FN.00-01.Eurovision 2013 Anthem - We Write the StoryFN.00-02.Petra Mede

And so it begun, after a week of rehearsals and qualifying rounds we arrive at the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 hosted in beautiful Malmö Arena in the city of Malmö, region of Skåne. Our host for this fantastic event has been none other than the stellar and amazing Petra Mede. As an introduction to the competition, a song composed by former ABBA members, Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and the Swedish DJ Avicii entitled “We Write the Story” which is the Eurovision 2013 Anthem. After the parade of champions, off we go with our twenty-six finalists!

France – Amandine Bourgeois
FN.01.France - Amandine Bourgeois

France can be hot, and France can be cold, and sometimes they find themselves in the middle with the perfect touch, and with high hopes they send Amandine to the competition. I found the song to be an interesting pop-rock song, but what bothered me was the fact that it’s very rough and I felt like Amandine was doing more headbanging and screaming than actually singing. Too much anger, but a lot of energy to get the competition started. Having finished the night in 23rd place, I wasn’t the only one that didn’t like this one.

Lithuania – Andrius Pojavis
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.02.Lithuania - Andrius Pojavis

I was skeptical about this one from the beginning but it grew on me, and then I really opened my eyes and realised how incredibly attractive Andrius is. I mean like “do me now” hot; but apart from the at the song was simple and an effective song to follow the rough and harsh French entry. I just think that there could have been a little bit more “action” and I can’t discern if it was intended that his t-shirt was too small, so that every time he raised his arms his mid-drift was showing. What do we think, it was intentional? I also think that replacing his leather bracelet with the Lithuanian flag was a very good and lovely touch to change the performance from the semi-final to the final. Good job Lithuania!

Moldova – Aliona Moon
FN.03.Moldova - Aliona Moon

I’m not a fan of this song, but damn can she sing. I find that Moldova tends to send singers that really can ‘giv’r’ and it really is effective and despite being in Romanian, the song draws widespread appeal due to the fact that she can actually sing despite having a weird hair-do. Finishing just out of the top 10 is totally worth it, and the visual effects were super to make the performance the icing on the cake. However, having said that, the song really didn’t do much for me and if I had voted for it, it would have been solely for the fact that she has a beautiful voice.

Finland – Krista Siegfrids
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.04.Finland - Krista Siegfrids

Finland went something a little more American and mainstream this year and despite being out of the top-20 it garnered a lot of attention, good and bad. Energetic, and fun but really the only thing noteworthy about it was the female-on-female kiss at the end, that stirred up a lot of controversy with all those backwards countries in the south and east. Get over it, they weren’t having sex on screen and there wasn’t even any tongue! I get that it’s scandalous for you, but really it’s time to move out of the 18th century!

Spain – ESDM
FN.05.Spain - ESDM

What a flop Spain; I really thought that you might have done decently with a fantastic studio-version of this song, but really it was horrible to say the least. Having the ethnically Gaelic sound (or in this case from the north of Spain) and much like the group The Cranberries, this song was horribly executed. The singer sounded like she was dying and couldn’t hold the notes for her life, let alone sounding and starting very flat. I really thought that it was a nice song, but I had to reserve this judgement based on the fact that it was executed horribly. Beautiful yellow dress, and otherwise looking good and fun, but it didn’t sound like a decent song until the end when her voice actually picked up and she was singing the right notes. Better luck next time, Spain!

Belgium – Roberto Bellarosa
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.06.Belgium - Roberto Bellarosa

If he was in the closet before the semi-final his little excited actions at the end of this song broke open the doors to the closet and this bitch is noticed. While I really dislike his raspy voice, I think the song and the dancers were really funky and the song made sense. Belguim constantly complains that they never qualify, but it’s because their songs are dodgy, but this one had widespread appeal and actually did a lot better than people expected. Love really does kill, didn’t you know?

Estonia – Birgit
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.07.Estonia - Birgit

Following in last years success of a ballad, Estonia sent another lovely Estonian ballad. Sad fact is that there were other ballads that were better, and frankly last years was miles ahead this one. Having said that Brigit sang beautiful and had a lovely dress that I thought would fall down very easily but didn’t. I just think that it got stuck and easily forgotten which resulted in it’s 20th place finish, which really is unfair to the actual quality of the song. Good job Estonia, but maybe something a little better next year? 🙂

Belarus – Alyona Lanskaya
FN.08.Belarus - Alyona Lanskaya

You have got to be kidding me! This song is so rubbish I don’t even have words for it, and I have absolutely no idea how it was able to qualify from the semi-finals. It’s just a stereotypical representation of Eastern European female culture: short skirts, skanky dancing, and looking flat ass fake. Go home and take your horrible music back to Belarus, please… If you never come back I wouldn’t mourn your loss. I just don’t understand how this was within the top-20, as it’s clearly deserving to be dead last.

Malta – Gianluca
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.09.Malta - Gianluca

Dr. Feelgood is in this house with his very charming love song about Jeremy who works in IT. While his smile is a little too intense, and makes him look Japanese, the song is really lovely and fun and I’m really happy that Malta was able to garner some points and end up in 6th place, which is a fantastic finish for a small country like Malta. San Marino could take good lesson for this one, which was a good quality song which is executed in the most innocent and lovely ways. Good job, you made everyone feel happy and smile!

Russia – Dina Garipova
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.10.Russia - Dina Garipova

There are a few things that are amazing about this song that go against everything that Russia usually does. First off it’s a beautiful written and sung ballad, second they engaged the crowd by having their bracelets light up at the right moment and the apex of the song which swells to bring a tear to your eye, thirdly for the first time in my memory of this contest a Russian born resident sings with perfect 100% English and no accent. I was floored, and which makes it even better because it’s so rare. Beautiful, simple, and with a message of peace and being one, this is a fantastic song from Russian Idol star, great job on your 5th place finish!

Germany – Cascada
FN.11.Germany - Cascada

The fact that this song was tipped to be a winner makes me laugh. Although Cascada is well known across Europe and the world, this song really doesn’t have anything special and the execution of it was dodgy at best. She tried too hard to swoop the notes that it got really rough, furthermore she couldn’t walk in her her heels. Really she looked like she was struggling like a giraffe baby that was just born. Germany really pushed their entry this year and it ended up outside of the top-20. Kind of a blow to Cascada’s career, but she will go on selling dance records and playing in discos across the world. No huge loss.

Armenia – Dorians
FN.12.Armenia - Dorians

They were booed after qualifying from the semi-finals, and I’m still not certain why that would be other than the fact that their song was rubbish and boring and that other good songs failed to qualify, but we just skip over this entry because it was horrible to watch and was just plain boring. And yet mercifully it ends up in the top-20 somehow ahead of Bonnie Tyler? WTF go home Armenia.

The Netherlands – Anouk
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.13.The Netherlands - Anouk

How this song didn’t make the top-5 is beyond me, but after qualifying for the first time in what feels like forever, The Netherlands sent a classic song that would be by and far the most popular and different song that the competition has seen in years. It was quite literally like turning back the clock to the 1980s and was simple, beautiful and resonated with Western Europe, but not the East (surprise surprise). Regardless it finished top-10, despite deserving higher up, but good job for the Dutch!

Romania – Cezar
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.14.Romania - Cezar

This year has a lot of “WTF” moments but none other than Romania! Having been 100% for qualifying to for the final, the Romanian’s went with a Dracula inspired counter-tenor singer with dancers that are covered in green and are wearing next to nothing on stage. It was a sight to be hold, and with fantastic flawless singing from Cezar. It’s just a bit weird for people to watch, but still garnered a lot of votes for it’s originality and creativeness. Good job Romania, you’re still one of my all-time favourites!

United Kingdom – Bonnie Tyler
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.15.United Kingdom - Bonnie Tyler

There were rumours in the UK about her participating and when it was announced the only word that we could think of was: epic! Epic that she’s known worldwide and was a very interesting and curious selection, but also epic because the song ended up nearly last. It’s hardly surprising considering that the world doesn’t know her for her country music, but rather for her disco music from the 80s that turned the world upside-down. I’m sure that if she did a similar song to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” the gays, I mean the Eurovision songs would have jumped on board a lot more willingly. I mean I guess at the end of the day, she’s Welsh and that seems to have bad connotations to the UK and the rest of the world. Better luck next time United Kingdom!

Sweden – Robin Stjernberg
FN.16.Sweden - Robin Stjernberg

Despite the fact that everyone can’t come anywhere close to pronouncing his name correctly, Robin represented the host country very well but any notion of him making it a double win for Sweden was just a pathetic wish that would never come true. The song wasn’t the best in Melodifestivalen this year, and somehow won but really in the end it was kind of generic despite it’s “fresh” look compared to how it was done in the pre-selection. Sweden didn’t really even get courtesy voting points, and it was clear that the commentator on SVT was very disappointed about how he did given that she’s a huge fan. I guess Denmark winning was the next best thing.

Hungary – ByeAlex
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.17.Hungary - ByeAlex

I’ve never been into hispter people, but if this guy asked me out on a date I would totally say yes. Why? Because he’s not just a singer, and not really a pretty face, but he’s a philosopher! This means that it would be at the very least a good conversation, even if I hate hipsters and the way they dress. Regardless of this, I’m estatic that this song was top-10 with Hungary’s best result. It’s simple, sweet, and a lovely song to have presented in a very shy and reserved way. I can’t say enough things that are good about this song, but what was the icing on the cake is that Germany awarded it 12 points; that’s freaking huge! Congratulations, and I hope that the success for Hungary continues (even though they couldn’t afford to host even if they wanted to!)

Denmark – Emmelie de Forest
=> Winner
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.18.Denmark - Emmelie de Forest

The odds-on favourite from the beginning to win, there was no disappointment with her running away with a win. Something about a tin-whistle gets people going, and the lack of sad teardrops resulted in only [good] teardrops! Fantastic drumming, and a half-Swede it’s about as close to a double win that Sweden could have! Regardless of all this, I’m so glad that Denmark won to keep the competition in Scandinavia, where it belongs!

Iceland – Eythor Ingi (Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson)
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.19.Iceland - Eythor Ingi

This fantastic smooth ballad in the Icelandic language was a highlight of the night, and it was so awesome that Iceland, one of the smaller nations in Europe, was able to qualify and represent themselves with a fantastic song that is executed beautiful by Eyþór. It’s sweet, it’s got a great message in Icelandic, and the fact that it’s in Icelandic is a super bonus. His “style” is typically Icelandic, which I don’t particularly like, but the song itself with its setting and background were flawless! Congrats Ísland!

Azerbaijan – Farid Mammadov
=> Runner-Up
FN.20.Azerbaijan - Farid Mammadov

I really don’t see the draw for this. Sure it’s creative and interesting, but the song is so boring. To be completely honest a fair, Azerbaijan plays to win (clearly) but they didn’t deserve to win. It was an interesting performance, different to say the least, but his “allure” and sexy looks to the camera turned me off from the performance totally. It’s the “I’m so hot and I know it, love me” look that is incredibly unsexy. There was a lot of talking about Azerbaijani people bribing or paying for votes which hasn’t surfaced any proof, but when I saw this country keep popping up in the votes I didn’t understand how or why. It got me quite nervous, and in my opinion it was top-10 but not top-3 like it ended up. Dodgy, to say the least.

Greece – Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.21.Greece - Koza Mostra feat Agathon Iakovidis

After first listening to it I thought it was bad, but then I listened to a few more times and this song really grew on me. A bit repetitive with the chorus, but it’s very fun and very… what’s the word I’m looking for… virile? Testosterone to the max with attractive Greeks singing in Greek in kilts, and dancing around having fun with a parody on alcohol being free, and given the context of Greece and their economic problems it’s very clever. I just found myself more and more drawn to the song and the performers, but then I have to snap myself out of it because I know that the Balkans have that “allure” that you have to be careful about! They suck you in, then BAM…

Ukraine – Zlata Ognevich
=> Second Runner-Up
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.22.Ukraine - Zlata Ognevich

Simple, interesting, beautiful, and beautifully executed piece of art, featuring a super tall man giant this song simply came in third and was well deserving of it’s placement. Flawless vocals, absolutely beautiful woman with a beautiful dress and a beautiful staging, this creative masterpiece that has a lot of key-changes and displays vocals to be jealous of, I can’t think of any happier thing to sing along to while I walk down the street!

Italy – Marco Mengoni
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.23.Italy - Marco Mengoni

Italy always does well, even if their songs are a bit “off.” This was the essential (hah!) good song that was simple but performed awkwardly. I think that the brushed up but dirty look of Marco left me nervous, but his vocals made up for it and it’s better if just listened to with eyes closed. Everyone seems to love Italy, and I don’t really understand why. I mean they have good wine, food, and laid back culture, but when it comes to me the Italian culture leaves me a bit on edge becasue like some other cultures it’s all about proximity. It just reminds me how frigid I am, but alas I digress. This is a great song and makes you feel good so a top-10 finish is totally deserving!

Norway – Margaret Berger
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.24.Norway - Margaret Berger

It’s good on the first few listens but the more you listen to it the more I’m put off from it. It’s very different, very cutting edge, but the performance was just frankly boring. Margaret is beautiful but it was just bland to watch. It’s trying to Eurovisionesque but ends up not Eurovisionesque at all, and something from a mix between retro-neo-electronic-pop. It’s an eclectic genre, and a good job for Norway even if it grows off me.

Georgia – Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani
❗ Personal Favourite
FN.25.Georgia - Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani

The common comments about this song from everyone is… “safe.” Nothing too special, though notably a Swedish composer Thomas G:son, it just screams “I want to qualify but not win.” Horrible English, but epic with vocals. The singers played a little too much to the camera, and thus it comes off very cheesy. Either way it’s not a bad song but deservingly ends up top-15.

Ireland – Ryan Dolan
FN.26.Ireland - Ryan Dolan

I originally marked this one as a favourite but after watching it again and really not “feeling it” I disagree totally and have changed my mind on this. It’s a somewhat fun song but I didn’t like the presentation at all and it left me thinking one word that will describe everything and I think it’s something that others would be thinking of too: chav. Nuff said.

FN.00-03.Lynda WoodruffFN.00-04.Loreen

So in the end Denmark prevails but not before we get some fantastic featured performances and highlights from the evening. The ever important EBU Spokesperson Lynda Woodruff makes an appearance finally getting it right about Sweden, but really messes things up at the Royal Armoury. Loreen, last years winner, did a fantastic medley of songs that was very artful, as usual.

FN.00-05.Swedes invade your countryFN.00-06.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Intro)

After we grapple with our EBU love, we get transplated with an explanation of Swedish culture in many ways. Most importantly bringing attention of the orderly Swedish culture, but when we go abroad we wreak havoc and get away our frustrations. Essentially we invade your countries and run amok! More candidly, our host leads us through a brilliant medly “Swedish Smörgåsbord”, music by Jan Lundkvist, lyrics by Matheson Bayley, Edward af Sillén and Daniel Réhn, performed by Petra Mede. Poking fun at ourselves, I feature it as follows, which rings all too true.

FN.00-07.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Swedish Chef)FN.00-08.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Metro Drunks or Insane)

We have the Swedish Chef, and as dutifully noted if someone smiles or talks to you on the Tunnelbanna, they are either drunk or insane!

FN.00-09.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Midsommarstång)FN.00-10.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Gay Marriage)

We dance around the Midsommarstång (Maypole) like frogs in a fun way, and some of us even pole-dance the stång. We also support gay marriage, and another gay kiss on TV. The East is reeling with our tolerance and display of *gasp* homosexuality!

FN.00-11.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Meatballs - Kötbuller)FN.00-12.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Problems Digesting Our Diary)

We eat kötbullar (meatballs) that are typical Scandinavian with (jest) a hint of horse meat, and we most certainly struggle digesting our dairy! Our men nurse the children, a change from the vikings and all those crazy things they did!

FN.00-13.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Carola)FN.00-14.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (Finale)

Carola never turns down an opportunity to show her face to the world, even if she falls off the stage and then we all gather on the stage to celebrate our crazy culture and the tolerance of our people!

FN.00-15.Swedish Smörgåsbord - Petra Mede (The Cast)FN.00-16.Petra Mede - As ABBA

We gather to celebrate our awesomeness, and even Petra disguises herself to be a member of ABBA!

FN.00-17.Eric SaadeFN.00-18.Sarah Dawn Finer (The Winner Takes it All)

In other events, conestant from a few years ago Eric Saade struggled in the green-room to not only speak English but saying slightly sexist and inappropriate things like Petra Mede is a #MILF . Funny but true. But to end the evening right before the voting, the amazing Sarah Dawn Finer performs ABBA’s “The Winnter Takes It All” before a gobsmacked crowd who probably had no idea that it was the same woman as Lynda Woodruff.

A fantastic evening, and the final voting procedure that had some hickups and ran-over in time (really SVT?!?!!) but in the end it was lovely. Voting as usual took forever, but was elegantly pushed along by our lovely host.

Congratulations to Denmark, and for all the other good songs this year. The only other comment I have was that this was a disasterous year for the Balkans! See you next year in Denmark, and then somewhere else in Scandinavia after that. 😉