The Eurovision That Almost Was: Semifinal Two

We continue our look at a Eurovision Song Contest Fringe universe, one in which Bulgarian copyright law is not used to avoid performing a hated song and in which the song from Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix that was a number one smash actually goes to Malmö.

Latvia. Samanta Tīna, “I Need A Hero.” The scoring system for Dziesma is a bit confusing, but once you realize that the songs the jury and the televoters liked the most were given the rank of 1 and the ones they liked the least were ranked 12, it starts to make sense. There was much agreement between the jury and public in the Super Final: PeR’s “Here We Go” was ranked first by both and Samantha Tīna was ranked second. We were pulling for PeR, because Tīna’s dreary, generic ballad would have passed unmemorably by during the second Semi.

San Marino. Internal selection, not applicable.

FYR Macedonia. Esma & Lozano, “Imperija.” Although Esma & Lozano and their song were internal selections, the original pick to represent Macedonia was “Imperija.” However this song was rejected after its public release due to the overwhelming negative reaction to it. And by rejected, we mean, Macedonia has tried to scrub the song from existence. Even now, it’s really difficult to find “Imperija” online, so enjoy the link we have now, because it will probably get pulled soon.

Azerbaijan. Unknown, 2nd place not disclosed.

Finland. Mikael Saari, “We Should Be Through.” Krista Siegfrids was the clear winner of the Finnish televote. However, she finished in a three-way tie for first among the jury votes, along with Mikael Saari and Great Wide North. Saari came in second in the televote, giving him the runner-up spot. (Great Wide North finished fourth with 12 percent of the public votes.) As grating as Siegfrids’ performance is, at least it has a pulse, unlike Saari’s dirge ballad.

Malta. Kevin Borg, “Needing You.” Borg finished in first place with Malta’s televoters, but in second with the jury. Gianluca Bezzina’s large point tally from the jury and second place finish with televoters booked his ticket to Malmö. And, for the third time this Semi, we are saved from a dreary ballad; Borg’s is so bland you’ll forget about it as you’re listening to it.

Bulgaria. Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov, “Kismet.” Elitsa and Stoyan were internally selected, but Bulgaria held a selection show to choose the song they would perform at Eurovision. As we detail in our post about Bulgaria, officially the song was changed due to copyright issues, but unofficially, the switch may have had more to do with Elitsa’s rumored dissatisfaction with the song selection.

Iceland. Unnur Eggertsdóttir, “Ég Syng!” Iceland didn’t reveal any points totals during the 2013 Söngvakeppnin but did pick “Ég á Líf” and “Ég Syng!” for its 2-song Super Final. Fortunately, “Ég á Líf” finished first, which meant we didn’t have to suffer through “Ég Syng!” more than we had to. The only way this song would be more annoying is if it were a Junior Eurovision Entry.

Greece. Alex Leon featuring Giorgina, “Angel.” It wasn’t particularly close in Greece this year: Koza Mostra and Agathonas Iakovidis took the Eurovision Song Contest slot handily. Leon and Giorgina finished second by virtue of a strong jury showing, but they didn’t do well enough with the public vote to even come close to challenging Koza Mostra. “Angel” is a pretty bad-ass ethnic ballad with a diva performance, staged in the Greek final with lots of shirtless dancers. Even so, we’re pleased Greece sent “Alcohol Is Free” (Kieran’s version: “Abbawon Ifree”) to Malmö.

Israel. Ron Weinreich, “Love is One.” In this year’s Kdam, Moran Mazor tied for first in the jury vote with paralyzed-soldier-turned-singer Ron Weinreich. Weinreich, however, finished fifth in the televote, which killed his chances of winning. (Interestingly, the song that finished first in the televote, Shany Zamir’s “Forever,” received zero points from the jury.) “Love Is One” is decent enough, if not particularly memorable in and of itself. Weinreich flavors it with a dash or three of hair metal operatic vocal theatrics. Plus there’s a keytar. At least we finally have the answer to that age-old entertainment question: what do people respond to more, ex-soldiers in wheelchairs or side boob?

Armenia. Unknown, 2nd place not disclosed.

Hungary. András Kállay-Saunders, “My Baby.” The story of A Dal this year is the story of what the jury wanted versus what the public wanted. In A Dal’s second Semifinal, ByeAlex’s “Kedvesem” tied for fourth place in the jury vote with Gergő Baricz’s “Húz.” The jury picked “Kedvesem” to go through. In the Final, the jury voted for four of the eight songs to be brought to the public vote. Kállay-Saunders’ doo-wop earworm “My Baby” had the highest jury total of the four songs, with 46 points from the five judges. “Kedvesem” sneaked the final four with just 16 points (but consider that the four songs that didn’t make it scored a total of 12 points between them). The public liked ByeAlex more and he won A Dal, although the second place finisher in the televote was never revealed. Either way we were happy; “Kedvesem” and “My Baby” were two of our favorite songs from the entire national selection season.

Norway. Adelén, “Bombo.” Margaret Berger’s victory in the Melodi Grand Prix was decisive: she finished first in both the jury and the televote, and by wide margins. Adelén was a distant second. Then something funny happened: “Bombo” became a hit in Norway, reaching number one during its nine-week stay on the charts. “I Feed You My Love,” on the other hand, topped out at number four and only lasted three weeks on the charts. Buyer’s remorse in Norway? We’ll have to see. Frankly, we find “Bombo” shrill and annoying, so we’re fine with the MGP result.

Albania. Anjeza Shahini, “Love.” Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko’s “Identitet” was the clear winner of Festivali i Këngës with 72 points. Shahini finished second with a respectable 62 points. “Love” smacks of a late 1970s Broadway musical number, when the female lead in the show has discovered she really is in love with the leading man and has to belt out her feelings while people in bell bottoms do an interpretive ballet down the streets of Tirana. Maybe that’s just us.

Georgia. Internal selection, not applicable.

Switzerland. Carrousel, “J’avais rendezvous.” Takasa (the artist known as Salvation Army, or Heilsarmee if you’re Swiss) was the overwhelming public favorite in the Swiss National Final, taking 37.54 percent of the televote. The aggressively twee tune from Carrousel could only muster 17.26 percent of the vote when it finished second place.

Romania. Electric Fence, “Emilia.” Electric Fence just missed being Romania’s Eurovision representative. They lost by one point to Cezar. While Electric Fence was the jury’s favorite, it could only muster fourth place in the televote. Cezar won the televote, and that was enough for him to overcome finishing third in the jury vote. As mentioned in our recap of the Romanian final, this is the second year in a row that Electric Fence have placed second. They are becoming the Magni Ásgeirsson of Romania.