Category Archives: Lithuania

The Weekend Update, 2/6

Another weekend has come and gone, with tons of Eurovision news to report!

Norway:
The Second Chance round, or “Siste Sjansen”, has wrapped up, with eight songs battling against each other in a series of tournament-style knockout rounds.  After all of the carnage subsided, we were left with two songs standing, and going to the finals next week.  And they are…
Sie Gubba – “Alt Du Vil Ha” and
The Lucky Bullets – “Fire Below”
Next week is the Norwegian Final…who are your favorites?

Croatia:
Yesterday, the top twelve contestants (including Daria Kinzer, selected as last week’s Wild Card) returned to the stage, fighting for six places in the next round.  Five of those placements were decided last night, while the sixth will be announced on next week’s show. Daria Kinzer, Mirko Švenda, Jacques Houdek, Katica Marinović, and Ana Eškinja.  Next week, those Top 6 performers will try to make it to the Top 4.

Lithuania:
The first round of Eurovizija 2011 kicked off this weekend in Lithuania.  A total of fourteen songs vied for only three spots in the final, and here are the victors:
Monika – Days go By
The Independent – 7th Bus
Sasha Song – The Slogan of Our Nation  (Eurofans might recognize Sasha from his beautiful, yet undervalued 2009 ESC entry, “Love“)

Latvia:
The past few years have not been easy for Latvia in Eurovision…they came in last place in their semifinal in 2009 and 2010, and haven’t made it into the Top Ten since 2005.  Let’s hope that Eirodziesma 2011 puts them back on the right track.  Out of ten contestants last night three were voted through to the finals by the television audience, while two others made it through with the jury’s blessing.
The audience’s picks:
Evija Sloka – Don’t Stop The Dance
Pieneņu vīns (Dandelion Wine) – You Are
Blitze – Hop

And the Jury’s favorites:
Jānis Stībelis – Let It Be Me
D-Family – Daylight

Sweden:
For many people, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen is the absolute ultimate.  Some even feel that it’s become more stereotypically “Eurovision” than Eurovision itself has!  This is the country that’s brought us ABBA, Carola, the Herreys, and Charlotte Nilsson-Perrelli…schlager in all of its glory!  However, over the past few years, Sweden has fallen further and further down the rankings, and they even missed the final last year for the first time since the 1970s.  This year, I think viewers can expect a mix of the classic Swedish style (glitz, key changes, choreography and wind machines) and more current styles (rock, hip-hop, etc).  We’ll see what lands a spot in Stockholm’s Globen Theater, and eventually, what makes its way to Germany.

Unfortunately, due to the Swedish broadcaster’s rules, once a song has made it through to the next round (or to the Second Chance round, like what we’ve just seen in Norway), those semifinal videos are made unavailable to the public, in order to keep songs that qualified early from having a significant advantage over those songs selected in later rounds.  While irritating for bloggers like myself, I understand where SVT is coming from.  What I can tell you, however, is that the two songs that qualified directly to March’s final are:
Daniel Saucedo – “In the Club” and SwingFly – “Me and My Drum”.

Moving on to the Second Chance round (Andra Chansen, in Swedish) are:
Jenny Silver – “Something in your Eyes” and Pernilla Andersson – “Desperados”

I don’t know about you, but I think I need a weekend to recover from this weekend!

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ESC 2010 Reviews: Lithuania

From Latvia, we fly over to neighboring Lithuania, a country that always seems to fly underneath the ESC radar (although, considering how bad some of their songs have been in the past, maybe that’s a good thing…)

They made their debut in 1994, and set an incredibly inauspicious precedent: Lithuania is the only country to debut in the Eurovision Song Contest and not win a single point.  (Other countries, such as Austria, Monaco, Turkey, Malta, and San Marino have all debuted in last place, but none of them hit “nul points” on their first shot out of the gate.)  The poor score of “Lopšinė mylimai (Sweetheart’s Lullabye)” left such a sour taste in broadcaster LRT’s mouth that they didn’t enter the contest again for another 5 years.  In 1999, however, Lithuania sent Aistė Smilgevičiūtė to sing “Strazdas (The Song Thrush)“, a neo-folk song performed in the Samogitian dialect of Lithuanian.  Although it only performed slightly better than the nation’s failed debut only 5 years earlier, “Strazdas” is one of my personal favorites.

Lithuania has made it to the Top 10 of an ESC only once.  In 2006, after years of basically abysmal results, LRT sent LT United to sing “We Are The Winners”.  This is another one of those cases where a random link to Youtube just won’t do…

(If you look closely, you can find the crazy dancing bald man from LT United making an appearance in InCulto’s video…)

These guys have been touring throughout their home country and the rest of Eastern Europe since 2003, and even came in 2nd place to LT United during the 2006 ESC Preselection with their song “Welcome to Lithuania“.  They’ll be competing as the first song in the second semifinal, so that alone might be a strike against them, but they’ve got a high-energy song with a vibe unlike any other song in the competition this year.  Also, if they copy their National Final performance, they drop their pants halfway through!  For that reason alone, I’m hoping that InCulto does well.

Nothing quite like a bunch of pantsless Lithuanian men to brighten your day! 😀

A Quick Holiday Message from InCulto…

Lithuania’s 2010 Entrant has a special message for all of us:

Happy Easter, Passover, Springtime, or whatever other holiday you might be celebrating today!

(And check out InCulto’s official entry, “Eastern European Funk” here!  Their full article will be up just as soon as I get to the “L”s…)

All the best,
Sam