Finally it’s here, the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for us anyway – not so much for the eight hopefuls that saw their dreams of reaching the final on Saturday squashed before you can say ‘I told you so’. Which is not what I’m gonna do (a lot anyway). Instead, I’m gonna try and figure out why said entries failed to convince juries and audiences around Europe yesterday.
Not gonna discuss the hosts, stage or the entire show – I’m in the middle of renovating my house before moving in just a mere two weeks (as those of you who see my Instagram and Facebook updates already know too well), and time is not really my friend these days. Besides, plenty of stuff to review in my grand Grand Final review (the way the renovation is going, it’ll probably be for the end of June #neveragain). Just this side note: Jamala was overly present on that stage. That’s all.
So, let’s get down to business. Ten countries survived the cut, eight didn’t. To the tune of Wiktoria: why, oh why?
(in order of appearance)
Georgia: Well, there were three screamy big dramatic ballads on offer and two of those were bound to fail. Georgia did well to tone down the NF-performance and visiually this was alright. Vocally Tamara was on the verge of overselling it, but I liked the divaness of it all. The song and it’s bleak world peace message just didn’t prove strong enough, I guess. Plus, slot nr. 2 won’t have helped either.
Albania: Anotehr screamy ballad, coming shortly after Georgia, with lesser vocals (except for that impressive loooooong note in the middle). The way Lindita was fidgeting with her in-ear made me think there was an issue, but apparently it was just her natural ability to not stay on track. It was balladry-by-numbers, and it got what it deserved.
Montenegro: I’m all for camping things up, but a giant braid and some glitter pants do not a Eurovision act make. Some people simply should not be on a stage. If this were on in any random gay pub around the globe people would be ignoring it with all their might. I guess Europe felt the same way yesterday.
Finland: A difficult one for me to guestimate, as I’ve been playing this song for months now. I wasn’t really feeling it yesterday however, as the high notes weren’t always on point and Leena seemed very nervous. Plus, I got the distinct feeling that repeating the same chorus over and over took the power out of the heartfelt lyrics. Or maybe I try to reason too much, and it simply got trampled by the beauty of Portugal coming almost immediately behind it…
Iceland: This was always going to be a borderliner, and despite Svala’s excellent vocals and ballsy attitude (hello, Blanche?) the chorus proved to be too much of a lightweight to impress people. Or were people distracted by her cleavage? Anyhew, if I’d shed tears over one song not making it through to Saturday, it would be over this one. Pity.
Czech Republic (aka Czechia): Well, for starters this was the most obvious non-qualifier I’d heard in a long time. Such a snooze of a song, I wouldn’t be able to recall the tune if I’d had a gun pointed at me. And then that rendition… What was she on? She looked stoned. Which might also explain that Barbara Dex aspiring aluminum foil outfit.
Slovenia: This had failure written all over it ever since I saw it in the Slovenian NF. The song is a bunch of clichés that had their best before date somewhere at the end of last century, and the way it was sung was simply painful. I’m sorry Omar, you look like a very lovely guy – but it’s a no from me. The fact that Europe agreed pleased me.
Latvia: After a rather weak semi in its entirety, I was kinda happy with the Latvian absurdity. It didn’t really sparkle as much as I’d hoped it would, but at least it brought something different and fun to the table. The vocals weren’t as horrid as I’d feared, but the stage presence might have been too rock-meets-manga for their own good.
No real shockers among the qualifiers, though Australia and Greece can count their lucky stars that they’re…well…Australia and Greece #notconvinced.
And about our own little entry: I thought the visual effects and camerawork were spot on, and I didn’t even mind Blanche’s fragile attitude. It somehow suits the song. The only thing I would do, is encourage her to look into the camera at least once or twice, to engage with the audience at home. But after week of disturbing reports, I was happy to see that it all came together rather well. Let’s hope she’ll kick some ass in the final.
But I’m still rooting for Portugal. I voted for him last night, and will definitely vote again on Saturday. Simply magical.
Read y’all on Friday for a short look back on Semi 2! Have fun tomorrow!