Denmark won the Eurovision Song Contest! Do people care?

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Emilie de Forest from Denmark won the Eurovision Song Contest 2013. Credits: Sander Hesterman (EBU) / ESC

Denmark’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest was a clear favourite for this year’s competition. However, its outcome was still unexpected to many. The humble Danes did not really want to believe they won what they call the ‘Melodi Grand Prix’.

By Maximiliane Koschyk

Both Danes and visitors to Denmark celebrated last Saturday, when Emilie de Forest’s ‘Only Teardrops’ was chosen with 281 points the far ahead leading winner of this annual pop spectacle. After the first euphoria wore out, now Denmark has to host the event next year, facing a huge financial commitment and, of course, the pressure to put on a better show than their Swedish neighbour. ESC spectators living in Aarhus tell us how they experienced the Danish victory night:

Anders Andreasen, 24, student from Denmark

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‘I like the ESC in a way, that you more less get your expectations right from each country.’

I was in the Aarhus Studenthouse when they announced the points in the finale on Saturday. There were a lot of students, so that was cool. We didn’t go mad, but we had a few beers. I could’t go crazy because I had to study the next day. I had only watched the second semi-final on Thursday before that and I had not heard the Danish song until Friday. I didn’t know what to expect of our entry, but I heard they were a big favorite, even better then Loreen from last year, so I was hoping for them to win. I actually liked the Danish song. I think it’s not as good as the song from Sweden last year, but I think it was the best song from the contest, though more as entertainment music, not qualitywise. 

I am not sure, if I will be here for it next year though. I might be on an exchange, but if I am, I will definitely watch it. I like the ESC in a way, that you more or less get your expectations right from each country. It is confirming the cultural differences, both good and bad – it’s sometimes a bit sarcastic to see that, but that’s okay. 

Sonja Nikcevic, 23, student from Serbia

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‘I think that many may scoff at the musical qualities of Eurovision, but that it is very important for European unity.’

I watched both semi-finals last week with the same group of international and Danish friends and on Saturday I had a pre-Eurovision barbecue with my friends at the University park in Aarhus. Then we watched the rest of the show at the Student house. I actually wasn’t surprised at all, that Denmark won. They were the biggest favorites going into the competition, both according to fan polls and bookmakers, and the crowd cheering after her semi-final performance told me everything I needed to know. I had heard the song on the radio a couple times before Eurovision, and I like it a lot, though they were not my no.1 favorites to win.
After they won, I did celebrate with my friends, and was actually surprised that the Danes themselves didn’t acknowledge their victory more. I think that many may scoff at the musical qualities of Eurovision, but that it is very important for European unity. Next year I will be living in Germany, but hope to be able to come to Copenhagen for the final. It would be a great Danish reunion for my international group of friends. 

Otto Uhrbrandt, 21, student from Denmark

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‘I am not really into the Eurovision, but I usually end up watching it anyways.’

I watched the show at home in Copenhagen, but after the songs were performed, we went to the city center and Raadhuspladsen, where they had a big screen to watch it. My friends and I stayed there until they announced the winner – then we got drunk. I was really happy, normally I don’t like nationalism, but when we win something I get really proud. I am not really into the Eurovision, but I usually end up watching it anyways. Not the semifinals though, I find them boring. 

All the bookmakers said, that we would win this year, so I thought we have a good song. I heard my roommate and friends sing it and when she qualified for the final I heard it. I actually do like it, though it’s not particularly danish. It’s a pop song that is written for all Europe to like and then to win the ESC. It’s kind of random, but it’s more western than eastern style.  I didn’t want to hope for it though, because there is always some east european country who wins. The whole contest is good for integrating Europe, I find. It makes us feel more like one community. It’s a good tradition for Europe. 

Susanne Dahlgaard, 28, student from Denmark

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Though I would have wanted to watch it, I didn’t realise it was already going on.

I didn’t watch the Melodi Grand Prix, I just met up friends right after the show finished. I went to a bar with them and celebrated. Though I would have wanted to watch it, I didn’t realise it was already going on. I thought it is still a semifinal and I had to watch it afterwards again. 

When Emilie de Forrest actually won and they played the song one more time, that’s when I heard it for the first time. I was surprised, but it was a good song. I will definitely watch it next year, and I would actually like to go and see it live, if it’s possible. Otherwise I will watch it with friends. I think the ESC is very important for cultural exchange in Europe. You see the different nationalities, but also its clichees. But that doesn’t matter, it is still fun to watch.

Dominik Sipinski, 23, student from Poland

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‘The ESC has become too commercial and expensive.’

I watched it on Saturday with classmates, since we had watched the second semi-final and bits of the first one already together. After they announced Denmark the winner, I had a few beers with my classmates and later with my roommates – I would like to celebrate more, but apparently the Danish people could not be bothered to celebrate this. 

I was not so much surprised, that Denmark won, as the song was a clear favorite and is a very Eurovision-ish one. Although I was disappointed that something more awkward and untypical, and maybe more nation-specific, did not win. I basically did not know the song until the contest, but it is a very catchy song, easy to remember, and I think as far as Euro-pop goes it is not bad. However, more and more artists stick to the proven pattern of cheesy songs, their performances are not really representative of their own cultures. I don’t mean that everyone should play folk songs, but they could at least try to do something „national”. I think the ESC has got a lot of potential for cultural exchange – through the songs viewers from all over Europe can watch performers from other countries and maybe learn something at least about other cultures. But it has become too commercial and expensive – increasingly many countries are reluctant to participate due to soaring costs, e.g. Portugal or my home country Poland, and even more countries can’t finance organising the final. I am studying journalism, so I am thinking of coming back here next year to cover the contest– it might be an interesting experience.

How did you experience the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Denmark? Where you surprised they won? How do you think will the Danes top the Swedish spectacle this year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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