The action continued today as the second semi-final took place at the Malmö Arena. As before, the show itself was spectacular, with the living orchestra opening the show in a much more vibrant and interesting way than any preview ever sounded. Interval acts Darin and Agnes totally ruled the stage for the Scandi-pop lovers out there, performing some of their biggest hits.
But with a slightly less of a foregone conclusion this time, seven unlucky songs were out of the running after tonight. There were some astonishing results tonight, and without wanting to sound too dramatic it has implications for some long-held beliefs about voting patterns…
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 was very lucky to attend the jury rehearsal last night, and got a spot in the very front row, in the centre. I got some incredible pictures, but sadly I don’t have the cord for my camera here (oops) so I’ll post them next week. It was a surreal and amazing experience, it felt like there were just a few of us there, the whole arena behind me disappeared.
It was a night that further solidified my feelings that there is nothing like Eurovision, and I will always want to be a part of it. I’m sure that sounds like hysterical ramblings of an overexcited and slightly drunk blogger, but in a contest that has put the phrase “We are One” to great use, it was a very personal connection with the contest that I won’t forget.
Enough of this … what about those results?
1. PeR – Here We Go (Latvia)
2. Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola) (San Marino)
3. Esma and 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)
Azerbaijan cemented the possibility of Baku 2014 in my mind, to the point that I will put a small bet on an Azeri win against a Danish entry that is now on evens in the betting odds (i.e. it’s all but certain). That performance totally blew me away visually, it is another triumph for Azeri originality, with delicious Farid’s shadow self mimicking his movements. Really superb, and a real one to watch out for, considering the possibilities for bloc voting this year (more on that in another post).
Norway put on a defiant performance, I think it must be doing well, and rounded off a triumphant night for Scandinavia. I really hope she does brilliantly, I think the song stands out for all the right reasons, and she’s managed to get one of the second-half slots so she’s not going down without a fight.
Georgia haven’t quite won me over with “Running Scared” v2.0, but they are a nice pairing who are clearly embracing their roles as the classy couple of the contest, but literally every details is ripping off “Running Scared”; the male/female duet itself, the breathless romance, the Swedish writer (writing royalty G:Son, no less), even the spark waterfall at the end! Brazen, but it’s a nice song.
Romania provided one of the WTF moments of the night with another towering piece of insanity, including barely-clothed dancers. Seriously I was in the front row and I could see EVERYTHING. When in Europe though… Romania preserved their 100% record, the only country to do so without a win in the semi-final era. I don’t think this will be the year to change that, but it’s still an eye-opener.
Greece are another with a solid record, and until last year they had a string of 8 top 10 finishes. I think it’s got a pretty wide open field for Greece to maybe get back in the top 10. It’s a massive party starter, accessible for fans and non-fans, and just so much fun. If Moldova could make a name for sending these sort of ethnic-ska curveballs well into the results table, Greece will be a much more potent competitor on Friday.
What a relief!
So with 5 no-brainers, that leaves the remaining 5 slots to be fought over by 12 hopefuls. It wasn’t plain sailing through, as we were to find out.
Finland totally nailed the performance. I was on the fence when I did my predictions, but the shamelessly big production (and lesbian kiss) couldn’t help but raise smiles. The predominantly Scandinavian audience ate it up, and qualification was a great step for a nation that are far from dead certs.
Malta were quite safe, and I feared for them, but they made it through again. God I love Malta, a small nation you can really depend on (most of the time). One year they will get the magic formula right and we will have a long-awaited Valletta contest. Gianluca was such a happy presence on stage, perma-grinning even. But I’m rooting for him. Go for that mid-table finish Gianluca!
WTF IS HAPPENING???
Firstly on a positive note, I finally ‘got’ Iceland. My friend and I were cooing over Eythor and his beautiful golden locks. We fantasised about polishing his armour before he went to defend the kingdom from the dragon lords etc… it’s a sentimental song, but now I’ve read the translated lyrics about redemption and whatnot, it’s another touching entry in the Icelandic canon; one that might have secured the Icelandic tourist board a few more tourists. I really didn’t think Iceland would be through, but I’m so happy. The crowd went wild for him.
The last two entries were unwanted by me, and a unsettlingly unexpected turn of events. Hungary at least seemed to have got some casual appeal, but his straight-faced hipster performance was dead on arrival, and I just don’t get it at all. Hungary have struggled to capitalise on great songs, I just don’t understand how this could do any better than the bottom of the final leaderboard.
Finally I was disappointed to hear boos for Armenia, as much as I felt it was one of the weakest entries, with their distinctly non-carbon-neutral environmental song. I think more than anything it meant the writing was on the wall for a certain fan favourite…
The low point of this whole week so far (drama alert) was San Marino not qualifying. Truly devastating, particularly after chatting with one of the Sammarinese delegation last night, confirming that the Facebook song was a fiasco none of the team wanted, but that “Vola” was Valentina all over. I’m truly heartbroken for her, it really just doesn’t seem right.
Other unlucky songs tonight included Switzerland, a country I was sure was going to make it this time. Very sad for them too. Dignified but boobylicious Israel were also a shock DNQ. The performance perhaps needed more than just the voice, breasts and Linda Woodruff styling. A shame too. Latvia really made the opening slot work, but inevitably it’s back to the drawing board, in a rare miss for the former Soviet nations.
That leaves Bulgaria, Albania and FYR Macedonia (or WTF Macedonia, @retroslippy noted!) rounded off a catastrophic week for the Balkans. Geographically speaking Greece and Romania are Balkan countries, but in the typical Eurovision sense of the word, there are none left standing. It felt sort of inevitable in this case, especially after Serbia’s shock defeat on Tuesday, but this could (no pun intended) have a butterfly effect on Saturday, as the usual alliances within that region simply won’t apply.
Grand Final Draw (sort of – Part 2)
After the majority of Tuesday’s qualifiers randomly picked the first half of the grand final as the home of their performances, that left some of the dominant Eurovision forces (including a few big contenders) to scoop up those second-half slots. The full set-list will be revealed in the early hours tonight, and I’ll keep you updated.
FIRST HALF (in alphabetical order) – Armenia, Finland, Malta
SECOND HALF – Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Romania.
The slot of death is calling Armenia … #2 for you I think! We’ll see.