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Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Wherever I Lay My Serhat

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Wherever I Lay My Serhat

We have more confirmed names and another song that will be heading to Tel Aviv, along with more results from the National Finals. We’ve also got our second ‘Eurovision Thoughts‘, as Luke Davies talks about bringing back the native language rule.

Eurovision Insight News Podcast: Wherever I Lay My Serhat

Another returning Eurovision star, the rules of musical duel rules, and Luke Davies has some thoughts on language at the Contest. Ewan Spence and the Insight team cover the latest news from the world of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.

It’s your last chance to buy tickets for the Scottish Eurovision shindig, Ne Party Pas Sans Moi, at ne-party-pas.com.

Remember you can stay up to date with all the Song Contest news by listening to the ESC Insight podcast. You’ll find the show in iTunes, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. A direct RSS feed is  available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here.

Categories: ESC Insight


Duncan Laurence takes the Eurovision stage for the Netherlands

Duncan Laurence takes the Eurovision stage for the Netherlands

Duncan Laurence

Young Duncan Laurence has been internally selected to represent the Netherlands at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The song, which blew the broadcaster away, will be presented on the 7th of March. 

Today, Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS has announced that singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence will represent them in Tel Aviv, Israel this May. About the song which will be made public on the 7th of March, Eric van Stade says on behalf of AVROTROS: “We were blown away by this song. It is so powerful that we have unanimously decided that Duncan is our man“,

Duncan graduated from the rock academy in Tilburg last year, but it is yet unknown if that means we’ll see another rock song from the Netherlands as the singer has proven to master other genres as well. We’ll see on the 7th of of March, how this song for Eurovision is.

Ilse DeLange (The Netherlands 2014) was part of the commitee selecting Duncan. She says: “Duncan is very special. What he writes is very international. It is authentic. It touches everything I think. He also has the personality that goes with such a great adventure. His priorities are always with the music“. Duncan and Ilse know each other as he was on her team in the Voice of Holland in 2014. He reached the live shows, but not the final. Back then, he took part under his real name Duncan de Moor.

Duncan recognise that he doesn’t quite match with the well known established artists the Netherlands sent in recent years, but he is glad that he got the chance to prove that he has what it takes: “My participation proves that you can just get the chance to show what you are worth on such a large platform. I am very proud to represent the Netherlands and I will give everything“.

Last year, Waylon represented the Netherlands for a second time. With the song Outlaw In ‘Em, he made it to the final, and finished 18th. While waiting for their 2019 entry, let’s remind ourselves of his song by watching a performance from him on homefield at the Eurovision In Concert:

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Serhat returns to Eurovision – how did others do in their Eurovision comeback?

Serhat returns to Eurovision – how did others do in their Eurovision comeback?

Serhat representing San Marino 2016

San Marino has chosen Serhat to represent them at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. In Russia, Sergey Lazarev’s possible return is hot topic. This year’s Eurovision could offer comeback from at least two people. What are the odds that they will do well?

We are still waiting for the confirmation from Russia on whether or not the rumours about Sergey holds any truth, but today, San Marino gave us the first comeback artist this year, as they presented Serhat as their 2019 act. The 54 year old Turkish singer took part for the country in 2016. With the song I Didn’t Know, he failed to reach the final. His song for the contest in Tel Aviv, Israel this May is not revealed yet, so we can’t predict based on that how he will do in this Eurovision return.

Last year we looked at past winners of the contest who returned and how they scored coming back. Now we have compiled a list of some notable Eurovision competitors who participated in the contest more than once (without winning on first attempt) and whether they achieved better success in their comeback.


Irish twins Jedward represented their home nation two years in a row. Like some of the other artists who have represented their country on more than one occasion, their first attempt was the most successful. In Düsseldorf, the twins finished in 8th place with their song Lipstick. The following year in Baku the boys returned with Waterline but finished in 19th place.

Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff’s first attempt at the contest was in 1968. His song Congratulations! was a huge hit with fans. but shockingly he lost out to Spain. Cliff returned to the contest in 1973 and finished third.

Valentina Monetta.

Valentina Monetta is the only Eurovision competitor to enter the contest on four consecutive times in a row. Representing San Marino, Valentina failed to qualify for the Grand Final in her first two attempts (2012 & 2013) but became Sammarinese hero when she qualified in 2014. She returned again in 2017 but again failed to qualify for the grand final.

Sakis Rouvas

Sakis represented Greece at the contest on two occasions. In 2004 he finished in 3rd place with the hit Shake It. He returned 5 years later, in 2009, with This is our night.  Unfortunately for Sakis, he failed to better the success of his first attempt and finished in 7th place.

Poli Genova

Bulgarian Poli Genova managed to score higher on her second attempt. In 2011, she competed against Jedward in Düsseldorf with her song Na Inat. She didn’t qualify for the final and returned five years later with English language song If Love Was A Crime where she finished in 4th place. At the time, this was Bulgaria’s highest ever scoring until Kristian Kostov came in 2nd place the following year.

Dima Bilan

If Sergey does indeed return to the contest he will he hoping to follow in Dima Bilan’s footsteps. In 2006 the Russian star finished in 2nd place with Never Let You Go. Two years later he returned and went on to win the contest with his song Believe giving Russia their first ever win at the contest.

In the video below, take a look at Serhat’s first Eurovision entry; I Didn’t Know from 2016:

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Miki will represent Spain at Eurovision 2019 with La Venda

Miki will represent Spain at Eurovision 2019 with La Venda


Tonight Spain became the second country to choose their Eurovision entry for 2019. Using the Operación Triunfo show, as they have so many years before, Miki was selected to sing the Spanish entry La Venda this year.

The show tonight was just like a big television party with the audience very involved as each act performed their song. Spain had a lot of good songs to choose from as they so desperately want to win Eurovision again, after a fifty year dry spell. Tonight’s winner won with 34 percent of the votes.


  • 1 The Host
  • 2 The Judges
  • 3 The Songs
  • 4 Spain In The Eurovision Song Contest

The Host

Roberto Jose Leal was tonight’s host. As well as introducing all the acts, he spent some time interviewing them all after they had sung their songs. Last years winner Alfred, also joined him for an interview at half time.

The Judges

The panel of experts this year were

Pastora Soler – Singer who represented Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012
Manuel Martos – Music executive and artistic director at Universal Music Spain
Tony Aguilar – Commentator of the Eurovision Song Contest for Spain
Doron Medalie – Israeli songwriter of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 winner Toy

The interval act was Eurovision favourite and second place act for Cyprus 2018, Eleni Fouriera, who sang Fuego and her latest song Tómame in an expensive trash bag.

The Songs

MariliaTodo bien

A very Spanish welcome from Marilia opening the show. In her short skirt, accompanied by five dancing bankers, this was an instant crowd pleaser. The only thing is that this is the type of thing that you expect to do well at Eurovision but it usually falls flat. Nevertheless a very good performance.

SabelaHoy soñaré

For a second you could have been forgiven that you were watching the Irish entry. Indeed Sabela was even wearing a green skirt to keep with the image. This was a very simple yet pleasing performance with a bit of chanting as well as the singing. Probably not quite as instant as the others so it will likely win.

FamousNo puedo más

A very powerful and assured performance from Famous in his flashy black and white shirt and suit. Famous has famously
said that he would love to go to Eurovision and this performance was worthy of making his dream come true. Four backing singers accompanied Famous throughout his song.

NataliaLa clave

This catchy dance number repeated the words Solo Tu over and over again. Natalia was accompanied by four female dancers which brought the song to life. Very catchy, great to be blasting out of Spanish night clubs.

See alsoEliot Vassamillet to represent Belgium in Tel Aviv

JuliaQué quieres que haga

In her white dress surrounded by leaves and greenery, Julia sang this powerful ballad. This is the type of song that Spain has done well with in the past – could this be the one to bring the Eurovision crown back to them. Julia had one of the longest held notes in the contest. You could tell by her smile that Pastora was proud of her.

MikiLa venda

Another fast paced dance and sing a long number, a real crowd pleaser. Miki had all the audience clapping along with him and they all seemed to know the words to all the song already. Five females danced along in the background holding several traditional instruments.

NoeliaHoy vuelvo a reír otra vez

After Julia, it was Noelia’s turn to out-Pastora Pastora and she succeeded very well. This was yet another strong powerful ballad, cleverly designed to show off Noelia’s excellent vocals. Another good potential entry – what a shame some other countries don’t have as many good songs in their final.

Carlos RightSe te nota

In his purple suit and flamenco guitar, Carlos continued with the crowd pleasing songs. So far there hasn’t been a poor song in the contest. Four backing musicians helped this breezy song along. How Spain is going to pick just one winner this year seems impossible.

Miki & NataliaNadie se salva

This years token duo, with the return of Natalia and Amir look a like, Miki. This was yet another up-tempo dance number, thought not quite ad=s frenetic as Miki’s previous song. However, yet again the audience were really into it, though they didn’t quite have the lovey dovey feel of lasts years duetting couple.


The most youthful performance of the night, Maria has two female dancers with her, while three male dancers stood by ready to make their move. It was becoming hard now to differentiate exactly which dance number was the best. Oh well, all that was left was for Spain to make up their mind. This seems like a favourite.

Spain In The Eurovision Song Contest

Despite ruling the late sixties and early seventies, with two first places and two second places, nowadays Spain finds itself, along with The United Kingdom, likely to be at the bottom of the scoreboard. It is no wonder that the Spanish fans often ask themselves what exactly does Spain need to do to win.

Massiel won the contest in 1968 with La La La, and Salome shared the win, the following year with Vivo Cantando. Tonight’s judge, Pastora Soler, even up against Euphoria, was tipped to win in 2012, but finished a disappointing 10th place.

(Ex-) Love birds Alfred and Amaia finished 23rd last year in Lisbon with Tu Canción.

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A Dal 2019: Hungary pick their first six songs to continue

A Dal 2019: Hungary pick their first six songs to continue

AWS (Hungary 2018)

Men’s World Championship in handball or first heat of A Dal? That was up to the TV viewers in Hungary to decide tonight. Those who tuned into the national selection saw 10 acts compete for six places in the semi-finals. 

At the same time as Hungary played Denmark in the World Championship in handball, the national A Dal selection kicked off. The handball match was lost, but six acts are now ready for next stage in A Dal.

Who shall represent Hungary at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Tonight, four acts were eliminated from that search. A combination of jury and tele voting selected the six acts that continue in the selection. The professional jury consisted of composer and musician Miklós Both, leadsinger Misi Mező, artist Feró Nagy, and vocal coach and singer Lilla Vincze.

A Dal Heat 1

The following 10 acts took part in tonight’s first heat.

Antal Tímea feat. Demko GergőKedves Világ! (Qualified)
Berkes OlivérViágítótorony
DENIZIde Várnak Vissza (Qualified)
Hamar BarniWasted
KonyhaSzázszor Visszajátszott (Qualified)
NomadA Remény Hídjai (Qualified)
Oláh GergőHozzád Bújnék (Qualified)
Pátkai RozinaFrida
Szekér GergőMadár, Repülj! (Qualified)
Váray LászlóSomeone Who Lives Like This

Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest

In 1994, Friderika Bayer was the first to take the Eurovision stage representing Hungary. She finished in a great 4th place with 122 points. That is today still the best result the country has achieved. They have five times in finished in top 10, and since the introduction of televised semi-finals, Hungary only failed to reach the final twice.

Coincidently, the two who didn’t reach the final came two years in a row, in 2008 and 2009.

Over the years, it has been quite mixed what Hungary has sent to the contest. They have chosen almost everything from ballads to heavy rock songs, some in English and others in their native Hungarian. Last year, it was rock band AWS who won their national A Dal final and went to Eurovision with the song Viszlát Nyár.

In the video below, take a look at AWS performing at last year’s Eurovision In Concert:

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France: Destination Eurovision 2019 – Second semi-final qualifiers

France: Destination Eurovision 2019 – Second semi-final qualifiers


The French line-up for the final is now complete after their second semi-final tonight. Eights act are now ready to battle it out in order to represent the country at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Tel Aviv, Israel this May.

We already knew four acts for the Grand Final next Saturday after Bilal Hassani easily secured 1st place on the scoreboard with his song Roi. The other qualifiers were Chimene Badi; Silvan Areg and Aysat. Can any of this week’s four qualifiers from the second semi final be a threat to the powerhouse that Bilal is slowly becoming?

The second semi final started off with a performance of last year’s Eurovision winner Toy by Netta Barzilai, she was back with here famous looper machine and a voluminous yellow dress.  The crowd went absolutely crazy for this.

For this semi final the format was the same, although we do have a change in the make up of the International Juries. Armenia is the only country represented again this week, with this time their representative being Head of Delegation Anushik Ter-Ghuksyan. The new countries with an international stake in the competition are Austria (Zoe Straub, ESC 2016 Participant); Czech Republic (Mikolas Josef, ESC 2018 Participant); Georgia (Head of Delegation, Natia Mshvenieradze) and Sweden’s, ‘Mr. Eurovision’ himself, Christer Björkman.

The voting was a mixture of International Jury votes (50%) and Televote (50%) to determine the four qualifiers.

The Show

Gabriella – On Cherche Encore (Never Get Enough)

Gabrielle, dressed in a yellow jumpsuit first sings Francis Cabrel’s, L’encore de tes yeux.  She has a beautiful voice which suits this song well. She then brings in the violin playing, which with all performances, is her unique quality she is bringing to the contest.  Each performers first song is an introduction to that particular persons style.

Gabrielle then starts her Eurovision potential entry. Starting at a piano, Gabrielle has charisma from the start. She then quickly leaves the piano and starts walking up the steps to the top of a large box with three images of her on it. Once happily placed on top of the box she starts playing her Violin and in the last part of the song she throws the bow away as we see there are Two violin players in the box below her. Great reaction from the crowd.

The Divaz – La Voix D’Aretha

Well it is no surprise that The Divaz chose to cover Aretha’s iconic song Respect, dressed all in red and in the same style.  It is a total throwback to the great Motown girl groups of the 60’s such as The Supremes and The Ronnettes. They sing the song completely acapella with a two beat boxers for company, showing just how powerful they are as singers.

Standing on a plinth above the stage, from the start of the song it harks back to those girl group performances mentioned above. The dance moves are on point and the voices are fantastic, it isn’t a Motown song more of a modern pop song with some vintage flourishes. It is slightly repetitive but their voices keep it interesting enough, it is not a performance or song that would win Eurovision.

We then go to Christer Björkman, Swedish jury member.

Ugo – Ce Qui Me Blesse

Ugo treats us to a performance of Resiste by former Eurovision winner France Gall.  This is a modern take on the song with, for me, too much of a jarring arrangement and too much finger clicking. Although it does give us more of an idea for what is to come with his entry.

Ugo starts standing in front of a setting sun, when the chorus hits in he starts to gesticulate around the stage as on the LED screen the outline of a female figure is looking down on him. It is just UGO on stage and a lot of spotlights. The presentation is simple and works well with the song, although the song is too linear in its structure and doesn’t have enough to make it interesting to a wide and varied audience.

We then meet the Georgian Jury member Natia, she praised French music and particularly the French language in music.

Tracy de Sa – Pour Aqui

We get a cover of Eminem’s song Lose Yourself from Tracy accompanied by a pianist, she seems to enjoy the performance and looks like a confident performer.

Tracy starts the song in a corridor outside of the studio, the walls are covered in neon flashing lights. As she walks down the corridor she is joined by four dancers and takes to stage. There is a great drum beat to this and some people could compare this to Asanda’s Legends last year, a real urban feel and Tracy sells the song with her performance. There is a lot of flashing lights in the background and lyrics flash up on the LED screen behind her. Unfortunately I feel this is all to distract from the lack of vocal ability. The song doesn’t necessarily need the best voice, but Tracy seems to run out of breath at certain points of the song.

After the first four performances we then go to the Green Room for a quick catch up with The Divaz, they treat everyone to another acapella performance, this time to Ce Ce Peniston’s Finally.

Emmanuel Moire – La Promesse

Emmanuel first covers A-Ha classic Take on Me, he sits at his piano and sings a stripped back intimate performance of the pop song. He really shows of his vocals with this song, and the crowd seemed to like him as they start chanting his name at the end.

Emmanuel starts his Ballad in a box as the camera gives the illusion that he is spinning and Emannuel acts the part stumbling out of the box onto the stage where two dancers are dancing expressively. They then start to interact with Emmanuel ripping of his oversized jacket by the sleeves first, then he starts to fight with them before it ends with him looking at double of himself as the lighting goes dark. The song is a pleasant ballad, but it is about 15 years too late and even though it does have some dynamism, it doesn’t excite enough.

We then see Mikolas Josef, the Czech Republic representative in 2018 as he talks about what he enjoys in a performance.

Noemie – Ma Petite Famille

Noemie gives us her take on a Britpop classic, Oasis’ Wonderwall, the arrangement gives the song a country vibe and personally I prefer this to the original.

Her entry starts with Noemie singing in front of a red screen with white polka dots before it changes to different patterned backgrounds. She stays pretty static on stage for two thirds of the song before she walks down into the crowd with her backing singers. It has a slight tribal sound with a constant drum beat and Noemie does perform the song well, even with some shaky vocals in parts.

The panel are then asked for their favourites so far, Gabriella and Emmanuel seem to be popular with all panel members as do The Divaz and Tracy.

We then see Zoe Straub talk about her Eurovision entry from 2016 and the language it was sung in.

Seemone- Tous Le Deux

A cover of Claude Francois’ Magnolia Forever introduces the viewers to Noemie. She has a classic chanson voice and this is a strong aspect of her entry to come.

This song is undeniably French, she gives vibes of Carla Bruni, with her breathy delivery and the song itself has a haunting melody. Noemie is striking in a navy and black dress as she stands centre stage with a spotlight on her and the camera panning around her. The song is a sleepy piano ballad in the French chanson style, and staged well this could do quite well at the contest. Noemie is overcome with emotion at the end and even makes the presenter emotional, this is a song you could get lost in and Noemie does drag you into her world. A fabulous performance.

Doutson – Sois un bon fils

Doutson is here to bring the fun and we can see this from the start of his performances, he first covers Cookie Diggler’s Femme Liberee.  He jumps and dances around the stage enjoying every minute and gets the audience pumped for what is to come.

the performance starts with Doutson talking, before the camera pans out to show a young dancer dressed similarly to him, which obviously represents him as a young boy. When the first chorus kicks in Doutson is joined by dancers, although they disappear in the verses and only come back for the chorus. At the bridge the young boy joins him centre stage for a powerful interaction before the song ends.

We meet Armenia Head of Delegation and international jury member Anushik Ter-Ghuksyan.

PhilipElise – Madame La Paix

Well there is no lack of confidence with PhilipElise as she covers Au P’tit Bonheur’s song J’veux Du Soliel while running around the stage and throws in some interesting facial expressions.

PhilipElise starts on a jetty as she walks to the end she then jumps onto a stage covered in dry ice. She is joine on stage with a guitar player, drummer and accordion player. Same as the cover song she runs around the stage interacting with the audience and the musicians. I feel as though she gives more energy to the song than is needed and takes away from a good song because of that.

Now that all songs have been performed we were then joined by Exectutive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jan Ola Sand.  He was their to remind people how important it was to have a competition like Destination Eurovision.

After 3 recaps of the entries, Vitaa performed her song Tu Me Laisseras with Circus inspired staging.


The Divaz262854Qualified
Tracy de Sa21315
Emmanuel Moire285684Qualified

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