Search Results


17 posts
Maneskin celebrates winning Eurovision 2021
Italian Eurovision champions, Maneskin are back, releasing a single Kool Kids off their just released album Rush! which takes a pointed aim at their critics. While Eurovision has rocketed the band to popularity and global success. They haven’t left it behind, despite efforts from publicists to take it out of social media bios. The new single takes the band back to Eurovision and surrounds throwing off labels. Maneskin’s Eurovision win was massive. They were just the second rock band to win the contest. Despite many trying to put them off entering saying it wasn’t something that rock bands did. "That song is basically a huge F-off to all the people that told us rock bands don’t do Eurovision and tried to label us,” said lead singer Damiano David. It’s a theme that is backed up in the whole album. Showing Maneskin’s musical chops, going beyond just traditional rock elements. "In general our generation feels that we don’t need to be labelled any more and I think music reflects society,” said David. “Today nobody cares if they’re rock, pop or whatever - they just want to enjoy music and that’s all that matters.” In a subtle way David is claiming that Maneskin is speaking for the current generation. There is something to this, every time Maneskin brings out new music it’s all over TikTok. Young Eurovision fans especially responded to Maneskin and the success that the band is having seems unlikely in prior times. It’s not just that labels around music aren’t as relevant any more it’s that borders aren’t. Looking at the Coachella line-up for 2023 sees two of the three headliners coming from outside the mainland United States. And only one headliner is producing music in mostly English.
Maneskin performing in Germany in 2022
Maneskin performing in Germany in 2022 Photo: Fred Gasch / License: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-3.0 de
It’s not just about labels, it’s about any criticism. Including the ridiculous idea that David did cocaine in the Eurovision greenroom. "We wrote it immediately after Eurovision about everyone who knocked us and all the controversy that followed it,” said the front man. "We just make music and this record shows our diversity - it can’t be pigeon-holed or labelled." While their recent tour saw Maneskin capitalize on the Eurovision success, Rush! looks to keep that success going. It’s certainly a departure from their pre-Eurovision success. Containing only three songs in Italian while the other 14 are in English. While that may disappoint the Italian market, it’s sure to lead to greater success globally. Musically it’s not quite as up there as Teatro d’ira Vol. I with the lyrical punch of those songs missing. It appears to play more for a mass appeal market while sacrificing something of what made Maneskin so unique. Rush! brings in a new era for Italy’s premier rock band, they’re now a band for the whole world, and the album feels like that. Maneskin has moved on, rather than being a big rock band for Italy they’re now something for everybody.
Public Image Ltd. Performing in 2013
DUBLIN, Ireland (FWRD AXIS) – John Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, the former lead singer of infamous punk band Sex Pistols, has entered the Irish selection show for Eurovision 2023. Lydon will be performing with his band, Public Image Ltd. competing with a song dedicated to his wife of 43 years, Nora, who is living with Alzhimer’s disease. The song, Hawaii, is certainly Eurovision fodder, and different from Sex Pistols songs. A heart-felt song about love, that is saccharine pop. Adding the fact that it’s from a veteran, a play that has worked in Eurovision before. Engelbert Humperdink appeared for the United Kingdom in 2012. The song references memory, referring back to a destination where the couple has so many happy memories. It evokes enough of a connection to the islands while having that certain Lyndon style to it. It is something of a departure for Lyndon, having such a personal story to tell in his songwriting. Lyndon refused to make the publicity all about him saying “It is dedicated to everyone going through tough times on the journey of life, with the person they care for the most. It’s also a message of hope that ultimately love conquers all.” For the Irish broadcaster, the most successful at Eurovision having won seven times, it’s a significant PR boost. Lyndon’s Sex Pistols background may seem incongruous to Eurovision but a rock band won in 2021 in Maneskin. While a metal band dressed as demons won in 2006 thanks to Finland’s Lordi. Almost immediately after the demise of Sex Pistols, Lyndon formed Public Image Ltd. But had been on a hiatus until 2022 when the band emerged to perform live again. A new album will be released in 2023, presumably with Hawaii as the lead single. Often bands use Eurovision selection shows with an eye to publicizing a new release. That has already worked for Public Image Ltd. with the song already hitting 86,000 views on YouTube. So now why not try and restore Irish glory days. Ireland has won more than any other nation. But not since 1997, and has only even made the final once in the last decade. The Irish selection show will be the Late Late Show episode on February 3rd and typically can be watched on the RTE website.
FWRD – For the first time since Loreen’s Eurovision 2012 victory she has not one the ESC 250 all-time Eurovision count down, finishing in second place behind Spain’s 2022 entry, Slo Mo by Chanel. Euphoria has been the number one song since 2012, seeking her 12th straight win of the ESC 250. The countdown is voted by fans and run by The contest is aired on ESC every New Years Eve to help Eurovision fans ring in the new year. The signs that something good was coming for Chanel came early, with Spanish songs lifting in the high positions in the ESC 250. The first song to signal the change was Spain’s 2014 entry, Ruth Lorenzo with Dancing in the Rain which lifted 38 places from 2021 into 33rd place. Spain’s own 2012 entry, Quedate conmigo by Pastora Soler raised six places to finish just outside the top 10 in 11th. But then Dime by Beth finished eighth, only one lift but talk online started thinking what seemed impossible could happen. After Sweden’s 2022 song, Hold Me Closer by Cornelia Jacobs came third there was a brief cut and then the infamous siren opening of Euphoria. The Eurovision world was shocked, with Slo Mo not having been played yet, the world knew, Chanel was the new queen of Eurovision. Recency bias is always a thing in the ESC 250. Four of the top 10 songs were from 2022 or 2021, and four more of the next 10. It is likely that Slo Mo won’t hold on for the run that Loreen has had, Maneskin dropped from second to fifth, with two 2022 songs lifting above it, but it’s still a landmark moment. Loreen could always come first and second next year with the Swedish singer being part of Sweden’s preselection, Meldoifestivalen. While the Spanish fan vote is an obvious trend in 2023 there are others, the most interesting thing coming in was seeing how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would boost Ukrainian favorites and hurt Russian songs in the ESC 250. Ukrainian songs weren'tboosted, Shum by Go_A was the highest finish, coming sixth, down from third in 2021. Even Jamala’s 1944 which was about a Russian genocide in Ukraine dropped places, down to 15th from 14th. Russian songs, on the other hand, were punished, Polina Gagarina’s A Million Voices suffered the most, dropping 125 places to 200th. It was one of the biggest negative movers of the year and rehashed the ugly scenes of her appearance in 2015 when she was mercilessly booed by the crowd. All of this sets up the 2023 countdown to be full of drama, of course it will, it’s Eurovision!
MOSCOW, Russia (FWRDAXIS) – Former Russian Eurovision contestant, Manzinha has found herself at odds with the government that sent her to the contest. On Tuesday, it was revealed that the outspoken Russian is on the ‘banned artist’ list issued by the Russian government. That she is on the list is no surprise. She has been outspoken for her entire career, and with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that has continued. It is this action that got her banned.
“There are Ukrainians in my family too. My daughter-in-law is from Ukraine. My future husband is half Ukrainian. My close friends are Ukrainians. Russia and Ukraine are not just two countries. We are relatives. Any armed conflict between us is fratricidal,” she said on Instagram before warning about misinformation.
The revelation came as she was due to appear on the cover of Sobaka, a magazine in Krasnodar. Ahead of her appearance, headlining the Aleksandrovskaya Fortress festival. The reports were initially released by Russian radio station This isn’t the first time she’s had a run-in because people objected to her opinions on the war. In July, she had her concert in Moscow cancelled. Glavklub cited “state pressure” in the cancellation. Reports from Russia say that while this list isn’t official, it has been distributed widely to concert promoters throughout Russia. Something that Glavklub’s cancellation would suggest is true. As a Tajik who moved to Russia, Manzinha is no stranger to criticism because of who she is and what she believes. She went to Eurovision, representing Russia, with a song that was a robust feminist anthem, speaking against the government’s inaction on domestic violence. It’s doubtful that this will silence Manzinha, although she may follow another Eurovision Russian representative, Little Big, and leave the country.
KYIV, Ukraine (Fwrd Axis) – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) confirmed that Ukraine would be given an automatic place in the Eurovision final via an announcement on Tuesday. The main focus of the announcement was that Ukraine has opened submissions for the 2023 entry. But at the bottom of that announcement was a small tidbit. “Ukraine, as the winning country in 2022, will automatically qualify for the Grand Final of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest in the United Kingdom.” Previously that position has only gone to the hosts. But this is the first time since the automatic progression of the hosts that the champion and host are from different countries. This question hasn't needed answering before. Undoubtedly, the EBU is helped by the fact that the UK, as a big five-nation, had already qualified for the final. Ukraine won’t be taking a spot away. That means six countries will automatically advance to the final along with 10 from each semi-final.

The process to find Eurovision 2023 entrant begins Ukraine has now opened the process for being the Ukrainian entry to Eurovision next year. That process begins with an application found on the broadcaster’s website. This is much earlier than UA: PBC typically opens the submission process. The broadcaster says it hopes to have a selection by The selection structure hasn't been released yet. There will be an online vote, and a final will be held in Kyiv. Keeping a final may be a pointed statement to the EBU arguing that Ukraine is safe enough for a significant event. The music producer will be Dmytro Shurov (Pianoboy), who has done music production for Ukrainian TV before. Most notably, Shurov was a composer for Слуга народу (“Servant of the People”). Which starred current Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy
TEL AVIV, Israel (Fwrd Axis) After a false start almost one month ago, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Noa Kirel will represent Israel at Eurovision 2023. The deadline for selection is over seven months away, but the Israeli broadcaster, KAN, made the confirmation early. The announcement was originally made last month, following the KAN Eurovision Selection Meeting on July 11th, where Kirel was suggested and chosen as the Eurovision entry. That led to confusion as KAN announced Kirel, but she said she would “make a decision later”. It seems like later on is now as she announced that she would accept the invitation. 78 artists were suggested in the meeting, all with experience, and the key was having experience on a big stage. She certainly has that, being one of the biggest acts in Israel with four number one singles to her name. She has won the MTV Europe Music Award for the best Israeli artist from 2017 to 2020 and performed at the Miss Universe pageant in 2021. She can handle Eurovision after performing on such big stages in the past. Kirel has signed a deal with Atlantic Records internationally, which is something that usually follows up an appearance in Eurovision. Making an internal selection for both the artist and the song is a departure for Israel. Typically at least one element would be selected publicly, such as in 2018 when Netta won Eurovision. Netta was selected by winning HaKokhav HaBa, but her song Toy was chosen internally. This is the first time the artist and song have been internally selected since 2012. There have been no hints about the song; it cannot be released until September 1st to be eligible for Eurovision. Kirel’s team may not have the song yet, so now that will ramp up.
The City of London
(Fwrd Axis) -- After looking at the first eight potential hosts for Eurovision, this article will look at the next eight cities that could host Eurovision in the UK on behalf of Ukraine. As a reminder, the European Broadcasting Union requires all hosts to meet the following requirements:
  • A host venue able to accommodate at least 10,000 spectators
  • A press centre for 1,500 journalists (even if only 500 were allowed at last year's press centre)
  • A city served by an international airport
  • Hotel accommodation for at least 2,000 delegates, journalists and spectators

Leeds, England

First Direct Arena, Leeds 24 October 2018 2.jpg
The First Direct Arena in Leeds. Photo by Chemical Engineer used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
The First Direct Arena has been designated an English landmark and holds 13,781. It won the best new venue in the world in 2014 and has hosted countless large concerts since Bruce Springsteen opened the venue in 2013, including former Eurovision winner Celine Dion. The venue has retractable seats to make it an all-seater or have floor space. It is a short walk from Leeds railway station. Transport in Leeds is strong, with a busy rail network.  The airport is one of the more well-connected Northern English airports. Odds rank: 5th  

Liverpool, England

M&S Bank Arena 1.jpg
M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, photo by Rodhullandemu used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
A city famous for music thanks to the Beatles, Liverpool is a well-connected city thanks to the John Lennon International Airport. The M&S Bank Arena holds 11,000 and has a sustainable certification. The Exhibition Centre Liverpool is connected to the Arena and could be used for both the delegation bubble and the press center. Odds rank: 4th  

London, England

O2 Arena.jpg
The O2 Arena in London. Photo by Heuschrecke used under CC BY-SA 3.0 license
The city that many people would instantly assume would host, London needs little introduction. Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world, every participant, even Australia, can fly to Heathrow. The Underground is perhaps the most famous public transportation in the world. London can host major events, having just hosted the Euros finals for both men and women. The O2 Arena holds 20,000 and is the busiest music arena in the world on ticket sales. The OVO Arena Wembly is smaller with a capacity of 12,500, both venues were used during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Both venues have additional space nearby for a press center. Odds rank: 6th  

Manchester, England

Manchester Arena exterior, (3) May19.jpg
The AO Arena in Manchester. Photo by G-13114 used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
Home of the biggest arena in the United Kingdom, the 21,000 capacity AO Arena which was home to the 2017 Ariana Grande concert that was attacked, has gone on to host major events since. Former Eurovision Champion Celine Dion is scheduled to play the arena about a month before Eurovision would take over. Manchester has the third biggest airport in the UK and serves Europe well. The arena is connected to Manchester Victoria station so it will be easier for visitors. Odds rank: 3rd

Newcastle, England

Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne (geograph 5237390) (cropped).jpg
Utilita Arena Newcastle with its old branding. Photo by Anthony Foster used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
Holding 11,000 fans the Utilita Arena, Newcastle filled a gap in the region, allowing major acts to come through. That has allowed for the venue to have plenty of experience hosting major music events. The airport is one of the biggest in the country and there’ll be an appeal of hosting an even in an often forgotten town in the country. Odds rank: 16th  

Nottingham, England

Motorpoint Arena Nottingham for web.jpg
Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. Photo by Nottingham Arena used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
More famous as a venue for ice sports than for concerts, Nottingham could use a major event to justify the Motorpoint Arena. Holding 15,865 fans (with standing room) the surrounding complex also has space for the delegation bubble and the press center. While a smaller airport than the others in this list it would more than meet the criteria and the area is much more pastoral than the bigger cities in contention. Odds rank: 13th  

Sheffield, England

Sheffield Arena 2022.jpg
Utilita Arena Sheffield. Photo by BCDS used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
The city council is going hard for Sheffield to host the contest. The Utilita Arena Sheffield meets the criteria to host, holding 13,600 in concert configuration and has the connecting Steel Hall that could be split for the delegation bubble and press center. The venue is famous for being the host of One Direction’s final concert. Sheffield has more than half of its area as green space so it will be a nice city to visit but the airport is 29km away from the city center. Odds rank: 15th  

Wolverhampton, England

Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, 2018.jpg
Molineux Stadium in Wolverhampton. Photo by Reidmail used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
While Wolverhampton has put its hand up as a host city there’s a few issues with its bid. The only venue that meets the size requirements is Molineux which holds 32,050 and is an outdoor football stadium. That will be a hard sell for the EBU. Wolverhampton Civic Hall only holds 3,000 so it wouldn’t work. The nearest major airport is Birmingham which would rule Wolverhampton out of hosting. Odds rank: 21st
LONDON (Fwrd Axis) – Following last week’s announcement from the European Broadcasting Union that the United Kingdom will host Eurovision 2023 on behalf of Ukraine 16 cities have put their hands up to host the event, this article will look at the first eight. This article will examine each of the 16 cities to examine possible and probable hosts. The criteria of hosting has four main criteria:
  1. The venue must be hold at least 10,000 spectators
  2. A press center that holds 1,500 (even if the EBU only approves 500 press)
  3. The city must have an international airport
  4. Hotel accommodation for 2,000

Aberdeen, Scotland

P&J Live in Aberdeen, Scotland
P&J Live Photo by SilentSpike used under CC BY-SA 4.0 license
P&J Live, the newly built arena can hold up to 15,000 and has already hosted major concerts. It’s the biggest indoor arena in Scotland. Finding a venue for the press center is a bit more awkward. There isn’t an option at P&J Live that will work, and the only other space large enough would be Pittordrie, several miles away.  Unfortunately Aberdeen airport been declared the worst airport in Scotland by Which magazine but it’s almost directly across the road from P&J Live, which has a connected hotel. Odds Rank: 10th  

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Odyssey Arena, Belfast - - 860741 (cropped).jpg
SSE Arena, photo by Ross, used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
SSE Arena, Northern Ireland’s premiere venue for indoor events, holds 11,000 spectators and has held major events in the past, including the European VMAs. It’s routinely used for major indoor sport in Northern Ireland. The press center could be in another building in the facility. The airport is well connected, being the capital of Northern Ireland Odds Rank: 6th  

Birmingham, England

Arena Birmingham from the Secret Garden (23626942848).jpg
Utilita Arena Birmingham photo by Elliott Brown used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
Utilita Arena Birmingham holds 15,800 so easily meets the requirements to host. Used as a venue for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games it will be ready for a major event. ICC Birmingham is just a short walk across the river from the Arena so will be an easy venue for press. As England’s second city Birmingham is well connected, Birmingham hosted Eurovision in 1998 Odds Rank: 4th  

Brighton, England

Brighton Centre, Kings Road, Brighton (from SE) (April 2013).JPG
Brighton Centre photo by The Voice of the Hassocks used under CC0 license
The Brighton Centre only holds 5,000 and is built in the brutalist style which won’t excite the EBU. The only option in Brighton that’s big enough is American Express Community Stadium which holds 31,800. It would also have enough spaces for a media center and delegation bubble. It is an outdoor stadium though which the EBU doesn’t like. Odds Rank: 14th  

Bristol, England

YTL Arena proposal
YTL Arena proposal, graphic by Populus, used under fair use.
YTL Arena Bristol is the newest possible venue for Eurovision 2023 as it is currently under construction. The venue will be built close to the train station and anchor a new suburb of Bristol called Brabazon, named after the airplane that was built in the space the arena is going on. The biggest challenge here would be convincing the EBU that the arena can be ready, it would certainly be a great way to open the arena but the schedule has it opening in 2024 not 2023. Odds Rank: 16th  

Cardiff, Wales

Principality Stadium May 3, 2016.jpg
Principality Stadium with the roof open, photo by Clint Budd used under CC BY 2.0 license
Cardiff will have an uphill battle with the only bid from Wales, a country well known for its vocal prowess. The venue proposed is the Principality Stadium which isn’t an arena but does have a retractable roof so it’s not immediately ruled out. Holding 78,000 people it may be much too big for the EBU but that space could be cut down and the press center and delegation bubble could be easily housed in the stadium. Odds Rank: 7th  

Edinburgh, Scotland

How the Edinburgh Arena might look by night.
The proposed Edinburgh Arena. Image NEC Group used under fair use
The host of Eurovision 1972, Edinburgh currently doesn’t have a venue big enough to host Eurovision. There is a proposed Edinburgh Arena which would be close to the train station. That said there’s no reports of progress in the last two years so it seems unlikely that Edinburgh will have a venue ready that’s big enough. As a sister city of Kyiv it may be a good sentimental choice but sentiment won’t play into the decision. Odds Rank: 11th  

Glasgow, Scotland

The SSE Hydro (geograph 5420681).jpg
The Ovo Hydro photo by Peter Moore used under CC BY-SA 2.0 license
Glasgow’s OVO Hydro already has Eurovision hosting experience. Well, not really. The Hydro was the venue used for the film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga which had Glasgow as the fictional host (the contest shots were actually taken at the 2019 contest in Tel Aviv). Glasgow has three major airports and can hold 14,500 fans. The SEC Armadillo is next door which could hold the delegation bubble and/or the press center. It may also play well politically for the UK to choose a Scottish venue with whispers of independence hitting Scotland again. Glasgow has the support of Scottish first-minister Nicola Sturgeon. Odds Rank: First
GENEVA, Switzerland (Fwrd Axis) – The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) announced last week that Ukraine would not be hosting Eurovision 2023. This led to a significant backlash from Ukraine and its neighbors that the decision was too soon. And that the tradition of the winner hosting the following year should continue. On Thursday, the EBU responded, providing more reasoning for its decision. In the statement, the EBU said it understood the disappointment. Ukraine has a population that loves Eurovision. Ukraine showed this when it hosted in 2017 with rabid crowds. Ukrainian fans were hoping for more of those scenes. Still smarting from how expensive the trip to Italy was. Fans may also have been hoping for a cheaper host. Ukraine has been the most affordable host country in the last decade. The official broadcaster, UA:PBC, responded to that initial statement with disappointment.
“We are disappointed with this decision of the EBU. During this month, a large number of people in Ukraine have thrown all their efforts to fulfill the conditions for holding Eurovision in our country. Security is, of course, our first priority. The team of UA: PBC, state and local authorities did a thorough job and offered different options. It is a pity to see such an unappealable statement; therefore, we ask our partners to hold further negotiations”, Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board of UA: PBC, said.
That statement forced a response from the EBU, which was emphatic, stating that security was the concern. UA: PBC’s responses said that a safe Eurovision wouldn’t be possible.
“In response to the EBU’s security questionnaire, a number of risks that would impact the immediate planning for such a large event, including the “severe” risk of air raids/attacks by aircraft or attacks by drones or missiles, which can cause significant casualties, were highlighted by the Ukrainian assessment provided to us,” said the EBU’s statement.
Essentially the EBU is telling on the Ukrainian broadcaster. The statement from Ukraine implied they were a helpless party, given no options. EBU’s response shows they would have been willing to host in Ukraine but by UA:PBC’s own admission, that wouldn’t be safe. “At least 10,000 people are usually accredited to work on, or at, the Eurovision Song Contest, including crew, staff and journalists. A further 30,000 fans are expected to travel to the event from across the world. Their welfare is our prime concern,” said the press release. The EBU has stated a desire to have the United Kingdom host as Sam Ryder finished second in Turin. It also seems appropriate that a Big 5 nation, given special treatment in the contest should step up in this scenario.
TURIN, Italy (Fwrd Axis) – In emotional scenes, and after a passionate night, Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision Song Contest. Their song Stefania resonated with juries and the audience to claim Ukraine’s third Eurovision Victory. Ukraine's victory was expected but the margin was not. Ukraine finished with 631 points, ahead of the United Kingdom with 466 points. It was the second-highest score in Eurovision history. It was a closer than anticipated 165 point win. It would be easy to say that the victory was due to a sympathy vote from Europe and Australian voters. There was sympathy for Ukraine but the song was also very strong. There was an amazing crowd in Turin. The audience sang along with every song, but Ukraine got the biggest cheers of the night. The United Kingdom won the jury vote with 283 points. But at that stage, Ukraine was only 91 points behind in fourth place. Using an impressive televote of 439 points, Ukraine managed the victory. Moldova managed a massive jump getting 239 points from the televote after coming 19th in the jury vote. Serbia got 225 points to join Moldova in the 200 club and temporarily take the lead. Traditionally the winner would host the following year’s contest. That won’t be the case in 2023 after Ukraine announced it won’t be able to host. That could leave the United Kingdom as the second-place finisher hosting. Spain and the UK will be delighted with their results after historically bad results in prior years. This is especially true of the UK, which was losing faith in the competition. Unfortunately, one song had to come last, which fell to Germany, which bookies had predicted before the show. It wasn't zero as Germany received six from the public. Ukraine finished the show, ramping up the emotion as Kalush Orchestra performed the winner’s reprise of Stefania. The whole crowd sang along, with the band barely able to hold in their feelings.
TURIN, Italy (Fwrd Axis) -- Belgium, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Australia, Sweden, Romania, and Serbia completed the lineup for Saturday’s Eurovision Song Contest final after advancing from Thursday’s second semi-final at the PalaOlimpico in Turin. Finland opened the night with the rock number Jezebel and the voters responded. Israel kept the energy up with the camp dance number I.M. that fell short vocally. Serbia brought back the religious imagery of Finland’s song with In corpore sano had the audience clapping along. Azerbaijan tried to bring back normality with Fade to Black. Circus Mircus from Georgia erased that normality with a flamboyant performance. The next two songs had plenty of support in Italy but it wasn't enough to advance for the two. Malta’s I Am What I Am made full use of the smoke machine before she sung on top of her grand piano. San Marino’s Stripper brought a dramatic staging including the first same-sex kiss of the year which got the crowd going.
Australia’s Sheldon Riley at the Second Semi-Final — EBU/SARAH LOUISE BENNETT
Australia’s Not the Same was a heart-felt ballad that the audience really engaged with and pushed to the final. Cyprus’ mix of ethnic and contemporary slightly missed the mark. Ireland’s position in the running order may have helped as That’s Rich up-tempo really stood out and energized the crowd. North Macedonia’s Andrea has had a difficult week after her broadcaster threatened to withdraw her and put it behind her with a strong performance. Estonia’s country-inspired Hope was shot as an old western and became the latest in a long line of country songs to reach the final. Romania brought a surprise Spanish language banger in Llamame which the crowd sang along with and pushed into the final.
Poland’s Ochman at the Second Semi-Final
Poland’s Ochman at the Second Semi-Final — EBU/SARAH LOUISE BENNETT
Poland took the audience back to a soulful ballad with River and needed to nail it vocally and he did to advance. While Montenegro’s Breathe was an emotional song about her mother’s death to COVID that used the small stage to great effect. Belgium’s Miss You used his full vocal range to make the vocals the star and advanced to the final. Next Sweden came in with high hopes and advanced to the final. Finally, Czech Republic’s Light’s Off finished off with a high-energy rock number that stood out.
TURIN, Italy (Fwrd Axis) – Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Netherlands successfully came through the first Eurovision semi-final. Albania opened the show with her high-energy performance of Sekret. It got the crowd going but vocally seemed just a tad off, which may have cost her. Latvia continued that energy and took it to another with Eat Your Salad. It engaged the crowd but not the voters. By contrast, Lithuania followed up with a slow and sensual retro performance of Sentimentai that voters responded to. Boys do Cry from Switzerland allowed Marius Bear to showcase his voice, and the voters rewarded him. Slovenia came with Disko and tried to bring more energy than the more stationary singers before them. More experienced performers outshone LPS and they didn't advance.
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performing at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi Final One
Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra performing at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi Final One - EBU/Sarah Louise Bennett
The favorites came up sixth, and Ukraine got a massive ovation from the crowd. They were engaged the whole time, singing and clapping along. That is regularly a good sign for a favorite. Their performance was very well done and cemented their status as favorites. Bulgaria’s Intelligent Music Project with Intention surprised many with its performance. Still, it may have been better suited for a live concert than the Eurovision TV show. The Netherlands De diepte was a phenomenally emotional performance that saw S10 crying by the end. The staging was a little too simple, but there is time to correct it between now and the final. The following two songs were unique, both using styles that could only be from their country. Moldova’s meandering train journey lifted the crowd and had an energy that saw it over the line. Portugal has always been unapologetically Portuguese. In sending a song, Saudade continued that with stunning use of the small intimate stage that sent the country through.
Austria’s Lum!x and Pia Maria performing at the first semi final
Austria’s Lum!x and Pia Maria performing at the first semi-final EBU/Corrine Cumming
Croatia’s Guilty Pleasure had divided opinion, but a staging that really aided in telling the story helped boost its chances. Denmark’s The Show builds to a rock number, but with only three minutes to do your song, that build was risky. The beat lifted again with Austria playing the dance banger Halo that paid homage to 90s Euro-Dance. While the beat fit well in Eurovision, the vocals just couldn’t back it up. Iceland came in with a slower country ballad from Systur that set up well for Greece and sold the voters. Greece took risks with Die Together and needed the vocals to work, and they did. Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord sang her ballad beautifully to advance. There was a significant mood change to close the show with Norway’s men from the Moon who executed Give That Wolf a Banana perfectly to advance to the final. Armenia closed the show with an inventive staging that created a closed-off bedroom and brought the audience in and to the final. While votes were being gathered, the audience was treated to two interval acts. The first was a tribute to Italian Dance Music, including popular songs, including Blue. The other principal act was Diodato performing the song he was supposed to enter Eurovision 2020 with, Fai rumore. The results saw plenty of shocks leaving many online stunned. The second semi-final is on Peacock at 3 pm Eastern on Thursday.
After introducing our readers to the Eurovision Song Contest in general, it’s time to look at the 2022 edition of the contest. The songs competing this year all have different chances, and the oddsmakers have put them in various categories. In this series, we see each category. Five songs have a chance at winning, but one is the clear favorite. Three of the five automatic qualifiers are on this list. Spain has had disappointing results in recent years, most of them well deserved. But has really turned things around with the pop banger of Slo Mo that has been near the top for months. When talking about disappointing results, it’s impossible to ignore the United Kingdom, which finished with zero points last year. While many cynically blame the U.K.’s poor performances on Brexit and not being liked in Europe. It’s been a long time since the U.K. sent a genuinely good song. That has changed this year with Space Man by Tik Tok star Sam Ryder. A move that will surely appeal to younger voters. Sweden has been a force in Eurovision ever since its win in 2012. Still, things have faded in recent years as voters have tired of Sweden’s almost formulaic pop. In Hold me Closer, Sweden hasn’t moved that far from that formula, but it seems far enough. Italy is coming to win back-to-back titles. Returning the 2019 second-place finisher, Mahmood, has been a popular decision. He has partnered this time with Blanco for the duet Brividi. It’s a sensual and soulful ballad that has hit well and could lead to two years of trips to Italy for Eurovision fans. The clear favorite One nation seems almost certain to win Eurovision in 2022, and it’s Ukraine. It would be easy to write this off as due to the war with Russia, and there’s no doubt that this is part of it. But that’s not fair to Kalush Orchestra’s Stefania, a song written to honor the writer’s mother, appropriate for a contest one week after Mother’s Day. Ukraine has a strong recent record, winning the contest in 2016 in a similar geopolitical environment and coming third with Shum last year. There are plenty of parallels between Stefania and Shum, including the use of a traditional flute. The country always commits to a strong staging, and reports on the ground in Turin suggest that this year is no exception. Most bookmakers have this song at under 2.00 odds. The next nearest are all over 5.00. Shocks can and do happen in Eurovision, but it would be stunning if anyone other than Ukraine wins.
(Fwrd Axis) -- After introducing our readers to the Eurovision Song Contest in general, it’s time to look at the 2022 edition of the contest. The songs competing this year all have different chances, and the oddsmakers have put them in various categories. In this series, we see each category. These songs should have no worries about making the final. The oddsmakers think they’ll easily make it in, but that might be the best they can hope for. There are still some divisive songs here. San Marino’s Stripper has drawn some criticism. Still, Achille Lauro is an inspiration for last year’s winners Maneskin. He is very popular in Italy, leading to an energetic performance. Cyprus has gone a different road after some diminishing returns from sending high-energy pop bangers after coming second in 2018. The oddsmakers have been divided on if that’s a good decision leading to a safe final place but not much more. There are highly emotional songs from Australia, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, and Switzerland. All five songs are authentic to who they are, but whether those hit with the audiences for a high finish is questionable. While this category is about songs that should have a safe finish, some songs have taken a risk. Serbia has come with an odd song with the opening line “what’s the secret of Meghan Markle’s healthy hair” and dramatic staging; it’s a risky move that might not land with some. Norway has taken a risk with the novelty song Give That Wolf a Banana which has fans very excited, pushing it ahead of other novelty songs. Greece may be taking the most risk in this set. A song titled Die Together during the COVID-19 pandemic is risky, as is opening the song almost acapella. Still, it’s a risk that might pay off. There are oddly two songs with heavily religious undertones in this set. Finland is sending Jezebel a song full of Biblical references. At the same time, France has chosen Fulenn with a pagan base and sung in Breton instead of French. As should be expected with this set of songs, some songs are very well executed and should have no qualifying issues. The Netherlands has gone to the well that brought them success in 2019, sending a well-sung ballad in De Diepte. Poland has sent the crooner Ochman with his power-ballad River.
After introducing our readers to the Eurovision Song Contest in general, it’s time to look at the 2022 edition of the contest. The songs competing this year all have different chances, and the oddsmakers have put them in various categories. In this series, we see each category. Not every song can make the final and there’s bound to be some good songs that miss out on the final that are in this category. One of the songs here will automatically make the final, Germany is already in the final with its slow rap about rockstars that seems unlikely to do well and could even be a second straight year near the bottom. A number of the songs in this category are just songs that don’t excel, they’re not necessarily bad but they don’t grab enough attention to jump up in the rankings. Of that style there’s Azerbaijan, Croatia, Malta and the Czech Republic. All these songs are perfectly good pop songs, but they’re not blowing anyone away. The final section in this category is the divisive songs, people either love them or hate them. So the question is will the love be enough? Georgia’s avant-garde experimental pop-rock number Lock Me In had a lot of hype. The mysterious nature of the band but has divided opinion. Latvia has the most provocative opening line in Eurovision 2022 with their song Eat Your Salad. That line has been censored because Eurovision is a “family show”. It’s a boppy number that seems to be either top or bottom of people’s lists. Moldova’s Trenuletul is from Zdob si Zdub making a third appearance in the contest after entering in 2005 and 2011. It’s got a folk sound, which worked well for Ukraine last year, but a lot may hinge on the staging.
(Fwrd Axis) -- After introducing our readers to the Eurovision Song Contest in general, it’s time to look at the 2022 edition of the contest. The songs competing this year all have different chances, and the oddsmakers have put them in various categories. In this series, we see each category. With a contest of 40 songs, they can’t all be good, and that’s what the oddsmakers think about these bottom 10 ranked teams. While taste is different to the oddsmakers (your writer doesn’t feel all these songs are that bad), a consensus has come around these songs as non-qualifiers. One will almost certainly be at the bottom of the overall rankings. The oddsmakers have that last-placed song as North Macedonia’s Circles. It feels fair, the song is slow, and it’s hard to see a broad enough appeal to get points by being in the top 10 of many countries. Lithuania, Slovenia, and Iceland are joining North Macedonia with that sort of song. Also in the bottom 10 are two pop songs that aren’t hitting the mark for oddsmakers. Romania with the Spanish-inspired Llamame is perhaps being punished because it isn’t fitting in. Ireland’s That’s Rich was released early and has become tiresome to people so is struggling. Also on the early released songs list is the first song announced, Bulgaria with Intention, which came across as a safe rock song from a very experienced rock band. This song isn’t helped by having the line “they were sending me to war,” given the current environment in Europe. Denmark’s The Show is another rock band in the bottom 10, which hasn’t hit enough people. The all-woman rock band’s song has much going on at times, which is difficult in three minutes. The final members of the bottom 10 are pop songs that have got a little out of hand, leading to pessimism around their chances. Israel with I.M feels like a song that has escaped Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and it will struggle with juries. Austria’s Halo is a catchy song in the studio. Still, Eurovision is a live singing contest and the live vocals haven’t been holding up.
(Fwrd Axis) — The Eurovision Song Contest (typically referred to as just “Eurovision”) takes place in Milan beginning on May 10th. With FWRD AXIS News covering the event for the first time, it makes sense to introduce our readers to the concept of Eurovision and what they can look forward to.

What is Eurovision?

Eurovision was first staged in 1956, making it the second oldest continually running song competition. The idea came from the European Broadcasting Union wanting to create a pan-European music event to bring Europe together after the second world war. That first Eurovision, and every Eurovision since then, was televised. This makes Eurovision the longest-running televised music competition show. If you like Idol or the Voice, you can thank Eurovision for blazing that trail.

How is it different to Idol or the Voice?

While some contestants have come through shows like Idol or The Voice, there are notable differences. Most notably, all songs in the competition must be original songs. There are no covers, and the songs must be new; an artist can’t go into their back catalogue and grab something that is a proven hit. It can’t be released or performed before October of the year before the contest. This date of release rule created controversy when the 2020 contest was cancelled, denying Dadi Freyr the chance to compete with his likely winning song Think About Things. Additionally, the artists aren’t just competing on their own. They represent a country and come with a delegation devoted to helping their song come off the best. Votes come not just from how good the song is but also from staging and costuming.

Who competes at Eurovision?

Any country that is a full member of the European Broadcasting Union receives an automatic invite. Associate members may be extended an invitation. Australia is, so far, the only associate member that competes in Eurovision. Five nations: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom, receive an automatic pass to the final as the most significant contributors to the EBU’s budget. The defending champion also gets automatically through to the final. Still, in 2022 that is Italy, so only five nations will automatically advance.

Do the artists have to be from that country and/or sing in the language of that country?

There are no rules about national origin or language in the contest. Most famously, Canadian Celine Dion won Eurovision in 1988, representing Switzerland. Most songs are in English, there are some countries that most often only sing in their language (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United Kingdom and Ireland), but it’s not always true and not a requirement. Being in English isn’t an automatic win. Last year’s winner was Italy in Italian with Maneskin’s Zitti E Buoni.

How is the host decided?

The country that wins the year before is awarded hosting rights. As a result, Italy won hosting rights for 2022. The host broadcaster then goes through a bidding process to decide what arena will host. A country can decline to host. Ukraine has already announced that it will not host in 2023 if it wins this month. The last time this occurred was in 1980 when Israel declined to host a second year in a row. If that happens, the European Broadcasting Union will choose a host.

How is a winner decided?

There are two rounds, the semi-finals and the final. 20 songs will advance from the semi-finals, 10 from each semi-final. In both rounds, the point-scoring format is the same. Each country nominates a professional jury, which ranks all the songs, giving 12 points to the song that earned the highest rank, before 10 and 8-1 for the others in the top 10. The public votes are also combined with these votes to give 24 points out. In the semi-finals, the countries competing in that semi-final vote (plus half of the five that automatically advance), while in the final, every country votes.

What kind of music will I hear?

While there are a lot of different musical styles at Eurovision, expect to hear a lot of pop music. Last year proved it doesn’t have to be a pop song to win; with Maneskin winning with a rock song, being pop will help. The most famous winner outside of that genre would be Finland in 2006, which won with Lordi’s heavy metal song Hard Rock Hallelujah.

When can I watch it?

Eurovision’s semi-finals are on May 10th and 12th, and the final is on May 15th. The contest will be aired on Peacock in the United States. FWRD AXIS News will be releasing a preview of the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest in the coming days to prepare you for the shows and give you an idea of what to expect this year.