Welcome to the Eurozone…

So, semi-final 2 (SF2) is done and dusted and we have now have a complete line-up for the grand final of ESC2023 on Saturday. Huzzah! There was no messing about as is usually the case with SF2, it was straight down to business. It really was a case of ‘don’t bore us, get to the chorus’.

I was disappointed that Denmark didn’t make a better impact and progress. Mind you, Reiley’s vocals were a bit weak, and he seemed a little nervous. He joins the singers from Romania, Iceland, Greece, Georgia and San Marino queuing at the taxi rank.

That said, just because they have sashayed away doesn’t mean that’s that for any of these artists and their songs. Increasingly there are breakout stars and songs who don’t necessarily make an impact during Eurovision week. Some fair better on the socials and have longevity and success beyond the Contest. Take Armenia’s Rosa Linn for example. She finished in 20th place at ESC2022 with a song that then became a viral hit, Snap. Also, following his win at ESC2019, Duncan Lawrence’s Arcade had longevity and a spike in popularity in the UK (and elsewhere) during lockdown – way after his victory at the time. We will see who is hot on the socials and the streaming platforms after we’re all done on Saturday night.

So, what did we learn from SF2?

Belgium gave us the first sighting of the lesser-spotted backing singers (and Lithuania).

Austria are channelling Daphne and Celeste vibes a little to figure out who the hell Edgar is.

Joker unfortunately not out for Slovenia (I don’t get it!)

It was fire down below for Cyprus – fuego indeed!

Cyprus and Greece cancelled each other out. Cya Greece…

It’s a family affair for Albania. All the singers are from the same family – mum, dad and the kids (awr bless)

It really was all about the ballads and ethnopop – which is good as it balances things musically for Saturday night.

It occurred to me whilst watching the television broadcast last night that the impact of the A-MA-ZING lighting in the arena (which often prompts the crowd to be wowed, oohed and aahed) doesn’t translate as much when watching at home. It still looked fantastic, and the presenters are not lacking in energy with their good-humoured script.

Once again there were a few opportunities to empty the dishwasher, as well as refresh your beverage and snacks of choice. With the running order for the grand final now sorted (included below), and with us all knowing what our fave songs are by now, we will know when to pop off and do what we need to do! 😀

Don’t forget, it’s 26 songs on Saturday and a four-hour (yikes) television broadcast, and this is what we have been training for – the final Eurovision marathon!

Before SF2 yesterday, I met up with a friend of mine, Sam Wilce. Sam is a graduate of my department at Edge Hill University. He now works for Ditto Music and is based in Liverpool. I am very proud of him as he is doing amazing things with his career (and his degree in BA (Hons) Media, Music and Sound!) which is brilliant. As we chatted, he shared with me a press release that Ditto have put out which details the most popular songs ahead of this week, in terms of Spotify streams. Their infographic tells us what they were…

It will be interesting to see how that has changed by the time we have a new winner, and then as I said earlier, beyond that point. If you would like to read the full press release, you can here.

Catching a brew and a chat with Sam in the Ditto Café was great, and as we left, I came as close as I had to the Eurozone this week. This is where a lot of fans live their best lives and party until the wee small hours. That’s never been my jam, but it’s all part of the fabric of this fan community and why fans love this Eurovision week so much – escaping the real world for a bit and entering the Eurozone, and the home of the EuroClub.

Hopefully you’re still in the zone with all this! 😀

Time to take a break, have a rest, rehydrate and gear up for the grand final on Saturday. The running order is as follows, and all things considered with many of the fave songs having to be in the first half of the draw, the EBU producers have worked their usual magic to create a flow of songs that gives changes in the type and tempo of music to good effect. Although Austria might be a bit miffed, and Croatia will be delighted. More on that on Saturday, so please do check back in with me before ‘the final countdown’ on Saturday.

(source: EBU)

BTW, it was an early start for me today. I was on the Graham Liver breakfast show on BBC Radio Lancashire just after 7:30am (they kept me hanging on for over half an hour – I was a bit miffed!). They have just called me back and have invited me to be on the show again on Monday morning from 8:00am. So set your alarm clock (I wanted a lie in if I’m honest!).

And this afternoon, I have been invited to the BBC Radio Merseyside Eurovision Party. It’s on air with Claire Hamilton from 2pm, and Brian and I are being interviewed just after 3pm. You can listen again to Graham’s show on BBC Sounds. Same for Claire’s show – listen live later (depending when you read this post) or catch-up on BBC Sounds.

My time in our host city is coming to an end. I will return home today. What a brilliant little bubble Ellen, Brian and I have had this week. It’s been eurotastic! xx

Check back for my next post on Saturday afternoon!

побачимось в суботу!

(see you on Saturday!)

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