New Music: ‘Élek A Szemeidben’ by Renáta Tolvai.

MTV have announced the 20 shortlisted artists and songs competing in the Hungarian National Final. One particular song of note is Élek A Szemeidben, performed by Renáta Tolvai.

I love the grandiose Lion King-esque feel, along with the pulsating Europop beat underneath. It’s very catchy and Renáta has got a a really powerful voice that matches the song. Having won the 2010 edition of Megasztár (Hungarian Pop Idol), she is no stranger to the live stage so should deliver the song with ease.

I also like that Élek A Szemeidben lends itself to a really theatrical performance. I’m imagining something with elaborate costumes and ‘wild’ dancing, like the Broadway musical of ‘The Lion King’ or even Horehronie, Slovakia’s 2010 Eurovision entry.

Additionally, I’m really pleased to see András Kállay-Saunders (who I wrote about here) and his bid I Love You have made the cut. Looks like the Hungarian National Final is going to be an exciting race!

Hungarian Hopeful: ‘I Love You’ by András Kállay-Saunders.

What would it sound like if Hungary’s very own Taio Cruz decided to release a gorgeously mellow ballad? Check out András Kállay-Saunders and his latest single I Love You.

András is a well-known Hungarian singer (and model), having competed in Megasztár, the Hungarian equivalent of Idol, where he gave numerous breakout performances, including Man In The Mirror and Mercy. You can check out all his performances from his Megasztár stint here.

According to, this is one of two songs sent in by András to the Hungarian National Final for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. A most welcome addition to our National Finals Playlist.

Cheers to Swedish Stereo for the heads-up!

New Music: ‘Vár a Holnap’ by Kati Wolf.

This year, Hungary was the firm fan favourite at the Eurovision Song Contest. Represented by the song What About My Dreams? sung by the irrepressible Kati Wolf, the country managed to break it’s bad run of results by qualifying for the Grand Final. Though it failed to set the scoreboard alight on the big night, Kati emerged from the Contest as a national heroine and the darling of the nation. She has now released a brand new album and the lead single Vár a Holnap is making waves. Translated as ‘tomorrow is waiting for you’, it continues in the same vein as What About My Dreams? with it’s retro-eighties production touches and catchy chorus. Combined with Kati’s powerhouse voice, Vár a Holnap is a stunner of a song. Check out the dramatic music video below:

It’s been a big week for Kati, as she’s also performed the song on Hungary’s X Factor. You can watch the show-stopping performance here.

Artists who should give it another go: Part 2

Continuing on from Part 1, I’m listing out really great singers that, for one reason or another, either didn’t get the result they were hoping for, or were more deserving of a better score in the Eurovision Song Contest. Here are some artists that I’d really love to see back on the Eurovision stage:

Ines (Estonia, 2000)

Ines was the hot favourite to win the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Once In A Lifetime. It was a catchy, uplifting number but nerves and bad styling quickly stifled any chances of victory. Fast forward to the present day and Ines has now become one of Estonia’s most popular singers and is just plain stunning. Here’s a recent video of her performing Once In A Lifetime:

Manuel Ortega (Austria, 2002)

Widely touted as Austria’s very own Ricky Martin, Manuel Ortega took to the stage in Tallin and gave a spirited performance of his song Say A Word. While it was definetly a crowd pleaser, I thought the song failed to excite with the chorus being rather repetitive. I’d really like to see Manuel back with a fiery ethno/Latin-inspired number. Given the success that has been granted to this genre on the scoreboard, I think Austria could definetly pull off a Top 10 placing.

Jonatan Cerrada (France, 2004)

France had one of the best songs in 2004. A Chaque Pas was beautiful, wonderfully performed and continued the great tradition of French balladry at the Eurovision Song Contest. Unfortunately, it also fell into another tradition of gimmicks. Using ‘Le Petit Prince’ as inspiration, France had a contortionist atop a pair of stilts. Suffice it to say, people paid more attention to the lofty gyrating antics. Next time Jonatan, please come solo. With feet planted firmly on the stage.

Shiri Maimon (Israel, 2005)

Shiri’s breathtaking performance of Hasheket Shenish’ar (The Silence That Remains) is Eurovision at its best. A talented songstress in a gorgeous dress singing a beautiful ballad. Give the girl another ballad, throw her in an evening gown and let her do her thing again Israel! This was, in my opinion, was one of Israel’s more finer entries this decade and never fails to remind me of Contests of decades past.

NOX (Hungary, 2005)

Hungary got everyone’s feet tapping with their entry Forogj, világ!, featuring tap dancing and powerful vocals in the mystical Hungarian language. The song is really catchy and it was a pity that they were drawn first, for had they performed in the second half, I’m sure they would have done better in the scoring. NOX ought to enter again with the same formula but they should do what Kati Wolf did this year and keep the song mainly in English with a verse in Hungarian.