With the threat of another winter storm hanging over our heads here on the east coast, we’ve made the last minute decision not to head into the WUSB studios tonight during the blizzard warning! That means we’ll be off air tonight, sadly. In the meantime, I’m getting ready to tune into another round of Eurovision national selections around Europe.  Here’s what we’re getting this weekend:

ITALY

The Sanremo Music Festival, though not officially a Eurovision connected show, is where Italy have turned to find their representatives for the contest since their return in 2011.  The elaborate five day music festival is in its 65th year, and more Italians watch Sanremo than Eurovision annually.  Many of the biggest artists in Italy participate, and many songs go on to be huge hits in Italy each year.  Whoever wins the “Big Artists” category is eligible to represent Italy in Vienna.  Most people agree that Il Volo, a “popera” trio, are pretty much sailing to victory with their song Grande amore.  I’m also keeping my eye out for the band Dear Jack with Il monde esplode, and Lorenzo Fragola, the latest winner of X Factor Italia, with his song Siamo uguali.  Nevertheless, Sanremo provides a great selection of songs every year, and it’s only a positive thing that its ties with Eurovision have been expanding in the past few years.

The Sanremo Grand Final is on from 2:20pm EST (8:20pm local time) on RAI, and on Eurovision.tv.

ICELAND

A complete departure from Sanremo, Söngvakeppnin is on a much smaller scale, but still manages to produce a national final that always provides an interesting selection of songs.  I mentioned the duo SUNDAY last week, who managed to qualify to the final with their song Fjaðrir.  Five songs will be performed in English tonight (including Fjaðrir – Feathers), while two will remain in Icelandic.  This song from the youngest competitor this year, Elín Sif Halldórsdóttir, has caught many ears, and its simplicity might just carry it on to victory.  Enjoy Í kvöld below, but we’ll hear it in English tonight (Dance Slow)

The Söngvakeppnin final starts at 2:45pm EST (7:45pm local time) on RÚV and on the RÚV website.

SWEDEN

After what seemed to be a promising start to the Melodifestivalen season, last week saw both a predictable and bizarre mixture of qualifiers from the public vote.  After making his way through the second chance round to the final last year, Linus Svenning is back with Forever Starts Today, which will hopefully provide him a ticket straight to the final tonight.  Mariette makes her Melodifestivalen debut, five years after first appearing in Idol in Sweden.  Don’t Stop Believing doesn’t hook me right away from the clip, but I think we’ll see her advance.  Though it probably will come in last tonight, the studio version of Nonetheless from Marie Bergman & Sanne Solomonsen is very good.  Samir & Viktor are probably going to go either the final or the second chance round with their song Groupie after storming the charts in Sweden in 2014.

The second semi final of Melodifestivalen will air at 2:00pm EST (8:00pm local time) on SVT and on the SVT Melodifestivalen website.

ESTONIA

The second semi-final of Eesti Laul tonight will complete the lineup for the final, and this semi-final has some strong material in it.Eesti Laul is one of the most unpredictable selections in the Eurovision system, and chart success doesn’t always translate to success in the competition. However, I think heavy favourites Elina Born & Stig Rästa will most likely sail through to the final with Goodbye to Yesterday.  I’m looking forward to see what Daniel Levi does with his song Burning Lights, though.

The second semi final of Eesti Laul will start at 2:35pm EST (9:35pm local time) on ETV and on the ETV website.

HUNGARY

Hungary’s A Dal is into the semi finals tonight, and as always, there are some standout tracks in the mix.  Boggie’s call for peace, Wars for Nothing, is simple and pleasant, and probably safely qualifying tonight.   I can’t say what will go along with her, though.  I like Time is Now by Karmapolis, but I’m not sure it translates as well onto the stage from the studio version.  Boyband Spoon’s Keep Marching On is fluffy and cute, and can probably latch onto the teenage vote pretty easily.

The first semi final of A Dal will air at 2:25pm EST (8:25pm local time) on M1 and on the M1 website.

FINLAND

Yay! Satin Circus went through to the final last week (I’m letting personal preference creep in here) and now it’s time for the second semi final, where their stiffest competition, The Voice of Finland 2014, Siru, will perform and probably very easily qualify with Mustelmat.  Again, hard to say what will also go through with Siru.  Heart of Light from Opera Skaala probably will, as it’s too bizarre to go unnoticed (though, it probably should do just that!)

Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu will air at 2:00pm EST (9:00pm local time) on YLE and on the YLE UMK website.

LATVIA, SERBIA and LITHUANIA are also in the mix this weekend – Lithuania chooses their song tonight (but not the artist to go along with it just yet), Serbia presents their artists competing tonight also, and Latvia has their semi final tomorrow night.

I’m going to pour myself wine a cup of tea and settle in for the afternoon to watch what happens while the snow moves back in.  Stay safe, fellow eastcoasters!

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