Monday, 30 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2, Norway

Touraj "Tooji" Keshtkar (May 26 1987), known simply as Tooji, is an Iranian/Norwegian singer, model and television host. Tooji will represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tooji was born in Shiraz, Iran but moved to Norway when he was one year old. At the age of 16 he started modeling. After the model work, he started working on MTV Norway where he presented Super Saturday and Tooji's Top 10. He was also educated as a social worker and has worked in asylum reception centres. His first single was called Swan Song and was released in 2008.

He won Melodi Grand Prix 2012 and was given the opportunity to represent Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with his entry Stay.

On March 10, 2012, he presented the international jury votes on behalf of Norway at the finals of Melodifestivalen 2012 where Swedish singer Loreen's Euphoria was crowned as the winner.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Slovakia

Miroslav Šmajda (November 27 1988 in Košice, Czechoslovakia) or Max Jason Mai is a Slovak singer, most notable for his participation on the Česko Slovenská Superstar 2009, being ranked in second place.

On November 16 2011, it was announced by Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska (RTVS), that Miroslav Šmajda will represent Slovakia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. A few days later this decission was withdrawn by RTVS because Miroslav himself didn't know anything about this participation. But on March 7 2012 it was announced that Miroslav will represent Slovakia at the ESC 2012 as Max Jason Mai with the song Don't Close Your eyes.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2, Estonia

Ott Lepland (May 17 1987) is an Estonian singer, who is best known as the winner of the third season of Eesti otsib superstaari. Ott will represent Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with the song Kuula.

Ott has sung since he was a child. He released four albums with children songs in 1995 and 1996. At the momentOtt is studying at Georg Ots' Tallinn Music School pop and jazz singing. He has also studied piano for ten years.

Ott has performed in several plays, including the role of Troy Bolton in Estonian State Puppet & Youth Theatre's musical, the Estonian version of High School Musical.

In 2010, Ott released his self-titled first album after winning the Estonian version of Pop Idol. The self-titled album consists of 12 songs, including singles Otsides Ma Pean Su Jälle Leidma, Süte Peal Sulanud Jää, etc.

In December 2010, a fan book of Ott Lepland was released, it is titled Lubage mul olla. Ott Lepland.

In 2011, Ott participated in another TV3 TV show Laulupealinn , where Ott represented Estonian town Kärdla. Every week, he had to perform with partners from Kärdla or Hiiu County, including his grandmom, nephew, local mixed choir, etc. Lepland won the show and Kärdla has now the title of Estonian Singing Capital.

His second album Laulan Ma Sind was released in November 2011.

Friday, 27 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Turkey

Can Bonomo (born May 16 1987) is a Turkish singer of Sephardic Jewish descent who will represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Can was born in Izmir, Turkey, and started his career by playing guitar at the age of eight. He went to the Private Izmir MEV Primary School and Private MEV High School. At the age of 17, he began his official career as a vocal productionist in Istanbul. At the same time, Can went on with studying TV and cinema at the Istanbul Bilgi University with his programmes being aired on popular radio channels such as Number One FM, Radio101 and Radio Class. Then his radio programmes were followed by programmes in international TV channels such as MTV and Number One TV.

During his career Can released one album, Meczup, in 2011 and he won the 2011 Golden Butterfly Television Arward for Best New Artist.

Can was in January 2012 internally selected to represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. In February 2012 Can revealed his song Love Me Back to the public.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Georgia

Anri Jokhadze (born November 6, 1980) is a Georgian pop singer from Tbilisi who will represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song I'm a Joker.

Anri has been singing since the age of 4 and participated in many contests and concerts both in Georgia and abroad. He started his music career in 1998 and is the author of many songs, and served as a screenwriter of video-clips. Anri is a producer of many artists

Anri has won thirteen music awards to date. He also won the title of The Georgian Golden Voice.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Sweden

Lorine Zineb Noka Talhaoui (October 16 1983, Stockholm), better known by her stage name Loreen, is a Swedish pop singer and music producer, of Moroccan-Berber descent. Loreen will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with her entry Euphoria.

Loreen became famous after taking part in the Swedish Idol 2004 competing as Lorén Talhaoui, she was initially picked as a wildcard by the judges to join the singing competition.

In 2005 she released a single, The Snake, with the group Rob'n'Raz. Later in 2005 she became a television presenter with the Swedish station TV400 for a year and then took a long break.

Loreen returned to the public eye when she took part in Melodifestivalen 2011 with the song My Heart Is Refusing Me, which she co-wrote with Moh Denebi and Björn Djupström. After placing fourth in the second semi-final in Gothenburg, she competed in the Second Chance round, but failed to qualify to the final after a sing-off with Sara Varga. The song became a hit on the Swedish Singles Chart.

In the first semi-final of Melodifestivalen 2012, Loreen advanced directly to the final round with her entry Euphoria, written by Thomas G:son and Peter Boström. She won the national final with a combined total of 268 points and will now represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Croatia

Nina Badrić July 4 1972) is a Croatian pop singer. Before starting her career in the entertainment industry she used to be a bank teller. She began performing in early 1990s, exploiting the sudden popularity of dance music, but her repertoire gradually became more mainstream. She's also very popular in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Slovenia and Turkey.

She competed in Dora, the Croatian pre-selection for Eurovision Song Contest 4 times:

1993 - Ostavlem Te, 7th
1994 - Godine Nestvarne, 10th
1995 - Odlaziš Zauvijek, 18th
2003 - Čarobno Jutro, 2nd

Nina starred in popular Croatian television show Mjenjačnica, where she swapped for a day with a zoo animal guard. During her career Nina released 7 successful albums.

After being selected internally, Nina Badrić will represent Croatia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Nebo.

Monday, 23 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-2 - Slovenia

Eva Boto (December 1, 1995) is a Slovenian singer who will represent Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Verjamem.

Eva made her debut in the Slovenian pre-selection for ESC 2012, Misja Evrovizija.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Bulgaria

Sofiya Marinova Kamenova, better known as Sofi Marinova (December 5 1975) is a Bulgarian pop-folk and ethno-pop singer of Romani heritage who is also known as the Romani pearl and the Romani nightingale. She is one of the most popular singers in Bulgaria, famed for her extreme five-octave vocal range. She has won multiple music awards and contests.

Sofi Marinova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. She showed musical and dancing talent at the age of two and was tutored in singing and dancing by her mother. At school Sofi fell for acting, appearing in school musicals such as Snow White. At the age of 15 a local band offered her the position of lead singer.

At 17 Sofi began to sing at weddings and christenings. Her repertoire included songs of Dragana Mirkovic, Michael Jackson, Sandra, Whitney Houston as well as Romani music. Around this time she and the band took part in a music competition in the village of Osikovitsa near Sofia. She won the singers event and the admirations of the jury.

Sofi Marinova was introduced to the big stage by Nencho Kasamov, president of the record company ARA Music, after he saw her performing in a restaurant. Sofi and her band recorded for ARA the album Stari Rani, which is believed to be one of the best-selling music albums in Bulgaria of all time. During her career Sofi released 19 very successful albums. In some of her most successful songs Sofi cooperated with the Bulgarian hip-hop singer Ustata.

Sofi Marinova was chosen to represent Bulgaria in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Love Unlimited. She won the National final, which was held on February 29, receiving a total of 20 points - the maximum 12 points from the public and 8 points from the jury. She was one of the favourites to win after coming second in the public vote in the semifinals. The song Love Unlimited was written by Yassen Kotsev and Krum Georgiev. The song is in Bulgarian but contains the phrase I love you in Turkish, Greek, Spanish, Serbo-Croat, French, Romani, English, Azerbaijani and Italian. The song is characterised by the typical Romani glides, vocal power and Techno musical arrangement.

This was Sofi's third appearance in the Bulgarian pre-selection for Eurovision. In 2005, her collaboration with Slavi Trifonov, Edinstveni, finished second. They tried again in 2006 with the song Ljubovta E Otrova, but fell out in the qualifications. In 2007, her collaboration with Ustata, Ya Tvoya, finished third in the National final.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Ukraine

Gaita-Lurdes Essami, better known by her stage name Gaitana, born on 29 September 1979 in Kiev, is a Ukrainian/Congolese singer and songwriter. Her music combines elements of jazz, funk, soul, and folk music. Gaitana will represent Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku with the song Be My Guest. Gaitana is the first singer of Afro-Ukrainian origin to represent Ukraine in the contest.

Gaitana was born in Kiev but moved to the Republic of the Congo where her father, Klaver Essami, was born. She lived there for five years. Gaitana moved back to Ukraine with her mother, but her father stayed in Brazzaville where he holds a transportation business.

Gaitana sings in Ukrainian, English, Russian, French and Lingala. Gaitana has a degree in economics and studied saxophone at the music school. All her music and songs are composed by herself. She has represented Ukraine at different competitions in table tennis. She likes also fitness and cycling.

Gaitana performed at Barack Obama’s Inauguration in 2009. She released 6 albums and 3 singles and won several awards in the Ukraine like Best Female Singer and Best Album in 2008.

Friday, 20 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Portugal

Filipa Sousa (March 2 1985, Albufeira) is a Portugese singer who will represent Portugal at the ESC 2012 with the song Vida Minha.

As a child Filipa took singing and piano lessons. She won several fado contests in her country.

From 2003 until 2009 filipa was a member of the Portugese group Al-Mouraria.

In 2003 and 2007 Filipa participated at Operação Triunfo but she didn't qualify for the finals. In 2008 filipa won the Grande Noite de Fado held in Algarve.

In 2012 Filipa won the Festival da Canção, the Portugese national final for the ESC, with the song Vida Minha.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Belarus

Litesound is a Belarusian-Italian pop-rock boyband that will represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. The band is composed of the two brothers Dmitry and Vladimir Karyakin, and Italian singer Jacopo Massa.

The band, originally conveived as an acoustic duo, was formed in 2002 by the brothers Dmitry and Vladimir Karyakin. In 2004, the band was changed into a quartet, also including bassist Mario Gulinsky and drummer Sergey Grinko. In 2006, the band won the Maiori International Music Festival, held in Italy, during which they met Italian singer Jacopo Massa, also taking part in the competition. Jacopo and Litesound started co-working, and Jacopo appeared as a guest in serveral concerts of the band. He later became an official member of the band, while Gulinsky and Grinko left the group in 2006. In 2010, the band released the debut album Going to Holliwood, including the single Solo Per Te.

Litesound participated 5 times at the Eurofest which is the Belarussian national final for the ESC:
  • 2006 - My Faith, 6th
  • 2007 - Summer Trip, 2nd in the semi-final in the televoting but ignored by the jury of "experts"
  • 2008 - Do You Believe, equal 2nd
  • 2009 - Carry On, 3rd
  • 2012 - We Are The Heroes, 2nd
Originally, Litesound came 2nd in the Belarussian national final after Alena Lanskaya with the song All My Life.

However, the Belarusian president conducted an investigation about an alleged fraud in the televote, which turned out to be true. As a result of the investigation, the original winner was disqualified. Litesound were then internally chosen to replace Alena Lanskaya to represent Belarus in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Malta

Kurt Calleja (born May 5 1989) is a Maltese singer who will represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with the song This Is The Night.

Kurt followed music and singing lessons for four years at the music school of Brian Cefai. Then he took a gamble and went for a year in London. While he was there he performed in Clubs like Tiger, Tiger and Host, The King’s Arms and Bada Bing. Back in Malta he started as a backing vocalist.

In 2010 Kurt participated in the Maltese national final for the ESC with the song Waterfall which was a duet with Priscilla Psaila.

In 2011 he participated again and came 3rd with the song Over And Over.

On February 4 2012 Kurt won the Maltese pre-selection for the ESC with the song This Is The Night.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - The Netherlands

Ayten Kalan (April 2 1990, Rotterdam) is a Dutch singer, better known by her stage name Joan Franka. Her late father was Turkish, while her mother is Dutch. Joan Franka will represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. She became famous in the Netherlands after her participation in the first series of the talent show, The Voice of Holland.

In September 2010, Joan Franka entered the talent show, The Voice of Holland where she auditioned with Nickelback's song How You Remind Me.

In the Battle round, she was put against Yvette de Bie. They both sang One Of Us" and Joan was kept to move to the live shows with Yvette being eliminated. In the first live show, Joan sang Jewel's Foolish Games and in the third live show Marc Cohn's Walking in Memphis and in fifth live show Beverley Craven's Promise Me when she was eliminated.

Two of the songs she sang during the competition charted as minor hits in the Dutch Singles Chart. Foolish Games reached #42 and Promise Me #45 based on downloads.

On February 26, 2012, Joan battled against her former fellow The Voice of Holland contestant Raffaëla Paton on the first round of Nationaal Songfestival 2012 and advanced to the final round where she was eventually chosen to represent the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan. Despite coming last with the jury vote of 11 points she led the televotes with 26.1 points which resulted in her victory. Her song for the contest, You and Me, was released in the Netherlands on February 27, 2012 as a Music download on iTunes.

Monday, 16 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - F. Y. R. Macedonia

Kaliopi Bukle, born December 28, 1966 in Kičevo, better known as as Kaliopi, is a Macedonian singer and song-writer. Kaliopi will represent Macedonia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan with the song Crno I Belo.

Kaliopi showed interest in music at a young age and in 1976, she entered in the Macedonian children's festival Zlatno Slavejče with the song Tebe Majka Ceka, previously sung by Tereza Kesovija.

Kaliopi later toured with the choir of Zapro Zaprov Razvigorče through Czechoslovakia, Slovenia (then within their native Yugoslavia) and Austria between 1978 and 1980.

She then joined the class of Marija Nikolovska, where she studied solo singing. She continued her training in the Music Academy in the class of Blagoja Nikolovski in 1984. She then joined a new band named after her and recorded their first two songs by request of the Macedonian Radio, titled Tomi and Nemoj Da Me Budis.

In 1986 the band Kaliopi participated in the Opatija festival and won 1st prize for the song Leo.

Many performances, festivals, show-programs for TV Zagreb, TV Belgrade, TV Sarajevo, TV Titovgrad followed, as well as a very large concert tour throughout all the major cities of the Soviet Union. In the time of her biggest popularity, Kaliopi and her former husban Romeo Gril, moved to Switzerland, which eventually led to the band breaking up. In 1987 Kaliopi took part in the Yugoslav pre-selection for the ESC with the song Emanuel which came 10th.

Kaliopi made a comeback in 1996 at SkopjeFest, Macedonia's pre-selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 1996, with the song Samo Ti. She was awarded first place by the jury and audience. The entry didn't receive enough points in the pre-qualifying round to reach the final.

After this Kaliopi decided to also write songs for other artists.

In 2002, Kaliopi submitted the song Pesna Za Tebe to Macedonian Television for the Macedonian pre-selection for the ESC 2002, eventually the song came 5th. In July, Kaliopi released a new singled called Najmila, which became an instant hit. In October, the album Najmila – Kaliopi Live and Unreleased was released.

In 2006 Kaliopi participated in the Macedonian national final for the ESC with the song Silna which came 6th. In 2009 she tried again to represent Macedonia but this time she came 2nd with the song Rum Dum Dum which was a duet with Naum Petreski.

Kaliopi released many succesful singles and albums and is stll a big star in her country and in other european countries as well.

In 2012 Kaliopi was internally chosen to represent Macedonia with the song Crno I Belo.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

José Guardiola

José Guardiola (October 22 1930 – April 9 2012) was a Spanish singer who sang in Spanish and Catalan.

José Guardiola was born in Barcelona, Spain. He performed and recorded mostly Spanish versions of foreign songs and reached his maximum fame in Spain and Latin America in the early 1960s with versions of popular songs, ESC songs and Festival di sanremo songs. He was known as the Spanish Crooner due to his style and the types of songs he sang.

In 1963 José Guardiola represented Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Algo Prodigioso, placing 12th with 2 points. At that time he also sang a few songs with his daughter. José Guardiola retired in 2008.

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Serbia

Željko Joksimović (born April 20 1972 in Belgrade, SR Serbia, SFR Yugoslavia) is a Serbian singer, composer and producer. He is very popular in Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Germany, Austria and other European countries.

Željko Joksimović was born in Belgrade and grew up in the city of Valjevo. Željko’s first international success came at the age of 12, when he won the title of First Accordion of Europe at the prestigious music festival in Paris. He graduated from the Music University in Belgrade and launched his professional music career in 1997. In 1998 he won the Pjesma Mediterana festival with the song Pesma Sirena, which led to opportunities to perform at more prestigious festivals. Željko can play 11 different musical instruments including accordion, piano, guitar and drums.

Željko is multi-lingual, being fluent in Greek, English, Russian, Polish and French as well as his native Serbian.

In 1999, Željko signed with City Records, a music label owned by the private Serbian television station RTV Pink. He was promoted then as a folk and pop artist. His first studio album, titled Amajlija, included Pesma Sirena along with seven other tracks. His first big success was with the single Telo Vreteno, written by himself and Dragan Brajić. The song went to #1 on the Serbian pop music charts, and became very popular in other former Yugoslav countries.

In 2000 Željko released his second studio album Vreteno named after a song on the album. Other tracks on the album included Rintam, Gadura and Petak na subotu. Two music videos were produced for songs on this album.

111 was released in 2002, soaring to #1 on the pop charts of Serbia and other countries of the region.

In 2003, Željko wrote the song Čija Si for Macedonian music legend Toše Proeski which led him to win Beovizija - The Serbian festival for choosing a representative for the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest. However, Toše didn't represent Serbia and Montenegro but Macedonia at the ESC 2004.

Serbia and Montenegro, sending an entrant for the first time to 2004 Eurovision Song Contest, decided on their representative through Evropesma 2004, a music festival and contest in Serbia and Montenegro. Željko won the contest with Lane Moje, composed by Željko himself, along with lyricist Leontina Vukomanović.

In the semi-final, Željko placed first. However, in the final he placed second behind Ukrainian singer Ruslana, but he did win The Marcel Bezencon Press award (Best Composer Award). Lane Moje was the best selling single in Serbia and Montenegro and other parts of Europe for many months.

After the success in the Contest, the same year, Željko Joksimović founded Minacord Production. Since then, he works and composes in his own studio. He composed and released the single Ledja O Ledja which gained a large popularity over the countries where Željko usually performs. In 2005, he once again composed a song for Serbia and Montenegro's national pre-selection for Eurovision called Beovizija. Željko composed the ballad Jutro, performed by Jelena Tomašević, which came 2nd. In October 2005, he composed and performed a duet with Austrian singer Tamee Harrison. The song was titled I Live My Life For You which was a success throughout Europe. Around this time, Željko wrote his first film score. In cooperation with Cobra production he composed music for the movie Ivkova slava. The same year he released his fourth studio album IV or Ima Nešto U Tom Sto Me Nećes. In this album he changed the music style that was typical about him. The songs in the album are pop ballads with some ethnic Serbian folk elements. The CD sold over 800,000 copies over former Yugoslavia. In 2006, he composed the song Lejla for Bosnia and Herzegovina, performed by Hari Mata Hari. The song finished in third place, making it Bosnia's best performance in the contest. He also won the prestigious Best Composer Award, assigned to Željko by all composers who participated in that festival. In 2007 he released his second greatest hits compilation called Platinum Collection. The same year, in front of 18,000 people Željko played a concert where he sang all of his hits in the Belgrade Arena.

In early 2008, Željko Joksimović composed the song Oro which was performed by Jelena Tomašević in the Serbian national final for the Eurovision song selection, Beovizija 2008. The song is a folk ballad with traditional folk Serbian elements. Because the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 has been won by Serbia, the contest that year was organize by Serbia. On 24 March 2008 it was announced by the 2008 Eurovision organisers RTS that together with Jovana Janković Željko would host the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, giving him two roles in the contest. Jelena Tomašević finished 6th out of 25 countries in the final.

After a year of a music pause he released his fifth studio album named Ljubavi by the production of Minacord and City Records. Ljubavi is the name from the pilot single from the album too. The single has a large success in Serbia and the neighboring countries. In early 2010 he released the second single from the album called Žena Za Sva Vremena.

On June 12, 2010 he performed his biggest concert yet. It was held on the Asim Ferhatović Hase Stadium in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On November 18 2011, it was announced that Joksimović will represent Serbia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. His song, Nije Ljubav Stvar, was presented to the public on March 10, 2012.The song is composed and performed by Željko Joksimović. The lyrics are by Marina Tucaković and Miloš Roganović.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Ireland

Jedward is an Irish pop-rapduo. Jedward consists of the identical twins John Paul Henry Daniel Richard Grimes en Edward Peter Anthony Kevin Patrick Grimes. they were born on October 16 1991 in Dublin.

The duo was formed in the UK in 2009 as John & Edward. They were contestants on the UK TV show the X Factor and finished in 6th place. They have had a big hit featuring Vanilla Ice called Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) which reached number one in Ireland and number two in the UK. They were dropped by Sony and now are supported by Universal Music. They have released an album entitled Planet Jedward which reached no 17 in the charts and a second single entitled All The Small Things reachd no 46.

In 2011 Jedward participated in the Irish national final which they won with the song Lipstick. Lipstick came 8th in the Grand Final of the ESC.

After the ESC 2011 Jedward released an album, Victory and a couple successful singles.

In 2012 Jedward participated again in the Irish national final which they won with the song Waterline.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Moldova

Pasha Parfeny, born as Pavel Parfeny on May 30 1986 in Orhei, is a Moldovan singer and composer.

Pasha was a member of the band SunStroke Project and participated with the band in the Moldovan pre-selection for the ESC 2009. After that he started a solo career and took part in the Moldovan national final for the ESC 2011 with the song Dorule which came 3rd.

In 2012 Pasha finally won with his song Lăutar so he will represent Moldova at the ESC 2012.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Austria

Trackshittaz is an Austrian hip-hop boyband from Mühlviertel, made up of Lukas Plöchl and Manuel Hoffelner. The duo will represent Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Woki Mit Deim Popo, after winning the Austrian national final.

The band was formed in early 2010 by Lukas Plöchl (stage name G-Neila) and Manuel Hoffelner (stage name Manix)

In 2010 Trackshittaz had a You Tube hit with Alloa Bam Fraunz, a parody of the song Alors On Danse sung by Stromae.

From October 2010 to January 2011 Lukas participated in the talent show Helden von morgen of the ORF. After the Show, Trackshittaz had a couple of big hits in Austria and they released two very successful albums.

In 2011 Trackshittaz participated in the Austrian pre-selection for the ESC with the song Oida Taunz! which came 2nd.

In 2012 Trackshittaz participated again in the Austrian national final for the ESC, this time they came 1st with Woki Mit Deim Popo.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Hungary

Compact Disco is a Hungarian electronic rock band, founded in 2008 by three musicians. The band will represent Hungary in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The band consists of Behnam Lotfi - loops, grooves, additional tracks, effects (2008–present), Gábor Pál - keyboards (2008–present), Attila Sándor - bass (2010–present) and Csaba Walkó - vocals (2008–present).

The first album of Compact Disco, Stereoid, was released in December 2009, after more than a year of composing and producing the songs. The band started to perform live in January 2010, mostly in Hungary but also in Transylvania, Romania. Their first hit, I'm In Love, gained popularity for the band and reached top 10 in the Hungarian dance charts. In 2010 Compact Disco were nominated in the category Best Performance in Electronic Music at the Fonogram Awards and in 2011 the band won the Award. The band released one more album, II, and a couple of very successful singles.

In February 2012 Compact Disco won the Hungarian national finl for the ESC 2012 with the song Sound Of Our Hearts.

Monday, 9 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Russia

Buranovskiye Babushki (Grannies from Buranovo) is a Russian ethno-pop band containing eight elderly women. Buranovskiye Babushki will represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The band consists of eight grandmothers, but only six are allowed to appear on the Eurovision stage. They are originally from the Udmurt Republic, from the village of Buranovo. The band performs most of their songs in the Udmurt language.

The members of the band are: Granya Baysarova (62 years), Alevtina Begisheva (56 years), Zoya Dorodova (71 years), Galina Koneva (73 years), Natalya Pugachyova (76 years), Valentina Pyatchenko (74 years), Yekaterina Shklyaeva (74 years), Olga Tuktaryova (43 years) – artistic director and Yelizaveta Zarbatova (86 years, does not go on tour).

Buranovskiye Babushki released many songs like: Yesterday (The Beatles cover), Hotel California (Eagles cover), The Star Called Sun, I Am Beautiful, Sneg-Snezhok, Chiborio and Babushki-Starushki.

The group had previously participated in Russia's national final for the ESC 2010 with the song Dlinnaja Dlinnaja Beresta I Kak Sdelat Iz Nee Aishon (Very long birch bark and how to turn it into a turban), which came 3rd.
They made another attempt to represent Russia by participating on Russia's national final for the ESC 2012 with the song Party For Everybody which won. Buranovskiye Babushki will represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The group said that in 2012 they will build a church in Buranovo.

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Denmark

Soluna Samay (born as Soluna Samay Kettel on August 27 1990 in Guatemala City, Guatemala) is a Danish singer. Soluna will represent Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, with her entry Should've Known Better.

Soluna's father is German musician Gerd G. Kettel (Stage name Gee Gee Kettel) and her mother is Annelis Ziegler from Switzerland Soluna grew up on the shores of Lake Atitlan. She attended the American Robert Muller LIFE school. Soluna moved to Denmark in 2000 when her parents purchased a small farm on the Island of Bornholm. Samay is multilingual speaking fluent English, Danish, Spanish and German.

Soluna's music career began at age of 5 when she joined her father on drums and soon after that she began singing. At the age of 10 she switched to electric bass, at 16 to upright bass. With her parents she spent her summers touring and playing music on the streets of Europe, and winters living in Guatemala. Soluna started to learn guitar around the age of 12, when she also wrote her first songs.

Soluna was chosen as a wildcard entry by DR1 for the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. She won the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2012 on January 21 over Jesper Nohrstedt and Christian Brøns & Patrik Isaksson.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Cyprus

Ivi Adamou is a Cypriot singer who will represent Cyprus at the ESC 2012 with the song La La Love. She lists Beyonce as her biggest influence, as well as Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston.

Ivi Adamou was born on November 24 1993 in Paralimni, Famagusta, Cyprus to a Greek Cypriot father and a Bulgarian mother. Ivi studied music theory, singing and piano and won several prizes in local song competitions. At the age of 9, Ivi participated in a competition in Larnaka where she came 1st with Anna Vissi's song Kaka Paidia.

In 2009-2010, Ivi took part in the second series of the Greek version of The X Factor finishing in 6th place. After her participation in the X Factor, where she was under the mentorship of Giorgos Theofanous, Ivi secured a record contract with Sony Music Greece and released her debut single Kalokairi Stin Kardia, which was certified gold. Ivi's debut album, Kalokairi Stin Kardia, was released in June 2010 and generated the singles A*G*A*P*I*, Sose Me and To Mistiko Mou Na Vreis. She was featured on hip hop group Stavento's hit summer single San Erthei I Mera, remaining in the top five of the Greek Airplay Chart for 20 weeks, and selling 60 thousand legal downloads. She toured Greece along with Stavento over the summer of 2010. In the same year she collaborated with the Spiros Lambrou Choir and released the EP Christougenna Me Tin Ivi Adamou.

Ivi Adamou has been chosen internally by Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation to represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku. In the Cypriot national final Ivi sang all the songs and the winner was chosen by an "expert" jury (50%) and televoting (50%). Call The Police and You Don't Belong Here both came 2nd and La La Love won.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - San Marino

Valentina Monetta (March 1, 1975, City of San Marino) is a singer from San Marino.

Valentina started her singing career in 2002 when she released her first single, Sharp. Her first album followed in 2011.

In 2008 Valentina wanted to represent San Marino at the ESC with the song Se Non Ci Sei Tu but she was not selected by San Marino RTV.

On 14 March 2012, it was announced by San Marino RTV, that Valentina would represent San Marino in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the entry Facebook Uh, Oh, Oh written by Ralph Siegel. She was internally selected by RTV. However on March 18, 2012, a few days after the song was announced, the EBU deemed that the song contained an unreasonable commercial message for Facebook, which resulted in the lyrics' disqualification; according to the Eurovision Rule 1.2.2.g, commercial messages within songs are not allowed. San Marino was then given the option of submitting a new song for Valentina Monetta, or revising the lyrics to remove any references to Facebook, no later than 23 March 2012 12:00 CET. On March 22, SMTV announced that the song and its lyrics has been revised with a new title, The Social Network Song (OH OH – Uh - OH OH), with mostly the same lyrics, except without directly mentioning Facebook.

Friday, 6 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Israel

Izabo is an Israeli band and consists of Ran Shem-Tov - vocals and guitar, Shiri Hadar - keyboards, Jonathan Levy - bass and Nir Mantzur - drums.
Their musical style is diverse, ranging from Indie rock, disco and Middle Eastern music. Izabo will be representing Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, with the song Time.

Most of the band members are experienced musicians on the Israeli music scene. The lead singer and guitarist, Ran Shem-Tov is a versatile producer, who worked with artists such as Yehudit Ravitz, Anat Damon and Dikla and recorded soundtracks. The other players are successful session musicians.

Izabo's music has been described as an action packed combination of Psychadelic Rock, Disco, Punk and Arabic spices. Featuring high-to-ultra-high vocals, Arab-flavoured guitar work, funky basslines, catchy keyboards and disco beats, Izabo have established themselves as one of Israel's most absorbing live acts.

Izabo's debut LP, The Fun Makers, was released late 2003 to great critical acclaim. The songs Morning Hero and Cook Me became significant radio hits in Israel. In the following months Izabo signed on to Sony BMG, which released their British debut, The Morning Hero EP. The release was accompanied by a concert tour which took Izabo to England, Scotland and the Netherlands.

Izabo collaborated with a large variety of artists, on stage and in the studio, from Ahuva Ozeri to Israel Award winning choreographer Ohad Naharin.

Izabo's collaboration with Shotei Hanevuah produced the hit single Hu, which won the Music 24's song of the year award.

Their second LP, Super Light, was released in July 2008. The first single out of the LP is Slow Disco, released on June 16, 2008.

On March 2010 the band released a music video for their song On My Way using Apple Inc.'s iPhones as a creative motif.

In early February it was revealed that Izabo had been chosen by a group of mass communications and music industry experts to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song, Time, has verses in English and choruses in Hebrew.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Finland

Pernilla Karlsson (June 11 1990) is a Finland-Swedish singer who will represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with her entry När Jag Blundar.

Pernilla studied piano at the music school but debuted as a singer in 2006 at the Finland-Swedish songcontest Världens Minsta Schlagerfestival which she won.

She won the Finnish pre-selection for the ESC in Baku with the Swedish song När Jag Blundar.

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Belgium

Laura van den Bruel (January 19 1995), better known by her stage name Iris, is a Flemish singer from Noorderwijk who will represent Belgium at the ESC 2012 in Baku.

Iris' scored her first hit with the song Wonderful, which she released under the name Airis.

In the Belgian national final Iris sang two songs, Safety Net and Would You. The Belgian public chose Would You.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Switzerland

Sinplus are a Swiss duo, consisting of brothers Ivan and Gabriel Broggini. The duo were chosen to represent Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, with Unbreakable, after winning the Swiss national final on December 10.

They have recorded various EPs both in Switzerland and the USA. Their song Without Identit” made it to the charts and was even broadcast by several tv stations.

The song Unbreakable entered the Swiss Singles Chart at number 34. The song will be included on their debut studio album Disinformation which will be released in 2012.

Monday, 2 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Romania

Mandinga are a Romanian pop band from Bucharest and consists of : Elena, Alex, Chupi, Omar, El Niño, Zach and Tony. All members are highly trained musicians. The band already released 4 albums.

The original soloist of the band was Elena Gheorghe (ESC 2009) who left in 2005. Since 2006, the new lead vocalist is Elena Ionescu. In 2005 Mandinga participated at the Romanian national final for the ESC with the song Soarele Meu which came 4th. In 2007 Mandinga were selected to participate in the Romanian pre-selection for the ESC with the song Gonzalo but they withdrew.

The group will represent Romania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku with the song Zaleilah.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - Albania

Rona Nishliu, born August 25, 1986 in Titova Mitrovica, Yugoslavia - present-day Kosovo is a Kosovo-Albanian singer and radio presenter.

Rona was raised in her birth town. At the age of thirteen her family moved to Pristina due the political issues in her hometown.

Rona was a contestant on Albanian Idol in 2004 and placed in the top five. She then worked on Radio Blue Sky in Pristina as a presenter. She became citizen of Albania on 12 January 2012 with a decree of the President of Albania Bamir Topi.

Rona will represent Albania in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan after winning the national selection on December 29, 2011 with the entry Suus. She is the first singer born in Kosovo to represent Albania in the contest.