond pastiche will usually go down well with me, and this is no exception. Good melody, good build, and sung well by …
Xtra’s Pick of the 50s & 60s

Xtra’s Pick of the 50s & 60s

The start of another week and so it’s time for the oldies of the contest. Nick takes you back to one of the most beloved winners of the contest, but he’s not a fan… Italy 1964: Gigliola Cinquetti – Non Ho L’Età (1st place) The original video tapes of this entry were lost in the fire in the Danish TV archives and so the video was lost of one of the most beloved entries of the Eurovision Song Contest. But to be quite honest, I fail to see why this is such a classic. To me, this song is the definition of ‘nothing’. It does nothing for me, it leaves me completely cold. The intro already puts me off, because it feels as if we’re going to get a big Italian song here. Instead, we get treated to a 16 year old who’s singing she’s not old enough for love and romantic evenings. Even worse is the fact that she says she’d have nothing to say on a date, as the older man would be much wiser than her – talk about unfriendly lyrics to women. I’m glad Gigliola redeemed herself ten years later with the much superior Si, a song which …
Xtra’s Pick of the Comebacks: 21st Century

Xtra’s Pick of the Comebacks: 21st Century

Comeback week is almost over here at escXtra but we have one last comeback to discuss as Liam talks about a 21st century comeback of a different style. San Marino 2015: Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola – Chain of Lights (SF2: 16th place) After three years, Valentina Monetta decided to let someone else have a go at representing San Marino and my word, what a treat were we in for. Graduating to the adult contest after representing San Marino at the previous two Junior Eurovision Song Contests, Michele and Anita were signed up to represent The Most Serene Republic as a duet, a fact that they only informed the young singers of on the way to the press conference announcing their duet. This lead to the kind of teen diva hot mess I was really hoping for. Michele and Anita serve up the kind of chemistry you would expect from the rival heads of drama clubs that had been forced to act the lead in a play. They both try and outshine each other and in rehearsals were constantly and amusingly camera blocking each other. Then you get to the song, in which the teens attach a huge amount of gravitas …
Xtra’s Pick of the Comebacks: 1990s

Xtra’s Pick of the Comebacks: 1990s

It’s comeback week here on escXtra.com and today it’s time for a 1990s comeback. Today’s choice comes from Nathan. I didn’t mean to copy my colleague Nick yesterday by also picking a winner, it just so happens that the most memorable comeback for me in the decade of the 90s was a winning return. This is probably one of the most iconic winning entries due to winning on a tie-break procedure and having a great dance routine to accompany the on-point vocals from someone who very quickly became a national treasure in their home nation. This was a return in 1991 that followed a third place in 1983. Captured by a storm wind, the English translation of the song. Carola’s “Fångad av en stormvind” was the winner due to a count back rule, and if today’s tiebreak procedure had been used she would have been denied the victory by France’s “C’est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison” by Amina. Carola would then go on to make a further comeback in 2006 with “Invincible” finishing in 5th place. Sweden 1991: Carola – Fångad av en Stormvind (1st place)
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