How to get Andorra back in the Eurovision Song Contest.

News, rumours, gossip and scandals are flying thick and fast in the run-up to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. One piece of news that caught my eye is the lamentable decision by Andorra to not return to the Contest. Andorra of course has a special place in the hearts of those in the Eurovision community, after their shocking exit in the epic Semi-Final of the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest with Salvem El Món. The country was forced to withdraw in 2010 and in 2011 due to financial restrictions. It is this same reason that they cannot return in 2012, despite strong local interest in the Contest.

However, RTVA has stated that should they find a suitable sponsor, Andorra would most certainly participate. Now let’s consider the facts. The Eurovision Song Contest is a huge, unique platform with some 125 million viewers plus thousands of journalists and participants come under intense media and national scrutiny. You simply cannot buy the kind of publicity a Eurovision participation can award you. And if your song is exceptional, it will increase hundred fold. So using this as an enticement, who would be the best to court as a sponsor? A sponsor who would benefit, and take advantage of, this exposure and would have no trouble procuring talented singers and songwriters for Andorra? My answer: record companies.

Imagine, if Andorra could get a major record label such as Sony Music France or Universal Spain to sponsor them, it will be very benefical to both parties. The record company now gets access to an exciting, unusual platform upon which it can promote or launch an artist on their roster. It will be economical as well, for the return in the degree of exposure and media attention would far outweigh the costs of procurring the same. And Andorra gets their participation funded, their flag flown as well as be represented by a professional, talented artist. In short, one can almost say that this strategy calls for turning Andorra into this generation’s Luxembourg. Luxembourg was of course notorious for importing their singers from abroad, having done so throughout their participation. So in some way, Andorra will be fulfilling a rather bizarre Eurovision tradition.

Could a partnership with a record company bring Andorra back?

Plus, I believe Sony Music France and Universal Spain would be the best two to approach about this possible venture. This is because these record companies are located in two of (well actually all of) Andorra’s neighbors and there is alot of shared culture so Andorra’s representatives would be much closer to home. Furthermore, these two record companies have the most Eurovision-friendly stable of acts. For example, Sony Music France has Lorie, Jonatan Cerrada, Antoine Clamaran, Christophe Willem, Natasha St-Pier, Patrick Fiori, Ricky Martin and even Lordi. Universal Spain’s got David Bustamante, Sergio Dalma, Ainhoa, & Chenoa. And these are just the ones I’m familiar with. I’d imagine there some talented artists amongst their ranks who would benefit enormously from representing Andorra at the Eurovision Song Contest. You just can’t buy this kind of publicity.

All in all, I believe that Operation Luxembourg could very well be a win-win for Andorra and which ever cognizant record company. I’m sure a semblance of this plan was bandied about, but as the name of the endeavor states, Andorra will need to go big and shamelessly take up the mantle left vacant by Luxembourg.

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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.