Interview: Joci Pápai on one-man shows, singing in the shower and the value of a Romani boy from Hungary

He has a man bun already! This guy is set for greatness in Kiev!
He has a man bun already! This guy is set for greatness in Kyiv!

It is a funny thing this Eurovision. Here we were, confident Italy was going to win this whole contest and that Scandinavian countries were stuck in the recycle bin once again and that all the Spanish fans were bonkers yet again and nothing else interesting was in line for us in 2017. Enter Joci Pápai. A Romani slash Hungarian bloke with a traditional Romani slash hiphop entry we couldn’t stop listening to in a golden shirt with a dancer and a violinist. And a man bun!

We needed to speak to him immediately, of course.

– OMG, Joci. Congratulations on winning A Dal! We didn’t even dare to hope for such an amazing song for Hungary yet again! Did you expect to win or were you surprised?

– Thank you very much. I really believed in my song but I never dared to dream of being in the top 4 or winning. It was the biggest surprise ever. My loved ones encouraged me all the way, but I didn’t think it was possible for a Gipsy boy to win with such a crossover track. I am incredibly grateful for all the votes from the audience!

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Eesti Laul 2017 Semi-final 1

Estonia - ESC 2017 - Eesti Laul 2017 (Logo)

With MGP going down the drain for yet another year here in Norway, we have decided to seek refuge in Estonia, our Nordic neighbor in the Baltics! With flight tickets and a suite at the Radisson booked, a dinner reservation at Alexander’s Table and front row seats in Saku Suurhall secured, we can hardly wait to jet off to Tallinn in a couple of weeks.

Here’s our review of the five finalists proceeding from the first semi-final in Eesti Laul 2017: Continue reading

Let’s make Norway great again

mgp

Don’t get us wrong. While we might occassionaly hit a few sarcastic notes when covering our home country on this site, we love Norway. It is a glorious country. So glorious. Chuck-full of fiords and mountains and carefully farmed salmon and clean water and at least a little bit of clean air outside of Oslo and an opera house and great drip coffee and more than one good bar and an endless supply of aquavit and moonshine on every street corner. Oh, and Alexander Rybak. There is a lot to be proud of. And we are the proudest. So why this lack of enthusiasm when it comes to MGP?

Let’s do an analysis. We see three possible explanations:

A) We are so afraid of being labeled nationalistic that we positively discriminate anything related to our own country. Harshly.
B) There is no good music in Norway, hence no potential for good music in MGP.
C) The entire group of songwriters in Norway are prohibited from using any tricks related to Sweden, such as bridges, catchy choruses, pre-choruses to catchy choruses, key changes, good lyrics, structure, a proper melody…and so on and so forth.

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SANREMO – what to expect when expecting greatness

monkey
“Monkey see, monkey do, as Berlusconi used to say”
Ah, the glorious Sanremo. Full of american actors dubbed to Italian, Tiziano Ferro doing unspeakable things to Saint Luigi Tenco (that’s just blasphemy, man), Francesco Totti trying to control his balls and the annoyingly irreplaceable Carlo Conti. When the latter dies, he’ll surely create a new festival to host in heaven while we’ll be having a neverending ball in purgatory with Marco Mengoni.

But most of all Sanremo is a celebration of the greatest musical nation in history and the selection of who gets to represent it in this year’s Eurovision in Kyiv, at least in theory. Never mind the totally incomprehensible voting system and let’s concentrate on the contestants. Here are all the finalists and what to expect from them – at least in our humble opinion (click on name to see the whole performance on RAI, never mind the chitchat in the beginning):

Al Bano: “Di rose e di spine”

Surely this act must be included only to make Carlo Conti feel better about his age. We must admit he knows how to sing, this one, but why can’t he just shut up about it? Has the most hideous glasses ever shown on stage in San Remo. Miuccia Prada must be weeping.

Our vote: nay nay nay and then some more nay

Elodie: “Tutta colpa mia”

In a country where most women try to look like hungry, underage fashion models, it is a serious accomplishment to show up with pink, short hair and Gigi Hadid’s eyebrows. Elodie is nothing short of fabulous, and neither is her performance. The song is a bit boring, though. Consider changing that part.

Our vote: Absolutely yay!

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Our line-up for 2017, part 1

We bet Angela just can't wait to serve these guys some free vodka.
We bet Angela just can’t wait to serve these guys some free vodka.

You might have noticed. Autumn goes really, really fast, and before you know it, there are no leaves left on the trees and it is Eurovision season all over again. We figure a lot of delegations have the same problem as we have at work, not managing to get everything done by Christmas. So just in case they wonder who to send to Kyiv next year, we decided to help them, presenting who WE would send if we were in their shoes – as we should be either way, come to think of it.

Here’s our fist bunch of people for Kyiv 2017. Stay tuned for more!

Romania: Romania is, as you might have noticed in deep…trouble. But there’s nothing that cannot be fixed with a modern count Dracula with a falsetto voice dressed in a patent leather and diamond cape. Time to bring back the one and only Nadia Comăneci of Eurovision: CEZAR!

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– Oh no, Ilias. They made the microphone too high for me again.

7 artists who should return to Eurovision

Yeah, ok, we’re on week 2 now. Our therapist told us it is time to get out of that Post Eurovision Depression and start planning ahead. Like what should we wear in Ukraine? Can we rent an apartment over there with jacuzzi and tap vodka? And most importantly: Which artists should we bring? We saw a trend with returning artists this year, and that suited us perfectly as we have quite a few da capo wishes up our sleeve.

Here are our most wanted artists, in random order (apart from that first one, il nostro numero uno per sempre):

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Breaking news: 17 more songs should have been disqualified by the EBU

agnete
– In Norway we never ever ever do anything wrong. That’s why it’s so disappointing when we lose to people who do. But at least I was photographed by Andres Putting/EBU

Attention! We who sign this article call upon the EBU and Jon Oh-la-la Sand to take action! In this exclusive article, we can now reveal that almost all of the countries in Norway’s semi final plus one more broke the rules in various ways. We can reveal that EBU does not take its own rules seriously and is quickly making Eurovision a place of lawlessness. If they had reacted in the right way, Norway’s Agnete would have sailed through to the final in her Arctic Icebreaker. And we all know she probably would have won.

This is outrageous beyond words and we now demand that around 10 – 20 countries must be banned from participating in ESC next year. We have launched several petitions on change.org and will most definitely have a word with EBU as soon as signatures start flooding in.

Read this truly shocking list and weep: Continue reading

What went wrong this Eurovision

Pic by Thomas Hanses/EBU
Pic by Thomas Hanses/EBU
Was Russia’s Sergey Lazarev fairly treated in Eurovision this year?

The question is going viral, but remains to be answered. To be honest, I landed at ‘no’ a few times during my stay in Stockholm. Like when Sergey had just done a fabulous performance in Globen and the one question he got in the press conference was from a Ukrainian (!) journalist asking him whether the Eurovision fans could feel safe at a possible final in Russia, given Russia’s anti gay legislation. Sergey answered patiently, like all of the other hundred times he was faced with that question, that Russia welcomes all fans and that there are tons of gay bars in Moscow and St. Petersburg, in which he has performed himself.

Sergey was as classy as possible, also welcoming gay flags during his entry. But was it fair that he had to answer to Russia’s politics continuously throughout his stay? Did he deserve to hear that people didn’t want him to win because gay people don’t feel safe in Russia? And would the same people really feel all that much safer in Ukraine, Azerbaijan or Belarus?

Music is personal for musicians, yet when they are on that Eurovision stage they are representing their country. It creates a few dilemmas, both for fans and artists.

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The final evening – awards of excellence

Jamala Andres Putting.jpg
Yaşlığıma toyalmadım! Repeat that three times. Pic by Andres Putting/EBU
Wow, that was a fantastic final night! Not only did we manage to get on TV twice, but it was also one of the best shows we have ever seen in front of a stage! And then Ukraine had us all fooled and went ahead and won the whole thing in the most exciting voting process ever!

We started wearing cotton again and struggle to not reach Post Eurovision Depression Syndrom yet, but it is kind of hard as we are already back in Norway and here they entered that days ago. Nonetheless. We have quite a few awards to hand out:

Best start of a final evening: The great Thomas G:Son himself, suddenly taking a seat by our dinner table in a friendly neighbourhood restaurant in Stockholm. He might of course have been waiting there for us to show up for days, but we choose to believe it was a coincidence, which is less embarrassing. He hinted at Ukraine winning and even made Schlagerboys like guitars, which now makes us think he has divine powers.

Worst we-really-will-do-anything-to-get-on-tv moment: Us cheering for the rubbish Austrian entry, as a camera man was preparing audience filming close by and we desperately needed to show our faces to our mums at home. We have no integrity left now, but then we didn’t have so much to begin with. And at least we also showed the Georgian flag to 200 million viewers.

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