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Ross Kamarul-Baharin

Copenhagen Blog: Overheard..

A European Broadcasting Union (EBU) staff member admitted that they had tried to encourage several countries to return to the contest but the results have been mixed – for example Luxembourg did not even reply to their e-mail (while Portugal and Poland are again participating this year).

Although it is widely reported that Turkey declines to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest due to the voting system (jury & televoting) and the automatic qualification of the ”Big 5” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), Turkish broadcaster TRT has never formally announced this to the EBU.

There was also a rumour going on last night that Belarus had not broadcast the performance of Conchita Wurst (Austria), but it turned out to be untrue because the EBU monitors the process in participating countries. The mischief was due to one journalist who tweeted the story without checking its reliability.

Copenhagen Blog: Slovenia Party

Slovenia hosted a party yesterday at 17:30 in the Euroclub to which the press and fans with entry wristbands were invited.

The Slovenian team travelled in camper vans for 2 days to reach Copenhagen. Why? Me not know..but for sure there was space on board for the wonderful items which were offered on the buffet yable yesterday, and most importantly it brought the Slovenian contestant, Tinkara Kovac, to the Copenhagen Eurovision.

Tinkara Kovac & Team performed the Slovenian entry ”Round and Round” on stage which television viewers will see during the live broadcast of Semifinal 2 tomorrow evening on YLE2 at 22:00 Finnish time.

Slovenia Party:

https://picasaweb.google.com/RossKamarulBaharin/SloveniaParty?authkey=Gv1sRgCOfPy7fpiua8HQ#slideshow/6010642527327088146

Copenhagen Blog: Semifinal 1 Qualifiers

It was first-time qualifier for Montenegro and San Marino, and for two contestants it was a ”Here at Last!” moment – San Marino’s Valentina Monetta (after 3 times trying) and Sweden’s Sanna Nielsen (after 7 times trying).

Before the start of the qualifiers press conference last night the organisers had placed Armenia and Azerbaijan side-by-side on dais, but a last-minute change about put Russia next to Armenia, so the creeping presence of politics is obviously unescapable at Eurovision (Armenia and Azerbaijan had fought a war in the early 1990s).

But the mood on the dais among the qualifiers were more positive – Andras Kallay-Saunders (Hungary) said, ”The world can take an example from us – the contestants – because if we can get along then anybody can get along..”.

And they certainly did. Only two representatives per country were allowed, so the inseparable Tolmachevy Twins attended for Russia, and although their English language skills were clearly limited they were helped along by the Armenian team who translated for them.

Valentina Monetta’s (San Marino) ecstatic mood was so obvious that when Mariya Yaremchuk (Ukraine) was asked how she felt about qualifying, she replied that she wasn’t sure whether her happiness was for herself or for San Marino.

A good example from the contestants for the fans of Eurovision – let’s hope that nasty behaviour (such as the booing heard when Russia was announced as a qualifier last night) would stop and for such silly people to realise that Eurovision is after all a celebration of music and joy.

Read more about the Semifinal 1 qualifiers press conference here:

http://www.eurovision.tv/page/news?id=first_semi-final_meet_the_winners_at_the_press_conference

Copenhagen Blog: Semifinal 2 Sneak Peek

The first dress rehearsal for Semifinal 2 was at 15:00 Copenhagen time today, and the audience were mostly school children who were very enthusiastic about the show, and one of the performers receiving the loudest applause was Finland – in today’s age of technology and smartphones let’s hope that these young fans will also vote for Finland at the live broadcast tomorrow evening.

Semifinal 2 promises to be another spectacular show, what with Donatan & Cleo’s girls (Poland) churning butter & doing laundry on stage (all the while ”shaking what their mama gave them” as their song says..), skirt twirling by the Polish girls AND the Irish boys and the Greeks really do rising up up to the sky (as in their song title).

So tune in tomorrow for the live broadcast of Semifinal 2 on YLE2 at 22:00 Finnish time.

Copenhagen Blog: Transport Rumba

That the Danes are big on health & fitness is truly admirable..That the Danes want YOU to also be big on health and fitness? – meh..maybe not so much.

But that’s how it is at the Copenhagen Eurovision – many will leave here being fitter than when they arrived. Why? Because there is no escaping the transport rumba..

Since arriving last week the official #JoinUs map recommends the Eurovision harbour bus from Nyhavn to Eurovision Island..this is quite good, except when there is no harbour bus running at all..

So then you rush to catch the metro from Kongens Nytorv sttaion to Christianshavn station and change to bus 9A, which then drops you off at one end of Eurovision Island and you must afterwards walk more than 1km in the cold winds (and sometimes rain) to B&W Hallerne (the Eurovision Venue).

Or if you have fan accreditation you can try to catch the official shuttle buses from designated hotels in Copenhagen centre, but with the narrow roads to Eurovision Island the journey can take around 1 hour during peak periods.

So then there is the rental bicycle..except that during the dress rehearsals and actual live shows the security and police make you leave your bike at the same place where bus 9A stops..and you must afterwards walk more than 1km in the cold winds (and sometimes rain) to B&W Hallerne (the Eurovision Venue).

But let’s look on the bright side of things:

– the Danish local volunteers, security and police may not always know the answers (such as ”why is the harbour bus not running”..) but they do so smilingly and helpfully..

– it’s not always cold, windy or rainy – there are sunny days too..

– and..let’s not complain because after all it’s EUROVISION 2014: #JoinUs

Copenhagen Blog: Jury Semifinal 1

If yesterday evening’s Jury Semifinal 1 is any indication, then the live broadcast tonight promises to be an exciting show.

The abandoned post-industrial B&W Hallerne (see photo) is transformed on the inside into a high-tech arena, making each song performance simply spectacular.

Each competing country has been asked to create the intro postcard for their song and indeed they have complied – look out for these imaginative presentations when you tune in for the show tonight.

Also seen arriving at the Eurovision 2014 venue was Verka Serduchka (Ukrainian contestant at the Helsinki Eurovision 2007) – with his beloved mama as is usual. He is also part of tonight’s show.

Tonight television viewers from Semifinal 1 participating countries will cast their votes to add to the jury votes from yesterday evening, which will decide who will be the 10 qualifiers to the Grand Final on Saturday. The media at the press centre here has made their prediction (see photo) – what are yours?

Tune in to Semifinal 1 on YLE2 tonight at 22:00 Finnish time.

Photo:

https://picasaweb.google.com/RossKamarulBaharin/Semifinal1Rehearsal?authkey=Gv1sRgCPbeku_NzJLgowE#slideshow/6010268738374522450

 

Copenhagen Blog: Happy Birthday Israel!

In honour of Israel’s 66 years of independence, the Israeli delegation to Eurovision 2014 threw an Independence Day party at the Euroclub last night. Typical of Israeli generosity a buffet spread was set out which was replenished for most of the night.

Seen performing on stage (other than host artist Mei Feingold and a few other contestants) were Twin Twin (France), the ever ab-fab Conchita Wurst (Austria), Cleo & her Slavic Girls (”shaking what their mama gave them”, as their song lyrics go..) and Mariko & The Shin (Georgia).

More events are coming up at the Euroclub so get your entry wristband and #JoinUs

Photos:

https://picasaweb.google.com/RossKamarulBaharin/IsraelParty?authkey=Gv1sRgCM2wipG418-ZzQE#slideshow/6010269091105254354

Copenhagen Blog: Zumba!

The best way to keep warm at the Copenhagen Eurovision is by doing the zumba.

That’s right – braving a cold wind today Eurovision fans gathered at 12:00 in the Eurovision Village to zumba their chills away, led by Flosi from the Icelandic fan club (OGAE Iceland).

Ready, get set, and ZUMBA..

https://picasaweb.google.com/RossKamarulBaharin/Zumba?authkey=Gv1sRgCKfB6vLvhcuApAE#slideshow/6010269487121325746

Copenhagen Blog: Happenings

Yesterday’s Red Carpet Opening Ceremony took place in bright, warm spring sunshine balanced by a cold wind from somewhere (some locals blame Sweden..). Hair-dos however remained unruffled by the wind and many contestants had beautifully done hairstyles. Conchita Wurst (Austria), being Conchita Wurst, responded to a comment about doing her beautiful hair with ”I don’t know because I’m not there when they’re doing my hair”.

If you missed the live coverage of the ceremony you can watch it here: http://www.eurovision.tv/page/webtv?program=105153

Tomorrow the the Icelandic fan club OGAE Iceland will be leading a zumba session at the Eurovision Village – #JoinUs and more info from here: http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/zumba-gdk888977

Tonight the 10 qualifiers from Semifinal 1 will be partly decided – at 21:00 Copenhagen time the jury of each participating country will vote at the second dress rehearsal, giving 50% of the total votes for Semifinal 1. We will see the show live tomorrow at 22:00 Finnish time on YLE2, when televoters will cast the remaining 50% of the total votes, and the 10 qualifiers to the Grand Final will be confirmed by midnight tomorrow.

Excitement is rising..

 

Copenhagen Blog: Euroclub on 3 May

The Euroclub opened its Store VEGA hall for the first time last night and several Eurovision contestants took to the stage, many singing a few songs each including their own Eurovision entry for this year.

Sanne Nielsen (Sweden) admitted, ”I have been longing for this moment..7 songs in the Swedish Melodifestivalen..and now I am finally here!”. That was a 7-year wait for the singer who performed several of her previous Swedish national competition entries which many of the fans recognised and obviously enjoyed. Overheard was a fan saying, ”She’s another Valentina Monetta..” (the San Marino contestant who is now participating for the third year in a row).

Tijana Dapcevic (Macedonia) was accompanied on stage by her sister Tamara (now a blonde), who represented Macedonia at Eurovision 2008 in Belgrade. Referring to the audience as ”Dahlings..”, Tijana relayed a greeting from her friend Marija Serifovic (Eurovision Winner 2007) and then went on with her rendition of her popular Eurovision entry ”To the Sky”. Maybe I missed something standing in the back but it looked like the energetic Tijana removed her bra, swung it over her head and then winged it somewhere..Well, it IS Eurovision after all!

The recent and tragic loss of life in Odessa (Ukraine) darkens the atmosphere for some contestants from neighbouring countries, with Cristina Scarlat (Moldova) expressing concern about the ongoing situation and asking the audience to join her in hoping for peace. Moldova’s powerful entry was accompanied by lithe acrobatic dancers which one fan commented on as being ”eye candy”.

The beautiful Kasey Smith and the glamourous Cann-Linn team perfromed the catchy Irish entry ”Heartbeat”, after which Finland’s Softengine took to the stage with their popular rock song ”Something Better” followed by their new single ”Yellow House” to be released after the Eurovision Song Contest is over.

Before their performance the young singers of Softengine (the youngest is 17 years old) were seen at the bar buying drinks and mingling with fans, prompting one Finnish fan to wonder if it was legal to sell alcohol to them and another fan to reply that in Denmark the legal drinking age is 16, and yet another fan adding that hopefully they have a tough manager who will make sure they go to bed on time.

So go get your entry wristbands for the Euroclub if you don’t have one yet and #JoinUs !

From the Euroclub:

https://picasaweb.google.com/RossKamarulBaharin/Euroclub3May2014?authkey=Gv1sRgCP7SnPyry8bmPA#slideshow/6009488000374235058