Sweden Wins Eurovision 2015

Måns Zelmerlöw of Sweden has won the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest with his song Heroes.

The show ran 4 hours and featured contestants from 27 countries, including special 60th anniversary guest Australia. The votes were tallied from 40 countries and their professional juries. A representative of each country gave their results live.

Russia pulled ahead early and about half-way through, it seemed as though Eurovision would be crowning a new queen, Polina Gagarina. However, Måns Zelmerlöw began slowly pulling ahead until the latter votes steamrolled him into a decisive victory. Russia came in second and Italy came in third.

Congratulations to Måns Zelmerlöw, the new hero of Sweden and Eurovision! And congratulations to all the artists who performed in the semi-finals and the finale. Great job! See you next year in Sweden!


Eurovision 2015 – Sweden

It’s not Eurovision without a little (or a lot) of controversy. When it comes to this competition, it’s something of a spectator sport.

Couple that with Sweden being one of the biggest players in Eurovision. Scandi-pop is hot and Sweden consistently reaches the top 10. Their national competition, Melodifestivalen, is popular viewing in other countries. So it’s unfortunate that this year’s winner, Måns Zelmerlöw, and his song Heroes have been plagued with reports of plagiarism.

There are two separate issues. One is that Heroes sounds too similar to David Guetta’s Lovers On The Sun. The second is that the stick figures used in his original official video were copied from another source. This is the most serious of the charges because he had to remove that video and use another.

So, let’s check it out. I’m posting the winning video from Melodifestivalen so you can see the stick figures. He will not be able to use this special effect for Eurovision.

Edit. It seems the video with the stick figures is no longer available. Ah well. Lawsuits can be nasty things. Here is the official video for Heroes.

Here is David Guetta’s Lovers On The Sun.

Definitely similar, especially the beginning, but it’s hardly the same song. To be honest, I like Lovers On The Sun better. Maybe it’s the video, which is super cool.

Heroes is an upbeat, techno-pop song that can get a crowd going, and Måns Zelmerlöw has a playful stage presence and a good voice, but is that enough to overcome the controversy? Hard to say. He’s getting publicity, which is getting the song heard, so it might not be a bad thing.

Best wishes to him, regardless!

Find out more about Måns Zelmerlöw here.

Eurovision Fever

I’ve got Eurovision fever. I’ve been giving most of my love to my 12 Points To… blog. I hate neglecting my reading/writing blog, but my mind is on music with a European flavor. Bear with me. It’s only another two weeks.

For those not around for my blog this time last year, Eurovision is the European song contest. Upwards of 40 countries compete every year. Most of these countries are in Europe, however certain other countries that belong to the European Broadcast Union (EBU) also compete, such as Israel.

Each country sends a representative singer or band and a single song. Many of these countries have qualifying competitions with judges and televoting, much like “American Idol.” The winning nation hosts the contest the following year. This year, after Loreen’s 2012 triumph in Baku, Azerbaijan, Eurovision will take place in Malmö, Sweden.

The winner of Eurovision is decided by a combination of judges’ scores and televoting. You may wonder, how can a small country like Sweden win against a huge nation like Russia? Easy. Citizens cannot vote for their own country, i.e., Russians cannot vote for Russia’s song. It’s a twist I really love and it makes for an interesting contest.

Eurovision takes place over three nights, with two semi finals and a grand final. The contest has a worldwide following and the official Eurovision website will be televising the competition live. The dates this year are May 14, 16 and 18.

For the past two months, I’ve been reviewing all the countries and their participants on my blog 12 Points To… Below are my top five favorites of 2013. I think only one of them has a chance of winning Eurovision. These are my winners in alphabetical order.

Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko, “Identitet” (Identity)

I’m a rocker chick at heart and I love me a good rock anthem. This is a great rock anthem! I love Adrian’s voice and Bledar’s badass guitar playing. Will this win Eurovision? Not a chance. I’m not even sure it will final. Don’t care. I love it.

Elitsa & Stoyan, “Samo Shampioni” (Only Champions)

This hits my sweet spot when it comes to something both traditional and modern. Love the drums, the bagpipe and Elitsa’s extraordinary voice. I hope they get enough votes to make it to the final, but I think they’re too ethnic and unusual to win. Too bad, because they are awesome.

Emmelie de Forest, “Only Teardrops”

“Only Teardrops” has been acknowledged the current frontrunner and for good reason. It’s haunting and beautiful, and Emmelie de Forest has a lovely voice as well as a unique and graceful stage presence. Denmark has a strong chance of a very deserved win.

Koza Mostra & Agathonas Iakovidis, “Alcohol is Free”

I’m thinking my fellow Gogol Bordello and Pogues fans are with me on this one. I love the folk punk genre and this nails it. I’m so glad Greece went with something high energy and fun. Won’t win and might not final, which would be too bad, because this song is a party and deserves to be heard twice.

El Sueño De Morfeo, “Contigo Hasta El Final” (With You Until The End)

Celtic rock is another favorite genre of mine and hearing it in Spanish makes it even more special. As a band, El Sueño De Morfeo is fresh and appealing. I’d love to hear more from them. Since Spain is one of the so-called “Big Five” sponsors of Eurovision, ESDM is already a finalist, which is actually a shame. I think they’d get more support if people could watch them twice. I don’t believe they’ll win, but they could make the top 10.

Eurovision – Funny Comic Follow-up

One of my favorite web comics, Scandinavia and the World, has finally published a Eurovision comic. There might be some hard feelings since Humon, the comic’s artist, is Danish. Denmark gave Sweden 12 points. What did Sweden give Denmark? Zilch. Nada. A goose egg. Zero points. Ouch. Better be careful, Sweden, or Denmark will add a Swedish tax to all that beer you cross the border to buy. 😉

Anyway, here is the comic. Click on it and you can go to the website and join the lively forums.

Eurovision 2012

Sweden Wins Eurovision 2012!

Loreen has won the Eurovison 2012 contest with her dance hit, “Euphoria.” Congratulations to her and to Sweden. This was a much better performance than the semi-finals. She moved and sang with confidence, and overall looked like a winner.

I was able to watch the grand finale in my hotel room, as long as I didn’t use full screen on my computer. Not too happy about that, but very happy that I was able to watch the show live. Thanks to Eurovision.tv for making that possible.

Actually, one benefit to watching on the smaller view screen was that I could simultaneously read the Twitter feed on the side. There were lots of funny comments. Some of the funniest had to do with financial crisis. One person tweeted, “The loser has to pay Greece’s way home.” Another tweeted, “Want to piss off Angela Merkel? Vote for Greece. They’ll have a huge party and Germany will have to pay the bill.” And another tweeted, “Ireland sent Jedward so they wouldn’t win and have to foot the bill for hosting next year’s Eurovision.”

It was interesting to see the voting process. Each of the 42 participating countries had a representative announce their top 10 and points would be tallied on a board. It’s a little confusing because the highest score is 12. The points go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 12. For whatever reason, they give first place 12 points and second place 10 points. Still confused? It’s explained here.

Most countries favored their neighbors. For example, Greece and Cyprus gave each other 12 points. Turkey and Azerbaijan also exchanged the 12 point love. Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland all gave their 12 points to Sweden. Maybe it was so they could party in Stockholm next year.

Russia came in second place, but Loreen beat the Babushki by more than 100 points, so it was pretty much a landslide. Third place went to Serbia, fourth, to Azerbaijan and fifth, to Albania. Some of my favorites scored quite low, in particular the United Kingdom, France and Denmark. Norway had the lowest score, which surprised me. I thought Tooji’s performance deserved better than that.

Here are the scoreboards for the semi-finals and the finale, showing how each country voted.

First Semi-final Scoreboard

Second Semi-final Scoreboard

Grand Finale Scoreboard

I really enjoyed the experience watching Eurovision. I learned about other countries that had previously been obscure to me and I heard some really great music. There were also some not-so-great moments of performance, but so it goes. What appeals to one culture won’t necessarily appeal to another. Then there are those songs that can crossover and find a wide, appreciative audience. Congratulations to Loreen for singing such a song.

See you next year in Sweden!

Eurovision – Sweden and Norway Redux

Another Look and Listen

My Finnish friend, Markku, who got me interested in (obsessed with?) Eurovision, send me a couple of different videos of the Swedish and Norwegian competitors. I have to say, I like these versions better than the versions in the official list.

This is Loreen, the Swedish singer, performing on the TV show, Voice of Finland. I love this version of “Euphoria”. I can’t hear it enough. Her voice is so strong and the toned-down theatrics allow the song to shine.

This is Tooji, the Norwegian singer, performing a studio version of “Stay”. I was surprised at how much better I liked it. It sounds like a great dance tune that I’d love to hear on the radio or in a club. I don’t know if it helped or not that it’s just the song and not a live performance. Sometimes, theatrics can really be distracting.

I’m still waving a Swedish flag at this point, but Norway is definitely strong competition.

Eurovision – Sweden

Thanks to my Finnish friend, Markku, I’m into the Eurovision singing competition this year.

I’m going through the 2012 list and watching each country’s video before I decide on my favorite. Here is Sweden’s entry. I really like the techno beat and I think she has a great voice. Visually, my friend, Andy, said this reminds him of the movie, “Dark Crystal.” I gotta agree.

What is Eurovision? You could call it the European version of American Idol, but that would be totally wrong. Eurovision has been around a lot longer, the songs have to be original and not previously released by the artist, and the contestants can be over 28-years-old. Also, the name is a deceiving. Countries who belong to the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) are eligible, so certain countries outside of Europe can participate, such as Israel.

Another catch is that even though each country sends an artist, if you live in that country, you cannot vote for that artist during the main competition. You can only vote for another country’s contestants.

The national competitions are as huge as Eurovision. They’ve already taken place for 2012 and the finalists are chosen. The competition will take place this year in Baku, Azerbaijan, as they were last year’s winner. The semi-finals are May 22 and 24, and the finale is May 26. Sure wish I could vote, but the U.S. isn’t part of the EBU. Still, it’s fun to watch and see what each country has to offer.