eurovision song contest 2013

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – Final

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. 😉

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – My Predictions

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Logo

So for the first time in my life I am going to have a go at predicting what happens in the final. Whilst I am fully aware that what I feel in my heart does not resonate with Europe I will try to grapple this and allot pointing rankings as best I can. Then I can see how horribly wrong I got it. 🙂

1/ France
Dark and mysterious, long forgotten from the beginning of the show. Also too mainstream France for the rest of Europe to “get.”
My prediction: 15-20

2/ Lithuania
Fairy tale love story comes to an end, as this one will be long forgotten as others of similar genre are better.
My prediction: 20-26

3/ Moldova
Her hair and outfit might lock her in people’s memory but come the end of the night, I don’t think it and the song will be enough to win.
My prediction: 17-22

4/ Finland
This is the best song that Finland has put forth in the mainstream genre in awhile. I suspect it will do better than people think, even if the pessimistic Finns don’t think so.
My prediction: 5-10

5/ Spain
Rocks my socks but won’t rock the socks of the rest of Europe. Great song, but not likely to make a splash.
My prediction: 22-26

6/ Belgium
Starstruck and a radio-hit but it’s not sold to the rest of Europe I think. Will be a shock and if he can keep it together have a decent showing.
My prediction: 10-16

7/ Estonia
Beautiful, simple, and totally worth a top finish. Sadly though it’s not as powerful as last year, but equally perfect.
My prediction: 5-10

8/ Belarus
How did this song make it to the final? I don’t understand, go home Belarus!
My prediction: 17-22

9/ Malta
Charming and sweet, but will mainstream minimalism pop be bought by the viewers? I think this song will get good jury results and poor tele-voting.
My prediction: 11-16

10/ Russia
Second best ballad this year, but will outdo Iceland and Estonia due to obvious voting blocks. It’s more mainstream as it’s in English though; love it!
My prediction: 3-7

11/ Germany
Lots of rumblings about this one, but won’t be bought by the juries. Big name, mediocre song, likely to finish decently.
My prediction: 7-13

12/ Armenia
They seem to do well despite having sketchy songs. This one will be no exception, but I think will finish behind the pack.
My prediction: 17-22

13/ Netherlands
Best song put out this year in terms of songwriting and performance. Fresh, old-school, and 20 years ago it would be the outright winner. Long-shot to win, but a favourite none-the-less.
My prediction: 1-5

14/ Romania
“What the fuck” will be the common phrase tonight for this one. The jury might buy it but the tele-voters won’t.
My prediction: 13-19

15/ United Kingdom
The name Bonnie Tyler will garner some votes, but not enough to really win. A decent song, but not what Europe will have expected from this singer. Despite this being her genre!
My prediction: 10-15

16/ Sweden
Long shot to win, just because there are so many other better songs. Even in comparison to the other Nordic entries, he will likely finish behind.
My prediction: 13-18

17/ Hungary
Unique and simple in it’s existence and performance. Grows on you, and not really sure who will gander towards it, but hipsters that are happy are better than emo hipsters.
My prediction: 12-19

18/ Denmark
One of the best songs this year that is most wide-spreadly liked. If it doesn’t make top-5 I will be shocked.
My prediction: 1-5

19/ Iceland
Arguably the best song this year, but as always people will forget about Iceland for various reasons. It’s less mainstream than Russia, but more “understandable” than Estonia.
My prediction: 11-16

20/ Azerbaijan
Always gets votes, always has interest around it, always will do well. Not much to say except for it reminds me of Houdini.
My prediction: 6-11

21/ Greece
Lots of expectations for this one to win because it’s so different. Though admittedly I think Greece’s financial crisis will be in the minds of voters and they will shy away, as obviously Greece can’t host.
My prediction: 5-10

22/ Ukraine
Unicorns win, and even with a cliffhanger ending this one will generate discussion and get the Eastern Bloc on it’s back.
My prediction: 5-10

23/ Italy
Always classy, always good, always loved by all. It’s got a decent start position, but can it turn it into gold?
My prediction: 1-5

24/ Norway
This song will either do awesome or flop. It won’t beat Denmark, I think, but it won’t be better than a few others. Really unsure about this one.
My prediction: 1-5

25/ Georgia
Safe and secure song won’t be the formula for winning this competition. Will decently score, but won’t be a winner. Too much like Azerbaijan from 2 years ago.
My prediction: 5-10

26/ Ireland
Great way to end the show, but Ireland won’t come out on top. They showed that they can do better than ballads, spazztastic twins, and rubber turkeys.
My prediction: 12-17

As you can see I can’t predict an outright winner, because really I have no idea! Obviously my 20-26 rankings are off, but since the majority of my votes are in the middle I figure some will get bumped. We shall see how well I do when it all is said and done.

Good luck and cheers Europe!

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 – Semi-Final 2

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 Logo

As always the Swedes know how to make an entrance, with this theme and variations-esque type of entrance act where the Eurovision anthem is played and then variations of it along with a lot of other dancers fills the stage. But what happens when a bunch of BMX bikers and Skateboarders take their place/ They start making an artistic impression on the stage which turns into a giant keyboard and iPhone/Android Device.

Latvia – PeR
SF2.01.Latvia - PeR

When pop songs begin with the refrain, I can only fear that it will be overplayed and heard far too many times. But then changes everything and turns into a couple of white boys rapping, which automatically loses my interest. Even dressed in silver and black sequins and having a lot of skin showing with their pasty-white bodies, isn’t enough to keep me interested. When we are called “European Peeps” I just get a little bit sketched out. Over-all I think the song is catchy, but is lacking so much more that I look for in an effective entry. I guess the only novelty of this performance was the crowd surfing, and the force being with us… or something.

San Marino – Valentina Monetta
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.02.San Marino - Valentina Monetta

After a dismale fiasco entry last year, Valentina returns to us to prove that she actually is a serious singer with a serious song. It’s a powerful ballad in Italian, which usually garners bonus points because lots of people like Italy, but this one really flopped to expectations. The San Marinese delegation was disgusted and blames everything about politics, but in all fairness San Marino sent a really good entry this year and suffered the wave of the East, as it usually happens. I mean really, after the ballad turns into a dance song, there is the classic wardrobe change and we jump into a typically awesome Eurovision type song with lots of key changes (don’t we all love that!?).

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Esma & Lozano
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.03.F.Y.R. Macedonia - Esma & Lozano

I’ve said it before, but when you get a couple of singers together to sing a dramatic song with decent voices and there is a fat woman who’s singing, you know it’s never over. What makes this one better than others? Perhaps that Esma is a very well established Romani singer, you know… gypsy. Didn’t know they were in Macedonia, but cool; and she’s wearing a massive red dress while this clean-cut sexy man serenades us in a ethnic-crossover-pop-dance song. In all fairness it kind of reminds me of something that would be at a wedding for dancing purposes and has enough ethnicity to really draw me in. Solid vocals, slightly boring presentation, but extra points for gypsies dressed in red. Too bad the Balkans got shut out this year.

Azerbaijan – Farid Mammadov
=> Qualifier
SF2.04.Azerbaijan - Farid Mammadov

This year the land of fire gives us a solo singer with a Western dressed look mixed with the ethnic East, and a glass box with a dancer stuck inside it. It was really interesting to watch the uniqueness and creativity that some countries can put into their entries, and while he sings to us with the typical Soviet accent in English. I think that the performance was a little over the top in terms of dramatics and loses points in that regard, and with a refrain a little too loud for the rest of the song, I can see the appeal for it’s qualification, but I don’t really like it. Azerbaijan really is a sure qualifier year-in and year-out, so even with strange or lackluster entries they are still in the final.

Finland – Krista Siegfrids
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.05.Finland - Krista Siegfrids

With the Pink/Katy Perry feeling this Ding-Dong classic about marriage is something in my eye between a serious pop song and a parody. I know that the Finnish delegation was really giving it their all, and this year I think they hit the mark with the song, but missed the mark with the presentation. It’s just a bit too mocking and over-the-top? It’s going to be a radio-hit for sure in Scandinavia, so thumbs up for that one, but really it went a bit overboard. With dramatic girl on girl action at the end raises question of this was more of a political commentary on gay-rights and there for shock factor. I’m not convinced that Western Europe cared, but I can see the East being all freaked out. It’s really not a huge deal, love is love, right? But maybe it had something to do with the following day being the International Day Against Homophobia. Either way, coolbeans!

Malta – Gianluca
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.06.Malta - Gianluca

I was really on the fence about this one for several reasons. The song is awesome if I listen to it with my eyes closed, but when I open my eyes to see the singer and the band I kind of think it’s a disaster. It’s one thing to be smiley, but it was so far over the top from Gianluca that I don’t even know what to say. He looks like a 80 year old Chinese Man because his face is pulled so tight from smiling. Apart from that the simple indie song that really people can relate to, was sold to the audience in what I consider to be a surprise finalist qualification. Meanwhile, we will be okay, and so will Malta but I’m not sure how it will fare in the final. Deserving to be there, but may be tragic as usually most people forget about Malta.

Bulgaria – Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.07.Bulgaria - Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankulov

The ethnic styled singing and professional drummers from Bulgaria return from their past entrance in the competition. But what I find is odd, is that I don’t really think that much has changed since they were in the competition before. The songs are very similar in terms of how they sound and what happens on stage, so I’m really at a loss as to what to say other than Elitsa’s voice was as ethnically awesome as usual and sets her apart from the rest of the competition, but the return of Bulgaria’s hopes was shattered this year; in 2007 after a year absence, Bulgaria stormed into the final, but this time it wasn’t to be. Interesting information though, this was Bulgaria’s 2nd rated song in their national finals, the network had a problem with getting the copyrighted rights to the song that won, so they had to go wtih the second best. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t such a success.

Iceland – Eythor Ingi (Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson)
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.08.Iceland - Eythor Ingi

What can we say about Iceland in Eurovision? They are often quite forgotten with awesome songs. With the likes of Paul Oskar in comparison, Eyþór (who’s name was simplified for English Speakers to be “Eythor”) brings us an Icelandic ballad with it’s simplicity and sweetness. With a beautiful stage presence, coastal Icelandic backgrounds, and what I believe to be one of the most beautiful of the Nordic languages, Icelandic language made this song just perfect. He looks Icelandic, it is Icelandic, it’s Iceland screaming out to be heard and seen, and as the song progresses and become more dramatic I think they put their own type of exclamation point on the song. A shock to see in the final, as Iceland usually barely qualifies, but totally deserving as one of this year’s best songs flat out. It should be top-5 if not top-10 in the final, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

Greece – Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis
=> Qualifier
SF2.09.Greece - Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis

The fact that Greece even attends this competition in the middle of a catastrophic financial crisis is room for concern, but politics aside it’s no surprise that Greece qualifies even with a blah song. Why sing about alcohol being free? It’s kind of nice that Greece doesn’t send a night-club summer hit like they do every year, but this frantic ethnic-pop song misses the boat in my eyes. I can only assume that women vote for manly Greek men that are very short, and wear skirts (or kilts, or whatever they would be called in Greek culture), that wink at you in the camera. It’s that Greek charm at it’s best, that is disconcerting to me. I can confirm vehemently that such charms would never work on me! Sadly for the rest of Europe, they fall victim to it.

Israel – Moran Mazor
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.10.Israel - Moran Mazor

Celebrating her 22nd birthday, Moran gave us a simple and strong Hebrew ballad that usually is more successful in the competition. Shockingly it didn’t qualify and I can’t deduce why it didn’t. With an obviously good song, an obviously “out there” look of elegance mixed with nerdy (see massive glasses) sticks in the mind, but didn’t convince televoters. I suspect that the juries gave her top marks but the televoters failed to represent her effectively. That woman had so much diamond-bling on her I’m surprised she wasn’t mugged in the parking lot because between her voice and her dress and accessories, she dazzled figuratively and literally.

Armenia – Dorians
=> Qualifier
SF2.11.Armenia - Dorians

This built for radio song is a bit a surprise for me from Armenia with it’s obvious Western tendencies, a drift away from it’s Eastern roots of recent years. Visually I just had a bit of problems of the look of the singers and band, but it’s a clear qualifier and a feel good pop song that’s smooth and built for being a radio hit. It’s good enough for the final, but do I believe it to be good enough for winning the competition? I don’t think so, but it should be top-10 to say the least. They just need to pray that their background singers don’t go flat like they did in this performance towards the end.

Hungary – ByeAlex
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.12.Hungary - ByeAlex

After reading some reviews from some other people of this entry about a month ago I kind of agreed with what they said. Hungary has this tendency to send original quirky songs to Eurovision and I think it does them justice given that it’s a linguistic and cultural separated from the rest of Western and Eastern Europe. And so when we watch these hipsters from Hungary sing a simple quirky pop song, we kind of think of the quirks of Bosnia & Herzegovina who are absent this year. It’s just fun and nice, and I was pleasantly surprised when Hungary was announced as a winner, because quite honestly it wasn’t a bookies favourite. Good job Europe in recognising a good song when you see and hear it.

Norway – Margaret Berger
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.13.Norway - Margaret Berger

This song is so far away from what we are used to from Norway. It’s a simple singer, beautifully dressed and looking to be a siren to the straight boys, singing an eletronika-pop song that I’m really surprised was a sell to the rest of Europe. With the intense base and backing instrumentals it’s really intense and doesn’t fit the normal “sucess” formula. However, with it’s qualification it guaranteed the penta-qualification of the Nordic Region. What more can we say than, suck on that, fuck yeah!

Albania – Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko
SF2.14.Albania - Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko

Breaking away from it’s usual good songs run, Albania sends hard rock this year. As a result of it’s departure from good music, and the utter dismal collapse of the Balkans music in Eurovision, Albania went nowhere. But to be completely fair, this song didn’t deserve any noteworthy mention. The clothing and “look” of the group was dark and emo-ish, and the only noteworthy point would be that it had an “ethnic” flare in the music, but it wasn’t enough even with it in Albanian language.

Georgia – Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.15.Georgia - Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani

What happens when a country gets desperate to get into the final but not necessarily win? They hire Thomas G:son and then plunk in some national singers to sing the song, butcher the English language, and use a formula Eurovision song like this one. It’s a beautiful song, don’t get me wrong, but it just gets too loud with instrumentation and voice at the end for my liking. Analysts are calling it a “safe” song Georgia, which usually likes to go out on a limb, but after last year’s failure to qualify in the Easternlands of Baku, they revert back to what they think will please, instead of doing what they want to do and people liking them for that. I also think that a repeat performance of Azerbaijan’s song isn’t a good recipe because it looks like a rip-off… just saying.

Switzerland – Takasa
SF2.16.Switzerland - Takasa

With this group of young and old, officially called Heilsarmee (Salvation Army) performs a song that I don’t really know what to say about. Officially banned from using their name or wearing their religious army’s uniforms, they still push the envelope with their Mormon missionary style outfits. I think it’s kind of a parody, but for some reason Switzerland chose them to represent their people. I don’t know how representative they would be, but their song is decent in the beginning and then loses steam quickly. This may sound very out of line, but really they are an attractive bunch and between Copenhagen and Malmö and their loss, they will find nothing but people throwing themselves at them, which for the men might be awkward as the ghayz have converged on Eurovision as per usual and hot is hot, regardless of orientation. 🙂

Romania – Cezar
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.17.Romania - Cezar

This year Romania decided to send an operatic singer to sing a pop-dance song, and dress up in ridiculous Eurovision costumes. Though officially he’s a counter-tenor (male mezzo-soprano or alto) it’s a very strange mixture. Admittedly in the past opera singers have done well in the competition, think of Slovenia, Sweden however this one misses something. They have good dancers and a good stage presence, and he knows how to sing obviously and is bang on, but it’s just not sitting well for me. It’s so weird, but maybe that’s why it qualified. I didn’t expect it to, but for some reason people flocked to it like moths to light. Sometimes different stands out, even if it’s a bit bland. The only thing the act didn’t have was people making out, or crazy costume changes.


So after hearing the songs and seeing the little sketches with Lynda Woodruff and, get this, Edward af Sillén pretending to be a Danish sausage-seller made me laugh. Edward af Sillén is so sexy, even as a sausage-vendor, but enough gushing about him (even though it’s so obviously deserved). During the voting results were being tabulated, Agnes and Darin graced us with their presence, despite their failed attempts at representing Sweden in Eurovision. They put on a great show and had me on the edge of my seat, as they were worthy of winning themselves!

SF2.00.Petra MedeSF2.00-03.Greek Fan

As usual Petra Mede was an amazing host, especially with the historical look at Eurovision history and the dramatic reveal of the qualifying contestants. Twelve points so far to Petra! One moment of note also is as Greece qualified, they zeroed in on a Greek fan, whom I can guarantee got laid that night.

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

1) Hungary – surprise hipsters yo!
2) Azerbaijan – as always… no surprises here!
3) Georgia – safe picks always win, go Thomas G:son
4) Romania – surprise opera counter-tenor dance song.. huh?
5) Norway – elektropop dubstep gorgeous awesomeness power!
6) Iceland – surprise! GO NORDIC REGION GO!
7) Armenia – lots of booing for this one…?
8) Finland – listen to those cheers – girl on girl kissing works!
9) Malta – surprises all around and failed camera kissing!
10) Greece – really? so sad… why you always qualify!?

See you Saturday! (Post updated with pictures and new comments!)

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!)