Czech Republic

Go Wild: The new single and video for Mista

Mista ©  www,mistamusic.com

The success story for Mista is set to continue with the release of her brand new single and video. The song is called Go Wild and is composed the American producers, The Force. She will begin a Go Wild Restart tour on 28 March and also promote her own fashion website.

Julio Iglesias sings a duet with Karel Gott at a concert in Prague

Julio Iglesias and Karel Gott © František Jirásek

Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias is currently immersed in his European tour visiting nearly a dozen countries. A few days ago at a concert he gave in the capital of the Czech Republic the audience had the opportunity to enjoy an outstanding duet with another former Eurovision entrant, Karel Gott.

Euro 2012: Schedule and result page

Euro 2012 ©  UEFA

As this year's Eurovision Song Contest has ended a lot of our visitors will probably be following their national team at Euro 2012. EuroVisionary bring you here a quick overview of the results so far - and the maches to come - while you are checking all the news from the word of Eurovision.

Tereza Kerndlova returns with new single

Tereza Kerndlova ©  kerndlovatereza.com

Tereza Kerndlova represented Czech Republic at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Have Some Fun.  She is back with a new single, Přísahám (I Swear), from her forthcoming new album due for release in September.

2009 - 1st Semi-Final

2009 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 April 2009
Venue: 
Olimpiysky Arena, Moscow, Russia
Broadcaster: 
C1R
Presenter(s): 
Natalya Vodyanova & Andrey Malakhov
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

For the first time in 11 years, juries would play a significant part in the voting process. Since 1998, the system of using anonymous juries was replaced by phone and SMS voting from the public in an effort to return to the days when a Eurovision winner had greater credence and topped the charts all over Europe. While this had worked to some extent, concerns were rapidly growing about the apparent surge in neighbourly voting patterns. While these arguments could reasonably be dismissed by a logical look at the facts, the EBU felt they had to do something. Their idea was to reintroduce juries to vote alongside the public phone vote. Instead of the juries being occupied by members of the public, industry professionals were given the job as it was believed they would be more likely to vote on musical merit. This proved to be the case and their votes altered significantly the way the scoreboard would have otherwise looked.

Since the advent of the semi-finals in 2004, the ‘Big 4’ countries of France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom had automatically been given a place in the final due to the size of their financial contribution to the EBU. This left them open to accusations of not caring too much about the quality of song they selected. However, in 2009, no-one could accuse them of not taking the contest seriously. The French choose the world famous Patricia Kaas to represent them. The BBC persuaded Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber to write the United Kingdom song, while the Spanish went through a lengthy selection process to find their entry. Germany came up with a vibrant swing number and added a touch of glamour to the presentation in the form of burlesque star, Dita von Teese.

Hungary had difficulty selecting its entry. The first song chosen, It's Time to Party sung by Mark Zentai, was later discovered to have been recorded by, of all people, the residents of the Swedish Big Brother house. The second song, Magányos Csónak had no such problems, but the singer, Katya Tompos, had prior engagements and the whole act was withdrawn. It was a case of third time lucky when singer Adok Zoltan was free to go to Moscow with the previously unrecorded and unpublished Dance With Me, which failed to qualify for the final. After all that effort, too!

As usual, a wide range of musical genres was on show in the contest. Viewers were treated to everything from an Elvis impersonator, through to epic ballads, pop/opera, ethnic and rock songs. Norway’s Fairytale is almost beyond pigeon-holing but is probably closest to a folk style. The huge involvement of strings, mostly from Alexander Rybak’s own fiddle, sets it apart. It appealed to public and pros alike, and swept aside the opposition, leaving everyone else in its wake on the way to a record points tally. A third Norwegian victory was never, ever in doubt!

Georgia had demonstrated some reluctance to participate in the 2009 contest, held as it was in Russia, not exactly the favourite country of your average resident of Tblisi! However, the EBU persuaded the Georgian broadcaster to enter a song. The trouble started when the song was chosen. It was called We Don't Wanna Put In and was due to be performed by Stephanie & 3G. The lyrics were deemed too political and provocative by the EBU. Part of the chorus says, “We don’t wanna put in”, which was considered a sly way of saying “We don’t wanna Putin”, who was Russian Prime Minister at the time. The EBU ordered that either the lyrics be changed or a new song selected. The Georgians went for their own option of withdrawing completely.

The scores were allocated in the famous way of 1-8, then 10 and 12. Naturally, all the countries participating in the semi-finals voted in the semi-final they were involved in. Additionally, Germany and United Kingdom voted in the first semi-final, while France, Spain and hosts Russia voted in the second semi-final.  In an interesting twist, the country ranked highest with the back-up jury that hadn’t already qualified for the final via the phone vote was given a wildcard slot. This meant Finland (12th) taking the place of Macedonia (10th) from the first semi-final, and Croatia (13th) qualifying at the expense of Serbia (10th) from the second semi-final.

Trivia: 
Sweden’s Malena Ernman left Moscow briefly to return to Sweden for an engagement that had been arranged prior to her winning the Swedish Melodifestivalen. This is not something that happens often during final preparations for the contest and not everyone was happy that she did it. Her response was “I couldn’t be sure I was going to be in Moscow at this time and I have a family to look after.” Fair enough.
About the songs: 
Andrea DemirovicAndrea Demirovic Montenegro - Andrea Demirovic - Just Get Out of My Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ralph Seigel/Bernd Meinunger, José Juan Santana Rodriguez

The Montenegrins turned to prolific Germans, Seigel and Meinunger. They rarely wrote anything as good as this for their own country. It is undemanding, simple and enjoyable pop. 

 Gipsy.czGipsy.cz Czech Republic - Gipsy.cz - Aven Romale (English)

Music/Lyrics: Radoslav Banga/Radoslav Banga

‘Supergipsy’, as he preferred to be known, tried to be a Superhero. It was never going to work, and the Romany influenced song duly failed to score.

 Patrick OuchènePatrick Ouchène

Belgium - Patrick Ouchène - Copycat (English)

Music/Lyrics: Benjamin Schoos/Jacques Duvall

There is always room for a bit of light-hearted fun. Elvis impersonator Patrick claimed in his song that he was the real deal and Elvis Presley was the fake. It made for some amusing lyrics and a few angry Elvis fans, who tried and failed miserably to have the song banned from the competition.  

 Petr ElfimovPetr Elfimov Belarus - Petr Elfimov - Eyes That Never Lie (English)

Music/Lyrics: Petr Elfimov/Valery Prokhozhy

The start of the song is on the hard end of AOR. The tune softens but this beefed up version improves on the one which won the Belarusian final. Qualification for the final certainly looked possible, but in the event, was a long way from becoming a reality. 

 Malena ErnmanMalena Ernman Sweden - Malena Ernman - La Voix (English/French)

Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe/Fredrik Kempe, Malena Ernman

Malena clearly had a ball during her three minutes and showed the others how to do it! A very good singer and performer who doesn’t take herself too seriously, Malena’s pop/opera song stormed into the final with ease. Quite right too! 

 Inga & AnushInga & Anush Armenia - Inga & Anush - Jan Jan (Armenian)

Music/Lyrics: Mane Hakobyan/Vardan Zadoyan, Avet Barseghyan

Dressed in traditional Armenian costumes which must have been very hot to wear under all those powerful stage lights, the two sisters moved rather robotically and awkwardly. Their song was also in the direction of traditional Armenian, and did better than many anticipated. 

 Susanne GeorgiSusanne Georgi Andorra - Susanne Georgi - La Teva Decisió (Get A Life) (English/Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Edmond Zhulali, Agim Doci/Edmond Zhulali, Agim Doci

The intro is quirky enough to inspire hope for what is to come. The optimism is left unfulfilled as the song becomes more mundane, guitar led MOR.

 LovebugsLovebugs Switzerland - Lovebugs - The Highest Heights (English)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Sieber, Thomas Rechberger, Florian Senn/Adrian Sieber, Thomas Rechberger, Florian Senn

In an event which is dominated by soloists, a real band doing their thing is always welcome, especially when the song is as good as this. The Highest Heights is mid-tempo, well constructed rock that should easily have made the final. 

 HadiseHadise Turkey - Hadise - Düm Tek Tek (English)

Music/Lyrics: Sinan Akcil/Sinan Akcil, Hadise Acikgöz, Stefaan Fernande

Modern Turkish rhythms and some vibrant choreography virtually guaranteed success for Hadise. All that was needed was a decent performance, which she duly gave. 

 Noa & Mira AwadNoa & Mira Awad Israel - Noa & Mira Awad - There Must Be Another Way (English/Hebrew/Arabic)

Music/Lyrics: Noa, Mira Awad, Gil Dor/Noa, Mira Awad, Gil Dor

Arab joined Jew to sing a song for peace. Some of the usual clichés are avoided, but it would have been impossible to escape all of them.

 Krassimir AvramovKrassimir Avramov Bulgaria - Krassimir Avramov - Illusion (English)

Music/Lyrics: Krassimir Avramov, William Tabanau, Casie Tabanau/Krassimir Avramov, William Tabanau, Casie Tabanau

Krassimir’s soprano voice lends his song an operatic feel. This mixes nicely with the rhythms used to create a sound which fills the room. More people would have liked it than not, but without it having a strong enough appeal. 

 YohannaYohanna Iceland - Yohanna - Is It True? (English)

Music/Lyrics: Oskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil, Tinatin Japaridze/Oskar Páll Sveinsson, Chris Neil, Tinatin Japaridze

This is a wonderful example of how simple presentation can boost a song. Yohanna’s beautiful, sweeping ballad was easily powerful enough to stand out on its own, but superb lighting effects added a thick layer of atmosphere. 

 Next TimeNext Time Macedonia - Next Time - Neshto Shto Ke Ostane (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Jovan Jovanov, Damjan Lazarov/Elvir Mekic

How annoyed they must have been to find out that they had finished in the top 10 but had not qualified for the final. It could be argued that if the public had put them there, the brothers should have been in the final. It could also be argued that, although their rock song is ok, the final was better without them. 

 ElenaElena Romania - Elena - The Balkan Girls (English)

Music/Lyrics: Laurentiu Dută, Ovidiu Bistriceanu, Daris Mangal/Laurentiu Dută, Alexandru Pelin

We can all relate to looking forward to the weekend after a week’s hard graft. Elena’s pop song anticipates just such an occasion as well as lots of girly fun with her friends. 

 Waldo's PeopleWaldo's People Finland - Waldo's People - Lose Control (English)

Music/Lyrics: Ari Lehtonen, Karima/Marko Reijosen, Ari Lehtonen, Karima, Annie Kratz Guta

Given a wildcard entry to the final by the jury, it was going to be interesting to see how the Finns fast paced, clubbing song fared in the final. Badly, as it happens. 

 Flor-de-lisFlor-de-lis Portugal - Flor-de-lis - Todas As Ruas Do Amor (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Pedro Marques, Paulo Pereira/Pedro Marques

The Fado is Portugal’s most authentic and beautiful style of music, but when the Portuguese want to cheer themselves up, this is the sound that drifts from bars and cafés, and which adds to the happy memories of many holidaymakers.  

 Chiara Chiara Malta - Chiara - What If We (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Gregory Bilsen

This was Chiara’s third appearance in the contest and hopefully her last if past history is anything to go by. Her songs became steadily duller! Like the other two, What If We is a ballad, and it fails to hold the listeners attention for the full duration. 

 ReginaRegina Bosnia & Herzegovina - Regina - Bistra Voda (Bosnian)

Music/Lyrics: Aleksander Covic/Aleksander Covic

The band claimed that Bistra Voda was not political. The presentation suggested otherwise, but they got away with it. There is a revolutionary and militaristic air to the ballad and there was an abundance of red in the lighting, but it’s not political, ok?

2008 - 2nd Semi-Final

2008 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
22 May 2008
Contest type: 
Grand Final
Venue: 
Belgrade Arena, Belgrade, Serbia
Broadcaster: 
RTS
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Had the results of the semi-final voting been released before the final, then few would have predicted Dima Bilan’s victory. Finishing third was not a positive sign, but Dima managed to defy the odds to win the contest at his second attempt. How much the presentation of the song help is a matter for debate. In his first appearance in the contest, a dancer emerged from the piano on stage. This time, he used the talents of international ice-skater, Evgeni Plushenko, in his performance. Those interested in statistics would have noted with interest that Russia’s victory was the eighth time in a row that a country had won for the first time.

Due to the number of countries now taking part in the contest, holding one semi-final was no longer viable. To avoid the all nighter that would have been one semi-final, the EBU decided that there should be two. Press and delegates attending the contest now faced a marathon. In the days before there were semi-finals, rehearsals and preparations lasted one week. Now, with three shows to prepare for, a full two weeks was required to be ready.

The 2008 contest was the year of the novelty song. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, , Ireland, Latvia and Spain all entered songs that were meant for entertainment rather than musical integrity, while some would argue that the Azeri and French songs were in that direction. Bosnia singer, Laka, had a performance that included his sister hanging out the washing and backing singers knitting. The Estonians had three dirty old men dancing in a manner worse than your uncle at a wedding, singing lyrics that made no sense, even to those who spoke any of the three languages used in the song. Ireland was represented by a turkey that was a big star in Irish TV begging Europe to vote for him. Latvia sent a gang of pirates and the Spanish elected a specially created character with his own dance to represent them.

Romanian singers, Nico and Vlad, won their national final, but not the hearts and good wishes of a lot of the public and press. Accusations of plagiarism abounded and there were also claims that Pe-o Margine De Lume had a public performance before the date permitted by the rules laid down by the EBU. Neither accusation could be proved and so no change was necessary or was made by national broadcaster, TVR. 

Austria kept its promise of withdrawing from the contest, but debuts by Azerbaijan and San Marino boosted the number of countries to a new record 43.

In addition to Dima Bilan, Sweden’s Charlotte Perrilli, a former winner herself, was singing her second Eurovision entry.

In each semi-final, only the countries participating in that semi-final were allowed to vote. The five countries already in the final (the Big 4 plus hosts Serbia) were each allowed to vote in one of the semi-finals. The points system remained as it had been for over 30 years, 1-8, then 10 and 12 to the ten most popular songs in each country.

About the songs: 
EurobandEuroband Iceland - Euroband - This Is My Life (English)

Music/Lyrics: Örlygur Smári/Paul Oscar, Peter Fenner

Possibly the most perfect harmonising ever heard on the Eurovision stage! Euroband seemed a certainty to climb out of their semi-final with such a strong pop/disco track, although voters have turned against this type of song in recent years. It was an up-to-date taste of contests past, and the taste was sweet.  

 Charlotte Perrelli 2008Charlotte Perrelli Sweden - Charlotte Perrelli - Hero (English)

Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren/ Fredrik Kempe, Bobby Ljunggren

Charlotte was expected to qualify for the final and she did…just! It is the kind of Swedish schlager that the fans love, but can be a bit hit or miss with the public at large. 

Mor ve ÖtesiMor ve Ötesi Turkey - Mor ve Ötesi - Deli (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin/Kerem Kabadayi, Burak Guven, Kerem, Özyegen, Harun Tekin

Deli is a solid rock song with a spark of individualism about it. Their performance got the audience to their feet as they continued the lively start to the show.

 Ani LorakAni Lorak Ukraine - Ani Lorak - Shady Lady (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan

Ani gave a supremely confident performance of this near perfect pop song. It was always going to be a contender and so it proved, winning the second semi-final and finishing second in the main event.

 Jeronimas MiliusJeronimas Milius Lithuania - Jeronimas Milius - Nomads In The Night (English)

Music/Lyrics: Vytautas Diskevicius/Jeronimas Milius

The fortnight of rehearsals had clearly taken their toll on Jeronimas’ voice. He was one of the best singers of all those competing but didn’t have the opportunity to show it due to the strain his vocal chords were under. This was a real pity as his ballad is superb, but needed the big notes to be hit.   

 Olta BokaOlta Boka Albania - Olta Boka - Zemrën E Lamë Peng (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Adrian Hila/Pandi Laço

Albania’s first five entries had established it as a country to watch for songs of quality, even if they weren’t potential winners. Zemrën E Lamë Peng is a western style ballad sung in Albanian to give it a local flavour. 

 Paolo MeneguzziPaolo Meneguzzi Switzerland - Paolo Meneguzzi - Era Stupendo (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Vincenzo Incenzo, Paolo Meneguzzi/Vincenzo Incenzo, Paolo Meneguzzi

Paolo was already an established singer, having been in Italy’s Sanremo festival five times (including in 2008) prior to singing for his native country in Eurovision. Many expected his Italian style ballad to do well, but it couldn’t escape the semi-final.   

 Tereza KerndlováTereza Kerndlová Czech Republic - Tereza Kerndlová - Have Some Fun (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stano Simor/Gordon Pogoda

Finishing last on its debut the year before with a rock song sung by a bunch of hairy, growling rockers, the Czech Republic went the other way and entered a pop song sung by a pretty girl. The tactic might have worked had the song not been lightweight and Tereza’s performance not been like a bad karaoke singer.  

 Ruslan AlehnoRuslan Alehno Belarus - Ruslan Alehno - Hasta la Vista (English)

Music/Lyrics: Taras Demchuk/Eleonora Melnik

After it had won the Belarusian final, Hasta la Vista was given something of a makeover and was transformed from a pop to a soft rock song. It’s a strong effort and was highly thought of prior to rehearsals starting.

 Pirates of the SeaPirates of the Sea Latvia - Pirates of the Sea - Wolves of the Sea (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius/Jonas Liberg, Johan Sahlen, Claes Andreasson, Torbjorn Wassenius

It was time for the children’s party when the Latvians bounded on to the stage. It was highly entertaining, but a daft way of trying to win the votes of adults.

 Kraljevi Ulice & 75 CentsKraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents - Romanca (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Niran Hadzi Veljkovic Niran/Hadzi Veljkovic

Many feared that septuagenarian 75 Cents might not live to see the night of the contest. All fears were unfounded, and he lasted long enough to stroll around the stage like a grumpy grandparent, occasionally speaking during intervals in this Croatian café style song.

 Deep Zone & BalthazarDeep Zone & Balthazar Bulgaria - Deep Zone & Balthazar - DJ, Take Me Away (English)

Music/Lyrics: Dian Savov/Dian Savov

Take Me Away starts in hip-hop mode but moves into reggae territory when the vocal starts. The lyrics are repeated several times and wouldn’t have taken very long to learn. All in all, it’s messy and a waste of time. 

 Simon MathewSimon Mathew Denmark - Simon Mathew - All Night Long (English)

Music/Lyrics: Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad/Jacob Launbjerg, Svend Gudiksen, Nis Ogvad

While the melody and the arrangement aren’t obviously in that direction, Simon’s voice lends All Night Long a jazz feel. Looking a bit like a reject from a Hovis advert, his performance was strong and very confident.

 Diana GurtskayaDiana Gurtskaya Georgia - Diana Gurtskaya - Peace Will Come (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan/Kim Breitburg, Karen Kavaleryan

It seems Political Correctness has reached Eastern Europe. Georgia selected a blind singer with a song about desiring world peace. If this was a tactic, it failed, although it finished higher than it should in both the semi-final and the final.

 CsézyCsézy Hungary - Csézy - Candlelight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Viktor Rakonczai/Imre Mozsik

For the fourth year running, one of the best songs overall finished last in the semi-final. Csézy’s piano based ballad is abundant with class and sophistication. 

 MorenaMorena Malta - Morena - Vodka (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg/Philip Vella, Gerard James Borg

The fast, impactful pace at the start drops slightly for the vocal, but picks up again for the chorus. It’s slightly untidy, but quite enjoyable.

 Evdokia KadiEvdokia Kadi Cyprus - Evdokia Kadi - Femme Fatale (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Nikos Evaggelou/Nikos Evaggelou

Imagine what you might hear at a Greek wedding, or a restaurant high in the hills of rural Cyprus, and you can imagine Femme Fatale. If it is memorable in any way, it’s for the wrong reasons. 

 Tamara, Vrčak & AdrijanTamara, Vrčak & Adrijan Macedonia - Tamara, Vrčak & Adrijan - Let Me Love You (English)

Music/Lyrics: Rade Vrčakovski/Rade Vrčakovski

The presentation was mercifully less flamboyant than it could have been. A mixture of hip-hop, pop and R ‘n’ B, it is maybe trying too hard to sound modern. The result is unimpressive, but it wasn’t too far from qualifying. 

 Vânia FernandesVânia Fernandes Portugal - Vânia Fernandes - Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas) (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Carlos Coelho

When the Portuguese do a good ballad, they do it very well. It’s not quite Fado, more’s the pity, but it is a welcome return to the Portuguese sound after a few attempts at trying to sound less traditional. 

2007 Semi-Final

2007 Logo ©  EBU
Basic information
Date: 
12 April 2007
Venue: 
Hartwall Arena, Helsinki, Finland
Broadcaster: 
YLE
Presenter(s): 
Jaana Pelkonen & Mikko Leppilampi
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

Serbia had only been an independent country for less than a year when it won the contest. Opinion is divided as to whether it is the first Serbian entry or not. One side of the argument says that as it had previously been known as Serbia and Montenegro, it wasn’t Serbia’s first entry. The other side of the debate is that as Montenegro was part of the deal, Serbia was, in effect, a new country and so it did win the contest at the first attempt.

This was to be the last contest to have just one semi-final. Under this format, the top 10 countries from the previous year’s contest and the ‘Big 4’ automatically qualified for the final. From 2008, only the ‘Big 4’ and the host country would automatically qualify for the final.

As usual, controversy played a part in the build up to the contest. The lyrics of the Israeli song were considered by many to be political and an attack on the leaders of Iran. However, the lyrics were allowed to go unchanged. Iceland’s Silvia Night got on everyone’s nerves in the days leading up to the contest at her rehearsals, press conferences and generally when she was going around the facilities. It may have just been an act (or it may not) as part of the Silvia Night persona, but her reward was to be booed at the end of her performance.  

As always, there was a variety of songs and performance styles on show. While formal attire was the choice of some, viewers could also enjoy a drag act in the shape of Denmark’s DQ. 

It seemed Austria was gone for good. National broadcaster, ORF, cited recent bad results linked to neighbourly voting as the reason for its absence. Various sources within ORF were quoted as saying "The Song Contest is clearly a sign of the complicated nature of a united Europe.  We've already seen in 2007 that it's not the quality of the song, but the country of origin that determines the decision," and “As long as the  the Song Contest is a political parade ground and not an international entertainment programme, ORF has no desire to send more talent out of Austria to a competition where they have no chances. Should the situation change, we'll be happy to take part again."

While Austria left the scene, it seems with regret, others were keen to join the crowd. The 2007 contest saw debuts from Georgia and the Czech Republic, who participated with differing results.

Trivia: 
One of the ‘advances’ in technology in recent years has been High Definition. The BBC and Sweden’s SVT became the first broadcaster to give viewers to watch the contest in that format. Did anyone notice?
About the songs: 
Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan YankulovElitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov Bulgaria - Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov - Water (Bulgarian)

Music/Lyrics: Elitsa Todorova, Stoyan Yankulov/Elitsa Todorova

After a disappointing first two years competing in the contest, the Bulgarians came back very strongly to make it third time lucky reaching the final. Elitsa and Stoyans’s chant has a very strong, yet not intrusive production which holds the song together

 TeapacksTeapacks Israel - Teapacks - Push The Button (Hebrew/English/French)

Music/Lyrics:  Kobi Oz/Kobi Oz

When one of the band members struts around the stage with a mock serious face and a pipe (the type used for smoking, not playing or connecting the plumbing!), you know life isn’t going to be taken too seriously. Teapacks faced criticism for the political nature of their lyrics, but the fun and comedy element of the song helped them get away with it. 

 EvridikiEvridiki Cyprus - Evridiki - Comme Ci, Comme Ça (French)

Music/Lyrics: Dimitris Korgialas/Posidona Yiannopoulos

Taking advantage of the free language rule, the lyrics are entirely in French. Evridiki’s two previous efforts in the contest had been dramatic ethnic Greek songs. This is a Euro disco stomper!

 Dmitry KoldunDmitry Koldun Belarus - Dmitry Koldun - Work Your Magic (English)

Music/Lyrics: Phillip Kirkorov/Karen Kavaleryan

Images of James Bond abound as the intro starts. The rock ballad carries punch and is memorable, but the magicians set used in the staging was unnecessary. 

 Eiríkur HaukssonEiríkur Hauksson Iceland - Eiríkur Hauksson - Valentine Lost (English)

Music/Lyrics: Eiríkur Hauksson/Peter Fenner

What went wrong? Did the over enthusiastic antics of his band put people off? Valentine Lost is a fantastic and powerful rock ballad. There are some good individual lines in the lyrics, but the phrases don’t fit together to form a coherent theme.

 SophoSopho Georgia - Sopho - My Story (English)

Music/Lyrics: Beqa Japaridzé/Bibi Kvachadze

Georgia’s debut sounds like an offering to the Gods set to a jolly beat. The pace ebbs and flows as the vocal flits between the peaceful and making sure the Gods heard the message.

 Stevan FaddyStevan Faddy Montenegro - Stevan Faddy - Ajde Kroci (Montenegrin)

Music/Lyrics: Slaven Knezovic/Milan-Minjo Peric

Montenegro’s first solo effort as an independent state is quite lame. It’s rock in style but lacks anything to lift it above the other songs of that type in the contest. 

 DJ BoBoDJ BoBo Switzerland - DJ BoBo - Vampires Are Alive (English)

Music/Lyrics: Rene Baumann/Axel Breitung

This was an opportunity lost for Switzerland! Those in the know and the bookmakers were picking this to win but it didn’t even reach the final. The basics were in place; the music set the scene and the lyrics told the story. All that was needed was the right staging, and this is where it went wrong. The required flamboyance and costumes were missing, leaving a feeling similar to being stood up on a date.

 Natalia BarbuNatalia Barbu Moldova - Natalia Barbu - Fight (English)

Music/Lyrics: Alexandru Brasoveanu/Elena Buga

Natalia squeezed into the final by a very small margin. Her rock song was aggressive in nature and performance.

 Edsilia RombleyEdsilia Rombley The Netherlands - Edsilia Rombley - On Top Of The World (English)

Music/Lyrics: Tjeerd Oosterhuis, Martin Gijzemijter/Tjeerd Oosterhuis, Martin Gijzemijter, Maarten Ten Hove

One of the fan favourites to qualify for the final, Edsilia followed up her fourth place in Birmingham in 1998 with another well performed, well written pop tune, which was given a soul feel by Edsilia’s voice. A place in the final should have been hers.

Frederik NdociFrederik Ndoci  Albania - Aida & Frederik Ndoci - Hear My Plea (Albanian)

Music/Lyrics: Ardian Hila/Pandi Laco

Frederik’s plea was nothing if not heartfelt. Albanian rhythms mixed with his emotional voice to serve up a passionate, although slightly overblown song. 

 DQDQ Denmark - DQ - Drama Queen (English)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Andersen, Simon Munk/Peter Andersen, Claus Christensen

DQ was a surprise winner of the Danish selection given that he only qualified for the Danish final after a ‘contest of the losers’ second chance round. Drama Queen is uplifting and very foot-tappable, but is of the style that no longer scores stacks of points.  

 Dado TopicDado Topic Croatia - Dragonfly feat. Dado Topic - Vjerujem U Ljubav (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Dado Topic/Dado Topic

Go into a smoke-filled cabaret club in Zagreb and chances are you will hear this type of jazz/blues song.

 The Jet SetThe Jet Set Poland - The Jet Set - Time To Party (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mateusz Krezan/Kamil Varen, David Junior Serame

Time To Party is an odd mix of r’n’b and soul, slipping between the two styles very suddenly and unexpectedly. The r’n b vocal has the full of attitude delivery which turns off all but the teenagers. 

 Marija ŠerifovićMarija Šerifović Serbia - Marija Šerifović - Molitva (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare/Vladimir Graic, Sasa Milosevic Mare

Looking like she was on her way to a business meeting, Marija won both the semi-final and the final easily. Molitva is the type of Balkan ballad that has been heard before but is never a chore to hear again and again and again………..

 KabátKabát Czech Republic - Kabát - Malá Dáma (Czech)

Music/Lyrics: Kabát/Kabát

The Czech Republic got off to a rather inauspicious start result wise, but results can be deceiving. Malá Dáma is a quality rock song which the lead singer growls through. 

 SabrinaSabrina Portugal - Sabrina - Dança Comigo (vem Ser Feliz) (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Emanuel, Tó Maria Vinhas/Emanuel, Tó Maria Vinhas

Relax, lie back in the sun with a cocktail, put on the headphones and listen to the calming Dança Comigo, and all in the world will be all right.

 Karolina 2007Karolina Macedonia - Karolina - Mojot Svet (Macedonian)

Music/Lyrics: Grigor Koprov/Ognen Nedelkovski

Karolina put her heart and soul into her performance. In doing so, she added more weight to a song already heavy in quality. Her second Eurovision song, it’s full of power and drama.

 Guri SchankeGuri Schanke Norway - Guri Schanke - Ven A Bailar Conmigo (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Thomas G:Son/Thomas G:Son

Norway went for a cheeky ditty with a carnival atmosphere. It’s light and easy on the ear and did deserve a place in the final. However, it is similar in style to the Portuguese song, which had been heard just a few minutes previously, and this was possibly a factor

 Olivia LewisOlivia Lewis Malta - Olivia Lewis - Vertigo (English)

Music/Lyrics: Philip Vella, Gerald James Borg/Philip Vella, Gerald James Borg

The lively beginning is maintained to create three minutes of continuous, flowing music which is a joy to listen to. Many expected Olivia to be in the final and she deserved to be, but she ended up a long way from it.

 AnonymousAnonymous Andorra - Anonymous - Salvem El Món (Catalan)

Music/Lyrics: Anonymous/Anonymous

If Busted were Andorran, they would have been this band. Salvem El Món is schoolboy rock in that mould, but not as good. 

 Magdi RúzsaMagdi Rúzsa Hungary - Magdi Rúzsa - Unsubstantial Blues (English)

Music/Lyrics: Magdi Rúzsa/Imre Mozsik

Not many expected Magdi to reach the final, never mind qualify with such ease. It’s definitely Blues and it is good to see traditional styles of music can still mix it with the hip young things!

 Gerli PadarGerli Padar Estonia - Gerli Padar - Partners In Crime (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hendrik Sal-Saller, Berit Veiber/Hendrik Sal-Saller, Berit Veiber

The sister of 2001 winner, Tanal Padar, Gerli went for the family double with an, at times, intense pop song with a strong beat. She didn’t come close to achieving the highs of her brother, failing to escape the semi-final.   

 The KMG'sThe KMG's Belgium - The KMG's - Love Power (English)

Music/Lyrics: Paul Curtiz/Paul Curtiz, Wakas Ashiq

While Love Power is a credible effort musically with its soul/funk influences, what counts in a contest is how broad the appeal is. In this case, it would never have been broad enough. That said, it will age better than most. 

 Alenka GotarAlenka Gotar Slovenia - Alenka Gotar - Cvet Z Juga (Slovenia)

Music/Lyrics: Andrej Babic/Andrej Babic

Pop meets opera in a joyous mix that lifts the heart. It is a meeting that, on some levels at least, shouldn’t work, but somehow rarely goes wrong. 

 Kenan DoguluKenan Dogulu Turkey - Kenan Dogulu - Shake It Up Shekerim (English)

Music/Lyrics: Kenan Dogulu/Kenan Dogulu

How did this qualify for the final at all, never mind so easily? It may be contemporary and trendy, but it just sounds silly. 

 Eric PapilayaEric Papilaya Austria - Eric Papilaya - Get A Life - Get Alive (English)

Music/Lyrics: Greg Usek/Austin Howard

Many thought this would be Austria’s last entry, as national broadcaster, ORF, showed no interest to enter again. Something changed within the company, and Austria returned four years later in 2011. It has a positive message to a rock soundtrack. 

 Bonaparti.lvBonaparti.lv Latvia - Bonaparti.lv - Questa Notte (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Kjells Jenstigs/Kjells Jenstigs

Looking very dapper (at least, their top halves did) the multi-national vocal group brought a bit of class to proceedings. Their semi operatic ballad built to a powerful crescendo to leave a lasting and clear impression. 

The Full Results: Saved by the Jury

2009 Eurovision logo © eurovision.tv

The results of both semifinals have now been released by the EBU. They make interesting reading. The jury overturned the telephone vote to save countries in each of the semifinals. Quite annoying if your country finished 10th in the phone vote.

First Semifinal - Ten In, Eight Out

2009 Eurovision Song Contest 1st semi final © EBU

After months of finals, gossip and rumours, the time fans had been waiting for had finally arrived. The first semifinal was held tonight hosted by Andrey Malakhov and Natalia Vodianova. Eighteen songs were competing for ten places in the final, one of which would be decided by juries around Europe.

Greek and Cypriot Eurovision Party

Sakis Rouvas ©  John Stanton, EuroVisionary

The Eurovision Party season continued unabated with a party hosted by the Greek and Cypriot delegations and the huge Eurodom.  More than half of this year's contestants performed on the stage to a packed house.

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