Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 1

Tuesday 14 May 2013, 19:00 GMT

Malm, Sweden hosts Eurovision this year, and the first semi final features some very strong entries, including favourites Denmark and also hotly-tipped Ukraine. Ireland also take part in this semi final, along with Dutch star Anouk. Will all qualify?

Noelinho (23:26:53 GMT)

Welcome to my Eurovision 2013 live comments. It's a bit low-key this year, but it's still a great place to watch Eurovision with a bit of light-hearted chat!

Noelinho (23:29:12 GMT)

In the UK, coverage of the first semi final is on BBC Three from 8pm. Coverage here will begin a little earlier. Feel free to leave comments as you watch…

Noelinho (17:31:04 GMT)

Half an hour to go until semi final 1. Ryan Dolan (the Irish entrant) is currently live on Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Ryan (17:37:21 GMT)

Hello! Not the greatest semi final of all time, but am looking forward to Eurovision starting all the same.

Noelinho (17:38:29 GMT)

Glad you're here Ryan. Shame I was too busy to put a podcast together this year, but glad it's all starting now. Who do you have down to qualify?

Noelinho (17:40:06 GMT)

My picks to qualify are marked with asterisks in the table above: Estonia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Montenegro, Belarus, Ireland, Cyprus and Belgium.

Ryan (17:41:29 GMT)

I think the top 8 will be Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Ireland and Serbia. Struggling for the final 2, I don't know how I feel about Netherlands and I must have listened to it dozens of times by now, but I feel the juries may be quite favourable. And then Montenegro, just edging it out. Although, I would not discount Estonia or Austria from squeaking in.

Noelinho (17:46:13 GMT)

I think Austria will struggle because they go first and the song doesn't really have much to make it stand out. It's a hard battle for them, I think.

Ryan (17:46:19 GMT)

I must admit I haven't seen much of the rehearsals, only the odd one here and there. It's quite nice going into the semi final without knowing any of the gimmicks and stuff.

Ryan (17:47:19 GMT)

I agree in part with Austria, and it isn't helped that Estonia follows it. But if Estonia doesn't go through, it could be because of people voting for Austria instead.

Noelinho (17:47:23 GMT)

I've not seen very much either, so I'm a bit in the dark too. Serbia's entry seems quite bizarre, but it goes last, so maybe that will tip in their favour. Plus a bit of friendly voting might help.

Noelinho (17:48:09 GMT)

I'd definitely go with Estonia to finish ahead of Austria, personally, but we'll see!

Ryan (17:48:55 GMT)

Serbia will always get a bit of a boost from its allies, but it's second only to Romania in terms of songs I can't stand. Can't see it going anywhere in the final though, could turn out to be one of Serbia's worst performances.

Noelinho (17:52:05 GMT)

Yes, Romania's entry is ghastly. In fact, semi final two generally is a bit of a letdown.

Ryan (17:59:48 GMT)

The best news so far is that they've got rid of Sara Cox.

Noelinho (18:00:19 GMT)

It's here! The first semi final is starting. First disappointment - the BBC Three presenters.

Noelinho (18:04:33 GMT)

Interesting - the stage goes right over the top of some fans in places. Cool.

Noelinho (18:05:46 GMT)

It's always nice when they change the previous year's song a bit when it opens the show.

Ryan (18:06:37 GMT)

It feels somewhat wrong they aren't doing this for the final. I mean this is fairly poor so far, but last years winner should really open the big event.

Noelinho (18:09:11 GMT)

I quite like having one presenter.

Noelinho (18:09:48 GMT)

People in the UK can only vote by phone - not by text, or via the Eurovision app. Poor show.

Ryan (18:09:49 GMT)

It's a nice change. Better than say, three, who all struggle.

Noelinho (18:10:59 GMT)

First up, Austria! I don't think this will qualify, but mainly because she's first up. It's a decent song really.

Noelinho (18:12:51 GMT)

See, this is competent, but forgettable. Not what you want when you're going first.

Ryan (18:13:23 GMT)

Best way of putting it, forgettable.

Noelinho (18:15:09 GMT)

Estonia next. This is in Estonian, which is a beautiful language. I think this can sneak through.

Noelinho (18:16:27 GMT)

Starting off in black and white was a bit weird, and the transition into colour was a bit crude.

Ryan (18:16:28 GMT)

Ooh, interesting use of the secondary stage.

Noelinho (18:16:49 GMT)

A very nice dress though.

Ryan (18:18:54 GMT)

Estonia leaves more of an impact than Austria. No doubt now which will finish higher.

Noelinho (18:19:00 GMT)

Next up, Slovenia. I don't have this down to qualify.

Ryan (18:19:53 GMT)

I've got this down to finish dead last, car crash stuff.

Noelinho (18:21:12 GMT)

The trouble with a song like this is you're painfully aware of how empty the stage is. Great beat, but it's like they're on the moon. Looks empty.

Ryan (18:22:24 GMT)

Vocally horrendous as well.

Noelinho (18:24:02 GMT)

Croatia now. Made a nice preview video, but stage performance may be dull…

Noelinho (18:25:50 GMT)

This just bores me. Nice, but dull.

Ryan (18:26:12 GMT)

Sadly not getting inspired by it at all. At least, Denmark's next.

Noelinho (18:26:35 GMT)

Denmark! This is the favourite to win!

Noelinho (18:27:57 GMT)

Finally we've got something with a bit of pace, that's decent. Took a while to get going, but we're going now.

Ryan (18:28:04 GMT)

The Danish support is going to carry this song massively.

Noelinho (18:28:53 GMT)

Next year, Eurovision could be twenty miles away. Same airport and everything.

Ryan (18:29:51 GMT)

The best thing about this song is it is almost perfect for the reprisal, credits rolling up the screen and the confetti falling. I can visual all that now.

Noelinho (18:29:57 GMT)

This isn't a sure fire winner though. Ukraine could top this.

Noelinho (18:30:28 GMT)

Very true Ryan, it is!

Connor (18:31:05 GMT)

Same, you can imagine that at 11.30 on Saturday night…

Ryan (18:33:22 GMT)

Ah Russia, the most cliched Eurovision song of all time.

Noelinho (18:33:25 GMT)

Russia is up now. Awful preview video, and very cheesy, but Dina Garipova has a beautiful voice.

Noelinho (18:34:01 GMT)

Lovely staging for this song.

Noelinho (18:34:26 GMT)

Hi Connor, glad you made it.

Noelinho (18:35:30 GMT)

This song definitely gets the bridge right.

Noelinho (18:36:47 GMT)

Ukraine. Second favourite. Could just upstage Denmark tonight.

Ryan (18:37:14 GMT)

Good point raised by BBC3 actually, first 8 acts are all female.

Ryan (18:37:25 GMT)

Ignore me, 7 of the 8…

Noelinho (18:38:38 GMT)

This had unicorns in the preview video. It was a bit weird. But I love this song.

Ryan (18:39:08 GMT)

Ukraine love their gimmicks, don't they.

Noelinho (18:39:56 GMT)

She is beautiful, and has a great voice, but does it hit quite well enough on stage? I think Denmark was more effective.

Ryan (18:40:37 GMT)

I'm not impressed with this at all actually. Thought it was a great contender, but thinking it might just eek top 10 now.

Noelinho (18:40:56 GMT)

Didn't finish so well. Maybe not the winner I thought it could be.

Connor (18:41:22 GMT)

It was alright. Would still put Denmark ahead though

Noelinho (18:41:47 GMT)

The Netherlands up next. This will surely do well. Great vocalist in Anouk.

Ryan (18:43:09 GMT)

This could finish 1st, 10th, or 16th. I really can't work it out.

Noelinho (18:44:00 GMT)

Yep, anything could happen to this one. But I like it.

Noelinho (18:44:54 GMT)

OK, Montenegro next. It'll be different if nothing else!

Noelinho (18:46:52 GMT)

Well at least this is making an impact - which on the basis of the performances so far, means they might just qualify.

Ryan (18:48:05 GMT)

It's my second favourite of the night. Which says a lot.

Connor (18:48:18 GMT)

Couldn't be any different from the Dutch entry!

Noelinho (18:49:21 GMT)

Lithuania. This wont qualify.

Ryan (18:50:38 GMT)

Those eyebrows. Just. Blimey.

Noelinho (18:51:16 GMT)

Blimey, singing about shoes? Clearly struggling for an entry this year. This is the worst of the night so far.

Ryan (18:52:26 GMT)

To be fair, the folks who finished runners-up were quite modern and had potential to get out of the semi-final. The juries promptly selected this instead. On the face of it though, the Lithuanian final was a waste of my time.

Aimee (18:53:46 GMT)

Just got in from work. Have I missed anything good?

Noelinho (18:53:57 GMT)

Belarus. Not Europe's favourite country, but the first hint of an eastern feel this year and it's a nice, upbeat song.

Ryan (18:54:42 GMT)

It's not a song you'd expect Belarus to send. To be fair, the only Belarussian song I remember is I Love Belarus.

Noelinho (18:56:10 GMT)

I Love Belarus was great. People just hated it because it was selected by a dictator.

Aimee (18:56:42 GMT)

This one pretty much ticks every box on the drinking game. Pretty predictable. Boring!

Noelinho (18:56:53 GMT)

Hi Aimee, it's not been as good as we expected so far. Denmark good, Ukraine a tad disappointing, Montenegro weird… a mixture.

Noelinho (18:57:18 GMT)

I hope Belarus qualifies. We need a bit of life in the final. Too much drab so far.

Noelinho (18:57:52 GMT)

Moldova now. To be honest, I can't remember anything about this song, so it mustn't be very memorable!

Noelinho (18:59:27 GMT)

Four songs to go after this. Time flies.

Noelinho (19:00:13 GMT)

An interesting dress, might make this more memorable. Actually, I think this might qualify.

Noelinho (19:01:03 GMT)

Straight on to Ireland, represented by Ryan Dolan. If he can sing well, this will qualify. This is a catchy song.

Ryan (19:01:46 GMT)

Considering the dross so far, if this doesn't qualify, something has gone horribly wrong.

Aimee (19:03:02 GMT)

I got Montenegro in the office sweepstake. Shame it was weird.

Noelinho (19:03:51 GMT)

I think Montenegro will get through to be honest.

Noelinho (19:04:14 GMT)

Is it just me, or is the music just a bit flat generally tonight?

Connor (19:04:52 GMT)

I can see Montenegro doing well, so weird it was good…

Ryan (19:04:54 GMT)

No, I agree, flat as a pancake etc. Can't decide if its just the quality of the songs though…

Connor (19:05:11 GMT)

Loreen! :)

Noelinho (19:05:29 GMT)

Loreen is great :-)

Noelinho (19:05:54 GMT)

So, favourites so far?

Ryan (19:06:32 GMT)

Denmark… er… erm… err…. Russia?

Noelinho (19:07:09 GMT)

I love the butterfly they have this year.

Noelinho (19:07:46 GMT)

Denmark was my favourite so far, followed by Russia, Montenegro and Ireland. Estonia very good too.

Noelinho (19:08:28 GMT)

Back to it… Cyprus. A late slot could send this through… maybe.

Noelinho (19:10:06 GMT)

Hmm, this isn't quite hitting the right key. Missed opportunity.

Ryan (19:11:11 GMT)

Dull

Noelinho (19:12:28 GMT)

Belgium, the penultimate entry. I'm slightly unnerved already by this guy's stare at the start.

Aimee (19:13:31 GMT)

Eurovision entrant that most looks like a serial killer award goes to…

Noelinho (19:16:08 GMT)

Ah, Serbia. If you're curious, watch. Otherwise, make a cup of tea, Bizarre.

Noelinho (19:17:00 GMT)

It's like the mad hatter's tea party.

Aimee (19:17:32 GMT)

I hope these go through, just because it wouldnt really be Eurovision without some random outfits. Terrible song though.

Noelinho (19:18:09 GMT)

Yes, I'd like to see it in the final, just for the outfits.

Noelinho (19:18:59 GMT)

Awful acting.

Noelinho (19:19:44 GMT)

OK, they're all done. Lines are open. Who would you vote for? Who do you think will qualify for the final?

Ryan (19:21:26 GMT)

I'm going to stick to what I said at the start: Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Ireland, Serbia, Croatia, Belarus, Moldova, Netherlands and Montenegro.

Noelinho (19:25:31 GMT)

I voted for Estonia.

Ryan (19:29:15 GMT)

I hate the fact BBC3 gives us fluff interviews rather than the actual show.

Noelinho (19:30:04 GMT)

I think Estonia, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Moldova, Ireland, Serbia, the Netherlands and Belarus will qualify.

Noelinho (19:30:24 GMT)

People keep saying Croatia, but they seemed very dull to me.

Noelinho (19:32:47 GMT)

Two minutes left to vote!

Noelinho (19:36:01 GMT)

Lines are closed.

Noelinho (19:42:27 GMT)

It's Linda Woodruff!

Noelinho (19:46:14 GMT)

OK, I'm getting bored. Results, please!

Noelinho (19:49:16 GMT)

Right, it's results time. The EBU has confirmed: we have a result.

Noelinho (19:50:06 GMT)

First qualifier: Moldova.

Noelinho (19:50:25 GMT)

Second qualifier: Lithuania

Noelinho (19:50:41 GMT)

Third qualifier: Ireland

Noelinho (19:51:04 GMT)

Fourth qualifier: Estonia

Noelinho (19:51:28 GMT)

Fifth qualifier: Belarus

Noelinho (19:51:55 GMT)

Sixth qualifier: Denmark

Noelinho (19:52:29 GMT)

Seventh qualifier: Russia

Noelinho (19:53:09 GMT)

Eighth qualifier: Belgium

Noelinho (19:53:49 GMT)

Ninth qualifier: Ukraine

Noelinho (19:54:50 GMT)

Final qualifier: The Netherlands

Noelinho (19:55:00 GMT)

No big shocks. Phew!

Ryan (19:56:09 GMT)

No big shocks? Lithuania in and Serbia not making it? Serbia always make it.

Connor (19:56:25 GMT)

Well i was wrong about Montenegro lol

Noelinho (20:01:38 GMT)

Serbia not making it wasn't a huge shock. It was a weird entry.

Noelinho (20:02:07 GMT)

Anyway, thanks for popping in. See you all on Thursday evening?

Connor (20:03:14 GMT)

Hope so. Enjoyed tonight :)

Ryan (20:03:17 GMT)

I just presumed no matter what Serbia did they would qualify, even with this awfulness. I'll be here on Thursday.

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