Worst dressed Eurovision 2019 act: Conan Osíris wins Barbara Dex Award

Worst dressed Eurovision 2019 act: Conan Osíris wins Barbara Dex Award

Conan Osiris (Portugal 2019)

Conan Osíris got the outfit so completely wrong this year that he has just won the anual Barbara Dex Award. Cyprus and Belarus came in second and third.

Barbara Dex Award is named after Barbara Dex, who represented Belgium at the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest. Her self-created dress has put name to this special award that has been handed out every year since 1997. The purpose is simple: Pick the worst dressed act from that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It’s a democratic online voting held by Songfestival.be where everyone can only vote once. Voting has been open since May 19th – the day after the final. After seven days of voting, it closed today at 12.00 CEST. An hour after closing the voting, the result was published.

One hour before the lines closed, a message was shared on Facebook encouraging people to remember to vote. It was at that time so close that every vote could matter. A record number of nearly 4000 votes were received.

The entire top 5 was:

  1. Portugal – Conan Osiris
  2. Cyprus – Tamta
  3. Belarus – ZENA
  4. Belgium  – Eliot
  5. North Macedonia – Tamara Todevska

Barbara Dex Award winners

2019Conan OsírisPortugal
2018Eye CueNorth Macedonia
2017Slavko KalezicMontenegro
2016Nina KraljićCroatia
2015Trijntje OosterhuisThe Netherlands
2014Vilija MatačiūnaitėLithuania
2013Moje 3Serbia
2012Rona NishliuAlbania
2010Milan StankovićSerbia
2009Zoli ÁdokHungary
2007Verka SerduchkaUkraine
2005Martin VučićNorth Macedonia
2004Sanda LadoșiRomania
2002Michalis RakintzisGreece
2000Nathalie SorceBelgium
1998Guildo HornGermany
1997Debbie ScerriMalta

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10 years after Fairytale: Alexander Rybak proves he is still here with a great new song

10 years after Fairytale: Alexander Rybak proves he is still here with a great new song

Alexander Rybak

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“I’m Still Here”. That’s the title of a new strong output from Alexander Rybak. This is quite a bit different from most of his other material, but absolutely worth listening to. The 2009 Eurovision winner sings about how life is, hoping to get back together with the one who left him.

The new single I’m Still Here was released on the 11th of May, but let’s be honest, it probably got buried a bit underneath all the news from a certain contest going on, a contest Alexander Rybak actually won 10 years ago with the song Fairytale. At the contest held in Moscow, Russia, he scored an impressive 387 points, which at that time, was the highest number of points any winner had received.

Last year, Mr Rybak returned to the Eurovision Song Contest. He tought us all how to write a song – and it did win it’s semi-final. In the final however, it only finished 15th.

I’m Still Here is a great song. It starts out with him playing the violin we know so well. His voice is almost fragile as he describes love as seasons changing:

All the pretty birds, and the flowers in your window, staying for the summer, gone in the winter. Birds fly away. That’s the way love goes“.

The piano adds great depth to the song – and half way into it, when a strong choir kicks in, you are really captured. He tells the girl who left him, that he is still there. He still loves her. Now, he is holding on for the day that it will be the two of them again. It gets a bit repetitive around 3 minutes into it, just to fade out lovely at the end.

The song is a new release from Rybak, but he actually wrote it for Franklin Calleja, who participated at the Maltese national selection in 2015 with this song. It placed 5th. The two versions are similar naturally, but Rybak gives it so much more. The instruments and the powerful choir adds to the charm of this new version.

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Jacques Houdek angry for being accused of taking advantage of Roko for self-promotion

Jacques Houdek angry for being accused of taking advantage of Roko for self-promotion

Roko (Croatia 2019)

Jacques Houdek is angry. Really angry. This is due to a few Croatian media have accused him of taking advantage of Roko Blažević, who unfortunately failed to bring this country into this year’s Eurovision final. 

Jacques Houdek, who back in 2017 performed MyFriend and finished 13th in the final, wrote and composed this year’s Croatian entry TheDream. Houdek chose 18-year-old Roko Blažević to perform his song in Tel Aviv. The two have co-worked for some time, as Houdek was Roko’s mentor in the Croatian talent-show Zvijezde (Stars), where Roko came second last year.

After Croatia failed to qualify for the final in this year’s contest, the Croatian web portal direktno.hr published criticizing Jacques Houdek for taking advantage of Roko. Allegedly, he spent too much time in Israel on self-promotion. They continued saying that Houdek put too much focus on himself during the Eurovision weeks, and thereby overshadowed Roko. Direktno.hr claimes, for example, that Houdek came up with too many comments and videos from Tel Aviv on his Facebook and that it was wrong of him to release the video for his new song Razgovor during the Eurovision event. Another claim is the video of Houdek singing the traditional Israeli song Katonti at the Croatian embassy in Tel Aviv. According to the portal the video directed attention away from Roko as it circulated on social media for a couple of days.

See alsoSerbian Nevena Božović blames neighbour countries for her disappointing result

Jacques Houdek has addressed this issue on Facebook. He described all the claims as ridiculous, sad and improper. Houdek is also planing to pursue a lawsuit against those media who have criticized him. He explained that his goal in life is helping young talented artists as Roko to find their way to the Croatian music scene and that he is not afraid of rivalry, and asks if the media expected him to be invisible, and states that this Eurovision entry was a project for the two of them.

I don’t know what did you expect from me? To get invisible? I am very charismatic person and yes, I have talent and I have my opinion. And I am very powerful even without trying to make an effort. I have used all these characteristics in order to promote our Roko and to serve our song and our Croatia. Because “The Dream” was our common project. Thanks to all of you, who have recognized that.

Jacques Houdek

Roko Blažević didn’t make any comments on the accusations against Houdek. To Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija, he however said after the missed qualification that they did their best on stage, enjoyed it and of course is sad, the viewers didn’t award it.

I cannot say I am disappointed, because there is no need to be disappointed. We left our hearts on the stage and we did our best. We enjoyed it to the maximum and we are said because we haven’t been awarded by the audience.

Roko Blažević

At the video below, you can watch Roko and Jacques Houdek singing My Friend (Croatia 2017) together from a press conference at the Eurovision Song Contest. Most loved it, but is this the kind of self-promotion, the Croatian media didn’t like?

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Which National Finals Sent The Right Songs To Tel Aviv 2019?

Which National Finals Sent The Right Songs To Tel Aviv 2019?

Netherlands Were Right To Choose Duncan Laurence

It won. Simple.

But looking beyond that, the internal selection of Duncan Laurence and the move away from Americana into something that feels ‘of the moment’ was a great move. Having spoken to Laurence, it looks like the initial push to submit ‘Arcade’ came from his Voice mentor Ilse DeLange, who was sure it would do well at the Eurovision Song Contest even though Laurence was sure it was a song better suited to Spotify.

Arcade’ has topped the Spotify charts as well as the Eurovision scoreboard.

Iceland Was Right To Choose Hatari

With no qualification to the Grand Final since Pollaponk in 2014, RUV came into the season needing to break a run of four non-qualifications. Although Söngvakeppnin featured a number of familiar names and songs that were built from the same mould as ’Unbroken’ and ‘Our Choice’, there was an alternative that could break the dead-lock.

Step forward Hatari.

In addition to the light they were able to shine on the darker areas of both Israel’s hosting and the limits of the ‘non-political’ Song Contest rule; Klemens, Matthias, and Einar created a passionate international fan-base and brought an under-represented genre to the Contest.

You can be sure that Hatari’s impact on the Contest will be remembered across the community in the same way as Iceland will remember its return to the Top Ten.

Norway Was Right To Choose KEiiNO

Because sometimes you just need three minutes of happiness.

Last year’s MGP was a wonderful TV show, but in Eurovision terms Norway was essentially coronating Alexander Rybak. But a bit further down the playbill you found Tom Hugo singing ‘I Like I Like I Like’ and Alexandra Rotan duetting with Stella Mwangi (Norway 2011) on ‘You Got Me’. Looking back, those appearances felt like a try-out for the main event – and it was noticeable that Stella and Alexandra too to the 2018 preview circuit ‘You Got Me’ as a warm up act for the various concerts.

They both knew how the circus worked. All it needed was a song that matched their infectious energy… at which point our musical Aragorn of the North comes into focus. Fred-René Buljo brings his mix of Sami and rap to the pop and schlager of Tom and Alexandra.

Schlagerjoik is born (please let it live long enough for at least one album) and Norway go on to (a) beat Sweden (err…  maybe not) and (b) top the televote with Spirit In The Sky.

Albania Was Right To Choose Jonida Maliqi

Given that Festivali i Këngës chooses a song for Albania (the ticket to Eurovision is a bonus, not a mission), the decisions isn’t necessarily about choosing Jonida Maliqi, it’s about the decision to not fiddle with the song (beyond the three-minute rule and sorting out a backing track) and trust Maliqi to bring all of her talent and power to the stage in the Tel Aviv Expo.

Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot when discussing Eurovision performance, but this is a classic example of just that. In hindsight it was always qualifying.

Malta Was Right To Choose Michaela Pace

Much like Iceland, Malta’s PBS has been on a run of poor results, with Ira Losco’s ‘Walk On Water’ the only highlight in the last few years. The National Final system under MESC continued to sport the same faces with younger singers building up skills and experiences, but when you can call the winner of MESC by working out ‘who’s turn it is’ when the entry list is released, then something needs to change.

That change was The X-Factor. The long-running franchise debuted on PBS during the 2018/19 season, with the winner getting the Eurovision ticket. The rules of X-Factor also pushed out many familiar faces from MESC, clearing the way for Michaela Pace to break the cycle with a youthful sound and a ‘Post-Margaret’ Eurovision banger in Chameleon.

As for a training ground for future singers, having Destiny Chukunyere (the winner of Junior Eurovision 2015 with ‘Not My Soul’) on backing vocals in Tel Aviv points to a prosperous future.

Spain Was Right To Choose Miki

Of all the contestants at Operación Triunfo’s Eurovision Gala, Miki was the one who looked hungry for the win. There may well have been a buzz around María’s ‘Muérdeme’, but on the night when the scores were being kept, María looked like she wanted to be anywhere else and Miki wanted to be in Tel Aviv.

Let’s put aside the staging choices made by TVE for May (a giant-sized Ikea Billy bookcase knocked over by a Wickerman?) and remember how effortless Miki became one of the party songs of the season.

Portugal Was Right To Choose Conan Osiris

While Conan Osiris did not qualify for Saturday night’s Grand Final, I still think that RTP’s Festival da Canção made the correct decision. Telemóveis’ is a challenging song, mixing art and statement through three minutes of music. It’s not as accessible as a slice of schlager, it takes time to understand the nature of Osiris’ composition and that, along with the stylistic choreography on stage, made qualification a difficult task.

But I would rather see challenging songs at Eurovision than a raft of formulaic three minutes with little to differentiate them.

Those are some of our choices for the National Finals that got it right. Who else caught your eye as being in the right place at the right time? As for the National Finals that got it wrong. that’s coming soon, keep your powder dry for that debate!

Categories: ESC Insight


5 years ago – what has become of Eurovision’s Top 10 from 2014?

5 years ago – what has become of Eurovision’s Top 10 from 2014?

Ruth Lorenzo Receiving her Guinness World Record

Guinness World Records, travelling the world and headlining fashion shows. These are just some of the things that the class of 2014 have been up to since their time at the Eurovision Song Contest.

The year was 2014 and it was Copenhagen’s turn to host the contest as the year before Emmelie De Forest won the contest by a landslide with her Only Teardrops. 37 countries participated in the contest and saw the return of Poland and Portugal after short absences. A whopping 112 Danish Kroner was spent on the contest which was three times more than the expected cost.

Here we look at what the top 10 contestants of that year have been up to since then:

10. Ruth LorenzoDancing In The Rain (Spain)

Ruth has continued with her music career in Spain since competing at the Eurovision Song Contest, rather successfully. Releasing a couple of albums and several singles. In 2016 she achieved a Guinness World Record performing in 8 different cities in Spain within a 12 hour period.

Ruth Lorenzo receiving her Guinness World Record

During this achievement she raised a lot of money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

In 2017 Lorenzo created her own record label Raspberry Records and released her latest album Loveaholic the following year.

9. BasimCliché Love Song (Denmark)

In 2016 Basim’s mother passed away, after already losing his father in 2012 the passing of his mother hit the singer quite hard. The following year he released the single Comme ci comme ça which peaked at number 2 in the Danish singles chart. Basim said that he felt that his parents were speaking to him through the lyrics of the song.

Basim has excelled in song writing and has penned tracks for Japanese Band GENERATIONS and co-wrote Boomerang for Emin.

8. Carl EspenSilent Storm (Norway)

One of Carl’s quirky tattoos

Carl released a couple of singles following his time in Eurovision but seems to have taken a step out of the limelight and developed a love of quirky tattoos which he has been proudly showing off on his Instagram page, clearly showing he has a sense of humour. Recently he has travelled to Poland and visited Auschwitz Birkenau camp as well as the Salt Mines.

7. Tolmachevy SistersShine (Russia)

Anastasia and Maria Tolmachevy were booed by the crowd in Copenhagen due to political tensions between their home nation Russia and neighbor Ukraine. This year the twins were part of the expert Russian jury.

In 2018 the girls expressed an interest in representing their country at Eurovision for a third time (they had already won the Junior ESC), however, it wasn’t to be as Julia Samoylova was selected instead to represent the nation, after Russia withdrew from the 2017 contest in Kyiv.

6. Mariya YaremchukTick Tock (Ukraine)

Mariya released a couple of songs after her time in Eurovision, but decided to take a sabbatical in 2018 expressing her desire to travel. Since then she has been absent from most social medias.

5. András Kállay-SaundersRunning (Hungary)

Since 2014 András switched from being a solo artist to starting a band, The self named Kállay-Saunders Band. In 2015 he performed at the Hungarian selection show A Dal as part of the interval act where he performed his own version of the competing songs. He returned to A Dal in 2016 with his band as competitors but only made it down to the last 4. In 2017 he competed in A Dal again with the band where they progressed to the final. András made yet another attempt at A Dal this year but as part of The Middletonz collaborating with rapper Farshad Alebatool. They made it to the final once again but were defeated by Joci Pápai.

Kallay Saunders Band

4. Aram Mp3Not Alone (Armenia)

Aram Mp3, real name Aram Sargsyan, has continued to release music following his time at the contest. In 2016 he participated in a special project to give support to Armenian children suffering with cancer. In 2016, he was the speaking and singing voice of Adult Simba and also the lead singer of Circle of Life. in the Armenian version of The Lion King.

3. Sanna NielsonUndo (Sweden)

Sanna has continued to be involved in Eurovision since her successful third place result at the 2014 contest. The following year she was one of the hosts of Melodifestivalen and was the Swedish commentator for the 2015 and 2018 contests.  In February of this year she released her first album in 5 years Mitt Sanna Jag.

2. The Common LinnetsCalm After The Storm (The Netherlands)

Fronted by Ilse DeLange and Waylon, The Common Linnets gave The Netherlands their best result since 1975. Later on that year Waylon left the band and was replaced by American Jake Etheridge. The Common Linnets, consisting of Ilse, Jake, JB Meyers and Matthew Crosby went on to release an album entitled II which charted in Belgium, Austria and Germany as well as topping the Dutch album chart.

Waylon continued his career as a solo artist releasing 3 studio albums. The Dutch singer entered Eurovision for a second time in 2018 where he finished in a less successful 18th place with his track Outlaw In Em.

Ilse DeLange was a mentor to this year’s winner Duncan Laurence

Outside of the band, Ilse has dabbled in acting and had a reccurring role in American show Nashville as well as being a mentor on The Voice Holland. DeLange was also part of this year’s Dutch delegation and was a mentor of Duncan Laurence who won the Eurovision Song Contest this year in Israel.

1. Conchita WurstRise Like A Phoenix (Austria)

2014 was a huge year for Conchita Wurst, real name Tom Neuwirth which saw her headlining and opening a number of pride festival around europe. That same year she took part in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Couture fashion show in Paris, being given the coveted final spot which is usually reserved for Gaultier’s favourite model.

Last year Tom Neuwirth admitted that he was HIV Positive and had been receiving treatment for a number of years. Earlier this year Tom announced that he would be splitting the name Conchita Wurst into two different characters. Conchita showing the same feminine style of performance while WURST would be more masculine. In March of this year WURST released his first single Trash All The Glam from the album Trust Over Magnitude.

At this year’s contest Conchita joined Måns Zelmerlöw, Eleni Foureira and Verka Serduchka to perform in the interval. Conchita sang her own version of Heroes. 

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The Netherlands 2020: Host cities that match requirements can apply in a month

The Netherlands 2020: Host cities that match requirements can apply in a month


What does it require to host the Eurovision Song Contest? In about three or four weeks, the cities interested in hosting the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest can start to prepare their bids. Several cities have publicly expressed their interest, but they haven’t yet received the list of requirements.

Selecting the right city for the Eurovision Song Contest is a complicated process. The cities need to submit an official bid which includes a detailed plan for how they can meet the requirements needed to host such a big event. A lot of Dutch cities have already spoken out about their wish to host – but in reality, many of them aren’t aware of just how much it requires. It has been mentioned that the location would need to be available for six weeks – this is a bit shorter time than the 7-8 weeks we previously have written.

The prospect with the requirements is about to be made, and it is expected that potential host cities can receive it from mid June. It will include a date for when an official bid will need to be submitted. Once the official bids have been received they will be reviewed, and the broadcaster will together with EBU make an official decision. It is not uncommon either that the broadcaster asks a team from EBU to visit the country to look at two or three potential arenas before a decision is made.

While we have seen examples of EBU being able to compromise a bit on the requirements, we can get an idea about what is needed based on what the Danish cities in 2014 had to live to up to. These requirements were published in detail following budget-related scandals, and are likely to be very similar to what Eurovision needs next year.

See alsoDuncan Laurence returned home a hero


  • 1 Artists, commentators and sponsors
  • 2 Press center
  • 3 Food, drinks and snacks
  • 4 Eurovision Village and EuroClub
  • 5 Accommodation

Artists, commentators and sponsors

To service the participating artists, a minimum of 30 wardrobes with space for ten people, separate bathing facilities for men and women, 20 make-up tables and 15 hairdresser places were required, plus an overnight laundry with dry clean and a tailor.

For the commentators minimum 50 boxes were needed, just as a lounge for 100 commentators had to be nearby. The boxes had to have space for two people working, air condition, electricity, internet and a good TV signal.

Without sponsors there wouldn’t be any Eurovision Song Contest so of course they have to be taken good care of. Besides sponsor seats in the arena a separate sponsor hospitality area for 700 people including catering had to be available close to where the sponsors would be seated in the arena itself.

After their rehearsals delegations go to see a video recording of it in the so-called viewing room, a recording they can use to request changes. It is mentioned that this needs to be of a size so that it fits 20 people.

It was also specified that green room should be near the stage and able to host 250 people with space for TV light and air condition as well.

Press center

In order to gain good exposure of the contest a press center with good working facilities are needed. This was mentioned to be in the size between 6.000 and 10.000 square metres with phone and broadband connection for 1500 people, with minimum 900 at once. The press conference area should have space for 500 seating journalists plus a podium for TV cameras and a photoshoot area and three sound boxes.

There should also be individual interview rooms, up to eight equipped radio studios and a fan meet & greet room. The press centre should also include a helpdesk with 3.000 pigeon holes (this was dropped for the contest in Tel Aviv), fax opportunities and minimum 100 boxes for storage of photo equipment and a fan desk.

A first-aid room with medical staff has to be available as well just as a smaller press office with working spaces for EBU website team.

Food, drinks and snacks

A total of three canteens operating on a daily basis are required: One for the journalists, one for the working delegations and one for the TV crew.

In the final contract between the host city and broadcaster it was further mentioned that coffee, tea, water and snacks should be provided free of charge in the press center.

See alsoPossible host cities for Eurovision 2020 in the Netherlands

Eurovision Village and EuroClub

A Eurovision Song Contest is more than just a TV show for the involved parts. It is also a party for the local population and the foreign visitors. Eurovision Village should be between 600 and 1.000 square metres and include sponsor exposure and performers for the visiting audience to enjoy.

For nighttime enjoyment EuroClub is open for accredited fans, journalists, delegations etc. and should be open to at least 03.00, be minimum 1.000 squaremetres and have six bars and two stages.


With a total of 10.000 accreditated people for a Eurovision Song Contest naturally good accommodation facilities are needed in the host city. DR wrote in their material sent out to the interested cities that it required a minimum of 10.000 hotel rooms divided with 40% in the lower category (usually 3 stars), 40% medium (4 stars) and 20% high priced (5 stars).

DR also wrote that the hotel rooms must be located in an acceptable distance from the centre of the city and/or the venue.

From an EBU report, DR got their numbers from, we can read that EBU says that the following is needed:

  • Delegations: 1.000 hotel rooms spread over 3, 4 and 5 stars
  • EBU crew, partners and guests: 130 – 190 hotel rooms spread over 3,4 and 5 stars
  • Sponsors: 330 hotel rooms spread over 4 and 5 stars
  • Journalists: 1.000 rooms spread over 3,4 and 5 stars, but can also be hostels, camping cottages and apartments.
  • Fans: 500 rooms suggested spread over 3 and 4 stars, and can also be hostels, camping cottages and apartments. It is clearly mentioned that this number is suggested and not required as it never will be the host city’s task to provide hotel capacity for fans.
See alsoIf another country had suddenly won, the Netherlands would keep trophy and right to host

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