I thought it was a very good year for the quality of the songs and felt that the winner could be any one of ten - Australia, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Belgium, Latvia, Estonia, Norway, Isreal or Serbia. The betting odd were quite close between them.
Before the contest was held in Sweden in 2013, at the semifinal 1 and 2 press conferences the performers would draw out a numbered piece of paper that would indicate where they would sing in the running order of the final but in 2011 and 2012 two or three very slow ballads drew out the first two or three places in the contest. This made a slow and sometimes uninteresting start to the contest. So in 2013 the TV company asked if it could be changed. It was decided that they would just pick out a peice of paper that said either 1st half or 2nd half and the TV company would put together a running order that would make for an exciting and interesting show. So there must have been a tence moment in the EBU/TV meeting after both semi finals as although compleately random, it didn't work out as well as they hoped! All the countries with lively songs pulled out 1st half papers and all the countries with ballads pulled out 2nd half papers! Anyway I think they managed to get the best running order they could out of what they had!!
There seemed to be quite a few technical problems during the final, things seem to have run really smoothly for quite a number of years but this year we had a violent out of control smoke machine during one act, three countries that ey lost during the scoring that they had to return to later, and then for the first time since the 80s the show overran and overran by nearly 40 minutes.
My personal favourites were the 1980s sounding Ian McCulloch and Kylie Minogue (where the wild roses grow era) duet from Estonia which finished 7th, the dark duet from Norway which came 8th, and the 'Crash Test Dummies' sounding Czech Republic who were knocked out in the semi finals. I feel sorry for the Czech Republic because I thought it was a great song and well performed but sadly rock doesn't seem to do very well at Eurovision - especially if you are singing it from a country who has entered 4 times and never got through to the final! I do think that the Czech Republic will withdraw from the contest again now and not enter again next year.
The UK song did as well as I expected it to. It came 24th with 5 points. Only 3 countries gave it any points. I had hoped it would do well and at least come about 10th to 15th but no. Electro Velvet sang really well, and all their lights worked (which they had been having problems with all week in the rehersals!) and the background and dancers had improved from their first rehersal too. All in all it was a good performance but then when you compare it to Sweden's performance - or actually any of the top 10 performances - the UK's staging looked very weak.
The winner of the contest was Sweden. I thought it came across very well on the screen and sounded great too. The way he interacted with the graphic on the backdrop is very clever indead. I do have to admit that it stood out far more as a winner on the night than the other songs so I wasn't that surprised when it won.
Måns Zelmerlöw - "Heroes" (Sweden)
Elina Born & Stig Rästa - "Goodbye To Yesterday" (Estonia)
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - "A Monster Like Me" (Norway)
Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta - "Hope Never Dies" (Czech Republic)
A video comparing Georgia fantastic Semi final staging against the gray smoke of the Final! At least the wind machine blow it away quite quickly!!