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Eurovision - second semi final
Today is the second semi-final. I'll update this at the ad-break yackage.
I've just noticed that the opening logo is a crappy eighties-looking thing instead of the EBU paint-splashes (or whatever that was).
Conchita, once one can get over the idea of a "woman" with a beard, is dressed in a suit that is missing an arm. Go figure.
A quick gimmick, to check the fire effects and wind machine are ready. Finally, the contest begins...
Lithuania - This Time
A somewhat repetitive perky song to start with, good old fashioned Eurovision fare with added banjos and a dramatic pause for a kiss and talking to the audience.
This is silly enough it ought to qualify unless everything else is great.
Ireland - Playing With Numbers
Interesting title. A woman and a piano, along with more band behind. Is it just me, or are so many of the background visuals on the big display wall something to do with trees?
Whoa, this is a serious song and a serious change of pace - lyrics like "I played the victim". This isn't to say that there haven't been some remarkably serious songs this year. Not a bad song from Ireland.
San Marino - Chain Of Lights
The youngest performers this year (and in Eurovision history - he is 16, I think she is 17) with a bizarre song about making the world a better place and changing reality. This one kind of grows on you. I'm not sure if it is the charisma of the performers, or the bloke singing higher pitch than the girl.
Montenegro - Adio
Dark and moody, a man singing gently (and the first of the night not in English), with women dressed in dark green and lit in blue acting like moving statues. A change of pace and it all goes red and louder. Adio means goodbye.
Malta - Warrior
The second song this year called Warrior (remember the goth girl that finished the first semi final). I am guessing the busy background graphics are to cover the deficiencies in her vocal range? Still, it is nice to see the pyrotechnics getting some love. This ought to qualify, though it's not quite Wild Dances.
Some time for adverts on lesser channels. UK voters can vote only by phoning. Voting by text isn't available in the UK. I wonder why.
Norway - A Monster Like Me
Well, that's an intriguing title. A guy baring his soul, and a girl... well, this is either the weirdest love song ever, or the weirdest break up song ever. It is competently performed, over the top in a Jim Steinman way, and dripping strange. I have a horrible feeling that Norway might be in with a shot of winning the contest with this!
Portugal - Há Um Mar Que Nos Sepera
It means "the sea that separates us". A woman acting really dramatic to belt out a generic sounding soft rock song, complete with the obligatory wind machine. It is in Portuguese, like every Portuguese song ever entered. But you guessed that from the title, right?
She reminds me of a French actress, but I can't think of a name...
Czech Republic - Hope Never Dies
Welcome back to the Czech Republic who haven't been in the contest for five years. She can sing, him...less so. Another song dripping with emotion. Is this another breakup song? The song has an interesting chorus where they finish each other's sentences.
Okay, the woman has taken her shoes off and thrown them on the floor. Now they're shouting "never let me go". Is this a breakup-makeup song?
Israel - Golden Boy
Okay, he is wearing a suit and... gold shoes with wings? Okay, after a moody start, it turns into a boy band number with funny lyrics like "Before I leave, let me show you Tel Aviv". This is another gag entry, right? I like the ending. He said "okay, we've gotta go, three minutes, bye bye" and then the song just ends. Haha...
Latvia - Love Injected
She thinks she's Kate Bush? It is... something of an experience, this performance. Captivating, I think would be the word for this.
Azerbaijan - Hour Of The Wolf
Azerbaijan usually delivers quirky songs with unique dance performances, and here we have a blonde bloke giving it a hundred percent and a blonde woman giving twice that. The song was okay, but they totally deserve to qualify with that dance routine.
Iceland - Unbroken
A small girl, barefoot and dressed in a frilly ballerina dress, gives it her all for a song you could imagine being performed by somebody like Demi Levato. It seems a bit repetitive, how many times has she said "one step at a time"?
More time wasting for adverts on lesser channels. A dumb insert with "the girl that loves cake" (Mel) breaking a vase and upsetting the ambassador, with Scott providing a comical deep film promo voice.
Sweden - Heroes
Now, here is something novel. Lovely interaction with the video wall, along with an inspirational song "we are the heroes of our time". This is the sort of thing that the video wall was designed for.
Switzerland - Time To Shine
Oh look, trees on the video backdrop. A woman in black lit by blue light. Gee, where might we have seen this before? The black dress turns into a cape behind a white dress when the song kicks into high gear. The others on stage are synchronised drummers. Obviously this calls for the wind machine. This is surprisingly well staged, but the song itself was a bit meh.
Cyprus - One Thing I Should Have Done
Oh, we start in black and white, alternating mid shots with wide shots. Then to colour with stars on the video wall. He sings well, and its a gentler song, an apology song. This was quite nice.
Slovenia - Here For You
The girl with the headphones. Amusingly, in the postcard with headphones. A strange voice and air violin, and while the guy has headphones around his neck, she is wearing them. Like... all the time. More air violin.
Eurovision has a habit of delivering the bizarre, and this is no disappointment. The word zany was invented for stuff like this.
Poland - In The Name Of Love
Is this a Eurovision first? The primary performer in a wheelchair out of necessity and not as some sort of gag? Another song about love and tolerance - are you starting to get the idea that Europe is trying to send the world a message?
That's it then. All of the songs have been performed.
Here we go. Like last time, the top listed one is my favourite.
- Norway - the epic breakup song
- Azerbaijan - the dance routine to reckon with
- Malta - fire enhanced power ballad
- Latvia - the bass pumping experience
- Sweden - videowall interactivity
- Ireland - serious school piano
- Slovenia - the weirdo girl with the funny voice and the headphones
- San Marino - loads of charisma
- Cyprus - the gentle song
- Poland - the wheelchair woman
Damn this was difficult. In the first semi-final, it was fairly clear that certain songs would qualify, and others less likely. So we have seventeen songs, and have to lose seven of them. I liked Lithuania, but don't think it is one that is going to qualify. I'm not sure San Marino will either, but dammit, I'm going to include it in my picks. I'd be surprised if Malta and Norway fail to qualify. So many ballads. Portugal might as well, but she was 11th on my list.
About the only song I figured was not going to be a qualifier was Israel. Now I've said that, it'll go and qualify, won't it. ☺
A BBC insert. A quick tour around Vienna - and nothing is going to be logical with Mel and the cakes.
Another recap. Bloody hell. So many ballads, so many songs that deserve a chance. This is hard this time!
Here we go. Voting has now closed. I'm still unsure of what songs to put in my list and where.
Now, a cute insert of all the quirks and mistakes in voting in Eurovision history. The sad thing? I remember most of the ones in colour. ☺
Talking to the UK performers. Bianca says "it is the 60th year, the party year". Has she missed the darker and more serious vibe going around the contest this year?
A chat with Nina Sublatti (the Georgian entry, sporting blue lipstick and some serious goth clothing) and "Doctor Eurovision".
Right, then. Another look at the pre-qualifiers. I talked about this in the first semi so I'll leave it at that here. Except to say Spain, Italy, and France obviously going to perform in their own language. Should we expect to hear anything else?
The executive producer says that the results are in and valid. Twenty one countries voting.
Okay. Enough. Here are the ten finalists in random order...
- Lithuania - the fluffy perky song
- Poland - the wheelchair peace and love song
- Slovenia - headphones weirdo
- Sweden - videowall interactivity
- Norway - the monster love breakup? song
- Montenegro - dark and moody with the living statues
- Cyprus - the quiet song
- Azerbaijan - this is no surprise whatsoever
- Latvia - the bass pumping experience
- Israel - well, um, okay
Gutted for San Marino and Ireland. Still, I picked seven of the qualifiers. Some of them were simply not going to fail to qualify - Sweden and Azerbaijan could not have failed with those routines.
So, this is it. All of the countries for Saturday night have been decided. All that remains now is... the Grand Final. 8 o'clock Saturday night, UK time; 9 o'clock European time; and god knows what time in Australia...
See you then.
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