Hej hej, ladies and gents. You are reading the first installment of my annual trip back to the Eurovision that was. Was seemingly very recently, but in reality was just about a year ago, at that. Holy crap, right?
There’s less than a month to go until Copenhagen’s first semi, and we bloggers have a lot to cram in to such a short period – i.e. mass reviews and predictions – especially if we’re juggling uni assignments and a new job, as I am. But I’m going to make it all happen, because Eurovision is priority #1. Just don’t tell that to my lecturers or employers.
I’m beginning my re-coverage of last year’s contest right now with the Malmö Memories series (it’s not as catchy as Flashbaku, but what can you do?). During the next week I’ll be revealing my top 10 moments and top 10 entries, one year on, of 2013. But first, it’s recap time, in case anyone out there is having a brain snap and can’t remember what the heck went down in May. For those of you who can and just want a refresher, or even if you recall it all but are totes bored at the moment, this is also for you.
EUROVISION 2013: THE BASICS
When May 14th, 16th and 18th, 2013
Where Malmö Arena, Malmö, Sweden
Motto “We Are One”
Broadcaster Sveriges Television
Hosts Petra Mede, Eric Saade (green room)
Returnees 1 – Armenia
Withdrawals 4 – Bosnia & Herzegovina, Portugal, Slovakia, Turkey
Opened Austria – Shine by Natalia Kelly
Closed Serbia – Ljubav Je Svuda by Moje 3
Interval act “Northern Lights” dance piece
- Slovenia: No, Hannah didn’t qualify. And no, she didn’t hang on to her vocal as well as she could have ideally. But did she give it her all? Did she look freaking fierce? Was her staging and choreography top-notch? Um, yes, yes and YES. This was the first performance of the night that impressed me.
- Ukraine: Part of me wanted Zlata to be plonked on her boulder only to stack it and spew forth a stream of expletives. One person shouldn’t be allowed to be so stunning, talented AND graceful. But as it turns out, she was, and she gave a perfect performance of Gravity as always. I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She’s like a female Ott Lepland, only without the risk of impregnation via a smoldering gaze.
- Montenegro: Igranka was and still is epic in studio, but could so easily have been the car-crash live act of the year. Fortunately for Who See, not only did Macedonia take out that title, but the boys and Nina managed to pull off a great performance of the tricky dubstep number. The fact that this didn’t qualify still makes me weep.
- Moldova: This was just…everything. And I mean that. Moldova threw a lot at Aliona – the hair, the gown/projector screen, the dancers, the hydraulic lift – but she and her powerful voice complemented all of that rather than clashed with it.
- Ireland: Having avoided listening to Ryan live until Eurovision itself (for fear that a song I really liked would go straight on the ‘going nowhere’ pile) I was nervous about how he’d go in a massive arena in front of a huge live audience and an even huger TV audience. But somehow, Mr. Dolan went from amateur at best to a totally competent and on-pitch performer. Bravo.
- Belgium: Also proving the haters wrong was Roberto Bellarosa, who, despite being dressed like Donny Montell at a funeral, turned out a slick performance of Love Kills that made me as proud as if I were his mother. Weird but true.
- Denmark 167
- Russia 156
- Ukraine 140
- Moldova 95
- Belgium 75
- Netherlands 75
- Belarus 64
- Ireland 54
- Lithuania 53
- Estonia 52
- Serbia 46
- Montenegro 41
- Croatia 38
- Austria 27
- Cyprus 11
- Slovenia 8
- Denmark more than improved on 2012’s narrow qualification by winning the first semi, defeating the country that did the same in Baku.
- Belgium may have qualified for the first time since 2010, but Roberto’s advancement also marked the first qualification for an act selected by RTBF (Belgium’s French-language broadcaster) since the semi-final system was introduced.
- The Netherlands made it to the final for the first time since 2004.
- Six countries in total qualified for at least the second year running, whilst the other four appeared in the final after previous failures to do so.
- Serbia failed to qualify for the first time, ending the night in 11th place with Montenegro right behind them.
- Slovenia lost the first semi, but they scored themselves a better placing than 2012’s 17th.
Opened Latvia – Here We Go by PeR
Closed Romania – It’s My Life by Cezar
Interval act Darin performing Nobody Knows/So Yours and Agnes performing One Last Time/Release Me
- Azerbaijan: Here is a prime example of a country that really entered the Eurovision Staging Contest, but still managed to do damn well in the song equivalent. Hold Me did grow on me a lot, and it may or may not be one of my top 10 entries of the year (drop by later this week to find out!) but it was that nifty glass box and all that accompanied it that won me over. PS – can you buy those on eBay?
- Greece: In Baku we got cliché Greece, but thankfully Malmö gave us fun Greece. Koza Mostra were a definite personal highlight because, from the moment Agathonas plucked his first bouzouki string, they got the audience going, and you could feel the atmosphere from your couch. Bonus points for having the ultimate sing-along chorus under their kilts.
- Israel: I won’t mention That Dress (again). Instead, I’ll take a moment to bask in the sheer power and range of Moran’s glorious vocals. Pardon my French, but she sang the shit out of Rak Bishvilo, putting more emotion into her three minutes than the average cast member of Days of Our Lives puts into their entire career. That probably explains her reaction to not qualifying, proudly sponsored by Kleenex.
- Hungary: What a gem you are, Kedvesem. I love this song to bits. Like Montenegro, however, Hungary could have come undone in the arena setting. But the quiet beauty of it managed to come through in that less-than-intimate context. My favourite part was when the audience began to clap along, because that’s when I knew ByeAlex was connecting and had a chance of moving on.
- Norway: Girl crush alert! Margaret took to the stage looking like a sexy White Witch of Narnia, and gave an equally magnetic rendition of IFYML. It was Margs, and not an assortment of props, that did most of the vote-capturing.
- Azerbaijan 139
- Greece 121
- Norway 120
- Malta 118
- Romania 83
- Iceland 72
- Armenia 69
- Hungary 66
- Finland 64
- Georgia 63
- San Marino 47
- Bulgaria 45
- Switzerland 41
- Israel 40
- Albania 31
- Macedonia 28
- Latvia 13
- Azerbaijan topped their semi for the first time, having come 2nd in 2009, 2010, and 2011 – the year they went on to win the whole contest.
- There were some close calls in this semi: Greece just pushed ahead of Norway to qualify 2nd; Hungary, Finland, and Georgia were in a battle just to make it through; and Israel came very near to nabbing the highly sought-after (not) 13th place from Switzerland.
- Hungary made it three for three qualifications since their 2011 comeback. Armenia went through for the first time since 2010 (having sat out the Baku contest) and Finland and Georgia were back on their game after DNQs in 2012.
- San Marino scored their best result ever with Valentina 2.0, but it wasn’t quite good enough to give them their first ticket to the final. She joined Bulgaria’s Elitsa and Stoyan as previous entrants that didn’t make it.
- Latvia lost this semi, marking their fifth consecutive failure to advance.
Opened France – L’Enfer Et Moi by Amandine Bourgeois
Closed Ireland – Only Love Survives by Ryan Dolan
Interval act Loreen performing a medley of We Got The Power/My Heart Is Refusing Me/Euphoria; Petra Mede performing Swedish Smörgåsbord; Sarah Dawn Finer performing The Winner Takes It All
- Belgium: Yet again, Le Bellarosa floated my boat, mostly because seeing him in the final meant Belgium was in the final – and that was a shock. He did his country proud, and he must have known it too because OMG THAT ADORABLE LITTLE JUMP FOR JOY AT THE END! I don’t even ‘aww’ at babies, but THAT was heart-melting stuff.
- Germany: Glorious and all that surrounded it – Natalie’s dress, the props, the timing of the wind machine – lacked the impact we saw at the German final last year. However, that song was made for the stage (and the club) and as it was one of my favourites at the time, I still think it worked in a totally non-biased way.
- Sweden: Home (country) boy Robin also did his country proud in what I thought was an architectural award-winning jacket. I never get tired of the special reception host entries get from the audience.
- Hungary: ByeAlex and his two musketeers seemed to have gained confidence from their qualification, and that showed through in a performance that was just as quietly wonderful, but more polished than it had been in the semi.
- Denmark 281
- Azerbaijan 234
- Ukraine 214
- Norway 191
- Russia 174
- Greece 152
- Italy 126
- Malta 120
- Netherlands 114
- Hungary 84
- Moldova 71
- Belgium 71
- Romania 65
- Sweden 62
- Georgia 50
- Belarus 48
- Iceland 47
- Armenia 41
- United Kingdom 23
- Estonia 19
- Germany 18
- Lithuania 17
- France 14
- Finland 13
- Spain 8
- Ireland 5
- Denmark won the contest with a decent score, but definitely not by a landslide. Emmelie was helped along by 8 sets of douze points, none of which came from Denmark’s neighbours. Finland and Sweden elected to give theirs to Norway, whilst Norway sent theirs to hosts Sweden.
- In 2012, Loreen won Eurovision with 18 sets of douze, her nearest rivals in that department being Albania, Azerbaijan and Serbia, all on 4 sets. Emmelie scored a meager 8 sets in comparison, two less than Azerbaijan. Ukraine scored 5, and Italy and Norway 3 apiece.
- Let’s talk language: the 2013 top 10 featured three songs not performed entirely in English, with just two being completely native. Greece was the highest finisher of the three, in 6th place. In 2012, twice as many songs in the top 10 were, at least in large part, in a language other than English.
- The Netherlands’ top 10 finish was their first since 1999.
- Moldova once again proved their prowess at not quite making it when they ended 11th for the second year running – after coming 12th in 2011.
- Countries making the biggest drops from good results to bad included Estonia, who went from 6th in 2012 to 20th, and Spain, who followed up Pastora Soler’s 10th place with 25th.
- On the upside, Hungary went from 24th to 10th, Malta 21st to 8th, and most impressive of all, Norway from last place to the top 5.
- Last-placed Ireland received points from three countries – the UK (1), Sweden (2) and Cyprus (2). Spain, in 25th place, received points fro, just two countries – Italy (2) and Albania (6).
Somebody stop me! I could probably pick out “fun” stat facts until the dawn of Eurovision 2099 (which, btw, will be held in San Marino for the fifth year in a row and be hosted by a cyborg in the likeness of Valentina Monetta). I think I’ve recapped Malmö enough for now. Or ever. So I’ll finish off by saying tack for reading, and by asking you…
…what were your highlights (or lowlights) of Eurovision 2013? Was there one performance that blew you away, or a result that shocked you to your very core (how dramatic!)? Let me know below.
NEXT TIME: Speaking of highlights, I’ll be expanding on that by counting down my top 10 Malmö moments. That’s everything from money notes to point revelations, interval acts, final poses and…other stuff. I don’t want to give it all away now, do I?