Editorials & Opinion

🇭🇷 Slideback Sunday: When Croatia weren’t ours anymore

🇭🇷 Slideback Sunday: When Croatia weren’t ours anymore

As many countries in Europe being lifting lockdown, we are continuing our weekly slidebacks to look back at a memorable song in Eurovision history! Today, we’re off to Croatia and looking at their 2003 entry. Claudia Beni was sent to Riga to fly the Croatian flag with the song “Više nisam tvoja”! I’m not yours anymore! With Croatia, at the time, being on a run of five top 11 results in a row, they were determined to select another strong entry. It fell to the national final, Dora, to select Croatia’s 11th entry for the contest and many names, now famous to the Eurovision world, took part. Among the participants were pop-opera superstar Jacques Houdek, Nebo’s Nina Badrić and also Maja Blagdan who had already finished 4th at Eurovision in 1996. After two semi-finals and a 12-song final, 16-year old Claudia Beni was selected as the winner with “Više nisam tvoja”. In the years before the semi-final, Croatia competed against 25 other countries in what was the biggest Eurovision song contest to date at the time. Performing eighth in the contest, Claudia performed her pop number straight after Portugal’s dreamy ballad and before the Cypriot entry, “Feeling Alive”. The result …
🇲🇩 Slideback Sunday: Moldova’s dynamic debut

🇲🇩 Slideback Sunday: Moldova’s dynamic debut

As the Euroverse slips into the most surreal spate of PED, let’s alleviate some of the symptoms with a slideback to 2005 and a country making its bold Eurovision debut. Zdob și Zdub had the honour of being the first Moldovan representatives, performing ‘Boonika bate doba’ in Kyiv. About the song The entry was written by two of Zdob și Zdub’s founding members, vocalist Roman Iagupov and guitarrist Mihai Gîncu. Translating to “Grandma beats the drum”, there was no mistaking how this folk-punk song would be represented on the Eurovision stage. The band went full throttle with the latest chapter of the Eurovision handbook, hurling traditional culture into the mix, something instinctive to this band who had already been blending Moldovan folk with punk and ska for a decade. Despite being drawn to perform fourth in a 24-song semifinal, Zdob și Zdub qualified in second place, ultimately finishing in sixth place in the grand final. This strong debut remained Moldova’s highest finish at Eurovision until Sunstroke Project’s second attempt reached third place in 2017. Full of energy and never letting your attention slip. ‘Boonika bate doba’ was worthy of its top six finish and has stuck in my mind and …
XTRA Opinion: Our running order for semifinal 1

XTRA Opinion: Our running order for semifinal 1

Tonight, we will finally see what the running order for the first semi of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 would have looked like. However, like in previous years, we’ve also given this a go ourselves. Below you can find our train of thoughts and the running order we would have chosen! No “Euro Neuro”… Opening the show is a big task and when you’re producing the show, you really want something that makes an impact here. You want something powerful enough to keep viewers interested. That also means it needs to be a relatively okay song, otherwise you start off with a bit of downer. Just think about “Euro Neuro”, the Montenegrin entry in 2012. How many people will have turned off after that? That is why you want something upbeat, interesting and captivating. So we will go with The Mamas for Sweden as our opener. After that, we often see songs that aren’t expected to make a huge impact. In 2019, D Mol and Sarah McTernan were given the #2 slot. Looking at this first half, we therefore only see one option: Belarus. To make sure we spread the genders evenly as well, we will then opt for North …
🇮🇹 Slideback Sunday; Soldi! Soldi! Clap-clap!

🇮🇹 Slideback Sunday; Soldi! Soldi! Clap-clap!

For the past (almost) 20 years I’ve been (almost) 100% sure no Eurovision song would ever knock my favorite entry down off the top of the podium. I mean; It’s been there since 2001, and though quite a few songs have come close, it was still there 18 years on. Of course I’m talking about the masterpiece that is “Lady Alpine Blue”, performed by the best band ever; Mumiy Troll! But last year, the (almost) unthinkable happened. Stop, don’t say that it’s impossible… It might not come as a huge surprise that it was an Italian entry that did it. It seems a certain Swede was right when he said he knew it was possible. I have loved so many of the Italian entries, both before they took their upsetting break from the contest and after their return. “Nel blu dipinto di blu” (the David Bowie cover is even better!), “Per Lucia”, “Gente di mare”, “Madness of Love”, “L’amore è femmina”, “L’Essenziale”…just to mention a few. However, it took until 2019 for a new song to take over 1st place on my “Eurovision top 10 (or top anything, really) in the history of ever” list. Soldi + Mahmood = 1st …
🇦🇩 Slideback Sunday: Andorra made a decision

🇦🇩 Slideback Sunday: Andorra made a decision

Slideback Sunday this week takes us to Andorra’s last entry. The hapless microstate never qualified for the grand final and after ‘La Teva Decisió (Get A Life)’, they ‘got a life’ and left, never to come back. What does ESCXtra think of this entry? If you only ever watched the finals or came into the Eurovision fandom in 2010, like me, or later, then chances are good you’ve never seen an Andorran entry live. Perhaps you didn’t even know they used to enter. But they did, for six years between 2004 and 2009. Sadly none of those entries made it to the grand final. This probably played a major part in why they haven’t entered since. From 2009, ‘La Teva Decisió (Get A Life)’, performed by Susanne Georgi is to date, the most recent Andorran entry. This pretty cute guitar-pop song failed to win over Europe, coming in 15th in its semi-final and with only 8 points, half of which came from fellow Iberian nation Portugal. As was becoming normal for Andorran entries, it’s a mix of Catalan and English. Catalan is the national language of Andorra and is present in all six of their Eurovision entries. Susanne and her …
🇩🇰 Slideback Sunday: The world keeps turning!

🇩🇰 Slideback Sunday: The world keeps turning!

For this week’s Slideback Sunday, we’re going back to 1983 for a song that feels very apt for the current situation in the world: Gry’s Kloden drejer! What does our team at ESCXTRA think of this entry? I’ll admit, I haven’t watched a lot of the pre-90’s Eurovisions. Eurovision was just a very different thing back then and unfortunately most of what was in there just wasn’t to my taste! This though – this is so catchy and enjoyable that I have to put this down for my slideback. It’s one of the few songs from pre-90’s Eurovision that I listen to regularly! The fact that this came 17th out of 20 is just wrong. Okay, her vocals may have been….shaky…and with the orchestra the song didn’t really……ok fine this kind of deserved 17th out of 20 with the live performance BUT the song itself is so much fun and you can’t help but dance along (and that dance is iconic)! Let’s instead listen to it through the preview video rather than the live Eurovision performance, much more pleasing to the ears! About the song ‘Kloden drejer’ was written by none other than Flemming Gernyx, Christian Jacobsen and Lars Christensen…(I …
From also-rans to Eurovision superpowers: How Bulgaria, Cyprus and Israel transformed their fortunes

From also-rans to Eurovision superpowers: How Bulgaria, Cyprus and Israel transformed their fortunes

Bulgaria. Cyprus. Israel. What do these nations have in common? Three of the most south-easterly participating nations at the Eurovision Song Contest? Tick. They all have wonderful weather and beaches? Tick. Three nations that show that you can turn around Eurovision fortunes with some clever thinking and direction? Big tick! Making a change in selection process Bulgaria, Cyprus and Israel have all experienced a run of at least four consecutive non-qualifications. Bulgaria achieved six-in-a-row between 2008 and 2013 whilst Cyprus and Israel suffered a run of four consecutive non-qualifications between 2006 to 2009 and 2011 to 2014 respectively. Yet, since 2015 these three nations have qualified for the Eurovision final on every single occasion they’ve participated. Just how does a nation manage to bounce back from a poor run of results? If you ask BNT, CyBC and IBA/KAN, it’s all about making a change in your selection process and perhaps taking a bit more control in proceedings to steer the ship back onto the right tracks. Bulgaria: Only one final appearance in ten years Bulgaria had one of the most dismal records in the contest up until 2016, with just a solitary qualification with “Water” by Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan …
🇬🇧 Slideback Sunday: A pop song with a message

🇬🇧 Slideback Sunday: A pop song with a message

Another Sunday, another slideback. Today we’ll revisit United Kingdom’s 1991 entry “A Message to Your Heart” and see what the team thinks of this topical plea wrapped in a catchy pop song package. I’ve followed every contest obsessively since I first became a fan, but I think a lot of Eurovision fans can relate to having less exposure to entries of the past. “A Message to Your Heart” is one of the few pre-2000 UK entries that I’ve listened to, but it’s always stuck with me. Is it the best vocal performance? Definitely not. Is the song original? Not in the slightest. In fact, it might be ticking the most Eurovision boxes thematically in its cry for a better world. It’s catchy though, and that’s all I really need in a pop song. Samantha looks every bit the Popstar Barbie and the performance isn’t bad. The disconnect between the lyrics and the vibe of the entry may throw some people off but we’ve forgiven much more questionable decisions in the name of Eurovision, haven’t we? About the song “A Message to Your Heart” was written by Paul Curtis who previously penned the country’s 1975, 1984, and 1990 entries. It finished …
When should we expect the Eurovision 2020 running order announcement?

When should we expect the Eurovision 2020 running order announcement?

Just under seven years ago, the EBU revealed the first-ever producer-determined running order draw following the introduction of the rule ahead of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. With the EBU confirming that preparations for the contest are continuing as planned, we are now awaiting the reveal of the running order for the 2020 Eurovision semi-finals, we’ve taken a look at exactly when the announcement has happened in every contest since the rule’s introduction. Looking through the archives To do this, we’ve simply looked through eurovision.tv‘s archives and found the following data: The date of each year’s semi-final running order announcementThe date of each year’s mid-March head of delegations meeting. This tends to run over a Sunday to Tuesday period, we have taken the Monday with it widely agreed as the key date during the meeting.The date of day one of each year’s rehearsal schedule. Our findings ContestOrder RevealDays After DeadlineDays Before Rehearsals🇮🇱 Tel Aviv 20192 April22 days (11 March)32 days (4 May)🇵🇹 Lisbon 20183 April22 days (12 March)26 days (29 April)🇺🇦 Kyiv 201731 March18 days (13 March)30 days (30 April)🇸🇪 Stockholm 20168 April25 days (14 March)24 days (2 May)🇦🇹 Vienna 201523 March7 days (16 March)49 days (11 May)🇩🇰 Copenhagen 201424 …
🇲🇰 Slideback Sunday: We Went too far.. No there’s no way back…

🇲🇰 Slideback Sunday: We Went too far.. No there’s no way back…

It’s Sunday once again, and this means its time for another Slideback Sunday. In honour of North Macedonia releasing their 2020 Eurovision entry today, we will be looking back at one of my favourite entries from North Macedonia. Lost and Found by Eye Cue. When I started to delve into Eurovision more, one of the more countries I was interested in was North Macedonia (formerly known as FYR Macedonia). I was heartbroken in 2016 when ‘Dona’ NQ’ed, I was really sad when ‘Dance Alone’ NQ’ed. Once Eye Cue was announced, I had an optimistic feeling towards North Maceonia’s participation in 2018. When ‘Lost and Found’ was released, I instantly fell in love with the track, and it instantly shot up my ranking. After I saw the initial reaction of their performance, I knew there and then that they will probably not qualify again. Despite this, I’ve followed Eye Cue after their Eurovision participation, I even saw them a few times at Eurovision events. I still love them and I love their songs, and I cannot wait for them to release a full-length album. What do the others think? Nick When North Macedonia all of a sudden went for a very …
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