19 December 2015

Eurovision 2016: The Story So Far

The Globe Arena, Stockholm
The Globe Arena, Stockholm (Photo: Fredrik Posse/Stryngford Photo) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest may still be five months away, but plenty of newsworthy reports are already arriving on a daily basis - and only a few days before Albania reveals its entry, prompting the launch of a new season of Eurovision song reviews.

Here's the story so far:


The country's Festivali i Kengës begins on Christmas Day and climaxes on December 27th when one of eighteen songs will be selected to represent Albania in Stockholm. All the songs can be heard on the official website, here and here.


In mid-October, the Armenian public broadcaster announced that 29-year-old singer and model, Iveta Mukuchyan, will be the country's representative in Sweden. She has participated in both The Voice of Germany and Armenia's version of Pop Idol - Hay Superstar.


Following Australia's successful 2015 début, the EBU has decided to invite the country to participate in 2016. As of writing, no further details have been announced.


Austria's national final, Wer singt für Österreich?, will take place on February 12, 2016 when its entry will be revealed. One of the contenders will be chosen by "likes" on the Austrian broadcaster's Facebook page.


Belarus will choose its entry on January 22, 2016 at its national final. The ten finalists are:

1. Alexey Gross – Flame
2. Sasha Zakharik – Glory Night
3. Valeriya Sadovskaya – Not Alone
4. Radiovolna – Radiowave (Ne shodi s uma)
5. The EM – Turn Around
6. Navi – Geta zyamlya
7. Alexander Ivanov – How to Fly
8. Anastasiya Malashkevich – Pray for Love
9. Kirill Yermakov – Running to the Sun
10. Napoli – My Universe

Here are the songs:


In mid-November, the Flemish broadcaster VRT revealed that it has five candidates competing in its national final on January 17, 2016. They are: Adil Aarab, Amaryllis Uitterlinden, Astrid Destuyver, Laura Tesoro, Tom Frantzis. The winner will be selected through a combination of televoting and jury votes from  ten international pundits.

The songs will be presented on January 10, following another pre-show a week earlier which will introduce the contestants to the public.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The country returns after a three-year hiatus. Towards the end of November it was announced that Fuad Backović Deen, Dalal Midhat-Talakić and Ana Rucner would perform the song for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Deen is well acquainted with Eurovision, having represented B and H at the 2004 Contest with the ninth-placed In the Disco. Midhat-Talakić has had some moderate success as part of the duo Erato, while Ana Rucner has made her name in the region as a professional cellist. Their entry is expected to be previewed in February.


The Cypriot broadcaster has made the decision that rock band Minus One will represent the Mediterranean island with an, as yet, undetermined song. Eurovision fans may remember that the group performed in Cyprus's 2015 national final, placing third with the song Shine.

Czech Republic

Apart from the fact that the Czech Republic has a new Head of Delegation in Jan Bors, it seems that we'll learn more about the country's song and representative come February 2016.


The final of Denmark's national final, Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, is scheduled for February 13, 2016.


Eesti Laul, the Estonian national final, will once again serve as Estonia's mechanism in choosing its 2016 entry. Twenty competitors have already been revealed for the show which will comprise of two semi-finals (February 13 and February 20) and the Grand Final on March 5.

Some names already familiar to Eurovision fans are taking part including Laura Remmel who competed in the 2005 Contest as a part of Suntribe; Tanja, who was the country's representative in 2014 (now in La La Ladies); and Mick Pedaja (Manpower4) who duetted with Malcolm Lincoln in 2010. Notable composers include Sven Lõhmus and Stig Rästa.

Here are the twenty songs involved in the two semi-finals:


Finland will choose its song and representative in February 2016. UMK, the Finnish national final, will be broadcast throughout the month (6th, 13th, 20th) with the Final airing on the 27th.


Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz have been chosen to represent Georgia at the 2016 Contest. Five songs will be picked from those submitted, with the winner selected from a combination of votes from an expert jury and the public.

Georgia is currently appealing for suitable submissions which must satisfy a "melodic song structure of alternative and indie rock with electronic beats, synths and/or samples, and club orientation of post-disco dance music." - whatever that means!

Apparently, it's something like this...



Iceland's Söngvakeppnin returns in February to determine the island's representative. The two semi-finals will be broadcast on February 6 and 13 with the final following on the 20th.


Latvia's Supernova final is scheduled to take place on February 28th.


The big news for Macedonia is that the country's song will be performed by Kaliopi, the singer who was their 13th-placed representative in 2012.  Her song will be presented to the public in February 2016.

Here's her 2012 performance of Crno i Belo:


The finals are going to be held on the 22nd and 23rd January 2016 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in ‪‎Valletta‬. Twenty songs will compete in the semi-final on the 22nd and fourteen will perform in the grand final on 23rd January. The semi-finalists are: 
  • Alive – Jasmine Abela 
  • All Around the World – Deborah C 
  • Chameleon (Invincible) – Ira Losco 
  • Empty Hearted – Domenique Azzopardi 
  • Falling Glass – Corazon (Mizzi) 
  • Fire Burn – Dominic 
  • Flashing Lights – Raquel Galdes 
  • Frontline – Danica Muscat 
  • Golden – Brooke (Brooke Borg) 
  • I Love You – Dario Mifsud Bonnici 
  • Kingdom – Christabelle Borg 
  • Light Up My Life – Stefan Galea 
  • Lighthouse – Kimberley Cortis 
  • Little Love – Franklin Calleja 
  • Right Here With You – Sarah Crystal 
  • That’s Why I Love You – Ira Losco 
  • The Flame – Jessika 
  • Under the Sun – Daniel Testa 
  • Young Love – Maxine Pace 
  • You’re Beautiful – Lawrence Gray

Listen to all of the songs below:


A lower than expected number of songs have been submitted to Moldova's pre-selection - just 47. Consequently, all submissions will be heard before a jury on December 19 after which 24 will be selected to go forward to the country's semi-finals on February 23 and 25. The grand final is scheduled for February 27.

Listen to all the songs here:


Montenegro has already chosen the act which will perform in Stockholm: a young trio by the name of Highway. They are Petar Tošić, Marko Pešić and Luka Vojvodić and have previously appeared on The X-Factor Adria.

Bojan Jovović (formerly of the band No Name) has now joined Highway. Representing Serbia and Montenegro, he appeared at the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest and placed seventh with No Name which performed the song Zauvijek moja.

Here are the original trio performing in the Summer of 2015:


Douwe Bob has been chosen to sing for the Netherlands, but as yet his song is unknown. You can read more about him here.


The Melodi Grand Prix will return on February 27 with a total of ten songs competing in the Norwegian final. These will be revealed in January, but we already know that the hosts of the show will be SiLyA and Kåre Magnus Bergh.


TVP, the Polish broadcaster, has decided to pick their artist internally once again. The big reveal is scheduled for February when we can also expect to hear Poland's song.


Sergey Lazarev has been chosen by Russian state television to represent the country in 2016. He is a hugely popular singer, actor and dancer in his homeland and has just won the Singer of the Year prize at the Russian National Music Awards.

Here's a taster of what we might expect from him. His last single: She's All That...


Slovenia's national final, EMA 2016, is scheduled for broadcast at some point during February. The national broadcaster is currently accepting submissions until 12am on December 21. One change for 2016 is that both foreign artists and composers can send in their songs; a maximum of two compositions from all prospective competitors is allowed.


The Swiss contenders have recently been whittled down to six - with Kaceo replacing Stéphanie Palazzo whose song was disqualified for having been published before the deadline of September 1. The winner will be decided on February 13 during ESC 2016 – Die Entscheidungsshow.

Here's the full list:
  • Bella C - Another World 
  • Vincent Gross - Half A Smile 
  • Stanley Miller - Feel the Love 
  • Kaceo - Disque d’or 
  • Rykka - The Last Of Our Kind 
  • Theo - Because Of You


Ukraine is back in the game following a break from the Contest in 2015. Its currently holding auditions which will be completed on December 20. A second round of televised shows is scheduled for February, with both jury and public votes deciding the finalists later the same month.

The Big Six


No song or artist yet but it seems that Eurovision has been promoted to a more popular TV channel: France 4. Both semi-finals will be broadcast on the station.

It also appears that, despite the country's bad results, the open submission process has attracted nearly 300 applications.


Germany had originally chosen R&B singer Xavier Naidoo as its representative in Stockholm, but amid allegations that he is "a right-wing militant, a homophobe and/or antisemitic", the German broadcaster ARD dropped him like a hot potato.

Originally a televised national final was scheduled for mid-February to select his song, but obviously this has now been axed. There is, however, the promise of a full national final where both a song and performer will be chosen with the input of the public. No date has yet been confirmed.


As is tradition, Italy's Eurovision selection will be a part of the Sanremo Music Festival. The 2016 edition will take place between February 9 and February 13.

The participants have been revealed as:
  • Deborah Iurato e Giovanni Caccamo – Via da qui 
  • Noemi – La borsa di una donna 
  • Alessio Bernabei – Noi siamo infinito 
  • Enrico Ruggeri – Il primo amore non si scorda mai 
  • Arisa – Guardando il cielo 
  • Rocco Hunt – Wake up 
  • Dear Jack – Mezzo respiro 
  • Stadio – Un giorno mi dirai 
  • Lorenzo Fragola – Infinite volte 
  • Annalisa – Il diluvio universale 
  • Irene Fornaciari – Blu 
  • Neffa – Sogni e nostalgia 
  • Zero Assoluto – Di me e di te 
  • Dolcenera – Ora o mai più 
  • Clementino– Quando sono lontano 
  • Patty Pravo – Cieli immensi 
  • Valerio Scanu – Finalmente piove 
  • Morgan e i Bluvertigo – Semplicemente 
  • Francesca Michielin – Nessun grado di separazione 
  • Elio e le Storie Tese – Vincere l’odio


Early reports state that the Spanish entry will be among one of six songs presented on the country's main television channel. Names should be revealed very shortly.


Melodifestivalen is back! Was there any doubting it? Four weekly semi-finals will be broadcast beginning February 6, culminating with the Second Chance round on March 5 and the Grand Final on March 12. 

The semi-finalists are:

Gothenburg: 6.2.2016
  • Mimi Werner - Ain't No Good  
  • Samir and Viktor - Bada nakna 
  • Robin Bengtsson - Constellation Prize 
  • Ace Wilder - Don't Worry
  • Anna Book - Himmel för två
  • Pernilla Andersson - Mitt guld
  • Albin and Mattias - Rik  
Malmö: 13.2.2016
  • Victor and Night - 100%  
  • Krista Siegfrids - Faller 
  • Molly Pettersson Hammar - Hunger  
  • Patrik Isaksson, Tommy Nilsson and Marty Robbins - Håll mitt hjärta hårt 
  • Isa - I Will Wait 
  • Wiktoria - Save Me  
  • David Lindgren - We Are Your Tomorrow  
Norrköping 20.2.2016
  • Oscar Zia - Human   
  • Saraha - Kizunguzungu  
  • After Dark - Kom ut som en stjärna 
  • Lisa Ajax - My Heart Wants Me Dead 
  • Boris René - Put Your Love On Me 
  • Smilo - Weight of the World 
  • Swingfly feat. Helena Gutarra - You Carved Your Name  
Gavle 27.2.2016
  • Martin Stenmarck - Du tar mig tillbaks 
  • Panetoz - Håll om mig hårt 
  • Frans - If I Were Sorry 
  • Linda Bengtzing - Killer Girl 
  • dolly style - Rollercoaster  
  • Eclipse - Runaways  
  • Molly Sanden - YOUniverse

The United Kingdom

Back in September, the BBC revealed that it was changing the way in which the UK's entry is selected. Instead of an internal option, which has been the Corporation's preferred route over recent years, the 2016 song will be the result of an open submission process. 

Both fan organisations and music professionals will be involved in the initial selections, while the ultimate pick will also involve the public. How this later part of the process is shared is yet to be revealed.

That's it so far, folks!

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