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Eurovision 2017 - second semi final (RAW)

This is a RAW text file, written - as always - as the contest unfolds. Markup, pictures, etc etc will come along later.

Time for more camp, more power ballads, and more wailing. Yup, it's the second bunch of hopefuls looking for a spot in the grand final.

A mash-up recap of two days ago wastes our time, because they must think that Viewers Are Morons.

The hosts come back, two of them with loud flower outfits, then two of them do Eurovision hits Ukrainian style...
It was kind of good, actually.

1 Serbia: In Too Deep

Okay, as if living up to the cliché, it's a Céline Dion wannabe belting out a power ballad. As with various entries in the first semi, they seem dwarfed by the enormous stage. It's her, and a gyrating man, with underwater effects on the video walls.
Not quite a bridal outfit, it's partially see-through.

2 Austria: Running on Air

A bloke in white casual wear is sitting/standing on a glittery (mirrored) crescent moon. Credit for a song with actual words rather than a phrase repeated endlessly. Nice performance. Sounds like the crowd like it too.

3 FYRMac: Dance Alone

What's with her voice? I wasn't aware that it was allowed to modulate a live voice this much? It seems to me like one of those songs you might hear in a supermarket that when it's done you don't remember it. She does a good performance of a meh song, and tried hard to own the stage despite being only the one person.

4 Malta: Breathlessly

The eleventh time she's tried to represent Malta, finally made it. A soft piano entry, and we know this is going to be a serious song. Thank goodness for the zoom shots as one static woman at the back of the stage is easily lost. It's a nice sounding song, but will it be memorable in two hours?

5 Romania: Yodel It!

I have a bad feeling given the title. Okay, she's kinda cute. That's the only reason I'm still watching off key yodelling mixed with rap. I guess we shouldn't be surprised, this is Eurovision after all. It's just a question of who's going to enter the weird one...
Yeah, she's plenty bouncy. Let's hope this qualifies so I get to watch it again. Maybe with my headphones unplugged. What're the cannons for? Did I miss something?

6 Netherlands: Lights And Shadows

Watching this, I can't help but remember Feminnem from a few years back. Let's say two can sing well, one, less so. It's an upbeat performance of a serious song.

A advert break, so Mel and Simon and Jon Ola Sand do a second episode of The Force, their knock-off scandi-cop show.

7 Hungary: Origo

Strange hair, for an ethnic number, but look we're at number seven before we reach a song in a native language. I was about to say that it was well performed but maybe making sense only to Hungarians, but then he dropped into rap, which doesn't fit the ambience of the song at all.

8 Denmark: Where I Am
# belong, when you need someone there to be strong... #

Anya, from Denmark, actually from Australia. Generic ballad, on her knees for the heavy parts. Hmmm...

9 Ireland: Dying To Try

Okay, one doesn't expect the voice of a teenage girl to come out of a guy in a balloon... It's an interesting performance, but it's far from John Spillane.

10 San Marino: Spirit Of The Night

The little countrylet of a mere 31,000 people is entering an R'n'B song. They give a good effort at a song that repeats the title annoyingly frequently.

11 Croatia: My Friend

A big bloke, I'm expecting an opera voice out of this guy.
A spoken introduction and... oh my God, the song is a pop number and an opera song and he's doing both parts. This is nuts. Love it.

And yet again (third? fourth?) time the announcers talk over the end of the song. Grrr, can we have some sort of visual "you can talk now" cues next year? Because if Viewers Are Morons, what are the announcers?

12 Norway: Grab The Moment

Distinctive staging... is about the only thing I can say about this boring song. Maybe this is better with a two foot subwoofer and two empty bottles?

13 Switzerland: Apollo

A brunette in a yellow dress stands on a big yellow thing to perform one of many identikit ballads. I can't help but think of Bird's Custard. I'm hungry, so I'll vote for it on that basis alone. Plus, brunettes are just better than blondes, right? <stir><stir>
Actually, a nice ending to the song.

Advert break, so we cut out for part two of The Force.

Yet another reminder that British viewers can't vote. Just in case nobody paid attention the first dozen times.

14 Belarus: Historyja Majho Zyccia

The title suggests a non-English song. Yup, it's the first Belorussian song in Eurovision, and it's a perky one at that. She reminds me of a young Sharon Den Adel, and it's a catchy song, even if I have no idea what they're on about.
[actually, I remember a JESC entry in Belorussian which was three noisy girls shouting about how great Belorussia is, so...]

15 Bulgaria: Beautiful Mess

The appearance is like a cross between last year's entry from Israel, and The Cure as they were back in the eighties. Interesting playing with the video effects, as a sort of throw-in to a surprisingly powerful performance.

16 Lithuania: Rain of Revolution

This is strange, and she's taking it dead seriously. I'm trying to work out what the hell she's done with her hair. Not to mention her freaky nails.

17 Estonia: Verona

In fair Verona...? He seems to sing higher pitched than her. He reminds me of the father in Outnumbered. Well, never heard Shakespeare like this, and that's including Baz Lurhman's film...

18 Israel: I Feel Alive

Tonight's final song. It seems the last six songs passed a lot faster than the first six?
I think the announcers said he was a backing dancer for last year's "Made of Stars". Shame he is putting in a boy band style routine, instead of learning from last year's Israeli entry which was a masterclass in how to put on a performance.

Well, wow. That's it. Voting starts, so time to come up with my picks of this contest:

1. San Marino - the R'n'B vibe
2. Ireland - close your eyes for this one
3. Switzerland - she's following Apollo
4. Belorussia - Belomadness
5. Israel - pieces of you
6. Romania - yodelling rap
7. Austria - the glittery moon
8. Malta - lost on the stage
10. Bulgaria - so NOT lost on the stage
12. Croatia - pop opera

As the recap plays, I'm annoyed to find Romania's nonsense is growing on me.

Now an insert video that is a huge pile of nonsense about Verka.

Mel, dressed in a weird red hotel girl outfit meets some people. The Italians, San Marino, Romania, FYR Mac... and they can speak English really well (though the guy from San Marino is a cheat - he's from Detroit). And the average English person can understand...? Oh, yeah, the whole world speaks English right? Maybe. But for how much longer in this post-Brexit Trumpified self-inflicted apocalypse? [come on, we all know Eurovision is political! ;-)]

The final part of The Force, it turns out the Verka's mother was the one who has the trophy.

The interval act, imagine the soundtrack of Ghost In The Shell with a dance troupe modelling themselves on The Tribe, and you might be halfway there. And, look, it takes forty eight people to fill this giant stage.

While this is playing, I can say that the camerawork and such has been much better this evening. Maybe the mistakes Tuesday were first night jitters? The bigger problem has been our hosts talking over the ends of songs as they seem incapable of working out how long a hundred and eighty seconds last for...

Back to the hosts to talk about Lucie Jones and such, and look a bit... what is it, lit up, perhaps?

Now the rest of the auto-qualifiers:

Alma singing for France, in French. I liked her song La Chute est lente. You'll find it on Youtube. This one, it seems okay, if a bit ballady. I just hope she doesn't go French female ballad on us (think - anything Céline Dion has ever done in French; try also some Julie Zenatti).

Germany - another shouty ballad. Hmmm... didn't they learn from Satellite that it's going to be something DIFFERENT that will win? Or even last year's awful song that brought the contest to The Ukraine - was hardly a power ballad.

Finally, the hosts, The Ukraine. Who want to purify a human hat thingy with rock. Oh, they said "head". Sounded like "hat". Well, it'll be a chance to tick off all the rock clichés...

Finally, result time. Jon Ola Sand still looking surprised, and possibly not blinking once during his announcement.

Here are the winners announced in a random order with lots of time wasting tension building:

Bulgaria - The Cure
Belarus - belomadness once again
Croatia - opera pop
Hungary - the ethnic song (with rap)
Denmark - the generic epic ballad
Israel - he made it without starstuff
Romania - yes! the bouncy yodel girl
Norway - the masked hoodies
The Netherlands - the trio

And the final one....

...long pause...

...stupidly long pause...

Austria - the glittery moon
(are the crowd booing this!?!?)

Well, hey, I got seven out of ten. :-)

Okay. I have only heard previews of the autoqualifiers, but .. you know what?

I'm going to stick my neck out.

I'm going to say... Croatia will win this. You just watch.



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