Watch: Cyprus makes a wish for ‘La La Love’.

Following France’s lead, a number of countries have started premiering proper, well-thought out official music videos for their Eurovision Song Contest entries. One of them is Cyprus, who can really give Anggun a run for her money with their artistic, fantasy tale-inspired affair. Check it out:

Cyprus 2012: La La Love performed by Ivi Adamou

This has to be one of my favourite videos so far. From its gorgeous cinematography to the high-end, abstract depiction of the tale of Snow White, we discover that the song’s message of the yearning for an all-encompassing love is a tale that is as old as time. That juxtaposition between sound and visual is really creative! Cyprus has really surprised us at every turn this year, starting from Ivi’s nomination through to the selection of La La Love and now with this really cool music video. Well done! Now I’m really looking forward to seeing the stage show.


Flying the flag high: Eurovision entries scale the iTunes charts.

As the 2012 national finals season for the Eurovision Song Contest approaches its final stages, we can see that plenty of Eurovision entries as well as national final entries enter the iTunes chart in their respective countries. Have a look below:

Perhaps the most surprising is the Netherlands, with the Dutch entry You And I by Joan Franka at # 2 (previously #1 last week). The last time a Dutch entry was a commercial hit on home soil was in 2010 with Sieneke’s Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie). I suppose John de Mol deserves some credit in drumming up interest in the Eurovision Song Contest again and for making the entry a commercial hit, thus restoring some credibility to the Contest in the eyes of the Dutch public and media as well creating a bit of pride. That still doesn’t exonerate him from hijacking the Nationaal Songfestival and turning it into a ‘The Voice’ after-show.

Another welcome surprise can be seen in the Spanish iTunes chart, with the country’s newly selected Eurovision entry Quédate Conmigo in at #9. This has never happened before, at least in my recollection, to a Spanish entry. It means that the people are getting behind the song and are very proud of it. I think we can expect some really good viewing figures from Spain this year.

Unsurprisingly, we can see Cyprus’ entry La La Love in the Greek chart at #9. No surprises for guessing where Greece’s douze points are going to.

As usual, Sweden’s Melodifestivalen dominates the iTunes chart in the run up to the Finalen i Globen and we can expect this to continue over the next coming weeks as the Swedes turn their attention to Eurovison Song Contest preparations.

A few entries have fallen off the charts but will most likely appear again as the Contest looms closer. These include Norway’s Stay by Tooji and Italy’s Per Sempre by Nina Zilli, which I suspect may return re-incarnated in its Eurovision form.

I have to say, it’s really great to see countries getting behind their entries and turning them into commercial hits as well as worthy showcases of their country’s music heritage, culture and industry. Goes to prove that the Eurovision Song Contest is more commercially relevant than people are prepared to admit.


Introducing the ASFE International Jury and the verdict on Cyprus’ songs.

With many an opinion divided and all the fuss and furor gathered around Cyprus’ songs for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, we at ASFE thought it would be interesting to assemble a jury of music experts to analyse the songs, award points (12, 6 & 2) and see what it is that has got all the Eurofans talking about. So, without further ado, we proudly present the inaugural session of the ASFE International Jury. Joining ASFE’s author TK, our three jury members are:

Mark Fillon, who is a writer, musician and member of popular rock band Sandwash. An ardent fan of all music and dedicated performer, his unvarnished view will prove to be a breath of fresh air.

Benjamin Schwartz travelled to more than 40 different countries, looking for original sounds to satisfy his ear buds. Once a DJ who held mixes in France and Chile, he’s an astute judge on what will get people moving.

And finally, Daniela Amaranda, who is a music enthusiast and a follower of numerous international concerts. Having recently discovered the Eurovision Song Contest, she’ll bring her knowledge of the international music scene to the jury.

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Call The Police   >    Listen here

Mark: Uh-oh, Gaga-fever. This song seems to mirror the current trends of pop music in America, where production has been taken over by dance floor interests. In that respect, it does the job, but only minimally. It’s not destined to be a club anthem, probably because it sounds outdated. Songwriting-wise, it’s nothing brilliant. I understand that in a pop context, verse-chorus-verse is just fine. But even in the conventional pop sense, I’m afraid this song is just radio fodder. I feel terrible saying that – she’s gorgeous. 6 points

Benjamin: Similar artist: Ke$ha. That’s a song that’s built up completely up to the standards of what floods the radio waves nowadays. Same bass, same rhythm, in brief: a party tune. The lyrics are however a little light, as one could expect from a radio/club song. 6 points

Daniela: Pop song, nothing new, shallow lyric, potential voice… I don’t think she will make it on the European market but at least she tries her best, it shows!! Plus I don’t think this is a song for Eurovision. 6 points

TK: While the song is incessantly catchy, my main concern is that it fails to go anywhere, preferring to remain in the same plateau without any kind of progression. Additionally, while I’m all up for cheesy lyrics, those of Call The Police is like fondue dunked over a cheese platter. Its so bad that its good. 6 points

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You Don’t Belong Here   >    Listen here

Mark: Now I’m hearing Kelly Clarkson. But at least the songwriting’s much better. The chorus has a sing-along catchiness, the verse provides a sober anchor and her voice’s character really comes out during the bridge. The production isn’t overwhelming, and that’s a good thing – with songs like these (made recently famous by American Idol alumni and pop rock/country fusion acts), it’s best to let the singing do the work. This might be a worthy contender, but honestly, she’s got to up the ante and bring on the big guns when she gets on stage. 12 points

Benjamin: Similar artist: Avril Lavigne. I’m not a big fan of this ‘genre’, which hesitates between rock-pop and R&B without finding their own field I think. The lyrics are still light, and lack of a story to tell, which usually makes rock-pop song different. Not a big fan. 2 points

Daniela: I think this is the one with more potential if you compare it with the rest. The lyrics are still not that good. Her voice sounds more protagonic now, she sounds better in this one. 12 points

TK: Straying into Avril Lavigne territory, this is a standard rock ballad by numbers. The song’s saving grace is Ivi’s dramatic vocal that really sell it. This is the kind of song that would sound much better when performed live. While technically the more mainstream of the lot, I don’t think it’ll appeal to Europe, especially when Switzerland have a much better rock entry. 2 points

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La La Love   >    Listen here

Mark: Ah, now for something more European sounding. Since we’re drawing comparisons, it gives off hints of Rihanna. Production is great. But unfortunately, that’s where it all ends. It just isn’t in the calibre of a Eurovision top 10, let alone a winner. It’s all been heard before, ever since Jennifer Lopez decided to bank on her massive… talents. Out of the three, this song is the least vocally impressive. Sure, I can visualize the stage choreography and effects, but she’ll have to do way more to impress the judges and the voting countries. It’s great for as a World Cup celebratory song, but when we’re talking about Europe’s best songwriting, it really is quite lacking. 2 points

Benjamin: I’m going to repeat myself regarding the lyrics, but this has the bass & the beat of a party song, and therefore can afford to be a little lighter on the content. It’s really moving & cheerful, and that’s my choice between these 3 songs. 12 points

Daniela: Same comments that I just shared for Call The Police2 points

TK: La la, la la la la la la la..! The melody is stuck in my head! This song is so catchy and grabs you in the first ten seconds and refuses to let go. This is super important for an aspiring Eurovision as all you get is three minutes to sell it. While it will not win the Ivor Novello by any stretch, the instant hook makes up for it. Plus, it’s got the makings of a great stage show, has some slight national flavour and fully in line with European club music. 12 points

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THE WINNER: With a total of 28 points each, You Don’t Belong Here and La La Love have tied in for first place. It’s going to be really interesting to see how the Cyprus’ own jury as well as the public will vote to select their entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

A huge thanks to all the members of the inaugural ASFE International Jury!


Feel the energy! Cyprus unveils its songs for Eurovision.

Cypriot broadcaster CyBC have revealed the three songs in contention to be the island’s entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. Greek superstar Ivi Adamou has been elected to perform all three on January 25th and the public will cast its vote to decide Cyprus’ 30th entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. Here they are, in alphabetical order, along with the composers:

Call The Police (Lene Dissing / Jakob Glæsner / Mikko Tamminen)
You Don’t Belong Here (Niklas Jarl / Alexander Schold / Sharon Vaugh)
La La Love (Alex Papaconstantinou / Bjorn Djupstrom / Alexandra Zakka / Viktor Svensson)

You can listen to the songs here and read my initial impressions below.

Call The Police
It’s a mid-tempo pop song that is quite catchy. What I really like about this song is the clever (if a little cheesy) lyrics that liken falling in love/lust to committing a crime. Very imaginative and full of double entendres. “I’m turning you in for turning me on”? Bonkers. But amazing.

You Don’t Belong Here
This is a rock song that strikes me as very Avril Lavigne-esque (before she went all pop on us). It’s a standard angst-ridden rock ballad by numbers that is actually very well crafted. Vocally, Ivi serves up a generous slice of drama and does her best to sell it. I imagine that this is one of those songs that come across better live. However, it doesn’t go anywhere and just plateaus.

La La Love
The song grabs you by the ears in the first ten seconds! It makes you sit up and take notice. Stylistically, its contemporary Romanian dance with Greek influences. It too is well crafted, building and building into an explosive yet simple but addictively catchy chorus. Listening to it, you can just imagine a colourful high-energy stage performance and just from that middle 8 alone, you can tell they’ve got some awesome dance breakdown planned.

My verdict? Out of all the songs, La La Love was the one I went straight back for seconds (and thirds… I must have listened to it about 10 times before writing this). This is the mark of a good song and a great Eurovision entry: one that catches you on first listen and leaves you wanting more. I also love the slight Greek influences for a bit of national flavour, incidentally the only one of the lot to have any. Call The Police is a great song if not as instant but has more imaginative lyrics that ‘la la la’. As for You Don’t Belong Here, it’s a really pleasant rock ballad that I’m sure will come alive, er, live.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the Cypriot selection. Little wonder, as they’ve all been composed by Scandinavians! With songs of such different tendencies, I’m sure everyone will have picked a favourite and will be rooting for it.  Can’t wait for the 25th of January to see which song Cyprus will pick!


Eurovision News Roundup.

Here’s a quick roundup of what’s been happening in Euroland over the past week:

Albania: The Albanians clearly don’t give a fig for Christmas with the 50th edition of the Festivali i Këngës taking centre stage. The two semi-finals have been held and 20 songs have made it through to the  festival’s Final where they will do battle and the victor shall earn the right to represent Albania at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. In the meanwhile, a massive Gala is planned to celebrate the 50th year of the festival, with many Albanian superstars lined up to perform evergreens from FiK, including former winners Frederik Ndoçi and Aurela Gaçe.

Serbia: Željko Joksimović, the country’s representative for 2012 has set up a blog on the nation’s Eurovision site chronicling his road to the Eurovision Song Contest. In his inaugural post, he expressed his excitement at having another go, after a highly successful run in 2004, finishing second with Lane Moje and third in 2006 for Bosnia & Herzegovina as a composer with Lejla. That’s some serious Eurovision pedigree. Apparently the melody is done and the lyrics are in the process of being written. Željko promises Serbia’s entry to be “strong and in Eurovision spirit”.

Cyprus: The titles of the songs in the running to represent Cyprus, though floating around the Internet recently, have been officially ‘revealed’. They are Call The Police, La La Love (uptempo pop numvers) and You Don’t Belong Here (a rocky ballad). Ivi Adamou will sing all three songs on 25th January for the nation to decide.

And that was some of the news!


Ivi Adamou gets prepared for Baku 2012 as I delve deeper into the music.

Greek-Cypriot superstar and Cyprus’ 2012 Eurovision Song Contest representative Ivi Adamou is reportedly in the process of recording a number of songs for consideration as Cyprus’ entry next year. There’s no denying that Ivi’s got a fantastic, unique voice and is the most exciting Cypriot representative in a long long time.

So I was curious as to what kind of songs Ivi might be recording. It’s all hush-hush and rumours are running rife, ranging from which songwriters she’s working with to what genres she’s going to be singing. To get a better idea, I had a listen to her latest album ‘San Ena Oniro’, and I’ve singled out songs that could very well be in the vein of what’s being cooked up for Baku. Have a listen below:

Fyge (Go Away)

Kano Mia Efhi (I Make A Wish) [feat. Daddy Nek]

The Queen

Personally, I’m loving Fyge and Kano Mia Efhi and I hope Ivi will be presenting songs in this style. A catchy, laid-back summer tune in Greek would be unique and will definetly translate well on the Eurovision stage. Greece has its signature sound with the fiery ethno numbers and this lovely idyllic summer style could very well be Cyprus’.

You can purchase Ivi Adamou’s latest album ‘San Ena Orino’ here.


Cyprus is the first to select its 2012 Eurovision representative.

Greek-Cypriot superstar, Ivi Adamou, has been selected to represent the Mediterrnean island in a welcome move that was won CyBC much praise. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about a Cypriot represenative. Ivi Adamou is one of Cyprus’ most widely acclaimed singers, having released several singles and an album all with considerable success.

It still has not been decided how the song will be selected, but it is expected that Ivi will perform three to four songs and the winning entry will be selected through a combination of jury and televote. It’s hard to believe that the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is kicking off already! With Ivi Adamou’s candidacy, Cyprus has definitely thrown down the gauntlet to the other countries.

Here is Crashing Down, the English-language version of her latest hit Agapi:


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