Thirty nine acts came to the Eurovision Song Contest, but tonight only 26 will have the chance to win your televote in the grand final. Over the past two weeks Team Wiwi have attended more than 80 rehearsals, two semi-finals and the jury final. Now it’s time to let you know who’s on top—and who’s gonna fuh-lop. As the contestants slip into their tighest pants ahead of tonight’s live show, you can read our country-by-country preview below. We’ve included the results of our fan prediction poll and rankings from the Wiwi Jury. To read our more in-depth song reviews, click on the country’s name.
Read this ahead of the show, or follow along as the contestants take to the stage tonight at 21:00 CET. Consider this our pre-recorded commentary. Love, Team Wiwi
1. France: Amandine Bourgeois with “L’enfer et moi”
Memorable lyrics: “I’m gonna give you hell”
Vive la France! Amandine has been done wrong, and that is what makes this song so right. She comes off as sick and twisted as she rails against an ex. “You made me cry with burning tears/ My neck still carries your brand/ Skin to skin, fear to fear.” The rage she exudes on stage suggests she’d like to cut off his wang and pour wax into the wound. On the close-ups you’ll notice that her crucifix earrings resemble daggers. Throw some points her way or puppies will die. We love the crazy—and the conviction.
Poll Ranking: 23 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 9
2. Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis with “Something”
Memorable lyrics: “If you don’t know, I’m in love with you”
Andrius has some of the bushiest eyebrows in this year’s competition (see our video here), but if you can look past them you’ll realize there’s something about “Something”. A quiet sweetness elevates this beyond a bad cover of The Killers. The song is more chatty than melodious. That gives it real accessibility, as do the lyrics which all y’all can relate to. “If you don’t know, I’m in love with you/ When summertime falls, it becomes untrue/ Because of the shoes, I’m wearing today/ One is called love, the other is pain.”
Poll Ranking: 20 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 12
3. Moldova: Aliona Moon with “O Mie”
Memorable lyrics: “Go away! Now, I’m done.”
Moldova may be Europe’s poorest country, but they still invested an un-Godly sum into Aliona’s ballgown, which needed to be flown separately to Malmö and stretches nearly three metres. It provides the dramatic focal point to the act by changing color several times over the three minutes. When a platform raises the singer into the air you realize that the gown is bigger than a Christmas tree. The 1980s back-up dancers in white denim need to go. But the song’s unbelievable bridge gives it one of the biggest climaxes of the night.
Poll Ranking: 17 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 15
4. Finland: Krista Siegfrids with “Marry Me”
Memorable lyrics: “I’m your slave, and you’re my master”
If a nuclear bomb ever want off in Las Vegas, the aftermath might resemble Krista’s stage act. Her high-octane number pops with pink garter belts and purple tuxes, and a wedding veil that looks pretty fierce when unfurled in front of a wind machine. Some have called this act “trash” and compared Krista to a cat in heat. This isn’t fair: It’s not her fault she looks like a porn star. After interviewing her in Amsterdam, London and Malmö, Team Wiwi have totally bought into this act that parodies the lengths women go to in search of a man. The lesbian kiss at the end of this compelled Turkey to pull its broadcast of Eurovision. This message of equality deserves to be shared with 120 million viewers tonight. When Krista says “Marry me” we can’t help but say, “We do!”
Poll Ranking: 15 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 16
5. Spain: El Sueno de Morfeo with “Contigo hasta el final”
Memorable lyrics: “Let us go without fear”
This song is so middle-of-the-road that the Spanish might as well paint a white line down the middle of the stage. The Celtic opening is pleasant enough. But just like inoffensive wallpaper you quickly forget that it’s there. In our Wiwi Jury review we were more taken with the lead singer’s ability to ride a horse in her official music video than we were with her knack for songwriting. This is bargain bin material a desperate housewife would play during a bubble bath.
Poll Ranking: 19 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 25
6. Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa with “Love Kills”
Memorable lyrics: “Through the consequence of fire comes the burn”
We have a strange feeling that Roberto’s back-up dancers took a bit too much ketamine earlier this week. They manage to dance in-sync, though we question whether they would repeat these moves after a good night’s sleep and some water. The song has an incredibly weak bridge, but the chorus more than makes up for that. We’ve been impressed with Roberto’s steady growth since he unveiled his song earlier this spring (aided, no doubt, by a week-long boot camp to Finland to work with the songwriters). In March we said that “Love Kills” deserved an early death. Today we’re convinced that this 18-year-old could become one of Belgium’s best digitally re-mastered artists. (He’s also looking for love in Malmö. Watch our interview here).
Poll Ranking: 22 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 26
7. Estonia: Birgit Oigemeel with “Et uus saaks alguse”
Memorable lyrics: “We need the night so the day can bring us light”
We haven’t spent much time reviewing this one, and it ain’t a coincidence. All week we kept forgetting that this song was in the contest until Team Wiwi saw Birgit turn up at parties with a microphone. Bad sign. Despite the Wiwi Jury’s reservations, Birgit has made her way to the final by deploying a black-and-white camera shot, and by hitting one long extended high note during the bridge. Honestly, there isn’t much more to this than that. To her credit she’s five months pregnant and rocks her maternity wear like no other. And after seeing this during the semis, we have to admit that it’s a grower. We no longer blame her morning sickness on the song. It must be the baby.
Poll Ranking: 25 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 22
8. Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya with “Solayoh”
Memorable lyrics: “A rush of excitement flowed into my ears”
Belarus is about to take us to Planet Solayoh—a place where “the sun is always shinin’ on ya” and where we “play-oh, play-oh to the rhythm of a cha-cha.” The Belarusian never leaves home without her giant disco ball, which her dancers use to wheel her on the stage. The staging is on point and this sizzling number should burn a path straight into the Top 10. We’ve said it about a million times now, but her singularly silver costume may or may not represent one-party rule. If this beauty had been around in the late 80s, maybe Communism would have survived.
Poll Ranking: 10 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 13
9. Malta: Gianluca Bezzina with “Tomorrow”
Memorable lyrics: “Risk assessment is his investment”
Malta relies heavily on audience participation. Not a clever idea considering that most of that audience looks pretty indifferent to this. Gianluca is really lovable, and he will be remembered fondly as ESC’s Mr Amity. Sadly, it may stall there. The back-up singers on the bench scream Sesame Street, underscoring the amateur nature of all this. The opening lyrics are easily the worst in the contest: “His name is Jeremy, working in IT.”
Poll Ranking: 6 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 14
10. Russia: Dina Garipova with “What If?”
Memorable lyrics: “What if we aimed to stop the alarms?”
I’m surprised the postcard for this one doesn’t feature Dina cooking macaroni & cheese, because this sh*t is OVER THE TOP with the schmaltz factor. She sings about peace and harmony, but we seriously doubt she would sing this if stationed at Tsandryphsh (the border town between Georgia and Russia). Towards the end of the song she and her back-up singers hold hands and throw two blue balls into the audience. Sorry, people, but this song needs to go. Like we’ve said a number of times, this ain’t a Coca-Cola commercial from the 1970s…it’s Eurovision 2013! (Read about the plagiarism allegations facing this act by clicking here).
Poll Ranking: 16 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 11
11. Germany: Cascada with “Glorious”
Memorable lyrics: “Found a love that eyes cannot see”
In her postcard lead singer Natalie Horler wears a sweater with an American flag. But Cascada’s front woman was actually born in Germany to British parents. No wonder she translates so well across borders. This act consistently receives some of the loudest applause in the press centre….but that may just reflect the fact everyone in this room is a gay man. She spends the first two minutes stomping it out on the top of a glass staircase and then works every inch of the runway shouting “we are young and wild and free.” It’s as glorious as the title suggests.
Poll Ranking: 9 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 7
12. Armenia: Dorians with “Lonely Planet”
Memorable lyrics: “Who can save you?”
In their effort to find something deep, the Dorians have delivered something utterly shallow. These lyrics make no sense. “Who can change the night and day? Who’s the one with clever face? That can tell us what is in the space? Playing games that none can play.” Whatever game they are playing, they are running foul of good taste and inspiration. This is easily Armenia’s worst-ever entry, and that includes its various efforts at Junior Eurovision. The Dorians have a good message, which they were all too happy to tell us about earlier this week. But the staging adds no value and climaxes with some fireballs. Let’s hope they aren’t wearing hairspray.
Poll Ranking: 26 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 24
13. The Netherlands: Anouk with “Birds”
Memorable lyrics: “No air, no pride”
Those Armenian fireballs lead us to a more sombre number from Holland. Anouk, one of her country’s most established musicians, plays with darkness in this Skyfall-esque ballad. Throw yourself into it and you’ll quickly realize this isn’t pop—it’s poetry. The lyrics suggest that the end of love is akin to the end of the world (hence all the dying birds). But Anouk finds meaning beneath all the feathers. “If being myself is what I do wrong then I would rather not be right/ Hopes turn into fear with my one wing I can fly.” (Watch her kinky bondage video here.)
Poll Ranking: 4 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 1
14. Romania: Cezar Ouatu with “It’s My Life”
Memorable lyrics: “It’s my life and I know it’s not forever”
One of the world’s foremost countertenors, Cezar sings most of this song in falsetto. Given that he doesn’t like to shave, the casual viewer might mistake him for a bearded lady. Cezar stands on a tower throughout this song, perched above what appears to be a bloody placenta (in reality a red tarp that gives birth to several interpretive dancers). And while this may scream kitsch, it can also read as a celebration of life and renewal. “Love is so deep and it makes my life complete,” he says. “Like a mountain in the sky love is high so high.”
Poll Ranking: 2 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 16
15. United Kingdom: Bonnie Tyler with “Believe in Me”
Memorable lyrics: “You never see the rainbow, you just curse the rain”
Bonnie Tyler attempts to take Eurovision to Nashville with her number “Believe in Me”. Sadly Tennessee fits into Eurovision about as well as vegetarian at a meat convention. Bonnie is an icon, and this song is simply beneath her. Making her sing “Believe in Me” is like telling an Oscar-winning actress that she’ll be starring in the Canton, Ohio production of Cats. Song aside, Bonnie’s voice has taken an even raspier turn and we’re pretty convinced that she’s been going heavy on the cigars. And her dancing makes her look like a reanimated corpse. Thank God for the platform that raises Bonnie up at the end of the number. It’s the only thing that gives this song lift…
Poll Ranking: 11 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 21
16. Sweden: Robin Stjernberg with “You”
Memorable lyrics: “Isn’t it crazy? Isn’t it crazy?”
Sweden obviously can’t afford to host Eurovision for a second year in a row. That’s the only way to explain why they’ve put their singer in a hideous khaki jumpsuit with white asymmetrical cape. His voice cracks more than the polar ice caps in the summer, and not even the bizarre dancing can take our attention off of that. However, we want to applaud Robin for his dramatic weight loss. We hope he keeps off that weight! P.S. He claims that the “You” he is thinking about are his family and friends. Ain’t no romance here.
Poll Ranking: 12 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 8
17. Hungary: ByeAlex with “Kedvesem”
Memorable lyrics: “She plunges into the deep sea and dances up on top of clouds”
When you’ve had too many barbiturates, then it’s time to take some downers. Enter Alex, aka Lorazepam. The best thing about this act is the hunk on the guitar that we don’t see enough of. This song is a meditation on love and Alex croons about his lady who, it sounds like, has her own prescription drug habit. “My sweetheart is a girl who is torn by wacky dreams/ In the mornings her messy hair/ Is braided by winds, this is why she’s different/ She’s my sweetheart.”
Poll Ranking: 21 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 20
18. Denmark: Emmelie de Forest with “Only Teardrops”
Memorable lyrics: “No shooting star to guide us”
Of all the songs at Eurovision this year, “Only Teardrops” is the one that will play well in the most markets. It has East-West appeal, is radio-friendly and actually has a story to tell. Themes of division and unity apply to love, politics, and the environment—and cut across all cultures. The tribal drumming taps into our most basic instincts and would have stirred a reaction in the first homo sapiens, the mandarins, and Enlightenment thinkers, just as it will in today’s bright young things, super models, and fans of pop. This song will age well as it’s timeless and has no borders. Mature lyrics with a spiritual delivery. A musical orgasm. A perfect ten. Look out for Emmelie’s crazy stalker eyes at about 30 seconds as she stares at the stunningly handsome flute player.
Poll Ranking: 3 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 2
19. Iceland: Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson with “Ég á Líf”
Memorable lyrics: “Don’t think about anything until the following day”
When Eythor Ingi thrusts his hands outward at the climax of this number, you might mistake him for a blond Jesus on the cross. As he told us in a recent interview, he wants to connect witty all y’all on an emotional level. “I am alive, I am alive/ I glide above every hardship/ I am alive, I am alive.” The camera focuses on him for the first two minutes. A backing choir comes into the frame towards the end. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was this song, so stick with it. We totally get why his girlfriend has succumb to his charms and why she accompanies him on romantic walks to the grocery store.
Poll Ranking: 18 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 18
20. Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov with “Hold Me”
Memorable lyrics: “We’ve hit overload, about to explode”
At the beginning of his number Farid says that “we’ve hit overload, about to explode.” That’s appropriate given that he’s the star of plenty of wet dreams here in Malmö (see this shirtless picture if you need proof of this). Fortunately you won’t actually need a towel for tonight’s broadcast, but you may need a tissue. This emotional number conveys the pain of a man who misses his woman, and the torture that ensues as he realizes that she’s “given up on the one [she] loved.” His team convey his inner torment by encasing a dancer in a glass case who initially mirrors Farid, but ultimately comes unhinged. Azerbaijan has invested its oil money well: This act looks expensive but still has a soul.
Poll Ranking: 1 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 5
21. Greece: Koza Mostra with “Alcohol is Free”
Memorable lyrics: “Alcohol is free”
During our recent live chat on Google Plus with Koza Mostra, the band explained why they wear kilts on stage and in their official music video. It’s all about bridging the divide in Europe by uniting the kilt, which comes from Scotland, one of the westernmost places in Europe, and Greek music, which was obviously born in the East. Plenty of folks say that the song itself doesn’t ever take flight. It’s monotonous and lacks a worthy payoff, leaving it as bankrupt as Greece’s economy. But the song’s clever political message—which you can deduce from the lyrics—make me like this. So does the party atmosphere and spirit of fun that colours every bar of this. In a time of austerity we all need to chill out.
Poll Ranking: 7 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 23
22. Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich with “Gravity”
Memorable lyrics: “Something happens and it seems like a strike of thunder”
The team from WiwiBloggs.com has spent a lot of time with Zlata this year. First we interviewed her live on Eurovision.tv. Then we caught up with her in Amsterdam. Both times she was absolutely charming and proved that some people don’t need to be PhotoShopped because they really are that beautiful. The same could be said of her song, which needs absolutely no digital re-mastering. Zlata is the voice of Eurovision 2013 and she has enough firepower to make us forget about the occasionally ridiculous lyrics and the fact that her song sounds like the soundtrack to a National Geographic documentary on hippos. As part of her fairy tale she has flown in Igor Vovkovinskiy, the tallest man in the United States, who stands 7ft 8in and lives with gigantism. He carries her on to the stage and, as Ognevich explains, “into the circle of life through the magic forest”. Good luck unpacking that.
Poll Ranking: 5 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 3
23. Italy: Marco Mengoni with “L’essenziale”
Memorable lyrics: “I annihilate your every single pain”
In case you’re wondering what colour suit to surprise your husband with, this is not it, folks (even if it is Salvatore Ferragamo). Rumour has it that with each vote for Italy a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a fund to buy Marco Mengoni a comb. Now, Marco is a very successful singer — he actually won Italy’s celebrated San Remo competition. But I don’t think he ever learned that looking into the camera from time to time can help convey his message, especially when he’s singing in a language that very few people understand. This is a good song but it never really takes off. Maybe that’s why Marco never really appears to be ‘there’ when he is on stage.
Poll Ranking: 14 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 19
24. Norway: Margaret Berger with “I Feed You My Love”
Memorable lyrics: “Bring the fire, I don’t care if it hurts”
This song proves to us all that understanding the lyrics doesn’t necessarily mean you will grasp the meaning of the song. Margaret Berger sings about ‘feeding us her love’, and even though I have no clue what that really means, I want some of it asap. The staging is dramatic, with a deep blue backdrop, a white hips-don’t-lie dress, and robotic gestures throughout. That’s so now. As for the song, it’s modern, classy and sophisticated. If you’re looking to vote for a contemporary song, this is the one for you, folks!
Poll Ranking: 8 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 6
25. Georgia: Nodi & Sophie with “Waterfall”
Memorable lyrics: “Feels like I’m flying like if I had wings”
The Georgian postcard is totes amaze, and sets the romantic tone beautifully. This is a lovely ballad performed by two lovelier people. Some say it’s yet another ballad that just gets louder and louder, but such a reduction misses the point. As Nodi and Sophie pump up the decibels, they take us all higher. With Western voters split between Denmark and Norway, this could sneak in and cause a real stir at the top. We’re still not sure why they end this with fire shooting into the air. Perhaps their waterfall dried up?
Poll Ranking: 24 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 4
26. Ireland: Ryan Dolan with “Only Love Survives”
Memorable lyrics: “So let the world collide, don’t be afraid.”
Filling Jedward’s shoes is really difficult, and Ryan Dolan does his best. He may be straight, but he knows how to appeal to a gay fan base so he brought in gratuitously naked back-up drummers/dancers to spice up his act. The song itself is good enough, even if it will suffer from cannibalization against Belgium. And you may be too aroused by the dancers to actually pay attention to the song.
Poll Ranking: 13 Wiwi Jury Ranking: 9
Photos: Thomase Hanses and Sander Hesterman (EBU)