As Eurovision 2015 approaches, and we become more and more immersed in the rehearsal process, ESC Insight’s Samantha Ross wanted to take a quick peek at this year’s roster. All of the stats, facts, and figures that any self-respecting Eurofan could want, compressed into one easily-digestible article!
Who’ll be performing (40 songs in total, an increase of 3 from last year):
- Solo male: 9
Australia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, Sweden (one more than last year)
- Solo female:17
Albania, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland (2 more than last year)
- Duets 8:
Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Norway, San Marino, Slovenia, United Kingdom (4 more than last year)
- Groups: 6
Armenia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Romania. (3 fewer than last year)
Artists under the age of 20:
- Belgium (19)
- Ireland (17)
- Israel (16)
- San Marino (Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini are both 16)
Artists over the age of 40:
- Czech Republic (Marta Jandová is 41)
- Finland (Pertti Kurika is 58, Sami Helle is 41 or 42)
- France (46)
- Montenegro (47)
- Netherlands (42)
How they were chosen:
- National Final (song and artist chosen together): 25
Albania*, Austria, Belarus, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland
- National Final (song and artist chosen separately): 1
- Complete Internal Selection: 13
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Spain, United Kingdom
- Partial Internal Selection (artist chosen publicly, song chosen internally): 1
(* = National Final was Jury only, and the winning song was eventually changed.)
Songs changed/modified from original winner/announcement/release?
Festivali i Këngës winner ‘Diell‘ was originally going to be translated into English, but a complaint from the original composer forced the song to be withdrawn. ‘I’m Alive‘ was substituted.
‘Face the Shadow‘ was originally titled ‘Don’t Deny’, but the delegation swapped the name to prevent accusations of politicism in the song.
‘Grande Amore‘ had to be trimmed down to three minutes, in order to comply with EBU regulations.
Originally titled ‘Lisja Esenski‘, the song was translated into English, giving us ‘Autumn Leaves‘.
Originally in Romanian, ‘De la capăt (All over Again)‘ will be performed with a bilingual arrangement in Vienna.
‘Ceo svjiet je moj‘ was translated into English as ‘Beauty Never Lies’ marking Serbia’s first Eurovision entry not performed in their national language.
- Belarus, Cyprus, Georgia, Malta, and Portugal all underwent changes in arrangement.
What language will the song be performed in?
- English: 33
Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, (FYR) Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
- No English: 6
Finland, France, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain
- Bilingual: 1
(Out of the 40 songs in this year’s competition, many have alternate language recordings, including Iceland, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Italy, and Romania. Others may follow as promotional materials are released.)
How many are Eurovision returnees?
Inga Arshakyan, part of Genealogy, represented her homeland with her sister Anush in 2009, with ‘Jan Jan‘, coming in 10th.
Elnur Hüseynov, who sang alongside Samir Javadzadeh in 2008 with the 8th-placed ‘Day After Day‘, will perform ‘Hour of the Wolf‘.
Uzari sang backup on ‘I Love Belarus‘ for Anastasiya Vinnikova in 2011.
Amber supported Kurt Calleja in 2012 on ‘This is the Night‘.
How many had been involved with Junior Eurovision?
Uzari co-wrote ‘Sokal‘ for Nadezhda Misyakova, who sang at Junior Eurovision 2014.
- San Marino
Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini sang for the microstate at Junior Eurovision 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Maraaya co-composed ‘Nisi Sam (Your Light)‘ with Ula Lozar, Slovenia’s debut Junior Eurovision contestant in 2014.
How many had previously performed in a National Final (not counting their 2015 victory)?
Elhaida Dani made it to the finals of the 50th Festivali i Këngës in December of 2011 with ‘Mijëra vjet‘, but failed to garner a single point.
Uzari was in the 2012 and 2013 National Finals with ‘The Winner‘ (5th place) and ‘Secret‘ (8th place), respectively.
Elina Born: 1 previous attempt (‘Enough‘, in 2013).
Stig Rästa: 8 previous tries:
- 2003: ‘What a Day‘ with Slobodan River, 7th place.
- 2004: ‘Surrounded‘ with Slobodan River, 3rd place.
- 2008: ‘It’s Never Too Late‘ with Traffic, featuring Luisa Värk, 8th place.
- 2009: ‘See paëv‘ with Traffic, second place.
- 2011: ‘I Wanna Meet Bob Dylan‘ with Outloudz, second place.
- 2012: ‘NASA‘ with Traffic, 10th place.
- 2013: ‘Enough‘, written by Stig for Elina Born, 8th place.
- 2014: “Für Elise‘, with Traffic, 3rd place
Aminata came in 5th place with ‘I Can Breathe‘
Vaidas: In a year where the song was chosen independently of the artist, Vaidas placed 3rd in 2014.
Monika: Five previous tries:
- Malta: Five previous entries in four years
- Moldova: 3 previous attempts, all in Ukrainian National Finals
Won the OGAE Second Chance contest in 2007 with ‘Cara Mia‘, which came in 3rd at Melodifestivalen. Then, two years later, ‘Hope and Glory‘ came in 4th.
How many had taken part in televised talent shows?
Elhaida Dani won Star Academy Albania in 2009 and The Voice of Italy in 2013.
Guy Sebastian was the first winner of Australian Idol in 2003, took part in World Idol that winter (coming in 7th place), and was a judge on The X-Factor Australia from 2010-2012.
Elnur Hüseynov won O Ses Turkiye (part of “The Voice” franchise) in February 2015.
Loïc Nottet was the runner-up in the 2014 edition of The Voice Belgique.
- Czech Republic
Marta Jandova won the 2007 Bundesvision Song Contest in a collaboration with the band Oomph!. She had previously participated in 2005, in conjunction with the band Apocalyptica.
Elina Born was the runner-up on the 5th season of Eesti Otsib Superstaari (Idol franchise).
Stig Rästa, on the other hand, took part in the 2011 season of Tantsud tähtedega, the local edition of Strictly Come Dancing, where he came in 4th place. (Interestingly, 2011 Eurovision participant Getter Jaani came in third, marking the second time in less than a year that she just edged out Stig in competition. “Rockefeller Street” had beaten “I Want to Meet Bob Dylan” at Eesti Laul that year.)
Nina Sublatti was the winner of Sakartvelos Varskvlavi (Idol franchise).
Maria Elena Kiryakou won the first season of The Voice of Greece in 2014.
Nadav Guedj won the second season of HaKokhav HaBa, which also served as this year’s Israeli National Final.
All three members of Il Volo took part in the 2009 series of Ti Lacio una Canzone.
- (FYR) Macedonia
Daniel Kajmakoski won X-Factor Adria in 2014.
Monika Linkytė took part in Lithuania’s Got Talent in 2011.
Trijntje Oosterhuis was a coach on The Voice of Holland from 2012-2014.
Debrah Scarlett took part in The Voice – Norges beste stemme in 2013.
Monika Kuszyńska was a coach on Bitwa na głosy, the local edition of Clash of the Choirs.
Leonor Andrade took 6th place in the 2014 edition of The Voice of Portugal.
Polina Gagarina won Star Academy in Russia back in 2003, and was a judge on I Want to Meladze in 2014. (Fun fact: Notable participants on I Want to Meladze included Dima Karyakin, lead singer of Litesound, as well as perennial Latvian National Final also-ran Markus Riva.)
In 2012, Bojana Stamenov took part in Serbia’s Ja Imam Talenat!, coming in 4th place.
Edurne took part in the 2005 series of Operación Triunfo, coming in 6th place.
Måns Zelmerlöw came in 5th place in the 2005 season of Idol, and won the 2006 series of “Let’s Dance”.
- United Kingdom
Bianca Nicholas took part in both The X-Factor UK and The Voice UK, but failed to progress past the audition rounds.
Who wasn’t born in the country they’ll be representing? (14 singers from 10 nations, up from 5 singers last year)
Vahe Tilbian is from Ethiopia, Tamar Kaprelian is from the US, Stephanie Topalian is also American-born, but now lives in Japan, where her mother was born. Essaï Altounian is from France, and Mary-Jean O’Doherty is American-born to Armenian and Australian parents, lived Down Under for a number of years, and now makes her home in Wales. Confused yet?
Guy Sebastian was born in the city of Klang, Malaysia, and moved to Australia when he was a young boy.
Elnur Hüseynov was born in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, while it was still part of the Soviet Union. His family relocated to Baku when he was about twelve.
Maimuna was born in Saint Petersburg (while it was still the USSR) to a Belarusian mother and a Malian father.
Nina Sublatti was born in Moscow, and moved to Georgia in her early childhood.
Ann Sophie was actually born in London to German parents.
Maria Elena Kyriakou was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, which is also the birthplace of Greek ESC representatives Anna Vissi and Loukas Yiorkas.
Nadav Guedj was born in Paris, France.
Eduard Romanyuta is from Ternopil, Ukraine.
- San Marino
Michele Perniola actually hails from Palagiano, Italy, but that hasn’t stopped him from representing San Marino in the past. Both he and his younger sister Raffaela have sung for the microstate at Junior Eurovision.