The unique flavour of every contest is not, contrary to popular belief, determined by the 26 different songs. The character of each year’s Contest comes from the host. It’s about the warmth that the presenter or presenters display on stage, balancing the voting sequence, introducing the acts and occasionally calling upon the traditional Eurovision humour for success.

Malmö was a superb Contest. Sweden struck the perfect balance between drawing on the traditions of the Contest and joining together elements from the 21st Century. As in the Contests of old, the redoubtable Petra Mede hosted solo and wowed the continent. Ably juggling the voting sequence, interacting with the acts and dealing with promiscuous Eric Saade she’s probably the best host of the century. They also made the intervals and introductions something to watch. ‘Swedish Smorgasbord’ was a true highlight in the Grand Final and actually made the interval something not to miss rather than your last chance for the loo before howling at the Ex-Soviets all voting for another.

http://youtu.be/4yARWm2tMzg

Loreen also rightly took pride of place with her marvellous medley of ‘My Heart Is Refusing Me’, ‘We Got The Power’ and of course the incredible ‘Euphoria’. Darin and Agnes as Swedish Pop Voices dazzled with their medley of hits, Sarah Dawn Finer wowed in duel role as Lynda Woodruff and herself, Carola getting flung off stage had me in stitches, and of course, who can forget the Olympics style opening to the Grand Final with the B’s from ABBA and Avicii?

The Germans in hosting Dusseldorf struck the right tone too, though didn’t quite deliver as polished a hosting as the Swedes. The jazz version of ‘Satellite’ was admittedly amazles, and the hosts, especially Anke were hilarious to watch and showed genuine warmth, but they were robbed of making too much of Lena by her competing again. Had she not competed, and instead offered Taken By A Stranger in a winner’s medley, they might have given the Swedes a run for their money. In fact that was probably the only real blunder of the German hosting. Having Lena compete again robbed them of a success story to centre the contest around, like the Swedes had with Loreen.

Azerbaijan, in contrast, singularly failed to deliver. ‘Running Scared’ was superbly staged in 2011, and would have lent itself to a dramatic opening to the Baku Grand Final. Combined with appearances from former Azerbaijani Eurovision contestants, Baku could have reminded us all of the wonderful songs they’ve delivered in the Contest. Sadly Ell & Nikki lip-synced in a really limp reprise of ‘Running Scared’, there were no signs of former contestants and instead we had the stupid President’s son-in-law delivering a diabolical rip-off of Dima Bilan.

http://youtu.be/8ZuQLev-Dio

Worse, as with all things Azerbaijan outsourced the Semi-Final acts, roping in the winners from the Contests since 2007 for a bland and boring medley of the winning songs of the last few years. Even more bizarrely they then let Ell & Nikki loose on ‘Waterloo’. The traditional The Natig Rhythm Group was a pleasant cultural twist in the First Semi-Final, but they didn’t warrant an entire interval entertainment. Considering the leviathan Azerbaijani selection process surely they could have recruited someone from that to sing for the other half.

The real problem at the heart of Baku was that it was just one big propaganda campaign for Azerbaijan, as their entries are every year. The postcards are a particular eyesore. They completely misunderstood the message of Eurovision. It’s about unity and shared entertainment, not about who wins the Contest and how best they show off their country. True a Contest shouldn’t overly indulge in nostalgia, but that’s no excuse for completely ignoring your own participation in the contest. I’ll admit that Dusseldorf and Malmö had some shortcomings, but Baku pales in comparison to both. It was actually a year that I wasn’t excited for the Grand Final after the Semi-Finals; there was just no warmth or comedy in Baku. It was vapid.

So what do you all think? Was Baku’s hollow hosting a highlight for you? Did Dusseldorf dazzle? Was Malmö a mess? Comments below peeps!

Angus Quinn contributed this report from the U.K. You can follow him on Twitter at @Angus_Quinn17. Then like our Facebook page to keep up-to-date with all the latest news and gossip.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
A-Zero Points
Guest
A-Zero Points

Azeris are flop – look how they always leave butthurt comments on even the slightest crticism. Surely, that’s the effect with living in a dictatorship & a shitty close culture – you don’t know how to respect opinions. Well, let me give you a taste of your own medecine: ever since you joined Eurovision, you only tarnished thr name of this good contest because of your cheating practises & shady dealings. Shame!

wolfgirls
Guest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VKHFK-H9xU watch it but may be you can not enjoy from this magic cultural, but i thing europa enjoy only gay people and Boor people like Malmo. and there are one petra mede and little arena, it is so boring but you love it, ok i have no word for you europa

wolfgirls
Guest

baku is the just perfect.
Azerbaijan is moslem people and caucasian and they are can’t speak as malmo or dusseldrof we are have caucasian cultural and moslem cultural and Turkish etnic cultural nad i think these are so perfect but malmo is gay people they are take of them clothes and it is ill-breeding they show us only has many gayst. better than malmo because they are Merry and joking

Bahraam Miri
Guest
Bahraam Miri

I completely don’t agree with the article at all. At first the articles, no matter are they connected with politics or not, have to be apolitical and written from a neutral point of view. We saw here a splash of criticism against Azeri hosting. It appeared to me as the whole Europe with its 700 billion population not only didn’t like the 2012 contest at all but also is full of hatred and complaints to it. May be you didn’t notice but Azerbaijan’s aim at the contest was to make a step towards Europe, to make the country closer to… Read more »

MoOn-FLoWeR
Guest

<3 AZERBAIJAN <3 ESC 2012 <3

Ayshen
Guest
Ayshen

45 comments for this post. But max. 10 comments for other posts. This means that Azerbaijan really liked by others 🙂

MoOn-FLoWeR
Guest

Azerbaijan was the most beautiful ESC.Open your eyes look GOOD.!!!

Vlad
Guest
Vlad

I agree about Malme and Baku, but not really sure about Dusseldorf. Moscow was dreadful.

Padraig Muldoon
Admin

@Charles the clue is in the name Euro VISION Song Contest. It’s more than just a song contest, its a televisual spectacular and always has been. Take Bucks Fizz for example, they will always be remembered for their costume trickery rather than their song. Or Eurovision 1994, which will always be best know for its interval act – Riverdance. If it was just a song contest as you suggest it would be on the radio not the tv.

Charles
Guest
Charles

Something tells me that I’m probably one of the very very very few people who just follows ESC for its true essence: the music in it. I find it a bit disturbing how wowed or distrusted people feel for all the show elements, the hosting, the interval acts, the comedy or lack of it, etc etc I mean everything else that drifts away from the fact that there are songs being performed and one of them will be the winner. I’m sorry if I was not supposed to be this intriguied by all this “glamour and glitter” but maybe I’m… Read more »

Clockwork Angel
Guest
Clockwork Angel

Malmö is my favorite from the 3(because of Petra, Lynda & the Olympics style opening) but Baku comes to a very close second. Even if the MCs were a little wooden, the beautiful arena, the parade of colors & instruments, the culture & the fire theme… all were just incredible! Don’t know about others, but Azerbaijan’s interval act was my all time favorite ever. Emin is a very talented singer & he’s flawless in english so you can’t just call him “the stupid President’s son-in-law delivering a diabolical rip-off of Dima Bilan”. I’m grateful to ESC that I got to… Read more »

Padraig Muldoon
Admin

From the perspective of someone who’s only ever seen Eurovision on the television I would have to say that visually Germany was the best. The giant screens were amazing and when used properly, as in Jedward’s performance for example, they were epic. From the point of view of presentation Sweden definitely has to win. Whether you liked her or not everyone remembered Petra. Even casual viewers who’d only watch the final were talking about her. In contrast the Azerbaijan presenters were bland and boring, and although they threw lots of money at the contest they still didn’t have anything as… Read more »

eurovision-berlin
Guest

For me just Russia and Azerbaijan were amazing, espacially for fans. In both countries tickets were not expensive and places for the fans were fantastic. Our places were almost part of the stage. They give a lot to their public. If one want to make a big European show, than he has to give a lot. Therefore Malmö was only second-rate, in the beginning the Abba anthem was like the Introit for a Church Mass, the rally-flags of the nations looked like stupid school play in an school auditorium. And the performers also looked like variety artists on this small… Read more »

Bogdan Honciuc
Guest

Düsseldorf was the best of the three, stage-wise. What bugged me most about the stage in Baku was the immensity of it, just like the Moscow one. It was as big as a football field. The singers almost got lost on it, and they all looked so small. The Russian&Azerbaijani organisers’ megalomania was ridonkulous. Malmö showed that you can host a great Eurovision on a less (literally) grand scale.

Also, the Baku presenters were completely boring, stiff, and predictable, while Petra was anything but. Except for the early announcement of the winner, the Swedish show was perfect.

David Thielen
Guest

Can people please lighten up. 1. I’m straight and I’ve never felt in any way in any ESC venue that I was less welcome for being straight. In fact it’s nice that gender preference at ESC is a non-issue. One of the few places where you can say that. 2. There is no hate for Eastern Europe. About 90% of what I personally listen to is Russian and Ukrainian pop. And most of the rest is now Romanian. In fact every Saturday morning I post a Russian Music video on ColoradoPols which is a political blog I am very active… Read more »

William Lee Adams
Admin

I wouldn’t say that people on this blog hate all of Eastern Europe because a writer didn’t like the way the show in Baku was produced. For instance: the same author of this post also recently wrote about how amazing Azerbaijan is at Eurovision: http://wiwibloggs.com/2013/07/25/country-profile-azerbaijan-at-eurovision/29483/

Also, If you look at the results of the Wiwi Jury from 2013, you’ll see that Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan came 4, 5 and 6 in our rankings:
http://wiwibloggs.com/critics-reviews-eurovision-2013-songs/

Furthermore, when Farid was selected we wrote an article called “Azerbaijan could win Eurovision.” http://wiwibloggs.com/2013/03/14/lyrics-farid-mammadov-azerbaijan-singer/23210/

I wouldn’t cast such broad generalizations based on one post.

eurovision-berlin
Guest

Most of the writers of this Blog seem only to be interested in the contest to create themselves a possibilty to express their envy and hatred against Eastern European countries.

Andy
Guest

@Hohum – This is a blog, which means, unlike a news site, everything here will be doused with a healthy amount of bias. Not to mentions that the word “editorial” literally means “opinion article.” Coming with the expectation for anything less than a lot of opinion is misguided. Speaking of which, I think I have to agree with several comments below. Petra did a fine job, but she was a bit much. I also think SVT made the show less inclusive. Yes, a lot of us fans are gay guys, but everyone who is viewing is not and continually referring… Read more »

Sarah S
Guest
Sarah S

I loved the Baku logo and postcards! Beautiful imagery! The Malmö comedy was NOT funny.

Diane
Guest
Diane

Oh my god, why can’t we just enjoy those show?! Okay, each of the three countries may have their strengths and weaknesses, but it would be nice if you make a post about the evaluation of those three shows, and create a better sugestions to make Eurovision 2014 more interesting rather than wrote about this one. As one of the Eurovision dedicated blogs, I think you guys are really doing a great job but you should give the reader more value added to your posts.

Hohum
Guest
Hohum

@David Thielen – I deliberately didn’t go into specifics, because it would just look like I am disagreeing for the sake of it. My point is more that with title like “Editorial: Why Malmö and Düsseldorf eclipse Baku’s hosting”, it made me think we’re going to get something a little less subjective than we did.

Alex
Guest
Alex

In my opinion Düsseldorf was much better then Malmö in every single thing. Emin in Baku had a very good performance with a very good song. Swedens were grasping and the whole Show looked very cheap and too much “old-style”

David Thielen
Guest

@Hohum – Actually Angus gave you a clear answer with well thought out specific examples about why he thinks Baku sucked. Your response shows that you have no counter argument for his points.

Hohum
Guest
Hohum

@Angus Quinn – Your argument then apparently rests on the fact that you feel that your taste so much superior that you can speak for the entire European continent to determine what is and isn’t entertaining. Nice one.

Fikri
Guest
Fikri

i hate all 3 and prefer oslo 2010. 🙂

David Thielen
Guest

Baku did a lot of things well. But they also did some things poorly. Each time they showed a postcard, “land of mountains”, “land of old buildings”, etc., what ran in my mind was “land of secret police”, ” land of dictatorship.” They were trying to put lipstick on a pig and all it did was remind people that it’s a pig. Second, the three MCs were wooden. Now granted, Norway’s were amateur hour and Germany’s were proof that “German comedian” is an oxymoron. But “ours suck differently” is not an argument that they are better. Third, the pathetic show… Read more »

Ayshen
Guest
Ayshen

Dear, Wiwibloggs!
Come on and look your all posts. You’ve written about Azerbaijan in 97% of posts. If Azerbaijan was the worst the country Were you write about it??I do not agree with you. I think Eurovision 2012 is one of the best Eurovision Contest. in interval acts Only Ell&Nikki could sing. But Azerbaijan thought the other countries. And it combined winner songs with Azerbaijan’s National instruments.What’s wrong in it???

Julian
Guest
Julian

The two comedians stole too much of the attention, it is Eurovision show not Mede show. Mocking some of the participating countries is the best way of bringing Europe together… not. Mede is probably great commenting in the studio for the Swedish viewers but very biased as host. Announcing the winner when voting was not over… for quite a few moments nobody knew what was that. And I agree sound was not so good levelling up performances. These added to the countless bad innovations of EBU this year. Dusseldorf and Baku had their blunders as well but if you take… Read more »

R
Guest
R

DISAGREE. Baku was a much better host than Dusseldorf. Other than the fact that, yes, Baku was very keen on showing national pride and such (but hey, give them a chance, no one knows where the hell Azerbaijan was until Eurovision), but just look at the other aspects – the stadium was beautiful, the staging wonderful and the quality of songs extremely high. The hosts tried hard as well to make it impressive.

That being said, no one holds a torch to Malmo, they were amazing. Sweden should host every year. Oslo was second!

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I watched Eurovision for the first time with Baku….I thought they did a fine job, but their host should never adlibs or improv or comedy again….I decided to look at the pass Eurovision show and I thought Anke Engelke in Dusseldorf Eurovision was HILARIOUS!!! She hit the right comic tones for that show…The dance group during I think the Grand Final they were Amazing!….Sweden’s Petra was funny but Sarah Dawn Finer should’ve been the host…..She is a frecking RIOT! I hope she gets to sing for the UK…or maybe we’ll get see Lynda Woodward in Denmark.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Oh, and I forgot Dusseldorf messed up the camerawork, and they blocked much of the screen with the black voting number backdrop as well. The contest should’ve been so much better, especially given how good the songs were.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Baku was way better than either Malmo or Dusseldorf. Dusseldorf had inexcusably bad audio quality, as I’ve said over and over again in these comment threads… the scores were so close because every performance sounded about the same (weak) quality! Malmo made the contest smaller than it needed to be, not to mention the fiasco with the running order and the strange voting system (the last of which may not be SVT’s fault). Only Baku made every entry sound and look as good as it deserved to. Yes, Malmo had the best host in Petra, but the show simply wasn’t… Read more »

Nirgal
Guest
Nirgal

Let’s not forget, of course, how wonderful the idea of letting the producers pick the running order of the final. I think they giving all their friends good positions, and burying all the other favorites together so they would cancel each other out was indeed, one of the best ideas of this year. Also, I loved the moment when they cut the voting to announce that whatever all the countries left to vote did, it wouldn’t really matter. Respectful, subtle and, in a single word, amazing. No, seriously, maybe the host was good (although I personally prefer some hosts whom… Read more »

Jordan
Guest
Jordan

Azerbaijan’s hosting was just mediocre… just like their entries.

Anthony Ko
Editor

In terms of the hosting itself, I’d say Malmö 2013 narrowly edges this one out.

In terms of the standards of the songs from the three years mentioned, I’d go for Baku 2012.

Hohum
Guest
Hohum

@Angus Quinn – Just calling it how I see it. I clicked on the link expecting to find at least a decent analysis of these three contests, but instead got an argument that boiled down to dubbing Petra Mede as wowing, and Emin as stupid. And when your article also contains the text “….before howling at the Ex-Soviets all voting for another.”, ostensibly ignoring the same voting patterns in the Nordics, I’d say my estimate at your fandom sitting on the schlagerqueen side is not such an outrageous estimation. At the end of the day, I think all these three… Read more »

Chris @ Another ESC Site
Guest

All contests have their good and bad points. The Malmo ESC was a magnificent success and will be the benchmark for many years to come. The German ESC was fine, three hosts was too much and it was entertaining. Corny at times, but a good year.

The Baku ESC did have some good points – the postcard were great clips. They were a little repetitive though, but meh. The staging was fine – the hosting was one host too many, and Lejla could have done the entire show by herself.

Hohum
Guest
Hohum

Another schlagerqueen hating on the East….. yawn. Anyone else bored of this cr*p?

Smitsi
Guest
Smitsi

Baku was the best contest in years. Malmö was too small and it felt more like a national final than “the real thing”. Azerbaijan had a great arena and the atmosphere was great inside. Azerbaijan is definitely my favorite Eurovision country, they always send great songs and outstanding artists.

Pablo Nava
Editor

But between Dusseldorf’s glitchy phone lines and Malmo’s numerous calls of fraud, Baku remians relatively transparent, ironically.

Jamie Bondason
Guest

Dussledorf was awesome. The rock-a-billy version of “Satellite” was my highlight. Malmo, what can I say? The songs were great (even semi-final songs), Petra was great, there wasn’t one moment when I was bored. As for Baku, I felt they weren’t prepared for it. And the song they sent was definitely a desperate cry, “Let us win! We need it”. Even though they wanted to win too much, they hadn’t thought the next contest out. It was a true disaster, if you ask me. I was bored except for when Hungary, Malta, Cyprus, Greece and Sweden performed and the interval… Read more »

Marion
Guest

Baku was incredible !!!!

David Thielen
Guest

The thing that bugged me mot about the presenters in Baku – Ell looks like Will Wheaton so I kept seeing it as Will Wheaton presenting.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Both Düsseldorf and Malmö were amazing contests. Baku wash just rubbish, never looked that contest back…

M
Guest
M

I have to agree here the hosting as well for Azerbaijan was awful! The presenters were so dull and boring! Sweden did an amazing job when they hosted it , they brought a lot of comedy to eurovision and made it very enjoyable. I loved 2011 as well when Germany hosted it, Anke was amazing at presenting and I loved every single minute of eurovision that year. Definitely my favourite hosts out of the three!

William Lee Adams
Admin

I know logo, theme and art are a minor point. But here’s what our readers thought anyway. Again, victory to Dusseldorf! http://wiwibloggs.com/2013/06/05/poll-results-dusseldorf-had-the-best-eurovision-logo-and-slogan/28000/

William Lee Adams
Admin

I loved the cohesion of 2011. Germany at the heart of Europe, Feel Your Heart Beat, the postcards that connected it all. Brilliant. I still get chills when I hear the heartbeat that preceded each act.

Deban Aderemi
Editor

I completely disagree. Dusseldorf remains my worst Eurovision host city to date. Baku beats it in almost every category HANDS DOWN!