ESCountdown 2019: #1 – “Proud” by Tamara Todevska, North Macedonia

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

THIS IS IT FOLKS! WE’VE REACHED THE TOP OF THE PICKS!

In at #1 on my countdown this year is the official entry from North Macedonia, “Proud” by Tamara Todevska, music by Darko Dimitrov, Robert Bibliov, and Lazar Cvetkoski, lyrics by Kosta Petrov and Sanja Popovska. The song is performed in English, and will be performed 17th on the second semi-final on May 16th.

Tamara Todevska’s career started with a simple single release done with her sister at the age of ELEVEN, and she’s been singing ever since, breaking through in 2003. She’s been to Eurovision before as well, performing with Rade Vrchakovski and Adrian Gaxha in 2008; their song, “Let Me Love You“, finished tenth in their semi-final and fell just short of qualification for the finals.

Memo to whatever record label is handling “Proud” for North Macedonia at Eurovision- send demos of this song to the higher ups at the #MeToo headquarters and other female empowerment groups that have begun to finally speak up about things here in the US, and also suggest they pass it on to an American record label – if you can get the backing of people like Rose McGowan, Ellen Page, Alyssa Milano, Jennifer Lawrence, Frances McDormand, and the many other celebs who have come out for various issues involving the treatment of women both in the US and around the world, I will guarantee you will have a NUMBER ONE hit in the US – “Proud” will be to this generation what Helen Reddy‘s anthemic “I Am Woman” was to the Women’s Liberation movement, regardless of how it performs at EuroVision. I knew the second I heard it, and it sent chills down my spine, that I was hearing a song destined for greatness. Sadly, European women don’t seem to embrace the kind of movements going on here in the US right now, and it’s reflecting on the song’s popularity; although support has started to swell up just a tiny bit over the last couple of weeks, it may not be enough to help take it to the grand final, even though it absolutely should and NEEDS TO BE THERE next Saturday. This is a powerful song, reminding those women who made the sacrifices they have made in coming forward about sexual abuse, discrimination, job inequality, and more that there are others out there, both men and women, who will stand by them and support them all the way. Some of these movements are held in disdain by some because a few of them are pushing too hard, trying to go nuclear on things that could have serious consequences on the innocent. That is somewhat understandable, up to a point, because it has been so long since someone had the guts to stand up to those who would take advantage of them in any situation. It NEEDS to be done, but has to be done without the alienation of either sex, and without taking the innocent down as well – if not, the entire movement will backfire badly and perhaps make things worse than they have been. With this song to remind everyone WHY people are speaking out, perhaps it will help bring people together in what is very definitely a just and needed cause, when done correctly. And more power to those who can help get it there, including the songwriters and Tamara Todevska’s brilliantly understated performance of this powerful anthemic song that deserves better than the ESC fans are taking the time to give it…

North Macedonia has been around in EuroVision since 1998; until this year, they have competed as FYR Macedonia. and unfortunately, they have not fared very well in the eighteen times they’ve participated thus far. Their best showing has been 12th, in 2006. They have missed the last six Grand Finals in a row…hopefully enough people will vote for this powerful and important song so that it does not become their seventh miss in a row…because it deserves FAR FAR BETTER…

Please please PLEASE get behind this song and what it stands for. Even if the song doesn’t make the finals, it deserves to be heard the world over…

And those are my personal choices for favorite songs in the 2018 EuroVision Song Contest! Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18!

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at just before 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! It’s gonna be a FUN FUN FUN WEEK!  See YA!

ESCountdown 2019: #2 – “Az en apam” by Joci Papai, Hungary

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #2 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Hungary, “Az en apam” by Joci Papai, written by József Pápai and Ferenc Molnár Caramel. The song is performed in Hungarian , and will be performed 7th on the first semi-final on May 14th.

This is Joci Papai‘s second trip to Eurovision; he represented Hungary in 2017 with his song “Origo“, which finished eighth overall. Like many Eurovision representatives these days, he got his big break on a talent show, in this case the Hungarian series Megasztar back in 2005; although eliminated early on, he gained a following and has been a rising star in his homeland since.

For some unknown reason, the ESC Fan community is totally ignoring this beautiful tribute song; in English, the title translates to “My Father” or “Of My Father“, depending on the source you look at, and is a clearly autobiographical song about Papai‘s childhood. It also holds the distinction of being the ONLY video from the contest this year that makes me cry. I don’t speak Papai’s native tongue, but his passion and fire about the love of his father comes through loud and clear. And if anyone can PLEASE help me find out the name of the young actor in the video I would really appreciate it – this kid has the most passive and yet expressive face I’ve ever seen, and I want to give him proper props for it. The young man who is the focal point of the video captures the mood of the song perfectly as he wants to do something to properly remember his father, who appears to no longer be in the picture, as he is carrying around a photo of him. There is a scene about two-thirds of the way through the video where the young man is sitting on top of the heavy trunk he’s been pulling around town, trying to get to a specific place; he’s resting a bit as he watches a young boy and his father across the street from him climb into their car together. The young man and the boy lock eyes for a brief second, and the looks on both their faces says everything, and the tears just start pouring down my face…just like they are doing right now just thinking about it  (::sniff::)  I guess it might be “daddy issues” with me – I never had a true father figure in my life – my father decided he didn’t want to be a family man anymore when I was four or five, and my stepfather, who was around for just a few years when I was under 12, was much younger than my mother, and didn’t really get being a dad either, although I know he loved me and I loved him as well while they were together. My mother, whom l lost at age 85 just a year ago last week, was both a mother and father to me and despite her beliefs excelled at doing both. She always thought I needed a man in my life, though, and she tried one last time for a few months with another man before giving it up, and I can’t fault her for giving it the effort. But that’s neither here nor there about this song, which is just beautiful, and the video completely destroys me every time I see it; Papai is so fortunate to have had a father he loves or loved that much. You have to get past one completely illogical bit in the visual – there is NO WAY IN HELL you can play guitar in thick biker gloves, although Papai manages to look convincing when he tries – but beyond that, this video rips through my heart, and so does the song. I hope he does better than I believe he’s going to, because I really really REALLY want this amazingly beautiful song to make it through to the finals…please please PLEASE….

Hungary made its EuroVision debut in 1994 and has participated 15 times thus far. They have yet to take a Grand Final – their best showing has thus far been fourth, in their debut year. They withdrew from the contest for six years, 1999-2004, and missed a couple of other years as well. Their entry last year, the incredible gut-wrenching screamcore rocker “Vislat Nyar” by AWS, also another father tribute in it’s own way, was one of my favorites in the contest, and wish it had done better, finishing 21st overall…

Please please PLEASE watch this video and get behind it- I defy ANYONE watching it not to be moved to tears…and I was completely serious above – if ANYONE knows the name of the young actor in the video, please GET IN TOUCH with me via email or instant messaging on Twitter or Facebook – I desperately want to know who he is….he is just amazing in this video…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel!

ESCountdown 2019: #3 – “Scream” by Sergey Lazarev, Russia

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #3 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Russia, “Scream” by Sergey Lazarev, written by Philip Kirkorov and Dimitris Kontopoulos. The song is performed in Englis , and will be performed 13th on the second semi-final on May 16th.

Can someone please explain to me why Sergey Lazarev isn’t a worldwide superstar by this point in his career? He rose to fame as a member of the group Smash! in the early 2000’s and since it’s breakup in 2006, he has been performing solo, becoming one of the most popular performers in Russia, and throughout Europe as well; he’s also been acting off and on since he was a child. Hie is fluent in more than one language, including English, and there’s no logical reason that Lazarev hasn’t broken out worldwide as yet. This is his second trip to Eurovision; his 2016 fan favorite song “You Are The Only One“, which featured a dynamic and mind-blowing on-stage performance, finished fifth.

This song is hauntingly beautiful, but it’s a bit difficult to describe adequately. The lyrics reflect that of someone giving up the person they truly love for some reason or another – it’s never made clear why, but it may have had something to do with a betrayal of some sort if I’m interpreting the bridge of the song correctly –  and the pain of intense loss such an action causes. The video, however, turns it a bit askew and changes direction a bit, with it’s beautifully dark and brooding story of two children, a young boy, a wanna-be pirate or knight, protecting the little girl he loves from the dragons that threaten them; you can feel the inspiration from “Game Of Thrones” throughout the onscreen action. Beautifully executed with a mix of live action and pristine paper-cut animation and shadow art, and lushly dark, with the pounding orchestral score of the song, punctuated by Lazarev’s observations of the goings-on with his stark, outstanding vocals, and he later taking the place of the boy as an older man…WOW. This is my wife’s favorite video this year, and it’s right up there on my list as well. The song’s brooding instrumentation underscores the pain of the lyrics amazingly well, and Lazarev, who is just one of the best vocalists in the WORLD right now,  rips through your heart with his wrenching performance. Just unbelievably exquisite. I’m completely gastiflabbered, and utterly astonished that much of the fan community seems to have inexplicably turned its nose up at this one-of-a-kind gem…

Russia debuted in EuroVision in 1994 and has competed twenty-one times thus far. They missed the 2017 contest, held in Kiev, Ukraine, when the country barred chosen performer Julia Samoylova after she allegedly traveled illegally to Crimea. As a result, Russian withdrew and didn’t even televise the contest. They won the Grand Final in 2008 with “Believe” by Dima BIlan, and had made it to the finals every year since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004 until last year; their entry came in 16th in their semi-final and didn’t make the cut.

This is quite possibly the most underrated song and music video of this year’s contest…check it out and see if you find the amazingly stark magic I see in it…


Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel!

ESCountdown 2019: #4 – “Say Na Na Na” by Serhat, San Marino

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #4 on my countdown this year is the official entry from San Marino, “Say Na Na Na” by Serhat, written by Serhat and Mary Susan Applegate. The song is performed in English with two lines in Turkish, and will be performed 17th and last, a performance spot that is usually an almost-guaranteed ticket to the grand final, on the first semi-final on May 14th.

Ahmet Serhat Hacıpaşalıoğlu, known by his middle name Serhat, is renowned throughout Europe as a singer, producer, and television host. He was the producer and host of the Turkish adaptation of “Jeopardy“, known as “Riziko!“, which ran for years. He started his singing career around the time he was hosting, and this is the second time the Turkish native has represented the small enclave country-community of San Marino at Eurovision.

Ok, I can’t help myself. I’ve seen it derided all over the ESC Fandom community…and YOU ARE ALL WRONG! NYAAH!  This is just about the coolest song in this year’s contest, and it has MASSIVE potential to become a worldwide smash, with an infectious beat and a memorable – and irresistible – chorus hook; I have passed the video for this song onto a number of friends who all fell hard for it. It’s simple message is that Serhat will be there anytime you need a pick me up when you’re having a bad day – just call him and he’ll tell you so. Really – “Don’t forget my number, call me anytime” – LOL! OK, OK  I KNOW… he means it as a metaphor for knowing you can call a true friend when you need some boost to get through the day. Basically, it’s a jaunty, upbeat cross between “Lean On Me” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy“, the Eurovision editions. And you know what? IT’S AWESOME! This world FUCKIN’ NEEDS that right now – there’s so much craziness going on, no matter where in the world you are living, that knowing you always have a friend by your side can only be good, right? The video is my absolute favorite of all the videos this year – performed on a city street set, with inserts of Serhat singing while clad in his colorful suit jackets, and then actually joining the crowd in the final chorus, the video is just awesome – love the briefcase dance in the street from the guys right after the first chorus, and that little girl in the red and yellow jumpsuit who does the “Say Na Na Na” at the end of the video is just about the cutest kid on the planet right now. I have played this song more than ANY OTHER SONG this year – I absolutely ADORE it, from the admitted cheesiness of the upbeat fun lyrics to Serhat’s usual awesome deep-throated delivery. Say what you want about him, he is fun, he is likable in so many ways, he obviously loves and enjoys performing, and he’s STILL the ONLY Turkish artist to ever hit the Billboard charts in the U.S.; the last song he represented San Marino with at Eurovision, “I Didn’t Know“, rerecorded as a duet with the legendary Martha Wash, hit #25 on Billboard’s Dance Club chart in 2017. Do NOT count this song out – allow me to repeat myself – it’s AWESOME! If it doesn’t get through, I am going to be SOOOOOO pissed off…..and then I’ll have to just listen to the song again to help me get over it…heh heh heh….

San Marino is one of those little European conclaves that tourists flock to – the entire country is only TWENTY FOUR SQUARE MILES, has a population of just over 33,000 people, and is contained entirely within Italy, but they are completely autonomous, currently making them the smallest country represented at EuroVision (in comparison, among the countries of Europe, only Monaco, which hasn’t participated since 2006, and Vatican City, which has never participated, are smaller). They made their debut in 2008, and have made 9 appearances in the contest. They have qualified for the final only once, in 2014, where they finished 24th. They DO hold a EuroVision record, as strange as it seems – Valentina Monetta, who represented the country three years in a row, in 2012, 2013, and 2014, and also in 2017 with Jimmie Wilson, holds the title for the female artist with the most participation in the contest with four appearances…pretty wild…and now Serhat is challenging her and coming after her spot; as noted above, this is his second appearance for the country at the contest.

Say what you will, this video is absolutely AWESOME – If you don’t love it…check your pulse, you’re probably deceased…heh heh…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel!

ESCountdown 2019: #5 – “Roi” by Bilal Hassani, France

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are now less than ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only three days from the first semi final. Today, I will wrap up this year’s ESCountdown, bringing you my top five picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road with their own personal tastes and choices, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #5 on my countdown this year is the official entry from France, “Roi” by Bilal Hassani, written by Bilal Hassani, Madame Monsieur, and Medeline. The song is performed in English and French, and as France is one of the “Big Five” it has an automatic “Bye” to the grand final on May 18.

19-year-old Bilal Hassani has been making videos on YouTube for a number of years, both music and commentary, and he came to national fame in France when he was a participant in the second season of France’s “The Voice Kids” talent show franchise, getting eliminated in the battle rounds (REALLY?). He came out as gay in 2017 and has frequently had to fight back against bigotry and hatred on social media since that time.

Although I have a different personal favorite, I have known in my gut since I first saw the video for “Roi” that Hassani was the one to beat at this year’s Eurovision contest. This song is so powerful, so beautiful, so commanding in it’s presence that it demands to be taken seriously. His unique “Frencnglish” delivery -alternating lines of English and French – is seamless, and his voice is truly sent from the Gods; the song gives me chills every time I listen to it. I am convinced he was put on this Earth to help defend against bigotry and hatred regarding those who identify as LGBTQ, and he’s going to do it in a big way. “Roi“, English translation “King” (well, duh…even I know that, and I speak ZERO French), sends a message to others struggling with who they are to stand up, accept yourself as who you are, and go for the crown, and, to put it bluntly, FUCK everyone else, you WILL succeed no matter what you have to face. Even if the song doesn’t win the whole shebang at the Grand Finel, Hassani DOES win – because I truly believe with this performance, we are witnessing the birth of someone meant to be a superstar worldwide very, very soon, and i will do whatever I can to help him get there…he is just FUCKIN’ AMAZING….

France made its EuroVision debut in 1956 (the first year), and has appeared 61 times since then. They have won the Grand Championship five times – with “Dors, mon amor” by Andre Claveau in 1958, “Tom Pillibi” by Jacqueline Boyer in 1960, “Un Premier Amor” by Isabelle Aubret in 1962, “Un jour, un enfant” by Frida Boccara in 1969’s one-of-a-kind four way tie (with Spain, The Netherlands, and the UK), and “L’oiseau et l’enfant” by Marie Myriam in 1977. Their luck ran out after that last win, and they’ve made the top five only twice in the 21st century, and finished last for the first ever in 2014.

There are simply NO WORDS for this video, I have watched it over and over again..I can’t get enough of it…or of Hassani..

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

I will be LIVE BLOGGING during both semi-finals and the finals this week – coverage will start at 3 PM Eastern/12 PM Pacific in the US – I suck at time zones so you’ll have to figure that out if you’re not in the US – where I will comment on each performance, the ongoing spectacle, the hosts, the crowd, the performers, and everything else. Please check it out at http://ecinemaone.com !

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel!

ESCountdown 2019: #6 – “Ktheju tokes” by Jonida Maliqi, Albania

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #6 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Albania, “Ktheju tokes” by Jonida Maliqi, written by Eriona Rushiti. The song is performed in Albanian, and will be performed 14th at the second semi final on May 16.

Maliqi has been a star in her native Albania for well over a decade now. Considered one of the most popular singers in her country, she’s also judged a number of talent shows over the years, and even served as co-host on the Albanian “Dancing With The Stars” franchise for a while. She’s considered a role model, a fashionista, and a devoted patriot of her land

There is….something…about this song that grabbed me from the first second I heard it. Although it takes the video about 20 seconds to get going – there’s black at the beginning – when it does unfold, it is a purely surreal experience, artful, and visually stunning. The song is one of the most politically charged entries this year; two entries last year, “Mercy” from Madame Monsieur, France, and “Our Choice” by Ari Olafsson, Iceland, highlighted the European immigration crisis in their offerings, but didn’t really come close to doing the topic justice, although they gave it a shot. Here, the lyrics of Maliqi’s song are similar but much much more specific, singing of the Albanian emigration issues, especially as related to the recent war with Kosovo, and the sheer power of the song is absolutely undeniable. The song’s title translates in English to “Return To Your Land“, and the song serves to beseech the people who have left to return home.  I have a feeling some of the European community is going to reject this incredible tune outright for it’s message, but man, if they do…they’re nuts. We also got a cliffhanger on the video, with the words “To Be Continued, Eurovision Song Contest” at the end, and I can’t wait to see what they’ve come up with…

Albania made their debut in EuroVision in 2004, and have participated fifteen times since. Their best showing has been fifth place, which happened in 2005 with “Suus” by Rona Nishliu. Their entry last year, the also unbelievably stylish “Mall” by Eugent Bushpepa, was widely discounted as having no chance to make it into the grand final last year – but it stunned everyone (well, not me…heh heh), not only making the finals but it blew past the competition to land in 9th place overall in the finals. Time will tell if this year’s entry will be another upset…

We hit TOP FIVE territory tomorrow, with my most favorite songs of the year…which ones are they? Take a peek at what’s been done so far, and you’ll be able to pick the five countries yet to come…but not the order, I’ll bet…heh heh heh….

Love this avant-garde (there’s that word again) video…although it takes a few seconds to get off the ground, it’s worth waiting for…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

ESCountdown 2019: #7 – “Walking Out” by Srbuk, Armenia

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #7 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Armenia, “Walking Out” by Srbuk, written by Garik Papoyan, Lost Capital, and tokionine. The song is performed in English, and will be performed FIRST (usually a fatal performance slot, but not always) at the second semi final on May 16.

Like most (but as we shall see in the next couple of days, not all) Eurovision stars these days, Srbuhi Sargsyan, who uses the nickname Srbuk professionally, got her start on recent or fairly recent talent shows – she was the runner up on the debut season of Armenia’s “X Factor” franchise, way back in 2010, then followed that up with a fourth-place finish on the Ukranian “Voice” franchise last year.

I’m going to say it now – if this year’s contest has one song that could surprise, sneak up on everyone else, and suddenly and unexpectedly grab the Grand Final championship, this is it. Focusing on a woman empowered to leave her lover after years of issues, the powerful lyrics are stunning, Srbuk‘s delivery is SPOT ON, and the stylish dance video is amazing when you consider that there’s lots of either neon or florescence involved and you can’t see any color because the video is in black-and-white and it’s utterly stunning. She rocks the house live as well, can match the recording word for word, and is drop dead gorgeous in a kind of waify way; without a doubt this has been one of my big favorites from the very beginning…

Armenia has participated in EuroVision twelve times since debuting in 2006, and has yet to land a win in the contest; they have finished as high as fourth, which has happened twice, in 2008 and 2014. Could this be their year? Hmmmmm…could be….

Love this avant-garde and stylish B&W video – it’s AWESOME…and electrifying as well…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

ESCountdown 2019: #8 – “La venda” by Miki, Spain

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #8 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Spain, “La venda” by Miki, written by Adria Salas. The song is performed in Spanish, and as Spain is one of the “Big Five”, it has an automatic “bye” to the Grand Final on May 18th.

23-year-old Miguel “Miki” Nunez Poco is getting his first real big taste of future stardom right now. He was a contestant last year on the long-running Spanish competition series Operación Triunfo, where he finished in 6th place. Most of the contestants on that show since it returned from a long multi-year hiatus are also given songs to compete in the national final for Eurovision, and Miki took the top spot on that show.

The title in English is “The Blindfold“, and the song is a fun romp about taking your blinders off, seeing the world as it is, and forgetting prejudices and having fun with all you find. In English, the first line of the chorus says “The blindfold falls down and joy is the only thing left”; wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could find that middle point among peoples and cultures so easily? I have been HOOKED on this song from day one – I have noted time and time again, particularly on “The Kirkham Report“, that I love Latin music, even though I don’t speak the language. Miki and his crew in the video seem to be having so much fun, and Miki himself is so bubbly and full of life that you can’t help but love him – his voice is awesome, the ladies love his looks – I know this because my wife called him cute and she knows these things, heh heh – and the style, which I would personally term as maybe “pseudo-mariachi” but I might be wrong in a technical sense, is just a blast. It’s a shame the ESC fandom community don’t seem to like this tune much – I think they’ve got a real fun number here…and it stands head and shoulders over last year’s entry, the snoozy “Tu cancion” by Amaia y Alfred….snore…..

Surprisingly, SpaIn didn’t debut in the EuroVision contest until 1961. Since their debut, they have never missed a contest, so they’ve appeared fifty eight times. Both of their Grand Final championships occurred in the 1960s, and they were back to back, winning in 1968 with “La la la” by Massiel , and in 1969 with “Viva cantando” by Salome, which was part of the infamous four way tie that year with the UK, France, and the Netherlands.  They have also finished second four times, with one of those second-place finishers, 1973’s “Eres Tu” by Mocedades, considered to be a EuroVision classic and becoming a worldwide hit, even in the US, where it hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became my ten-year-old self’s introduction to Latin music, which I have loved ever since. They’ve also finished with “nul’ points three times – in 1962. 1965, and 1983, and have managed a top ten finish only twice since 2005; even with massively huge fan support, they only managed a 23rd place finish last year with the aforementioned “Tu cancion“…

I challenge anyone watching the video to not want to get up and dance…it’s THAT FUN….

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

ESCountdown 2019: #9 – “Soldi” by Mahmood, Italy

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #9 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Italy, “Soldi” by Mahmood, written by Charlie Charles, Dario “Dardust” Faini, and Alessandro Mahmoud. The song is performed in Italian with two lines of Arabic, and as Italy is one of the “Big Five”, it has an automatic “bye” to the Grand Final on May 18th.

Alessandro Mahmood first tasted stardom as a contest on the sixth season of Italy’s “X Factor” franchise, and although he was eliminated fairly early, it was enough to convince him to continue with his music career. His first single came out in 2013 and he’s been growing in popularity ever since.

Ok…obviously I love this song, but I know it’s not going to be nearly high enough for most of the sometimes-rabid ESC fan community or for the bookies throughout Europe, who have pegged this hard-driving, bitter ‘daddy issues’ song from a very personal point of view (English translation is “Money“) as the champion this year. I disagree; let me explain why – it has to do with the odds. Since this decade began, not one of the “Big Five” – France, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the UK – have managed a championship, and in fact, only on rare occasions have any of them made the top ten. The last championship for one of them was at the end of the last decade, when Germany’s Lena took home the grand prize in 2010 for “Satellite“. Italy DOES has the best track record of the five this decade, placing in the top ten a whopping SIX times, including a runner up in 2011’s “Follia d’amore” by Raphael Guilazzi, and a 3rd place finish in 2015 with “Grande amor” by Il Volo.  But they’ve also MISSED the top ten completely a couple of times this decade as well.  Their fandom is always rabid, both from within Italy itself as well as the rest of the ESC fan community throughout the continent. But it hasn’t been enough to push Italy to the top – and again going with the odds, and from various charts I’ve been able to look over, only TWICE this decade has the TRUE top fan favorite going into the finals – which I define as a song that has been steady in popularity throughout Eurovision season and doesn’t suddenly get a huge artificial push from almost out of nowhere from the fandom at the last minute for one reason or another –  topped the contest – in 2012,  Sweden’s “Euphoria” by Loreen, and 2018, Israel’s “Toy” by Netta. The rest of the decade, the song that topped fans’ true favorites lists have been relegated to 2nd or 3rd place, with other songs making huge moves with the judges (and in some cases, the above mentioned fan-led surge) most years to push the fan choices down a bit. And I think the same may be destined to happen to “Soldi” as well.  Sorry folks. I won’t be disappointed if I’m wrong – it’s a great song, and although there are a couple of songs I really want to win more than this one, it’s definitely a worthy would-be champion…fingers crossed…

Italy was a EuroVision founder from the first contest in 1956, but they have withdrawn from time to time over the years, and have participated 44 times. They left the contest for a long stretch from 1998 to 2010. They have won the contest twice, with “Non ho l’eta” by Gigliola Cinquetti in 1964 and with “Insieme: 1992” by Toto Cutugno in 1990. Three of their non-winners have also gone on to become EuroVision classics over the years: “Nel blu dipinto id blu (Volare)” by Dominco Modugno, 1958, third place (and also likely the most covered EuroVision song in history, with dozens of versions in dozens of languages); “Madness Of Love” by Raphael Gulazzi, 2011, runner-up; and most recently  “Occidentali’s Karma” by Francesco Gabbini, 2017, sixth place.

Check out the utterly intense video for this song…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!

ESCountdown 2019: #10 – “She Got Me” by Luca Hanni, Switzerland

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! Welcome to my ESCountdown 2019, presented by eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica! Between April 7 and May 12, I will countdown my picks of the entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019! There are 41 countries participating this year, and we’ll bring you each and every entry from them all!

At this point in time we are ONE WEEK away from the Grand Final for 2018, and only four days from the first semi final. Today and tomorrow, I will bring you my top ten picks. As always, I know the ESC fandom community is a rabid one, and fans are all over the road, so as always with my personal picks, your mileage may vary…:-)

In at #10 on my countdown this year is the official entry from Switzerland, “You Got Me” by Luca Hanni, written by Laurell Barker, Frazer Mac, Luca Hänni, Jon Hällgren, and Lukas Hällgren. The song is performed in English and will be performed 4th in the second semi-final on May 16th.

Hanni shot to fame in 2012 as the only non-German winner of Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Germany’s “Idol” franchise series; he’s been burning up the charts throughout Germany, Switzerland, and Austria ever since; he’s the first Swiss artist in fifty twq years to hit #1 on the German pop charts.

Hey Luca….Bruno Mars is calling, he wants his schtick back…LOL!  In all seriousness, though, Hanni’s got a very Mars-like vibe about him, a powerful, engaging sound, a sweet, well-honed voice, and an all around package. But on the other hand, the video looks like a set piece that was pulled right out of one of the “Mamma Mia” films, with funny and engaging action, lots of intense if a bit goofy choreography, and a color scheme that would make a cinematographer cringe. This is NOT to say I don’t like it – in fact, it’s one of my favorites – but it does come off kind of hokey. Overall, the fan support for this song is there, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to take it all the way, but look for it to finish somewhere in the top ten for sure…

Switzerland has been around since day one of the EuroVision contest, and has won the Grand Final twice – the very first edition of EuroVision in 1956 saw the country on top with “Refrain” by Lys Assia (who would also finish second the following year as well), then had to wait 32 years for their second win, with “Ne partez pas sans moi“, in 1988, performed for the country by then-unknown French-Canadian singer Celine Dion; her win at EuroVision set her on the path of international superstardom (and deservedly so).  Switzerland’s track record has been spotty since the introduction of the semi-final round, failing to qualify for the final eleven times since then, and have made the top ten only once in the 21st century, in 2005. Me thinks their long finals drought is over…in a HUGE way….

Check out the video..see if you agree with me about the “Mamma Mia” issue…

Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through this year’s finals on May 18 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! My daily song countdown will appear on all three sites, with some additional material coming to both Planet BM and TKR in the days and weeks’  ahead. I missed a few days due to personal issues, so I’m playing catch-up now, and will have two or three entries per day with my #1 pick being revealed on Sunday May 12.

If you like my Eurovision coverage (or anything else we at PNRNetworks do, of course), please take the time to become a Patreon Patron! We have a TON of great perks available, three Patron-only podcasts available to patrons at the $5/month level and above, and more! Be sure to check us out and help us be able to bring you all kinds of great coverage of music, movies, television, and much more! Become a Patron today at http://patreon.com/pnrnetworks!

Catch all the official EuroVision action at their official Website and on their official YouTube channel! And hopefully, we’ll get to see the finals again this year somewhere – American fans, with Logo dropping coverage this year, let’s let AXS know we want to see it become the American home of EuroVision!