Newsletter: Denmark Hit Peak Viking For Lisbon

Newsletter: Denmark Hit Peak Viking For Lisbon

From the launch of Iceland, Estonia and Ukraine’s National Selections to further Semi Final action from Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Sweden, this past weekend saw a packed viewing schedule for the hardcore Eurovision fan. You can view the full Newsletter for a roundup of all the latest results, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at the three countries that made their selections for Lisbon this week…

Denmark: Rasmussen – Higher Ground

Written by the Swedish team behind 2010 Melodifestivalen fan favourite Kom by Timoteij, Denmark’s Eurovision hopeful this year is a dramatic folk-rock ballad that leans heavily into the Nordic country’s Viking history – a pose that could play well on the nautical-themed Lisbon stage. Singer and potential Game of Thrones extra Rasmussen has impressive pipes, but may need to work on his stage presence to really make this pop in Portugal.

Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente

Given that San Remo pre-dates the Eurovision Song Contest and doesn’t place choosing an entry for their sister contest as their highest priority, it’s little wonder that Italian entries seldom sound like ‘typical’ Eurovision songs. So is the case with this slick, sincere AOR ballad from two of the country’s most successful solo artists of recent years. Possibly a little too lyrical and low impact to be truly competitive – but Salvador taught us that anything is possible, and it’s heartening that Italy are continuing to keep the quality control high as the search continues for their first 21st century win.

United Kingdom: SuRie – Storms

The BBC continued to slowly edge in the right direction with the third edition of Eurovision: You Decide last Wednesday. There were no Eurovision winners in the pack, but it was a slick, professional field and the best performance won on the night. Storms currently lacks the impact it probably needs to really make a splash in Lisbon, but SuRie has the professionalism and experience to elevate the material. A well-judged revamp could still rescue this from our right-hand holding pattern.

Stay tuned next week for more national selection antics, including finals from Belarus and Montenegro, plus the first steps on the journey from Armenia, Slovenia and host nation Portugal. Sleep? Who needs it…

The full online version of the ESC Insight newsletter is available here. You can also subscribe here to receive the newsletter direct to your inbox.

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Categories: ESC Insight


Civic vs Ethnic Nationalism And Hosting Eurovision For The First Time

Civic vs Ethnic Nationalism And Hosting Eurovision For The First Time

For the tenth time over the last two decades, the Eurovision Song Contest in 2018 will have a first-time host. Our Portuguese friends have already done a great deal of work in preparation for Lisbon: all indications are that RTP has put together a highly skilled team.

The contrast with 2017 is rather stark. We quickly had our theme (‘All Aboard’), hosts, and venues sorted; and there’s no real scuttlebutt or rumbling about things going awry. Ticketing has been something of palaver, arguably because it seems everyone who’s ever considered attending the Song Contest has aimed for Lisbon 2018: high demand means a lot of people have been disappointed. From the outside looking in, preparations are going well.

The Swan Is Graceful On The Surface

Sometimes, however, the greater pressures on first time Eurovision hosts are internal rather external.

This is a chance to showcase the host city and country and its people to a global television audience. Eight hours of live broadcasts will focus primarily on the competing entries but will also offer a great deal of scope for marketing. An early decision to choose a theme that relates to a widely known epoch of Portuguese history that, in a literal sense, put Portugal and Portuguese all over the world map, is not surprising. But there are multiple ways that RTP can employ ‘All Aboard’.

Various members of ESC Insight writers have already presented their own words on RTPs choices. Style maven Lisa-Jane Lewis has already offered a deft analysis on the choice and presentation of this year’s hosting team as being narrow in terms of notions of gender, while historian Catherine Baker has also given us an excellent analysis of why RTP’s theme for Lisbon 2018 is something of a historical whitewash. This article takes a similarly critical tack with perhaps a somewhat broader brush by looking at the challenges and opportunities when an ethnostate hosts its first Eurovision.

We would like to highlight an approach that would leverage an opportunity to reframe what it means to be Portuguese-and, by extension, European-in the 21st century.

The Choice Of Nationalism

Nationalism, as a concept, is rather controversial. To some, nationalism is about reclaiming pride, assert uniqueness, or articulating a sense of self: to others, nationalism represents extremism, racism, and the worst of humanity. In discussing nationalism here we are focusing on the idea of an unique people – a nation – that is defined by shared values, history, experiences or a combination of all three. Benedict Anderson referred to nations as “imagined communities”, something that exists both between and within individuals. Nationalism is shared and personal.

There is a plethora of forms of nationalism, but in the context of the Eurovision, ethnic nationalism and civic nationalism are two that are particularly relevant.

Ethnic nationalism is the idea of a nation – and often, by extension, a state – defined around a common ethnicity or lineage and a shared territory. This is not a modern concept: among the ancient Greeks, Herodotus promoted an ideal of citizenship of a city-state based on shared kinship (blood relations), as well as shared language and customs. In other words, under ethnic nationalism you are born into the nation, your blood is, literally, from the nation.

If that sounds impossibly tidy, it is. Long before the invention of the combustion engine people moved around – a lot. When they moved they, as my beloved grandmother would delicately say, intermingled. Sometimes someone passing through stuck around; other times someone went on a journey and never came home. In both scenarios someone from another nation partnered with someone local, producing children who were not of a single lineage. Long before we had motorways or airports we had intermingling. In the modern age we have even more. When discussing ethnic nationalism we are not discussing – or endorsing – concepts like ethnic purity. It does not exist. It is also not worth celebrating.

An alternative to the idea of ethnic nationalism is civic nationalism. Civic nationalism is defined by the values or principles of a nation-though a physical territory is also affiliated with civic nationalisms. The migrant societies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States are examples of ostensive civic nationalism (the denigration of indigenous communities is also a shared element of these, alas). Their espoused civic nationalism, frequently embedded in a discourse around diversity, does not operate in the same way for everyone. There are still elites; there are still marginalised communities. In other words, civic nationalism is also untidy.

In Europe, as the British, French, Belgian, Italian and Portuguese empires began to crumble, some from previously distant colonies moved to Europe. Today’s United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy and Portugal are culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse. With the exception of the UK, these are all ethno-states that have become more diverse: the UK was fashioned as the (unequal) union of different nations-though in matters of policy, English culture predominated. In reality, none of these European countries were ever monocultural or monolingual: there has always been a great deal of linguistic diversity in each of these states. More untidiness.

Most recently, from 1980s onwards, the collapse of Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union transformed these large political empires into a collection of numerous ethnostates (states framed around an ethnic nationalism), though in reality none of these were ethnically homogenous either.

Another important recent (in historical terms) development was the idea of the supranational state. The European Union is a level of governance above that of its individual member nations. In something of a paradox, several former Yugoslav or Soviet member states have either acceded to EU membership or have applied to do so. To accede requires a re-orientation of their domestic legal frameworks towards the EU’s ideas of EU citizenship, which is very much a civic nationalism.

Let’s take a look at Portugal’s history as it relates to ethnic and civic nationalism.

Senhors É Senhoras Do Mar

It is not surprising that RTP has chosen to integrate a maritime theme into hosting. Having led one of the world’s great empires it is in the country’s cultural DNA. Given that the national epic poem of Portugal is based on the voyage of Vasco da Gama to India, it is clear that Portugal’s past global exploits are a particular point of pride. Their former empire is also part of the Portuguese narrative of ethnic nationalism – something that is not unique to Portugal (or Europe, for that matter).

Sara Tavares at Festival da Cancão 1994 (Source: YouTube/RTP)

Out of a population of 10 million living in Portugal today around half a million (roughly 5%) were born in a former Portuguese colony, mostly in Africa. This has been reflected on the Eurovision stage. Artists like Sara Tavares (1994; ‘Chamar é musica’) Tó Cruz (1995; ‘Baunilha e chocolate’), MTM (2001; ‘Só sei ser feliz assim’), and Homens da Luta (2011; ‘A luta é alegria’) each reflected the important cultural contribution from these communities to modern day Portugal. Prior to ‘Amar Pelos Dois‘, Portugal’s most successful Eurovision entry was a celebration of this diversity: Lucia Moniz’s 1996 entry ‘O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor – My Heart Knows No Colour’.

Lúcia Moniz at Festival da Cancão 1996 (Source: YouTube/RTP)

What initially was a system of disseminating European culture and values around the world whilst exploiting resources and commodities, eventually became something different. The main currency of exchange among the lusophone (Portuguese speaking) countries today is culture through a shared language – music, in particular.

All Aboard

The suggestion is that RTP use ‘All Aboard’ to shift from a discourse of ethnic nationalism to one of civic nationalism.

This is already reflected in its membership in the European Union and Comunidad dos Paises de Lingua Portuguesa. It just needs to be more obvious and purposive.

There are two recent examples of how hosts can celebrate ethnic and civic nationalism at the same time: Oslo 2010 and Vienna 2015.

Both Norway and Austria are presumed to be monocultural ethnostates by some. In reality, each host city includes a broad a range of ethnicities. Both had hosting teams that reflected this ethnic diversity. Oslo’s interval act featured Norwegian hip hop act Madcon. Vienna went a step farther by choosing Building Bridges as their theme, reflecting both Vienna’s history as a crossroads between central and western Europe and Austria’s modern day multiculturalism.

Here are some more concrete suggestions for how the 2018 production team could effectively leverage both ethnic and civic nationalism. First, include the Portuguese diaspora: One of the three hosts, Daniela Ruah, is from the Portuguese diaspora. So too, by the way, are the current title holders: the Sobrals lived in the US for several years before returning to Portugal. Excellent start.

Second, feature the global Lusosphere: the interval acts for all three broadcasts are a chance to showcase Portuguese culture and music’s global reach. An emphasis on how the former colonies have enriched their culture would be great. Look at Birmingham 1998’s interval act for inspiration.

The interval act in Brum (Source: YouTube/escbelgium4)

Great Expectations

Lisbon should feature its uniqueness and its diversity, in the context of today’s Europe. Doing so makes the case for civic nationalism and ethnic nationalism co-existing in a productive way.

Lisbon is great city. It is easily accessible within a couple of hours’ flight from many other European capitals. It is lovely and warm in the spring. It’s relatively affordable. If you have not yet acquired any tickets for the live broadcasts, consider coming to Lisbon anyways. There will be excellent public spaces to view all the broadcasts, along with other events and activities.

Whatever RTP decides, Lisbon 2018 promises to be a cracker of a Eurovision.

Further Reading

Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined Communities: Reflections On The Origins And Spread Of Nationalism. London: Verso Books.

Categories: ESC Insight


Ukraine 2018: Three acts go through to the Vidbir February 24 final

Ukraine 2018: Three acts go through to the Vidbir February 24 final

Ukraine kicked of its Vidbir shows tonight. The shows are being used this year to find the Ukrainian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest 2018.

Tonight was the first semi-final of Ukraine’s Vidbir, and featured nine songs performed by a variety of acts. The top three go straight to the final.


  • 1 The Show
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Judges
  • 4 The Results
  • 5 Ukraine At The Eurovision Song Contest

The Show

The show was hosted by Serhiy Prytula who did well controlling any unruly acts and judges.

O.Torvald performed their latest song.

After the voting break, the Czech Republic’s 2018 entry Mikolas Josef gave us a taste of what Lie To Me would be like live.

The Songs

Constantine – Misto

A very powerful vocal to open tonight’s show. This is a very modern sounding song. A banging drum beat brings the song to life. Towards the end, with a screaming guitar, the song becomes very anthemic. No gimmicks but a good song to send to Lisbon.

Serhiy Babkin – Kriz tvoyi ochi

This song plods along at a very slow pace to begin with, very urban and city like. Serhiy has a very wide vocal range, reaching high notes in the chorus. Maybe a bit of vocal trickery is going on. The song never lifts out of its tempo. As an extra visual treat, his microphone is wrapped up in red wool to match the video back wall.

Laud – Waiting

Ukraine is going for slow this year. This is another well-sung number, which isn’t out-of-place amongst current hits. A little bit of vocoder was added to the chorus to add extra effect. Young Laud seemed to appeal to our three judges.

Kazka – Dyva

Probably the most upbeat song of the evening. Lots of na na na’s and the playing of a pipe effect in the background. Kazka’s lead singer’s vocals were a bit weak in places but nothing to be concerned about. A bearded keyboardist completed the band. Not too bad for a group who’ve only been together for a few months.

See alsoPoland reveals its national finalists

The VYO – Ng’a-Ng’a

Sounds of the Caribbean from this five-piece band. A very unusual but welcome sound coming out of Ukraine. All pine trees and Jamaican, it made Jamala get up and dance. Perfect for lazy summer days,

Kozak System –  Mamai

Wow this seemed like it was going to be a rock band like last year, but heck no. Complete with accordion, tuba and all sorts of instruments, this is Ukraine’s answer to Bad Manners. All ready for drunken parties in Lisbon this was way too lively for this show. A mysterious female voice could be heard repeating the refrain. This is ready for Eurovision.

Vilna – Forest Song

One of these new age songs about saving the planet. Although the verses are a little subdued, the song builds to include one of these chants for the earth. Well intended with a powerful message. The banging drums added meat to the song and Vilna was the perfect Earth goddess.

Pur:Pur – Fire

With very childlike vocals, Pur:Pur are back to try to right the wrong when they lost out in 2016. Complete with space-age hair and a cape to remember, the group performs this mid-tempo number, playing piano and guitar. Three backing singers were brought in for extra punch.

The Erised – Heroes

Ending with the most powerful performance of the evening is this five-piece, four male, one female rock band. A drum features all the way through the song. Modern and moody would be the best way to describe the song. Sonya Sukhorukova, the lead singer sounds a bit like Rihanna in places.

The Judges

The judges were a pregnant Jamala, winner of Eurovision 2016. Joining her were Eugene Filatov, director of Onaku, last years Eurovision interval act. Completing the threesome was Andriy Danylko, also known of course as Verka Serduchka, 2007’s Ukranian entry. All judges fought each other to see who could talk the most. Ruslana, fortunately, was absent or we’d still be waiting to hear the results.

The Results

A jury and the public picked the three acts going on to the February 24 final.

Serhiy Babkin84125
The VYO2139
Kozak System1348
The Erised58132

Ukraine At The Eurovision Song Contest

Debuting in 1993, and with its only absence in 2015, Ukraine has been a permanent fixture in the finals.

With two wins under its belt – Ruslana with Wild Dances in 2004 and Jamla with 1944 in 2016, Ukraine is one of the most successful countries since the introduction of the semi-finals.

With 4 other top 4 entries, it was only last year in their own hosted competition that Ukraine performed poorly. O.Torvald came 24th with the song Time. No doubt Ukraine will hope to be at the top again this year.

Here is tonights winning song from Laud

Categories: Eurovisionary


Lithuania 2018: Eurovizijos Atranka’s artists step up their game on their way to semi finals

Lithuania 2018: Eurovizijos Atranka’s artists step up their game on their way to semi finals

Twenty four acts made it to the next round of Eurovizijos Atranka 2018. Now six must leave and six continue, in a battle to win the chance to represent Lithuania at Eurovision 2018.

Its Lithuanian Atranka games, not Hunger games, as six acts proceed and six acts leave, where the public and jury choices are not the same. Let the Atranka begin. Teenagers beware.


  • 1 The Hosts
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Judges
  • 4 The Results
  • 5 Lithuania In The Eurovision Song Contest

The Hosts

Mantas was very smart tonight, as a Week Five show deserves, dressed in a grey pinstripe suit. Ugne must feel the heat in the studio. She wore a black sparkly dress, with a split right up to her head. Again the pair delighted audiences. After giving out the telephone numbers, the first duty of the twosome was to introduce twosome.

The Songs

Twosome – Hello

A light novelty opening number got the judges into a good mood. Not all songs need to be serious they chided. The song has potential to get to Eurovision, both as an introductory language lesson and also as a knowledge test on Europe’s flags. Unicorns were mentioned which is always a good thing. Congratulations were offered all around. Sveikinu, if you want it in Lithuanian.

Milda Rasilavičiūtė – I Think About You

With the jury on a high after Twosome, you’d have thought Milda would get a free ride. Certainly, Milda was complimented for bringing more drama. In an unusual comment, the judges, who’ve already seen all the songs, could not offer comment on Milda, as they were unable to know what was to come. They were undecided on whether Milda would travel to Lisbon. They thought she was over stretched.

Silvija Pankūnaitė and GeraiGerai – More Than You Know

Last week, unfortunately, Silvija was eliminated with her solo song Real. This was a bit unexpected as the judges had previously been delighted she was in the competition. Silvija told EuroVisionary that More Than You Know is about people who cannot see between the lines. She explained that the look from the outside is full of sparkles but it may not be so rosy inside. Do not judge a book by its cover, is the main idea behind the song. The song was created to be catchy, with two verses and chorus, and the third part is Disney. Seems our judges were playing Scar, Captain Hook, Ursula and Jafar, as they only awarded the song, three points.

Lukas Norkūnas – Tegu

T, being a songwriter, felt that Lukas was even better than him. No beard this week, Lukas must have splurged on a razor after his success in Week One. This week the song simply came to life, with a lot more movement from Lukas. The song had a slightly different arrangement too.T loved all the words in the song, particularly how many there are, and how, outside Lithuania, the words may not be understood. Well courtesy of Lukas himself, here’s whats going on.

Aš! na bent jau aš…Kai būsiu pagyvenęs, galbūt netgi žilas,
kitaip tariant… – Aš, kai būsiu senas -vistiek ateisiu šokti pas jaunimą,jau manau jūs manot, kad varys mane.., sakys:- Čia ne vieta, Seneli, tau, arrivederci, Seni, ciao

I… well, at least I…when I’ll be elderly, maybe even gray-haired, in other words…:I.. when I’ll be old,
regardless of it I’ll come dancing to the young people.
Already I think you’re thinking, that they’ll try to drive me out, saying:”This is not a place for you, old man, arrivederci, old man, ciao”

Now not wanting to totally destroy the mystery of the song itself that’s all your getting.

Paula – 1 2 3

Paula was complimented for being good, two years in a row. Dovilė, though said she was tired of this virginal sexuality. She scolded Paula for portraying a sexual image beyond her years. Lady Dovilė continued that she didn’t just mean Paula, but all young girls of her age with the same image. She urged the viewers to look for character and colour. Oh dear, Paula performed perfectly by the way, though this year’s song is not as good as last year.

Benas Malakauskas – My Memories

Benas was praised for his charisma, which he definitely has. The judges thought that the song was not expressive and so it looks like the end of the road for Benas this year. Our judges said that this song won’t be going to Eurovision, but praised his courage. So we are losing Benas for 2018, but he has a lot of potential for future years.

See alsoLithuania 2018: Eurovizijos Atranka Week 4 – the final six qualifiers are announced

Godo – Fire Fountain

Godo was praised for her ability to focus on stage. Drawing inspiration from Talking Heads, Godo indeed puts on a show. The originality of the song drew the judges opinion that she will be heading to the next round. For all its mystery, Godo, real name, Goda Sasnauskaite, says the meaning of the song can be taken as a symbol. However, she laughs, the truth is ” I was sitting in front of fire rising and these words came into my head”. Brilliant in every way from the video wall to the performance.

Germantė Kinderytė – Turn It Up

Ooh, the judges must hate having this song in the final, as they never give it any points. Observant Ramūnas, ever the expert on teenage pop, noticed this was produced by the same team as Paula. He prefers Paula’s song, which he doesn’t really like anyway, so poor Germantė is doomed. The biggest challenge facing this song was Germantė’s lack of experience. Go out and learn, she was told and come back when you reach our age, the judges advised.

Vidas Bareikis – Pusvalanduko

You know in their heads these judges are thinking they want novelty to represent Lithuania again. You can see this would fit well with Eurovision they claimed. To the disappointment of the judges, Vidas translated his song to English, as they had previously asked. Half A Day is the English translation. Vidas said next week he’s going to do a Portuguese version.

Juozas Martin – Don’t Give Up

Good, but with something lacking, thought the judges. They did praise Juozas though for coming with his own self-written song.
Talking to EuroVisionary, Juozas says of his song ” It is a positive song about not giving up on your dreams. It speaks about that great feeling – a huge boost of confidence when you get an idea to do something, to make something or create something and it is usual that when you start to reach for you aims – it gets hard. So that’s what I’m telling, be strong, don’t give up and you will live your dream”. Right back at you Juozas, if this year it’s not to be, make sure we hear from you again next year.

Kotryna Juodzevičiūtė – That Girl

What on earth happened in a week. From being good last week, Kotryna just crashed through the ceiling this week. The whole performance, image, voice, the choreography was top notch. This probably cannot be improved. Are we seeing a new front-runner.  The whole perfomance radiated cool.

Jurgis Brūzga – 4love

The judges heaped a lot of praise on Jurgis, telling him he is right where he should be on that Eurovizijos stage. Stylish, contemporary, Jurgis added a class to the competition. T pleaded to the public, who do you want at Eurovision – a teenager or Jurgis? The judges thought he was a risk free option.

The Judges

Ramūnas Zilnys – music reviewer extraordinaire
Darius Užkuraitis – head of LRT, he’s been hiding for a few weeks
Dovilė Filmanavičiūtė – performer
T. Sinickis – musician

The Results

Twosome74 115
Milda Rasilavičiūtė1 239
Silvija Pankūnaitė & GeraiGerai38116
Lukas Norkūnas538 8
Paula6 612 4
Benas Malakauskas011 11
Godo10717 3
Germantė Kinderytė000 12
Vidas Bareikis5 510 7
Juozas Martin20210
Kotryna Juodzevičiūtė121022 1
Jurgis Brūzga1012222

Lithuania In The Eurovision Song Contest

Towards the end of 2011, LRT advertised in the local paper that they were looking for someone willing to wear a blindfold with some summersault experience preferred. A young, Donatas Montvydas, read the advert in the school playground, and headed to the LRT studios, bouncing his basketball all the way there.

Featuring a video wall similar to Jailhouse Rock, Lithuania’s answer to Elvis Presley, sang Love Is Blind, last in the Baku 2012 semifinals. Finishing in an impressive third place, Donny Montell brought credibility back to Lithuania’s Eurovision selection. In the final, Donny finished in 14th place, and became the most searched Donny on the internet, until he was overtaken last year by the U.S president.

Four years later, Donny returned with the even better, I’ve Been Waiting For This Night , finishing 9th. Superstardom beckoned. Donny cannot go anywhere in Lithuania now without being mobbed by thousands of crazy fans. Probably.

Below you can watch Donny’s 2016 backing singer and this week’s winner Kotryna with That Girl.

Categories: Eurovisionary


First three singers and songs through to final in Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin 2018

Tonight Icelandic Television (RUV) broadcast the first of two semi-finals, in the hope of finding the act to give the country its first ever Eurovision win.

Six songs competed tonight in Söngvakeppnin 2018 with the top three heading direct to the final to be held on March 3 2018.


  • 1 The Show
  • 2 The Songs
  • 3 The Results
  • 4 Iceland In The Eurovision Song Contest

The Show

All of the songs had to be sung in Icelandic tonight. However the singers can choose whatever language they want, should they reach the final.

The Songs

Þórunn Antonía – Ég mun skína

This song starts of a little lightweight, although Þórunn has a very pleasing voice. A bit of electric drum steps up the beats, but basically, the song is quite a slow burner. Hard to see how this will stand out in a final, but enjoyable enough.

Tómas & Sólborg – Ég og þú

Our duo sing romantically into each other’s eyes. This is another low key song, obviously inspired by last years Eurovision winner. The harmonies together are very good, although Tomas is more powerful in a sort of Peters and Lee (look them up), kind of way.

Ari Ólafsson – Heim

This is a slow anthemic ballad starting with only a piano through the first verse. As the song progresses you know a drum and a big chorus is itching to come out. Sure enough, Ari belts out the chorus, with his powerful voice. For those who like bombastic ballads, you could do worse than this one. Ari does his best to screech out the highest notes he can.

See alsoHungary 2018: four songs qualified to A Dal's Grand Final

Heimilistónar – Kúst og fæjó

Would it be cruel to describe this group as four elderly ladies? The lead lady sang the opening verse before being joined by her Calendar Gals. The song is a throwback to the eighties, no make that the sixties. A mouth organ adds to the instrumental break. Fun but not groundbreaking. The ladies could have been Pollaponks mothers, all dressed in their Teletubbies colours.

Fókus – Aldrei gefast uppg.

This three female, two male vocal group excelled in their harmonies. One of the ladies started the song quietly before being joined by one of the male counterparts. In fact, this is Iceland’s answer to Steps a little bit. There was no dancing in sync though. Another power ballad that builds to a rousing ending.

Guðmundur Þórarinsson – Litir

This is the Icelandic Ed Sheeran act, which every selection heat has this year. Guðmundur adds a bit of whistling after the chorus. The finger popping beat lifts this song up a bit, although Guðmundur’s voice is definitely on key. The song was performed mainly on a bench, with a winsome female on hand.

The Results

Between the jury and the public the three finalists are

Fókus – Aldrei gefast uppg

Ari Ólafsson – Heim

Heimilistónar – Kúst og fæjó

Iceland In The Eurovision Song Contest

Of course, Selma and Yohanna are the stars from Iceland, with their second place achievements in 1999 with All Out Of Love and 2009 with Is It True.

Iceland’s third highest placing was way back in 1990 with Stjórnin and Eitt lag enn.

Recently though Iceland hasn’t done too well in the contest. They have never mad the top 10 since 2009. Worse, in the last three years, they failed to qualify for the final. Let’s hope this year brings a change in their fortunes.

Below is the video one of tonight’s finalists  Ari Ólafsson with Heim.

Categories: Eurovisionary


Hungary 2018: four songs qualified to A Dal’s Grand Final

The first four finalists have been revealed during the exciting first Semi-Final of A Dal 2018. Will one of them win the Grand Final on February 24th and represent Hungary at Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon?


  • 1 The songs
  • 2 The show
  • 3 The results
  • 4 Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest

The songs

During the first Semi-Final, the following songs have been performed once again:

Gergely Dánielfy – Azt mondtad
Roland Gulyás – H Y P N O T I Z E D
Ham Ko Ham – Bármerre Jársz
Gábor Heincz “BIGA” – Good Vibez
Gabi KnollNobody To Die For
Leander KillsNem Szól Harang
Maszkura és a TücsökrajNagybetűs Szavak
SativuSLusta Lány
Zsolt SüleZöld A Május

Many of the performances were identical or the same compared to what we’ve seen during the Heats. Some of the songs had however some major changes. Ham Ko Ham have inserted a few lines in the Lovári language into their authentic gypsy song. The band SativuS added some extra instruments following the jury’s criticism in the previous round. Other artists have made some changes in their staging: BIGA has made minor changes to his LED backdrop, while Gabi Knoll was joined by two dancers on stage this time. The biggest change was made by Leander Kills who played the first minute of their rock ballad acoustically, with an addition of a violin. This move has been heavily criticized by the jury.

The show

Our hosts of the show were once again Krisztina Rátonyi and Gábor Alfréd Fehérvári or, as we all know him, Freddie. Members of the jury panel were rock musician Károly Frenreisz, actress Judit Schell, the lead singer of the band Magna Cum Laude, Misi Mező, and songwriter Miklós Both. The combination of the scores given by them and the viewers at home have determined the first three qualifiers. The fourth and last finalist has been chosen by only the televoters.

During this Semi-Final,  Gergely Dánielfy has been revealed as the winner of the Newcomer of the Year Award. Also an interval act has been performed by Péter Novák, lead singer of the band Kimnowak and János Kardos-Horváth.

The results

Song/ArtistKárolyJuditMisiMiklósViewersTotal / Rank
 AZT MONDTAD by Gergely Dánielfy 9 10 10 10 847 / 1st
H Y P N O T I Z E D by Roland Gulyás 8 7 7 6 735 / 8th
 BÁRMERRE JÁRSZ by Ham Ko Ham 7 788636 / 7th
 GOOD VIBEZ by Gábor Heincz “BIGA” 942 / 3rd 
 NOBODY TO DIE FOR by Gabi Knoll 7988537 / 5th
 NEM SZÓL HARANG by Leander Kills 841 / 4th 
 NAGYBETŰS SZAVAK by Maszkura és a Tücsökraj 8888537 / 6th
 LUSTA LÁNY by SativuS 8677533 / 9th
 ZÖLD A MÁJUS by Zsolt Süle 910 10 10 45 / 2nd 

The Top 3 has automatically qualified to the Grand Final, while televoters have saved Leander Kills.

Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest

Hungary debuted at Eurovision in 1994 in Dublin. Friderika Bayer’s 4th position from that year is still the country’s best ever result at the contest. After a longer period of withdrawals and returns, Hungary has participated at the Eurovision Song Contest every year since 2011.

In 2012, broadcaster MTVA launched the new national selection format; A Dal, which has quickly become popular and also successful. Since their 2011 return, Hungary has qualified to the Grand Final every single time – that means a series of seven qualifications in a row. On three occasions (2013, 2014 and 2017), they even finished in the Top 10 of the Grand Final.

This time let’s take a look back at A Dal 2018 host Freddie’s Eurovision performance from Stockholm! He finished in 19th position with his song Pioneer back in 2016 despite being one of the early fan favourites.

Categories: Eurovisionary

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