Željko Joksimović and Tony Cetinski release a duet, Zabluda

Željko Joksimović and Tony Cetinski ©

Željko Joksimović and Tony Cetinski have been friends for many years and, during this time, they have always been thinking about a musical project together. Finally, here is their first single, Zabluda, which is a prelude to a joint concert that will take place later this month in Serbia.

Serbian Radio Television intends Eurovision return in 2015

Serbian flag for Eurovision {}

With an official announcement on its website earlier today, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) confirmed its intention for the country to be represented in Vienna this May after a year's absence from Eurovision. The broadcaster's final decision will be dependent on finances.

New commercial TV network interested in sending Serbia to Eurovision 2014

Serbian flag_waving ©

Fans were left disappointed when RTS, the country's state broadcaster, announced back in November that Serbia would not participate in Eurovision 2014. According to reports, there now appears to be a glimpse of hope as new commercial channel Nova TV is considering taking on the responsibility of organizing Serbia's participation in the event.

Marija Šerifović confesses her secrets in a multimedia project, Ispovest

Marija Šerifović - Ispovest

The only Eurovision Serbian winner, Marija Šerifović, is celebrating this year her tenth anniversary in the music business. On this occasion she has released a new album, a book and a documentary where she reveals the secrets of her life, all that under the title Ispovest, which means Confession.

Serbia not to participate in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

RTS logo ©

There had been hopes that Serbia would eventually make it to Copenhagen this May. However,  the country's state broadcaster, RTS, announced earlier today that they will not participate in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest citing financial reasons.

RTS CEO in favour of Serbia participating in the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest

Alexandar Tijanic_RTS CEO_Serbian broadcaster ©

There have been reports for some time that Serbia might be one of the countries withdrawing from the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. This scenario now appears less likely as the CEO of Radio Television of Serbia, Aleksandar Tijanić, publicly declared that it is the broadcaster's ‘obligation' to send a representative in Copenhagen next May.

Željko Joksimović to be a jury member at Balkan edition of X Factor

Željko Joksimović as X-factor judge

Former Eurovision Song Contest singer, composer and host Željko Joksimović, is going to be a jury member of X Factor Adria, which is a pan regional Balkan edition of the popular TV show featured all over the world. Currently the auditions are running for the show that kicks off with its live shows next month. 

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! 

Surprises and Delights as the 1st Semi-Final Ends the Dreams of Six Countries


After months of preparation and national selections, some of which started last year, it was finally time for the first of the shows of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. A reduced number of participants, mostly for financial reasons, gave those delegations who have travelled to Malmo a great opportunity be among the ten to qualify for the final.

Eurovision 2013: 3rd dress rehearsal of the 1st semi-final

Picture from the Danish dress rehearsal for the semi-final 2013 ©  Tommy Engström, EuroVisionary

Tonight we will know which ten countries will qualify to the final from the first final. Before we come so far it was however time for a third dress rehearsal this afternoon. This was the last chance for the acts to get rid of the nerves that might still be back.






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