Tuesday, 19 May 2015

EB meets... Elnur from Azerbaijan - "There is a wolf in everyone and we need to accept it..."

Good morning from another sunny day in Vienna!  Your EB team arrived yesterday and one of the first things we did was bump into Elnur Huseynov, this year's performer from Azerbaijan!  Elnur is singing "Hour of the Wolf", which is described as a mythical and contemporary ballad.  Here it is:

With songwriters from Sweden and Germany and backing vocalists from Sweden, Netherlands and the US, Elnur is heading up a truly international team!!  

Elnur Huseynov

We were very lucky to speak to Elnur, and pounced on him like a wolf to ask him some questions:

1)  Elnur, it's great to meet you, and thank you for talking to us!  How has the Vienna experience been for you so far?
Love it here! Great organization, great people. Everything very cozy and very up-to-date, I haven't seen much of the city so far but I will try to get to know Vienna.

2)  You were part of the first ever Azeri act to perform at Eurovision in 2008.  How does competing in Vienna 2015 compare with the experience of Belgrade 2008?
It's very different now. In 2008 we were very young, it was so exciting, new and maybe a little bit scary. Today it's the same Elnur but with some experience, some career changes, a lot of music experiments. And now I'm flying solo and I will try to re-discover myself to the European audience, to share my heart and soul with each and every one of the viewers.

3)  Your song, "Hour of the Wolf", is described as a "contemporary mystical ballad".  Can you talk to us about the song, it's meaning, and how it links to the title?
It’s a story about someone who is in constant search for answers, search for truth, and search for love. In a way our world is cruel and brutal but there is always place for love and justice. There is a wolf in everyone and we need to accept it, we need to understand anyone who's different. So, I believe, one need rise above abuses, conflicts, and search for better future. Remember that every heart deserves a fight.

4) "Hour of the Wolf" is getting lots of praise from fans, but what other songs from this years' contest do you like?
I think it's not my place to pick, it's viewers' choice and they need to do it by themselves. I only want to wish good luck to everyone here, any song can win, and that’s for sure.

5)  Everyone remembers your performance in 2008 as you were wearing a stylish pair of angel wings.  Are there any distinctive and unique aspects of your performance this year that you can tell us about?
We were trying to bring the main message in the song to the stage. Male and female dancers are telling the story of ‘Hour of the Wolf’ but you can forget about love story here, it's another one very close to us. It shows how somebody can be excluded from world just for being different – Julia (female dancer) plays the part of an outsider, while Lukas (male dancer) is struggling against her, until I'm trying to unite them with ‘no more fighting, let’s be all together’. By the way, Lucas even coloured his hair to bring the wolf vibe to the stage.

6)  A section to help us to get to know you better!:

Your perfect Saturday night - Night in, or night out?: Night out with my friends
What do you do to relax?: Listening to the music and spending time with my pets
Who are your musical heroes?: Tough one! In Eurovision – ABBA and Patricia Kaas
Favourite Eurovision Song Ever?: Waterloo by ABBA
Favourite Movie?: Harry Potter, American Daddy, Lord of the Rings
Hold Me or Start a Fire?: Both are great!

7) Finally, you've competed in two Eurovision Song Contests, and also won the Voice in Turkey - it seems you love contests!  What next for Elnur after Vienna 2015?:

I think I will spend more time working on my music. I'm about to record new album and I need all the time to do it. But than will see. 

Well good luck with the album, Elnur, we certainly look forward to hearing it, and we wish you the very best of luck in this year's Eurovision Song Contest!

Saturday, 16 May 2015


It's the last song to be reviewed, and it's time for Spain!  This year the Spanish broadcaster has internally selected Edurne, who is a big star there, to sing "Amanecer".

It's a punchy number and reminds me a bit in style of "Gravity", Ukraine's entry for ESC 2013 which I am sure you all remember!  It's vocally challenging though, and will require Edurne to nail it on the night.  Have a look and a listen here:

Let's see what the panel think to this one:

Asta Bjornsdottir:  "If only they hadn‘t made that stupid video! I like the song and she is good, let‘s hope she and the staging deliver on the big night!!"

Hasse Skoldebjer: "Ah, my fav ESC country. This is really good and she has a good voice. 8/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "This is probably the one that grew on me most and now I really love it. It has a great atmosphere and build up. I hope they will nail it live!"

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "We quite like this. It's got a catchy hook which works well, driving drum rhythm and solid vocals. Could have gone further in the chorus, maybe. 6/10."

So that's the views of the panel, but what do YOU think? Let us know :)


Finland aren't afraid to send something edgy to Eurovision and this year, they've gone Punk!  Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät were formed in 2009 and have a successful career in Finland with a big fan base - it was no surprise that they won the Finnish National Final.

The song is "Aina Mun Pitaa" and as mentioned is fairly Punky, with that "shouty" kind of singing that personally I find challenging... BUT - it does wake you up from the ballad-fest that this year's contest has become, and is mercifully short at 1 min 30 seconds in length!  Have a look and a listen here:

Here's what our panel have to say:

Asta Bjornsdottir:  "Can‘t stand this song either!!! Have never liked punk!!"

Hasse Skoldebjer: "It's not as bad as most people seems to think. 3/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "I love this song, it's so raw and honest with great lyrics. It always makes me happy and turn up the volume when this song comes along!"

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "A really admirable piece for many reasons; the people of Finland have chosen a song which represents equality and acceptance. Musically, as an example of the Punk genre it ticks all the boxes: restricted number of chords, a DIY ethos to the performance and production, simplistic song structure and straightforward arrangement. At 1m 40s it’s the shortest entry so far, but then 70s Punk songs were often short. As a Eurovision Song, it also meets requirements: there are few places other than in the ESC where this particular group of performers would be given a voice on a major stage. The ESC has become a platform for everyone. This is all to be applauded. Putting all the background aside (if you can do that at the ESC), whether a Punk song will win the popular vote is questionable. Whether the group will get votes is a completely different question. Well done, Finland. Well done. 5/10"

So there you have the views from the EB panel - but what do you think? Leave us a comment and let us know! :D


Here we go then...  Yes, the time is upon us to consider the offering that the UK is making to ESC 2015.  The BBC issued a very public clarion call to performers and songwriters last autumn asking for submissions to be considered internally.  Back then, in my brain, that meant that all those artists that said in the past they would do ESC if the Beeb ever asked them (Morrisey, Scissor Sisters, Olly Murs) would send the BBC killer tunes.

Probs not as it turned out, as we have "Still in Love with You" by Electro Velvet.  It's a poppy-charlestony kinda number that instantly divided fan opinion when it was revealed to the world, and appears to be a total marmite song - you either love it or hate it.

Given those options, I *love* it!  It's not going to win an Ivor Novello clearly, but it is fun, catchy, and a welcome breath of fresh air in a sea of ballads and misery!  Electro Velvet, I salute you - have a look and listen here:

So, brace yourself, let's see how the panel view the song: 

Asta Bjornsdottir:  "Sorry, can‘t stand the song. They sound like good singers but, there‘s no chemistry, no charm, no-nothing going on between them on stage. (I saw the Graham Norton show) and in fact.... I‘ve said this before; „the person who thought this would be a good song for the UK at eurovision, - should be sacked“!!!"

Hasse Skoldebjer: "the first time I heard this I honestly thought WTF?? It has grown on my slightly since then but I can't say I like it. The UK should be able to come up with something much better than this. 5/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "UK personally I'm not really fonds of this. She has a nice laid back way of singing and a nice voice but the guy really has no swing whatsoever imo... Also they need to work on their presentation, sometimes it looks a bit fake."

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "As a concept it’s really dated, but not in a good way. It’s in danger of being a farcical Eurovision track, and if anybody else calls this Electro-Swing I think I might scream! Electro-Swing is an exciting, interesting genre. This is a Charleston (and a weak one) with a synth and a drum machine - not the same thing at all. Too simplistic, poor, poor scat, mediocre singing. (Video wasn’t too bad though, although clearly the backing singers also agree that this is a parody of itself). This is less Louis Prima from 1967 and more Scooch from 2007. 0/10."

Well who hired you lot, anyway? ;) So there's the view of the panel - but what do YOU think? Be sure to leave us a comment and let us know!


Gawd love Malta, they *really* want to win Eurovision someday, and they've come close on a few occasions.  They have a national final that lasts for *hours* (some of it isn't even adverts!), but I fear that 2015 is not their year...

This year, Amber sings "Warrior" for Malta, the second song with that title.  Georgia are fuming.  Although to me this is not as good as Georgia's effort, but have a look and a listen here:

I wonder what the EB panel have to say about this one...?:

Asta Bjornsdottir:  "I didn‘t hear a melody until the chorus but, sorry..... I don‘t like this song. This is the better Warrior of this competition though!"

Hasse Skoldebjer: "Another forgettable and uninspired song, weak vocals. 2/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "Malta, for me this is the better one of the warriors. The verses are a bit dull but I like the chorus. It sounds quite modern. I think with this song a lot will depend on the way she will perform live."

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "Malta don’t always receive the recognition they deserve in the ESC, but each year listening to the Maltese entry is enjoyable. This year is no different; a pretty decent song which comes up with something interesting. Solid, well written. 4.5/10."

So there you have the views of the panel - do you agree? Leave us a comment and let us know! :D


On the home strait now lads, and we turn to the FYR Macedonia to review their song for ESC 2015.  It's another mid-tempo effort, Daniel Kajmakoski sings "Autumn Leaves".  Daniel lives in Vienna, which is handy, and was named after me Daniel Popovic, who some of you may remember entered ESC for Yugoslavia in 1983 with the toe-tappingly catchy "Dzuuuuuli" :)

Here's the tune:

What do the panel have to say about this one?:

Asta Bjornsdottir:  "I like this, let‘s see how this ends up on stage."

Hasse Skoldebjer: "No no no no 1/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "FYR Macedonia, a nice song & a nice voice, wish they would have kept the first version, and I preferred it being in Macedonian."

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "This is OK; it has some good bits but I don’t think it will do brilliantly. Hook in the chorus reminiscent of that in “Only Teardrops” - Denmark’s winning entry in 2013. Unfortunately for Macedonia, Denmark’s entry was far superior. 2/10."

So as seems to be the pattern, mixed reviews from us - but what do YOU think? Leave us a comment and let us know! :D

Friday, 15 May 2015


It seems that every year there is a National Final in Europe that makes all the Euroanoraks like me that are watching sit up and say "WTF, did that actually just happen?"...  Last year in the Irish National Final, Dame Linda Martin showed us that she was a right potty mouth when she had a stand up row with a member of the audience that was criticising Louis Walshs' place on the panel, and she introduced a worldwide internet audience to the word "Gobshoite"...

This years' jaw-dropper came courtesy of the German national final when Andreas Kummert, who won the national final with 78% of the televotes, decided on stage that actually, he didn't want to go to Eurovision thanks for asking (and spending cash on televoting), and instead gave his ticket to Vienna to Ann-Sophie, who *had* come second with the song "Black Smoke".

I prefer Black Smoke to Andreas' pub-rock effort anyway, have a look and a listen to it here:

Check out the views of the panel below:

Asta Bjornsdottir: "I quite like the song but her voice.... she has a lot of it but, ach don‘t like this style how she places her voice in her throat."

Hasse Skoldebjer: "Anonymous song, average singer and her shoes are mega ugly. 2/10."

Annemieke Kelleter: "Germany, even though I have a lot of sympathy for her because of how she was elected at the NF I don't like this entry. The song is quite boring and lacks a nice hook & her voice is really screamy especially in the chorus. Not impressed."

Adam and Charlotte Lane: "Decent, well-written simple tune with a good hook in the chorus. Interesting piano riff. Good arrangement, nice vocal harmonies. Pretty powerful performance. I should have thought this would do well. 6/10."

Mixed views from the panel then, do be sure to let us know what you think - leave us a comment :D