Category Archives: Lithuania

Lithuania: Vilja gets some “Attention”

vilija-mataciunaite Some national finals are relatively straightforward.  One night, a handful of acts, a jury, a televote, maybe a superfinal, and you’ve got an act, ready to go to Eurovision.  Bing bang boom, you’re done.

Well, Lithuania doesn’t play by your rules, man.

This year’s “Eurovizijos” was a twelve-week long affair, incorporating two competitions in one.  Rather than having each singer take a song to the National Selection, a pool of twenty singers was slowly whittled down while a separate pool of sixteen songs was also winnowed into one winner.  By the time the Final rolled around, three singers had to perform the same song, “Attention“, whether it was suited to their vocals and personal style or not.  Read the rest of this entry

Lithuania has decided: it’s Andrius Pojavis!

After a selection process stretching as far back as November, Lithuania has finally chosen their winner.  Fighting off momentum from acts like DAR, Gerai Gerai & Miss Sheep, and constant NF also-ran Linas Adomaitis, it was underdog Andrius Pojavis who took the title with his self-penned song “Something”, despite only coming in third and fourth in his qualification heat and semifinal, respectively: Read the rest of this entry

Lithuania has decided: it’s Donny Montell!

Saturday marked the Finals of Lithuania’s search for their Eurovision performer for Baku.  Fourteen hopefuls took the stage for their shot at a ticket to Azerbaijan, but (of course) only one could win.  After those performances (as well as a three-contestant Superfinal), it was 24-year old Donny Montell (real name: Donatas Montvydas) who swept the jury vote and dominated the televote, and we’ll be hearing “Love is Blind” at the Crystal Arena. Read the rest of this entry

The Weekend Preview: March 3

This weekend beings us one of the last hectic Saturdays of the preseason, with three National Finals (Estonia, Lithuania, and Spain) and Sweden’s Second Chance round.  Let’s take a look at what we can expect from this busy day:

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Weekend Semifinal Round-Up

This weekend marked the start of the semifinals for Estonia’s Eestilaul, as well as the third heats in Sweden and Lithuania, and the continuation of the Finnish selection process.  Furthermore, we’ve gotten more clarification on the songs that Spain will be choosing from for Pastora Soler.  Let’s take a look at what happened this weekend: Read the rest of this entry

Results: Second Semifinal in Lithuania

This weekend marked the second Semifinal in Lithuania’s search for their Eurovision representative, and three more songs saw their dreams of singing for their homeland in Baku continue.  Let’s take a peek at the trio of qualifiers from this week’s pool of nine candidates:

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Results: First Semifinal in Lithuania

This past weekend was a busy one in the world of Eurovision.  Alongside the National Final in Malta and Semis in Sweden, Hungary, and Norway, Lithuania also held their first Semifinal of the 2012 season.  Nine songs were performed, with the top scorers in a combined jury and televote moving on to the Finals on March 3.

Continuing on in the competition are: Read the rest of this entry

Eurovision 2011: The Best of the Rest (Part 5)

(Pardon the brief hiatus…I just started a new job, and I took a quick trip out to New York to see some family and friends. But now I’m back in full force!)

Lithuania: Evelina Sašenko shocked quite a few people when her dramatic ballad “C’est Ma Vie” qualified for the Finals.  (You could have heard a pin drop in the arena when the Lithuanian flag emerged from its little digital envelope the night of its Semifinal!)  Without a doubt, this was one of the true surprises of the 2011 Contest. 

There were a few other songs from Lithuania that I was hoping to see in Düsseldorf, with some being more guilty pleasures than others.  Donny Montell (real name: Donatas Montvydas) has tried many times over the past few years to represent his home nation, and he even had two entries in the National Final this year (including a duet with 2009 representative Sasha Song).  Donny’s solo entry this year, “Let Me”, came in 5th place this year, despite his attempted channeling of Justin Timberlake:

For fans of sweet throwback entries (like Serbia’s “Čaroban”), Liepa Mondeikaitė’s breezy “Laukiu (I’m Looking Forward)” might have done the trick.  This sixth-place finisher was the only song in the finals sung in Lithuanian (and I might be the only one who see this, but I think Kim Cattrall might have a doppelganger in Vilnius…)

(FYR) Macedonia: I had a bit of difficulty following Skopje Fest this year, partially due to a rough connection to the show’s stream, and partially because the show was interminably long and drawn-out.  When Vlatko Ilievski’s “Rusinka” took the crown, I basically shrugged my shoulders and turned to the Slovene selection, which was wrapping up at about the same time.  

That being said, there were two other songs that stayed with me after the Macedonian National Final, but for two completely different reasons.  This year’s runner-up was Martin Srbinovski’s “Ram Tam Tam”, a danceable, folk-tinged rock number that I immediately fell in love with: 

On the other side of the equation, however, was the nul-pointer Rok Agresori’s “Kukuriku”, which defies all explanation:

Now that I’ve completely destroyed your faith in humanity, let’s move on to: 

Malta: Even if you weren’t a fan of Glen Vella’s “One Life“, it was impossible not to get swept up in his absolutely infectious energy.  Whether it was him belting out gospel numbers during his press conference, living it up in the Euroclub every night, or his near-constant smile, even when he failed to qualify for the final by the razor-thin margin of a single point.  It had been Glen’s dream to sing at Eurovision, and his enthusiasm and sheer glee was impossible to resist!

The Maltese national selection was a family affair; runner-up Richard Edwards (here’s his “Finally“) and eighth-place Wayne Micallef (“Everybody Sing“) are brothers, and two-time Eurovision participant Fabrizio Faniello (“No Surrender“) went up against his little sister Claudia (“Movie in My Mind“).  (Fabrizio came in 4th, Claudia in 9th.)  My personal favorite, however, was the big-voiced ballad “If I Could Do It All Again” by Raquela, a song I could easily imagine over the ending credits of some big-budget Hollywood flick:

This 5th-place finisher could have gone toe-to-toe with Austria’s Nadine Beiler or Slovenia’s Maja Keuc…maybe next year!

Moldova: I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again next year: I love Moldova.  They come to the Eurovision Party every year with the intention of having a fabulous time and they generally succeed.  Whether they’re bringing someone’s grandmother, a big comfy sofa, an epic sax, or a unicycle-riding, kushma-wearing fairytale princess (as in the case of this year’s “So Lucky” by Zdob şi Zdub), you can’t forget them, even if you try.

Keeping in line with the manic, madcap, and exuberant style we’re used to seeing from the Moldovans over the past few years, my favorite selection from 2011 was Doiniţa Gherman’s “Viaţa (Life)”, an energetic turbofolk number that is basically in line with her National Final submissions from 2009 (Hei! Exploadează!) and 2010 (“Meloterapia“).

Next up: the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal!

Evelina Sašenko – "C’est Ma Vie" for Lithuania

Another day, another hole filled on the Eurovision 2011 list of players!

After last year’s near-miss with InCulto’s lighthearted, fun-spirited, trouser-ripping ditty “Eastern European Funk“, the Lithuanians decided to go in another direction for 2011…

Evelina Sašenko will be singing “C’est Ma Vie (It’s My Life)” in Düsseldorf for the Eurovision Song Contest 2011, but this could have just as easily been inserted into 1994, 1962, or almost any other ESC year.  I want to like it, and I’m happy to see the first official ballad of the year, but this is just…syrupy.  I feel like I need to take a shower just to rinse the treacle out of my hair.  Evelina has an undeniably lovely voice, and I wish her all the luck in the world, but she’ll be going up against high-energy tunes from Poland, Norway, Georgia, not to mention perennial powerhouse Turkey, among others, in her semifinal.  “C’est Ma Vie” is pretty, but so far it looks like it’s getting my “Cotton Candy Award” for the year: incredibly sweet, and enjoyable for the three minutes you have it, but as soon as you consume it, it dematerializes and is gone.

A funny point of fact, though…as France’s song will be performed in Corsican, and both Belgium and Switzerland will be singing in English, the only bits of French that we’re likely to hear in Eurovision 2011 will be from…Lithuania?!?

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!