Every year the men of Eurovision wow millions of viewers with their vocals and choreography. But once they leave the stage they have even more work to do. That’s because the race to win Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model—the premier online modeling contest for men competing at the Eurovision Song Contest—continues long after the cameras stop rolling. This requires them to pump iron, drink protein shakes, choose clothes that will show off all their assets and deal with the ever-present paparazzi and bloggers who stalk them in search of that elusive shirtless pic.
On March 31 twenty-five men were brave enough to enter the House of Wiwi to compete for the title of Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model, and a spot in the Top Model Hall of Fame. Along the way we had to say goodbye to nine of them. Hungary’s ByeAlex seemed more interested in barbiturates than he did in health and fitness. And Montenegro’s Noyz preferred wearing space suits to slipping into one made by Armani. On April 30 the final 16 men advanced to the finals.
In the end two men broke all voting records in the history of Top Model and nearly caused our server to explode. But now, after counting 3,471 votes in the semi-finals and a whopping 49,364 votes in the final, We can finally announce that Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov is Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model 2013.
Romania’s Cezar Ouatu, our first runner-up, and Italy’s Marco Mengoni, our second runner-up, have also earned a spot in the Top Model Hall of Fame. This was something of a historic year. Farid is the first Azerbaijani to win the contest (although an Azerbaijani contestant has finished in the Top 3 of either the men’s or women’s contest every year since we started the competition). Cezar becomes the most successful Romanian male ever (last year the Men of Mandinga finished as second runners-up). And Marco Mengoni is the first inductee from Italy.
Below you can see the complete results, followed by a re-cap of some of this year’s action.
Congratulations to Farid, Cezar and Marco. Europe loves each of you!
|1. Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov||25,157||50.96%|
|2. Romania’s Cezar||19,858||40.23%|
|3. Italy’s Marco Mengoni||2,085||4.22%|
|4. Greece’s Men of Koza Mostra||325||0.66%|
|5. Lithuania’s Andrius Pojavis||294||0.60%|
|6. Ireland’s Ryan Dolan||243||0.49%|
|7. Malta’s Gianluca Bezzina||240||0.49%|
|8. Belgium’s Roberto Bellarosa||189||0.38%|
|9. Sweden’s Robin Stjernberg||187||0.38%|
|10. Iceland’s Eythor Ingi||186||0.38%|
|11. F.Y.R. Macedonia’s Lozano||145||0.29%|
|12. Latvia’s Ralfs Eilands||126||0.26%|
|13. Georgia’s Nodi Tatishvili||119||0.24%|
|14. Switzerland’s Men of Takasa||87||0.18%|
|15. Spain’s David Feito||68||0.14%|
|16. Latvia’s Edmunds Rasmanis||55||0.11%|
Farid finished the semi-finals of our contest in second place, but he gained momentum in the Top Model contest at the same time as he gained momentum in the Eurovision Song Contest. The Wiwi Jury praised his Eurovision song “Hold Me”, and were among the first critics to say that he could win Eurovision. By the time he showed up at Eurovision, the press corps had fallen in love with his innovative staging, which captured the inner turmoil of a man who had lost his love.
Besides his charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent, Farid had a few other tricks up his sleeve (and under his shirt). Eurovision fans from Barcelona to Baku Googled “Farid shirtless” more times than Valentina Monetta rubbed her IKEA lamp on stage. And they watched his Capoeira fitness series more times than Zlata Ognevich shouted that she was “like a butterfly”. After a bit of begging, Team Wiwi managed to secure the following photo, which suggests Farid’s Capoeira regime is no joke.
But Farid wasn’t arrogant about his look or the fact thousands of fans had a mega-crush on him. As you can see in his interview with wiwiblogger Deban Aderemi, he was somewhat embarrassed by all the attention. He also told us about the tattoo of a flame on his arm.
Farid’s vote tally of 25,157 is the largest in Top Model history—for men or for women. We wish him the best in his musical career, and hope to see him performing on MTV or hosting a TV show soon.
In any other year, Romania’s Cezar Ouatu would have won this contest. He earned 19,858 votes—the second-highest vote tally ever after Farid. His Eurovision song “It’s My Life” was the most divisive of the year—you either loved it or hated it. But regardless of what people said he carried himself with dignity the entire time. His charm and charisma helped turn opera fans into Eurovision fans, and Eurovision fans into opera fans, proving just how influential he is. His utterly unique performance at Eurovision drew headlines all over Europe and was, no doubt, among the most memorable of the year. (His official music video was equally fierce).
One thing to remember about Cezar is that he was already star before coming to Eurovision. As one of the world’s most esteemed counter-tenors, he sings at opera houses from Milan to Paris to London. Yet being a star never made him a snob, and he gave Team Wiwi several interviews in the run-up to Eurovision. He spoke with us at Eurovision in Concert in Amsterdam, at the London Eurovision Party, as he prepared for the contest in Bucharest, and even in his dressing room just 30 minutes before the second semi-final jury performance. His generosity of spirit impressed all of us.
Here he is thanking all of his loyal fans on wiwibloggs.com:
Eurovision wasn’t the beginning for Cezar, and it certainly isn’t the end. We hope he releases more pop-era songs soon!
Italy’s Marco Mengoni is all about transformation. Prior to rising to prominence in Italy, this Italian Stallion really struggled with his weight. As you can see in this photograph, it took a lot of hard work—and plenty of meal replacement bars—to become a swan. But the swan had definitely spread its wings by the time this Vanity Fair photo shoot came up.
We had our first brush with Marco on the red carpet at Eurovision. He went for a casual look, proving that you don’t have to be buttoned up to be a fashion icon. When we caught up with him in the press room a few days later he was still rocking the streetwear.
Congratulations to all of this year’s contestants: You put on a great show. This brings to an end another year of Eurovision’s Next Top Male Model, but we look forward to staging the contest again next year. For now be sure to visit the Top Model Hall of Fame. And come back to wiwibloggs for the latest Eurovision news and gossip—all year long!
Photos: Farid—Eurovision Talents; Cezar and Marco—Eurovision.tv (EBU); Marco shirtless—Vanity Fair Italia