Hello again! The first semi final of Eurovision 2013 is just hours away (!!!!!!!) and I’m about to begin my internet sabbatical to avoid spoilers before our Friday broadcast (if you want the reasoning behind my not watching the live stream, just ask). So I’ve got a little more time to make some predictions on what will go down tonight, on Thursday, and finally on Saturday, when Loreen’s successor will be crowned. Well, trophied. Brace yourselves for a shockingly inaccurate reading of Eurovision’s palm, from go to whoa.
Semi Final 1
Who will qualify: Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Moldova, Montenegro, Belarus, Ireland and Serbia.
Who I want to qualify: Croatia, Denmark, Ukraine, Netherlands, Montenegro, Lithuania, Moldova, Ireland, Belgium and Serbia.
Who is most likely to…
Win the semi: Russia. I had to force myself to type that instead of Denmark, but I just have a feeling that something this horrible could happen. In spite of the cheese and what I hear is a very frumpy outfit, the juries will rate Dina’s perfect vocal and the voters who haven’t been previously exposed will probably lap up the “feel good” ballad. Blerrgh.
Lose the semi: Belgium. I had to force myself to type that too, as the self-proclaimed captain of Team Belgique for 2013. I think Roberto is adorable (in a dark and mysterious yet awkward and uncomfortable kind of way) and Love Kills is my cup of tea, but this is Belgium we’re talking about. As much as I want a qualification to happen, I have to be realistic. Sob.
Get the biggest round of applause: Montenegro. Igranka is one of the few songs in this semi that will get people up and dancing, and Who See will be duly compensated with a hefty send-off. Plus, who wouldn’t cheer for people who voluntarily decided to wear space suits at Eurovision?
Sing best live: Klapa s Mora and Zlata Ognevich. Both the boys and Zlata are amazing vocalists. I can’t wait to hear the Klapa harmonising in that spine-tingling manner of theirs, and Zlata tearing into the big notes like nobody else. PS – did anyone else notice that the first word in Mižerja is ‘zlata’? I know it’s a legit word meaning ‘gold’, but I’m starting to think Croatia and Ukraine are in cahoots.
Sing worst live: Alyona Lanskaya. She’s pitchy at the best of times, but with all the cha-cha moves she’ll be doing, I can imagine her being carried (not literally – that’s what shirtless dancers are for) by her backing vocalists. It is possible that I’m just willing her to be bad on the off chance it frees up a space for a worthier song in the final.
Make the best use of the background: Ukraine and Ireland. For one, I’m visualising forests and flowers and diamonds and unicorns. For the other, Celtic symbols and love hearts and flames. You decide which is which.
Have the most boring stage show: Cyprus or Estonia. Mark my words, Despina or Birgit will be the Iris of Year Malmö – the pretty girl in the nice dress with absolutely nothing going on around her. Both of their songs are too lacklustre to carry off such minimalism.
Have the best costume/s: Aliona Moon. You know what they say: if you’re going to rip off something Azerbaijan did, do it better (and add a hairstyle Rona Nishliu would be reluctant to try out). Sabina Babayeva’s projector gown clearly started a revolution, and Aliona’s just the latest person to take it to the next level.
Have the worst costume/s: Serbia. We know the devil/angel thing is no more, and has been replaced by what has been described as ‘workers from the Willy Wonka factory gone mad’. I’ve seen a thumbnail of these outfits, and to me they looked like Kool Mint-studded umbrellas. Who knows? Maybe once I see them in HD I’ll love them.
Semi Final 2
Who will qualify: San Marino, Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Greece, Israel, Hungary, Norway, Georgia and Romania.
Who I want to qualify: San Marino, Macedonia, Finland, Malta, Bulgaria, Iceland, Hungary, Norway, Albania and Switzerland.
Who is most likely to…
Win the semi: Azerbaijan. They’ve got a better song than what won them Eurovision 2011, and what sounds to be even cleverer staging. There’s nothing stopping Farid from annihilating the competition.
Lose the semi: Macedonia. I like Pred Da Se Razdeni, but it is a shambles of a song. It would be too easy for it to come last.
Get the biggest round of applause: Greece. This is going to go off, especially coming after the sedate and simple Iceland. You can’t tell me the audience won’t be sucked into it and be yelling for more (as well as some free alcohol) when Agathonas has stroked his ‘stache for the final time.
Sing best live: Moran Mazor and Sophie & Nodi. Moran may not have a ballad as good as Milim, but her voice won’t be doing a Harel Skaat crack anytime soon. And Sophie & Nodi are Georgian, so it goes without saying that they can sing like angels.
Sing worst live: Armenia. Lonely Planet is a screamer song, and sometimes Gor Sujyan can scream out of tune.
Make the best use of the background: Georgia. They may not be so obvious as to run three minutes’ worth of aerial waterfall footage, but they’ll do something mesmerising, I reckon.
Have the most boring stage show: Israel. Moran will be on the stage in her revealing dress, singing ‘rak bishvilooooo’ over and over (and over) again. If there is a surprise dancer I will happily eat my words for entertainment’s sake.
Have the best costume: Krista Seigfrids. Let’s face it, any kind of bridal wear will be an improvement on the gold lamé mini dress Moldova used for Natalia the Bride in 2006. There will be poofiness, and there will be coordinating accessories.
Have the worst costume: Cezar. This man could take to the stage wearing anything, and that scares me a little. Nothing is off limits for someone who can breeze through their entire eight-octave vocal range in under ten seconds.
The Grand Final
Who will win Eurovision 2012: Don’t ask me to choose one. C’est impossible! All I can manage is a narrow-down to four.
Azerbaijan. Like I said, they’ve got a better song than Running Scared, a genius stage show (by all accounts), a powerful male singer some would call attractive (he’s not up my street personally) and last but not least, they’re Azerbaijan. The only time they haven’t done amazingly well was in Junior Eurovision, and I actually think that was unjustified. I’ve come around on Hold Me enough that I won’t burst into tears if it does win, but my main gripe would be Eurovision heading back to controversial Baku so soon.
Denmark. Although I’ve had this feeling for a while that the bookies’ favourite won’t take it out, I can’t really discount them. This is a year where anything can and will happen. It would be neat for the Danes to win on Swedish soil, just like they did in 2000.
Georgia. Can’t you picture the credits rolling over Sophie and Nodi’s exuberant faces as they reprise Waterfall? I bet Thomas g:son has at least thought about which shelf in his trophy cabinet to put the 2013 gong on. Sure, Georgia can do better, and sure, this new trend of importing Swedish ballads is annoying, but this song is just the kind of accessible, soaring schmaltz (sung extremely well) that the decision-makers might resort to in the wake of high-energy Euphoria.
Finally, for a random outside bet…Greece. It would be nice for a song that doesn’t take itself too seriously (but is still a very good song) to come out on top, and I think it could be Alcohol Is Free. Maybe. Eh, I just felt like stepping outside of the obvious box for a minute.
Who will make the top 10: Azerbaijan, Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Russia and Ukraine.
Who will be left at the bottom: Spain, or Belarus/Israel (assuming they qualify).
How the final 6 will end up: If Azerbaijan isn’t on top, I can’t see any result lower than 5th for them. Germany should be in the 3rd-6th range, with Italy around 9th or 10th. I’m seeing France and Sweden somewhere in 11th-15th, with the UK and Spain bringing up the rear in 16th-26th.
5 countries I want to succeed the most: Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro and Sweden.
5 countries I’d love to win: Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden or Ukraine.
5 things I’m most looking forward to:
Observing the standing fans – It’s been a while since Eurovision had a STANDING ROOM ONLY section, so even though I’d be bringing a deck chair if it were me, I’m happy enough to watch how it changes the dynamics from my position on the couch.
The interval act of semi final 2 – If someone asked me ‘Which two Swedish soloists would you choose to perform medleys of their greatest hits during the interval of a Eurovision semi final?’ I would say ‘Why, Darin and Agnes, of course, you nincompoop!’ And now, it’s going to happen. My dream is coming true.
A familiar face in the green room – A Mr. Eric Saade (that’s pronounced ‘Sha-day’ if you’re Lynda Woodruff) will be cavorting around the green room, hopefully in tight trousers. What am I saying? As if he ever wears anything else.
The postcards – When they’re blatantly touristy, I lose interest. Honing in on the artist for a change was a good decision made by SVT. I’m excited to see these.
The ‘host country’ cheer – This could well be my favourite part of every final. Even watching from home, you can feel the buzz start to build before the host entrant even steps on stage. Before, during and after Robin Stjernberg, expect supportive noise.
5 cities I’d love to host the ESC next year:
Whew, that was exhausting! All of that crystal ball gazing/palm reading/haphazard guessing has worn me out, so I’m off to have a sleep. By the time I wake up, the first semi will be over, and I’ll be dodging social media like a woman possessed. So until the weekend, when I’ll be back with a wrap-up of the semis, goodbye. I hope you have a very merry ESC experience, wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Unless you’re in Malmö rubbing shoulders with Marco Mengoni and Cascada, in which case I hope you have a terrible time…not that I’m jealous or anything.
What do you make of my predictions? Which countries do you think will succeed, fail, shock and surprise?