Ok, now that we’re all settled…a look back!
Hey, everyone! Pardon my absence following Loreen’s epic march to victory last weekend; within three hours of Sweden clutching the crystal microphone, I was at Heydar Aliev International Airport, waiting to board the first of my four flights home from Baku to Minneapolis. There aren’t many things that I could have told you that you likely hadn’t heard already through my counterpart site, ESC Insight, or throught my friends at ESCXtra…but in short, “Euphoria” stormed to first place with the second-highest vote tally in Eurovision history, as well as the second-highest margin between Loreen and her nearest competitor, the Buranovskiye Babushki from Russia. Sweden did clinch the record for the highest number of “douze points” for a song in history, with an impressive 18, beating the 16 garnered by Alexander Rybak’s “Fairytale”. Loreen also won two out of the three Marcel Bezencon Awards, for Artistic Representation and Composition. The third, the Press Award, went to hometown heroine Sabina Babayeva.
From an American standpoint, “Euphoria” was a bit of a victory for us, as well. Dancer Ausben Jordan appears to be the first American-born performer to contribute to the onstage performance of a Eurovision-winning song since Kansas-born Katrina Leskanich took the win for the UK in 1997! (American songwriter Julie Frost took a victory in 2010 with “Satellite”, but she wasn’t actually on stage…)
A few highlights from the rest of the scoreboard: Kosovo-born Rona Nishliu nabbed an incredibly honorable 5th place, making her the highest-placed Albanian representative in Eurovision history (but then again, she also won this year’s Barbara Dex Award…). This year’s “Big Six” fared generally well, with Azerbaijan in 4th, Germany in 8th, Italy in 9th, and Spain in 10th (their first Top Ten placement since 2004). Malta made it into the Finals for the first time since Chiara in 2009, Cyprus’s 16th place was their highest result since 2004, and Turkey recovered nicely from last year’s misstep, placing 7th overall. San Marino’s 14th place in the Semifinals is their highest mark yet, and Bulgaria came achingly close to breaking into the Finals for the first time in years. On the other side of the coin, however, we saw Greece crash out of the Top Ten for the first time since 2003, and the entries from Georgia and Slovakia were their respective countries’ lowest placements ever. You win some, you lose some…
Linguistically, the top of the scoreboard was very diverse. While the winner was (once again) performed in English, a whopping four out of the Top Six were either bilingual or bereft of English entirely. We heard Udmurt, Serbian, Albanian, and Estonian, and extending that view to the top half of the scoreboard, we also heard Italian, Spanish (from two entries!) and Macedonian.
There’s a lot to look forward to for next year. Eighteen nations have already confirmed for Eurovision 2013, including Armenia, who took a leave of absence for this year’s event. It’s still unclear whether we’ll be in Stockholm, Malmö, or Gothenburg, but the Swedes are prepared for events like this. The Melodifestivalen Final rivals Eurovision in terms of scope and scale, and the availability of flights, hotels, and other infrastructural assets will be an improvement over what we saw in Baku. (Plus, the fact that visas won’t be needed from most participating countries will make international travel much simpler for delegations, fans, and other tourists coming into Sweden.)
What are some of your highlights from Eurovision 2012, and what are you looking forward to in 2013?