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Tuesday, 14 May 2013 17:30

Eurovision 2013: First Semi-Final - LIVE

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Good Evening! Welcome to the live coverage of the first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Malmö, Sweden. Members of the European Broadcasting Union had to confirm their participation in the international showcase by December and as a matter of fact, during this period some nations had selected both their artist and entry for the event. Sixteen (16) countries will be performing this evening with six (6) of them being eliminated at the first hurdle noting that the other ten (10) will be going through to the final stage on Saturday night where they will compete with another ten (10) qualifiers from the second semi-final and the countries which have already qualified due to their respective financial status.

In recent years, social media has become an important tool to get a message across and escflashmalta.com has been proud to keep you updated through both Facebook and Twitter whilst bringing you exclusive content through Flickr and YouTube respectively. This evening, the special coverage that is annually planned is set to be conducted by our Head of Press, Emil Calleja Bayliss as well as guests; Claudia Faniello, a two time first runner-up at the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and Simon Casey, a former first runner-up in the Irish selection as well as a successful recording artist with Universal Music Ireland. All of the three are extremely professional in their line of work and their interests in music have been duly recorded over time.

The Show (Part 1)

Good Evening! Welcome to Sweden and to the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest. This year, the arena is relatively small in comparison to other years but nevertheless, looks jampacked noting that it was sold out in less than half an hour. An extremely large choir is currently on stage as they perform Euphoria, the winning entry of last year before being joined by Loreen herself. This is a first to see the winner of the year before performing in the first semi-final but nevertheless, she will also be performing a brand new song in the final. Petra Mede, the only hostess for this evening takes to the stage in what seems to be a silver like colour although the material is very much like tin foil. 

Austria

Emil: She looks so scared. Her eyes look it and her voice is a tad shaky but she slowly picks up. The backing have a cool yet strange choereography. The staging is interesting and the small arena looks great on screen. The viduals are impressive. The song is a modern R&B number which should go down well but perhaps it is a bit too early for the viewers to remember. A good one.

Claudia: I think that this is a little bit average especially to kick off this evening yet the performance was good enough.

Simon: Our first semi-final is under way. Didn't really enjoy this performance and it didn't go anywhere, which is a shame as she a really good voice. Natália's Irish roots may not be enough for her to qualify tonight.

Estonia

Emil: A black and white start and surely an interesting trick for the viewers to remember. Kudos on the Estonias but the Maltese had done it first in the Junior Eurovision. The sweet simple ballad is performer strongly. She starts from the catwalk and walks back to the main stage. A flowing dress to hide her pregnancy  It is a typical Scandinavian ballad. The climax is a strong one, but I can't see the viewers voting for this one - the jurors would have to save this one. Interesting number.

Claudia: For the second time in a row, we have another average song and this does not really look to be the best of starts for this years' Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Nice ballad singer and she looks great but I'm looking for something special from a ballad these days and I just didn’t enjoy the song. I was waiting for big finish but a in fact it was a little boring for me. 

Slovenia

Emil: An electro dance number which would help making it a summer hit. Would it be a eurovision hit? I doubt it. She might get a number of votes for her looks or her dancers though. The song is average and nothing that we haven't heard before. The vocals could be much better and sounded shrieky in a number of parts. I'd guess it is game over for Slovenia already. She needs a miracle to get through.

Claudia: This clearly remind me of an extremely famous club song and whilst it is a good track in itself, the vocals are clearly weak this evening. Unfortunately these type of songs are dominating the charts despite not being my cup of tea. 

SimonA good dance track. Hannah put in a great performance and a really catchy chorus. I enjoyed this performance and it has an outside chance of qualification. She sounds like Madonna.

Croatia

EmilThis sounds like music to my ears after Slovenia. Pure class with six great voices. This is what Eurovision should be about - countries presenting something traditional and strong. The only criticism I might have is that it is a bit static or sound a tad repetitive but the voices are impeccable with great harmonies. If viewers forget this, I can't see the jurors doing the same. Let's hope they manage to save it if that is the case.

Claudia: I must say that this is definitely not my cup of tea and the only thing that I can point out from this performance are their awesome boots. I am sorry Croatia!

Simon:  This is a little different, the Croats answer to Il Divo. Nice performance and good harmonies. I like it but I don't know how it'll translate European wide considering that it might be respected by minorities.

Denmark

EmilThe ULITIMATE Eurovision favourite - the odds are shortening like mad. A military tattoo feel and this song has WINNER written all over it. Can't see any other song beating this. The performance is interesting and the she sells it well even though she might not be giving her strongest vocal performance. The cheers she's getting in the audience suggest that this is hers to loose - although she's quite close to home so that helps loads. Winner of 2013!? I think so.

Claudia: First things first, it seems that this definitely a crowd favourite this evening and apart from that fact, they have also borrowed my outfits without asking, haha. This is a feel good with great lyrics. This is the second year in a row that they have a great song!

Simon: Good performance by Emmelie, I really like this song. Catchy as hell. I think it's a little reminiscent of last year’s winning song and the strongest performance so far tonight. Think this song has a real chance in the finals.

Russia

Emil: Her clear vocals are beautiful and she carries the song with such grace yet the excitement get the best of her in the beginning. The harmonies with the backing sound great though and the way the whole arena lights up during the key refrain is impressive. Another great stomper. Can't see it beating Denmark but Russia will possible fight to be in the top three this year. 

Claudia: This is definitely a Eurovision Song Contest entry because the key-change is extremely typical. It is also very much like an X Factor winners' single. Nevertheless, Dina is an extremely strong performer.

Simon: Vocally a great performance from Dina and one of my favourites. Certain to qualify. Really strong message here as well. There is a slight feel factor of Katrina and the Waves 'Love Shine a Light' (which is good). No need to bring back the grannies this year!!

Ukraine

Emil: Ruining a good song with a giant!? Well Jack and the beanstalk has been a great inspiration. Another great number which picks up as soon as she starts singing although her vocals sounded a bit low at first. She oozes charisma and she connest well with the camera. Will this gospel number appeal to the viewers at home? Considering it is Ukraine, and the song is a strong one it should do well. Ukraine can expect another top ten result. Three strong numbers after each other. Will someone suffer?

Claudia: Whoa! The giant is clearly an impressive touch and he is somewhat part of the choreography. The visuals are just stunning and the vocals on stage are coming across really well on the sound system. This is well performed! Not a winner though!

SimonThere's a real Disney feel to this song, certainly one of the strongest performances tonight and really should qualify for Saturday night.

The Netherlands

EmilThe famous Anouk is next. She looks beautiful on screen but she avoids eye contact with the camera and stays with her eyes closed during most of the performance. Clearly not the way to connect with your audience. It is the slowest song in the competition and although it has a classic feel to it and Anouk gives a strong interpretation it will be up to the jurors to save this one tonight I feel. It is a bit boring I fear.

Claudia: Anouk, a vocal genius and once more, another strong performance for this evenings' competition. The song in itself is nothing too extraordinary but nevertheless, the versatility is the key behind it's success.

Simon: Don’t like being too critical but I just didn't get this song, it certainly was very different and she has a very decent voice but can't see her qualify for the final. (She's for the birds)

Montenegro

EmilSpacemen make their way to the Eurovision stage too and they are joined by an alien. Not my cup of tea and can't see whether this song will have any appeal whatsoever. It is different to the one that came before it and that is the only reason I see her picking up some votes. I guess it is a bit too modern and the Eurovision stage is not the place to showcase this kind of music. Noise pollution? Quite close.

Claudia: Whilst I respect several genres of music, this is too electronic for my taste. The costumes for the performance definitely remind me of the ones used during one of Fab's latest videos.

Simon:  A very forgettable performance apart from its raunchiness, this song is going nowhere.

Lithuania

Emil: Lithaunia present a good modern pop song with an electronic feel to it. I feels a bit too generic but it is a good entry performed by a very likable guy which will pick up a few votes for his charm. The song might be a little mid table but with some neighbourly help, some luck and a good performance it might actually make it.

Claudia: A Pet Shop Boys attempt. Actually enjoyed this tune but I think the vocal was quiet poor tonight.

Simon: The crowd is really warm this evening and that is very positive for the performers. The track itself seems to have taken us back through time, back to the 80's in a genre similar to the one made popular by AHA, including the blurred visuals. 

Belarus

Emil: Belarus go with a cheesy cha cha number which would have been fit in the Eurovision Song Contest back in the 1990's. It is a bit too late. The performance is strong but the same cannot be the said for her vocals. They sound strained and weak in places. The outfits are cool though and her PR strategy was amongst the strongest. Will that help her pass? I doubt it.

Claudia: Typical entry from the Eurovision Song Contest, the outfit along with the staging has been done a million times before. Hmm, there is something about Alyona which reminds me of Charlotte Perelli although her figure is definitely more intriguing.

Simon: She reminds me of Shakira, and he tune is a little similar to the Turkish 2003 winner. Certainly has potential to qualify tonight, really think its a song that will grow on people. 

Moldova

EmilThe music is strong for this one and so is her voice but the fact that we can't understand what she's singing about is a distraction. The dress is spectacular though and the overall visuals are amongst the best in the competition. I wouldn't count this one out especially after that performance.

Claudia: The piano and the strings definitely catching my attention and the dress in itself is very similar to the one used by Olivia Lewis during the 2005 Malta Song for Europe. This song in itself does not really go anywhere and that is relatively disappointing. Good performance though! I would never see myself in such a dress!

Simon: A great vocal from Aliona, really good singer. Nice power ballad and the best we've heard from Moldova ever. I think she’ll qualify.

Ireland

Emil: Ireland haven't done well recently and they think that the best thing to do is go with an uptempo number with half naked men on stage. Will it work? I guess it will take them to the finals tonight. The song came to life on this stage and the drum beats sound and look great. Not your typical Irish sound but it's kind of good. Ryan gives a strong performance and surely merits the final.

Claudia: Well, I am not too sure of the graphics being used in this performance or the clothing for that matter but nevertheless, this is done well in it's respective genre.

Simon: Well done Ryan, this song has been growing in me the last few weeks and tonight he's given a great performance. A very different entry to what we're used to. I'm really hoping Europe vote or us tonight. Congrats Team Ireland.

Cyprus

Emil: This song is so beautiful, she performs it with such grace and her look reminds me of Celine Dion. Her vocals are strong and the traditional ballad leaves everyone haunted. One of my personal favourites for tonight and I think it should sail with ease to the finals. Touching. Well done Cyprus. Pity the Greeks aren't here to help you out tonight as you truly deserve all the help you can get.

Claudia: Whoa! What a choice of outfit! This looks amazing on screen. She does look a little bit like Celine Dion from far away. You need to have a really good song to succeed in a foreign language. I am not too sure.

Simon: Unfortunately this has been my least favourite performance tonight, just lacking pretty much everything. The weakest by far.

Belgium

Emil: He looks like a scared little boy on that stage. The backing are truly amazing but his voice is just weak. Pity as the beat of the song is quite good and if it was performed stronger it could easily make it but he literally kills it. One big car crash vocally. Sorry Belgium, next time think about sending a singer who can actually sing. Do not blame the lack of neighbours this year.

ClaudiaBelgium, I have to denote this as to having an extremely modern sound but the choreography is not too my liking unfortunately. It also has the feel of a radio song rather than a track that succeeds within the Eurovision Song Contest.

Simon: Good pop song and well performed. Roberto has a strong voice. Nice vibe to it and I'm thinking the Irish entry is a little similar (obviously we're tops)

Serbia

Emil: Barbies gone wrong. I guess they let a weird niece dress them up who has spent her life under lock and key by her insane parents. Whoever decided on the outfits should be SHOT! The song ain't bad but it ain't good either. They look stupid and the whole act looks ridiculous. Pity as the song would have had some potential if they had a decent performance. Thank God the vocals are in place cause it would have been miserable.

Claudia: I am quite disappointed with the songs in this years' first semi-final. This was yet another forgettable song but nevertheless, the vocals are well performed throughout the whole entry.

Simon: Good uptempo song to bring the the first semi final to a close. Has to be said its one of the stronger songs tonight. Three strong vocalists and there'll be plenty of young lads voting for them tonight. Serbia should qualify.

The Show (Part 2)

Petra Mede, the hostess for the evening hast just opened the tele-voting and a recap of the songs has just been shown on screen. A series of interval acts will be taking to the stage of the Eurovision Song Contest and first up is Petra Mede who takes us through memory lane and enters a number of performances. Well, the voting has just come to an end and now we have the proper interval act which is a choreographed set of movements to a magnificient backdrop known as Aurora or rather, the Northern Lights.

Emil:  Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Claudia: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine

Simon: Belarus, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Moldova, Netherlands, Russia, Serbia,  Slovenia, Ukraine

We just had Lynda Woodruff and she was epic in her sketch. A recap of the six direct finalists is currently being shown on screen. One has to note that they have an amazing set of songs especially compared to the quality of the songs performed this evening. Bonnie Tyler, Robin Stjernberg and Marco Mengoni are in the arena representing the countries directly in the final which are voting in this semi-final! The time for the qualifiers is here!

Moldova

Lithuania

Ireland

Estonia

Belarus

Denmark

Russia

Belgium

Ukraine

The Netherlands

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 21:17