The Running Order for the Grand Final!

Saturday night Europe will choose its song of the year, and here is the order of finalists:

  1. Belgium
  2. Czech Republic
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Hungary
  6. Italy
  7. Israel
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Sweden
  10. Germany
  11. France
  12. Poland
  13. Australia
  14. Cyprus
  15. Serbia
  16. Lithuania
  17. Croatia
  18. Russia
  19. Spain
  20. Latvia
  21. Ukraine
  22. Malta
  23. Georgia
  24. Austria
  25. United Kingdom
  26. Armenia

Contest organizers took the randomly drawn slots that each artist drew which placed them in the first or second half of the show, and placed them in a running order that makes sense technically and also makes for a good experience for viewers.theme_eurovision_2016_small

Two of the top entries, Belgium and Armenia, have been placed at the beginning and end. The remaining strong contenders have generally been spaced out through the evening.  There used to be a certain superstition about which places in the running order were lucky and unlucky, but recent years has mostly disproved such speculation.

Tonight’s dress rehearsal will tell us more about the running order and its progression when we see and hear it all in action!

Semifinal Allocation Today

Well, we now are one step closer to Eurovision 2014, as the EBU and contest organizers just completed the draw to decide which countries will compete in each half of each semifinal.  And just like last year, it looks like there will be a very strong string of contenders in the first half of the first semifinal, with perennial qualifiers Sweden, Azerbaijan, Russia and (almost certain qualifier) Armenia all in that position. Certain qualifier Ukraine is in the second half. Neighborly voting will also feature in the first semi, with Belgium and the Netherlands both competing, and with Spain able to vote for neighbor Portugal, and Denmark able to vote for fellow Scandi nations Sweden and Iceland.

2014 ESC semifinal draw

2014 ESC semifinal draw

In the second night of semifinals we find Greece and Romania as dependable qualifiers, along with usually strong Ireland, Norway and Georgia. Here is the full draw:

Semi-final 1 (6 May)

Semi-final 2 (8 May)

1st part

2nd part

1st part

2nd part

Sweden

Belgium

Norway

FYR Macedonia

Albania

Hungary

Israel

Finland

Iceland

Moldova

Georgia

Ireland

Russia

Montenegro

Austria

Romania

Latvia

San Marino

Lithuania

Slovenia

Azerbaijan

Portugal

Poland

Belarus

Armenia

Ukraine

Malta

Greece

Estonia

The Netherlands

Switzerland

ESC Entries Play Extreme Makeover

In the last few years, we have had last-minute changes of entries from a few countries like Ukraine and Belarus. This year a whole slew of countries is changing their song just before the deadline or completely renovating the entry they are sticking with. Fortunately the ones announced so far have been met with positive responses!

Belarus was one of the first countries to decide this year, and many observers said at the time “Just wait, they will probably change this.” Guess what? They have, to an utterly cheesy dance-pop number that rocketed them up the betting charts to a firm top ten. “Solayoh” is an older song that has existed online as a demo for several years, but under the new qualification rules it still meets the rules. Alyona sounds quite enthusiastic in her performance–it’s amazing what taking a borderline qualifier and switching it out for a surefire fan favorite will do.

Ukraine kept its “Gravity”, but gave it a streamlining and made it more international-audience friendly. Already a top contender, Ukraine is obviously setting their sights very high for 2013 with an entry like this:

This WAS FYRO Macedonia’s entry, a grand pop number by Vlatko with wailing ethnic interludes by legendary Esma. “Imperija” was quite well-received by fans, but apparently not highly thought of in Macedonia. We are waiting for an announced new song that will feature Esma singing part of the entry in Roma.

Bulgaria is bringing back Elitsa and Stoyan, its 2007 artsts who had such great success with “Voda”. Last week their televised selection show chose “Kismet” as their entry, and yet this week it was withdrawn “due to problems in copyright negotiations”. Meanwhile internet rumors are flying that the new song “Samo Shampioni” was the choice of the artists all along, and when the TV vote that Bulgarian-tv insisted on for its own bottom line profit chose “Kismet”, Elitsa pitched a fit and hated the viewers choice. Here is the updated entry:

Meanwhile Belgium’s entry “Love Kills” has been reviled and consigned to the bottom dustbin of the betting charts since it was first performed in December. Now artist Roberto Bellarosa has returned from working with the song’s creator in Finland, and VOILA! The entry has been punched-up, speeded-up, and improved 1000%! If Roberto’s live vocal skills are better than the original song presentation, he could now have a genuine qualifier.

Semifinal Draw for 2013

This year the running order for the ESC semifinal and final shows is to be determined by show producers (a somewhat controversial decision). But the countries competing in the semifinals have still drawn places in the two semis, as well as a position in the first of second half of that semi.  And the six automatic qualifiers (the Big 5 plus host country Sweden) have drawn which semifinal they will be required to broadcast and have their citizens vote in.  (Until the countries choose their songs for this year, there aren’t too many conclusions to draw about the relative difficulty of the semis.) Here are the results of the draw:

Big 5 and Host Country – Semi-final allocation for broadcasting and voting

  • France – Second Semi-final
  • Germany – Second Semi-final
  • Spain – Second Semi-final
  • United Kingdom – First Semi-final
  • Sweden – First Semi-final
  • Italy – First Semi-final

Semi final 1

First half

Second half

Denmark Lithuania
Croatia Serbia
Ukraine Ireland
The Netherlands Belarus
Austria Cyprus
Slovenia Montenegro
Estonia Belgium
Russia Moldova

Semi final 2

First half

Second half

Latvia Israel
Azerbaijan Norway
Malta Albania
Iceland Hungary
San Marino Switzerland
FYR Macedonia Georgia
Finland Greece
Bulgaria Armenia
Romania

 

Details and Schedule from Lithuania’s National Selection

LRT, the national broadcaster in Lithuania, has announced the structure and dates of its selection process for 2013 (though taking place at the end of 2012).  The contestants will be presented in two “introduction” shows, then compete through 5 weeks of preselection, leading to two semifinals and a grand final.

The Lithuanian national Selection Schedule:

20th October- Introduction Show 1
27fh October- Introduction Show 2
3rd November- Preselection Show 1
10th November- Preselection Show 2
17th November- Preselection Show 3
24th November- Preselection Show 4
1st December-  Preselection Show 5
8th December- Semifinal 1
15th December- Semifinal 2
December- Final ( Date to be determined)

All shows will take place on Saturday evenings on LRT television, and will be streamed live online on lrt.lt . In 2012, Lithuania’s Donny Montell sailed through the semifinals and took 14th place in the grand finals in Baku.

Albania Announces Details of December National Final

RTSH, the Albanian national broadcaster, has announced more details for their 2012 Festivali i Këngës, the National Song Festival whose winner becomes Albania’s official ESC entry. About 40 entries have been submitted so far, and RTSH has accommodated artists’ request to extend the submission deadline to October 22.

Albania is the fourth EBU nation to decide on a December final, joining Lithuania, Switzerland, and Belarus.  As has become RTSH’s tradition, the Festivali final will take place from December 20 to 22, so by New Year’s Day 2013 we should already have almost 10% of the Eurovision entries chosen.

Lithuania Joins Early National Selections

LRT, the Lithuanian national broadcaster, has revealed that its national selection process is underway already in October. Several heats in October and November will narrow the field down for the early December semifinals, leading to a final selection during the Christmas holidays.

Lithuania is another country that should not be underestimated.  The last two years their entries were totally counted out of contention by fans and journalists, only to achieve high placings in the semifinals and ultimate Eurovision finals. In the turn of the millennium, all the other Northern countries won Eurovision (Sweden, then Denmark, Estonia, and Latvia, followed later in the decade by Finland, Russia and Norway.) Maybe Lithuania will finally get its turn in the limelight!