News from Malmö: Theme Art Revealed and Semifinals Drawn
The wheels keep on turning over in Malmö as preparations for Eurovision 2013 kick into high gear. On Thursday, the highly-anticipated theme and logo for this year’s event was unveiled to fanfare by some and minor confusion by others. The Semifinal Allocation Draw, held later that day, kept the gossip and punditry flowing as new rules were put firmly into focus. Let’s take a look at the day’s highlights:
Designed by the firm “Happy H&B”, this year’s theme, “We Are One”, will be represented by a vivid butterfly, which represents both the diversity and the unity that Eurovision embraces. Furthermore, it appears to give a wink and a nod to the idea that Eurovision is so much more than a musical festival; just as a butterfly flapping its wings in Africa might cause a hurricane in America, a single moment at Eurovision can change the world. (If you don’t believe me, just ask Paulo de Carvalho!) While the graphic is rather pretty, it doesn’t really provide the “sense of place” that Baku’s “Light your Fire” provided. That being said, Oslo’s “Share the Moment” seemed just as generic at first, but it eventually lent itself to something truly special.
Soon after the butterfly left the cocoon, so to speak, we held the Allocation Draw. Of course, the Big Five and Sweden were exempt from being drawn into a Semifinal, but it was determined in which show they would vote. Furthermore, Denmark, Norway, and Israel were previously allocated into Semis. Due to high ticket demand from the Danish and Norwegian fan bases, the two Nordic nations were split up, and Israel was given a spot in the Second Semifinal in order to avoid a conflict with the religious holiday of Shavuot. Unlike previous years, the specific running order of the show will be determined by the Eurovision Reference Group after all of the songs have been announced and approved by the EBU. According to the show’s producers, this is to effectively enable the televised show to be as engaging to an audience as possible, but there has been a massive outcry from the fans and followers of the show, citing the possibility of foul play or its effect on the end result. (For an in-depth look at the facts, figures, and implications of the argument, check out any number of articles from my friends ESC Insight.)
The results of the draw are as follows (in alphabetical order):
- First Half of Semifinal 1: Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine
- Second Half of Semifinal 1: Belarus, Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia
- First Half of Semifinal 2: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Macedonia, Malta, San Marino
- Second Half of Semifinal 2: Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Romania, Switzerland
Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom will vote in the First Semifinal, with France, Germany, and Spain voting in the Second.
A few things came to my mind as I examined this result:
- For the first time in their participation, Eurovision will not be opened by the Montenegrin entry!
- Despite the best intentions of the “pot system” to split up voting blocs evenly, Macedonia really got the short end of the stick. While Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Serbia will all be in the First Semi, Macedonia stands alone in Semi 2. Arguably, they’ll have the linguistic company of the Bulgarians, but it’s not an easy draw.
- Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia will all be in the Second Semi…let the pan-Caucasian throwdown begin!
- Constant voting buddies Greece and Cyprus, Romania and Moldova, and Lithuania and Georgia have been split up, and Italy has been split up from Albania, the Sanmarinese, and the Swiss, but the UK will vote in Ireland’s semi.
What are your thoughts on the Logo and Semifinal draw? Leave a comment, and join the conversation!