Danijela – a childhood favourite

15 Apr

croatia98

When I was 9 years old, it was 1998 and Eurovision that year was held in Birmingham. One could say that that edition spawned my childhood anthem – in form of “Diva” by Dana International and I got to listen to the artist, whose music somehow stayed with me for a while. That artist was Danijela (Martinović) and she represented Croatia that year and finished on a very respectable fifth place with her song “Neka mi ne svane”.

I had known about her before as she had been performing on TV shows I used to watch, but when she appeared in ESC, my father bought her latest album at the time, “To malo ljubavi” (roughly translated as “A little bit of love”), the one with her ESC entry on it. And my father put the album on – and I loved it. It turned out I wasn’t the only one, as some of my classmates (I went to 2nd and 3rd grade during that time) loved her music as well, also brought that same album to class sometimes. As Croatian music has always been loved among listeners in Slovenia and as Dora was a very prestigious event in Slovenian media and among Slovenian audience, of course the eventual ESC entrant would get exposure and a career even here, and Danijela was no exception. She performed in several big TV productions here and her popularity in here became even bigger. So it was somehow natural that she would reach out to me as well. I’ve been listening to her Zlatna kolekcija (Greatest Hits) for the past day or so and when I came to the tracks from that album, so many memories came back, the lyrics I couldn’t believe I still knew some of them, the melody lines came back, it was both surreal and completely amazing. I could also remember some of the tracks from her album she released after ESC, because it was a popular pick on the road trips I did with my family as a child. I wasn’t a super-fan of Danijela, one couldn’t put it like this. It was also in the era before internet was mainstream and long before the social media as we know it today was established. I only found out about Danijela’s age 2 days ago e.g. But I loved her songs back then, they were a good combination of tradition and being contemporary and her voice has been quite distinctive all this time.

When Danijela made a comeback in Dora in 2005 I was on board immediately. Her song at the time “Za tebe rođena” (Born for you) was a nice hybrid between her 1998 entry and New Age, the song I still love nowadays. But her music afterwards has been quite….not up to scratch to her early work. Now, her recent material has been quite soulless and generic, which is a shame and a waste of her talent, but I do hope she gets a proper comeback with another big ballad soon.

“Neka mi ne svane” is still my favourite Croatian entry ever though. It’s a great song, sung by a great singer and it brings loads of memories in me.  It should have finished even higher in the contest as well.

Declaration of independence

26 Sep

Hello dear readers,

Uhm, for a while there has been some bickering and disagreements going on in the Eurovision fanworld, in particular among some Eurovision fan-sites, who have been accused for their lack of independence and integrity. For not causing further row (because it is the discussion which has been quite fervent) I would like to refer myself from naming any of them.

However, I would like to declare a complete independence of this blog. This blog is a 100% independent source for my crazy thoughts on Eurovision and therefore does NOT collaborate with any artist, website, broadcaster, agency, company or any country’s authorities. This blog also does NOT accept any sorts of bribery for positive coverage and will continue to do so in the future.

Looking forward to your feedback and I hope you’ll continue reading my blog further on.

Regards,

Georgina de Mylius

My UK 2014 pick for Eurovision – Samantha Jade

9 Sep

Samantha+Jade+sammy

OK, so the UK has been an issue in Eurovision for years. Already back in the early/mid 90s the apathy in the UK media started and things went from bad to worse in the early 00s (with the exception of 2002) and reached the peak in 2003 when Jemini scored “nul points” in the contest in Riga. Afterwards it continued in the same vein – sending C or D-list celebrities or washed-up acts for novelty/cheap entertainment’s sake. In 2008 the UK scored a shared last place in Belgrade and THEN the Beeb sort-of woke up, selected Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to compose the song, selected Jade Ewen, a talented, good-looking girl in an X-Factor-like show – and PING! The success was there – UK finished in top 5 for the first time in years and it almost seemed like the BBC would start taking things seriously – but alas no. They sent Josh Dubovie with what sounded like one of Jason Donovan rejects from “Ten Good Reasons” album (eventhough I, a SAW/PWL fan as I am quite liked it) a year later and finished last again. Then in 2011 things went up again, eventhough Blue wasted all their victory chances with off-key performance and dodgy choreography. Last year the Beeb decided to send a singer whose last big hit happened when my mum (!) was in second grade in Primary school and this year they sent a singer who may be a lovely lady in real life, but was way past her era and in both cases the results were underwhelming.

So I’ve been thinking about this a bit – how on Earth do you solve a problem like the UK in Eurovision? The Beeb is deliberately choosing to prioritise other shows and uses Eurovision only for ratings and for cheap entertainment and eventually the media has a field day when the UK flops again, refering to ESC as a joke with fixed/rigged results, something which is also a consequence of the influence of the former commentator Terry Wogan and his ideology, which has tainted the image of Eurovision in the UK big time. Yeah – how to solve a problem like the UK in Eurovision? And that’s when I realised – the Commonwealth is the way to go!

If the UK sent a singer from Australia, where there is a certain level of interest towards Eurovision present already this could have done SO much good in every sense. And here, ladies and gentlemen, I present you my pick for the UK for Eurovision 2014 – it’s SAMANTHA JADE!

So who is she again?

She’s an Aussie singer, who was born on April 18th, 1987 and who’s from Perth in Western Australia. Back in 2006 she had a minor hit with a song “Step It Up”, which was also released on the soundtrack for teen drama Step Up! and during that time she got a record deal with Jive and started recording her debut album with producers such as Max Martin, Stargate and Timbaland. Her follow up single “Turn Around” however, flopped and soon afterwards she was dropped by her label and the album was shelved. Later on, she went into acting and recorded some more singles, also with David Guetta, which either failed to chart or didn’t make the final tracklist. All this changed however in 2012 when she appeared in the Australia’s version of X-Factor. Although she was in bottom 2 in several live shows, she ended up winning the show and her winning single “What You’ve Done To Me” topped the Australian chart, a song also co-written by Swedish songwriters:

This year she released a follow-up single “Firestarter”, which peaked at #9 on the chart and sold Platinum (What You’ve Done To Me sold 3x Platinum, according to ARIA.

So why I picked her again?

I picked her because she

1) can sing,

2) can sing live,

3) is totally gorgeous (and I’m straight),

4) has stage presence and charisma to end up winning a show like she won their X-Factor,

5) she’s easily marketable also beyond Eurovision and Eurovision could provide her a chance for a big European launch

6) is Australian, which means she wouldn’t have those unneccessary prejudice towards Eurovision and the world of Eurovision

7) is Australian, which would make her a carte blanche in the UK media and not put her down prior to the contest

In Eurovision 2012, after “Euphoria”, which song ended up being second commercially most successful song of Baku contest? This one:

Now imagine Samantha with song like this one, only with good live vocals. Instant hit.

AND – the last time the UK sent someone from Australia, it ended up like this:

It was the last time that the UK entry went to #1 on the UK singles’ chart and “Ooh, Aah, Just A Little Bit” is one of the most commercially successful ESC-entries of all time. Time for a new Gina G, UK!

Now – Samantha needs to be endorsed and supported by Simon Cowell – why? Why the hell not? It’s his damn franchise show she won and he, a big media mogul as he is, could provide even more buzz around the entry.

So, dear UK, dear Beeb – time for a hot pop babe from Australia again, to get you both a good result and a good commercial success!  Send Samantha and you’ll be just fine.

Xoxo,

Georgina de Mylius

Sietse Bakker (EBU) responds to the allegations re: the Voting-gate 2013

8 Sep

The allegations of fixed and rigged voting have been a part of Eurovision as long as I remember and have always been written and discussed about. However, it feels that this year the allegations have reached a whole new dimension. After the final in Malmö my colleagues from the fan-site 12points.tv published a series of news-stories based on an article from a Lithuanian newspaper 15min.lt, which stated how two Lithuanian students were paid to vote en masse for Azerbaijan, something which is apparently a common practice for years. Moreover, Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet published a story on how members of delegations from Azerbaijan, Macedonia and “unnamed Southern European country” tried to bribe the jury members and deliberately cheat in the voting. The translation of the article can be read in English by clicking HERE.  Now Sietse Bakker, one of the key people whithin the EBU posted a series of comments on the issue.

This is his comment, which was cut off from the Skånska Dagbladet’s article and which will be published in the next issue of the paper:

“Rumors alike these have been going around basically since 1956, and never has any hard evidence been given by any Head of Delegation that would proof this is happening. We have strong measures in place to assure a fair vote:

– We have an independent notary present in every country while the jury comes together to vote, to assure that procedures are correctly being followed. They submit a signed statement to us along with the result
– Every juror signs a declaration that states the will vote independently, before they even start their judging
– We send, randomly, independent PricewaterhouseCoopers observers to broadcasters every year, as an extra check. They show up shortly before the broadcast to follow the work of the jury. They have never observed any wrongdoing

Moreover, the following is important to take into consideration:

– We have never been approached by any jury member (5 people in nearly 40 countries, since 2009, that makes a total of some 1000 people across Europe) that claims to have been put under pressure to vote a certain way
– Tired of unfunded speculations, we have asked our PricewaterhouseCoopers observer to do interviews with over 10 Heads of Delegation in Malmö this year, and offered all other Heads of Delegation to actively approach him or the EBU in case they want to report any wrongdoing, either personally or anonymously. If this had raised solid evidence that this is happening, we would have taken action

Every year, we do as much as we can to assure a fair jury result, so far we believe with success. There are always people who like to question the outcome of a competition, and if they have evidence of that, we would be the first ones to act.”

 

On the allegations of power-voting Sietse Bakker adds:

“Attempts to power-vote cannot be prevented. It’s not illegal in any law to go out on the streets of Vilnius, or any other city in Europe, and offer people €20 to cast some votes in the Eurovision Song Contest. But our systems are so intelligent that they can detect them and exclude such votes, in accordance with the Rules. Thát’s what matters most!”

 

And on allegations re: the slow actions and response of the EBU, which resulted in stories by sites such as Eurovisionista, where EBU’s integrity was questioned, mr. Bakker responds:

“The Lithuanian video case is still being investigated. Why does it take so long? Simple: Summer in Europe. Everyone is out of office, so things move slowly. Our priority is to get reliable information, and to take decisions based on facts, not on rumors. That’s in the best interest of the contest we all love. The recent 12points article, which is a re-write of the story in today’s Skånska Dagbladet, is – again! – only rumors and gossip, but no evidence. We’ve said it all along: provide us with evidence and we will act.”

 

I guess we will have to wait and see how story develops further and also see if there’s any truth in the stories published so far. I think the rule by current host of ESC, Denmark’s DR, where in both DMGP and ESC only one vote for each song is allowed would be a possible solution to minimalise the possible power vote and also improve the general reputation of the contest in the mainstream media in Europe, but that’s just my personal opinion. 

New Tooji single to be released on Aug 15th.

22 Jul

OK, let’s clear this up once and for all – this blog ADORES Tooji and thinks he was criminally underrated in Eurovision last year. Moreover, I think some of his haters can act like a bunch of childish idiots, but maybe that’s just me. 😛

Anywayz, mr. Keshtkar is set to release a new tune on Aug 15th. So far, after his MGP 2012 win he’s been recording with:

– Peter Boström (who co-wrote “Stay”)

– Justin Tranter (a member of US glam rock band and Lady Gaga’s warm-up act Semi Precious Weapons)

– Axident (Norwegian producer, based in LA)

– some members of Gravitonas (Swedish synth/electro-pop band)

– Chris Wahle and Ana Diaz (he’s an EDM producer and she co-wrote tracks for Agnes, among others, both also wrote his single “If It Wasn’t For You”)

So far the rumoured titles of his tracks have been “Roof”, “Diamond Doors” and “Iconic”. Which one will make the single? Or will it be a brand new song we don’t know about?

Stay tuned – everything will be revealed in the mean time, I’m sure.

Can’t waaaaait! 😀

How 3 minutes changed my life – Fame – Give Me Your Love (Sweden 2003)

21 Jul

So in 2003 I was 14. Completely insecure, socially awkward and extremely nerdy (I even had both glasses AND braces, so I personified typical nerds from US teen movies) and without any sense of fashion. Living in a dysfunctional family and bullied by everyone in school my life was…eh, interesting to say the least. I was a major fan of a pop group Bepop (SLO NF 2003), which was getting out of fashion in my school during that time, so I was bullied even more. However, in May 2003 something completely crazy happened. 2 days before Eurovision in Riga I saw the preview show where entries would be presented one by one. I had read before that Swedish song had been voted as the worst entry of the contest by a Latvian newspaper, so I was like: “Hmmm, wonder how it sounds then.”

And then came the song. I immediately said: “Ehm, are those Latvian journalists deaf? This is the best song of the year!” It was stuck in my head later on and during the night I wanted Swedes to win. They eventually finished 5th and I was happy. Afterwards I purchassed the official CD of the contest, which I was playing like mad in my CD player and Fame’s song was the first I played on repeat and learned by heart (other faves were Iceland and Spain btw). A new Eurovision-fan was born! Later on, in summer and autumn I started exploring Sweden more and more. First I found out that Swedish selection was called “Melodifestivalen” and I became a fan of A*Teens and Alcazar as well. And during that time I started picking up some Swedish words, but it wasn’t until late summer 2004, after my first Stockholm trip with my father, that I decided to learn Swedish for real.

In 2010 I passed TISUS, which gave me qualification in Swedish language to be able to study in Sweden. And I’ve seen the MF final twice live in Globen so far. All thanks to Fame. I’m well aware of the fact that this song may be hated among some Eurovision fan-circles (I heard certain individuals saying it was “contrived and banal schlager-cheese”), but to me it means A LOT. It will have a special place in my heart for life and I hope I get the chance to meet both Jessica and Magnus together (I met Magnus 6 years ago, but only briefly) and tell them what impact their song had on my life and me as a person.

So this year it’s been 10 years since Riga contest and since Fame took part. Let’s celebrate a bit, shall we? Enjoy! ♥

Georgina is back from holidays!

21 Jul

Hello my dear readers!

Due to some difficulties in my private life my break from blogging was longer than I had expected it to be, but now I’m back. 

Hope there are still some of you who bother reading my thoughts from my crazy Nordic Eurovision world. 

Love you! ❤

G.