Kiev 2017?!

Last night in a nailbiter that proved Sweden’s idea to separate out the televote and present it from lowest to highest scores was the right way to energize the final portion of the show,  Australia clobbered everyone in the jury vote, Russia topped the televote, and then Ukraine won by coming second in both categories.

Ukraine’s song is emotional, heartfelt, and very dark, recounting the feelings of loss Ukrainian Tatars suffered when Russia attacked in the throes of WW2. It’s not a song that people will get down to on the dance floor, sing along with at Eurovision parties, or probably even buy mp3s of online.  It’s a worthy winner, but not a fun one.  If Australia or even Russia had topped the scores, the crowd in the arena would have been jumping and bopping to the final reprise. Instead they watched and applauded respectfully.

slutresultatet-988x556

Sergey and Jamala have two different reactions to his voting score and her victory.

But Ukraine must be respected and applauded for her commitment and artistry.  Let’s wait and see how the hosting gig for next year plays out, since the Ukraine government and tv network are not exactly flush with cash to mount an event like Eurovision 2017.

Conchita Wurst — The Right Girl At the Right Time for Europe

Conchita Wurst is now the queen of Europe, at least from the way things feel around Denmark tonight.  Over the course of one week at Eurovision, the Austrian representative grew in people’s eyes from being a freakish novelty, to being an artist to contend with, to finally becoming a phenomenon and a potent symbol of how 21st-Century Europe wants to see itself.

After being hushed and cowed into silence at the Sochi Olympics this year, Europe at least is done with standing idly by and letting Russia and its cohorts turn back the clock a few centuries on human rights and how nations behave toward each other.  And what better way to take sides in the cultural battle between the repression the East is becoming known for, and the progressive values of Western Europe, than by choosing the most OUT THERE symbol of all that Russia detests, a gay man who performs as a bearded drag queen.  And Conchita’s Bond-esque “Rise Like a Phoenix”, Europe’s new song of the year, is not so subtly a message of gay pride and power.

For Europe to overwhelmingly take Conchita Wurst to its heart and vote her to victory in such convincing numbers is saying to the oppressors of gay men and women in Russia that we in the West do not just tolerate our sexual and social minorities, but stand by them and claim them as our valued friends and neighbors.  Yay Europe!

conchita2Victory

Listen to the five entries for Eurosong, Ireland’s National Selection

Ireland has been one of the strongest countries in all ESC, but hasn’t recently matched their huge success of the 1990s, when they won the whole contest three years in a row.

Last year's Irish representative, Ryan Dolan

Last year’s Irish representative, Ryan Dolan (who just “came out” to the press yesterday, BTW)

This year they do have a pretty strong group of entries to choose from including one by young Eurovision superfan/composer Jonas Gladnikoff.  He collaborated on two former Irish entries that went on to Eurovision, including Black Daisy’s “Et Cetera” and Niamh Kavanagh’s strong ballad “It’s for You”. Here are the five for your listening pleasure:

Patricia Roe

Eoghan Quigg

Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith (This is Jonas’ song, considered to be the strongest of the five)

Andrew Mann

Laura O’Neill

I think teenybopper Eoghan Quigg and Can-Linn featuring Kasey Smith have the advantage, but good luck to all five and we’ll see who Ireland chooses.

National final will take place on February 28th and the audience can vote for their favorites. Scoring will include televoting and regional juries.

Keep my room ready for me København!! Denmark wins!!!

The best possible present for me on my last night in København just arrived! Emmelie deForest, “Only Teardrops” and Denmark have won the 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest in Malmø. If I start saving now, I hope to be right back in this same sweet guest house room at Carsten’s one year from now!!

As predicted, the organizers arranged the order of voting countries to keep the suspense up as long as possible. After the first several sets of points, Denmark was doing ok but not in the lead. Then the points began to accumulate, she took a lead and never again gave it up. Azerbaijan and Ukraine provided the only real suspense as they constantly swapped the second position, which Azerbaijan finally seized.

Congratulations, Denmark, and thank you!  Now I won’t have to stay away too long…

OGAE Voting Keeps Denmark at the Top

denmarkAs expected, the last few sets of votes did nothing to shake up the earlier trends in the OGAE fan club polls. Denmark took a commanding victory with 374 points, quite comparable with Loreen’s 375-point win last year. I am sure that Denmark and Emmelie hope that she follows in Loreen’s footsteps in going from OGAE fan favorite to victory in ESC this year. Here are the final vote total after all the OGAE club reported their points:

Rank SCORE COUNTRY
1. 374 Denmark
2. 282 San Marino
3. 269 Norway
4. 195 Germany
5. 177 Italy
6. 147 Netherlands
7. 119 Ukraine
8. 119 United Kingdom
9. 103 Sweden
10. 83 Russia
11. 61 Azerbaijan
12. 41 Iceland
13. 37 Georgia
14. 32 Israel
15. 30 Switzerland
16. 29 Ireland
17. 28 Finland
18. 23 Montenegro
19. 18 Moldova
20. 12 Belarus
20. 12 Malta
22. 11 Austria
23. 7 Bulgaria
23. 7 Hungary
23. 7 Macedonia
26. 6 Spain
27. 5 Armenia
27. 5 Croatia
27. 5 Serbia
30. 4 Belgium
30. 4 Estonia
30. 4 Greece
33. 3 Romania
34. 2 France
35. 1 Slovenia
36. 0 Albania
36. 0 Cyprus
36. 0 Latvia
36. 0 Lithuania

Listen to 1st New Single from Loreen

This week Loreen’s album began popping up around the internet, in advance of its official release October 24th. What HAS been released offically as of yesterday is Crying Out Your Name”, the 1st bew single from the ESC winner since “Euphoria”. Another dancefloor ballad in the style of her last three singles, it is destined for chart and club success.

ESC Winner Loreen Scores with Lush New Album ‘Heal’

From the moment Sweden’s unique soul ballad princess Loreen took the 2011 Melodifestivalen stage with “My Heart Is Refusing Me”, fans have clamored for a full album from her.  Her second single “Sober” raised the bar, so when she entered MF 2012 and took home the trophy, and then topped that with the whole Eurovision victory, the cry for an album became a roar.

Loreen had long maintained that she preferred releasing a series of singles, and thought of any album release as being far in the future.  But as the reigning Eurovision queen, her career took on a life of its own and soon a full album was in the works (strike while the iron is hot, as they say).

Loreen's 'Heal' CD

Loreen’s ‘Heal’ CD available 24th October

October 24th marks the release of ‘Heal’, 12 tracks of electronic audio bliss that range from  the dance club anthems we are used to (like “Euphoria” and new followup single “Crying Out Your Name”) to lush, stormy ballads with blissed-out electronic “acoustic” production.

Our friend Karl Batterbee at Scandipop has previewed Loreen’s CD, and this is what he says we can expect:

On the one hand there were lots of signs pointing towards a very large likelihood and probability that ‘Heal’ could and would easily end up being one of the best albums of 2012. The first three singles, the fact it’s LOREEN, the way they seemed to be spending so much time on it, etc. But then on the other hand, Loreen herself had given a few worrying indications in various interviews, that the album wasn’t going to be what people were expecting. That if people were looking for an album of 12 ‘Euphoria’s, they would be disappointed. She’d actually even said to us personally in an interview we did with her for a magazine, that it was going to be half dance and half acoustic. Erm…….

Thankfully though, either something changed somewhere down the line, or perhaps her idea of acoustic is a little bit different to ours. In truth – yes it’s half dance and half balladry. But that latter half is lush, electronic, epic balladry, at that. So all is well – we’re happy campers.

It goes without saying that those dance tracks are still our favourite parts though. The first three singles, and brand new single ‘Crying Out Your Name’ don’t ever dip below being a 9.5 out of 10 moment, not even for a second (despite the two of those from 2011 – ‘My Heart Is Refusing Me’ and ‘Sober’ – having been remixed for the new album). Then there’s ‘In My Head’ which seems like the no brainer to be the next single after ‘Crying Out Your Name’ (we actually heard that Warner Music AGONISED for quite some time between two songs in particular to be the follow-up to ‘Euphoria’, so we’re guessing this was the other one). It’s big on the strings and big on the drama – two hallmarks of our heroine Loreen. Those who miss the original version of ‘My Heart Is Refusing Me’ on the album, should take a lot of solace from ‘In My Head’. The frantic piano middle eight is pure beauty. Also of note is ‘See You Again’, which is probably the most commercial thing on here aside from ‘Euphoria’ and the brand new version of ‘My Heart Is Refusing Me’. It’s on its own on here though, in that it’s the sort of song that you could imagine anyone singing, not just Loreen. It’s very good, but it’s also quite generic in comparison to the other tracks on here. But we’re the first to the dance floor when we hear a bit of generic pop, so we’re liking it probably a lot more than the Loreen purists will.

He has much more to say, so definitely seek out the full review.  And while you are there, check out the Scandipop store, which along with the full treasure trove of goodies already available will be shipping out Loreen’s ‘Heal’ as soon as it is released!