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.

Songvakeppni – semi 1 – watch live NOW!

25 Jan

The first semi of Icelandic NF is about to begin in less than 10 minutes. Watch here! Birgitta (2003), Yohanna (2009) and Magni are in, among others so watch, watch, WATCH!

MGP 2013 – Semi-final 2 line-up is revealed!

23 Jan

Quite some familliar faces in the second semi-final. Alexander Rybak has a song written for X-Factor contestant Annsofi Pettersen, Silya (2012 – “Euphoria”) and Bjørn Johan Muri (2010 – “Yes Man”) are also in as the songwriters. Then there’s Idol’s runner-up Margaret Berger, Hank von Helvete – quite some wellknown faces all in all. Here’s the line-up:

Det vakje mi tid

Artist: Martin Blomvik
Lyrics and music: Martin Blomvik, Bjørn Johan Muri and Mats Weinholdt

I’m With You

Artist: Annsofi
Lyrics and music: Alexander Rybak

On Hold

Artist: Shackles
Lyrics and music: Silya Nymoen, KeiOne and John Lundvik

No One

Artist: Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby
Lyrics: Josefin Winther
Music: Josefin Winther and Magnus Åserud Skylstad

Ulvetuva

Artist: Fjellfolk
Lyrics and music: Trym Bjønnes

Shine With Me

Artist: Haji
Lyrics and music: Haji and Morad Aziman

Feed You My love

Artist: Margaret Berger
Lyrics and music: Karin Park, Robin Lynch and Niklas Olovson

Georgina listens to…..MGP 2013 – semi 1

19 Jan

1st MGP semi is to kick off tonight at 19.55 and over the past couple of days I’ve been listening to the competing entries and here is my review. Note – this is my opinion and I hope it will be respected. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Vidar Busk – Paid My Way

Rockabilly opener. His voice reminds me on Joe Cocker a bit tbh. Nah. Trying to like this, but I can’t. Rockabilly has never been my cup of tea musically. I like the accordeon in it, makes it more interesting, but the chorus is quite monotonous and makes the song even more anoying for me. It does have a chance tonight though, as Norwegians tend to vote for such entries:

My grade: 2/5

Do I want it to qualify? No.

Do I think it will qualify? Perhaps.

2. Carina Dahl – Sleepwalking 

Carina “Guns & Boys” Dahl is back to MGP, this time with a typical American R&b pop ballad. It sounds like something one would hear on the commercial radio anywhere in Europe, like a song by a former alumni from Idol/X Factor. However, there is a major problem there – autotune. This song is HEAVILY autotuned, a bit in the same vein as those viral tween songs from Ark Music Factory. Yes, that heavily. That leads me to the question – is this going to be a major trainwreck vocally live? Unfortunately, I pretty much think so. Even the soft parts are autotuned and I think the live performance would put Carina away from qualifying.

My grade: 2.5/5

Do I want it to qualify? Not really.

Do I think it will qualify? Nope.

3. Tom Hugo – Det er du

The only Norwegian-languaged song in the semi. It’s in “sørlandsdialekt” actually. It reminds me on “Så vindunderlig” from last year. A MOR radio friendly thingy with a big sing-along possibility. Which, I think, will work in Tom’s advantage. It has a chance to qualify to Spektrum. All in all – quite pleasant little song, very charming and honest.

My grade: 3/5

Do I want it to qualify? Perhaps.

Do I think it will qualify? I say carefully yes.

4. Gromth & Emil Solli-Tangen – Alone 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!!! What was THAT?! – was my first reaction to this one. It’s a symphonic opera metal song, quite majestic and epic to be honest. But also, to be honest, it’s NOT my cup of tea, genre-wise and I think the growler disturbs and quite ruins my impression of the song. Emil’s voice is as powerful as his older brother’s and I think the fact that he’s a Solli-Tangen may benefit their chances. The chances? No idea, really. People are saying it will qualify, me, meanwhile, I’m not entirely sure.

My grade: 3/5

Do I want it to qualify? Without growling yes, with growling – I’m not sure.

Do I think it will qualify? Maybe. The voters in Norway can be very unpredictable.

5. Julie Bergan – Give A Little Something Back

Same type of song as Carina Dahl’s. The highest charted song on iTunes chart since Wednesday and written by Ben “A1” Adams. And comparing to Carina, Julie’s autotune-free in studio version. I predict a major breakthrough for Julie tonight. I like this, it’s modern and sincere, also gives me goosebumps to be honest. Me gusta. A lot. And I can call Julie the sure finalist.

My grade: 4/5

Do I want it to qualify? Yes.

Do I think it will qualify? I say carefully yes.

6. Doc MC & Mimi Blix – Catch Me 

This is not bad. Dance-pop in typical Scandinavian way (despite the DJs being Italian). However, it’s clearly influenced by Euphoria – and copying former years’ winning concept has never been proven the formula for success. And – this song goes into the category of entries that are often underrated by Norwegian public – just to mention some examples: Sichelle in 2011, Lene Alexandra in 2010, Minnie-Oh, Rikke Norrmann, Irresistable and Lise Karlsnes last year. Therefore I highly doubt it’s chances for Spektrum.

My grade: 3/5

Do I want it to qualify? Nah.

Do I think it will qualify? Nope.

7. Datarock – The Underground

Ladies and gentlemen, this is my favourite. This is FABULOUS! A bit of Jamiroquai, a bit indie pop in the verses, a bit “Dirtee Disco” by Dizzee Rascal and the chorus reminds me on “The Best Things In Life Are Free” by Janet Jackson & Luther Vandross. I LOVE this, this is groovy, it reflects well on what’s popular in Norway and Datarock themselves are very popular among the audience and the critics. But – will they qualify? I want to say “YES!” straight away, but history proves us, that famous names have been heavily underrated already. But I hope it will qualify. So much. It would be fully deserved.

My grade: 5/5

Do I want it to qualify? YES!

Do I think it will qualify? I freaking hope so!

There you have my opinion. The semi will be webcasted HERE from 19.55 to 21.15 CET.

So – go Datarock!!!!

UPD – Datarock, Vidar and Gromth made it. YAY for Datarock, hmmm for Gromth and Vidar though! 😀

SPOILER WARNING! MGP 2013 – semi 1 – here are artists and songs!

16 Jan

The artists for the first semi in Steinkjer have been revealed and they are (courtesy of Eurovision.tv):

1. Paid My Way

Artist: Vidar Busk
Lyrics: Tim Scott
Music: Tim Scott and Vidar Busk

2. Sleepwalking

Artist: Carina Dahl
Lyrics and music: Carina Dahl, Ben Adams and Søren Pagh

3. Det er du

Artist: Tom Hugo
Lyrics and music: Tom Hugo

4. Alone

Artist: Gromth and Emil Solli-Tangen
Lyrics: Emil Solli-Tangen and Sven Atle Kopperud (Silenoz)
Music: Gromth

5. Give A Little Something Back

Artist: Julie Bergan
Lyrics and music: Ben Adams, Sara Skjoldnes and Julie Bergan

6. Catch Me

Artist: Mimi Blix
Lyrics: Mimi Blix and Dr Shiver
Music: Dr Shiver, Luca Monticelli and Mauro Cottini

7. The Underground

Artist: Datarock
Lyrics: Fredrik Saroea
Music: Fredrik Saroea and Pål Myran-Håland

More to follow in the upcoming days. Stay tuned! 😀

DMGP 2013 – the finalists have been revealed

16 Jan

And here we have them – the finalists of DMGP 2013:

1. Frederikke Vedel – Jeg har hele tiden vidst det
Pernille Georgi, Thomas Reil and Jeppe Reil

2. Brinck – Human
Niels Brinck

3. Kate Hall – I’m Not Alone
Lars Halvor Jensen, Martin Larsson, Michelle Bell, Oscar Holter, Jakke Erixson and Simon Hermansen

4. Louise Dubiel – Rejs dig op
Casper Lindstad, Rune Braager and Louise Dubiel

5. Daze – We Own the Universe
Thomas G:son & Peter Boström

6. Simone Egeriis – Stay Awake
Lars Halvor Jensen og Carsten Lindberg

7. Jack Rowan feat. Sam Gray – Invincible
Achmad Darwich, Jack Rowan and Sam Gray

8. Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops
Lise Cabble, Julia Fabrin Jakobsen and Thomas Stengaard

9. Albin – Beautiful to Me
Brian Risberg Clausen (Bryan Rice) and Mads Haugaard

10. Mohamed – Unbreakable
Morten Friis, Michael Parsberg, Peter Bjørnskov and Lene Dissing

More to follow later today! Thank you, Marek for posting the songwriters too! 🙂

Freshly squeezed from the Nordic Euroland

15 Jan

What has happened since my last post:

– The songs for Icelandic NF you can hear HERE. A review to follow soon.

– The songs for the Finnish UMK you can hear on YLE’s official page. A review to follow soon

– Emil Solli-Tangen (yes, Didrik’s little brother) and Hank von Helvete are both in MGP, according to local media.

– Fredrik Kempe (the co-composer of Sweden 2008, 2009, Norway 2010 and Sweden 2011) liked official DMGP page on Facebook – hmmm, what is that supposed to mean?!

– Mohamed Ali (3rd placed chap on DK X-Factor) and Albin Ljugqvist (a Swede living in Cph) are both more or less confirmed for DMGP.

– Also, according to Her & Nu, Brinck (ESC 2009) and Simone (DMGP 2007-as an interval act, 2010) are in DMGP.

– Gaute Ormesen is according to VG confirmed for MGP and the whole revelation process is getting a sharp criticism from VG as they claim it minimizes the publicity and the buzz around MGP.

– Melodifestivalen is getting closer and we see a whole bunch of contestants instagramming their every move they make during the dance rehearsals – a documentary out of this, SVT, tack!

– Daze are rumoured to be in DMGP as well, performing a song by Team Euphoria, aka. Thomas G:son and Peter Boström.

– Thomas G:son is composing Georgia’s song for their duet – getting MAJOR “In A Moment Like This” vibes – could be just me though…:P

– according to Oikotimes a composer of one of MGP entries will “strike like a nuclear bomb in the Eurovision-world”. Hmmm – who could that be, then?

– Moreover, the whole “keeping it secret” thing with MGP has turned out to be an epic fail, as we’re getting both the artists and the snippets of the songs revealed. NRK – reveal everything before Xmas for 2014, k? Takk.