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Eurovision 2022 Semi Final 1

Another year has passed

Another year has passed, it really doesn't seem that long ago that the Italian rockers stomped to the top of the leader board to bring home a win for Italy.

Set up and ready to watch
Set up and ready to watch.

This year I will pop on my Bluetooth headphones and pick up the live stream from YouTube.
While I can just about stand Norton's commentary for the grand final, it seems that the BBC looks for their most inept presenters for the semi finals. It looks like BBC THREE is back, and that's where the contest is. Or, you know, YouTube, without the mind numbing commentary, inane out-takes, and replacing the interval performance with something that makes you want to punch the wall because the pain of doing that would distract from the mental anguish you're suffering otherwise; plus getting in references to all sorts of tweets about what people are doing (you know, there's a part of me that would like to say "I'm butt naked wearing a Terry Wogan mask and I'm going to stick a pin into my nipple every time there's a costume change" just to see if they'd actually read that out. ☺

Anyway, I'll be watching the unadulterated Eurovision, as it is broadcast, not as the BBC think you want to see it.

I would just like to point out, by the way, that I will be watching on an Android tablet, and writing this on a RISC OS machine; as pictured above. For that reason, regular Western European accents will be used if/when I see the need and remember. However I will not be using any accents for the Eastern European languages (such as Moldova's "Trenuletul". The 't' has a sort of a comma below it. I don't know what that's called, never mind the code/glyph to make that character appear. So, apologies in advance, but I'm just another clueless Brit...

 

Ukraine for the win?

I have avoided social media and watching videos before the contest, but once in a while articles crop up in my news app and in the online newspapers I read.
One such article was that it is "expected" that Ukraine will win, with a read-between-the-lines hinting that it would largely be on sympathy points.

That's okay by me. God knows Ukraine needs to feel it's winning at something right about now, and I feel that Eurovision is a far better indicator of the sentiment of the liberal side of Europe than any number of polls, surveys, or political blathering.

Mind you, another article said the British entry was good and might actually win... and no, it wasn't in the Mail or a Red Top. Tell you what, I'm not going to hold my breath, if you don't mind.

 

And no lovey-dovey from Russia

This year, for blindingly obvious reasons, Russia has had the boot of Monty Python stamped upon it. Not so much kicked out the door as drop-kicked from orbit.
Which means we won't get to see a beautifully choreographed bit of fluff about how nice the world would be if we all just got along.
How about telling that to the children your so-called army raped and/or murdered, you despicable thugs.

 

Oh my god, it's in Italy

The last time a song contest was broadcast from Italy, it was 1991 and Rome. That was the first song contest I properly watched. As in, I wasn't at boarding school any more so nobody else changed the channel or told me "lights out, TV off" before it had finished.
It was an exciting contest, for reasons I will get into should I ever review it. It has a special place in my heart because it was the first one I watched all the way through, without distractions. Plus, bonus points, I called the winner after about twenty seconds.

But... it was also one of the most slap-dash, unprofessional, and downright appalling contests I've ever seen. I know that the Italians are very fond of their language (and, fair enough, it's a lovely sounding language) but there was no attempt to speak in either English or French. Just a guy yacking away in Italian for the benefit of the Italian audience and exactly zero concessions to the existence of the rest of the world.
Plus, the orchestra. Oh my god.
I would really like to see a proper orchestra return to the song contest... just so long as it's not that one. It was actually comically bad. Did they even rehearse, like, at all?

 

The final countdown...

Dah-dah daaah duh, da-da-da da duh!

Sorry. ☺ I'll just drop my fork into my macaroni cheese and get ready as the final minutes tick away. It's a bamboo fork. I appear to have lost the metal one. How...? Oh, whatever, it's not important.

I also have an Innocent smoothie, strawberry and banana, should there be any thirst that needs quenching.

 

Welcome to Turin

Ba ba-ba-ba ba baaa ba baaa! Here we go!

Okay, a steampunk inventor at a desk. Oh, we've entered into the world of His Dark Materials, being explored by a sentient drone or... something? Is that even a real drone? It looks a bit CGI.

Now in the studio, playing a tune with lights. I recognise that tune, but can't put a name to it. But it goes away quicky as stomping bass kicks in.
No, it's not Manneskin, it's somebody going on and on about the sound of music.

What kind of lame-ass codec does YouTube use? I've had to step back to 240p in order not to be hit by buffering. I'll point out that Netflix streams stuff in HD without a problem.

Lots of synchronised dancing that looks like it belongs at the end of some sort of Disney movie. I'm getting Lion King vibes from this.

Good grief, that's got to be the highest pitch of the night.

 

The hosts are some Italian I've never heard of, Laura Pausini (okay, it's said like "laowra") who had a lot of international fame about the time I came to France twenty years ago (and more recently, a documentary on Prime Video)... and Mika. Yeah, everybody's gonna love today, love today, love today. But, isn't he Lebanese or something? <shrug> Maybe he just really likes pizza?

And, usefully for all the rest of us, they're speaking English this time.

Finally, that's over and for the first song of the night.

 

1. Albania "Sekret" (Ronela Hajati)

"Make some noise!" Yup, that's a good description of this entry. It sounds like the sort of thing that's probably popular in the clubs of Albania, but shouting isn't exactly singing. Still, the crowd like it. Perhaps it's due to the lack of clothing? ☺
English and Albanian.

 

Switched to using Newpipe on my Mi10T. That seems to step up and down the resolution according to bandwidth without the endless buffering. So, yeah, the YouTube app is just as naff as I remember it.

2. Latvia "Eat Your Salad" (Citi Zeni)

Uh... we start with Instead of meat we eat veggie. Colour-coded guys with a gag song and somebody holding a sax that isn't the Epic Sax Guy. He... has a sax solo and... really isn't an Epic Sax Guy.
Well, okay. Being green is cool. But I can't help but think that they mean this extremely literally. <rotfl>
It's memorable, I'll give it that.

 

3. Lithuania "Sentimentai" (Monika Liu)

Okay, a sultry woman singing a jazzy song in Lithuanian. Remarkably well performed, at that. This is, actually pretty good. First song of the night to add to my list.

For added comedy, I have Newpipe set to overlay subtitles. Most of the time Youtube's auto-subtitler didn't report anything. But once in a while, it would come up with some real gibberish.

 

4. Switzerland "Boys Do Cry" (Marius Bear)

Interesting staging for a song that's really brightening up the mood. This is odd, it's a sort of emotional ballad, with the vocalist putting in a decent take at performing it in a style that is almost "punk". As in raw, unrefined, and not processed to hell and back.

 

5. Slovenia "Disko" (LPS)

The drummer is up in the air behind a giant silver ball... oh, my god... it's about disco.
Okay, it's in Slovenian, but don't they realise that Travolta killed disco about forty years ago?

Whoa, what? A complete change of pace to slow it right down to sing about the disco heart. Well, that's what it sounded like.

It's always fun watching Eurovision to see who's decades behind the times. Thank you, Slovenia, for not disappointing. Though, these days it's more likely to be intentional retreaux.

 

6. Ukraine "Stefania" (Kalush Orchestra)

A big cheer for Ukraine. Okay, so a bloke with a pink furry hat is rapping at high speed in between something more ethnic and traditional. Okay, right, the obligatory whistle/flute/pipe (how is he playing it?). So it's an old/modern fusion.
It's really not my cup of tea, but it gets my vote because, well, Путин, пошёл на хуй!

 

An ad break

Some stats about how much tech is in a building in Torino... and it's all thanks to Julius Caesar. Hehe, that's actually amusing.

 

The postcards are done nicely, mixing the performers with architectural things.

 

7. Bulgaria "Intention" (Intelligent Music Project)

Oh, a nice rock opening. Hell yeah.
Try to imagine mashing up Bon Jovi with Aerosmith. With his accent, no idea what he's on about (the subtitles have given up!) but... guitar solo for the win. This is more upbeat than I normally listen to, getting some serious Ayreon vibes at the end there, but I could listen to that again.

 

8. Netherlands "De diepte" (S10)

Well, after a verse in Dutch, she gives up and just says "dah dah dah" a bunch of times until falling into a completely different song for the chorus.
God, I can't watch this - Google's subtitling is understanding a woman singing in Dutch as the most crazy stuff in English.
Her voice, interesting. It's powerful and fragile at the same time. And kudos to her she took a little bow at the end instead of yelling "thank you Europe", not spoiling the moment.

 

9. Moldova "Trenuletul" (Zdob si Zdub & Advahov Brothers)

Wow, this is awful. But awful in the same sort of way that propelled Verkla to international stardom (see what I did there?).

It's mostly in Moldovan, or Romanian if you prefer, so no idea what they're on about. The only thing I know in Romanian is "buna ziua", which amuses the Romanians at work. Probably my horrible accent.

How to tell these guys are consumate professionals? They can dress like that and perform that without corpsing.

 

Wait, the stage has a waterfall and massive translucent screens that can slide up from the floor like illuminated megaliths?

 

10. Portugal "Saudade, saudade" (Maro)

Well, if I am to be honest, this seems like a group sing-song at the local coven. Standing in a circle helps with that vibe. Portuguese and English, but good luck telling which is which.
I don't know why, but I liked that.

 

Why did they have Laowra wearing bright magenta, including matching makeup around the eyes? It's almost like she's wearing a superhero mask!

 

11. Croatia "Guilty Pleasure" (Mia Dimsic)

A woman in pink with a guitar, a guy that's probably the guilty pleasure, and two dancers in white and lots of choreography, for a song that was unexpectedly lovely. The end was in Croatian, or "you're going to class" according to the subs.

 

12. Denmark "The Show" (Reddi)

Wow, this is a concert of serious songs this year. Getting Adele vibes from this one.
Holy crap, we've taken a gear change from Adele to Manneskin. Yup, Italy won last year with a solid rock song, and you can certainly see the influence this year. How many guitar solos so far?

 

An advert break

Mika, explaining what Eurovision means to him, and one of the most coherent explanations I've heard in a while.
Yup, let's celebrate the weird, the creative, and the individuality.

 

13. Austria "Halo" (Lumix feat. Pia Maria)

A cliche-to-hell-and-back DJ and a shouty redhead that comes across as perky goth (think Abby Sciuto) and a weird stage set that looks like a crashed UFO, but it got the audience out of their seats. Well, why not, enjoy the show.
There's a lot of Eurobeat in this, and Pia was off-the-scale excited at the end there. I can't imagine this one not qualifying.

 

14. Iceland "Jaja Ding Dong" (Olaf Yohansson)

Sorry, couldn't resist...

 

14. Iceland "Með hækkandi sól" (Systur)

Uh, is this supposed to be country in Icelandic, fronted by three women?
Well, it's... different.
The staging is nice. Lots of deep reds and oranges. I really don't know what I think of the song, but I'm going to chose it because I liked the staging.

 

15. Greece "Die Together" (Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord)

THe first half of the song was a capella? There was something low pitched along with her singing, not sure if it was bass synth or a male vocal? This is like if Amy Lee had really weird pronunciation.
Well, my inner goth enjoyed that, but I'm not sure a song about dying together and ripping her heart out is... exactly Eurovision? It's a bit dark. Delightfully so, in my opinion, but I'm not normal.

 

16. Norway "Give That Wolf A Banana" (Subwoofer)

Oh... what the actual...? A gag entry with a techno song taking the wolf and banana theme painfully literally. As in bright yellow wolf heats, yellow body coverings... and an astronaut. Give that wolf a banana before he eats grandma, Keith.
As dumb as it was, that will probably qualify.

 

17. Armenia "Snap" (Rosa Linn)

A woman in white with a guitar sitting on the end of a┬ábed made of pieces of paper? Pulling papers of the wall to reveal things. This, actually, is pretty good. But, then Armenia tends to put on impressive performances. Oh, whoops, her big reveal didn't quite go as planned. I bet dozens of rehearsals and no problem, but on the live performance and it goes wrong. ☺

 

Europe, start voting!

As a recap plays, here's my selection.
  1. Ukraine - because there's absolutely nothing political about the contest
  1. Greece - everybody dies
  1. Armenia - the paper house
  1. Portugal - see? the local coven is peaceful and friendly!
  1. Bulgaria - don't air guitar or you'll knock stuff over
  1. Croatia - run away with the girl in pink
  1. Denmark - a girl band giving it everything
  1. Austria - perky redhead
  1. Iceland - the colours of a warming winter fire
  1. Lithuania - Sultry Svetlana
  1. Norway - woof.

Two entries for #10. I'd like Greece to be there. Armenia probably will be. Why not just have one #10 and the other #8? Because I can't imagine Norway not qualifying.

There were some good solid performances this year.

 

Interval act

A lot of noise and flashing lights, and the camera failing to not be where the guys in black were moving a piano into place.

Oh, that's better. Strings and piano.

And now back to the naff synth with people in silver suits.

The redhead... isn't she Sophie or Sonia or something? An English singer.

What was that? Somebody's microphone on when it shouldn't have been?

Another recap. Oooh, haaa. Hey ho, let's go. Nothing more that I can say. I'm with him and you're a secret treasure...

 

Promoting the official merch

Seriously, who would buy a 576p DVD when you can download full HD from YouTube?

 

Voting is over!

I guess there will be another interval act while the vote was counted.

Diodato now, who was unable to perform for Italy thanks to Covid, now gets to perform for an audience. "can we partner with our doctor but quanta forgotten" according to the subs.

It's kind of heartwarming hearing the audience joining in. Well, they're certainly giving this guy his moment to shine.

 

Eurovision confidential

Looking back at some of the more memorable performances in recent years.

 

JESC

In December. I guess I ought to watch last year's one first!

 

Meeting France

Whoo, France has entered another song in Breton (after Diwalit Bugali back around 2002 or so).
Well, it's not what one would expect upon being told the song is in Breton (well, Breton and French).

 

Meeting Italy

Mamood from 2019 and... Matt Damon?

 

Finally the results

They have a valid result. So, the ten finalists in random order are...

  • Switzerland - crying boys
  • Armenia - not a surprise!
  • Iceland - the countryish songish
  • Lithuania - sultry singing
  • Portugal - yes! the coven are through
    Laura can't say "sixth" ☺
  • Norway - told you the wolves would qualify
  • Greece - oh yes! we're all going to die!
  • Ukraine - could see that coming
  • Moldovia (close, Laura, close!)
  • Netherlands - oh god

Well, seven of my picks made it, including two I was hoping would, and my top four qualified.

It's late, I have work tomorrow. I'm going to drop this on my blog then go to bed. So be gentle with typos (I wrote half of this in the dark after the sun went down) and other random stupidity.

Night!

 

 

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Last read at 13:04 on 2022/05/17.

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