The Weekend Update, 1/23
Another day, another update…Semifinals have continued this weekend in Finland, Iceland, and Norway, and Croatia’s preselection has kicked off, as well. There are also further updates from Azerbaijan, Portugal, Moldova, and Malta! And away we go…
Three more acts have moved on to the Finnish Final after this Friday’s semi. After a public vote, this week’s winners are:
Paradise Oskar – “Da Da Dam” (Reminds me a bit of Belgium’s Tom Dice from last year, don’t you think? If Tom were a member of Greenpeace Suomi, this might have been the result.)
Milana Misic – “Sydämeni kaksi maata (Two Countries of my Heart)” (Milana is the daughter of a Croatian father and a Finnish mother who actually represented her nation fifty years ago in Finland’s debut ESC entry.)
Father McKenzie – “Good Enough” (Yes, they’re named for the character in “Eleanor Rigby”!)
Knocked out at this round of the competition were Jimi Constantine’s “Party to Party” and Soma Manuchar’s “Strong“. An interesting point of trivia, courtesy of reader Stefanos in Finland: Soma’s outfit was designed by Mert Otsamo, a finalist on the first season of “Muodin huipulle”, the Finnish version of “Project Runway”. According to Stefanos, “I liked his work on Muodin Huipulle more than I did Soma’s outfit.” I haven’t seen any of Otsamo’s work, but after seeing Soma’s outfit, I’d be hard-pressed to imagine I’d disagree.
Next, we move on to Iceland:
It’s been a week of highs and lows for Iceland this week. On Tuesday, we heard the sad and sudden news of the passing of Sigurjón Brink at the age of only 36. He was supposed to sing in the third semifinal next week, and it has been decided by both the network and his family that his entry, “Aftur Heim (Back Home)” would be performed as a tribute by a group of his friends and fellow musicians, and will therefore remain in the competition. Next week’s semifinal heat is sure to be an emotional one.
In the second semifinal, which aired last night, we had five songs competing for two slots in the final. The victorious tunes were:
Yohanna – “Nótt (Night)” (As I mentioned last week, Yohanna came in second place back in the 2009 competition with “Is It True?” I try to stay as neutral and impartial as I can, especially during the preselection phase of the Eurovision year, but I honestly think that Yohanna might, in fact, be the personification of a Disney princess.)
Matthías Matthíasson & Erla Björg Káradóttir – “Eldgos (Eruption)“ (I speak no Icelandic, but I’m pretty sure I recognized the word “Eyjafjallajökull” at the start of the song…is this a tribute to the epic volcano that covered half of Europe in ash last year? Any Icelandic readers wish to comment?)
We’ve got more news after the break!
From Florø, the westernmost town in Scandinavia, we had this week’s semifinal for the Melodi Grand Prix. Qualifying directly to the final are:
Babel Fish – “You Can Depend on Me” and
Hanne Sørvaag – “You’re Like a Melody” (Hanne is no stranger to Eurovision. She’s composed three songs for the competition: “Disappear” for Germany in 2008, “My Heart is Yours” for Norway 2010, and “Shine” for Georgia, also in 2010)
The first round of this year’s Dora Festival happened this weekend, and unlike what we’ve seen in the Nordic countries I’ve just mentioned, singers in Dora do not sing their proposed Eurovision songs until the final round of competition. Instead, they choose a song freely, and hope that televoters will look favorably on them. (This is actually a similar format to what Germany did last year. It worked for Lena Meyer-Landrut!) Out of twelve singers in this heat, five have already been chosen to continue on. The sixth will be announced next week.
Confirmed for the next round are: Miro Tomic, Jelena Vanjek, Dora Benc, Sabrina Hebiri, and Jacques Houdek (who was the evening’s ultimate winner). We’ll see another round of twelve next week.
After seven weeks of preliminary heats and one semifinal, the top 5 singers in Azerbaijan’s preselection have been picked. Like in Croatia, they have been singing covers, and we won’t hear their proposed entries until the final round (or, knowing Azerbaijan, possibly even after the winning singer has been selected). They’ll go up against each other on February 2th. And they are:
(For the record, I had been rooting for Çingiz Mustafayev, a participant on Yeni Ulduz, the Azeri version of the “Idol” franchise. Not only was he a strong singer and a confident performer, but he is also a trained classical Flamenco guitarist fluent in Azeri, Turkish, English, and Spanish. Sadly, he was knocked out of competition in the semifinal round. If he had been sent to Düsseldorf, and had his talents put to good use, Azerbaijan could have possibly gotten some valuable votes from Spain, who will be voting in their semifinal. Çingiz, if you’re reading this, please keep trying!)
Finally, lists of competing songs have been released in Moldova (although out of the 92, songs listed on the official Moldovan broadcaster’s website, only these songs are continuing on to the next round) Portugal, and Malta. Portugal will select their song on March 5th, Malta on February 12th, and Moldova on February 26th.
Phew! After all of that, I don’t know about you, but I need a nap. I’ll keep you all posted on more news as it comes in!