Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1962

The Swedish national final, called Eurovisionsschlagern - Svensk final, was held on February 13th in Stockholm, hosted by Bengt Feldreich. Each of the songs was performed twice (firstly with a big orchestra, then with a small orchestra), and the winner was chosen by postcard voting. The winning song, Sol och vår, was written and composed by Ulf Källkvist and Åke Gerhard. Lilly Berglund and Inger Berggren both sang Sol och vår but Inger was chosen by the public as the winner.


1. Sol och vår - Inger Berggren/Lilly Berglund, 102327 votes
2. När min vän - Monica Zetterlund/Carli Tornehave, 74077 votes
3. Anne-Li - Carli Tornehave/Otto Brandenburg, 13401 votes
4. Lolo-Lolita - Otto Brandenburg/Östen Warnerbring, 11848 votes
5. Sagans underbara värld - Lilly Berglund/Inger Berggren, 6885 votes
6. Trollen ska trivas - Östen Warnerbring/Mona Grain, 4001 votes


Inger Berggren (born February 23 1934 in Stockholm) is a Swedish singer and actress who began singing in Thore Swanerud's orchestra, and later sang with Thore Ehrling, Simon Brehm, and Göte Wilhelmsson. Her biggest hits were The Sun and the Spring and Elisabeth Serenade, both in 1962. She is mother to the actress Gunilla Röör.

Inger Berggren represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 1962 in Luxembourg with the song Sol och vår which was placed 7th.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1961

Sweden chose their entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 1961 through Melodifestivalen 1961. The Swedish national final was held on February 6th at Cirkus in Stockholm, hosted by Jeanette von Heidenstam.
Each of the songs was performed twice (firstly with a big orchestra, then with a small orchestra). The winner was chosen by the votes of 4 juries. Approximately 550 songs were submitted to SVT for the competition. The final was broadcast on Sveriges Radio TV, but was not broadcast on radio.The song April, April, performed once with Siw Malmkvist, once with Gunnar Wiklund, won. Although Siw Malmkvist won the final, she was not chosen to go forward to the ESC, mainly due to the fact that she couldn't stop laughing during her performance of April April, so she was replaced by Lill-Babs. In the contest, once more held in Cannes, she finished in 14th place.


1. April April - Siw Malmkvist/Gunnar Wiklund, 78 points
2. Vårvinter - Lill Babs/Lars Lönndahl, 71 points
2. Spela på regnbågen - Lars Lönndahl/Lilly Berglund, 71 points
4. Vår i hjärtat - Gunnar Wiklund/Siw Malmkvist, 58 points
5. Stockholm - Lilly Berglund/Lill Babs, 57 points


Lill-Babs (born Barbro Margareta Svensson on 9 March 1938 in Järvsö, Gävleborg County) is a Swedish singer and actress.

At the age of fifteen, she sang on the radioshow Morgonkvisten. The Swedish band leader and talent scout Simon Brehm contacted her and invited her to audition in his studio in Stockholm. The audition went well, and she moved to Stockholm to begin her career in show business.

In 1954, just as her fame was beginning to grow, the unmarried Lill-Babs became pregnant - a potential public scandal in Sweden of the mid-1950s. After giving birth to her daughter, Lill-Babs returned to focus on her career. However, Simon Brehm had by then found a new vocalist to take her place, Lill-Babs received an offer to tour with Kettil Olsson. A couple of years later she started to work again for Simon Brehm and went on to perform many concerts at dance palace Bal Palais and other tours.

In 1958, she went on her first self-produced tour and was cast in a movie. She released many records, which became big sellers, Svensktoppen entries and schlager standards in Sweden. A couple of songs were composed by the then relatively unknown Stig Anderson. He would go on to write several of Lill-Babs' hits in the 1960s and in the early 1970s.

During this time Lill-Babs did much of her work in West Germany, where many of her records, television shows, and movies were produced. As a result of this she became a big star in Germany, considered as popular as TV-artist Caterina Valente.

In 1960 Lill-Babs participated at Melodifestivalen with the song En Kyss, En Kyss which didn't reach the final. In 1961 she represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with April April in Cannes where she came 10th. In 1969 she took part in the Norwegian national final for the ESC with the song Juksemaker Pipilort which came 10th. In 1973 Lill-Babs participated again at Melodifestivalen with the song Avsked Från En Vän which came 4th.

Lill-Babs' 1971 Svensktoppen hit Välkommen Till Världen, originally composed as a contender for Melodifestivalen of that year, was written and produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and it is also one of the earliest recordings to feature backing vocals by all four future members of the band.

In 1974, Lill-Babs played the lead in the Swedish cast of musical Annie Get Your Gun. She received excellent reviews overall and was after twenty years in show business finally acknowledged for her talent as an allround entertainer, singing, acting and dancing. In the following three decades she would go on to play sold-out cabarets at venues like Berns Salonger and Hamburger Börs in Stockholm, often with material written especially for her by renowned Swedish writers such as poet Lars Forssell and singer and lyricist Barbro Hörberg.

At the age of 74 Lill-Babs is still going strong and still frequently touring Sweden.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1960

Sweden chose its entry for Eurovision Song Contest 1960 by the national final, Melodifestivalen 1960. The winning song, Alla andra får varann was performed once by Östen Warnerbring and once by Ingrid Berggren. However Sveriges Radio decided that Siw Malmkvist would represent Sweden, as she had been denied that the previous year.

Melodifestivalen 1960 was the selection for the third song to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest. It was the second time that this system of picking a song had been used. It was held on February 2 1960 at Cirkus in Stockholm. A semi-final had been held to select the 4 finalists on December 28 1959. Approximately 1100 songs were submitted to SVT for the competition. The final was broadcast on Sveriges Radio TV and Sveriges Radio P1 from Cirkus, Stockholm and the presenter was Jeannette von Heidenstam. Last year's winner Siw Malmkvist was selected to sing the winning son, Alla andra får varann, at Eurovision.

At the final of Melodifestivalen two artists sang the same song, one with a large orchestra and a second with a smaller orchestra.


1. Alla andra får varann - Östen Warnebring/Inger Berggren, 85 points
2. Underbar, så underbar - Inger Berggren/Östen Warnebring, 76 points
3. Alexander - Mona Grain/Britt Damberg, 67 points
4. Nancy, Nancy - Britt Damberg/Mona Grain, 56 points


Siw "Siwan" Gunnel Margareta Malmkvist (born December 31 1936 in Landskrona, Skåne County, Sweden) is a Swedish singer who is popular in Scandinavia and Germany. She had a number one hit in West Germany in 1964 with Liebeskummer lohnt sich nicht and on 18 July 1964, a full decade before ABBA, she historically had also become the first Swede to have a hit on the US Billboard chart with Sole Sole Sole, a duet with Italian singer Umberto Marcato.

Siw Malmkvist is a performer with great versatility in the Swedish entertainment business as she, alongside her career in pop/schlager music, has performed in stage plays, musicals and in films. She played Pippi Longstocking in the popular children musical production of Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking in 1980, appeared in the musical version of Some Like It Hot and she played the part of Luisa in the original Swedish - and European - production of Maury Yeston's musical Nine in 1983. In 2002 she appeared as the Mother in Hasse Alfredson's stage play Lille Ronny at Maximteatern. With actor Thorsten Flinck she made a popular Swedish cover of Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue's 1995 hit Where the Wild Roses Grow.

In 2008/2009, she played the part of Fräulein Schneider in the musical Cabaret at Stockholms Stadsteater directed by Colin Nutley.

Having had some 40 hits on Swedish radio chart Svensktoppen and 20 on the German singles chart, Siw has altogether recorded about 600 songs (and has made recordings in ten different languages: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, German, English, French, Italian and Spanish) throughout the past five decades, which makes her one of the most productive and successful Swedish female singers.

Siw Malmkvist has been a contestant in the Swedish Melodifestivalen several times, most recently in 2004 together with Towa Carson and Ann-Louise Hanson, singing the song C'est la vie, which finished 10th. She represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 1960 in London with Alla andra får varann which came 10th. In turn, the following year Malmkvist, who famously forgot the lyrics to the song during her performance, and Gunnar Wiklund both won Melodifestivalen with the song April, april, but then Sveriges Radio selected Barbro "Lill-Babs" Svensson as the Swedish representative at the international Contest, held in Cannes. In 1969 Malmkvist again returned to Eurovision, but then performing the West German entry "Primaballerina" at Madrid, incidentally finishing shared 9th with the Swedish entry "Judy, min vän", sung by Tommy Körberg. In 1988 Siw participated again at Melodifestivalen with the song Det är kärlek.

Siw also participated in the Deutsche Schlager Festspiele. In 1962 she came second with the song Die Wege Der Liebe Sind Wunderbar and in 1964 she won the Schlager Festspiele with the song Liebeskummer Lohnt Sich Nicht. In 1965 she came 3rd with Das Fünfte Rad Am Wagen and in 1968 she won the Schlagerfestspiele with Harlekin.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1959

Sweden was in their second Eurovision Song Contest represented by Brita Borg with the song Augustin. The winning song was elected in the Swedish national final: Melodifestivalen 1959. Eight semi-finals were held on the radio. During the semi-finals, Sveriges Radio decided that the winning song would represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 1959.

The Swedish national final was held on January 29 1959  at Cirkus in Stockholm, hosted by Thore Ehrling. Approximately 200 songs were submitted to SVT for the competition. The final was broadcast on Sveriges Radio TV and Sveriges Radio P1 from Cirkus, Stockholm and the presenter was Thore Ehrling. The winning song was chosen by the votes of 4 juries. It had already been decided before the final that the winning song would be sung by Brita Borg at the ESC, even though she wasn't actually taking part in the final.


1. Siw Malmkvist - Augustin, 105 points
2. Staffan Bloms - Dags igen att vara kära, 79 points
3. Britt Damberg - Nya fågelsången, 76 points
4. Östen Warnebring - Kungsgatans blues, 67 points
5. Östen Warnebring - Någon saknar dig, 56 points
6. Ulla Christensson - Lyckans soluppgång, 52 points
7. Britt-Inger Dreilick - Hösten är vår, 52 points
8. Åke Söhr - En miljon för dina, 0 points


Brita Borg (June 10, 1926 – May 4, 2010), full name Brita Kerstin Gunvor Borg, was a Swedish singer, actress, and variety show artist. Her variety show career spanned from 1943 into the 1970s, while her singing career trailed away at the end of the 1960s. However, she was still an active actress in the 1980s. Brita Borg represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 1959 in Cannes where she came 9th.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1958

After the German victory in 2010 and the victory of Azerbaijan in 2011, I posted an item about every German and Azerbaijani participation at the ESC. This year I'll do the same about every Swedish contribution at the ESC, starting with 1958.

Sweden made its Eurovision Song Contest debut in 1958, in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Alice Babs was selected by Sveriges Radio to represent her country. The song Lilla Stjärna was originally called Samma Stjärnor Lysa För Oss Båda, but was on Alice's demand, re-written. Songwriter Åke Gerhard was not happy with this, and forbid the song to be commercially released. It took 40 years before it finally was released.


Alice Babs (born Hildur Alice Nilsson on January 26, 1924) is a singer and actor from Kalmar, Sweden. While she has worked in a wide number of genres like Swedish folklore, Elizabethan songs and opera, she is best known internationally as a jazz singer. Making her breakthrough in Swing It Magistern, she appeared in more than a dozen Swedish language-films.

In 1958, she was the first artist to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 4th place with the song Lilla Stjärna. The same year, she formed Swe-Danes with Ulrik Neumann and Svend Asmussen. The group would later tour the United States, before dissolving in 1965. A long and productive period of collaboration with Duke Ellington started in 1963. Among other works, Alice Babs performed his second and third Sacred Concerts that were originally written for her. Her voice had a range of more than three octaves; Duke Ellington said that when she did not sing the parts that he wrote for her, he had to use three different singers.

Alice Babs currently resides in Sweden.

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest

Sweden has participated at the Eurovision Song Contest 52 times since their debut in 1958. Sweden has not participated three times – 1964, 1970, and 1976.

Sweden is one of Eurovision's most successful countries, and also one where the contest is the most popular, having won the contest five times, as well as having reached the top 5 a total of 20 times. Sweden has also had 32 top-ten finishes, one of the best records in Eurovision. Sweden's first win was in 1974, when ABBA won with Waterloo. Three more wins followed, in 1984, 1991 and in 1999. The fifth time Sweden won in 2012 with Euphoria, performed by Loreen. Sweden has also hosted the contest four times, twice in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, as well as once in Gothenburg and Malmö.

Sweden was one of the first five countries to adopt televoting in 1997.

Since 1959, the Swedish representative has been chosen through an annual televised competition, known since 1967 as Melodifestivalen. Melodifestivalen is organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Radio (SR). It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest since 1959. It is one of Sweden's most popular television shows, and it has been estimated that more than 4 million Swedes watch the show annually.

Only one entry, Sweden's first entry in 1958, was not selected through Melodifestivalen, having been selected internally by the Swedish broadcaster at the time, Swedish Radio Service.

ESC 2012, semi-final 1 - the results

01. Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for everybody 152
02. Albania: Rona Nishliu – Suus 146
03. Romania: Mandinga – Zaleilah 120
04. Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac 116
05. Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – Lăutar 100
06. Ireland: Jedward – Waterline 92
07. Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – La la Love 91
08. Iceland: Greta Salóme & Jónsi – Never forget 75
09. Denemark: Soluna Samay – Should’ve known better 63
10. Hongary: Compact Disco – Sound of our Hearts 52
11. Switzerland: Sinplus – Unbreakable 45
12. Finland: Pernilla – När jag blundar 41
13. Israel: Izabo – Time 33
14. San Marino: Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song – oh oh-uh-oh 31
15. Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro 20
16. Latvia: Anmary – Beautiful Song 17
17. Belgium: Iris – Would you 16
18. Austria: Trackshittaz – Woki mit deim Popo 8

ESC 2012, semi-final - the results

01. Sweden: Loreen – Euphoria 181
02. Servia: Željko Joksimović – Nije ljubav stvar 159
03. Lithuania: Donny Montell – Love Is Blind 104
04. Estonia: Ott Lepland – Kuula 100
05. Turkey: Can Bonomo – Love Me Back 80
06. Bosnia & Herzegovina Maya Sar – Korake ti znam 77
07. Malta: Kurt Calleja – This the night 70
08. Ukraine: Gaitana – Be my Guest 64
09. F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi – Crno i Belo 53
10. Norway: Tooji – Stay 45
11. Bulgaria: Sofi Marinova – Love Unlimited 45
12. Croatia: Nina Badric – Nebo 42
13. Portugal: Filipa Sousa – Vida Minha 39
14. Georgia: Anri Jokhadze – I’m A Joker 36
15. The Netherlands: Joan Franka – You and Me 35
16. Belarus: Litesound – We Are The Heroes 35
17. Slovenia: Eva Boto – Verjamem 31
18. Slowakia: Max Jason Mai – Don’t Close Your Eyes 22

ESC 2012, The Grand Final - the results

01. Sweden: Loreen – Euphoria 372
02. Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – Party for everybody 259
03. Servia: Željko Joksimović – Nije ljubav stvar 214
04. Azerbaijan: Sabina Babayeva – When The Music Dies 150
05. Albania: Rona Nishliu – Suus 146
06. Estonia: Ott Lepland – Kuula 120
07. Turkey: Can Bonomo – Love Me Back 112
08. Germany: Roman- Standing still 110
09. Italy: Nina Zilli – L’Amore È Femmina 101
10. Spain: Pastora Soler – Quédate conmigo 97
11. Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – Lăutar 81
12. Romania: Mandinga – Zaleilah 71
13. F.Y.R. Macedonia: Kaliopi – Crno i Belo 71
14. Lithuania: Donny Montell – Love Is Blind 70
15. Ukraine: Gaitana – Be my Guest 65
16. Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – La la Love 65
17. Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – Aphrodisiac 64
18. Bosnia & Herzegovina Maya Sar – Korake ti znam 55
19. Ireland: Jedward – Waterline 46
20. Iceland: Greta Salóme & Jónsi – Never forget 46
21. Malta: Kurt Calleja – This the night 41
22. France: Anggun – Echo (You and I) 21
23. Denemark: Soluna Samay – Should’ve known better 21
24. Hongary: Compact Disco – Sound of our Hearts 19
25. UK: Engelbert Humperdinck – Love Will Set You Free 12
26. Norway: Tooji – Stay 7

Sunday, 6 May 2012

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - Germany

Roman Lob (born in Düsseldorf, Germany on July 2 1990) is a German singer. Roman won the German TV show Unser Star für Baku with the song Standing Still. He is also lead singer of the band Rooftop Kingdom, an alternative rock band with origins in Neuwied.

In 2006, Roman Lob already took part in the German casting show Deutschland sucht den Superstar but had to quit due to a vocal cord infection. He had already advanced into the field of the top 20 contestants.

In 2008, Roman tried to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, as a part of the boy band G12P (Germany 12 Points). The song When The Boys Come was not chosen to compete in the national final.

On 16 February 2012, he won the show Unser Star für Baku. Roman will represent Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 with the song Standing Still.

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - Spain

Pilar Sánchez Luque (born September 27 1978 in Coria del Río, Seville), better known by her stage name Pastora Soler, is a Spanish singer and songwriter. Her compositions usually mix copla or flamenco with pop or electronic music.

Pastora started singing copla and flamenco songs at several events when she was a child. From 1994 until 2012 Pastora released 10 successful albums and had a couple of hits like Dámelo Ya and Bendita Locura. In 2011 Pastora was nominated for a Latin Grammy.

On 21 December 2011 she was selected internally by RTVE to represent Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The song Quédate Conmigo, written by Thomas G:son, Tony Sánchez-Ohlsson and Erik Bernholm, was chosen as her entry in a special live show.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - Azerbaijan

Sabina Babayeva, born on December 2 1979 in Baku is an Azerbaijani singer. She will represent Azerbaijan in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May 2012, with the song When the Music Dies.

Sabina graduated at the Asaf Zeynally College of Music with a degree in vocal arts, she has participated in a number of song competitions both in her country and abroad. She is known in Azerbaijan as the singer of Roya Kimi, theme song of the 2003 Azerbaijani television series Bayaz hayat. Sabina is a veteran contestant in the Azerbaijani national selection, she has applied to represent Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest every year since the country's debut in 2008.

Sabina Babayeva recorded the song Sikhvarulis Tamashi together with Anri Jokhadze who will represent Georgia in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

As part of her promotional tour, Sabina Babayeva performed in London, Amsterdam and Budapest.

Friday, 4 May 2012

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - Italy

Maria Chiara Fraschetta, better known by her stage name Nina Zilli, is an Italian singer-songwriter. After releasing her debut single 50mila, she achieved success with the album Sempre Lontano, released after participating in the newcomers' section of the Sanremo Music Festival 2010. During the Sanremo Music Festival 2012, Zilli was chosen to represent Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. In February 2012 she released her second album L'amore è Femmina.

Nina Zilli was born on February 2 1980 in Piacenza, Italy. She grew up in Gossolengo. After moving to Ireland, she started performing live and, at the age of thirteen, she started studying opera singing at the conservatory. In 1997 she founded her first band, The Jerks. After completing high school at the Liceo Scientifico Respighi in Piacenza, she spent two years in the United States, living in Chicago and New York.

Between 2000 and 2001 she co-presented Red Ronnie's TV show Roxy Bar, broadcast in Italy by TMC2. In 2001 Nina also debuted as a VJ for MTV Italy. In the meanwile, she obtained a recording contract with her new band, Chiara E Gli Scuri, founded in 2000. In 2001 the band released the single Tutti Al Mare. They also started working on an album, but it was never released, due to some disagreements with the recording label.

During 2000, Nina started her academic studies, later graduating in Public Relations from the IULM University of Milan.

In 2009, she chose the stage name Nina Zilli, combining her mother's surname with Nina Simone's first name and she released a single and an album which were quit successful.

In 2010 nina participated at the Festival di Sanremo and came 3rd in the Categoria Nuova Generazione with the song L'uomo Che Amava Le Donne.

In 2011, she received two nominations at the 2011 TRL Awards in the categories Best Look and Italians Do It Better. Nina was also the presenter of the night, broadcast by MTV Italy.

In January 2012, Nina participated in the Big Artists section of the 62nd Festival di Sanremo, performing the song Per sempre, which came 7th. Nina was chosen by a specific jury as the Italian representative to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012. It was also announced that the song she sang at the Festival di Sanremo, Per Sempre, might not be her entry in Baku. One week later Per Sempre was confirmed as her Eurovision song. However, on March 13 2012, RAI and Universal Music Italy announced the song that will represent Italy will be the title track of Nina Zilli's latest album L'amore è Femmina.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - France

Anggun Cipta Sasmi (born April 29 1974) is an Indonesian and French-naturalised singer-songwriter. Born in Jakarta, she began performing at the age of seven and recorded a children's album two years later. With the help of famed Indonesian producer Ian Antono, in 1986 Anggun released her first rock-influenced studio album, Dunia Aku Punya (The World is Mine). She became further well known with the single Mimpi in 1989, which was selected as one of the 150 Greatest Indonesian Songs of All Time by Rolling Stone in 2009. She followed it with a series of singles and three more studio albums, which established her as one of the most prominent Indonesian rock stars of the early 1990s.

Anggun left Indonesia in 1994 to pursue an international career. After two years struggling in London and Paris, Anggun met French producer Erick Benzi and signed to Sony Music Entertainment. In 1997 she released her first international album, Snow on the Sahara in 33 countries worldwide; this album spawned her international signature hit Snow on the Sahara, which reached number one in several countries. Since her international debut, Anggun has released five studio albums in English and French, as well as a soundtrack album to the Danish film Open Hearts in 2002. She has collaborated with a host of international artists, including Julio Iglesias, Peter Gabriel and Pras Michel of the Fugees.

Anggun is the first Indonesian artist to break into the European and American record charts. Her albums have been certified gold and platinum in several European countries. She has received a number of accolades for her achievements, including the prestigious Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French Minister of Culture. Aside from her musical career, Anggun has been involved in numerous environmental and humanitarian works. She has been appointed as the global ambassador of the United Nations twice, first for the International Year of Microcredit in 2005 and then for the Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009.

Anggun represents France in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, on 26 May 2012. Her Eurovision entry is Echo (You and I).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

ESC 2012, the Grand Final - The United Kingdom

Engelbert Humperdinck, born as Arnold George Dorsey on May 2 1936, is a British pop singer, best known for his No 1 hits Release Me, The Last Waltz, After The Lovin' and A Man Without Love.

Engelbert was one of ten children born in Madras, India. His family moved to Leicester, England, when he was 10. He soon showed an interest in music and began learning the saxophone. By the early 1950s he was playing saxophone in nightclubs.

Though Engelbert's music career was interrupted by his national service in the British Army Royal Corps of Signals during the middle 1950s, he got his first chance to record in 1958 with Decca Records after his discharge. His first single, I'll Never Fall in Love Again, was not a hit, but Engelbert would record for the same company almost a decade later.

In 1965, Engelbert teamed with his former roommate, Gordon Mills, who had become a music impresario and the manager of Tom Jones. Aware that Engelbert had been struggling for several years to become successful in the music industry, Gordon Mills suggested a name-change to the more arresting Engelbert Humperdinck, borrowed from the 19th-century composer of operas such as Hansel and Gretel. Gordon also arranged a new deal for him with Decca Records.

Engelbert enjoyed first real success in Belgium in 1966, where he and four others represented England in the annual Knokke song contest. In October of the same year, he was on stage in Mechelen. He also made a mark on the Belgian charts with Dommage, Dommage and an early music video was filmed, with Engelbert in the harbour of Zeebrugge.

In early 1967 the changes paid off when Engelbert's version of Release Me, made the top ten in the United states and in Britain. Another groundbreaking video showed Engelbert tied up with a lasso. Release Me spent 56 weeks in the Top 50.

Engelbert's easygoing style and good looks earned him a large following, particularly among women. His hardcore female fans, who included the young Princess Anne, called themselves Humperdinckers. Release Me was succeeded by two more hit ballads, There Goes My Everything and The Last Waltz.

His own television programme, The Engelbert Humperdinck Show, was less successful, being cancelled after six months.

By the start of the 1970s, Engelbert had settled into a busy schedule of recordings, and a number of signature songs emerged from this period: We Made It Happen, Sweetheart, Another Time, Another Place, and Too Beautiful To Last.

As his kind of balladry became less popular, and after he adopted some Broadway influences, Engelbert concentrated on selling albums and on live performances, developing lavish stage presentations that made him a natural for Las Vegas and similar venues.

In 1976, Engelbert recorded After the Lovin' which was a a Top-10 hit in the US. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award, it went Gold, and won the most played juke box record of the year award. The album of the same name reached the Top-20 on the US charts.

In the 1980s, approaching his fiftieth birthday, Engelbert continued recording albums regularly and performing as many as 200 concerts a year, yet maintained a strong family life. He and wife Patricia raised four children (Bradley, Scott, Jason and Louise) who are said to have become involved in their father's career, even as the family alternated between homes in England and in southern California.

Engelbert Humperdinck was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1989 and won a Golden Globe Award as entertainer of the year, while also beginning major involvement in charitable causes such as the Leukemia Research Fund, the American Red Cross, the American Lung Association, and several AIDS relief organisations.

In 1989 he recorded the album Step Into My Life, released as Ich Denk An Dich in Germany. All the songs on the album were written by Dieter Bohlen, and some were written with Barry Mason. Step Into My Life (Ich Denk An Dich) contained the singles Red Roses For My Lady, I Wanna Rock You In My Wildest Dreams, and a version of Dieter Bohlen's first hit, from the album Modern Talking, You're My Heart, You're My Soul.

Engelbert hit the top five British album charts in 2000 with Engelbert At His Very Best, and returned to the top five four years later, after he appeared in a John Smith's TV-advertisement.

In the spring of 2003, Engelbert collaborated with Grammy Award-Winning artist-producer Art Greenhaw to record the roots gospel album Always Hear the Harmony: The Gospel Sessions.

In August 2005, he auctioned his Harley-Davidson motorcycle on eBay to raise money for the County Air Ambulance in Leicestershire, where he spent much of his British youth.

In September 2007, Engelbert released The Winding Road, a tribute to British composers.

On 25 February 2009, Leicester City Council announced that Engelbert would be given the Honorary Freedom of Leicester alongside author Sue Townsend and former professional footballer Alan Birchenall.

Humperdinck has a high degree of popularity in India, where he has performed, and where he has travelled for personal visits to his mother's family.

On March 1 2012, the BBC announced that Engelbert Humperdinck will represent the United Kingdom in the final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, to be staged in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26 May. He will sing a track produced by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Terefe and co-written by Sacha Skarbek. The recording of the track took place in London, Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee. When his participation was announced, Engelbert was set to become the oldest singer to ever participate in the contest at the age of 76, however it was announced shortly afterwards that Natalya Pugachyova, who was already 76, would represent Russia as part of the band Buranovskiye Babushki, and would take the record as oldest singer in the contest, but Engelbert Humperdinck will still be the oldest male singer (the oldest person to appear on stage was a backing artist for Armenia in 2010).

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Lithuania

Donatas Montvydas (born October 22, 1987), better known by his stage name Donny Montell, is a Lithuanian singer-songwriter who will represent Lithuania at the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.

Donny was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. Donny's interest in music began at a young age. He started performing publicly at age of six when his vocal teacher let him to participate in the contest for young singers Dainų Dainelė (The song of the Songs), singing Aš Kiškelis Mažas.

Donny was highly influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury.

Donny particpated several times at the Lithuanian national final for the ESC:
  • 2009: I Remember Last Time, 2nd
  • 2009: Dainu Daina, a duett with Rosita Civilyte, stranded in the semi-finals
  • 2010: Running Fast, Disqualified
  • 2011: Let Me, 5th
  • 2011: Best Friends, a duett with Sasha Son, 10th
  • 2012: Love Is Blind, 1st

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

ESC 2012, semi-final 2 - Bosnia & Herzegovina

Maja Sarihodžić (born July 12 1981 in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina), stage name Maya Sar, is a Bosnian singer.

Before she started her solo career, Maya was a backing vocalist for many famous singers, including Dino Merlin and Tony Cetinski. Her first single Nespretno was released in March 2010 and it became a big hit in Bosnia & Herzegovina as well as in other neighbouring countries. She is the founder of the ragional humanitarian project in the fight against cervical cancer Moj Je život Moja Pjesma (My Life Is My Song) and the composer and songwriter of the eponymous song which is performed by leading stars in region like Nina Badric, Karolina Goceva, Aleksandra Radovic and Maya Sar herself. For this, she received the Gold plaque of the great human heart by the International League of Humanists (Dr. Elisabeth Rehn). Her first album is to be released in 2012.

Since 2002, Maja has been married to Mahir Sarihodžić. Her husband is a music producer and together they own a recording studio Long Play. They live in Sarajevo.

Maya Sar participated on Eurovision as a back vocalist in 2004 and 2011, both times for the entry of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On December 15, 2011 it was confirmed that Maya Sar will represent Bosnia and Herzegovina with the song Korake Ti Znam in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012.