Duncan Laurence From The Netherlands Wins Eurovision 2019!

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Last night Duncan Laurence won the Eurovision for the Netherlands with his song Arcade in Tel Aviv, Israel. Winning with a total of 492 points (combined from public and jury votes), the win is the fifth win for the Netherlands but their first win in 44 years. The track which was hot favourite to win faced tough competition in a tight Eurovision battle. At the end, it came down to being between Sweden’s John Lundvik, who was the most popular with the juries, and Laurence. Ultimately the public vote decided the outcome giving Netherlands the win.

On the combined totals of jury and public votes Italy came second with Mahmood and his song Soldi, Russia finished third with Sergey Lazarev and his song Scream while Switzerland finished fourth with Luca Hanni and his song She Got Me. Rounding off the top 6 was Norway with KEiiNO and their song Spirit in the Sky and Sweden’s John Lundvik with his song Too Late for Love.

 

Another major talking point from the night was Iceland’s Hatari holding up Palestinian flags in support of Palestine when they received their votes from the public vote. The act also held up the rainbow flag and trans flag earlier in the evening. Hatari have proven themselves this year to be full of courage to use this platform to highlight both Palestinian rights and LGBTQ+ rights and I feel they are absolute legends and pure class. They have done Iceland very, very proud.

 

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Hatari

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Following Laurence’s  win, the 25-year-old who was born in Spijkenisse in the Netherlands said:

“Yes, yes! Oh my God! This is to dreaming big, this is music first always, thank you, thank you!”

 

Speaking to reporters after, Laurence said some absolutely beautiful words:

“I think the most important thing is that you stick to who you are and see yourself as I see myself, as I see (fellow contestants) Sergey, as I see Chris, as I see you, just a human being. As a person who has talents, who, with this trophy, will in however many years stick to what they love – even if they have a different sexuality. Stick to what you love and make the best of it, and love people for who they are. That’s the most important message. Dream big.”

 

It was a very well deserved win. Congratulations Duncan and all involved. Congrats Netherlands! 🙂

To watch Duncan Laurence’s Final and Semi-Final performances as well as his win, highlights from Eurovision 2019 and his  music video for Arcade you can do so below:

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My Top 5 Tips For Eurovision 2019!

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The Eurovision final is just around the corner. Literally. It’s in a few hours! The semi-finals are done and dusted and tonight a winner will be crowned. Here is my top five tips for Eurovision glory:

 

  1. Iceland

 

Performers: Hatari

Song: Hatrio Mun Sigra/Hate Will Prevail

Odds: 18/1

 

 

2. France

Performer: Bilal Hassani

Song: Roi

Odds: 40/1

 

3. The Netherlands

Performer: Duncan Laurence

Song: Arcade

Odds: 4/5

 

4. Switzerland

Performer: Luca Hanni

Song: She Got Me

Odds: 7/1

 

5. Sweden

Performer: John Lundvik

Song: Too Late For Love

Odds: 14/1

 

 

Special Mentions:

Ukraine

I loved the song from Ukraine which was banned from going too.

Performer: Maruv

Song: Siren Song (Bang!)

 

Ireland

Well done to Sarah & the gang for representing us this year.

Performer: Sarah McTernan

Song: 22

 

Good luck to everyone tonight! 🙂

My Six Favourite Eurovision Entries 2018!

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The Eurovision is in full swing with the two semi-finals completed and I have now compiled for you all my five favourites for glory this Saturday …

 

Ireland

Of course I’m ever so slightly bias here but in truth I do love the song and have utterly fallen in love with the story of the two dancers in the the song. This is a gorgeously crafted song, Ryan’s vocal is stunningly on point and Alan and Kevin do an incredible and oh-so-romantic job of the dancing. The staging of this song is like a mini play. Love it and am very proud of our entry this year. And of course I’m very much hoping it wins! Good luck Ireland! 🙂

Austria

I think Cesar’s voice is incredible. This track is wonderful with a great soul and gospel vibe. The staging is also great.

Finland

This song is so catchy and Saara’s vocal is as usual splendid. The staging is also great with the whole theme of gender fluidity and the way she falls back into two of the performers arms at the end.

Czech Republic

Again very catchy and very well performed by Mikolas Josef and the two other dancers. Very fun and I love the nerdy vibe Mikolas has going on.

Hungary

I love this as I do love a bit of rock and it’s done well. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes but I think AWS are doing a great job. It’s three fun minutes of head-banging.

United Kingdom

I know our neighbours’ song hasn’t been to everyone’s tastes but I find it quite catchy and I think Surie is a wonderful singer and performer.

Culture Night, The Bray Literary Festival & My Poems Appear In The Bray Arts Journal!

 

From the 22nd-24th of September I went to some great events with Culture Night and the Bray Literary Festival. Would have being lovely to have got to even more but sure you can’t get to everything. This post is about the events I was lucky enough to get to.

 

22nd

Outside Mermaid in the Civic Space, the Bray Concert Band were brilliant with tunes ranging from Louis Armstrong’s When The Saints Go Marching In to the Lion King’s I Wanna Be Like You. Me and my Mum were there and we enjoyed it very much. A very talented band. There was also art to enjoy while we listened.

And then it was on to the Town Hall for Poetry, Music and Fighting Words where the winners of the Bray Literary Festival poetry and short story competitions were announced. Results were as follows:

Flash Fiction Competition:

1st Prize – Ronan Keenan

Runner-Up – Niamh MacCabe

Poetry Competition:

1st Prize – A.M. Cousins

Runner-up – Simon Lewis

The short stories were judged by Catherine Dunne while the poetry was judged by Breda Wall Ryan. Brian Kirk also helped whittle down the entries.

Flash Fiction Shortlist

Carol Caffrey – The sea that has cost them.
Ronan Keenan – Granda
Niamh McCabe  – House
Averil Meehan – Exiled
Kevin Hora – Envoi
Chris Connolly – It is Isn’t it Yes it is

Poetry Shortlist

A.M. Cousins – Brooch
A.M. Cousins  – Phone Box
A.M. Cousins –  The Royal Hospital, Gloucester
Eilish Fisher – Domestic
Simon Lewis – An Irish Girl Meets Melody Hobson in the Foyer of the Kimpton Hotel, Chicago
Simon Lewis – Supermarket Line

 

Here is the LONGLIST of the Bray Literary Festival FLASH fiction competition.

The Sea That Has Cost Them
After Dinner
From Scratch
Falling Man
Granda
The Nightingale is a Brown Bird
Look Towards Sky
Genus Pan
House
Halves
Twenty-five
Exiled
Find Me
Envoi
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made
Masaje! Masaje!
The Walk
Lotus
Reunion
Summer Rain
It Is Isn’t It Yes It Is

Here is the LONGLIST of the Bray Literary Festival POETRY competition.

Another Quiet Evening at Home
At Sea
Saving Turf
Brooch
November
A Boy Standing on a Terrace
The Royal Hospital, Gloucester, 1953
Running Roar
Tillage
An Irish Girl Meets Mellody Hobson in the Foyer of the Kimpton Hotel, Chicago
There was no Funeral
Supermarket Line
Phone Box
Autumn Day
Macha
Songline
Sailing in the Florida Keys
Domestic

Well done to the winners, all mentioned and everyone who entered. We’ll get there someday! 🙂

It was very enjoyable listening to the excellent entries. This was followed by poetry from Breda Wall Ryan and Kate Dempsey and poetry from Fighting Words introduced by Mark Davidson. There was also music by Rachel Duffy. Me, my Mum and my sister had a lovely night at it.

Poet Kate Dempsey

23rd

Poet Siobhan Campbell

 

I was up bright and early the next morning to head to the writing workshop, Writing From Life: Memoir & Poetry From Lived Experience with Siobhan Campbell in Colaiste Raithin. This was a great workshop. Siobhan and all the people there was very nice and I learned a lot. It was my first writing workshop and I read a short piece (inspired by my Dad but I wrote it as a fictional piece) and had a character I used throughout called Violet (based on me with my grandmother’s name). It was wonderful hearing everyone else’s work. There is definitely a lot of talented writers in Bray.

That night me and the sis headed to The Royal for Saturday’s Grand Finale: Bray Arts Journal launch, Writing groups: Abraxis & Little Bray, and GIANT Open Mic with BeRn. I had three poems in the journal so I was happy about that. It was a great night with a song from BeRun and writers braver than myself getting up to read their work. Maybe in the future …

To read the Bray Arts Journal go to:

http://www.brayarts.net/Library/Journals/September%202017.pdf

24th

Poet Breda Wall Ryan

Up bright and early again I was off to my second ever writing workshop Kickstart Your Writing with Breda Wall Ryan once again in Colaiste Raithin. Again Breda was lovely and there was a lovely group of talented writers. I read a poem about a box of chocolates as a metaphor for loved ones. I learned a lot and like the other workshop I very much enjoyed it.

Finally I was down at The Harbour Bar for the Free Panel Discussion and Q&A with my sister. I found it interesting but I have to admit that as a blogger I disagreed with a lot of it. I quite like that writing is now took out of the hands of just journalists in papers but it was interesting nonetheless.

So that concluded my culture weekend. As a little writing nerd, there isn’t always events like this nearby to go to so it was amazing. Thanks to all the organisers. I was on a culture high all weekend and it was great. 🙂

6 Songs To Watch In Eurovision 2016!

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So the Eurovision has once again graced our screens for 2017. We ‘ve already been treated to the two semi-finals where 20 acts made it through to the Grand Final tonight! And there was even a marriage proposal for Macedonia’s entrant, Jana Burceska from her boyfriend Alexander.

 

 

Watch out for these six entrants at tonight’s final:

 

Portugal

 

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Potugal’s entry Amar Pelos Dois sung by Salvador Sobral and written by his sister Luisa Sobral is a soaring jazz-style ballad. Think male Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday. It had a wonderful reception at the first semi-final and is the current favourite with the bookies to claim Eurovision glory. Stunning, understated and very polished.

 

 

Bulgaria

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Bulgaria’s entry this year is Beautiful Mess sung by Kristian Kostov. A beautiful ballad with wonderful, modern, understated monochrome staging. Quite R ‘n’ B staging. Beautiful Mess is simply beautiful. Written by Sebastian Arman, Borislav Milanov, Joacim Petsson, Alexander V. Bley, Johan Alkanaes.

 

 

Cyprus

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Cyprus’ entry is Gravity sung by Hovig, who has previously been involved in writing Euphoria for Loreen. Gravity is catchy, a real earworm. I adore the staging from start to finish. It’s incrediby well put together. Written by Thomas G: Son.

 

 

The United Kingdom

Lucie Jones’ Never Give Up On You written by Eurovision winner Emmelie de Forest is the UK’s best chance in a while in the contest. A soaring ballad, beautiful staging and could definitely get top 10 or even top 5.

 

Australia

 

Austra

lia’s entry Don’t Come Easy sung by Australia’s X Factor winner Isaiah Firebrace is a strong ballad sung with amazing power and control. A great chance of making top 10. Written by DNA (David Musumeci and Anthony Egizii) and Michael Angelo.

 

Sweden

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Sweden’s Entry I can’t go on sung by Robin Bengtsson is catchy, wonderfully staged from start to finish and the styling is great. Written by David Krouger, Hamed “K-Ono” Pirouzpanah and Robin Stjernberg.

My First Reviews On Google Play!

 

I have my first reviews up on Google Play. They are my reviews of Jordan Gray’s Platinum and the two remixes of the track which I purchased on there recently. Hoping Jordan will make the UK Top 40 tonight. She deserves to.

To read my reviews and the wonderful other reviews of the tracks go to:

https://play.google.com/store/music/album?id=B6rbyrl5sfgu7b57dkk7tww6udy&tid=song-T3hq5hkc63eiea3emjfpjak7lvm

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Jordan_Gray_Platinum?id=Byg7lv6xkttunnoshw7zsckkjdm

https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Jordan_Gray_Platinum?id=Bffnopbx3spw4uy35jct3y6fsiu

My Opinion On The Last Five In X-Factor!

 

We have reached the final 5 in this year’s X-Factor and next week promises to be a treat after the jukebox landed on Louis Loves meaning eight of Louis’ favourites next week as the artists will perform two tracks each from this week. Very exciting! But what is my take on the final five acts vying for X-Factor 2016 glory? (And what songs do I think they should sing at some stage before the end?) Read on to find out …

Emily Middlemas

 

I’m not really crazy about Emily’s voice. I did think she was good at Judges Houses but outside of then I haven’t being that impressed. On the plus side she is going to be doing a fast song for the first time in the competition this week and it’ll be nice to see how she does it.

Songs: I’m So Excited by The Pointer Sisters
From Eden by Hozier

Five After Midnight

 

The lads have had some ropey weeks. In my opinion their performances of Valerie, Thriller and Try A Little Tenderness weren’t great. But other than that they had had some very good weeks and are clearly a talented and polished act. I really like them and they are my second favourite from the top five. They are one of two acts left that I think with the right songs could have a very good career outside of the competition.

Songs: Yeah! by Usher ft. Lil John, Ludacris
Where Is The Love? by The Black Eyed Peas

Honey G

 

Honey G isn’t the greatest singer or rapper in the world but I do admire in a way that she gets up there when it’s clear that she isn’t if that makes sense. It’s almost like a punk attitude in a more commercial setting. I think the amount of hate she gets is pretty ridiculous. It’s only a singing competition after all and as viewers we are meant to judge whether we think someone is good or not, not take hates against people. And it is brave of her to get up there every week despite the level of criticism thrown her way so regularly.

Songs: Straight Outta Compton by N.W.A.
Bust A Move by Young MC

Matt Terry

 

Like Emily, I am not that crazy about Matt’s voice. Considering he is odds on favourite as I write this it’s probably an opinion that’s in the minority. I loved his version of She’s Out Of My Life at Judges Houses but otherwise I haven’t being impressed by his performances. I love Sam Smith and Matt’s performance of Writing’s On The Wall to me wasn’t great this week.

Songs: 7 Years by Lukas Graham
She’s Like The Wind by Patrick Swayze

Saara Aalto

Saara is my favourite. I think she is so professional. She’s a great singer and performer and she hasn’t did a bad performance in the whole show. Her performance of It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork in particular was excellent as was Enough Is Enough. Like Five After Midnight with the right songs she could have a great career outside of the competition. She’s an all-rounder.

Songs: Nothing Compares To You by Sinead O’Connor
Walking On Broken Glass by Annie Lennox