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Malmö Blog – Farväl Malmö, Hej København!

Denmark has won the ESC 2013 with 281 points, beating runner-up Azerbaijan by 47 points.


To the delight of fans who attended the afterparty at the Euroclub Emmelie de Forest later presented her winning song against the backdrop of a glowing Danish flag. Also seen at the afterparty were fellow Nordic contestants Krista Siegfrids (Finland), Eythor Ingi (Ireland) and Margaret Berger (Norway).


It was a huge disappointment to fans of Finland at the Malmö Arena when Krista was placed 24th. out of 26 contestants with a total score of 13 points (awarded by Denmark, France, Germany, Israel and San Marino). Many had hoped that Finland would have been at least in the top 15, but being Finland the country will surely be back again next year, ready for another try. The split jury/televoting results have not yet been released, and it would be interesting to see if the jury and televoters had awarded differing votes to Krista’s song, since apparently there was some hoo-ha in some countries about the girl-on-girl smooch at the end of her performance.


We say goodbye to host city Malmö with many thanks for its welcoming hospitality and a well-organised event, and see you next year across the Öresundbron (bridge) in Denmark!

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 2 Qualifiers

What a night it was with ecstatic fans, a great selection of competing entries as well as pop stars Darin and Agnes on stage as interval acts – here are some snapshots of it:


Europe has voted for ten countries to qualify from Semifinal 2 to the Grand Final on Saturday. Naturally there was some disappointment among the fans at the Malmö Arena when their favourite contestants were not selected, or when a song which was not a favourite did make it through (in this case Armenia).


There were quite audible boos going around the Malmö Arena when Armenia was called out, which to many others in the Arena was not good sportmanship and in fact was downright silly. The 11 000 attendees in the Arena are only a tiny fraction of the televoters and juries around Europe, and the majority had decided that Armenia would proceed to the Grand Final – like it or not, this is the way it is.


Before the live broadcast of Semifinal 2 started at 21:00, Euroviisuklubi had called for a gathering of fans of Finland at the Arena, and many turned up dressed in wedding finery. Even though there was a message on Facebook that Krista might be attending the gathering, in the end it was a good thing that she did not – she should save her best for the stage, which she did when she gave a tremendous performance which took Finland to the Grand Final: whoopee!


Again the Semifinal 2 press conference yielded some cute little bits of info. Overheard..


When asked if he would bring the ESC back to the Land of Fire Azerbaijan, Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan) replied, ”It’s a good idea..”.


When asked what she would like to say now that she had qualified to the Grand Final, Krista Siegfrid (Finland) replied, ”I was wondering if Farid wants to ”Marry Me”..”.. To which the Azerbaijan contestant replied, ”..If you will ”Hold Me”..”.


When asked how he felt now that Malta is in the Grand Final, Gianluca (Malta) sang, ”Euphoria..!”.


”Thank you..”, said Eythor Ingi (Iceland) when the event hostess teased that he looked so cool.


When asked what brought Greece’s entry ”Alcohol is Free”to the Grand Final, Ilias Kozas of band Koza Mostra replied, ”Maybe some people were a little bit drunk..?”.


The Armenian contestant is a band called ”Dorians”, and when asked which of the five band members was actually Dorian, the reply was, ”No one..”.


When asked the secret of his cool demeanor on stage, ByeAlex (Hungary) ruefully said, ”Actually I was really nervous..I almost fainted..I didn’t have time to eat..”.


When told that her many young fans usually comment that she looks like Lady Gaga, Margaret Berger (Norway) jokingly said, ”..If you look at my video on Youtube from 2006, I say that Lady Gaga looks like me..!”.


When asked how important it was for them to qualify to the Grand Final, Nodi Tatishvili (Georgia) replied, ”..This is important not only for us, but also (to) Georgia..Today in Georgia is a mourning day because three soldiers died in Afghanistan..”.


When the event hostess teased Cezar (Romania) that he was ”different”, a pouting Cezar replied, ”Not SO different..”. Then the event hostess commented that many people thought that he looked like Dracula, and Cezar (Romania) ad libbed, ”..or Nadia Comaneci..”.

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 1 Qualifiers Conference

Press conferences are always good places to pick up scintillating bits of info, and the Semifinal 1 Qualifiers press conference last Tuesday night was no different.


It was interesting to note that unlike previous years, this year the qualifiers would only draw to decide whether they will sing in the First Half or in the Second Half during the Grand Final next Saturday. The actual position numbers among the 26 available places will be decided later.




When asked how she felt to qualify to the Grand Final, Birgit (Estonia) replied, ”It was a surprise for me because Finland was not in this Semifinal..”. (Ross: as the ever-loving-neighbour Finland would certainly have voted for you, Birgit!).


When asked about her barefooted performance, Emmelie de Forest (Denmark) said, ”I feel comfortable not wearing shoes..” (Ross: and pretty feet she has too..).


When asked why she looked emotional on stage, Dina Garipova (Russia) said, ”It is a song about all of us..We are One..”. During the voting Dina had a doll with her which she said was ”..a gift from my fans – a little grandma..”. (Ross: wonder if the grandma fan was one of the Russian grannies who sang last year?)


A journalist commented that Ukraine keeps sending beautiful female singers and asked Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine) if the country actually has any handsome male singers. Zlata replied, ”Of course, we have VERKA SERDUCHKA!”.


Before Anouk (the Netherlands) could draw her performance position in the Grand Final, she was asked if she would prefer to draw the First Half or the Second Half, to which a curious Anouk replied, ”..What’s the deal..?”.


Roberto Bellarosa (Belgium) revealed that he had made a bet to cut his hair if Belgium made it to the Grand Final (but we don’t know exactly when the hair cutting will happen though..let’s wait and see how he looks next Saturday!). The Belgian Head of Delegation said that Roberto should celebrate his success, but she will keep a close eye on what he does because he is only eighteen (..aww, Bless..).


Ignoring the non-political nature of Eurovision and this year’s slogan of ”We Are One”, a journalist asked Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus) if a win for Belarus this year would help the country become more open and democratic. The concerned event hostess said that she was not sure if the artist would be able to answer that question but would let the artist decide what to do, and Alyona Lanskaya simply said, ”I love my motherland, and if we win everyone will be welcome to Belarus..”. (Ross: You GO girl..good answer!).


When asked how long her dress actually was, Aliona Moon (Moldova) replied, ”We don’t know..”. (Ross: the dress really is long..and high..and lights up..).


Ryan Dolan (Ireland) admitted that his priest is coming to Malmö to see him perform, and before Ryan left Ireland the priest even ”..Gave me a medallion to keep in my pocket..”. (Ross: no wonder Ireland is so successful in Eurovision when even their priests are involved..).


When asked to whom he dedicates his song, charming Andrius Pojavis simply said, ”For my country..”.

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 2 Live Tonight!

Here we go with Vola and Dingdong – these are just some of the exciting bits to look forward to on Semifinal 2 tonight.


Fans here at the Malmö Arena had a sneak peek at the staging of Semifinal 2 last night at 21:00 during the 2nd Dress Rehearsal – this was also the event when the jury of of the participating countries together with France, Germany and Spain will cast 50% of the total votes to decide which 10 countries will proceed to the Grand Final next Saturday.


The Malmö Arena did not seem to be so full last night as it was at the Semifinal 1 rehearsal last Monday, but certainly the entry procedure has been improved and the lines of last Monday were no longer there. Security also has been improved with the presence of police with anti-explosive sniffer dogs.


Judging from the rehearsal last night, Semifinal 2 tonight promises another spectacular show, from the ululating Romany melody of Macedonia’s Esma & Lozano through the dramatic expression of love by Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov to the cool elegance of Norway’s Margaret Berger.


Other than the possibly titillating above-the-knee skirts of the Greek guys of Koza Mostra, there will be few eye candies for television viewers tonight, but Semifinal 2 itself is enough to excite – after all, it is EUROVISION!


Krista Siegfrid (Finland) delivered an amazing performance last night with a cute little twist at the end, so to find what that is remember to tune in tonight at 22:00 Finnish time to YLE2.


Finnish fans will gather outside the Arena this evening at 18:30 dressed in wedding finery to show support for Finland’s entry – Krista has said that she also might attend.


Finland votes tonight, so keep you handphone nearby and help decide who will proceed to the Grand Final, perhaps even some of these:

Malmö Blog – Semifinal 1 Rehearsal and Israel Party

The 2nd. Dress Rehearsal for Semifinal 1 was held yesterday evening at 21:00. Tickets had been sold to the public and this was also the event when the jury of the participating countries plus Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom would cast their votes which is 50% of the total votes for Semifinal 1. Semifinal 1 will be broadcast live tonight when television viewers will cast the remaining 50% of the votes, and the combined jury votes and televotes will decide which ten countries from Semifinal 1 will proceed to the Grand Final next Saturday.

Sweden is indeed a land of Eurovision fans – folks of all ages filled up the 11 000 seats at the Malmö Arena. Hopefully tonight some improvements will be made to the entry and security procedure at the Arena – yesterday the incredibly long queue led away from Malmö Arena and actually looped back around the block to the other side of the Arena, apparently due to the fact that there were not enough entry/security checkpoints to accommodate the crowd. I saw only two security checkpoints with metal detectors and at other checkpoints security guards briefly (and very lightly) patted down the incoming ticketholders (with one guard even chatting away on his handphone while on the job..). One fan was overheard naughtily planning to smuggle a bottle of booze into the Arena tomorrow since the security guards will probably not notice (what with them being busy chatting on handphones and all..). So a word of advice – arrive early tonight to avoid the rush.

The ecstatic atmosphere in the Arena continued throughout the dress rehearsal. Tonight television audiences can look forward to a spectacular show which includes Zlata Ognevich (Ukraine) singing in a misty moonlit forest, dominatrix Hannah (Slovenia) in action and the smooth chic rhythms of Alyona Lanskaya (Belarus). There will also be lots of eye candy to look out for when lithe backup dancers in various dress (or rather undress..) are on stage, so remember to tune in tonight to YLE2 at 22:00 Finnish time.

The Israel Party was also on the same night at the Restaurang Glasklart, where the Israeli contestant Moran Mazor and a number of contestants from Semifinal 2 performed their entries on stage. Overheard was some discussion food being a big part of southern and eastern European party culture, and Israel was true to form by generously restocking the two buffet tables with various goodies during the party.

A few snapshots from yesterday evening (but none from the Semifinal 1 Dress Rehearsal to keep the surprise..):

Malmö Blog – the Belarus Party

After the Nordic Party last Saturday the posse went on down to the Belarus Party at the Euroclub. Finnish fans were seen stocking up on energy at the buffet table, and more importantly, at the drinks table where glasses of wine were ready and waiting (all without coupons..). One fan was overheard saying (in between chewing on the chow..) that the buffet at the Belarus party was ”just a little bit more” than at the Nordic Night – good to know that nobody wouldgo home hungry!


Alyona Lanskaya Chocolates (at least that’s what it said on the boxes) were everywhere, which means that some might wish to walk back to their lodgings afterwards so that they could fit into their party clothes for the next night.


Eurovision is supposed to bring countries together without politics, and Estonian contestant Birgit led the example by singing her entry Et Uus Saaks Alguse in Russian. Cultural communication however might need a little more work – as in previous years a number of countries are represented by a multicultural team where the composer, artist, backup singers and dancers may come from various countries, but overheard at the party were comments that in some multicultural delegations there is friction when communication (words and body language) is misinterpreted due to cultural differences. Interesting..but so far there are no open fistfights – yet..


Many contestants attended the Belarus Party, and many among them took to the stage to perform their ESC 2013 entries. Farid Mammadov (Azerbaijan) is predicted by many to be the winner of ESC 2013 – of course one wonders if the prediction is not biased because the man is indeed ever-so-goodlooking.


Here are a few snapshots from a fun night:

Malmö Blog – Red Carpet Opening Ceremony

The traditional Red Carpet Opening Ceremony was held last night (Sunday) at Malmö Opera:


The event commenced at 18:30 with artist arrivals on the Red Carpet leading to the Malmö Opera; the Opening Ceremony itself began at 20:40. The event was broadcast on the big screens at the Euroclub where at 20:30 press and fans were invited to the Welcome Party with refreshments (in other words, free grub & booze..).


The Opening Ceremony ended at 21:30 when the artists also made their way to the Euroclub.

Malmö Blog – At the Malmö Arena

The stage at the Malmö Arena is ready and it is looking fine – when Sweden announced last July that it would spend only 12 million euros (compared to 48 million euros spent last year by host Azerbaijan) there were some doubts about the outcome, but so far so good.


I managed to see Greece rehearsing on stage, and it’s nice to know that in these uncertain economic times Greece is taking economising seriously, right down to clothing material for their singers – the Greek guys on stage apparently will be wearing short above-the-knee skirts, so to some folks there will be eye candy on the tv screens when Greece performs in Semifinal 2 on 16 May!


It’s always fun to hang around the press conferences to pick up bits of info about the different contestants. Gianluca (Malta) apparently is a doctor by profession, and his song is partly a family project which he has worked on with his sisters and in the Maltese preview video we can also see Gianluca’s parents and his sisters (..very commendable in these difficult economic times since his family probably acted for free on the video..).


At the Malmö Arena:


The official Opening Ceremony is tonight so let’s see what other bits of info we can get from there!

Malmö Blog – the Nordic Night

Five countries pooled in and threw the Nordic Night bash last night at the Restaurang Glasklart – Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.


Amid the seaview through the tall glass windows the hosts offered light mingle food with a glass of sparkling wine followed by a glass of wine or a bottle of beer (..some attendees whispered that the light mingle food was VERY light indeed, but hey – it was still good..).


The hosts each took a turn on the stage to present their ESC entries, when Krista admitted her admiration for Carola’s Fångad av en stormvind (Winner of ESC 1991). Krista went on to give an a capella rendition of Carola’s song, and respectful of Carola’s trademark windmachine performances Krista got somebody in the audience to wave some cardboard to create the wind effect..


Other contestants also attended the Nordic Night – see whom you might recognise from these snapshots:

Malmö Blog – Välkommen till Malmö!

Välkommen till Malmö! The Eurovision Song Contest 2013 (ESC 2013) is well on its way towards the Grand Final on Saturday May 18. Rehearsals by countries competing in the two semifinals (14 & 16 May respectively) ended today, and tomorrow rehearsals by the Big 5 countries and host Sweden will begin.

Each country has 30 minutes for the 1st. rehearsal and on another day 20 minutes for the 2nd. rehearsal. The full 1st. dress rehearsal for Seminal 1 will be next Monday 13 May between 17:00-19:00 followed by the 2nd. dress rehearsal also on Monday between 21:00-23:00 when the jury will cast their votes. Semifinal 2 dress rehearsals will follow the same format on Wednesday 15 May. This is all the contestants have to get everything right before the live semifinal broadcasts when Europe chooses the 20 countries which will proceed to the Grand Final next Saturday. Wow!

In between there are parties thrown by different countries to promote their entries, fan parties at the Euro Club and Eurocafe, and for the occasional Eurovision fan – shows by past Eurovision contestants as well as by this year’s contestants at the Euro Village on Malmö’s Gustav Adolfs Torg.

Tonight will be the Nordic Night party at 21:00 which is co-hosted by Finland, followed by the Belarus party at Euro Club. Let’s see what will happen there!

Some snapshots from Malmö: