Eurovision 2013 – The Grand Final

So we’ve reached the final six now to be added to twenty of Europe’s most successful semi-final hopes to make the grand line-up for Saturday 18th May. Of course, this year, we don’t yet know the actual order of appearance, so I’ll present them to you in alphabetical order of country, together with the range of odds as listed by bookmakers who will give you an each way place on the top four songs, as at 26th April, and also those all-important five star ratings. Let’s get started!

France – Amandine Bourgeois – L’Enfer et moi (Hell and me)

Amandine Bourgeois Well here’s a light fluffy number for the Saturday evening light entertainment TV viewers. Amandine Bourgeois (which appears to be French for “Middle class served with almonds”) pouts and sulks her way through a gothic video recipe of blood and rose petals with just a hint of nutmeg, eventually turning on a guy tied up in a scary dark room that she had obviously prepared earlier. As the late Mrs Thatcher once said on Multi Coloured Swap Shop “it’s got a good beat”, and there’s a distinct whiff of the slinky and sexy to the whole thing. La Bourgeois won the sixth series of French Pop Idol in 2008 and the lyricist is one Boris Bergman who also wrote “Un train qui part” and “Une chanson c’est une lettre” for Monaco way back in the 70s. Not at all bad, but maybe it should be a little better? 50-1 to 80-1 ****

Germany – Cascada – Glorious

CascadaOne of the few songs this year that could be considered remotely schlagertastic. Singer Natalie is a bright, bouncy and jolly girl and she brings a big dollop of happiness to the stage. For me the song is four-fifths of the way there; very nearly excellent, but there’s just something holding it back. With its understated verse and grand chorus, it bears comparison with Euphoria, but is found wanting in the balance. That’s probably its downfall. Cascada of course have been hugely successful worldwide and that’s not going to do them any harm at all. Nevertheless, I can’t see this winning. 18-1 to 25-1 ****

Italy – Marco Mengoni – L’essenziale (The Essence)

Marco MengoniFor me, this is this year’s “Kuula”, a well sung ballad by a smouldering guy and and a song that everybody loves – apart from me. I’ve heard it a few times and instantly afterwards have absolutely no recollection of the tune. It’s a heart-searching “love’s a tragedy” lyric, and Marco is obviously feeling the pain, but I’d prefer it to be a private moment that he should share just with his piano. I love a joke as much as the next man, but, leave me out of it, hey, Marco? The preposterous underwater singing, violin playing and book-reading in the video just makes me laugh scornfully. Marco won the Italian X-Factor in 2009, and if there was a prize for the best quiff, he’d be ten feet taller than everyone else. Probably he is. Boring! 16-1 to 20-1 **

Spain – ESDM – Contigo hasta el final (With You Until The End)

ESDMDespite one’s initial suspicion, ESDM is not some Spanish fetish involving chains and castanets, but stands for El Sueño de Morfeo, which proabably makes less sense than a strapped down flamenco dancer. Raquel del Rosario is a good-looking girl who also happens to be F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s ex. The mood of the song is kind of folk-rock dreamy, very gentle, very relaxing; you almost expect to hear distant dolphins and whales chilling out with you, and you do get a horse galloping in from the sea, just as in those tasteful 1970s prints. Sadly, what starts off as beguiling, ends up just a bit boring, and I don’t think it will make any impact on the night. Nice horse, though. 100-1 to 150-1 **

Sweden – Robin Stjernberg – You

Robin StjernbergWe went to a Melodifestivalen party this year and we all had to put the ten finalists in our order of preference. Both Mrs Chrisparkle and I put this song in tenth position. I haven’t a clue how it beat David Lindgren, Yohio, or any of the others. However, when we added everyone’s points together, the song that the party gave maximum points to was – Robin Stjernberg. So for some reason that eludes me, this is a really popular song. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad; I don’t think Robin’s voice, particularly in the quieter parts, is that well controlled, and the chorus, to be charitable, is repetitive. There is an underlying power to it, I agree; but it’s very underlying. 12-1 to 22-1 ***

UK – Bonnie Tyler – Believe in Me

Bonnie TylerWhich brings us finally to our Bonnie. When we first heard that she was going to be the UK representative, Mrs C and I were both very excited and thought it was a great choice. Then I heard the song and my instant reaction was that it was as dull as ditchwater. Then Mrs C heard the song and her instant reaction was that it was fab. It is improving with many listens, but I still confess I only play it out of curiosity, to remember how it goes, and not out of any wish to hear it again. I think it’s a song I admire more than like. With any luck, she will have loads of experience to fall back on, and not get fazed by the experience. Undoubtedly the one performer in the whole contest with the most successful recording career, and I for one would be thrilled if it won. 25-1 to 33-1 ***

Last year I did a little analysis of the songs that had received the most hits on the youtube channel, to see if there was anything one could deduce from it. The most popular song was Russia (which came 2nd), then Cyprus (which came 16th) and then the UK (which came 25th). So it’s only of limited use! Nevertheless, here are the scores on the doors as it stands at this very moment in time:

10th – Greece (215,764)
9th – Norway (221,774)
8th – Sweden (259, 294)
7th – Germany (303,612)
6th – UK (323,460)
5th – Serbia (565,642)
4th – Azerbaijan (649,961)
3rd – Denmark (720,079)
2nd – Ukraine (835,881)
1st – Montenegro (1,162,020)

Montenegro? MONTENEGRO????? Yes, Montenegro. Europe is awash with happy little dubsteppers groovin’ and jammin’ across the continent.

So now I’m going to give you my top ten favourites:

In at Number 10, I’m going for the simplicity of Hungary’s Kedvesem

At 9, it’s little Belgian Roberto complaining that Love Kills

My number 8 is Aliona from Moldova singing about thousands, or millions, your choice

7th place goes to the disco pleasing Irish entry from Ryan and Only Love Survives

6 is that big favourite from Denmark, Emmelie and Only Teardrops

At Number 5 it’s the gorgeous Zlata from Ukraine hoping Gravity doesn’t plummet

My 4th choice is for the powerhouse from Norway, Margaret Berger on a love feeding frenzy

Top 3 – At 3 it’s the musical medic, Gianluca Bezzina from Malta with Tomorrow

Runner-up always the bridesmaid but maybe this time the bride, Krista from Finland and Marry Me

And my favourite song this year is the Swiss Army Knives (Salvation branch) and the anthemic You and Me.

I have come to the conclusion that this year’s contest is wide open. Almost anyone could win, and almost anyone could come last. I’m going to make a prediction that the following ten songs will be in the top ten – but I’m not going to pin myself down to positions. I think they will be:


Feel free to scoff and deride my choices – and I’ll meet you back here on Wednesday 15th May to pick over the devastation of the results of the First Semi. Happy Eurovisioning!

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