We’ve had a lot happen this weekend from all over the Eurovision world, so I’m going to break my Weekend Update up into bite-sized regional chunks. And away we go!
The last Finnish Semifinal was held on Friday evening, with three songs qualifying for the final via viewer votes, and one song saved by a jury wildcard. (Makes me feel a bit sorry for the fifth performer that night, as he was the only one not to qualify!)
Voted into the Final:
Saara Aalto – Blessed with Love (Remember what I said about Iceland’s Yohanna being the personification of a Disney Princess? Forget it; this girl is so treacly-sweet that I became a diabetic just by watching her!)
Stala & So – Pamela (The lead singer, Sampsa Astala, is actually the former drummer for a certain well-known Finnish Eurovision legend…)
(Sampsa Astala as “Kita” from Lordi…ain’t he cute?)
Saved by the Jury’s Wildcard:
The Finnish representative will be ultimately determined on February 12th.
As expected, the Icelandic semifinal on Saturday was not only full of talent, but also highly emotional. After the sudden passing of Sigurjón Brink about two weeks ago, there was a bit of doubt whether or not his song
“Aftur Heim (Home Again)” would be performed. Not only was it sung on Saturday night by a group of six of his personal friends, but it easily qualified for the final.
Jógvan Hansen – Ég Lofa (I Promise) (This winner of Iceland’s version of the X Factor is actually a native of the Faroe Islands, a Danish territory. This is his third attempt to represent his adopted homeland in Eurovision.)
As in Finland, the Icelandic final will be decided on February 12th. There has been a lot of momentum behind Yohanna, but between Jógvan’s popularity and the sympathy vote behind Sigurjón’s final song, the field is more open than I think people give it credit for. We’ll see in a few weeks!
The last of Norway’s semifinals happened this week, as well. As per usual, two songs qualified directly to the final, and two will move on to next week’s Second Chance round. And the winners are…
The Blacksheeps – Dance Tonight (This teen pop-rock group has quite a bit of experience on the song-competition front; they won the youth-based MGP Nordic competition back in 2008 with their song “Oro jaska, beana!“. Agnete and Emelie come from the extreme north of the country, and often mix their Norwegian lyrics with both English and Sami.)
Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba (Stella infuses this song with her Kenyan roots. She’s been active in the music scene in both Scandinavia and West Africa for a while, but this is her first venture towards Eurovision.)
Going to the Second Chance round are:
More news to come, of course!