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

The Running Order, ESC Final 2013

Last night at 3am, the SVT organizers came up with the official running order for tonight’s and Saturday’s Grand Final shows. It seems like they made a good effort to both space out the uptempo and ballad numbers, the Strong contenders and the less formidable, and the simple and over the top entries.

In the last stretch, we have some of the majors nicely spaced apart. Denmark at 18th, then Azerbaijan at 20th, Ukraine at 22nd, Norway at 24th, Georgia at 25th and the strong upbeat Ireland again closing the show (as Jedward did) at 26th. Very good positions for all of them!

France
Lithuania
Moldova
Finland
Spain
Belgium
Estonia
Belarus
Malta
Russia
Germany
Armenia
The Netherlands
Romania
United Kingdom
Sweden
Hungary
Denmark
Iceland
Azerbaijan
Greece
Ukraine
Italy
Norway
Georgia
Ireland

Eurovision Semifinals 2013, Semi 1 First Half

Over the next four weeks I plan to introduce and give my humble opinion on all the entries for 2013. Since we don’t know the running order, I will base it on what we DO know, which is which semi and which half of that semi each entry will compete in. Up first we have semi one, the first half. Talk about starting off the competition with a bang–four of the entries in this group are in the betting odds to be in the top six of the FINALS! It’s a strong group, and the danger here is that some of these entries might cancel each other out by performing in such close succession.

First up, precontest favorite Denmark. If Emmelie and “Only Teardrops” doesn’t send a winner vibe tingle up your spine, you do have to acknowledge that musically, visually, and stage performance-wise, this ticks off all the boxes. It is vaguely, non-specifically ethnic in a sort of Scandi-Celtic mood. The staging features an attractive young singer, barefoot and somewhat performance-artist-ish, and live drummers and a pennywhistle. The lyrics of the song are about war and world peace, but not as obvious as, say, Russia’s. If Emmelie turns in a strong performance this is a good bet to win this semi and sail to the finals, where it should land in the top three.

Next, Former Yugo republic Croatia, which hasn’t done consistently well in recent years. This year’s entry is an example of the traditional Balkan form of music known as “klapa”. To me it sounds like a bit of Italian street song with a Slavic edge to it. It’s nice, pleasant, but a bit anonymous. “Mižerja”‘s big advantage this year is the fact that it is the only number in this half performed by male vocalists. If nothing else it will stand out for that reason. Also, Yugo neighbors Serbia, Montenegro and Slovenia are competing in this semi, so that should also provide a bit of a boost. Borderline, but I think it will qualify.

Ukraine is another of this year’s heavyweight entries. Zlata is a fantastic vocalist, and though “Gravity” is a bit of a strange song, without a real chorus, this is another surefire qualifier. Its most direct competition in this half of the semi are Austria, which it beats handily, and Russia, which is more of an equal draw.

One of this year’s biggest surprises is the rapid ascent of the Netherlands. When local star Anouk agreed to be the representative, the Dutch hoped to finally break out of semifinal jail where they have been stuck for a decade. When “Birds” was released for the public to listen, this entries odds rocketed up from the lower middle of the pack to a strong third place to win the whole contest. I think it might be a bit slow and downbeat to win, but should certainly match Patricia Kaas’ top ten finish from 2009 (comparing a similar, serious ballad). Moody and haunting, “Birds” stays with you. I am just not sure how it will sit with viewers who are seeing the entries for the first time.

Austria has been hit and miss since it re-entered Eurovision after a three year absence. Connecticut girl Natalia Kelly is a good singer, and “Shine” is a typical Eurovision song, but I think this might get lost in the shuffle of strong female performers of semi 1. Could advance to the finals, but I don’t have confidence in it.

Slovenia is also a hit and miss country. In theory they are part of the ex-Yugo bloc, but their culture seems more aligned to Central Europe than the Balkan peninsula, and their ex-Yugo neighbors rarely reward them with high points. Hannah Mancini is also an American expat, with a strong dance club stomper. “Straight Into Love” is a good song and fine singer, though I think it will need a good stage presentation to assure its path to the finals.

Poor Estonia has a simple song, nicely performed by Birgit Oigemeel. There is nothing wrong with it at all, yet I am afraid it will lack the impact it needs to make an impression among all these other female vocalist ballads.

Russia is another very strong entry. Dina sings beautifully, and the song is certainly immediate. If you have to listen to the well-meaning lyrics about putting down our guns and helping those who need us the most too often, it gets a little cloying. But Eurovision voters, especially in the semi, should respond to this and give Russia their usual oodles of points.

From this half, I think Denmark, Ukraine, the Netherlands and Russia have a lock on qualifying, with Croatia, Austria, Slovenia, and Estonia all on shakier ground. Eurovision week when we get to see the onstage rehearsals this should come into clearer focus!

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

 

Final lineup complete after 2nd semi

So my predictions weren’t too far off, and I am not slack-jawed over any of the choices. Belarus and Slovenia did not make the final, but Malta and Macedonia did.
Here are your ten finalists, who will be drawing their spots in the running order in about an hour.
1. Lithuania
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina
3. Serbia
4. Ukraine
5. Sweden
6. Macedonia
7. Norway
8. Estonia
9. Malta
10. Turkey

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lithuania should be very happy they got to perform last, because otherwise I don’t think either would have qualified.

I was frankly disappointed in Estonia. He did a “Mariah Carey” on the simple ballad everyone had grown to love, and almost ruined it. I hope he dials down the theatrics a little for the final.

Malta was MUCH better tonight than I had expected, and I was glad for Kurt to make it through. Call me biased, but Sweden and Loreen rocked the house tonight! Nobody else really came close.

1st Semi: Finalists draw final night positions

All the running order for Saturday night’s final is updated now on the Baku 2012 page on the above menu, up to and including the 10 finalists who were chosen tonight. The beginning of the show does not seem to be very much fun until the Russian Grannies come on at 6th, the first three songs belonging to UK and Engelbert (1st), Hungary’s indie rock “Sound of Our Hearts”(2nd), and Albania’s primal scream “Suus” (3rd).

After the grannies in 6th, Iceland is in 7th, followed by Cyprus’ dancepop in 8th position, then France’s dancepop in 9th, and Italy’s retro dancepop in 10th. The Azeri hosts are on 13th, then three upbeat songs from Romania (14th), Denmark (15th) and Greece (16th). Spain’s big ballad is 19th, Germany’s soft ballad is 20th, then the last part of the show features Jedward for Ireland in 23rd and Pasha for Moldova in the prime 26th spot.

Jedward jump for joy for their lucky draw in 23rd!

Jedward jump for joy for their lucky draw in 23rd!

There are only two spots left in the first part of the show, two in the middle, and six in the final stretch. So I guess the entries from the second semifinal are probably pretty happy with their options if they make it through!