Participants from 39 countries walked the red carpet to enter the historic building. The ceremony was broadcast on huge screens set up in the square.
This year’s Eurovision is the 58th. The two semifinals will be held on 14 and 16 May, and the final on May 18. All the shows will be broadcast live.
The contest will be held in Malmö Arena, which was built in 2008 and accommodates 15.5 thousand viewers. Tickets for Eurovision, costing from 10 to 216 euros were sold out last year, immediately after hitting the ticket offices.
Sweden has hosted the Eurovision competition four times: in 1975, 1985, 1992 and 2000.
The competition is considered one of the world’s most popular non-sport events with an audience of over 100 million people around the world.
Local bookmakers believe the Russian Federation’s participant 22-year old Dina Garipova, hailing from the Republic of Tatarstan, is a strong contender for victory. Dina will be singing 6th in the first semi-final. She will perform the song "What If."
Natalya Victorova, Alexandra Dibizheva
Photo: RIA Novosti
Dina Garipova, or “Russian Adele” as her numerous fans have dubbed her, will represent Russia at the Eurovision, following her success at the national “Golos” song contest where the Russian pop singer emerged as the country’s new hope.
Dina was born into a non-musical family who lived in a small town of Zelenodolsk in Russia’s Tataria region. The 22-year-old confessed she was dreaming of stage since her childhood and started taking musical lessons very early in life.
She won her first prize at the age of 8, followed by a flurry of successful performances at various prestigious contests later on, including a French Grand Prix. In 2009, Dina was granted a special presidential award.
Dina chose a Russian lyrical song for her breakthrough performance at the first qualification round in autumn 2012 and stunned the jury with the Music of the Night song from Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera.
Dina is a frequent star of concerts, galas and official events. She is currently busy recording her first solo album. She says her vision of the future is making music and sharing happiness with people through her work.
Dina Garipova, a student from the Republic of Tatarstan, will represent Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö, Sweden. In late 2012, Dina won the reality talent show The Voice, which was shown on Channel One. This victory has changed Dina’s life dramatically.
The way Dina performed during the reality show made the board of directors at Russia’s Channel One to choose her to represent the country at the Eurovision. Yuri Aksyuta, head of the department of music broadcast for Channel One: “The show attracted a huge audience and actually became a kind of a national qualifier for the contest. Over 1.7 million people voted in the finals to choose their favorite singer. So I think that the winning participant Dina Garipova is worthy of representing Russia at the Eurovision-2013. She is a charismatic singer, who understands what music is about.”
Out of 48 participants in the show Dina Garipova was the only one who did not have music education, although she has been singing since the age of 6. After school Dina attempted to join the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art in Moscow but failed and decided to study journalism. She was very surprised to learn that she was chosen to represent Russia at the Eurovision contest: “I did not expect anything of the kind. They told me I will represent Russia. I am very anxious about it!”
Russian singer and musician Alexander Gradsky, who was Dina’s coach during the reality show, did not sound even a bit surprised when the VoR contacted him to comment on the news: ‘Dina is a gifted person. It is difficult to say how popular she will become in future. But as a musician I can definitely say that she sings professionally simply because she can’t do this otherwise.”
Dina says she is now facing a challenging task to perform the song which was written especially for the Eurovision contest in the way the authors would like it to hear. Dina will perform What if that was composed by two Swedish producers Gabriel Alares and Joakim Bjornberg in cooperation with the Russian rock-pop musician Leonid Gutkin. Dina says she was immediately charmed with the song’s tenderness and now will do her best to give a high-class performance.
Voice of Russia, RIA,