London Eurovision Party 2013 Review

London’s Shadow Lounge held its traditional Eurovision preview event last night. With fewer artists than last week’s Amsterdam show, a more cramped stage and poorer acoustics, it didn’t feel like as many clues could be gleaned from it as from the Eurovision in Concert event.

Nonetheless, whilst there were only two acts who weren’t seen in Amsterdam, one of them was Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest, hot favourite for this year’s contest. It’s to her we must turn first. (Once again, for videos from the event keep an eye on the youtube channel of those hard-working lads at esckaz.com, who will be uploading them during the course of the day.)

Emmelie sang only an acoustic version of ‘Only Teardrops’ and to be honest she sounded much as she did in the Danish final, but it’s worth commenting on that in greater detail.

I really like the tone of her voice and the feeling she puts into the song. But during rehearsals she will come under greater scrutiny as the pre-contest favourite, and I reckon her distinctive style will have its critics, just as Alexander Rybak had during his rehearsals. But like Rybak, I don’t think it will make a difference to how well she does.

I’m not saying that Denmark is necessarily this year’s winner, as Rybak proved to be in his year. In fact, I think its current price of 6/4 is far too short. Nonetheless, if she doesn’t win in Malmo, I don’t think it will be because of her vocals; it will be for other reasons. The way she emotionally invests in performing the song is actually the main strength of ‘Only Teardrops’.

The only other act we saw last night who wasn’t in Amsterdam were the Latvian boys. PeR were hugely entertaining and both are talented beatboxers. Still, I think their hopes of qualification are pretty small from the first slot of what I perceive to be the stronger semi.

Six of the eight entries who performed last night are involved in that second semi-final, and my belief that this is a tough heat was reinforced. The Finnish team are hugely entertaining and may well gain a cult following among fans and bloggers in Malmo. This one is moving up my sliding scale in the second semi, and I don’t think I’m alone in reckoning that.

The Greek boys are also huge crowd-pleasers who perform the arse off ‘Alcohol Is Free’. Both this and ‘Marry Me’ are made for small gigs like this one, so I won’t get too carried away, but I don’t have any worries about how either of these songs will be performed in Malmo.

Valentina Monetta was at this event in 2012 and was welcomed back by the crowd as if a conquering hero. Like last year her vocals were good in this small venue. Her renditions of ‘Crisalide’ were fine, as she waved the drape she sports in the official video. But her supporters must worry that coming on second in the second semi gives her a tough task despite her popularity with fans.

One of the acts to follow soon after her in Malmo, apart from the memorable Finland, is Malta’s Gianluca Bezzina, who got some very positive reviews in Amsterdam. I actually thought he was better here, with the more intimate surroundings suiting him and the song, ‘Tomorrow’. He charmed the crowd, and this is another strong entry in that second semi.

Also performing from that second semi was Romania’s Cezar. Just like in Amsterdam, he dropped to the lower register for the second verse of ‘It’s My Life’ which I think is a definite improvement. Overall, it still divides opinion between ‘memorable’ and ‘preposterous’ (indeed, many like me think it’s both). I think it’s an act I will leave alone regarding betting on its qualification chances. I’d feel like too much of a fool to be proved wrong either way.

Apart from Denmark, the only other act from the first semi to perform was Austria’s Natalia Kelly. I thought she was better here than in Amsterdam despite problems with the sound mix. I don’t think the first semi is such a tough ask so I can’t rule out qualification, despite the draw.

Were you at the London event last night? Either way, what do you think of last night’s show based on what you’ve seen. Let us know below.

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13 comments to London Eurovision Party 2013 Review

  • Justin

    Thanks for the review Daniel. I agree its a shame they hold this event in that nasty fleapit with appalling acoustics and shambolic organisation.

    Anyway, agree with most you have written. It was telling that the general concensus was that Natalie from Austria performed well but, like in her semi-final, she was first on and very quickly forgotten by more memorable acts which followed. I fear the same fate for her in Malmo.

    Gianluca’s Tomorrow was well suited to this type of venue and I hope it isn’t drowned out by the much larger scale of Malmo – it’s only a small song and although the package as a whole is cute it might struggle to make an impact, though I still see it as a qualifier.

    I’m afraid I’m not a fan of the aggressive Krista or her song. Not sure if she will keep the lesbian kiss in Malmo but if so I would guess that would be a negative anywhere outside Northern Europe.

    Greece were hugely entertaining and came across as authentic and very ‘Greek’ which both juries and diaspora will like.

    My view on Cezar was that it’s pretty dire. He certainly has a voice but it comes across as a joke act. Latvia was like a drunken karaoke from 1992 – their outfits, the song and stage antics were so desperately dated.

    Emmilie left me wanting more – she is terrbily charismatic and draws the audience in. She does more than sing, she is living ‘Only Teardrops’. I was impressed and cannot wait to see the full version in Malmo.

  • dicksbits

    Thanks for your reviews guys as I couldn’t attend the London event, but was in Amsterdam. I think Austria will qualify if her vocals hold up. We’re in that season where we are waiting to view rehearsals, but a good voice and a good song (last year FYR Macedonia was commended at the London event) should send them on the way to the final.

    Elsewhere I think GREECE is clearly shaping up to be the one to watch. An e/w bet on topping semi final 2 at 10/1 is a must I think. Malta is also a good e/w bet. I’m prepared to stick my neck out and say that I thinK Romania WILL qualify for a variety of reasons: It’s memorable, it’s performed last, it’s Romania (diaspora), it’s cheesy and will be visually impactful.

  • SJ

    Good summary Daniel. Does anybody know what’s happened to escbet.com this last couple of days? Seems to have disappeared.

    • gavster

      I’ll field that one! Unfortunately, the relationship at the top isn’t cosy. Being the co-founder means nothing when you don’t hold the keys to the server, despite the fact that the designwork and 500+ of the articles are mine.

      I hope it’s a blip. If it isn’t, there should be a ‘new solution’ before I fly to Malmo.

      Thanks for the concern though. It’s a painful fall back to Earth after a great weekend in London.

      • SJ

        Thanks for the reply Gavster. I’ve enjoyed reading the articles and opinions on escbet in the last couple of months. I’ve got to admit I’ve become quite addicted to the website. Hope everything is sorted soon and enjoy Malmo. Cheers.

  • SirMills

    Sorry about your site Gavster, hopefully you find a solution soon. I really enjoy reading your articles.

    • gavster

      We are back as ESCtips. Bear with me while I get things in shape. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the old database, so two years worth of articles are missing and my priority is to get the bare bones in place for Malmo.

      Once again, thanks for your support!

  • I was watching back 2012s Semis and couldn’t help think about something when watching Portugal. Firstly, if Spain had been voting in Semi 2, surely it would have got 12/10 points which would have sent it to the Final?
    But more importantly, it seems this blandish female ballad is quite common this year, so without strong voting allies, any songs similar could bomb like Portugal did last year. Thoughts?

    • Daniel

      Hi Dash,

      The example of Portugal is a reminder of a few things. In fact, Portugal does benefit from some diaspora voting. – the 8 from France was an example of that as well as some points from Germany – though it was a slight surprise that it got nothing at all from the UK.

      One thing it does remind me is that in a semi without too much strength in depth, it is even easier for one extra ally to make a difference between qualifying or not (they were just six points short in this case).

      In terms of bland female ballads, it and Belgium in 2012’s first semi-final (an arguably even better example), show us that failing to excite viewers and jurors from a mediocre draw whilst not having enough allies can indeed send you out of the competition.

  • DashBerlin

    Thanks Daniel, good to know I’m on the right track. I have one such song that I wonder what other people think of this year.
    That is Anouk (Netherlands), judging from recent years, it appears to only really have the ally of Belgium and Anouk has only had success in that country, so I expect full points from Belgium. However, in that tough 1st semi with so many countries handing out the big points to its diaspora groups (Croatia/Serbia/Montenegro/Sloevenia), could Anouk miss out? The track doesn’t stand out, so the staging would be interesting to me

  • Daniel

    The precise instructions given to jurors this year have been revealed today. You can read the full article at:
    http://www.escinsight.com/2013/04/24/judge-jury-and-the-execution-of-the-eurovision-song-contest/

    The crucial part is the following quote:

    “Jury members are asked to rank the songs from 1 to 26 (or 16 and 17 in the two semi-finals). On the ranking form provided to each juror, they are asked to focus on a number of areas. Following a similar process to previous years, for the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest the EBU will be asking all jurors to focus on the following areas:

    Vocal capacity.
    The performance on stage.
    The composition and originality of the song.
    The overall impression by the act.”

    This is a similar set of requirements to that given in 2011, which was: “They have been asked to judge the vocals, the quality and originality of the songs, the acts and the overall impression of the performance.”

  • dicksbits

    Keith Mills analysis on AKOE is absent this year on who can rely on who for votes this year. Do we have any analysis on disapora strength per semi final for 2013?

  • It was nice to get to chat to you in person daniel, i had a very enjoyable night

    Heres my thoughts for what they are worth
    I think emilie pretty much showed us a lot of what we already knew her vocal performance was probably decent enough on a stripped back performance for it not to be an issue when all the bells and whistles are brought back for her malmo performances, one major weapon for emilie in my opinion is just how likeable she comes accross shes got a lovely genuine smile that can melt hearts and little things like that could be worth the extra votes to push her over the line, but like everyone she needs the draw.

    Krista siegrieds performance was pretty decent it is tacky but it is also memorable,current, and well performed, it was probably the closest thing to a proper performance we saw in london which maybe flattered it a bit . But this is going up in my estimations a lot .

    Greece were great fun and performed pretty well here this could potentially be a very strong televote song ive always had my concerns the juries could deal this song a blow under the new rules, whilst they did ease my fears a little because its performed well it still worries me with this entry
    But i must say they are a bunch of great guys especially the singer who chatted to me outside for about 20 minutes.

    My surprise was valentina who i thought delivered a really good vocal maybe the best of the night even vocally, im not sure what this means from a betting point or whether she will qualify with it being a very tight semi , but her vocal is capable of some jury love and there could be a following who will get behind her.

    Not much to say on per from latvia apart from they are like a poor mans pj and duncan.

    Romanias cezar is strong vocally in a crazy way i dont like the song at all but i can see him pushing for qualification as long as the juries take him the right way vocally.

    Austria was first up and was wasnt too bad but she was quickly forgetten and the same will probably happen come semi finals night.

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