Friday News: 24th January 2014

Well, in my time zone, it’s now Friday evening – which means I’d like to start by wishing a “Happy Weekend” to everyone! You may be wondering what exactly you’re reading at the moment, since this is the first post in a new series we plan to feature over the months leading up to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in May… scroll down and all will be revealed!

Getting into the spirit of Copenhagen 2014; welcome to our first weekly news round-up!
Getting into the spirit of Copenhagen 2014; welcome to our first weekly news round-up!

To cut a long story short, we thought that since we’re only a little blog run by two people, reporting on every single ESC news story as soon as it breaks isn’t exactly feasible (obviously this isn’t the case where artist and song selections are concerned – gotta get those ones out ASAP!!) For everything else, however, we would still like to keep you all up to date, so we have decided to bring you a round-up of the smaller news stories in the ESC world every Friday, starting from tonight! Obviously, if you want to keep up with the news as it happens, there are a plethora of other sites and blogs which do just that – for example escXtraEUROVISIONJACK3, Eurovision Ireland and many more (if you happen to run such a blog and would like a shameless plug, do not hesitate to get in contact for we will be happy to oblige!)

Anyway.. enough circumlocution, on with the show!

1: Semi-Final Allocation Draw

Who will be in each semi?
Who will be in each semi?

Monday saw the semi-final allocation draw for 2014, and with the advent of the producer-led running order, this is pretty much the only actual draw we get each year *cries whilst simultaneously cursing Björkman and his ego* … Unfortunate though that is, this week’s draw did  prove to be an interesting event from a statistical point of view; something which many other sites have covered in great detail.

Taking a more circumspect view of the draw’s outcome, here are our main observations:

  • As everyone else has pointed out, Semi 1 looks like a bit of a killer. Seven of the sixteen countries come under the ex-USSR umbrella, and judging by past voting patterns, a lot of them will be inclined to exchange a fair few points, and very likely pull each other into the final.
  • Whilst everyone does tend to lump Moldova in that category too, their main cultural tie has always been with Romania, who are in semi 2 this year (thumbs up for random fairness)
  • Far be it from me to base criticisms on voting patterns, I do think their allocation into semi-final 1 makes chances of qualification even more difficult for Portugal, Montenegro and San Marino in particular. Which is a shame, as all three have missed out in recent years, often when they deserved a place in the Saturday show.
  • I’m nervous for Albania, being top half of that difficult semi; and with one of the only songs so far, it’s one that both of us are already cheering for.
  • On the other hand, very happy about Macedonia drawing second half (statistically proven to be beneficial, as we all know – though, of  course, no guarantee of success) – would love to see them in the final and I have a really good feeling about Tijana’s entry
  • Ireland too look like they are in a strong position based on the other voters and their allocation – good news for Rory at least!!

Of course, any conjecture about results at this point can be shaky at best, and we won’t be able to make more concrete predictions until we hear all the songs – for, at the end of the day, the song and performance are generally what count most.

2: Emma Marrone confirmed as the Italian representative in Copenhagen 

We covered this in a separate article, but I’m just giving Emma an extra little mention as it has been rumoured in the last couple of hours that “La Mia Città” will indeed be the Italian entry in Denmark… Personally, I’m really hoping not, for reasons I discussed in the announcement article, but que sera sera. *sigh*

3: Previews of the French songs released

Have a listen to the 30-second previews of all three songs competing in the French national final for 2014 here.

Now, obviously, with only a minute and a half of music collectively, making concrete decisions on the French songs is still a little premature, but from what we’ve heard, I can organise my initial thoughts pretty easily:

Destan, I was expecting better.

Joanna, I was expecting better.

Twin Twin, I was expecting worse. And from the 30 seconds we’ve heard of it so far… it’s actually my favourite. I know. Kill me now before I relinquish any remaining control of my sanity.

4: Updates on NF dates

Having confirmed their participation at the very last minute, RTV Slovenija gave us a further announcement this week concerning the method of selecting the Slovenian participant for Copenhagen. Namely, national final EMA will return for the first time since 2011 (which, for a broadcaster which is arguably one of the most financially challenged in the current line-up, is admittedly surprising). Date for the diary though, like Sweden and Denmark, Slovenia will decide on the 8th of March.

Lithuania, having previously scheduled their national final for the 15th of February, have decided to push back the date in light of an unprecedented increase in viewing figures for the shows to date. The new date will be the 1st of March.

Spain have announced that their 2014 entry will be decided through a national final featuring five acts – one of whom has been a stubbornly persistent presence in the rumour mill over the last few months: Ruth Lorenzo. All five singers and their competing song titles have been revealed, but as of yet the date has not been specified further than “February”. Sooooo. Any news is good news I guess, ey?

5: Eesti Laul songs available to listen to online

With just over a month to go until the Estonian public decide on their next Eurovision entry, the organisers of national final Eesti Laul have uploaded the twenty competing songs to stream in full – have a listen here.

As we are approaching the national finals in a preview and review structure, I will hold off on our opinions for now, but suffice it to say that Eesti Laul looks like it will be a fascinating contest yet again this year! More to come when we preview the show, in the week leading up to March the 1st!

6: General info about Copenhagen’s staging

Whilst the majority of broadcasters seem to be stepping up a gear in the New Year, DR, this year’s hosts, have been rather quiet on the whole – not entirely surprising since we all remember the state of the venue and the amount of renovation it will take to transform it into a Eurovision-worthy arena!!

However, this week, they have started drip-feeding us those other subservient pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, which happen every year but are only really relevant and understandable if you’re heading to the contest yourself (which neither of us will be *sad face*) Anyway, alongside the announcement that Euro Café 2014 will be located in Huset KBH, Wonderful Copenhagen have put out this nice little video detailing what will be known as the “Eurovision Fan Mile”, leading from the inner city to the arena. If you’re interested, take a look below!

Do you know of a minor Eurovision news story that we’ve missed out? Please let us know in the comments and we will edit the article to include it. Friday News will return every Friday in the foreseeable future, so we hope you enjoy it as we fine-tune its structure and content.

I hope you’ll forgive us, but since these Friday News articles will consist of very brief snippets on a range of topics, it wasn’t really plausible to ask for views – the question “what do you think of everything that has happened this week” would have doubtless been far too vague to result in any useful discussion!! So, it’s over to you on this one, dear reader! We’d love to hear your opinions on what’s been discussed in the article, so do feel free to leave a comment below!

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