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Eurovision 2024 Semi Final 2

You know, I'm not expecting much from this year's contest. I struggled to find ten songs that I liked in the first semi final, a lot were simply meh. Those that were notable were more notable for the weirdness factor <cough>Ireland</cough> . . . and what's worse is that we've already had the supposed favourite to win (Croatia's Baby Lasagna).
Which implies that there's nothing in the second semi that will top Croatia. Clearly there will be no "Molitva", no "Heroes", no "Rise like a Phoenix", no "Fairytale"... nothing that will make you sit up and say "yup, that's the one". So, yeah, don't have high hopes.

 

Today was a huge vide grenier in, if I remember, Essé. That's where last year I got myself a pressure cooker, and on the way home I stopped by an ancient old megalithic structure that, unlike Stonehenge, you can actually go and look at, wander around. You can read about this here.
I didn't go. Just didn't feel like it.

So in the morning I properly added iCalendar support to Tea, and discovered that Google's Amazing Coders have made yet another glaring inconsistency. There is an option in Tea to set a notification to appear five minutes before each programme. If you import the .ics file directly into the Calendar app on Android, all of these notifications will be discarded. If, however, you import the exact same file using the desktop version of calendars.google.com, they will be retained. Brilliant job!

Once the day had warmed up, I set up my hammock for the first time this year and spent some time idly staring at the whisps of clouds and watching icky caterpillars (semi-transparent with black heads, looked like maggots, I think this is some sort of moth) floating down from the tree.
After a while I let Anna out and she would rampage for a bit, then wander back to the shady part gasping and panting. Hey, furball, it was twenty! If you're like that at 20°C, how will you cope in the summer? After she had cooled down a little, she'd be off again until she overheated and crawled back. Like an ADHD cat.
Eventually she took herself home so I closed the door after leaving her something nice to eat.

Then I sat out a bit longer and... have done very little. Today is a rest day. Almost. I have two and a bit hours of song contest to get through, all in preparation for the ever-increasing Grand Final on Saturday.

 

But, alas, tonight we're looking to see which ten of the sixteen second bunch will qualify for the Grand Final. I have with me a glass of hot milk (from powder because I'm lazy) and a beef/pepper/pasta ready meal (because I'm lazy). If I get peckish later, Ritz biscuits and Philadelphia.
So without any further blah blah, let's get to it.

 

As usual (sorry, a brief bit of extra blah blah) I have not followed anything on social media, watched the videos, artist interviews, publicity, and articles. I am keeping this old school and it's all fresh for me on the night. So these are my reactions having never heard any of the songs before now. No, not even the British and/or French ones.
Now let's get on to things.

 

With repetitive flashing images, it's showtime on BBC One...

Bah dah da-da-da-dah daah da dum...

 

We start with a recap of who qualified, because Tuesday was so long ago that we simply don't remember what happened, right?
Following this, a prerecorded segment where the hosts Petra and... what was her name again? Marlin? Play tribute to Loreen with a comically silly rendition of a song giving directions from Stockholm to Malmö.

Petra comes out wearing an epic red dress that looks like a cross between something religious and a movie villian. Malin's outfit... looks like a giant raspberry ripple ice cream.

 

Viewers in the UK cannot vote this evening. I wonder how many times they'll repeat that tonight? Maybe it ought to be a drinking game?

Right, five minutes in, it begins.

 

1. Malta "Loop" (Sarah Bonnici)

What can I say? If Katy Perry did Eurovision it would probably turn out like this. That being said, a fairly impressive dance routine (note the flip) and bonus points for putting the microphone down first unlike the woman the other year that dropped it.
A suitably energetic opening to the contest.

 

2. Albania "Titan" (Besa)

A complete change of pace here for something that sounds a lot more R&B influenced. What is "I'm a Titan of the skies" supposed to mean?
It seems that most of her dance is performed with her arms.

 

3. Greece "Zari" (Marina Satti)

I think my most memorable Greek song was the unique vocals of Katerine Duska ("Better Love").
I think this girl is trying to be Ariana Grande, and it's the first entry of the night with the annoying ticky synth drums. It's also the first not in English.
I can see this appealing to those who aren't old enough to vote yet, the sort that would ape bits of this for their forty seconds of Tiktok fame. Give her credit for the workout.

 

4. Switzerland "The Code" (Nemo)

This is another one that's touted to win it, so...
Nemo has been absent from the ROOL forum for a while. I guess this is why, he's representing Switzerland... wearing a skirt and... performing on a thing that looks like a giant satellite dish lying on the floor, switching between high speed rap and epic ballad... okay, this performance is nuts. He broke the code, somewhere between the ohs and ones, is this song actually kind of nerdy (but I've missed half the lyrics due to his vocals?).

Okay, yup. Weird as hell but a memorable performance. Finally a song worthy of saying "This is impressive". A big ballad, the staging... There's no "meh" here.

 

5. Czechia "Pedestal" (Aiko)

What's with the stage looking like something from a dystopian space opera?

Plenty of energy here too. I guess I may have been wrong about thinking this contest would suck. Lots of shouting, and - is this supposed to be about getting over a broken relationship?
No idea what the hell that was about but it certainly would have woken up granny.

 

A bit about a Norwegian legend called Jahn Taigen, but it was from long ago so I think people might think the Norwegian legend goes by the name Alexander.
And, well, Petra messed up reading the autocue and handled it like a pro. Quick cut away to all of the memorable songs that fared badly in the scores (probably so Petra can facepalm without it being seen).

 

-. FRANCE!

Who is that girl screaming "FRANCE!" in such a comical way?

Hey, is that Slimane? Yes, it is. He's a pop star in France, and he's singing "Mon Amour". And that's a "gentle" ballad being performed by a guy wearing a teabag.

There's a certain sort of French song that takes the idea of ballad up to eleven. He's basically channelling his inner Céline Dion here.
And just to ram the point home, he walks like three metres back from the microphone and absolutely belts it.
That's... actually quite an impressive entry for France. Yes, it's very predictably like almost every other French song (Barbara Pravi, anyone?), but when you get it performed as well as this... I can see the juries rating this highly.

 

6. Austria "We Will Rave" (Kaleen)

Wearing a white cloak over a tinfoil outfit that barely exists, it's no surprise that the cloak is quickly discarded. Oh, she's singing "We will rave", not "We will be". Another one with lots of energy, lots of noise, lots of flashing lights... but, well...

 

Are these semifinals decided randomly? It seems that tonight is somewhat perkier than Tuesday.

 

7. Denmark "Sand" (Saba)

She's standing on a box singing a power-pop song, but... where is all that sand coming from? Oh, alright, she's interacting with the video screen. Really? They're still doing that? And now her heart is glowing. Oh, come on, Måns Zelmerlöw did that years ago.

 

8. Armenia "Jako" (Ladaniva)

Yes, finally we have something that is sort of ethnic, but in a way that isn't taking itself at all seriously.
This one ought to qualify for being amusing and different to the rest, along with a sort of call-and-response. Are there actually lyrics to this, or is it just "la la layla la" (or something like that)?

 

Some more natter with the hosts, no doubt for going out to adverts on lesser channels.
The most ticket buyers to attend the concert are from the UK.

 

9. Latvia "Hollow" (Dons)

Latvian pop royalty standing in a big hula hoop and... is he wearing a blue superhero top?

A complete change of pace here (again) for the very serious entry. Good vocals, but a very restrained performance. Looked like he was about to cry at the end, so I guess this song means something to him.

 

-. Spain "Zorra" (Nebulossa)

Okay, what is it with Spain and the keytar?
Oh my god, I had no idea that Joanna Lumley spoke Spanish so well.

As for the backing dancers, I can just imagine the more conservative viewers trying to explain to their children why blokes are in knee-high boots and what looks like a giant black nappy. Just think, it's not Zorra, it's Zardoz.
Who would have thought I'd mention Zardoz (the weirdest film I have ever seen) twice in a month?
This seems unexpectedly popular in the audience.

 

10. San Marino "11:11" (Megara)

A four-piece from Spain representing San Marino because, well, I guess San Marino has run out of people to represent the country.

Huh? It's like a goth punk version of Netta. Do you think this is how NCIS's Abby unwinds? Well, maybe if she spoke Spanish?
I'm not overly taken by the song, it's more shouting than music... but I certainly appreciate the aesthetic. Creepy-good!

 

11. Georgia "Firefighter" (Nutsa Buzaladze)

It was a nice opening build, but he we go with that awful tick-drum. There's quite an arabic influence in the background music. She's putting on a good performance, but she seems to be shouting most of the vocals, is her voice up to it? Good staging here, though the song itself is a bit of a mess.

 

12. Belgium "Before the Party's Over" (Mustii)

Uh... What? "Got a soul on fire, I'm gonna eat moose tonight"?
That said, I think this is kinda forgettable otherwise. A long time until the big line about the moose, and then it's just that over and over. Not even little variations in the repeat. A big Meh.

 

13. Estonia "(Nedest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi" (5miinust and Puuluup)

And the award for the longest song title is... a bizarre rap song being performed by old guys who are spectacularly out of tune? On purpose? I kind of expect them to break out into "We are the winners, of Eurovision" (okay, that was Latvia, wasn't it? geographically close...).

This will probably qualify due to being a bit batshit. But, oh my god.

 

-. Italy.

As much as I might like the sound of the Italian language, this does absolutely nothing for me. Sorry. The staging is pretty tacky too. Isn't this supposed to be a San Remo winner?

 

14. Israel "Hurricane" (Eden Golan)

Okay, here's the tricky one. Let's hope it goes off without a hitch.
Nice intro and staging. The stargate portal lighting is interesting. Is it me or are her vocals really wobbly? Sounds like she's bricking it. To be on stage this year of all years, must be nerve crushing. That said, it was a lovely song so I hope it'll go through and she'll get a chance to do better on Saturday, but... politics... especially given the worldwide vote.

 

15. Norway "Ulveham" (Gâte)

Sung in Norwegian, we're straight into female fronted ethereal rock. Did that guy just throw his guitar really high?
You know what? My favourite of the contest. Add an orchestra and this isn't they unlike the sort of thing that I listen to normally. Thanks Norway. ☺

 

16. Netherlands "Europapa" (Joost Klein)

What...?
This is the gag entry of the contest, right?

It has an unexpectedly touching end, but, sorry... it was a nighmare of idiocy getting there.

 

Okay, time to stop the recording at an hour and a half-ish, then restart it. And, twice in less than a minute the announcers point out that the UK cannot vote... oh for god's sake, a third time.

 

Okay, well, I was wrong. I'll admit it. This second semifinal was way better than the first one. A lot less meh and an easy ten to pick.

  • Norway - the dark angel.
  • Switzerland - riding the dish.
  • Armenia - pleasantly different and fun.
  • Czechia - kicked off the pedestal.
  • Israel - it wasn't that bad, actually.
  • San Marino - goth punk FTW.
  • Denmark - the sandwoman.
  • Greece - Ariana wannabe.
  • Georgia - putting out the fire.
  • Malta - head over heels.

 

For the interval, they're trying to do the world's biggest singalong. And given the size of the Eurovision audience, they might just pull it off.

It's some past winners, along with karaoke lyrics at the bottom of the screen. So far, two songs in English (the second being "Take me to your heaven"). Now Sertab from Türkiye (which isn't even in the contest any more!).

 

As the televote time is coming to the end, we finally have Petra blatantly taking the piss out of the contest and Sweden's participation in it. Oh look, Måns found a way to photobomb the contest.
Haha, Moomins!

As expected, the most memorable point of the night is when they hand Petra the microphone and say "sing something".

 

Now for the results, following the grand opening of the backdrop screen. That's a pretty damn impressive stage setup there.

 

Yup, okay, we're "good to go".

Here's who is through:

  • Latvia - the blue superhero suit guy
  • Austria - which one was this again?
  • Netherlands - the gag entry?
  • Norway - YES! ☺☺☺
  • Israel - stargate
  • Greece - the Tiktok girl
  • Estonia - the rapping oldies? What the actual ....?
  • Switzerland - the dish guy
  • Georgia - the firegirl
  • Armenia - the fun ethnic song

Well, that was some eccentric voting wasn't it? Netherlands and Estonia...? What?

I'm glad Israel made it to the Grand Final, it was a good song. The problem there were the nerves of the performer. I'm sure you can understand why.

 

The end of the contest is three guys who performed for Sweden sonmething like forty years ago singing in Swedish because, well, why not? <shrug>

 

Well, that semi final was massively better than the first one. Some good songs to look forward to on Saturday.

See you then...

Oh, and the programme ended only a minute late. Impressive for a live broadcast.

 

 

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A tree-dwelling mammal, 10th May 2024, 11:46
(Going to keep using this display name now - it's kinda stuck, thanks Rick! Yeah, I know I haven't commented for a bit, but I've been reading.) 
 
Just about Stonehenge. You do know that if you go there on the solstices, you can walk right in and touch the stones? It's just the rest of the year they won't let you near it.

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