The HoD started the press conference saying that their first rehearsal went on quite good. “We love the stage, love the Arena, we love you all.” “Who come up with good question will get CD and little bottle of Vodka” – the head of delegation said. Their song is originally written in Icelandic but they were going to perform it in English. When asked why other people were in their video, Regina replied it was Fridrik’s idea because they didn’t want to make a typical video but something unusual. They emphasized that they didn’t have a promo tour because they believed ‘it’s all about 3 minutes on the stage and performance’. In their opinion there is no unique and universal formula for wining the competition because the rules are always changing.
SWEDEN: Charlotte Perrelli
Charlotte greeted the audience in Serbian. “We are very happy to be in Serbia and Belgrade, I totally fell in love with the city when I was here for the 1st time” – HoD Sweden said. “It was a great trip here, I feel home right now” – Charlotte said. “I am at that place and I cannot do anything else, I have to concentrate on the stage (with regards to performing 2nd at the semi-finals). There is a pressure, I like the song that much and I think we have a chance to do something good, otherwise I wouldn’t be here” – Charlotte replied when asked if she was under pressure to win again. She hopes that both Sweden and Serbia will give each other high points. She sang one of her songs in Swedish (not the ESC 2008 entry), then she sang her new single Bullet. She finished the press conference with her song Hero. The Miodio band came to the conference hall and proposed Charlotte Perrelli marries all the members of the group.
TURKEY: Mor ve Otesi
The HoD said that they are convinced they are going to make a good breaktrough at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. “Serbia is a wonderful country. Thank you for your hospitality” – stated the HoD. When asked why they didn’t perform their song in English, they replied it was because they could express themselves better in their native language.
They feel the final result is not so important as much as the performance and they wish to be liked by the audience. Every year Turkey comes up with different styles of music to the ES, this year their representatives are a young rock band and that is a good choice. They added they were going to do their best in order to fulfill all the expectations. The name of their song translated to English is “Mad”, and it speaks about being individual.
Asked how they liked Serbian girls, they said they hope to meet hundreds of gorgeous Serbian girls.
UKRAINE: Ani Lorak
Ani Lorak spoke about her European tour during which she visited more than 20 countries. “We are going to have fun in Eurovision and we are going to enjoy” – Ani Lorak concluded. Ani Lorak and “Shady Lady” are a confluence of passion and harmony. In 2004, Ani Lorak was the UN Good Will Ambassador for AIDS and during this year she is collaborating with an NGO against AIDS. I just want to have fun, I just want to be who I am, I want to be myself, I don’t want to make anything special, I want to be really Shady Lady and make everybody crazy – Ani said when asked what is her secret. They first had the melody for “Shady Lady” and then they got the lyrics, and she sang it at the conference.
LITHUANIA: Jeronimas Milius
Asked about his favourites, Jeronimas answered he favoured Finland, Turkey and Azerbaijan. A journalist asked him how the Eurovision Song Contest fitted in his ambition of becoming a famous heavy metal musician, he answered “It is a great opportunity to gain some experiences and I suppose I will use it in my band.” Jeronimas said his musical influences sprang from melodic heavy metal and that his solo performance is not that different from what he does with his band because his ESC entry is a ‘rock ballad’. His plans for the near future are to tour Germany and perhaps to make another album at the end of the year.
He sang a traditional Lithuanian song at the press conference.
As for impressions, Jeronimas said that everything is great and that Belgrade is “cosy”.
ALBANIA: Olta Boka
Olta is the youngest participant at the Eurovision Song Contest, at only 16 years of age. She started singing when she was 9. HoD Albania said: “We are pleased to have such a young and powerful singer to represent us.” Olta said (regarding the rehearsal) - “This was my first time on the big stage, I was confused and very tired”. She added she would try to do better next time. HoD Albania said they expect to hopefully go to the finals. Olta sang the opening lines of her entry Zemrën E Lamë Peng which translates to English as Hearts Trapped in Time.
Olta - “I am very, very, very happy to represent Albania!”
SWITZERLAND: Paolo Meneguzzi
“We are very much proud to be back with Italian song from Switzerland.” - HoD Switzerland Mr. Florian said. This is the 10th time Switzerland is represented with an Italian song – Mr. Florian added. “I am very pleased to be here, Belgrade is very good to visit, I hope we will have time to go out. It is big opportunity for me to be at ESC, because many people in Europe don’t know about my music” – Paolo Meneguzzi stated. “The video was recorded in Taciono, a city in Switzerland. The music is very visual for me; you have to be very perfect on image, on the photos” (regarding video for Era Stupendo).
“I like soccer, I play soccer and I played in the little town Tacino, I played in “nazionali cantanti”(Italian charity team made of famous singers) with Eros Ramazoti, Biaggio Anotonaci. My favorite football club is Fiorentina.” – Paolo said. He added he hopes to make it to the finals because it is great success.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Tereza Kerndlová
“Czech Republic is in the 2nd Semi – Final. We have 2 dancers, we would like to have big show, we have pyro show, back vocals” (regarding performance). The HoD explained the new rules for the Czech national selection and she hopes that their 2nd appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest is going to be better (Czech Republic had their 1st entry in Helsinki 2007). “This is my first time in Serbia, and I am having fun” – Teresa said. Teresa was invited by the Czech national TV to take part in the national final and she accepted it. They sang their Eurovision Song Contest 2008 entry.
BELARUS: Ruslan Alehno
“We are really happy to be here. We had 1st rehearsal, we are so excited and we waited for a long time to go to Belgrade. We are really pleased to be here to see you, I see here a lot of faces I know” – Belarus’ delegation PR said. “As we had lots of preparation for ESC, we thought this version is going to be nicer for Eurovision, in this version you can feel more about the sense of the words, it has nice production and it is more European – Ruslan said (on why did they decided to change their song arrangement). The “Hasta la vista” is also available in Russian language. He sang this version of the song at the press conference.
The video was recorded in Kiev in Ukraine, it was made by the same director that did Verka Serduchka’s video – Ruslan explained. “Rules are rules, Eurovision is very high professional event. Of course it would be nice to be in the finals, we deserved it. Eurovison is very popular in the Belarus and I hope we will also take part in the following years (when asked about the rule changes) – delegation’s PR said. Ruslan won Russian Pop Idol.