So this is it, it’s finally here! A little short of a year ago, Loreen swept the board in Baku and won the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, making it the fifth victory for Sweden. After speculation that the 2013 contest was to be hosted in Stockholm’s huge new Friends Arena, Malmö was chosen at the host city. With the excitement already underway there, tomorrow sees the first of two semi-finals to decide who will qualify for Saturday’s Grand Final. While you’re here, my Malmö 2013 hub has reviews and videos of all the entries, as well as other news and review of the national selections. Or you can click “Malmö 2013” at the top of the screen. I’m lucky enough to be going to see both semi-finals this year, and I’ll be posting all about it as soon as I can manage it. I’m so excited! So who’s performing? Here’s the running order:
1. Natália Kelly – Shine (Austria)
2. Birgit – Et uus saaks alguse (Estonia)
3. Hannah – Straight Into Love (Slovenia)
4. Klapa s Mora – Mižerja (Croatia)
5. Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops (Denmark)
6. Dina Garipova – What If (Russia)
7. Zlata Ognevich – Gravity (Ukraine)
8. Anouk – Birds (Netherlands)
9. Who See – Igranka (Montenegro)
10. Andrius Pojavis – Something (Lithuania)
11. Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh (Belarus)
12. Aliona Moon – O mie (Moldova)
13. Ryan Dolan – Only Love Survives (Ireland)
14. Despina Olympiou – An me thimasai (Cyprus)
15. Roberto Bellarosa – Love Kills (Belgium)
16. Moje 3 – Ljubav je svuda (Serbia)
In my mind this is certainly the tougher of the two semi-finals, with many of the big favourites and regular qualifiers vying for 10 qualifying slots. There will be some disappointment I think. But here are my predictions:
Likely to qualify
Serbia have a good track record, a strong song and the closing slot, so I think the should be the leading Balkan entry here. Much speculation has been given to Netherlands, going for broke by sending their biggest star to break their terrible record of the least successful Eurovision nation in the semi-final era. I think they should manage it this time. I dread to think what’ll happen if they don’t!
Don’t hold your breath
None of them have great qualifying records, and I think they will just get shoved out by the big hitters this year, particularly Austria & Slovenia who perform early.
Start getting your hopes up
The middle-ground is trickier to judge this time. I think Moldova, Belarus & Ireland all have strong songs that I think will make a great impact performance-wise to dispel any doubts about the strength of their songs.
Moldova in particular I really want to see doing well. A great performance might even put them in contention for one of their best results to date.
On a knife-edge
That leaves four nations in the balance: Estonia, Croatia, Montenegro & Belgium. Based solely on previous form, Estonia and Croatia are the ones to beat, but I think if Belgium puts on a convincing performance they might get through. They are such a diverse mix though…
I’ll stick my neck out and say I think Croatia & Belgium will get through, but it’s going to be tight! Either way it’s going to be a great show, I don’t think everyone deserves to do well. Qualifer predictions: Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Belarus, Moldova, Ireland, Belgium, Serbia. I was going to write my own personal top 10 from that list, but it’s pretty much the same. I’d happily trade Croatia for Estonia but I like both. What do you think? Leave your predictions in the comments box!