Ten countries advanced to the Final last night, but six countries (Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Serbia) will not. We look back to our experiences with them here in Malmo.
AUSTRIA and SLOVENIA
Since there are two Americans on board with ESC United, we were really sad to see both our American compatriots go home after Tuesday’s first semi-final. Natalia was raised in the US and grew up in Connecticut and Washington state (where Zack lived for 7 years). So it was fun for us to talk with her about our American ties. Hannah is also from LA (where Matt has lived for 2 years). It was fun for Matt and Zack to cheer their fellow Americans on.
Matt and Zack also got a quick bite to eat at Malmo Centralen Station after Semi-Final 1 and the press conferences and ended up seeing Hannah walking through. Fans were coming up and taking photos and telling her how great she was. Zack screamed out, “We love you Hannah!” and she seemed to be very gracious for the support. We really wanted to hug her!
You couldn’t meet six guys nicer than Klapa s Mora. They were everywhere during Eurovision week. They were right behind us as we checked into the Belarus party on Saturday night. We saw a couple of them around Malmo now and then. They seemed to really take in the full Eurovision experience. The Head of Delegation was also very nice. He told us that they really wanted to do something ethnic and reflective of their culture. We cannot ding Croatia for that. In a Eurovision era where a lot of countries now hire Swedish songwriters to write their songs (which is not always a bad thing!), it’s nice to see delegations that want Eurovision to display to a piece of their national identity.
When checking in to the Belarus, we mentioned Klapa s Mora were behind us. Who See and Nina were right in front. A lot of people were sad to see Montenegro not advance. The press were really fond of Nina. She is a little firecracker. She is extremely talented and her voice is out of this world. We hope to see Nina one day represent Montenegro again in Eurovision. As for Who See, we commend them for staying true to their artistry by doing a song within their genre. Rap music doesn’t go over well with Eurovision, but it’s nice to see artists come back year after year and try to change this norm.
Despina is a very charismatic individual. Zack admits that his interview with her was such fun. She was very laid back and easy going and it made for a nice interview. Before her performance last night, as the video postcard for Cyprus was going, she made sure to wave thanks to all the groups of the Cypriot fans present in the standing sections.
Last night, a reader called the results for the ex-Yugoslavian countries a “Balkan disaster” and it’s so true. NONE of these countries qualified this year. We predicted that Serbia would indeed qualify. We thought people would look past their strange outfits and songs and consider the performance of the ladies of Moje 3. They brought so much energy to the stage. And we especially loved the theatrics put on by Sara (the devil character). But sadly, it was not Serbia’s year. The hopes of the ex-Yugoslavian countries lie in Macedonia, which are not favorites to qualify. This may sadly be the first year sans a Balkan nation.
We commend these six delegations and wish the artists and their delegations the best of luck in the future. We hope Eurovision 2013 provided them many opportunities to expand their fan bases and give them great memories for the years to come.
All photos courtesy of Sander Hesterman (EBU)