The national finals of last weekend saw some surprising and in a few cases also controversial choices. Of course there have been plenty of other Eurovision shows in different countries and there’s a lot still to come as in less than a month all delegations will meet to officially present their entries!
What happened this week?
First of all is of course Norway: today the NRK has released the full songs for MGP. Listen to all the songs here.
Who is your favourite to win the final on March 11?
Later on in this update there will be more newly released songs, but first it’s time for the Big 5 as they all have chosen and / or revealed their entry by now! The United Kingdom of course already chose in January.
- Germany was first this week. On Thursday the German audience chose Levina (25 years old) to represent the country with ‘Perfect life’ in a 3-hour long show. The songs had been premiered the day before and left Axel Feige – the only male singer of the candidates – as an early favourite. Unfortunately his performances were disappointing and thus Levina got the ticket to Kyiv already after 3 voting rounds. The last voting round was only to decide the winning song. See the winning entry here.
- France surprised everyone on Thursday by suddenly revealing the candidate for Kyiv – Alma with the song ‘Requiem’, a contemporary French pop song with an oriental touch. The final version will be revealed on a later date, but for now you can hear it here.
- Italy is surely not going by unnoticed this year with Francesco Gabbani and ‘Occidentali’s Karma’. The 34-years old singer only won the New Talents section of San Remo. One year later he wins the ‘big’ competition. On stage the most obvious is a funny and simple dance routine where the singer is joined by a man in a gorilla suit, but there’s a lot more to the entry.. Also this version is not final as the San Remo version is too long for Eurovision rules. Apart from shortening the song, the final version will probably include some English lyrics. You can see and hear the San Remo version here (studio) and here (live).
- Spain: The Spanish entry must by far the be most controversially chosen one of this year. The 20-years old singer Manel Navarro was chosen by the jury in a tie-break with eventual and eternal runner up Mirela. The audience didn’t agree at all and booed the winner and jury members. Allegedly some of the jury members are linked to Manel Navarro and therefore accused of not having been impartial in their voting. The result is there – Manel will sing his self-written song ‘Do it for your lover’ in Kyiv. You can see the national final performance here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhuRRSylN-E
So much for actual songs chosen this week.
On Monday, Israel chose the 24-years old Imri Ziv as their candidate for Ukraine. This year only the singer has been chosen publicly, the song will be released on a later day. In 2012 Imri participated in The Voice Israel and during the last two years he already went to Eurovision, albeit as a backing singer for Nadav Guedj and Hovi Star.
Today the rumour was confirmed that the Czech Republic will be represented by Martina Bárta, a jazz singer and hornist who lives in Germany and sings in the band 4 to the Bar. More information on the Czech entry will come out next week.
Several countries had semi-finals/heats during the weekend, among them:
Sweden: the second heat of Melodifestivalen has taken place with Mariette and Benjamin Ingrosso qualifying directly to the final. Dismissed and Lisa Ajax will get a chance to do so during the second chance round in a couple of weeks. Melodifestivalen ended in the heat for Allyawan, Etzia and Roger Pontare who already participated in Eurovision twice. So far there’s no luck this year in Melodifestivalen for those who already took part. In the coming weeks we will see if the same fate is reserved for Krista Siegfrids (heat 3; this Saturday) and Loreen (heat 4).
Estonia: where in Sweden former Eurovision participants all have failed to qualify until now, the opposite goes for Estonia where Elina Born (2015), Ivo Linna (1994) and Lenna Kuurma (Switzerland 2005 as part of Vanilla Ninja) all made it to the final. The other two qualifiers were Karl-Kristjan & Whogaux feat. Maian and Ariadne.
Ukraine: two more finalists were chosen in the second semi-final – Illaria and Rozhden. On Saturday the third and last semi-final will take place.
Lithuania: twelve songs performed and eight songs passed to the next round, taking place this weekend. This week there will be another heat with eight remaining artists performing. Half of them will make it to the semi-final in two weeks.
What will happen this week?
Already mentioned in the previous section were Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania and Estonia that will all have another semi-final / heat on Saturday. On Friday and Saturday the Slovenian semi-finals take place. On Sunday Latvia continues with the semi-final and Portugal starts with their first one.
Saturday is going to be a true super-Saturday with eight shows, three of them finals.
- Poland: Originally the Polish final was already to take place last weekend, but TVP decided to extend the deadline and postpone the final by one week. This weekend the candidates were published and all songs are now available to listen.
These are the candidates:
- Martin Fitch - Fight for us
- Kasia Moś - Flashlight
- Carmell - Faces
- Agata Nizińska - Reason
- Rafał Brzozowski - Sky over Europe
- Isabell Otrębus-Larsson - Voiceless
- Małgorzata Uściłowska (Lanberry) - Only human
- Aneta Sablik - Ulalala
- Paulla - Chcę tam z tobą być
- Olaf Bressa - You look good
Martin Fitch may be better known to you as Marcin Mrozinski who represented Poland already in 2010 in Oslo with Legenda and unfortunately failed to reach the final. Lanberry’s song has earlier been released in the Polish version, before the deadline of 1 September, so may be disqualified in case it wins the final on Saturday.
You can listen to the songs here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoQQHpaWWW_wSjVaziPvK8_GNBbbSbtyg .
- Hungary: After five weeks of quarter-finals and semi-finals of A Dal, on Saturday Hungary will finally decide their entrant for Kyiv. The jury will pick 4 superfinalists, then 100% televoting will decide the winner. These are the candidates:
- Joci Pápai - Origo
- Gina Kanizsa - Fall Like Rain
- Gigi Radics - See It Through
- Soulwave - Kalandor
- Gabi Tóth & Freddie Shuman feat. Begi Lotfi – Hosszú idők
- Zävodi + Olivér Berkes – #háttérzaj
- Leander Kills - Élet
- Kállay Saunders Band – 17
The frontman of the Kállay Saunders Band is Andras Kallay Saunders who represented Hungary in 2014.
- Malta: The sixteen songs in the final have been presented weeks ago. This weekend we will find out who gets the task to try to improve the 2nd place of for example Ira Losco at her first participation.
These are the participants in running order:
- Klinsmann – Laserlight
- Raquela – Ray Of Light
- Deborah C & Josef – Tonight
- Kevin Borg – Follow
- Jade – Seconds Away
- Crosswalk – So Simple
- Franklin – Follow Me
- Rhiannon – Fearless
- Miriana Conte – Don’t Look Down
- Shauna – Crazy Games
- Janice Mangion – Kewkba
- Cherton – Fighting To Survive
- Maxine Pace – Bombshell
- Richard Edwards – You
- Brooke – Unstoppable
- Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly
To resume: here's the schedule for this weekend:
Friday 17 February:
Slovenia - semi-final 1
Saturday 18 February:
Finals: Hungary, Poland, Malta
Semi-finals/heats: Estonia (semi 2), Slovenia (semi 2), Sweden (semi 3), Ukraine (semi 3), Lithuania (show 7)
Sunday 19 February:
Latvia - semi-final
Portugal - semi-final 1