Category Archives: Ireland

Updates and Videos and Translations, oh my!

Not sure what’s in the water in Europe today, but today we’re not only officially hearing the songs from the UK and San Marino (although the British song “I Can” was leaked yesterday, I’ll wait until after their official performance on “The Graham Norton Show” to post the clip), but revamped songs from Croatia and Georgia, a translated Dutch song, and the videos from Ireland, Spain, and Italy have all been released!

From Croatia, we have Daria Kinzer’s “Celebrate”, the former “Lahor” and “Break a Leg”:

We have Georgia’s new video with the updated version of “One More Day”, now with Eldrine’s new lead singer Sopho Toroshelidze:

From the Netherlands, the 3J’s “Je vecht nooit alleen” has become the English-language “Never Alone”:

From Ireland, we’ve got the official video from Jedward’s “Lipstick”:

Spain’s “Que me quiten lo bailao” by Lucía Pérez has gotten a minor revamp (with added instrumentation) and a brand new video, filmed in the resort town of Sitges during Carnival:

And finally, Italy’s Raphael Gualazzi has released a new version of “Follia d’Amore”, a bilingual track called “Madness of Love”:

More to come later today, with the official unveiling of Senit’s song for San Marino and Blue’s “I Can” for the UK!

It’s Jedward for Ireland!

As prayed for by many, feared by just as large an amount, and expected by most, RTÉ’s 2011 Eurovision hunt has resulted in a win by Jedward and their song “Lipstick”.  For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, or for those who are inexperienced in the world of the Grimes brothers, brace yourself.

I hate admitting this, but after a few listens to “Lipstick” (and particularly the studio version), it’s actually beginning to grow on me.  John and Edward’s voices might not be the second coming of Johnny Logan, but they’re incredibly energetic and high-spirited, and they have cannonballed completely into Eurovision’s campy deep end.  Love them or hate them, you know that they’ll put on a massive show in Germany, and the cameras will be following them around religiously at the Euroclub.  Whether this means that they’ll turn into the next Silvia Night or the next Verka Serduchka, who knows?  But, then again, Silvia and Verka were both considered joke entries, while Jedward (and their fans) aren’t.  Granted, I don’t want to go so far as to call them “serious musicians”…”serious entertainers” might be the better choice of phrase, don’t you think?  Will they win Eurovision?  I doubt it (although they’ll probably get maximum points from the UK if they reach the Finals).  At the very least, their enthusiasm is infectious.

The biggest drawback that I see here is that a hole in the ozone layer might open up right over Düsseldorf due to all of the hair products the boys use to construct their trademark coifs…please be careful, boys!

The Weekend Preview, 2/10

We’ve got another busy weekend ahead of us, so let’s dive right into what we can expect from all over the Eurovision world over the next few days!

On Friday, Azerbaijan will finally make their decision on who they’ll send to Germany this year.  Their preselection process started back in mid-November with 77 candidates, and they’ve finally been narrowed down to five final performers: Aynishan Qulieva, Ilgara Ibrahimova, Eldar Gasimov, Ilhama Gasimova, and Nigar Camal.  It’s still a bit unclear how the song will be selected; last year, the top three candidates sang three different songs, and while the winning performer was selected the night of the finals, the winning song wasn’t confirmed until over two weeks later.  Considering Azerbaijan’s penchant for flexibility on their preselection processes (their dates have been moved around many times, for example), who knows what answers we may find tomorrow night, or what questions will remain!

Also on Friday, Ireland will pick the artist and song that they hope will bring the nation to the top of the Eurovision heap for an eight year.  Brief snippets of the songs were released last week, but they were heard in their entirety for the first time just today.

Don Mescall – Talking with Jennifer (written by Ronan Hardiman, Don Mescall)
Nikki Kavanaugh – Falling (written by Christina Schilling, Camilla Gottschalck, Jonas Gladnikoff, and Hanif Sabzevari)
Bling – Shine On (written by Patrick Mahoney)
The Vard Sisters – Send Me an Angel (written by Liam Lawton)
Jedward – Lipstick (written by Dan Priddy, Lars Jensen, and Martin Larson)

Ironically, “Lipstick” is the only song that has been removed from YouTube for copyright reasons.  Why ironically?  Well, first, as its considered the frontrunner in tomorrow’s competition, and second, as a portion of the song was “accidentally” released on too early, prompting RTÉ to make the decision only one third in the hands of the audience’s vote, rather than fifty percent.  The remaining part of the decision will be in the hands of regional juries throughout Ireland.

Malta will hold their semifinal on Friday and their final on Saturday.  On Friday, the 24 candidate songs will be trimmed down to 16 by a 75/25 jury/audience vote decision.  On Saturday, those remaining songs will compete, and the winner will be decided by a 60/40 jury/audience split.  All the songs can be previewed, in their entirety, here.  For Malta fans, there are many familiar faces competing this weekend: Fabrizio Faniello made it to Eurovision in 2001 and 2006, and his younger sister Claudia has tried many times to make it to the event, but often falling just short of the ESC goal.  We also see the return of Wayne Micallef, who presented one of my favorite preselection songs from last year, “Save a Life“.  In fact, out of the twenty-three singers in this weekend’s competition, eighteen have attempted, at some point, to represent Malta in either Eurovision or Junior Eurovision in past years!  Will the victory go to a veteran, or to a new talent?  We shall see…

On Saturday, we’ll see what Belgium has to offer the growing Eurovision field.  In light of the difficult economic times, Walloon broadcaster RTBF came up with an interesting twist on an open call for songs.  Belgians were allowed to submit their songs (in French or English), and the public would be able to pledge money to the entries of their choice.  When a song received €20,000, they would be qualified to go on to the next round (all money donated to non-qualifying songs would be reimbursed).  That money would then go to the further production and refinement of their entry.  Thirty songs ended up making the monetary benchmark, and that was later pared down to fourteen final entries.  A 50/50 jury/televote split will decide the eventual winner.

We will also see Finals in Iceland, Norway, and Finland, continued semifinals in Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia, and Sweden, and the first semifinal in Estonia‘s Eestilaul.  Of course, I’ll try to bring you updates as often as I can!

Have a great weekend, Eurofans!

ESC 2010 Reviews: Ireland

Hmm…remember what I said about France being the Queen of Eurovision?  Scratch that.  With seven victories, including 4 wins and 2 second places in the 1990s alone, Ireland is truly the one that other nations look up to (or used to, anyway).  It’s getting late here in Minnesota, so I’ll just be quick about this; here are Ireland’s most glorious moments:

1970: Dana, “All Kinds of Everything“.  Sweet and syrupy as treacle, Dana was only about 18 years old and in training to be an English teacher when she took home Ireland’s first victory, .

1980: Johnny Logan, “What’s Another Year?” and 1987: Johnny Logan, “Hold Me Now“. Although many previous winners have come back to the contest (Anne Marie David from France/Luxembourg, Charlotte Perelli from Sweden, Gigliola Cinquetti from Italy, etc…), only Logan was ever able to grab two victories.  As wonderful as that performance was, however, I personally prefer this version.

1992: Linda Martin, “Why Me?“.  This could technically be considered Johnny Logan’s third ESC win, as he actually composed this entry, too!

1993: Niamh Kavanagh, “In Your Eyes“.  Niamh (pronounced Neeve) was a relative unknown in Ireland before her win, but she appeared in the soundtrack for the film adaptation of the Roddy Doyle book “The Committments”.  Great flick; I recommend it!

1994: Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids“.  There are rumors that RTE, the Irish broadcaster, picked this song to intentionally lose.  It wasn’t upbeat or flashy, there was no fancy
instrumentation (just a guitar and piano, nothing else), and no male duo had ever won the contest before.  Despite all of this, Paul and Charlie won handily, with a 60-point margin over 2nd-placed Poland.  The 1994 Contest is also notable for being the world premiere of Riverdance, performed during the interval when the juries completed their voting.

1996: Eimar Quinn, “The Voice“.  A former member of the choral group Anúna, “The Voice” was a definite departure from the ballads that had won the contest before for Ireland.  This one was much more traditionally Celtic-inspired.

Ok, just to be fair, Ireland’s had a few crushing defeats in the past few years, and one in particular was a real turkey.  No, seriously.  Dustin the Turkey is a well-known figure in the Irish media, and has even run a campaign for President on the platform of promising every young man in Ireland a date with one of the Pussycat Dolls.  His (its?) entry, “Irelande Douze Pointe ” was a twisted skewering of the contest as a whole, asking “Europe, where oh where did it all go wrong?”  Sadly, it didn’t make it out of the semifinals.  Actually, Ireland hasn’t made it out of the semis since 2007, when they eventually came in dead last in the final, a first for the Emerald Isle.

Carrying the Irish torch this year is 1993 ESC winner Niamh Kavanagh.

Her song, “It’s For You”, won the Irish preselection with the highest possible number of points from both the jury and televoters, and Eurovision almost always loves a returning champion, especially from the nation that’s won the ESC more often than any other.  She looks and sounds great, even considering that it’s been 17 years since her victory.  Niamh will be competing in the second semifinal, but she should definitely make it through to the final round.