By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane to Malmö, and the first semi-final will be only hours away. Check out my preview posts for that too (look to the left in “Recent posts”). Thursday will see another set of hopeful nations looking for one of the ten golden tickets into 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.
Personally I feel this one is a little more clean-cut in terms of qualifying. The likely qualifiers feel so certain, while others I just can’t see getting through. The middle-ground on semi-final 1 seemed like a decision over what Europe could possibly leave behind. The middle-ground of semi-final 2 is more like what Europe could possibly choose. That’s not meant to be unkind, really there are only a few songs in there that I just haven’t got into, some things just aren’t meant to be.
I’ll be lucky enough to see this semi-final twice. I’m at a loose end on Wednesday so I’m catching the evening rehearsal that the juries watch to decide their points. I’ll be up-close and personal in one of the central standing areas! I will take a more dignified seat for the real thing on Thursday. Here’s the running order:
1. PeR – Here We Go (Latvia)
2. Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola) (San Marino)
3. Esma & Lozano – Pred da se razdeni (FYR Macedonia)
4. Farid Mammadov – Hold Me (Azerbaijan)
5. Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me (Finland)
6. Gianluca – Tomorrow (Malta)
7. Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov – Samo shampioni (Bulgaria)
8. Eythor Ingi – Ég á líf (Iceland)
9. Koza Mostra ft. Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free (Greece)
10. Moran Mazor – Rak bishvilo (Israel)
11. Dorians – Lonely Planet (Armenia)
12. ByeAlex – Kedvesem (Hungary)
13. Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love (Norway)
14. Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet (Albania)
15. Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall (Georgia)
16. Takasa – You and Me (Switzerland)
17. Cezar – It’s My Life (Romania)
Pretty damn likely
I think it will be business as usual for regular qualifiers Azerbaijan & Greece. Between them they’ve got the strongest Eurovision track-records of the decade, and their strong songs should make qualification all but certain.
Norway & Georgia are bringing up the rear with the bookies, and should sail through. Having been alerted to the awful odds for Georgia, I might be tempted to put a bet on that doing quite well on Saturday.
Just enjoy this performance (if you can)
Some of the qualifiers I really just don’t see happening. Bulgaria, Latvia, Hungary & Armenia are hardly sure bets at the best of times, and this is NOT the best of times. I do feel bad for Armenia really, it’s a nice enough song but just can’t see it getting people reaching for their phones.
The other three are varying degrees of horror: shrill ethnic drumming; hopelessly dated cheese-rock; and comatose goatee-stroking indie toot. Sorry!
Malta is picking up lot of buzz, and Gianluca seems like a thoroughly nice chap with a laid-back but catchy song. San Marino are looking for their first ever qualification, and while I’m reluctant to get my hopes up, I will be furious if it doesn’t happen this year, “Vola” is a triumph and no mistake.
Romania will raise plenty of eyebrows, but he’s got a powerful voice, a ridiculous spectacle on stage, and the closing slot. Romania have always qualified and this year should be no different. Switzerland should squeeze through another qualifier with their rousing anthem, I suspect it’ll do a lot better than people expect.
So that’s five nations left with 2 qualifier slots… this is where the surprises will come from. Still to consider are FYR Macedonia, Finland, Iceland, Israel & Albania. I suspect Moran’s big ballad, big voice and big chest will see Israel through, with FYR Macedonia fighting Finland for the last spot.
I suspect that fight will be decided by how much of a train-wreck Esma is in her duet, for better or worse. Albania’s good but nondescript, and Iceland is just nondescript as much as I love them.
Qualifier predictions: San Marino, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Malta, Greece, Israel, Norway, Georgia, Switzerland, Romania.
Personally I’d be happy if Finland or Armenia got through at the cost of Romania or FYR Macedonia, but I’m unlikely to lose much sleep over it! To be honest, I’m not holding a lot of hope for my office sweepstake, in which I picked Albania and Montenegro. Drat!
What do you think? Leave your predictions in the comments box!