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Looking back at Malmö 2013

15 July 2023 at 09:00 CEST
The Swedish Smörgåsbord of 2013 SVT
In May 2024 the Eurovision Song Contest will once again be heading to Malmö in southern Sweden. Let’s take a nostalgic trip back to the last time the city hosted us - just a decade ago in 2013.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Malmö hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, and on Friday 7 July, Swedish broadcaster SVT gave us all the more reason to mark the Malmömentous occasion - they announced that the southern city will once again be hosting Eurovision fans and participating countries, as the 2024 Contest comes to town on 7, 9 and 11 May next year.

When the stars align then I’ll be there

Sweden are of course hosting the next Eurovision Song Contest for a 7th time thanks to Loreen’s historic win in Liverpool this May with her song Tattoo. Incidentally, the first time Loreen won the Contest in 2012 with Euphoria - bestowing hosting duties upon Sweden for 2013 - it was the city of Malmö that got the hosting gig the following year too.

A decade ago, for the 58th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, Malmö extended a warm welcome across the Öresund Bridge to the rest of the world, as 170 million viewers tuned in to watch Sweden’s first Contest as hosts since the year 2000.

We Are One

On Saturday 18 May, Petra Mede oversaw proceedings for the Grand Final; from the opening number all the way through to the winner reveal. It was the first time a Contest had been hosted by just one presenter since Mary Kennedy guided us through the 1995 Grand Final from Dublin. 

Such was the impression that Petra left on audiences, she would go on to host the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest from Stockholm, alongside 2015 Contest winner Måns Zelmerlöw. Petra also hosted the 2015 BBC production Eurovision Song Contest’s Greatest Hits, with 2023 Contest host Graham Norton.

At the 2013 Contest, Malmö had 39 countries descend upon the city to participate. Four countries had withdrawn: Bosnia & Herzegovina; Portugal; Slovakia and Türkiye. And in the case of Slovakia and Türkiye, it was to be the start of a period of non-participation that has yet to cease.

We Write The Story

We Are One was chosen as the official slogan of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. And to enhance that feeling of unity (by music!), Swedish broadcaster SVT commissioned the composition of an official Eurovision anthem to accompany that year’s Contest. We Write The Story was the rousing result, composed by and credited to two of Sweden’s biggest music exports of all time: Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from ABBA, plus the DJ and producer Avicii. 

We Write The Story also served as the opening number for the 2013 Grand Final, performed by a choir.

Flying The Flag

Another visual treat for audiences as the show commenced was the launch of the flag parade, as the artists of all 26 participants of the Grand Final were presented one by one on stage as they carried the flags of their competing countries. The parade has been incorporated into every Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final that has taken place since.

Also new to the Contest for 2013, and an element that has remained intact up-to and including Liverpool 2023, was the producer-decided running order. Unlike at past Contests, in which the Grand Final running order had been decided by random draws, the producers of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013 took on a bigger role in determining the order in which the songs would be performed.

From 2013 onwards, the Grand Finalists would instead draw which half of the show they would perform in - either the First Half or the Second Half - and producers would place each song in the running order based on factors such as its genre, tempo and staging, with the intention of producing the most entertaining show possible for viewers at home. 


And an entertaining show is precisely what viewers at home got! Amongst the lineup of performances at the 2013 Grand Final, we had vampiric escapades from Romania in the form of It’s My Life by Cezar; the Eurovision Song Contest’s first onstage sapphic smooch thanks to Finland’s Marry Me by Krista Siegfrids; star turns from Cascada and Bonnie Tyler, representing Germany and the United Kingdom respectively; and all 7 feet and 8 inches of the giant Igor Vovkovinskiy accompanying Zlata Ognevich on stage for Ukraine.

Viewers also got to witness as the Netherlands finally ended a non-qualification streak that had lasted for the previous 8 Contests, by landing in the Top 10 of the 2013 Grand Final with the memorable Birds by Anouk.

How many times can we win and lose?

In the end, it was Denmark that was announced as the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2013, sending the Contest to just the other side of the Öresund Bridge, connecting Malmö to Copenhagen, for the 2014 Contest. 

Emmelie de Forest was the winner for Denmark, with her song Only Teardrops triumphing in both the jury vote and the public televote. Emmelie recently spoke to the official Eurovision Song Contest podcast, reflecting on her Eurovision win and the decade that has passed since then.

Stick with us on, for the journey to Malmö between now and next May, and all of the updates for the Swedish smörgåsbord that the host city will undoubtedly be cooking up for us in the meantime!

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

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