“Queens” is the last song released by Saara Alto for Finland’s UMK 2018. The song was leaked by tabloid media The Sun. Tonight, it will be officially released, and the Finnish population can start making their mind up.
One thing we know by now, Saara Alto will definitely throw a big party at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The singer is yet to officially release the final song for Finland’s national selection, but we know by now that similarly to Monsters and Domino, it is an uptempo song filled with a catchy and anthemic chorus, as the website The Sun leaked it before its release.
Queens is the name of the final track and was penned by Saara Alto along with Tom Aspaul, Daniel James, Denis Goude and Ash Milton. With the song’s leak, The Sun unveiled its official music video as well that shares a few similarities with the one for Monsters and still focus on the LGBTQ community. In the video, we can see a bit of choreography possibly directed by Brian Friedman who has worked with Saara for her Eurovision projects.
As we enjoy each of the three tracks released by Saara, Finland is getting ready to host this year’s UMK where the singer will perform each song and the public along with an international jury will decide which of the three gets the golden ticket for Lisbon. UMK 2018 will be held next 3rd of March and will feature a very special guest, the eternal Spice Girl, Melanie C – one of Saara’s idols.
As we don’t support illegal uploads, we won’t share links to the song’s leak yet. We will instead update this article with the video once it’s officially out.
If you already heard Queens, which of the three songs do you prefer?
Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest
51 appearances since their debut in 1961, one victory, 10 times last, three times with zero points. Since the introduction of semi-finals in 2004, they missed out on the final a total of seven times. Those are the cruel hard facts regarding Finland’s participation at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah victory in 2006 came after the country failed to reach the final the first two years with semi-finals. At that time, Finland had not been in top10 since Anneli Saaristo finished 7th in 1989. Unfortunately, the victory didn’t start a new era with better results.
Since Softengine placed 11th in 2014, Finland ran into a period of now three years in a row not making it to the final. That’s what Saara Aalto has to change this year.
It is Sanja Ilić & Balkanika for Lisbon. This year’s Beovizija took place minutes ago in Belgrade and amongst the 17 performances, it was the song “Nova Deca” that convinced both the jury and the public and will, therefore, represent Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.
After a nine-year break, Serbia’s national selection is back. Beovizija 2018 was held in Belgrade’s Sava Centar and selected both the act and the song to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Serbia’s Beovizija 2018 featured 17 amazing performances, an amazing guest list of former representatives of the country and, of course, a winner.
The songs for the show had already been made available a couple of weeks ago and our viewers had a rough time choosing their favorites. A close race between Nova Deca and Jutros (Svatovi) took place but the first one ended up winning our poll that also corresponded to reality as Sanja Ilić & Balkanika came out as the winners of the show.
1 The Show
2 Participants and results
3 Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest
Despite being ready to select Serbia’s entry for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, Beovizija 2018 was opened with a choir performance of their winning song Molitva (Serbia, 2007). It wasn’t long enough until the show’s two hosts initiated the presentation of the songs.
The 17 performances were presented in sets of three without interruptions except during the first set where solely two acts performed: SevdahBABY and Montenegro’s former act Rambo Amadeus who actually didn’t know the words to his song and had to read them out from a paper.
Right after the voting lines closed, a big interval act took place featuring former Eurovision Song Contest acts performing their respective entries: Jelena Tomašević (2008), Marko Kon & Milaan (2009), Regina (Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2009), Milan Stanković (2010), Moje 3 (2013), Sergej Ćetković (Montenegro, 2013), Bojana Stamenov (2015), Knez (Montenegro, 2015), Sanja Vučić ZAA (2016), Jacques Houdek (Croatia, 2017) and Tijana Bogičević (2017).
Participants and results
1. SevdahBABY – Hajde da igramo sada 2. Rambo Amadeus i Beti Đorđević – Nema te 3. Maja Nikolić – Zemlja čuda 4. Srđan Marjanović i Emil – Bar da znam 5. Ivan Kurtić – Ni sunca ni meseca 6. Sanja Ilić i Balkanika – Nova deca 7. Koktel Balkan – Zato 8. Boris Režak – Vila 9. Lana i Aldo – Jača sam od svih 10. Dušan Svilar – Pod krošnjom bagrema 11. Igor Lazarević – Beži od mene 12. Saška Janković – Pesma za tebe 13. Lord – Samo nek se okreće 14. Danijel Pavlović – Ruža sudbine 15. BASS – Umoran 16. Osmi vazduh i drugari – Probudi se 17. Biber i DJ Niko Bravo – Jutros (Svatovi)
The decision was up to the five judges and to the Serbian people who got to vote for 15 minutes. Each had 50% of the decision.
After all was said and done, Sanja Ilić i Balkanika’s Nova Deca was announced as the winner with 24 points (12 from the judges and 12 from the public). All the results can be found here.
Serbia at the Eurovision Song Contest
Serbia has appeared, as an independent nation, at the Eurovision Song Contest ten times. They won with their very first entry Molitva by Marija Šerifović. Since then they have managed to qualify to the final, six out of nine times.
Their second best result came in 2012 with Nije ljubav stvar by Željko Joksimović who finished third. Last year, having opened the second semifinal, Tijana Bogićević and In Too Deep failed to reach the final. Therefore, the expectations are high for Sanja Ilić i Balkanika’s Nova Deca. Do you think that it’ll be enough? Judge for yourself:
Around this time two years ago a good friend of mine sent a link to a YouTube clip that he thought I might enjoy. I clicked on the link and was immediately transported to a snowy alpine scene and a wooden stage upon which six strapping chaps in lederhosen began cavorting their way through a very catchy, typically Bavarian sounding schlager.
That song was ‘Voll Ma Tanzn Gehn and the group went by the name of voXXclub – the non-capital “v” and the double-capital “XX” I later discovered are essential to the brand (it’s also another act this year with capital letters in the middle, oh brilliant… – .ed). I was immediately captivated by the engaging performance, which featured much traditional leg and foot slapping as the chaps danced their way through the expertly choreographed song. These boys were having fun, and it showed!
Before the song even finished I was browsing down the right-hand side of the page to see what other delights that guys could offer. There were links to a large number of videos and live performances and within no time at all I was headlong into a full-on avalanche of lederhosen enhanced volksmusik.
The song which had the highest number of hits (currently sitting at over twenty million!) was ‘Rock Mi‘. From the opening bars, which resemble Queen’s anthemic ‘We Will Rock You‘, I knew I had discovered something amazing… The song was insanely catchy, the choreography was slick, the positive vibe that shone through the whole thing was infectious and then there was the fact that the whole package was being delivered by six hunky grown men in lederhosen! What more could a red blooded male who was more than acquainted with Dorothy ask?
After a bit of research, I found out that the band had been formed in Munich in 2012 to cash in on the growing German/Swiss/Austrian volksmusik movement. Korbinian (Bini), Michael, Florian, Christian, Stefan and Julian were launched onto the music scene with a more folksy and gentle version of ‘Rock Mi‘ which failed to do much in the charts. That was followed by a couple of other singles before a decision was taken to oompa-up ‘Rock Mi’ and relaunch the boys with a poppier, more current sound. The remixed version stormed the charts in all three home territories (the guys are a mix of German, Swiss and Austrian themselves) and the voXXclub phenomenon had arrived.
Building The Brand
Over the next few years the boys toured their first three albums and were regularly seen on pop, schlager and volksmusik TV shows across all three countries. They honed flashmob performances of their singles into a fine art and could regularly be found doing impromptu performances in shopping centres, on buses, trains and even in planes.
In 2015 Julian left the group, leaving them as a five piece, but the fun and camaraderie seems to have been unaffected and if anything, the guys perform even better now in their more compact form.
Time To Fly The Flag
I’ve spent the past couple of years enjoying their joyful sound and can regularly be found slapping my thighs to their dulcet tones, so you can imagine my unconfined delight when NDR announced in December that “My voXXclub” are one of the acts that have been shortlisted to compete in February’s “Unser Lied Fur Lissabon”, where the German entry for Lisbon will be selected.
Their most recent album, ‘Donnawedda‘, was released on 29 December and whilst there are a few tracks on it which would have made great entries in their own right, but the guys have be working with a team of specially selected song writers to come up with their song for the German final.
You can bet your bottom Euro that they have my full support as they set down the lederhosen-clad gauntlet to get Germany back on the left hand side of the scoreboard in May. I won’t deny that was hoping for ‘Rock Mi Mark Two‘ with all the fun and spectacle that a similar song could bring to the competition. Did I get it?
10 acts competed, among those 2015 Eurovision representative Tamar Kaprelian. While five others qualified for the final, she had to face that she is no longer in the run to represent Armenia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.
On Sunday, the 25th of February, Armenia will find it’s winner of their national selection Depi Evratesil. The participants will be found via two semi-finals. The first one tonight, and the other one on Thursday.
All competing songs have been available for about a month, and in recent days, also rehearsal videos have been published on Depi Evratesil’s YouTube channel. One video stood out in terms of views before the show; Tamar Kaprelian’s Poison (Air Ari). She is a well known name also among Eurovision followers, as she represented the country at the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest as part of Genealogy. Tonight however, she was eliminated.
In tonight’s semi-final, Armenian TV treated the viewers with a performance from their Junior Eurovision participant Misha. He came 6th at the 2017 Junior Eurovision Song Contest. A compilation video of Artsvik, their 2017 Eurovision Song Contest participant was also shown.
(Qualifiers for the final in bold)
Gevorg Harutyunyan – Stand Up
Angel – Heartbeat
Lusine Mardanyan – If You Don’t Walk Me Home
Zhanna Davtyan – Unbreakable
Mher Armenia – Forever
Nemra – I’m A Liar
Hayk Kasparov – Enamórame
Tamar Kaprelian – Poison (Ari Ari)
Robert Koloyan – Get Away With Us
Gata Band – Shogha
Armenia at the Eurovision Song Contest
11 appearances, 10 finals, and seven times with a result in top 10. Armenia has been quite successful at the Eurovision Song Contest, despite not yet winning.
They joined the contest in 2006, and as they never ended worse than 10th in their first five years, no one can blame Armenia if they thought, they can walk on water. In 2011 however, Emmy failed to reach the final with Boom Boom. In the following year, Armenia didn’t take part. The contest was held in Azerbaijan, and Armenia feared for security problems due to the conflict between the two countries.
In 2013, Armenia returned to the contest, but found that their complete top 10 strike had ended as Dorians came 18th. Since then, they have qualified for the final each time, but it has been with every second year in top 10. As Artsvik also finished 18th, it looks like the country will be in for another top 10 this year, if this patterns continues.
Austrian Airlines have just reached their 60th birthday. If you feel like singing Happy Birthday, Conchita already did so as the anniversary was celebrated in the Austrian capital, Vienna.
Conchita Wurst won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014, where she represented her country Austria, with the powerful ballad Rise Like A Phoenix. She won with 290 points, and made her country proud, giving them their second win at the contest. After Eurovision, Conchita has befriended many celebrities, from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Elton John, she has walked down the red carpet of the Golden Globes in Hollywood, and has become an international icon for peace and equality.
She still appears at various Eurovision shows, and just this season, we have so far seen her as guest act in the Spanish as well as the Danish national final.
So of course, Vienna had to choose Conchita with her stunning personality to host this special event that was Austrian Airlines’ 60th birthday. She sang a birthday song for the airline along with her song Firestorm.
The birthday was celebrated at Rathausplatz, in Vienna, Austria and streamed online on Austrian Airlines’ Facebook page.
In the video below, take a look at Conchita performing Rise Like A Phoenix. This time, in a performance from Euro Fan Café in Copenhagen in 2014.
Amongst the qualifiers in Portugal’s first heat, we find Salvador Sobral’s invited composer, Janeiro, as well as Portugal’s 1993 representative, Anabela. This year’s Eurovision host country kicked of their national selection Festival da Canção tonight.
Portugal’s search for its 2018 representantive started tonight as RTP held the very first semi final of Festival da Canção. The show ran for roughly three hours and out of the 13 competing songs, seven made it through the show’s next round.
In this first semi final, two former Eurovision acts tried their luck once more – Anabela and José Cid – but only one became a step closer of being the country’s representative again. Who also got the approval of both the public and the judges was Janeiro, the act invited by Salvador Sobral to participate in the country’s national selection.
Update: RTP has made it official that an error of communication happened last night which ended up influencing the results. Eu Te Amo by Beatriz Pessoa is no longer a finalist. The voting breakdown can be found below.
1 The Show
2 The Songs
3 The Results
4 Portugal’s first victory in almost 50 years
While RTP has decided that only women would be in charge of Eurovision Song Contest’s presentation, tonight two men hosted the show: Jorge Gabriel and José Carlos Malato – two Festival Da Canção veterans – who entertained the present audience at RTP’s studios in Lisbon.
At the beginning, a small homage to Madalena Iglesias – who passed away earlier this year – took place and was followed by the songs presentation. Before each performance, there was an introduction video featuring the song’s composers.
At the end, the jury’s votes were mixed with the public ones and the seven songs with the best results moved onto the show’s Grand Finale to be held next 3rd of March. Salvador Sobral made a friendly appearance by the end of the show to support Janeiro.
1. Bruno Vasconcelos – Austrália
Comparing Australia’s history to a relationship, Bruno presented a quite peculiar song that surely resembled older Portuguese songs which may not be a benefit overall.
2. Rui David – Sem Medo
Jazz was kept alive with Jorge Palma’s song – Sem Medo – not only sonically but also lyrically as it is a romantic song where he sings about a woman he is no longer with but wishes he was.
3. Beatriz Pessoa – Eu Te Amo
One more love song, this time with a rather pleasing and relaxing sound. Eu Te Amo does feature Brazilian influences as its composer is indeed a Brazilian singer.
4. Anabela – Para Te Dar Abrigo
Forget the 1993 Anabela who performed a beautiful love song. The singer returned to Festival da Canção but with an uptempo and cheerful song that also talks about love. Para Te Dar Abrigo was composed by the legendary Fernando Tordo.
5. Catarina Miranda – Para Sorrir Eu Não Preciso de Nada
In such a formal national selection, seeing and hearing Catarina felt like a breath of fresh air due to her outfit, makeup and hair. As for the song, it is a slow song where love is again discussed. This time, gay love.
6. Joana Espadinha – Zero a Zero
In a shiny outfit, Joana Espadinha performed one of the most unique songs of the night. It wasn’t Pop, Jazz or even very Portuguese. Zero a Zero surely shared one of the best productions of the night.
7. Janeiro – (sem título)
Joined only by an electronic guitar, Salvador’s invited composer surely followed the Amar Pelos Dois formula by trying to create a momentum with (sem título), another love song.
8. José Cid – O som da guitarra é a alma de um povo
The legendary Portuguese singer performed, not a love song, but a song dedicated to Portugal making a big homage to its glorious history. Sonically, it also featured a lot of different instruments.
9. Joana Barra Vaz – Anda Estragar-me Os Planos
Alone on stage, Joana performed another love song. Perhaps the saddest song so far with a rather touching instrumental filled with beautiful violins.
10. Peu Madureira – Só Por Ela
Joining the list of love songs, Peu Madureira dedicated his heartbreaking song to his previous lover in a song that brought Fado back to the competition.
11. Rita Dias – Com Gosto Amigo
With various references to Festival da Canção, Rita Dias performed one of the most interesting songs of the night where influences of Fado and Jazz were mixed with her sassy attitude.
12. JP Simões – Alvoroço
JP way of singing made it so hard for anyone to understand what he was singing. The low tone often mixed with a distorted sound ended up on one of the most unsual, weird and unexpected songs of the entire Festival.
13. Maria Amaral – A Mesma Canção
It means The Same Song in English and it was yet another love song. Joined by a guitar, the youngest singer performed also another sad slow song that closed the songs presentation.
All of the performances have already been uploaded to Festival da Cançåo’s official YouTube and can be watched here.
50% of the decision was up to the judges while the remaining 50% up to the public. After roughly 45 minutes of deliberation, here’s how they awarded their points from 12 to 1 point.
Joana Barra Vaz
In case of a tie, it would prevail the jury’s votes hence why Joana Espadinho made it through along with Rui David’s Sem Medo that only qualified after RTP’s correction of the results. Eu Te Amo by Beatriz Pessoa ended up only gathering 4 points from the judges. Its 7 points were awarded to Maria Amaral’s A Mesma Canção instead.
Portugal’s first victory in almost 50 years
This year will mark the 50th participation of Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest. Having participated this amount of times, only last year Portugal won the contest for the first time with Salvador Sobral’s Amar Pelos Dois.
Even though it found great success with Salvador, Portugal hadn’t yet had a really successful entry this decade. Not only the country didn’t take part in 2013 and 2016 due to its poor results, but it failed to qualify every other year aside from 2010 with the song Há Dias Assim. Remind yourself of one of Salvador Sobral’s rehearsals at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest: