ESC Final 2013 – Rehearsals 1&2

May 17, 2013 by

There is no respite at the ESC and we are straight into seeing the 2013 final for the first time during rehearsal 1. A great start with this year’s final contenders walking on to the stage across a bridge behind their national flags.

Amandine kicks things off. She is a captivating performer. Not finding the camera here. Quality song and quality artist singing it. A shame this didn’t get a 2nd half draw.

Andrius surprised me by getting through. He has upped his game over the 2 weeks and personally always liked this song. It contrasts well with France but have to fear the 2 slot.

Is this an ESC where the more stripped back, less gimmicky songs will trump the overblown stage productions? Asking this while watching Aliona rise up in her multi-coloured dress. It’s a valid question to ask and one that remains difficult to answer.

Krista gives the final its first proper uptempo blast in the 4 slot. Do Moldova and Finland remain top 10 contenders from their early draws? Answers on a postcard, please.

Spain has a nice mystical start but slows the pace down after Krista’s energetic display. Raquel appearing on stage barefoot in her floaty yellow dress after a bagpipe opening. It’s a pleasant folksy rock tune but maybe too wallpaper-y in its r.o. context here.

The tempo picks up again with Belgium’s Roberto. Production on this song is probably the best at this year’s ESC. His dancers moves remain distracting and unintentionally hilarious.

And it then falls away to Birgit’s old-fashioned ballad. It’s a quality vocal. Birgit is kind of the Eythor of the 1st half of the final, only female & from Estonia &… ffs, don’t start that again.

Alyona gets the ESC party started again. This potentially has a window to shine, or bomb out hopelessly, and Belarus has decent voting strength in the final but a lot of competition in the east this year.

Malta is a conundrum here. My attention went elsewhere but maybe viewers will like the simplistic charm of Gianluca’s ditty.

Dina’s ballad has a certain uplifting immediacy here but remains an ESC-by-numbers effort with very ineffective staging.

Natalie’s postcard has her wearing a Stars & Stripes top. She sounds much better vocally here compared to her dodgy previous rehearsal. Need to hear how she goes tonight in front of the juries.

Dorians take the tempo back down again. Worth remembering – semi 2 qualifiers have to perform their song 8 times in 4 days.

Break after Dorians. That’s a surprise, so Anouk will follow the first break in the final. Is this a negative or a positive for Anouk? ‘Birds’ is quality stuff. No doubt.

Cesar following Anouk truly is the sublime to the ridiculous. Bonnie’s song sounds decent after Cesar but my views on Cesar are skewed somewhat after laying Romania to qualify last night.

Amazing job on colouring Robin’s performance down. A tv producer with an eraser or an airbrush has sucked the life out of this in terms of staging impact.

Hungary was described here as a possible joker in the pack leading into semi 2. And it remains so, being performed from the 17 slot in the final.

Emmelie’s pyro curtain extends on and on and on… in a way Georgia’s simply doesn’t. Sour grapes from someone who seeks value in defeating a short-priced fav at the ESC? Definitely.

Have had to upgrade my rating of this Icelandic dirge after Eythor took Moran down last night. Is he taking Emmelie down a notch here? Quite possibly.

Denmark has stage gimmickry as does Farid here, with Eythor squeezed in between just belting it out. Hmm… serious food for thought. Farid’s voice is not as strong. That’s for sure.

And then Greece arrives with an uptempo tune which does look and sound cheap. There is no escaping that sense. It will possibly do amazing things on the televote though.

And then we have Ukraine’s contrived effort. And yet this will have impact with a certain audience, as Zlata powers it out.

And Marco has managed to wake me up here. L’Essenziale upgraded.

Well, there’s no doubt this is a strong closing section of ESC 2013 as Marge has once again persuaded me to get stuck into the Norway price. Simply too big in comparison to Denmark at around 9-1 on Betfair.

Many were pointing out Sophie and Nodi getting too shouty towards the end of their performance last night. Having listened to it back, they appear to be correct. They go through their paces here and sound fine. More than fine. And this has impact. But the big one for them will come tonight in front of the juries and again tomorrow night.

The Irish song does look and sound rather cheap as the show closer, as Ryan struggles on a note or two. 22-25 has the biggest impact on yours truly.

This year’s ESC has been a difficult puzzle to solve. It was all so easy in previous years…

Since EntertainmentOdds arrived on the scene, we nailed the top 4 at ESC 2010 and called Germany the winner at double figure odds. This was followed up, of course, by giving Azerbaijan to readers in 2011 at double figure odds, not to mention also recommending Greece at 50-1 to win its semi that year which it duly did… This all seems a long time ago now.

But this year’s picture is starting to clear and will become clearer still after seeing tonight’s jury performance – 8-11.30pm UK time. Keep an eye on @ferrisdayoff on Twitter, and a brief summary of the jury performance will also appear in the Comments section below this.

So, it’s a steering job for Denmark from here, right? Or can you see one that could yet topple Emmelie? Please do add your opinions below.


  1. Henry VIII

    Rob you say 22-25 had the biggest impact on you. 22 is Ukraine and Daniel has also just now said Ukraine has grown on him. Do you now think it has a chance of winning?

    • Rob

      Would still be surprised if Ukraine wins, Henry, but I’ve wiped out my red on it on the Outright. This has been the toughest year to find clear, value plays since I’ve been analyzing the ESC on this site, going back to 2010.

      Hopefully there is still a goldmine to be exploited tomorrow 🙂

  2. Random


    what are the possibilities of Malta and Finland in the top 10?


    • Rob

      Need to see jury performance, Random, but instinct says top 10 will be tough for both.

  3. Okay, I have finished my TOP 15 prediction. 11th place to 15th place are outsiders. But in a contest with 39 participating countries, mentioning the TOP 15 is more fair if you ask me:

    01) NORWAY:
    Unique from every starting grid, contemporary, hit material, best camerawork, perfect draw
    02) DENMARK:
    Certainly not a +300 points victory for Denmark. If it wins, max. 250 points
    03) GREECE:
    Televoting material, but juries will love this contemporary band too (Turkey 2010)
    04) FINLAND:
    The ‘Marie N’, the ‘Making Your Mind Up’ of 2013. Underestimated by many
    05) UKRAINE:
    M People-like song, vocals are stunning, it does matter among juries, weird act
    New version of ballad is more modern, fantastic staging, handsome singer
    07) ITALY:
    Wunderfully crafted Italo-ballad, singer with charisma, but the Azeri slightly better
    08) RUSSIA:
    Nice ballad, but I’m afraid Dina will not do a ‘Jade Ewen’ from that starting grid
    The ‘Albania 2012’, ‘France 2009’ of this year, sadly after commercial break
    10) GEORGIA:
    Typical Eurovision stuff, composed by Thomas G:son, vocally not strong
    11) SWEDEN:
    Could still surprise us. If I will make a mistake in TOP 10, it’ll be this one
    12) ICELAND:
    Exquisit performance, normal bloke, nice close-ups, but ballad is old fashioned
    13) MALTA:
    Typical Maltese charm, singer is too cute to be true, but contender, an ‘Iceland 2011’?
    14) MOLDOVA:
    Nice ballad, modern, but bit difficult and not so good starting grid
    15) BELGIUM:
    Underestimated, composed by guy who did ‘Azerbaijan 2011’, great sound setting

    Wildcard) HUNGARY! What do you guys think of my TOP 15?

    • neomichael

      nice top 15 list! i agree in most of the places, just swap the 1st and 2nd slots!

  4. Bruce

    Brave of you to post before final rehearsals Gert but I guess there have been few very bad or real disappointments in rehearsals so far.

    My main comment on your list at this point is that I am laying Finland for top 10. I thinks it is kitsch and with the voting in the region so heavily split I’m very much of the view it will be nearer last than first.

    My ‘value’ bets for top 10 are Belgium and Estonia.
    I much prefer Estonia as a ballad to Iceland and yet it’s more than double the odds.
    Belgium I agree is underestimated and is doing reasonably on i-tunes. One of the few songs I actually enjoy listening to from the 25.
    Both are first half of the draw and this is something I’m not concerned by. I think it will turn out that the draw factor will be ‘overbet’. Just a hunch based on how competitive the second half is with the betting favourites and from my anaysis of previous years top 10’s.

  5. Rob

    1st rehearsal very ragged btw. Could be in for a bumpy jury performance, & potential for ‘re-runs’.

  6. Matt

    Great stuff Gert and not far away from my top 15. I will be less brave and wait until jury performance but will post mine fifteen tonight too.

    And Bruce, I’m with you on Estonia, I got a 220 handicap on Bet365 earlier at 17s. Might be one for you to investigate?

    Rob, keep the faith, I think our biggest success isn’t far away…

  7. Rob

    France – Amandine has been suffering with a sore throat apparently. She was under-par vocally in rehearsal 1. But tonight she brought her a-game.
    Lithuania – Andrius did very well. Great moment when he stuck his tongue out and winked to camera at one point.
    Moldova – Aliona sang well. Is this ballad good enough? Is her vocal outstanding enough? Doubts persist.
    Finland – Krista nailed it as she always does. It’s an excellent pop package. Will jurors credit it?
    Spain – Raquel has never sounded solid in any rehearsal & saved one of her worst performances for tonight.
    Belgium – Good from Roberto. This song keeps playing in my head. Great production.
    Estonia – Birgit always so, so solid. She was again tonight. Very well sung, decent ballad. Does she have Ott potential?
    Belarus – Alyona performed well but the worry has to be juries taking a dim view of this ethno pop package esp. following Birgit.
    Malta – Gianluca fine & got the crowd into it very well tonight.
    Russia – Dina controlled her nerves well tonight & put in a solid performance but is this ballad a bit too old fashioned?
    Germany – Heard Nat sing this a lot worse 2 days ago but probably not as good as she sounded during 1st rehearsal earlier today. Sold it very well.
    Armenia – Gor wasn’t at his best. This song is turgid stuff at best of times & sounded even more turgid tonight.
    Netherlands – Anouk was at her haunting best. This song has a certain x factor lacking in nearly all others this year. I will stick by that statement regardless of tomorrow night’s outcome.
    Romania – Hail Cesar! He hit all the notes tonight; not sure I can lay this top 10 after the scars of semi 2.
    UK – Bonnie did a lot better than Humpy last year. Could get a bit of jury love. Tough to figure out where the UK will land this year.
    Sweden – Robin doesn’t have the strongest vocal & he didn’t sound at his best tonight. Better later in the song but this felt a weak offering overall.
    Hungary – ByeAlex enjoyed the claps of the audience joining in. This song has a certain x factor about it. I’ll happily be listening to this in my car this summer. An intriguing runner.
    Denmark – The big fav… no probs for Emmelie. Still doesn’t feel like an a-maz-ing song the way Loreen’s ‘Euphoria’ did last year.
    Iceland – Eythor went through his entire back catalogue of power notes in showcasing his vocal skills in last minute. Impressive presentation as always by him.
    Azerbaijan – Farid, vocally, overshadowed by Eythor. Great camera from him & active around the stage which compensates for his vocal prowess not being the strongest.
    Greece – Koza Mostra as entertaining as ever. Will likely go down a storm tomorrow night.
    Ukraine – Zlata powered through her repertoire of notes. The song is a shocker though. This will be one of the most undeserving top 5s ever but wouldn’t be surprised.
    Italy – Marco wasn’t at his best. He did ok but the way he sings the song made it mostly look like he needed the toilet. Strange way of performing but juries will probably think it’s high art because he’s Italian.
    Norway – Excellent from Marge this evening. Rose to the occasion very well.
    Georgia – No shouting from Nodi & Sophie. This was high quality power balladry. They brought it tonight for sure.
    Ireland – Fine from Ryan but the whole Irish pop package looks incredibly cheap following Georgia. Struggle to see this doing much even from pimp slot.

    Back tomorrow with the full ESC 2013 final betting analysis.

    • Well, I am watching the Eurovision Song Contest 1983 in München, Germany. Just to get myself prepared for tomorrow :-). Many good reviews from the jury rehearsal, also from Dutch news. BUT then we still have a televoting tomorrow.

  8. neomichael

    Guys what’s your opinion about the voting order?
    Does it convey for you any message? For me Azerbaijan, Italy, Netherlands and Belarus seem to gather more points at the 2nd half of the voting procedure..

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