A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Semi 2: if I had to pick ten finalists now...

If I really had to pick ten finalists now, I would probably be reduced to tears. Semi two is so much harder to predict - there are more songs I find mediocre but that I fear will beat songs I like dearly.

I'm sure of five or six songs, the rest feel like picking out lottery numbers.

But - as with my semi one top ten - this list is not final. These are the ten songs I would predict if I had to do that now. (I don't have to. This is just a game. Real list will emerge on Thurday 16th.)

I still fail to see the greatness in this song, but I think Esma will stay in most people's minds when the phone lines open and sometimes being memorable beats having a proper melody line.

They never fail, do they? One day their strategy of making toothless and indifferent songs seem shiny and high-tech will backfire on them. Most probably not this year.

Quirky, fast-paced and instant - also Krista will make a lasting impression on the audience. Anything but a place in the final would be a big surprise and a huge disappointment.

Far from sure about this one but in a noisy crowd of party people, folklore singing and jaunty bridezillas, Malta's laid back little ditty could come along as a quiet oasis. Many people will appreciate that as well as the happy sound and the catchy chorus. I hope I'm right here.

Just like Malta, Iceland's ballad will stand out among all the people who have put together elaborate dance numbers and show elements. This song is not a personal favourite of mine, but Iceland has a tendency of being strong enough at the right time.

Energetic young men dancing in kilts, singing a song about their motherland crumbling into the ocean more or less. Temper paired with a lyrical reality-check that seems to have passed surprisingly many people by so far. Should reach the final without greater difficulty.

A lovely little song that reportedly has been performed with a lack of charm and camera contact so far. I'm not worried as yet. I think ByeAlex will find his cameras before the semi final and that the hypnotic qualities of the song will win through. It would be a big failure for the contest if this one doesn't make it.

The song I have the least doubts about. Margaret Berger is a professional, when the live broadcast goes out over the world she will be ready and perform her song like the star that she is and Europe will fall flat at her feet.

A powerhouse of a ballad that will sail safely into the final. Once there, it will probably be punished for stealing too many elements from Azerbaijan's 2011 winner. But at this point it is bound to do well.

Put San Marino and Israel in a hat. Add Switzerland in case Europe loves a really old bass player. Add Romania if Europe feels like a countertenor. Add Latvia in case Europe wants a big party. Add Bulgaria in case Europe needs more drums in the final. Shake well. Pull out one country. I want the last qualifier to be San Marino - it would be a wonderful achievement for them to finally make it onto the scoreboard. But I would not bet my own money on that happening just yet.

What ten songs would you pick? My final list will be on this blog in a week from now - the day of the second semi final in Malmö.


  1. No worries about Hungary. Alex was a placeholder for the camera rehearsal and knew fine well he was - he fiddled with his watch a few times, chatted with the guitarist, did some silly runs and alternative vocal lines, and so on. Some of the usual fans interpret that as a "bad rehearsal", whereas in fact he understands the game entirely. :)

    1. That is more or less what I though. I find it amusing that many people - who have attended several contests - always fail to recognise that singers can hold back during the first rehearsals and that it doesn't mean a thing in the end.

      Also suggesting that the way the singers behave at the fan meet-and-greet could influence the outcome in the actual contest... Amusing.

  2. I'm not sure whether Hungary or Bulgaria will qualify. And no Macedonia in my list, it's Israel. Malta and Finland are my favourites. I'm glad that Greece escaped their typical Eurovision songs and very happy for Norway - a top five song.