A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Semi 1: everybody keep your shirt on

I had a good time in front of my tv-set last night. I thought the first semi from Malmö was a fresh and delightful little starter dish to feed our appetite for Saturday's final.

SVT put on some really nice television with a suitably high tempo, nice camera work, a sense of circumstance and occasion without getting too serious or pompous. There were also a few surprises, in the actual show as well as in the results.

And that's what got quite a few emotions boiling, I guess. I woke up to a stream of angry words about how unfair the world is, how everything went wrong and how political everything is.

People are angry about all six ex-Soviet countries qualifying and seemingly equally angry about every ex-Yugoslav state missing out. Rumours are now flying around about countries like Slovenia, Montenegro and even Austria "surely" withdrawing after this.

First thing first. This is a competition. You can't expect to win or do well on every occasion. Only very sore losers would compete only in competitions where they are sure to win. The Netherlands missed out on eight consecutive occasions without withdrawing. Knock it off.

Implying that some countries qualified only because they were once part of the Soviet Union is just plain silly. Russia, Ukraine, Estonia and Moldova all entered ambitious, polished performances that came across very well to the people at home, who largely heard and saw the songs for the first time last night.

When it comes to Belarus and Lithuania and why they qualified, I will need a little more time to find a suitable explanation, but nobody could call Belarus a default qualifier that succeeds every year.

As for the non-qualifiers, they were just not convincing enough. Austria, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia had nice songs that most people certainly appreciated but that failed to stay in people's minds. Especially Slovenia's Hannah had bad luck as her section chosen for the quick recaps sounded quite harsh.

Serbia ruined their chances with a messy and shouty performance while Montenegro - cutting edge in all departments - probably proved a bit too much both visually and vocally. Unfortunate as I wish more countries would dare taking risks, but they didn't fail because they come from former Yugoslavia.

It's more than OK to be disappointed if your country or your favourite missed out, but then take a deep breath and the party will go on tomorrow night.


  1. Well said! I wanted Montenegro to get through, just to give the final some musical (and visual) variety, but I'm not crying about it. :-)

  2. It is nice to read an adequate comment on this years Eurovision song contest. It is was not enought information and a lot of people does not know, that this year, first time for many years the list of contenders for semifinales was made by lottery draw. It could help neighboring countries, but it did not helped ex-Yugoslav republics. Because theirs artists this year was not good enought. And it is not "political votes". Make good performance and you can win. Artist need to unite people from all over Europe, not from some region, and not with song "Let unite Europe" or "I will win tonight" for example. And Europe's votes show who was better for finale. I am from Ukraine, but I think, this year the best performance could show representative of Norway Margaret Berger with song "I Feed You My Love". I will vote for this song.