Time for the first songs in semi 2, and we open with a returning winner. Can he pull a Double? And can the ones following right after even compete? Let’s go down the rabbit hole of semi 2!
PERFORMER: Alexander Rybak
SONG: That’s How You Write A Song
The Song: Well, you can’t say mr. Rybak didn’t listen to what Petra & Måns were saying back in 2016. The melody is simple but effective and Catchy With A Capital C. But lyrics seem less important to him this time round, as the build-up, the feeling of repetition and the (ironic?) title clearly imply. Game, set, love and peace. And the tiniest bit of Cheesecake.
Standout lyrics: “Shoo-bee-doo-bee dab dab” – Who cares about actual lyrics anyway, right?
The Voice: Luckily mr. Rybak didn’t get a draw near or next to Waylon from NL, cause it might have caused people to see (or rather hear) right through him. But as he composed it clever enough and tailored it sufficiently to his own vocal capacities/limitations, he’ll manage to pull it off anyway.
The Performance: THE selling point here, as mr. Rybak oozes natural charm. He was born to be on a stage and it shows. It’s somehow weird seeing him without his violin in the first part of the song and it’s almost a relief to see it appear eventually, which is of course exactly the effect he’s going for. The trick with the animation à la Bulgaria 2017 works like a charm…provided he and said animation are perfectly aligned, otherwise it misses the mark completely.
In one line: “In Eurovision, nothing says winner like a violin. Trust us – bring a violin”
Why it will qualify: It’s catchy as hell and he sells it well.
Why it won’t: It’s not in the same realm as Fairytale.
Biggest competition in this semi: Gosh, don’t know – Moldova?
Pre-Contest status: Despite it playing in a league or two below his winning song, and despite his crumbling popularity within the fan community he might actually score that Magical Double. I see this having no trouble at all getting to the left hand side of the scoreboard on Saturday, anyway.
PERFORMER: The Humans
The Song: Romania and I, we’ve had a weird relationship lately. Either they send something completely over the top that doesn’t interest me at all, or they send something that I can hardly remember the existence of. This falls indeed under the latter, with its nondescript structure which is a weird tactical move for a three minute song. Kinda digging the rock vibe, not entirely getting the lyrics and what they’re trying to get at. It’s all so…meh.
Standout lyrics: “No matter what the odds will bring you, please don’t say goodbye” – The odds are not in your favor, so goodbye.
The Voice: That NF-version is really all over the place. At times I’m almost convinced, and that feeling is swept away almost immediately thanks to some very wobbly notes. Doesn’t help in selling this already fickle entry.
The Performance: Much like Finland there’s one too many idea in that NF-performance. Scratch the highly unnecessary reveal to start with, and rethink some other things that don’t really contribute to getting the song across. Bonus question: are all female singers in Romania required by law to wear a skirt that’s borderline revealing their Pikachu?
In one line: So Long, farewell, auf wiedersehen.
Why it will qualify: Somehow Romania always manages to sneak through.
Why it won’t: The true colors, or lack thereof, come shining through.
Biggest competition in this semi: Erm…Hungary?
Pre-Contest status: I wasn’t going to take any chance and label this a qualifier against better judgment, but being in the number 2 slot ànd right behind Norway makes it very difficult to see this qualify.
PERFORMERS: Salja Inic & Balkanika
SONG: Nova Deca
The Song: Much like FYROMacedonia’s entry, this kinda needs to make up its mind as to what it wants to be. Is it A Safri Duo tribute? A Zjelko Joksimovic tribute? A Nocturne tribute? Who can say? All I know is that it sounds like the mix of a couple of things we’ve heard a gazillion times before and it’s a bit of a redundant addition to the pack.
Standout lyrics: “Sunce sija drugačije / The sun shines differently” – If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The Voice: Competent but unexciting. I’m beginning to think all Balkan men are forced to sing and sound in one and the same way (see also: Montenegro).
The Performance: “I know! Maybe we should dramatically come together to the front of the stage, and stand in front of a wind machine. The drama, the drama!” YAWN.
In one line: Deca? Gimme a shot of caffeine anyday.
Why it will qualify: Europe wants a bit of Balkan flavor on Saturday.
Why it won’t: It’s been chewed on so many times all flavor’s gone.
Biggest competition in this semi: Montenegro.
Pre-Contest status: If there’s one country I always get wrong in my guestimations it’s Serbia. So let me go for the safe option for now and say it’s probably either just in or just missing out.
Croatia, Armenia, Greece, Belgium, Estonia
Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Norway, Czechia, Lithuania, Israel
FYROM, Albania, Finland, Azerbaijan, Romania, Austria, Serbia, Ireland