I think everyone has a draw or cupboard in their house where all the random stuff goes – the stuff that doesn’t seem to belong anywhere else. This post is a bit like that, so I hope you’re not in the mood for order and specificity and other fancy words. The fact is, not only does the NF season officially start tonight (for me anyway, since Norway’s is the first I’m covering in detail) but quite a few other momentous but unrelated events have happened in the world of Eurovision in the last week or so. So let’s get on with discussing all of that, shall we?
The allocation draw
As irritated as I still am by the whole ‘orchestrated running order’ situation, it was exciting to tune in to the semi allocation draw on Thursday, live from Malmö. For once I got to watch something ESC-related at a reasonable hour (9pm) and that was satisfying. Also satisfying was the draw starting a) precisely on time and b) without the technical difficulties that plagued the running order draw from Baku. With a brief intro from hostess Pernilla and some explanations from Jon Ola Sand, the pulling of little rolls of paper from fishbowls began.
And then ended a short while later. Here are the results you’ve probably already seen a bunch of times.
Denmark, Croatia, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Austria, Slovenia, Estonia, Russia
Lithuania, Serbia, Ireland, Belarus, Cyprus, Montenegro, Belgium, Moldova
– The UK, Sweden and Italy will vote in this semi. This should please Ireland and Denmark.
– The majority of entries already known were drawn in this semi, meaning it’s Zlata vs. Andrius vs. Alyona vs. Roberto for a place in the final…sort of.
– Both Serbia and Montenegro were drawn in the second half, which means the producers can’t possibly make either of them go first (again) or dreaded second.
Latvia, Azerbaijan, Malta, Iceland, San Marino, FYR Macedonia, Finland, Bulgaria
Israel, Norway, Albania, Hungary, Switzerland, Georgia, Greece, Armenia, Romania
– France, Germany and Spain will vote in this semi.
– As always, one FYR will be left without any others to support them when it comes to the votes. Last year, it was Montenegro, but this time around it’s poor old Macedonia, who has enough trouble qualifying as it is. Hopefully the promising duo representing them will make that irrelevant.
– Semi 2 is usually the stronger semi, and with the uneven number of semi-finalists in 2013 it will be that little bit harder to get out of.
What are your thoughts on the draw?
Malmö 2013: We Are One
And apparently, also butterflies (‘…flying to the suuun, the sun will never let us look insiiiiiide’ #spontaneouskaraoke). No, I do get the butterfly concept now. At first I was sitting at my desk musing over all the things it could possibly signify like any literature student would be compelled to, until I read the official explanation. It’s all about the butterfly effect – one event making big waves across the world, and presumably uniting us all, which is where the slogan comes in.
My thoughts on that? Well, it’s a bit cliché, and reminds me of a certain song every time I see it or say it, but it does go along with the Eurovision ethos. And let’s face it; there are only so many decent slogans for an event like this you can come up with anyway. I reckon they’ll all have been used up by about 2020.
To get back to the logo for a minute…I do like it. It’s something different, it’s colourful, and it has the potential to be transformed into some awesome visuals. Will it go down as one of my all-time favourite themes? Probably not. Those colours and patterns are quite random. But it certainly won’t be shoved to the back of my mind where all the hideous logos end up (such as Serbia’s thankfully rejected monstrosity of ’08, discussed in the past here at EBJ). What do you think – is it a triumph or is it trash?
Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix begins
And I would be more excited if it didn’t seem like such a non-event. NRK have been strangely protective of MGP info this year, including the process (how many songs are supposed to qualify?) and the entries themselves, which were revealed last week for this semi but haven’t been uploaded slap bang in the middle of the internet where a dunce like me can find and listen to them. You can attempt to listen to tonight’s seven competitors here: http://www.nrk.no/multimedia/1.10869294 but if your luck is anything like mine, all you’ll get is a 30-second iTunes snippet to make judgments on. A few of the songs have been put up on Youtube by random people, so seek those out if you can.
Anyway, I have managed to hear the entirety or part of all seven songs, the performers of which will (I assume) be desperate to win a ticket to the February final. This is the role call:
- Paid My Way by Vidar Busk
- Sleepwalking by Carina Dahl
- Det Er Du by Tom Hugo
- Alone by Gromth feat. Emil Solli-Tangen
- Give A Little Something Back by Julie Bergan
- Catch Me by Mimi Blix & Doc M.C.
- The Underground by Datarock
There are a few familiar names in there, from past MGP-ers Carina and Mimi to Didrik Solli-Tangen’s little brother Emil, who by total coincidence also sings opera. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of promising songs in there, unlike in the semis of MGP 2012. There are a few I like, namely…
Sleepwalking – I didn’t really like Carina’s last entry, but this is a huge improvement. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s good, catchy top-40 pop with an excellent key change. I really like the rawness in her voice, too.
Give A Little Something Back – Again, this is middle-of-the-road, radio-friendly pop music, but that just happens to be right up my street. Both this and Sleepwalking were co-written by Ben Adams, who was a member of A1 (one of the many boy bands I loved in my girlhood and runners-up in MGP 2010). I guess he has a specialty.
Catch Me – We were bound to get flooded with dance music during NF season in the wake of Euphoria. This is no Euphoria, but it’s infectious enough in a weak field, and infinitely better than the Catch Me from the Swiss final. I could be coaxed into doing the sprinkler to it.
So, if it turns out there’s to be three qualifiers (like last year) the trio above are the ones I’d like to see make it. But I think it will be a good night for Vidar, Gromth & Emil and Datarock. Vidar is peddling the IMO yawn-worthy rockabilly music that always seems to get through in Scandinavia. Gromth and Emil are going for an unsettling combo of metal and opera, unsettling because the metal parts are hideous (I just can’t stand that screaming) but Emil’s are quite pleasant. And Datarock are going a bit retro disco, which should get the audience out of their seats.
That’s about all the randomness I wanted to ramble on about tonight, so now you and I both can get back to being excited about all of the stuff going on at the moment. There are heats happening all over the place, upcoming final decisions, and sudden internal selections on the way. Plus, with the theme art out and the draw done and dusted, you know Malmö’s not that far away anymore. To be (almost) precise, it’s a mere sixteen weeks from now. That’s only four months!
Hmm…let’s leave it at ‘sixteen weeks’.