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Ross Kamarul-Baharin

Copenhagen Blog: Overheard..

When told that some folks call Eurovision a ”Hotbed of Sodomy”, Conchita Wurst (Austria) responded with ”Is it Eurovision or is it just me?”.

When asked whether they were worried if the Ukraine-Russia tension would cost them votes, the Tolmachevy Twins (Russia) said, ”We are here to sing..For us it doesn’t matter, we are just here to represent our country..”.

Asked to comment about a petition in Russia for the broadcaster RTR to censor Conchita Wurst’s (Austria) live performance for immorality, spokesperson for the broadcaster said, ”RTR never said such words..The girls like Conchita Wurst, and Conchita Wurst likes the Tolmachevy Twins..”.

Copenhagen Blog: The Eurovision Stage

A peek at the rehearsals yesterday showed a splendid stage setup which promises a spectacular show for next week’s semifinals.

For some contestants in Semifinal 1, playground acrobatics seem to be the theme – from Russia’s see-saw and Azerbaijan’s circus trapeze to Ukraine’s running mousewheel.

While on-stage costume-changing may no longer be a Eurovision forte, it seems the current in-thing is hair-changing..What is it? – Well, tune in to Semifinal 1 on YLE2 at 22:00 Finnish time on 6 May!


Copenhagen Blog: The Euroclub and Euro Fan Cafe

The Euroclub is the official night club arranged by the host national broadcaster during the Eurovision Song Contest, and in Copenhagen the venue is at VEGA, a locale which showcases Scandinavian functionalist architecture and decor. This is where the competing countries promote their entries through parties and performances in addition to other Euroclub events. Fans may buy entry wristbands to the Euroclub, more info from this link:

Peter Bach, one of the Project Managers at the Euroclub showed the President of the international fan club (OGAE International) and her posse some sections of the Euroclub which fans usually do not see – the Backstage Room where artistes stay in-between performances and the Photoshoot Room which is not yet open for the public.

Many fans start a night out during Eurovision at the Euro Fan Cafe, which is organised by the host country’s national fan club together with OGAE International. This year the Euro Fan Club is at Huset-KBH where there are multiple events daily, for example the karaoke session last night where the President of OGAE International was caught singing!

Fans may buy entry wristbands for the Euro Fan Cafe, more info from here:

Some photo shots from both venues:

Copenhagen Blog: A Fan’s Journey through Eurovision 2014 Songs

A Fan’s Journey in photos:

She hardly slept the night before her trip to Copenhagen, counting every Tick-Tock on her clock. The moment she saw the sun Shine through her window it was time to Rise Up and go. Her Mother dropped her off at the airport and soon it was time to take To The Sky. She was Not Alone – her friends were making the same journey from around the world, all with the Same Heart.

Three Minutes to Earth she saw Copenhagen through the aircraft window. With every Heartbeat she said to herself – Attention! Eurovision is here!

Entering her 17th. floor luxury apartment in the heart of Copenhagen she whispered, “Sweet as Cheesecake..”. But first things first – a glass of white wine, then bicycle for transport and off to see the Amazing concert halls on Eurovision Island. The structures are a Miracle of reconstruction which converted a disused shipyard into the spectacular venue for Eurovision 2014.

From Eurovision Island and with a Whistle she cycled along the narrow streets and by the pretty canals of Copenhagen, perhaps going a little Round and Round since it was her first day after all and getting lost is not unusual – she even managed to go local by bouncing on park trampolines with other Danish kids.

And then she was at the Euro Fan Café, party central for the fans who were beginning to arrive day by day.

With her Euro Fan Café entry wristband securely on her wrist off she went to help with one of the most important aspects of the Eurovision Song Contest – the fan concert tickets, all 11,778 of them! Together with the President of the international fan club (OGAE International) and another willing fan volunteer they sat up for 4 hours until after 3am sorting through fan lists country by country, making sure that everyone would have the tickets which will take them to all the Eurovision shows.

Feeling shattered yet pleased with the day’s journey she settled down for a good night’s sleep, to Rise Like a Phoenix tomorrow for the next round of excitement – Maybe.

Copenhagen Blog

Rossin englannin-kielinen ”Copenhagen Blog” ilmestyy Euroviisuklubin websivuille 2-11.5.2014. Juorut ja hauskat jutut Euroviisuista 2014 luvassa. Tsekkaa sitä täältä silloin tällöin:

Ross’s ”Copenhagen Blog” in English will appear on the Eurovision Club’s website between 2-11.5.2014. Gossips and cool thangs from Eurovision 2014 coming up. Check it out sometimes:

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 logo.svg

Malmö Blog – Farväl Malmö, Hej København!

Denmark has won the ESC 2013 with 281 points, beating runner-up Azerbaijan by 47 points.


To the delight of fans who attended the afterparty at the Euroclub Emmelie de Forest later presented her winning song against the backdrop of a glowing Danish flag. Also seen at the afterparty were fellow Nordic contestants Krista Siegfrids (Finland), Eythor Ingi (Ireland) and Margaret Berger (Norway).


It was a huge disappointment to fans of Finland at the Malmö Arena when Krista was placed 24th. out of 26 contestants with a total score of 13 points (awarded by Denmark, France, Germany, Israel and San Marino). Many had hoped that Finland would have been at least in the top 15, but being Finland the country will surely be back again next year, ready for another try. The split jury/televoting results have not yet been released, and it would be interesting to see if the jury and televoters had awarded differing votes to Krista’s song, since apparently there was some hoo-ha in some countries about the girl-on-girl smooch at the end of her performance.


We say goodbye to host city Malmö with many thanks for its welcoming hospitality and a well-organised event, and see you next year across the Öresundbron (bridge) in Denmark!

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 2 Qualifiers

What a night it was with ecstatic fans, a great selection of competing entries as well as pop stars Darin and Agnes on stage as interval acts – here are some snapshots of it:


Europe has voted for ten countries to qualify from Semifinal 2 to the Grand Final on Saturday. Naturally there was some disappointment among the fans at the Malmö Arena when their favourite contestants were not selected, or when a song which was not a favourite did make it through (in this case Armenia).


There were quite audible boos going around the Malmö Arena when Armenia was called out, which to many others in the Arena was not good sportmanship and in fact was downright silly. The 11 000 attendees in the Arena are only a tiny fraction of the televoters and juries around Europe, and the majority had decided that Armenia would proceed to the Grand Final – like it or not, this is the way it is.


Before the live broadcast of Semifinal 2 started at 21:00, Euroviisuklubi had called for a gathering of fans of Finland at the Arena, and many turned up dressed in wedding finery. Even though there was a message on Facebook that Krista might be attending the gathering, in the end it was a good thing that she did not – she should save her best for the stage, which she did when she gave a tremendous performance which took Finland to the Grand Final: whoopee!


Again the Semifinal 2 press conference yielded some cute little bits of info. Overheard..


When asked if he would bring the ESC back to the Land of Fire Azerbaijan, Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan) replied, ”It’s a good idea..”.


When asked what she would like to say now that she had qualified to the Grand Final, Krista Siegfrid (Finland) replied, ”I was wondering if Farid wants to ”Marry Me”..”.. To which the Azerbaijan contestant replied, ”..If you will ”Hold Me”..”.


When asked how he felt now that Malta is in the Grand Final, Gianluca (Malta) sang, ”Euphoria..!”.


”Thank you..”, said Eythor Ingi (Iceland) when the event hostess teased that he looked so cool.


When asked what brought Greece’s entry ”Alcohol is Free”to the Grand Final, Ilias Kozas of band Koza Mostra replied, ”Maybe some people were a little bit drunk..?”.


The Armenian contestant is a band called ”Dorians”, and when asked which of the five band members was actually Dorian, the reply was, ”No one..”.


When asked the secret of his cool demeanor on stage, ByeAlex (Hungary) ruefully said, ”Actually I was really nervous..I almost fainted..I didn’t have time to eat..”.


When told that her many young fans usually comment that she looks like Lady Gaga, Margaret Berger (Norway) jokingly said, ”..If you look at my video on Youtube from 2006, I say that Lady Gaga looks like me..!”.


When asked how important it was for them to qualify to the Grand Final, Nodi Tatishvili (Georgia) replied, ”..This is important not only for us, but also (to) Georgia..Today in Georgia is a mourning day because three soldiers died in Afghanistan..”.


When the event hostess teased Cezar (Romania) that he was ”different”, a pouting Cezar replied, ”Not SO different..”. Then the event hostess commented that many people thought that he looked like Dracula, and Cezar (Romania) ad libbed, ”..or Nadia Comaneci..”.

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 1 Qualifiers Conference

Press conferences are always good places to pick up scintillating bits of info, and the Semifinal 1 Qualifiers press conference last Tuesday night was no different.


It was interesting to note that unlike previous years, this year the qualifiers would only draw to decide whether they will sing in the First Half or in the Second Half during the Grand Final next Saturday. The actual position numbers among the 26 available places will be decided later.




When asked how she felt to qualify to the Grand Final, Birgit (Estonia) replied, ”It was a surprise for me because Finland was not in this Semifinal..”. (Ross: as the ever-loving-neighbour Finland would certainly have voted for you, Birgit!).


When asked about her barefooted performance, Emmelie de Forest (Denmark) said, ”I feel comfortable not wearing shoes..” (Ross: and pretty feet she has too..).


When asked why she looked emotional on stage, Dina Garipova (Russia) said, ”It is a song about all of us..We are One..”. During the voting Dina had a doll with her which she said was ”..a gift from my fans – a little grandma..”. (Ross: wonder if the grandma fan was one of the Russian grannies who sang last year?)


A journalist commented that Ukraine keeps sending beautiful female singers and asked Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine) if the country actually has any handsome male singers. Zlata replied, ”Of course, we have VERKA SERDUCHKA!”.


Before Anouk (the Netherlands) could draw her performance position in the Grand Final, she was asked if she would prefer to draw the First Half or the Second Half, to which a curious Anouk replied, ”..What’s the deal..?”.


Roberto Bellarosa (Belgium) revealed that he had made a bet to cut his hair if Belgium made it to the Grand Final (but we don’t know exactly when the hair cutting will happen though..let’s wait and see how he looks next Saturday!). The Belgian Head of Delegation said that Roberto should celebrate his success, but she will keep a close eye on what he does because he is only eighteen (..aww, Bless..).


Ignoring the non-political nature of Eurovision and this year’s slogan of ”We Are One”, a journalist asked Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus) if a win for Belarus this year would help the country become more open and democratic. The concerned event hostess said that she was not sure if the artist would be able to answer that question but would let the artist decide what to do, and Alyona Lanskaya simply said, ”I love my motherland, and if we win everyone will be welcome to Belarus..”. (Ross: You GO girl..good answer!).


When asked how long her dress actually was, Aliona Moon (Moldova) replied, ”We don’t know..”. (Ross: the dress really is long..and high..and lights up..).


Ryan Dolan (Ireland) admitted that his priest is coming to Malmö to see him perform, and before Ryan left Ireland the priest even ”..Gave me a medallion to keep in my pocket..”. (Ross: no wonder Ireland is so successful in Eurovision when even their priests are involved..).


When asked to whom he dedicates his song, charming Andrius Pojavis simply said, ”For my country..”.

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 2 Live Tonight!

Here we go with Vola and Dingdong – these are just some of the exciting bits to look forward to on Semifinal 2 tonight.


Fans here at the Malmö Arena had a sneak peek at the staging of Semifinal 2 last night at 21:00 during the 2nd Dress Rehearsal – this was also the event when the jury of of the participating countries together with France, Germany and Spain will cast 50% of the total votes to decide which 10 countries will proceed to the Grand Final next Saturday.


The Malmö Arena did not seem to be so full last night as it was at the Semifinal 1 rehearsal last Monday, but certainly the entry procedure has been improved and the lines of last Monday were no longer there. Security also has been improved with the presence of police with anti-explosive sniffer dogs.


Judging from the rehearsal last night, Semifinal 2 tonight promises another spectacular show, from the ululating Romany melody of Macedonia’s Esma & Lozano through the dramatic expression of love by Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov to the cool elegance of Norway’s Margaret Berger.


Other than the possibly titillating above-the-knee skirts of the Greek guys of Koza Mostra, there will be few eye candies for television viewers tonight, but Semifinal 2 itself is enough to excite – after all, it is EUROVISION!


Krista Siegfrid (Finland) delivered an amazing performance last night with a cute little twist at the end, so to find what that is remember to tune in tonight at 22:00 Finnish time to YLE2.


Finnish fans will gather outside the Arena this evening at 18:30 dressed in wedding finery to show support for Finland’s entry – Krista has said that she also might attend.


Finland votes tonight, so keep you handphone nearby and help decide who will proceed to the Grand Final, perhaps even some of these:

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 1 Rehearsal and Israel Party

The 2nd. Dress Rehearsal for Semifinal 1 was held yesterday evening at 21:00. Tickets had been sold to the public and this was also the event when the jury of the participating countries plus Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom would cast their votes which is 50% of the total votes for Semifinal 1. Semifinal 1 will be broadcast live tonight when television viewers will cast the remaining 50% of the votes, and the combined jury votes and televotes will decide which ten countries from Semifinal 1 will proceed to the Grand Final next Saturday.

Sweden is indeed a land of Eurovision fans – folks of all ages filled up the 11 000 seats at the Malmö Arena. Hopefully tonight some improvements will be made to the entry and security procedure at the Arena – yesterday the incredibly long queue led away from Malmö Arena and actually looped back around the block to the other side of the Arena, apparently due to the fact that there were not enough entry/security checkpoints to accommodate the crowd. I saw only two security checkpoints with metal detectors and at other checkpoints security guards briefly (and very lightly) patted down the incoming ticketholders (with one guard even chatting away on his handphone while on the job..). One fan was overheard naughtily planning to smuggle a bottle of booze into the Arena tomorrow since the security guards will probably not notice (what with them being busy chatting on handphones and all..). So a word of advice – arrive early tonight to avoid the rush.

The ecstatic atmosphere in the Arena continued throughout the dress rehearsal. Tonight television audiences can look forward to a spectacular show which includes Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine) singing in a misty moonlit forest, dominatrix Hannah (Slovenia) in action and the smooth chic rhythms of Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus). There will also be lots of eye candy to look out for when lithe backup dancers in various dress (or rather undress..) are on stage, so remember to tune in tonight to YLE2 at 22:00 Finnish time.

The Israel Party was also on the same night at the Restaurang Glasklart, where the Israeli contestant Moran Mazor and a number of contestants from Semifinal 2 performed their entries on stage. Overheard was some discussion food being a big part of southern and eastern European party culture, and Israel was true to form by generously restocking the two buffet tables with various goodies during the party.

A few snapshots from yesterday evening (but none from the Semifinal 1 Dress Rehearsal to keep the surprise..):