Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zlata Ognevich for Ukraine

Another early-decider for the 2013 ESC was Ukraine, who held their National final during the morning of Sunday, December 23.  Following a 19-song (after one disqualification) event, one song stood head-and-shoulders above the others, winning a maximum score from both the public televote and the jury’s scores.  The third try was truly the charm for the lovely Zlata Ognevich, who will be taking the dramatic ballad “Gravity” to Malmö this spring. Read the rest of this entry

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Preview: Junior Eurovision 2012 (Part 1)

It appears that December 2012 is going to be a busy month in the Eurovision Sphere.  We are expecting National Finals from Belarus, Switzerland, Belgium, Ukraine, Albania, and Lithuania, alongside further details from myriad other countries from across the EBU’s auspices.  We already have two names confirmed (Anouk and Roberto Bellarossa), and there’s much more to come as the holiday season approaches.

But before Preseason really kicks into high gear, there’s event that has sort of become the final full-stop on the bleak annual period of Post-Eurovision Depression: the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.  The tenth annual edition of this event, geared at performers aged 10 to 15, will be held at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam on Saturday, December 1st.  With a dozen acts competing (including a trio of debuting nations), the youth of Europe is getting ready to shine.  Let’s take a look at the first half of this year’s Junior Eurovision Contestants (in running order): 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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Como Tudo Começou…

Hello out there in ESC-land! Hope you’ve all had a wonderful Holiday Season, no matter what festivals you may have indulged in.
I hope you’ll pardon my brief absence from writing here; to tell you the truth, I was having a bit of trouble deciding which direction I wanted to take the ESC Insider. I’ve been creating a list of topics that I’d like to cover at some point, and I had no idea where to start. One might think that Eurovision is not much more than frothy pop music and flashy costumes. Granted, that’s about 50% of the fun, but it gets so much more in-depth than that! In the future, I’ll be writing about politics, linguistics, fashion, comedy, GLBT topics…and I’m just getting warmed up!

So, after all of that, where do I start? Well, frankly, it’s a bit difficult and almost unreasonable to produce a Eurovision blog geared towards a generally American audience (hi, Mom!) without providing a bit of background information on the contest, isn’t it? So, to steal shamelessly from “The Sound of Music”, let’s start at the very beginning…

In the years following the Second World War, Europe was somewhat caught between the still-open wounds of the past and the need to move on into the future. As cities and infrastructure were being rebuilt, national television and radio broadcasters from all over the continent united in early 1950 into the European Broadcasting Union, or EBU. This organization now contains members from over 50 nations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, plus associate members from all over the rest of the world (including American stations ABC, CBS, NBC, and National Public Radio). In 1955, Swiss EBU member Marcel Bezençon came up with the idea of parlaying this emerging technological unity into a cultural exchange. After watching the Italian Sanremo Song Festival, which had been established in 1951, Bezençon hatched the idea of a Pan-European song contest, where EBU member nations could go head-to-head against one another in friendly competition. In 1956, Lugano hosted the inaugural edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, where Lys Assia won the roses for Switzerland with her chanson, “Refrain”. Few video recordings of this first ESC remain, but you can see Assia’s victory reprise below.

The 1956 contest was a pretty modest undertaking, a major contrast from today’s circus. Only seven nations competed (although the United Kingdom, Austria, and Denmark had submitted songs, they had missed the deadline for application, so they were not included in this edition). Furthermore, this was the only ESC where nations could submit multiple entries. Finally, 1956 was the only contest where no point totals or jury deliberations were released. We only know that Lys Assia won, but the second-place finisher and all of the other details have been lost to the ages.

It’s really amazing to think how far Eurovision has come since its inception back in the mid-1950s. But, in a way, it’s a pretty fair to say that the world as a whole has changed dramatically in the past 54 years.

Well, it’s getting late here in wintry Minnesota, so I’m going to tuck into bed for the evening. But I’ll be back soon with more insights! In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment! 🙂

Welcome!

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the inaugural post of ESC Insider! From this humble little blog, I’ll be periodically geeking out on my favorite topic of obsession: The Eurovision Song Contest. The good, the bad, the ugly, the campy, the politically charged, and the always entertaining. I won’t be posting much in the way of breaking news (you might want to check out http://www.oikotimes.com or http://www.esctoday.com for that sort of thing), but I’ll be offering you guys my personal reactions on the entries, the artists, and whatever else tickles my fancy! (Let’s face it, people, it’s my blog, and only about five people will be reading it, anyway!)

If, by some wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, you’ve tripped across my little chunk of HTML by happenstance, you might be wondering who I am, and how I’ve come to fall arse-over-teakettle in love with Eurovision. Well, I’m a twentysomething professional, living happily in the often wintry wonderland of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“Wait, what?” you must be thinking to yourself, “not only is this person obsessed enough with Eurovision that she’s dedicating her time to writing a blog about it, but she’s not even European?! Ye, gads!”

I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where foreign language and culture were part of the game, even if those cultures weren’t the ones that my family was descended from. When I went off to university, I picked a school where about 20% of the student body were international, so my worldview was expanded even further. One day, I was checking the day’s news on the BBC’s website, and there was an article tucked into the side panel of the Entertainment page that caught my interest. With one click, I was sucked into the world of Ruslana and Terry Wogan. I watched online the next year as Helena took the title for Greece, and the year afterwards, when I actually found myself giddy that Lordi had shattered Finland’s abysmal forty-year losing streak, I realized that I was past my event horizon. I’ve downloaded literally hundreds of ESC songs from over the decades, from Teddy Scholten to Dschingis Khan to Sasha Son, and I can’t wait to see what the next decades will bring!