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XTRA Debate: Risk-taking at Eurovision, is it worth it?

XTRA Debate: Risk-taking at Eurovision, is it worth it?

Eurovision 2019, like any other year, featured a mix of songs of different languages, tempos and genres. Within the contest, however, some songs pushed more boundaries than others. While we always have our standard EDM bangers and power ballads, the contest also featured songs that had less of a mass appeal. In this edition of XTRA Debate, we will be weighing the benefits and drawbacks of sending ‘risky’ entries to Eurovision over ‘safer’ choices. In this context, the term ‘risk’ is a fluid one. In my view, I define a ‘risky’ entry as something that is challenging, something divisive. This is often linked to the showcasing of national or regional culture, making it less accessible to ‘outsiders’. A risky Eurovision entry is one that no listener or viewer can be neutral on. A risky entry either evokes absolute adoration, or disgust and confusion. The antithesis of a risky entry is a generic song that you would expect to hear on your Discover Weekly. It can also be a dated ballad that you could SWEAR participated in the contest a few years back. There is no centralised mechanism through which entries are selected. Therefore, there is no means to guarantee neither …
Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 38 – SEAN

Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 38 – SEAN

As our team continues to grow, it means there are more of us that you can get to know! Therefore, we will continue to bring back our “Meet the ESCXTRA team” feature each time we have someone new for you to meet. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? Also, how can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out! SEAN SIECZKA I am a 19 year old college student and eurofan from the United States (*holds for groans*). I am originally from a small town in Kentucky, but in the fall of 2019, I will start my sophomore year at Columbia University in New York City studying political science and human rights. I also need to admit that this article is about ten months late because I actually first joined in August 2018 but shhh don’t worry about that. Your first Eurovision memory? Starting in about 2013, I became increasingly disinterested in the American pop music scene. My mom had raised me listening to older music of the seventies and eighties, and one of the …
Saturday Summary – This week’s Eurovision news headlines

Saturday Summary – This week’s Eurovision news headlines

Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Host City to be revealed in August Dutch broadcasters NPO, AVROTROS and NOS have confirmed that they will aim to announce the host city in August. Eurovision Song Contest 2020 Host City to be revealed in August!
Throwback Thursday: When Denmark flew on the wings of love…

Throwback Thursday: When Denmark flew on the wings of love…

It’s that time of the week again to ‘throwback’ to yesteryear and return to look at the Eurovision hits of the past! This week we turn to Denmark and the Olsen Brothers’ “Fly on the Wings of Love”… “Fly on the Wings of Love” by the Olsen Brothers won the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, only the second win for Denmark after their first victory in 1963. Some background The Olsen Brothers became only the second entry from Denmark to win Eurovision, triumphing in 2000 in Stockholm with 195 points with their cheery and catchy ballad, “Fly on the Wings of Love”. More clear in the Danish original version, “Smuk som et stjerneskud“ the song implicitly talks about a beauty that grows with age. “Fly on the Wings of Love” would prove to be popular in some unlikely places, long after its Eurovision-winning performance. In Ireland, the song sat at number one in the charts for two weeks in 2003, spent 24 weeks in the top 50, and ended 2003 as Ireland’s 11th highest-selling single. Even further afield, it was used routinely as an unofficial song for the 2004 AFC Asian Football Cup in China. Why this song? I was …
XTRA Debate: Considering welfare in the Eurovision Song Contest?

XTRA Debate: Considering welfare in the Eurovision Song Contest?

Over the decades, the contest has become a space of inclusivity. Women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and disabled persons have all been accommodated and celebrated. However, despite these progressive traits, does the contest need to reconsider the role of welfare, health and safety and safeguarding for fans, acts and production alike? We have already previously discussed the role and impact of rehearsals. Prior to the contest, I suggested: However, like many things in our society which is bending to instant gratification, our desire to see and know everything can easily become detrimental. A slip-up of any sort can too easily be brought up in a press conference in the form of many uncomfortable questions. Reports or anecdotes may hit national media outlets, leading to a lot of excessive stress/anxiety for delegations.XTRA Debate: Should we have more or less access to rehearsals? Now there has been a bit of time to reflect on the 2019 contest, I still think the point sadly rings true. The issue with rehearsals? Generally speaking, the rehearsal schedule is almost identical year to year. Rehearsals typically begin the week before the final, either on the Saturday or Sunday. Every act is given two official rehearsals, …
EXCLUSIVE: We talk to Tamara Todevska after Eurovision

EXCLUSIVE: We talk to Tamara Todevska after Eurovision

North Macedonia’s 2019 Eurovision Song Contest participant ‘Tamara Todevska’ speaks to ESCXTRA about her Eurovision journey this year, and what we should expect from her now that the contest has finished. Tim: Tamara, when you first got announced as the representative for North Macedonia, did you expect achieving North Macedonia’s result to date. Tamara: Hm. I knew that something great was going to happen but I never imagined that it would be this big. For me at that point the most important thing was to assemble the right team. Once we had that, I knew that something special was about to happen. We believed in our song, in our project, in ourselves and I think when you do this, success is inevitable. Tim: Ever since you returned from Tel Aviv, do you think that North Macedonia’s perception of the contest changed? Do you think it would change North Macedonia’s approach to the contest? Tamara: Taking into consideration our poor results over the years, many people stopped watching Eurovision. I think this was the first time in years that people in such big numbers watched the show in our country. During the voting people were sending me photos of them watching …
Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 37 – ALEXI

Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 37 – ALEXI

ALEXI DEMETRIADI I’m a 22-year-old University College London graduate and freelance journalist based in London. A Eurovision fanatic, I wrote my undergraduate thesis on how the Song Contest can be used by authoritarian states as a cultural diplomacy tool. Alongside Eurovision, my other passions include travel, Southeast Asian affairs and Fulham Football Club! Your first Eurovision memory? My first memory of watching the contest was the 2006 final when I was 10; specifically Daz Sampson’s obscure performance for the United Kingdom… However, my first memory of Eurovision was actually not watching the show itself, but instead my parents telling me that the UK had scored nul points with Gemini in 2003. It has been a rollercoaster love affair since then! Your Eurovision Journey? I find that my passion for Eurovision is something that I find hard to explain – it kind of just happened. Our family is obsessed with it and religiously watch it each year, with recent Grand Final viewings including the host country’s cuisine. I’ve always loved watching it, and found that each year I get more and more engrossed in the build up to it. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become more interested in the national finals …
Saturday Summary – This weeks news recap about everything #Eurovision!

Saturday Summary – This weeks news recap about everything #Eurovision!

We are here to keep you up to date about the Eurovision news of the past week. No time, enjoying the offseason or whatever reason there is, we are here to bring you up-to-date, so you do not miss any big news about your favorite TV-show! On the following pages is everything you need to know! Many confirmed countries for #ESC2020 We already had many countries confirming their participation for the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in the Netherlands. This week we got confirmations from Spain, Sweden, Australia & Israel. To get an overview of all the news about Eurovision 2020 you can check the category HERE.
Throwback Thursday : That time Monaco actually won…

Throwback Thursday : That time Monaco actually won…

Throwback Thursdays are back! After a little pause during the ESC season, we are coming back to our flashbacks and throwbacks and nostalgia moments… And for the first throwback of the 2019 off-season, let us ride to Monte-Carlo, and to the only Monégasque victory. “On a tous un banc, un arbre, une rue” won the 16th Eurovision Song Contest, in Dublin, in 1971. Sang by Séverine, it was the first and only victory for the principalty of Monaco. A few historical anecdotes Séverine’s path to victory and her victory itself were nicely eventful. Did you know that in 1971 she first tried to represent France. The ORTF (the French broadcaster at the time) organized an internal selection, but prefered Serge Lama over her. She was later internally selected by TMC (for Monaco), and got her “revenge” on Lama by winning the contest in Dublin. Séverine always said she never set foot in Monaco, and TMC never invited to visit after her victory, despite filming a promotion video in the principalty. Also, her manager stole her fee, and despite winning a trial against him, she never got the money back. Despite this, she still remained a fan of the contest! Why …
Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 36 – BORISLAVA

Meet the ESCXTRA team! Part 36 – BORISLAVA

As our team continues to grow, it means there are more of us that you can get to know! Therefore, we will continue to bring back our “Meet the ESCXTRA team” feature each time we have someone new for you to meet. What is our personal Eurovision story? Why did we want to be a part of this website? What are our favourite Eurovision songs of all-time? Also, how can you get in touch with us on social media? Read on to find out! BORISLAVA TODOROVA I’m a 23-year-old Bulgarian living in the UK. After an undergrad and postgrad in journalist and International Relations, I now write and analyse news for a living, while fangirling Eurovision, TV and such nerdy stuff on the side. You can find me on Twitter: @bdtodorova Your first Eurovision memory? My first Eurovision memory is to do with a song rather than the contest itself, and that is Ruslana’s Wild Dances. When I was younger I used to go to contemporary dance classes, and after a certain amount of time my age group was allowed to help in the choreographing of a dance to Wild Dances. That choreography proved to be very popular and we …
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