Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – Semi-Final 1

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Logo

SF1.00.Petra Mede

With a grand entrance, the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 was introduced by winner’s last year’s winner Loreen with 68 students from local schools. Then the elegant Petra Mede who raises out of the stage in an elegant silver dress to welcome everyone to Malmö. Now on to my ridicisouly brutal analysis and thoughts on this years performances…

Austria – Natália Kelly
SF1.01.Austria - Natália Kelly

While Austria begins the competition by presenting an Adele-eque singer Natália brought us a slow pop song reminiscent to as previously mentioned: Adele. While Adele can’t be replicated or even copied justly, this song well executed and a decent entry for Austria where in the past it has been hit and miss. A very simple number with the dancers really just being there for back-up and allowing for a variety of people on stage and not so exposed, all in all I think that the song was a bit bland, but still better than their usual choices for competing. A competent song with a very competent singer, but not a super-hit in my eyes!

Estonia – Birgit
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.02.Estonia - Birgit

For the second straight time in Eurovision, Estonia has sent a ballad in their native language to the competition. What a nice refreshing thing to do considering that the majority of the other songs are sung in really poor English, usually. This one isn’t quite as much as an anthem as last year, but still is very intimate. Brigit stood in the middle stage among the crowd giving it a much more intimate feel, and while walking back to the stage engulfed in a puff of smoke, she eloquently finishes her song. Unfortunately not as much as an anthem as last year, and not nearly as dramatic, this is a very beautiful song that deserves recognition as a great song by a great artist.

Slovenia – Hannah
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.03.Slovenia - Hannah

Slovenia elected to send an American this year in their stead to compete on their behalf, and while the original feeling of the song was robotic-S&M, the song continues in a very Eurovision-esque way and shifts to a super dance number with very expressive dancers. She too elected to come into the middle platform with her dancers who tried to engage the audience more and more into the song. I just have to say that she really didn’t do anything other than sing and wave her arms, and left the majority of her entertainment to her very acrobatic dancers.

Croatia – Klapa s Mora
SF1.04.Croatia - Klapa s Mora

A male ensemble this year for Croatia which really has the rings of an Il Divo type of ensemble of mostly younger men dressed in what appears to be some sort of formal ethnic costume, the strong baritone and tenor voices serenade us in a pop-classical type of song in the Croatian language which really is more contemporary than the Balkan ballads to which we are so accustomed. Well executed and sounded pretty good, albeit loud on stage, it still didn’t do anything to me in terms of giving it any sort of status or special regard. It’s minimalism, and classicalness, nuff said.

Denmark – Emmelie de Forest
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.05.Denmark - Emmelie de Forest

With the stage set afire with classic Nordic-Celtic feeling, Emmelie is a clear favourite to win and gave us a song that not only makes us feel something deep in our souls, but also is a mix with the old and new contemporary feelings. Intense like the fire, yet soft like water, the performance was really magical and simple enough to not dazzle us off our chairs, it’s just all around good. I think that even her not wearing any shoes gives it a very “Earthly” feeling, and when the song hits the bridge and into a key-change I think that the crowd went into absolute chaos. Do we smell a ESC 2000 repeat with Denmark winning in Sweden? Only time will tell.

Russia – Dina Garipova
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.06.Russia - Dina Garipova

So what happens when you send a Russian girl dressed in pink singing in perfect English with no accent, to sing a slow and sweet ballad to the rest of Europe all about unity? You get a fantastic song, and a ridiculously simple recipe for success. Joined by giant illuminated orbs on stage and a dramatic backing choir halfway through the song, it delivers a message as well as a feeling with fantastic chord progressions that force us feel something. Having the entire crowd illuminate with the artist, and the final chorus makes this song such an anthem to everyone that is so ridiculously good. The only person that I think that could have done better was, Sarah Dawn Finer.

Ukraine – Zlata Ognevich
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.07.Ukraine - Zlata Ognevich

The Ukrainian entry this year tries to tell a story about a dream, which would certainly be well joined by in the music video having unicorns, which of course are works of magic and dreams. Lofted atop a rock in the middle of the stage in a beautiful white dress, the song turns dramatic with a deep beet and some belting (which of course Ukraine is used to doing). It just kind of ends abruptly and I’m left not sure what to think. Overall good but a less strong ballad in the mix. I mostly like it because of unicorns.

The Netherlands – Anouk
=> Qualifier
SF1.08.The Netherlands - Anouk

The Dutch have really had a hard time getting a decent act together to qualify but I think they took a page out of France, this time, and sent a very Patricia Kaas kind of song. While I can barely recognise a coherent melody, it’s very old-school to say the least. It reminds me of the songs from the 70s in black and white and focused more on execution and musicality. The deep raspy voice of Anouk really delivered the song well, but like I said earlier a bit too much like Patricia Kaas a few years ago. I’m very happy for the Netherlands for their qualification, because now they can stop bitching about never qualifying, but really I don’t think that it’s a winner in the end.

Montenegro – Who See
SF1.09.Montenegro - Who See feat. Nina Žiži?

Well this what happens when you send singers in astronaut suits and have them rap in Montenegrin, or Serbian, or whatever it is. Then we have a woman arrive who’s dressed like something out of Stargate Atlantis or Star Trek, it just really is missing something. I personally think that although it was executed well with very little error, Montenegro really missed the boat on this one. I think the problem started with the song, but extended further into the concept of presentation, which is just “way out there.” One good thing about it is that the rappers are, to say the least, hot as fuck. Back to the drawing board, Montenegro!

Lithuania – Andrius Pojavis
=> Qualifier
SF1.10.Lithuania - Andrius Pojavis

He’s got “Something” alright; it’s a boy-next-door look that melts hearts and a voice that further melts your skin. It’s just really a shame that his English is so poor and his inability to really pronounce certain words it makes the otherwise decent song kind of awkward. Though visually is a bit of a country-boy the song just is a bit simple and lacks a certain something. It’s like an Anders Frenette song that lacks the drama or ridiculously high-notes but looks infinitely better. Not really sure how to feel about this one to be honest.

Belarus – Alyona Lanskaya
=> Qualifier
SF1.11.Belarus - Alyona Lanskaya

Out of a giant disco-ball Alyona arrives, very Jessica Andersson style, but the song opens with something that comes right out of a Greek entry. With what may just be the shortest dress of the completion, and the horrible English that Belarus usually sends, Belarus (as usual) really missed the boat on this. I think that the intent or “vision” for this was to seduce the watchers with skankyness. It doesn’t work for me, because it’s not got a catchy tune or good performance. And what’s this about a cha-cha? Go home, Belarus!

Moldova – Aliona Moon
=> Qualifier
SF1.12.Moldova - Aliona Moon

Though not as a dramatic hairstyle as in her pre-selection finals, in other words her hair standing on the right side like a swoosh that looks like something out of a children book, she elected on a more “conservative” look with the dramatic Justin Beiber inspired “swoosh” that doesn’t extend past the head. In other words, it still looks a bit ridiculous. Her dress, illuminated and changing colours like something out of a fairy-tale, adnm then being risen in the air to make the dress even more epic huge it just is very strange to the eyes. The singing is competent but I don’t really understand what was going on during the song; she elected to sing in English during her national final and then revert back to Moldovan (read Romanian) for this competition; which I think was a mistake. It’s just, strange…

Ireland – Ryan Dolan
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.13.Ireland - Ryan Dolan

Many Americans told me that this guy resembled Bruno Mars in song and looks, which I don’t understand. Because it so clearly has the Eurovision Song Contest feeling to it, it starts out a bit bland then suddenly warps into this anthem about it being the last night alive and that love is the most important thing. Amen, brotha. There were comparisons to him and Jedward, and while their songs talk about the same things, this guy isn’t two versions of an annoying twin set dressed outrageously looking for attention, but rather a classy singer putting together a massive dance hit that will be all over the radios this summer. I love it, and I think that it speaks to us all in a very fun way!

Cyprus – Despina Olympiou
SF1.14.Cyprus - Despina Olympiou

Another odds-on favourite to win the competition, the Cypriot entry took the stage in a very Sarah Dawn Finer style, and sang her simple ballad soliciting us to vote for her. I think it was very smart of her to sing in Greek, if not for the cultural aspect but because any sort of English translation would likely to be rubbish. And while I think that this is a good song, it’s very simple and lacks a lot of kick that I look for in a really good Eurovision song. And besides the song, a lot of people have been talking about the riskiness of the dress, which really does look like you can see right through it. Interesting tactics.

Belgium – Roberto Bellarosa
=> Qualifier
SF1.15.Belgium - Roberto Bellarosa

Well the Belgians are at it again, trying to send a Tom Dice-esque entry that will never be the same. What struck me is the blandness of the song in a very general way and nothing really remarkable about it. The singer himself has eyebrows that need taming, and eyeliner that wasn’t required at all. So since love is killing us anyways, I might as well just off myself with this entry that I really don’t like. What’s really creepy is that this guy looks like a twin of a guy I used to go to school with named Sean. It’s surreal and weird.

Serbia – Moje 3
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.16.Serbia - Moje 3

In what I would dub as one of my favourite songs of the year, they turned their Serbian Housewives national final look into some really weird Barbie-looking outfits that takes a page out of the weirdness we see from Bosnia & Herzegovina (whom are not with us this year). The actual execution of the song is a bit of a parody, of what I’m not sure because in terms of the actual song I can’t stop listening it to on my iPod. It’s like on constant repeat for some reason. It’s when the bridge comes around, that I lose my mind totally. I think I almost got hit by a car last night while dancing to it, sad but true. One thing that I kept thinking of the entire time while watching was, lipstick lesbians. Not sure why, just what came to my mind!


And after we proceeded through the sixteen entries tonight, we were welcomed with a little segment in the green room where Petra Mede took us through the history of the Eurovision Song Contest to about the 70s with the over-choreographed Germans. What is hilariously awesome is the stand-ins with Petra in the old video, sometimes you barely notice that she’s there which makes it even funnier! The middle-act aurora borealis interpretation by the dancers and crowd is pretty freaking awesome! A warm welcome back to Lynda Woodruff, our representative from Sweden!

Overall it was a good evening, with a lot of good songs and a lot of real flops. Lots of dance music, ballads, and “ethnic” songs as per usual, but highlights of what I thought are as follows:

1) Moldova – really, with that hair and dress?
2) Lithuania – everyone loves the boy next door!
3) Ireland – everyone believes in love!
4) Estonia – bitchin’ ballads in native language always do well!
5) Belarus – huh? guess skankyness prevails
6) Denmark – teardrops may just what takes over!
7) Russia – like I said, good ballads about war ending always win!
8) Belgium – childhook lookalike needs an eyebrow waxing
9) Ukraine – gravity couldn’t hold them down!
10) The Netherlands – holy shit, finally!

See you on Thursday! (Pics posted and entries updated for your reading pleasure!)

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