Editorial: A Guess Into Running Orders for Eurovision 2023 (Part 2: Semi-Final Two)

Editorial: A Guess Into Running Orders for Eurovision 2023 (Part 2: Semi-Final Two)

Running orders are particularly hard to draw, not just in Eurovision but in any competition. Organisers need to balance variety with style, while also considering that there is a show to run. In the context of Eurovision, running orders can also help or hinder you and your competition.

Why are running orders so important?

As mentioned, running orders can put you in good stead or ruin your chances depending on where you fall and what the songs on either side of you. If a song requires a big bombastic moment, putting it next to other high-energy songs will do little to make the impact the delegation hoped for. Similarly, if a song is stripped back, having a string of emotional ballads will make it harder to stand out. This was prominent in the Grand Final of Eurovision 2022, when the stretch from Lithuania to Iceland was a string of slow to midtempo songs. This allowed Moldova to make a big impression and eventually finish second in the televote.

But it isn’t just the delegations that should be kept in focus – the viewer also takes precedence. Think back to 2012, when Englebert Humperdinck kicked off the grand final -with a pared back and intimate love song. Eurovision is a collection of music, by all means, but many switch off the first song if it’s deemed to be tiring or a “buzzkiller”. For a television producer, it’s a logistical nightmare – which in part – helped to inform the change to a producer-led running order from 2013.

Semi-Final Two: A potential running order

With this in mind, this is my (personal) attempt to create a running order for the second semi-final for Eurovision 2023. Semi-final Two is a harder show to predict how the show could go, with the possibility of using the “sawtooth method” – which I used in my predictions for Semi-Final One. This means that in a running order, an upbeat track is usually followed by a more downbeat offering, alternating until the end of the show.

Of course, as the final running orders come out today, we can double check how right or wrong I was. However, we may get to see this “sawtooth method” in the BBC’s choices later tonight.

So, how would I go about it?

#1 – Belgium – “Because of You”

Kicking off the show requires a song with a lot of energy to get the crowd going. With his pop banger, Belgium’s Gustaph would be the perfect person to get the show underway. The slow intro can lure the viewing public in. Then when the driving synth hook hits, the audience will definitely be on their feet, dancing along to the positive message “Because of You” brings. Start the show as you mean to go on, right?

#2 – Greece – “What They Say”

Following an up-tempo pop banger is always a tough act, but Greece’s “What They Say” does offer a chance to calm down. Victor’s vocal delivery would stand out from what surrounds him, and when the song transforms into something more mid-tempo, it can offer a nice contrast to Belgium. It may also offer a lyrical contrast also, which can signal to the viewing public there is a shift in tone. This will also lead us perfectly into the slower run of songs following Greece.

#3 – Estonia – “Bridges”

As I mentioned in the prediction for the first semi-final, performing in position #3 can go one of two ways, depending on what is on either side of who is performing. After two high-energy songs, Estonia would help to break up the intensity with a more emotional delivery, growing to the massive climax at the end of the song. Not to mention the staging ideas from Eesti Laul could be easily carried over to Liverpool and scaled up for a more hard-hitting narrative, appealing to the public.

#4 – Denmark – “Breaking My Heart”

After the emotional performance from Alika, it would be good to use the sawtooth method to bring something a with a little more of a beat to it. This would be the perfect position for Denmark to take to the stage. Reiley’s mid-tempo pop track would offer a nice break from Estonia’s ballad. We know that Denmark could take some of Reiley’s staging ideas from DMGP and bring them to Liverpool, but this could be a great place to diversify the artistry and highlight his poppy personality.

#5 – Cyprus – “Break A Broken Heart”

Carrying on with the sawtooth method, a heavy hitter of a male ballad would be a great contrast to Denmark light pop effort. The only artist who can fit this brief is Cyprus’ Andrew Lambrou and his vocal gymnastics offered in “Break A Broken Heart”. We don’t know what staging potential this might bring to Liverpool, but the flow in polished pop tunes would really work in Cyprus’ favour. Also, think of the jokes we would get in terms of this song following Denmark. The narrator can’t catch a break…

#6 – Armenia – “Future Lover”

Semi-Final Two is distinctively English-heavy, with very little use of other languages. However, the first half of the second semi-final does contain within it some linguistic diversity. Armenia would be a suitable song to introduce new languages into the show and, after three relatively radio-friendly songs – Cyprus would also add some risk into proceedings. This would also only be our second female perfomer of the evening, which would help to break the numerous male performers up!

#7 – Romania – “D.G.T. (Off and On)”

With two songs left in the first half of the second semi-final, it would be fine to bring out the remaining solo male performer – Romania’s Theodor Andrei. After the string of commercial pop songs, Romania’s offering of “D.G.T. (On and Off)” would be the perfect palate cleanser with its blend of pop and rock. As well as this, the possibility of colourful staging could help to bolster its chances, coupling well with the song’s in-your-face sound.

#8 – Iceland – “Power”

Closing out the first half of the second semi-final is Iceland’s Diljá. “Power” is the best bridge into the unpredictable territory of the second half. Coupling the technical aspects with Diljá’s powerful vocals (no pun intended), the electronic synths carry on perfectly from Romania’s offering. As well as this, the lyrical content really give Iceland a leg up, championing self-love – finishing off the first half just as it began.

#9 – San Marino – “Like An Animal”

The second half of Semi-Final Two is filled with a lot of heavy hitters. Therefore, it’s imperative to give every song a chance to show itself. The best song to kick us off in the second half would be Piqued Jacks from San Marino. As a song, this would continue the good flow of rock/electronica carried on from Romania and Iceland. We also know that Piqued Jacks are revamping their entry ahead of Liverpool, which means that the instrumentation – coupled with some bombastic staging ideas could really help to elevate the song’s chances of qualifying.

#10 – Albania – “Duje”

Following on from San Marino, it’s time to shake things up again in terms of genre. Step forward Albania, with it’s symphonic pop-rock effort “Duje”. The diversity in genre would signal a shift to the second half, as Albina and her family brin cultural and ethnic elements to the stage – one of the only countries in this show to do so. As well as this, the shifting time signatures of “Duje” would also help to give music nerds something to really get their teeth stuck into.

#11 – Australia – “Promise”

Using the “sawtooth method” once again, Australia would be a perfect antithesis to Albania. To go from a female-led family band with a cultural banger to a more up-tempo synthpop-rock track performed by a male-led band would give the viewers some diversity in both genre and gender. As well as this, Voyager’s iconic delivery – including the screamo section of “Promise” would really shift the show back into unpredictability; for the better! This could definitely help Australia stand out, leaving themselves in the minds of the viewing public.

#12 – Poland – “Solo”

Time for another shift as we re-enter the commercial pop realm thanks to Poland’s Blanka. After a lot of diversity in genres, “Solo” can provide some respite as a solid pop song – no ifs, no buts. This can work in Poland’s favour for those who might be alienated from rock, folk and synthpop. Blanka’s staging at Tu bije Serce Ewropy! has the potential to be scaled up for Eurovision, and with some added elements (perhaps an added dancer, some fireworks), this can help Poland be remembered in the running order.

#13 – Austria – “Who the Hell Is Edgar?”

After the easy pop of Poland, Austria’s electropop banger would help to ramp things up a gear once again. The satirical aspect of the lyrics wouldn’t go unnoticed here either and with a strong staging, this could easily boost Austria’s chances. ORF are improving their staging potential, so to have a mid-half placing in the running order would definitely benefit them.

#14 – Slovenia – “Carpe Diem”

Now it’s time for one of the most anticipated performances in the semi-final, Slovenia. While typically it would be unwise to put two fan favourites next to each other, Slovenia’s song “Carpe Diem” can be a nice palate cleanser for those put off by Austria. Slovenia also needs a good placement in the running order to set itself apart from the slew of other bands, which this position would help to distinguish it from others like it. With that, we can prepare for the end of the show with the final two songs.

#15 – Lithuania – “Stay”

After a number of bands and male performers, it’s only right to let the women take to the stage again. Breaking the chain of up-tempo songs, Lithuania’s “Stay” would offer a welcome respite and let the audience get into their feels once again. In addition, the use of the Lithuanian hook could help set the song apart from the rest of the competition. When coupled with Monika’s astoundingly powerful vocal delivery, it will make the viewing public sit up and listen to what Lithuania has brought to the table this year.

#16 – Georgia – “Echo”

The final song of the evening, Georgia’s Iru would help to close out the semi-final thanks to her phenomenal vocal range. “Echo” demands outlandish staging and depending on what GBP are planning for Iru’s performance, this position could make or break the song’s chances of making it to the final. However, the electronic beats and driving drums in the composition of “Echo” are why I put Georgia in position #16, as this instrumentation drives us to the end of the competition, leaving an indelible mark on those watching at home.

Of course, this is just a prediction and not the official running order. Predictions could be wildly off or exact, but any exact placements are just a coincidence.

What do you think of our attempt to pitch a running order for Semi-Final Two? Do you agree with our reasonings? If not, how would you put the running order for the events? As always, let us know what you think by commenting below. As well as this, be sure to follow ‘That Eurovision Site’ on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok for more editorials!

News Source: That Eurovision Site

Photo Source: EBU

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