Category Archives: Armenia

A New Year’s Gift from Armenia: Aram MP3

As the clock ticked down on the final minutes of 2013 (or, in some time zones, the first moments of 2014), many eyes in the Eurovision fan sphere were fixed on Yerevan, as AMPTV’s New Year’s Gala would be where Armenia’s newest ESC representative would be crowned.  Rumors had been swirling about the return of fan-favorite Sirusho after it was announced that she’d be performing on the program, but it turns out that 2014 will be featuring a fresh face. Read the rest of this entry

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JESC 2013 Preview: Part 1

Well, we’re just about at the apogee of the Eurovision calendar, when we’ve got as much time behind our last ESC experience as we do before the next one.  For some, that means that broadcasters are just beginning to publicize their plans, and the first names are beginning to be announced for a few early-bird nations.  However, as the plans for the grown-ups lie somewhat dormant, their younger counterparts are gearing up for their turn in the spotlight.

This year’s Junior Eurovision Song Contest will take place on November 30 in “Ukraine Palace of Arts”, located in the heart of Kiev.  The event will be hosted by 2013 ESC representative Zlata Ognevich and 2005 JESC host Timor Miroshnychenko (try saying that five times fast!), with musical appearances from Ruslana, Emmelie de Forest, and Zlata herself. Read the rest of this entry

“Lonely Planet” for Armenia

As announced back in January, Armenia would be returning to the Eurovision stage with Gor Sujyan, lead singer of the popular Yerevan band Dorians.  Today brought us their National Final, where Gor and his band brought four songs to the table. Read the rest of this entry

Welcoming back Armenia with Gor Sujyan

This year, despite the disheartening news that four nations would be withdrawing from Eurovision (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia, and Turkey), the 2013 event welcomes Armenia back into the competitive fold.  Skipping the show in Azerbaijan citing security reasons, nearly as soon as the curtain fell in Baku, the team from ARMTV confirmed their participation in Sweden.  Of course, the rumors about who would carry the nation’s tricolor started swirling.  The ever-present whispers of Armenian-American rockers System of a Down were quelled, and the gossip about the return of 2008 alumna Sirusho simply resulted in a lot of great publicity for her new single (which happens to be quite good)! Read the rest of this entry

Toe-to-Toe ESC Smackdown!

As I’ve said before, April is typically Eurovision No-Man’s-Land as we wait for rehearsals to start.  Why not fill the time with a bit of friendly competition?

So many of this year’s artists got to where they are today by standing on the shoulders of giants.  Or, at the very least, covering other people’s songs at National Finals or “Idol”/”X-Factor”/”The Voice”-type programs.  By sheer luck and coincidence, many of 2012’s Eurovision performers have either covered the same songs as one another, or simply performed past ESC classics.  So, in order to pass a bit of time, why don’t we figure out whose versions reign supreme?

As the Chairman would (almost) say..."Allez Musique!"

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Confirmed: Armenia Withdraws

Early on Wednesday, it was announced that Armenian broadcaster ARMTV had withdrawn their bid to participate in this year’s Eurovision Song contest, to be held in neighboring Azerbaijan.

According to ESC Executive Supervisor Jon Ola Sand, “We are truly disappointed by the broadcaster’s decision to withdraw from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.  Despite the efforts of the EBU and the Host Broadcaster to ensure a smooth participation for the Armenian delegation in this year’s Contest, circumstances beyond our control lead to this unfortunate decision.” Read the rest of this entry

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 1)

Like many Eurovision fans and fanatics (myself included), the period between the end of May and the beginning of December is often a melancholy bit of time while we wait for news on the next year’s edition and constantly re-hash the events of the past.  For me, this is the perfect time to look back on the songs that didn’t quite make it to Düsseldorf this year; some of these also-rans are just as entertaining or endearing as the tunes that made the journey to the main event.  Out of the forty-three nations that sent songs to Germany this year, thirty-four of them had national selections (and the rest, like France, Belarus, Turkey, et cetera, were internal selections made behind closed doors).  Needless to say, there’s a lot of ground to cover!  So, starting alphabetically…

Albania: For me, the Albanian Preselection (or Festivali i Këngës) is one of the more underrated events of the Eurovision year.  It occurs early in the ESC cycle (generally falling around Boxing Day), and it tends to involve both young, fresh faces as well as veteran performers.  This year’s FiK winner was Aurela Gaçe’s “Kënga Ime”, which eventually became the epic, aquiline “Feel the Passion“.  However, in second place this year was the lovely duet “Ende ka shpresë (There is Still Hope)”, written and performed by Alban Skenderaj and Miriam Cani.  

I don’t know if this song would have been translated into English (as so many other Albanian entries have been over the past few years), but if it had, it could have possibly given Azerbaijan’s Ell and Nikki a run for their money.  
 
(And, for the record, another personal favorite of mine was Kamela Islamaj’s “Jetova per te dy (I Lived for Us)”, which came in 10th place in the FiK.  While it might not have gone over as well in the ESC as “Ende ka shpresë”, I absolutely love Kamela’s soulful, bluesy, voice.)
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New Videos from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Latvia (plus, new versions for France and Croatia!)

Over the past week, a number of new videos have been released for this year’s Eurovision hopefuls.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

First up, Armenia has revealed the official clip for Emmy’s “Boom Boom”, featuring German-Armenian boxer Arthur Abraham:

Well, at least the Armenians are probably realizing just how kitschy their song is…having Emmy and her pals dance around in a ring, wearing bedazzled boxing gloves and randomly turning into comic book characters is a pretty decent sign that they’re taking “Boom Boom” with a grain of salt (and I, for one, could use a margarita after watching it.  Oy…)

Next up, we’ve got Armenia’s cross-Caucasus neighbors (and perpetual rivals) Azerbaijan, who released a second clip for Eldar and Nigar’s “Running Scared”:

Compared to previous years’ entries from Baku, “Running Scared” is elegant, subtle, and sweet.  The video is visually beautiful (not only because of the landscapes, but also for the copious shots of Eldar and Nigar!).  I’m not quite sure why Azerbaijan insisted on recording a second video for “Running Scared”, as their first version was definitely not unpleasant, but considering the country’s penchant for Eurovision excess, they probably just figured that any money spent was money well spent.
We’ve also seen the premiere of Latvia’s “Angel in Disguise”, by pop duo Musiqq:

Another simple, straightforward song with an equally straightforward video.  My only concern is that by putting the chorus’s lyrics right up on screen, the fact that Musiqq is singing in so-called “Eurovision English” is put front and center.  It’s not grammatically perfect, and it becomes more noticeable when lyrics like “stare me with candy eyes” are repeatedly displayed.  Marats and Emīls are definitely easy on the eyes, though, and “Angel in Disguise” is the only ESC entry this year where I actually like the random rap-break.

Croatia’s Daria Kinzer has just released translations of “Celebrate” in Russian, French, and German, bringing the number of versions released to this point up to six (including the original Croatian and the first English rendition, “Break a Leg”).  I’m personally still waiting on Esperanto, Swahili and Hawaiian, but maybe that’s just me…

Finally, French tenor Amaury Vassili has recently re-released his second album “Canterò” with “Sognu” added to the track listing, as well as a new, English-language version of this year’s Eurovision entry, entitled “I Would Dream About Her“.  I personally prefer the original Corsican version, but as Amaury will not be using this new translation on stage in Düsseldorf, it’s a bit of a moot point.

Emmy sends "Boom Boom" for Armenia

This weekend, Armenia finally made its decision for Eurovision.  Singer Emmy was internally selected by broadcaster ARMTV back in December, but it was only this weekend that the four candidate songs were fully presented to the public and voted on by a 50/50 audience/jury split.  After all of the ballots were tallied, the winner was “Boom Boom”:

“Boom Boom” beat out two other upbeat songs, “Hi” and “Ayo“, and the ballad “Goodbye” for the victory.  Frankly, out of all of Emmy’s potential entries, this was actually my personal least favorite. The beginning reminds me of “I Wanna”, the Latvian winner from 2002, and while the bridge seems promising, the chorus seems clichéd.  However, Armenia has an incredibly strong track record in their short Eurovision history; since their debut in 2006, they’ve made the Top Ten each year.  I anticipate that Armenia will put together a very high-energy stage show, and considering that traditional voting allies Russia, Georgia, and Greece are in their semifinal, they should be a pretty strong bet to pass into the Finals on May 14th.

Major news from Armenia!

Another day, another confirmation…

Armenian broadcaster ARMTV announced that an internal selection process has chosen Emma Bejanyan (better known to the Eurovision world as “Emmy”) as their representative in Düsseldorf this May.  I’ve mentioned Emmy in an earlier post; her duet with Mihran “Hey (Let Me Hear You Say)” came in second place in last year’s National Final to Eva Rivas’s “Apricot Stone“.  While Eva did perform well in Oslo, coming in 7th place, it seems that Armenia didn’t want to let Emmy go by the wayside.  A public call for songs has been established, and we should know what she will perform within the next few months.

In the meantime, here’s a little sampling of some of Emmy’s other work:

So, what do you think?  Does Emmy have a shot at besting the 4th-place finish set by Sirusho back in 2008?