2013 - 1st Semi-Final

2013 Logo {EBU}
Basic information
14 May 2013
Contest type: 
Semi-Final 1
Malmö Arena, Malmö, Sweden
Petra Mede
Other shows this year: 
About the contest: 

The 58th Eurovision Song Contest was one of changes. There were amendments to how the running order was drawn, to the voting system, countries changed their songs and bands changed their names.

In order that the running order put the songs in a more balanced order, the producers made a decision to decide the order for themselves. The thought process behind this was to make sure that there wasn’t a run of four or five up-tempo songs or lots of ballads/female singers/male singers in a row to create a more interesting show. Fans from Reykjavik to Jerusalem were quick to express their disgust at this decision, believing the lack of transparency of the proposed system would bring the contest into disrepute. SVT compromised and instead suggested each country be put into either the top or bottom half of the running order via an open draw and then be place by the producers into a particular slot in the show. This applied for both semi-finals and the final.

For the voting, the system of a combined public and jury vote remained. However, the juries, instead of giving each song points and then adding the scores up at the end, ranked the songs in order of preference. After the contest, this led to allegations of impropriety and unfulfilled demands that all jury votes should be released so that everyone could see that the votes were fair, although some countries did voluntarily release their own jury votes. Russia was apoplectic that Azerbaijan did not give their singer any points at all, claiming that Dina Garipova should have received 10 points. The Azeri authorities, wanting to keep their neighbour sweet, promised an investigation. Even if it were true (and no proof was forthcoming) it would have made absolutely no difference to the overall placings.

Alyona Lanskaya represented Belarus…..finally! She won the national final in 2012 but, after interference, sorry, intervention by public demand, from the president, she was withdrawn and Litesound sent in her place. She won the final again in 2013 (is anyone else suspicious?) with the Lady GaGa esque Rhythm of Love. By the time she went to Malmö, Belarus had changed their song (they nearly always do) to Solayoh. Bulgaria also changed their song from the very ethnic Kismet to the not quite as ethnic Samo Shampioni. The Macedonians were originally offered a song called Imperija. They didn’t like it and so it was changed to Pred Da Se Razdeni, which was generally thought of elsewhere as vastly inferior.

The changes didn’t end there. In Switzerland, a band featuring members of The Salvation Army won the right to go to Sweden. In the final, the competed under the name, Heilsarmee. Not only that, but they also wore the uniforms. This breaches EBU rules and so they became Takasa and wore civvies.

One or two well know names lined up with the talent show winners. After much rumour and speculation, Bonnie Tyler was announced as the UK representative. Many names had been included in the rumblings. One was Bonnie Langford but perhaps someone was getting their Bonnies in a twist! In the German selection, dance act Cascada won through. Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi wrote the Armenian song, although he resisted the temptation to be part of the on-stage shenanigans.

There were two familiar acts on show in Malmo. Valentina Monetta made it two years in a row for San Marino and Elytsa and Stoyan returned for their native Bulgaria.

Of the participants from 2012, Slovakia, Bosnia and Portugal withdrew for financial reasons, while Turkey withdrew in a protest at the voting system. After withdrawing from the Azeri held contest the previous year for security reasons, Armenia returned giving us a total of 39 participating countries and songs.

None of the former Yugoslav countries made it through to the final, the first time there has been no representation from there since 1985.
About the songs: 
Natália KellyNatália Kelly Austria - Natália Kelly – Shine (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andreas Grass, Nikola Paryla, Alexander Kahr/ Andreas Grass, Nikola Paryla, Natália Kelly

Eighteen year old Natalia Kelly had the added pressure of opening proceedings with a very pleasant ballad and one of Austria’s best entries for many years. Ably supported by five backing singers, Natalia’s performance was nervous to begin with, but she grew into it and she sounded a contender for a place in the final.

 Birgit OigemeelBirgit Oigemeel Estonia – Birgit Oigemeel – Et Uus Saaks Alguse (Estonian)

Music/Lyrics: Mihkel Mattisen/ Mihkel Mattisen, Silvia Soro

Simplicity was the order of the day for the Estonians. Birgit’s gentle ballad was given a simple presentation, which started in black and white. Even the video wall was not over-used (something to be grateful for these days) showing uncomplicated yellow images throughout.

 HannahHannah Slovenia – Hannah – Straight into Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Hannah Mancini, Gregor Zemljic, Erik Margan, Matija Rodic/Hannah Mancini, Marko Primuzak

American born Hannah gave us one of the most contemporary songs of the evening. However, the harsh sounding, computer generated noises in the production meant the song could be difficult for some to listen to in places and she was one of the favourites to be taking an early bath. One or two dodgy notes didn’t help her cause.

 Klapa s MoraKlapa s Mora Croatia – Klapa s Mora – Mizerja (Croatian)

Music/Lyrics: Goran Topolovac/Goran Topolovac

In the current climate of over-elaborate stage shows, it was nice to see the Croatians let the song steal the show. The six members of Klapa s Mora just stood on stage and sung, allowing their Croatian folk song to shine.  

 Emmelie de ForestEmmelie de Forest Denmark – Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Lise Cabble, Julia Fabrin Jakobsen, Thomas Stengaard/Lise Cabble, Julia Fabrin Jakobsen, Thomas Stengaard

Going into the two weeks of rehearsals, Denmark was both the bookies and fans favourite for victory. With the help of a couple of extras from the revolution scene of Les Miserables, the presentation added to the memorable nature of the song. Surely one of the cast iron certainties to qualify for the final. She even started the song sitting on the floor a là Loreen. 

 Dina GaripovaDina Garipova Russia – Dina Garipova – What If (English)

Music/Lyrics: Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Leonid Gutkin/ Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Leonid Gutkin

This is a peach of a song, at least judging by the colours present of stage! Dina won the Russian version of ‘The Voice’ and her performance showed us why, even if she was a little nervous. Hers is an anthemic ballad and appeal for everyone to love each other. How could it possibly fail?

 Zlata IgnevichZlata Ignevich Ukraine - Zlata Ignevich – Gravity (English)

Music/Lyrics: Mikhail Nekrasov/ Karen Kavaleryan

On the strength of what was put in front of the audience, this song did not deserve to qualify! Carried on stage by a giant (yes, really!) Zlata did her best with a messy song that lacked anything worthy of making the final. However, Ukraine is one of those countries that always seems to qualify no matter what. After all, if Gaitana could make the final, then there was no reason why Zlata shouldn’t.

 AnoukAnouk The Netherlands – Anouk – Birds (English)

Music/Lyrics: Anouk Teeuwe/ Anouk Teeuwe

After The Netherlands failed yet again to reach the final in 2012, Anouk, one of the most popular singers in her country, put herself forward to change the nation’s fortunes. Birds is a song that was always likely to go down well with the juries, so it was a question of how the public would react. Her unique voice combined with the unusual melody Anouk gave an extremely professional performance demonstrated why countries should ask an experienced singer to fly the flag instead of a talent show winner. 

 Who SeeWho See Montenegro – Who See – Igranka (Montenegrin)

Music/Lyrics: Djordje Miljenovic (Wikluh Sky)/ Dejan Dedovic (Dedduh), Mario Djordjevic (Noyz), Djordje Miljenovic (Wikluh Sky)

The curse of modern Eurovision strikes! For some reason, someone somewhere thought it would be a good idea to put the two chaps of Who See in spaceman costumes! Maybe they were afraid to show their faces given what they forced on the rest of us. 

 Andrius PojavisAndrius Pojavis Lithuania – Andrius Pojavis – Something (English)

Music/Lyrics: Andrius Pojavis/Andrius Pojavis

Few people saw this progressing from the semi-final. While it is a pleasant enough song and was given an adequate performance, it didn’t sound strong enough to make the final. Sandwiched between two much more lively songs, this one risked being forgotten. 

 Alyona LanskayaAlyona Lanskaya Belarus – Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh (English)

Music/Lyrics: Marc Paelinck/Martin King

Occasionally, a good song is ruined by the staging. The two performing monkeys prancing around Alyona like an ancient Belarusian mating ritual added nothing, neither did her emergence from a giant glitter ball at the start. Not that most men would have noticed as they would have been staring at what there was of Alyona’s dress. Solayoh is easily strong enough to stand on its own two feet and was one of the catchiest songs of the night. You’ll still be singing it long after you listen to it, you know you will!

 Aliona MoonAliona Moon Moldova – Aliona Moon – O Mie (Romanian)

Music/Lyrics: Pasha Parfeny/Yuliana Scutaru

Aliona grew in stature during her performance, literally! She maintained her concentration as she was raised into the air, her dress extending so that the bottom stayed rooted to the floor. In fact, her dress was the showpiece of the three minutes, designed in such a way as to allow lighting effects to glow through it. It was a wise move to sing in Romanian as the English lyrics are very repetitive, slightly taking the edge off a very good song.

 Ryan DolanRyan Dolan Ireland – Ryan Dolan – Only Love (English)

Music/Lyrics: Wez Devine, Ryan Dolan/Wez Devine, Ryan Dolan

Moving away from the (probably enforced) trend of the last couple of years, the main singer of the Irish song actually sung the lead vocal instead of the ‘backing’ singers. Drums and Celtic images were to the fore for the high energy number. I wonder how long it took the backing dancers to have the body paint applied. 

 Despina OlympiouDespina Olympiou Cyprus – Despina Olympiou – An Me Thimase (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Andreas Giorgallis/Zenon Zintillis

Daring. That would be the word to describe Despina’s apparently see-through dress, although it wasn’t as revealing as it may have appeared. Safe is the word to describe the song. It is a run of the mill ballad that isn’t even particularly Greek. I bet it still scores 12 from Greece in the final, though - should it get there, of course.  

 Roberto BellarosaRoberto Bellarosa Belgium – Roberto Bellarosa – Love Kills (English)

Music/Lyrics: Iain James, Jukka Immonen/Iain James, Jukka Immonen

Another talent show winner, another nervous performance! Chosen from one of the most bizarre national selections of the season, the version presented in Malmo was much improved on the version that won the Belgian final. If love didn’t kill him, the choreography might! Two sour-faced dancers surrounded Roberto, looking like they were being forced to dance for their supper. Helpfully, the lyrics were shown on the video wall in the unlikely event the viewers wanted to sing along. 

 Moje 3Moje 3 Serbia – Moje 3 – Ljubav je Svuda (Serbian)

Music/Lyrics: Saša Milošević Mare/Marina Tucaković

Serbia either goes for traditional or young and fresh when choosing its entry. This year, it was the turn of the latter as three young Serbian ladies adorned in dresses straight from a Disney film strutted about the stage coercing each other to get involved. Even though it was on last, it was touch and go whether Moje 3 would reach the final. Fingers crossed for those high notes! 

Only Teardrops of Joy in Denmark


After the drama of the semi-finals (especially the second one) the biggest night of the year finally arrived and it was time for the 58th Eurovision Song Contest from the Malmo Arena in Sweden.

Eurovision 2013: 3rd dress rehearsal of the final

Ryan Dolan © Tommy Engström/Eurovisionary

Malmö is in party mode today, eagerly awaiting the winner of this year's contest. With two rehearsals for the final already completed, Eurovisionary was on hand to see just who would impress and who would find themselves on the right hand side of the scoreboard later tonight.

Eurovision 2013: 2nd dress rehearsal of the final

Alyona Lanskaya ©  EuroVisionary/Tommy Engstrom

Tomorrow evening we will know the winner of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, but half of the result will already be decided this evening. We take a closer look at how the second dress rehearsal, also known as the jury final, went. 

Eurovision 2013: 1st dress rehearsal of the final

Finland 1st dress rehearsal (c) Tommy Engström (Eurovisionary)

Two semi-finals have been held - and today it was time for the 26 qualifiers to rehearse the final show for the first time. Who is in it with a chance to win and who should be happy just to have reached the final? We take a closer look at the winning candidates after first dress rehearsal.

The running order for the final announced

Eurovision Song Contest 2013 ©  EBU

The swedish producers of the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, Christer Björkman & Andreas Martin Österdahl, has decided the running order for the final. France will be starting the competition while Ireland will be last out on Saturday.

Plenty of Shocks in the 2nd Semi-Final


Just as the debate around the first semi-final was dying down, it was time to do it all over again in the second semi-final, arguable the stronger of the two.

Eurovision 2013: 3rd dress rehearsal of the 2nd semi-final

Iceland in their dress rehearsal before second semi-final {Tommy Engström, EuroVisionary}

This afternoon it was time for the last of the three dress rehearsals before the second semi-final kicks off tonight. 17 acts will fight to win one of the 10 places in the final. Who is it we will be seeing again on Saturday? 

SVT continues to show its imaginative touch for the postcards

Eurovision 2013 (c) EBU/SVT

The postcards made for the Eurovision Song Contest have become an institution in their own right.  Sometimes they reflect the life and times of the country that is hosting, sometimes they have a more abstract feel.  This year, we repeat the theme of such years as 1996, when the performers are followed about their daily lives.

Paxton Predicts: the 2nd Semi-Final

Fresh from correcting guessing seven out of the ten qualifiers from the  first semi-final (be fair, it’s an improvement on last year) it’s time for me to guess who will emerge from then arguably stronger second semi-final on Thursday.






Eurovision Map

The Eurovision map
Click on the map above to quickly find news and more information per country

User login



Enter any artist or album title

Maria Haukaas Mittet - Heim

Maria Haukaas Mittet - Heim {copyright: Album cover}

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Raphael - De Amor & Desamor

Raphael - De Amor & Desamor

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy nowbuy now

Lucía Pérez - Quitapenas

Lucía Pérez - Quitapenas

Buy through an Amazon store

buy now

Sébastien Tellier - L'Aventure

Sébastien Tellier - L'Aventure

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy nowbuy now

Daniel Diges - Quiero

Daniel Diges - Quiero

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy nowbuy now

Softengine - We Created The World

Softengine - We Created The World

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy nowbuy now

Firelight - Backdrop Of Life

Firelight - Backdrop Of Life

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy now

Alien24 - Music Is In My Soul

Alien 24 - Music Is In My Soul

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy nowbuy now

Amandine Bourgeois - Au Masculin

Amandine Bourgeois - Au Masculin

Buy through a CDON store

buy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy nowbuy now

Buy through an Amazon store

buy nowbuy now