A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Semi 1: if I had to pick ten finalists now...

In one week from now, we will have the first semi final coming live from Malmö and by then I promise to make some sort of rather credible prediction what I really think will happen on the night.

But let's play a game now.

It's over a month since I started reviewing the songs, and I lived with them every since then. Some went  up my list, some went down.

I haven't watched any footage from the Malmö rehearsals but I did read the odd review of what goes on and as usual opinions vary immensely as to who can sing and whose performance is good. Business as usual.

But I will select ten finalists now. It is not my final list, you will have that on Tuesday 14th. But if the final was held now and I had to predict, these are the ten songs that would make it to the final.

Beautiful and endearing, very well sung and genuine on top of that. Clearly the best one of the classical female ballads in this semi, and the juries should prefer this to both Russia and Cyprus.

The competent piece of folklore that will appeal to a certain section of the audience. It will be completely overlooked in most predictions but will probably pick some solid average points in addition to the odd top mark.

People loves a drum, a tin whistle and a fragile elf caught in a wind machine. Denmark is a very obvious qualifier.

There is probably no way around this insincere ballad monster. I think it will have less supporters than we expect - it will struggle to win most western juries over - and might end up with a surprisingly low score in the final.

There seems to be a whole flock of question marks surrounding this live performance, but I don't worry much. Ukrainian entries are good even when they are bad and this year they are good. Surely a finalist.

The quality grower of the year. It could perhaps struggle a bit in the semi but could very well be the Suus of the year in the final. A firm jury favourite. I'm not worried. Yet.

Seems to have been impressive during the first rehearsals. This kind of song is very easy to mess up on stage, which makes it stressful and unaccessible for the viewers. If they avoid that, they will steal Slovenia's modern points and be a "surprise" qualifier.

Just like Ukraine, Moldova has this strange ability to make their songs work. This could be a tight race and the Moldovans could find themselves on tenth place in this semi. But a place in the final is not to be sniffed at.

Easy, straight-forward, contemporary with a charming young man who is easy on the eye. He's the first of his kind in this semi and the viewers will most probably reward that.

Exactly the same formula as Ireland. Perhaps these boys are also both a bit wobbly and lacking a bit of experience and confidence. It can also work to their advantage and make them grow stronger. There will be points enough for both of them.

Then there are lots of possible scenarios. Cyprus could break through to the voters thanks to its favourable spot in the running order and take Estonia's place in the final. Montenegro will fall apart in the live show or the song will prove too demanding despite the elaborate stage appearance - then it opens up for Slovenia or perhaps Austria. And Serbia could very well whip up enough interest around the continent to narrowly enter the top ten and kick Moldova or somebody out.

I will ponder all these options for yet another week and on Thursday I will play this very game with the songs of the second semi.

And what are your ten finalists right now? Feel free to tell me in a comment.


  1. Glad to see someone backing Croatia, Montenegro, Ireland and Belgium to advance. And what a highlight it would be for the Netherlands to go through after so long!
    At the moment, I'm thinking it's Estonia, Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Montenegro, Belarus, Ireland and Serbia. I feel like Moldova could (and should) be substituted for Belarus.
    And I wish Russia no luck whatsoever if they qualify, I'm sorry (not) to say. It is indeed a monster, albeit a monster made of cheese and insincerity.

    1. This "cheesy and insinsere monster" was written by two Swedish song wiriters.

    2. Dear Anonymous,

      I don't really see your point. Swedish composers are perfectly able to write insincere monster ballads as well. As proven beyond any doubt by this song.

  2. Anouk also performs a song written by a Swedish songwriter......so?