She achieved almost every musical accolade around after winning the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest. Super star Celine Dion is now attempting something completely different – a children’s clothing line.
1988 Eurovision Song Contest winner Céline Dion has today unveiled her children’s clothing line. This will be a new type of business venture for Céline who has already dipped her toe in the restaurant, night club and management trades amongst others. Yesterday the 50 year old singer teased fans with a video of her being thrown to the floor by a police officer before being put in handcuffs. Before the video cut out the singer says “It’s ok, it’s ok, I’m Celine Dion”. The strange video teaser left some fans thinking that she was about to launch an acting career.
The new clothing line named Celinununu specializes in gender neutral clothing for children. According to the official website Celinununu unites two forces by one voice: fashion has the power to shape people’s minds. inspire your children to be free and find their own individuality through clothes.
One of the most successful artists to come out of Eurovision. Celine represented Switzerland in the Contest in 1988 with the song Ne partez pas sans moi (Please don’t leave without me). 2 years later, Celine released her first Anglophone album and the rest, as they say, is history.
The French Canadian singer has 3 children with her late husband and manager René Angélil and is currently completing her last set of shows in her Las Vegas residency.
You can remind yourself of Céline’s performance in Dublin when she won the Eurovision Song Contest below
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Before the ESC Insight team prepares to fly to Minsk, we have the small matter of Junior Juke Box Jury. But before that, what’s happening in the rest of the Eurovision Song Contest world?
Eurovision Insight News Podcast: More Details To Follow…
A full playlist for Minsk, spinning around the Swedish hosts, and the circle of Eurovision life. Ewan Spence covers the latest Song Contest news for Minsk 2018 and Tel Aviv 2019.
As we work through the first few months of the new season, keep listening to the ESC Insight podcast to stay up to date with Eurovision, Junior Eurovision, and all the National Finals. You’ll find the show in iTunes, and a direct RSS feed is also available. We also have a regular email newsletter which you can sign up to here, and you can support us on Patreon.
Who will be Michael Schulte’s successor and represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv? 6 competitors have been shortlisted as candidates for the national selection. We take a closer look at the six candidates.
2 Linus Bruhn
3 Lilly Among Clouds
4 Gregor Hägele
5 BB Thomaz
6 Aly Ryan
German broadcaster NDR have announced the 6 shortlisted candidates who are currently in a five day song writing camp in which they together with 24 national and international lyricists, composers and producers are hoping to pen the perfect song to send to Tel Aviv next year.
Thomas Schreiber, Head of Entertainment at ARD said “Our six Eurovision candidates are working with great passion and concentration at the song writing camp on their possible songs for Israel. It’s a pleasure to watch them. Last year, this process resulted in Michael Schulte’s hit You let me walk alone. We hope that there will be a comparable success this year, too. The candidates and the songwriters are doing everything they can to make this happen!”.
The 6 acts will compete in “Unser Lied für Israel” (Our song for Israel). Television channel Das Erste will air the German pre-selection this coming February which will be presented by Barbara Schöneberger und Linda Zervakis. There could be another 2 candidates joining the shortlist however, these are yet to be announced by the broadcaster.
Below you can learn more about the candidates who might be taking to the Eurovision stage next year:
Will it be third time lucky for 28 year old Makeda from Bonn? In her first attempt to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest she went as a solo artist, later removing herself from the ballot. She returned the following year as part of a group called Steal A Taxi and took part in the candidate workshops. This year, Makeda is back as a solo artist. As a child, it was American songstress Alicia Keys who inspired her to become a singer and write her own songs. Her musical aim is to make everyone happier with her music.
Following his stint on The Voice of Germany in 2015, Linus has amassed a staggering 230,000 followers on social media with hundreds of thousands views on his YouTube channel. A fan of the Eurovision Song Contest, 20 year old Linus was inspired by winners Alexander Rybak and Måns Zelmerlöw, considering Zelmerlöw’s Heroes as being one of the best songs in recent years. Having been involved in the industry from being a child Linus performed in stage shows such as Tarzan before moving on to singing. He was head hunted by Hamburg based producers Madizin Music Lab who have previously worked with 2010 Eurovision winner Lena. Together they have been writing and profiling songs for a year and a half, it was during this time where Linus wrote his first self-penned track.
Despite not being a fan of choreography, we are sure to see Linus popping some moves on the stage “I like to move on stage, I do not need a dance choreography because I never think about what to do before the show I do exactly that, it all comes from the feeling that I think that’s the way it should be“.
Lilly Among Clouds
According to 28 year old Lilly “Big stages mean incredible fun“. Will Lilly get the chance to perform on the biggest stage of them all? Born in Straubing, Lower Bavaria as Elisabeth Brüchner, Lilly got her stage name from the idea that her songs come from her head and her head is always in the clouds. Writing songs as part of the song writing camp has been a challenge for Lilly who usually prefers not to share her work with others until it is completely finished. Despite a more reserved look (Lilly mostly likes to write barefoot and wear jeans and a t-shirt on stage), she is confident that she can still entertain the crowd and is comfortable with dancing.
18 year old Gregor from Stuttgart is the youngest competitor to participate in the preliminary round of the selection process. Having participated in The Voice of Germany last year, Gregor is no stranger to the stage. Finishing the contest in the semi-final stage in the competition, the young performer is most comfortable when singing ballads. Representing his country at the Eurovision Song Contest is so important to him that he interrupted his world tour to take part in the song writing camp. Gregor winning the selection show could result in a German languaged song competing in the contest “English makes sense in an international contest, but you represent your country, I think it’s a good idea to represent your country in your own language“.
BB Thomaz is not only a musician but also a mother and a zumba coach. Born in New York City, she moved to Germany at the age of 10 and currently resides in Düsseldorf. BB competed in The Voice of Germany in competition with fellow national selection competitor Gregor Hägele. BB Thomaz went one step better than Hägele and finished the competition in the final, in fourth position. A fan of outrageous outfits and visual performances BB considers Loreen’s Eurphoria and Netta’s Toy as some of her favourite performances at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Aly Ryan hasn’t watched the Eurovision Song Contest since 2010. Describing herself as indie-pop, Ryan wants her music to be honest and sincere. As a young girl she never felt like she fit in, she dressed differently from other people and decided to move to L.A where she feels accepted. Aly Ryan is most well-known for her song Parachute which went number one on Soundcloud in Germany, Russia, France, The Netherlands and New Zealand.
This year Germany were represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Michael Schulte. He finished in fourth place with You let me walk alone. We met up for a chat with Schulte at the Altice Arena in Lisbon prior to his performance at the contest. We recommend watching that video below.
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From 60 to 24 songs. From six to three shows. The Romanian national selection is downsizing last year’s format. A combination of televoting and an international jury will select the country’s 20th Eurovision participant.
Today, broadcaster TVR opened to send songs to the national selection. At the same time, they revealed that they are going back to a slimmer edition of Selecția Națională, which last year featured 60 songs divided on to five preliminary heats before the final. This year, only 24 songs will compete to represent the country at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. They will be allocated on to two semi-finals from where six songs in each will reach the final.
Just like the semi-finals, the final will consist of 12 songs. 10 of them will have been chosen by a national jury, and two by televoting. In the final, the national jury will be replaced by an international jury who together with the public will pick the one who shall represent Romania in Tel Aviv in May next year.
20th anniversary and only one missed final
At this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Romania lost its perfect strike. They were one of five countries who never failed to qualify from the semi-final to the final. In the first semi-final Azerbaijan lost theirs, and in the second semi-final, Romania and Russia followed.
Despite debuting at the contest in 1994, next year will mark the 20th participant representing Romania. In the beginning, the country was a bit on and off on the Eurovision Song Contest. From 2002 and up, Romania took part each year – with 2016 being an exception. Ovidiu Anton and the song Moment Of Silence was ready for the contest held in Stockholm, Sweden, but with only a couple of weeks to go, the country was disqualified. A big debt to the European Broadcasting Union meant sanctions were imposed on the broadcaster stopping the country from taking part in Eurovision.
Romania is yet to win the Eurovision Song Contest, but they have been close several times. In 2005 as well as in 2010, they country came in third, which to date is their best result. In the video below, take a look at a 2014 version of Paula Seling and Ovi’s Playing With Fire from 2010. This performance is from Euro Club in relation to Eurovision 2014 in Copenhagen.
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With Bulgaria withdrawing, the number of participants for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest went down to 42. The official list of countries shows that no countries are to return or debut at the competition held in Tel Aviv, Israel in May next year.
Due to financial issues, Bulgaria had already announced that they wouldn’t take part in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Despite an offer from Eurovision legend Ralph Siegel, Bosnia & Herzegovina are yet not able to return to the contest due to the sanctions that follows their debt to the European Broadcasting Union. No other countries expressed an interest in returning. As such, it comes as no surprise that 42 countries will take part in the 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.
See alsoNo 2019 Eurovision comeback for Bosnia and Herzegovina despite Ralph Siegel offer
The final list of participating countries and their broadcasters:
Azerbaijan (İctimai TV)
Czech Republic (ČT)
FYR Macedonia (MKRTV)
The Netherlands (AVROTROS)
San Marino (SMRTV)
United Kingdom (BBC)
Tel Aviv, Israel will host the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest which will take place in May next year. The semi-finals will be held on the 14th and 16th of May, with the final being Saturday the 18th.
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Fans in Australia and across the world have spent the last week in a whirl with ‘rumours’ of the imminent arrival of the Eurovision Asia Song Contest. The long-awaited format for the region has gone through numerous bumps in the past decade, including attempts by German entrepreneur Andreas Gerlach dating back to 2009 which went through numerous naming issues to host city rights, to the contract with Blink TV and Australian broadcaster SBS announced in March 2016 which has since faced issues regarding broadcast partners in the Asian continent delaying its launch.
At the start of October 2018, outgoing Managing Director Michael Ebeid for Australian broadcaster SBS commented that organising the Asian contest was proving “too geo-politically difficult”, with the Australian broadcaster seemingly putting the idea on the back-burner to focus foremost on its newly launched national final for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Broadcaster Issues in Asia
It is understood that one of the biggest issues at play is that of China’s participation, with the nation now having a strict curb on imported TV shows and formats by the country’s central media regulator. A directive was established in late 2016 to focus on original domestic programs, and channels are no longer able to air remakes of popular international reality shows. Additional restrictions also exist in regards to the number of international formats allowed into the Chinese market, with a rule that it air no more than two foreign or foreign adapted programs during primetime each year – restricted further in that only one of those can be new.
The rule was brought into play to assert Chinese culture and values, which “convey the Chinese Dream, core socialist values, patriotism and Chinese traditions” according to the statement issued by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. Taking this into account, alongside the issues where the Chinese broadcaster Mango TV saw fit to edit the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest removing elements such as Irelands’ performance due to the LGBTQI themes and the tattoos of the performers for Albania and Switzerland, it becomes clear that any participation in a Eurovision Asia format for China – Asia’s biggest market – is difficult and unlikely at this point.
Mango TV Screenshot source: ABC
China would not be the only country however that may have issues with a format that has such strong ties to the LGBTQI community and espouses values such as freedom of expression. Whilst the Song Contest is considered apolitical, messages such as ‘building bridges’ and ‘come together’ might not be welcome between nations that have long-held deep divides. Issues like ownership over South China Sea, threats of retaliation between China and Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong’s self-governance, and local political instability and religious tolerance in many more nations across the region, are likely to play behind the scenes and out on the stage just as much as we have seen between Russia and Ukraine, or Armenia and Azerbaijan.
We’re all going on a Gold Coast Holiday?
Whilst the broadcaster and the format owner company Blink TV officially remain ‘tight-lipped’ over the Asian Contest for now, the fact that a report now exists and is openly available online, shows that the event is not as much on the backburner as was thought.
What we can garner from the release of the recent information is that, over the course of the past year and as recently as this September, the production company have made proposals to a number of cities within Australia to host not only the Asian contest, but the first Eurovision National Final. Cities in play have included at least Sydney, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast.
The announcement of Gold Coast’s success in winning the opportunity to host the National Final last month however took many by surprise. Sydney’s location as the home of SBS TV broadcasting and Melbourne’s status as the cultural capital with its large European population, would have proven hard to steer away from. But when assessing in greater detail, and with the further knowledge of an Asian contest also being part of the package, it begins to make more sense.
Both Melbourne and Sydney are currently experiencing significant issues with mobility due to transportation development – Melbourne CBD with its new Metro project, and Sydney’s consistently delayed light rail closing the main streets of the city. Additionally, Sydney is already suffering shortages in hotel rooms with development not keeping up with tourism demands, making it difficult for the city to secure major international events. Both locations have ample suitable venues where a television production can be held as well as being the right size, but the costs associated with their hire for a 3-4 week period in which to get it to a ready state, would likely far outweigh the benefits. Essentially, places like the Opera House would make an impact on international broadcast, but financially for the venue, it would make more sense to take one-night only or season-long events.
Gold Coast on the other hand has already undergone its development for international tourism readiness with the hosting of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Its venues, public transportation, roads and hotel supply are at a high standard, and the City Council with its recent major event experience, would be primed to handle such a program and its associated elements both in logistics and promotion.
Additionally, the city has its own international airport which is a destination point for 3 major discount carriers flying in from Asia – Air Asia from Malaysia, Scoot from Singapore, and Jetstar from Japan. This capacity is boosted by Brisbane airport, just one hour’s drive away, with its dozens of connecting carriers such as Thai Airways, Garada Indonesia and Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong.
Whilst the Chinese market is the number one source of visitors for the region (contributing over AU$1 billion to the economy in 2017), it is also popular tourist location as well for Koreans and Japanese, seeking out sunny beaches and shopping. Despite six Asian nations featuring in the top ten source markets for visitation, the Queensland Tourism Board has long been trying to increase these numbers (currently sitting at attracting 25 percent of the total of international visitors, according to Travel Research Australia), in line with the interest experienced by its Southern counterparts in New South Wales and Victoria. Hosting an event such as this will be a great opportunity for marketing its image across Asia, alongside potentially hosting famous Asian artists such as BTS through the event which would encourage international travellers to attend.
The Gold Coast City Council report from September 2018 also gives great detail as to what we can likely expect of a Eurovision Asia launch.
Schedule as published in Gold Coast City Council September 2018 minutes
Looking beyond the timeline, it indicates that there will be (up to) 16 participants, that the event will mirror much of the Eurovision format and play out over the course of a week with 2 individual rehearsals, 3 dress rehearsals – two of which will be ticketed for public, one of which will be a jury final where 50% of the vote will be determined – and a final that involves public voting. It also outlines details for an opening party, a location for public parties throughout the week, support for the fan hosted events and the Euroclub for artists in the evenings. The dates noted in the report for ‘Eurovision Asia’ week to occur are 30 November to 7 December 2019.
The report also details that the Contest hosting is likely to take place in the Gold Coast on a 4-yearly rotational basis, thus indicating that it will not necessarily be a winners’ right to host the following year. The report specifies that the Gold Coast partnership will be play for 12 years, therefore allowing them the chance to host a total of 3 times. The other 3 countries/host cities are not listed, and therefore no indication of the other major broadcast partners involved or the participating nations are known.
We must however keep in mind that the arrangements detailed would have been part of a large proposal put to them by Blink TV for consideration, and in no way represents a ‘done deal’. Don’t go booking your travel arrangements just yet!
The elements published instead represent what is required, a possible timeline and what it aims to achieve should it proceed. Gold Coast Council have essentially given the ‘green light’ for it to occur in its Gold Coast Convention Centre and other precincts, and thus the Asian contest has secured some long-term commitment from the Council to promote and host in their backyard. An important step, but there are more steps in the journey.
What Do We Actually Know?
Nonetheless, we are certain that the first-ever National Final for Australia will be hosting in the same location on 9th February 2019.
‘Australia Decides‘ already launched its call for song submissions in mid-October, and closed over last weekend on the 4th November. We understand that hundreds of entries have been received in a variety of genres, including some from high profile songwriters. From this, a shortlist of 20 will now be drawn up and matched with high-profile Australian artists.
Whilst no names have been announced, according to the Gold Coast report the aim is for local artists such as Delta Goodrem, Ricki-Lee Coulter and Peking Duk to be secured. The final number of entries to be produced and performed at the national final will be approximately 10-12 songs and these shall be released to the public before the Contest. The winner is to be determined from a mix of jury voting (at the dress rehearsal on Friday 8th February) and public voting at the National Final hosted by the current Eurovision commentary team of Double J radio broadcaster Myf Warhurst and comedian Joel Creasey. The winning song and artist will then go on to represent Australia at Eurovision 2019 in Tel Aviv.
Hosting the National Final event will essentially serve as a perfect testing ground for the production team and broadcaster to get ready for an even bigger opportunity should it come to fruition.
The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, located in the heart of the beachside region, is located on the major highway and connected by both regular bus and light rail services. It is surrounded by hundreds of hotels and apartments, close to shopping centres and a short walking distance to the Star Casino which serves as a major entertainment hub which could prove irresistible as a Euroclub (Asiaclub?) location giving its 24-hour licencing as well as serving as a delegation hotel.
Floor map. Source: GCCEC website
The venue itself has opportunities for arena-style seating with a capacity of up to 6000 people. With staging in place, this is more likely to be reduced to between 4000-5000 seats. The location has already hosted a number of other large scale music events such as Pink, Rihanna and Kings of Leon, and given i’s build, it has the roof and floor capability to weight-bear the necessary lighting and film equipment to produce a high-quality TV production just as we have seen at the Eurovision Song Contest.
It also has a 1400 car parking space in which outside broadcast facilities can be located, a ground floor loading dock ready for delivery of production elements, and large space for a press centre and dressing rooms, as well as onsite catering.
Ultimately, we can see that Australia is taking its role in Eurovision involvement and its expansion in the Southern Hemisphere very seriously. Clearly they have noted all the lessons of optimal production elements of shows like Melodifestivalen, requirements for venues, expectations for both participants and fans, and have found a natural home for them to be delivered in Queenland; a place where hopefully it’s beautiful for the National Final and perfect for the next chapter of this Eurovision story.