Part 8 already and we still haven’t come across a 5 star/heart entry. Will we see one emerge today? Spoiler alert: NO way, have you seen what’s on the menu? Semi 2 better start turning things around soon!
SONG: Higher Ground
The Song: You know what was missing from this Contest? A song that sounds like it was refused for the soundtrack of a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. The fifth installment, not the first. Sure Rasmussen’s more (pretend) Viking than Pirate, but you catch my drift. This is soooo Eurovision-by-numbers in a movie disguise, and then those insane nonsense lyrics – this makes my skin itch.
Standout lyrics: “Still I won’t feel like defeat” – Famous last words, part 687.
The Voice: This song needs a powerful vocalist, so it’s a bit of a mystery why it’s sung by Rasmussen. He’s certainly not the worst singer in the world, but he hardly leaves an impressive mark.
The Performance: As far as that NF-performance goes, it was living up to expectations without really going the extra mile. All posing, no power.
In one line: A bit more Tormund Giantsbane and a bit less Jack Sparrow would help this entry a lot.
Why it will qualify: People are fooled into thinking this is quintessential Viking-Danish.
Why it won’t: It really IS Danish, as in Cliché Eurovision Danish.
Biggest competition in this semi: Erm…mainly themselves.
Pre-Contest status: I’m very tempted to brand this a non-qualifier. It might get close to getting through to Saturday, if I’m to believe my best friends who totally adore this. Then again, they adored Verona as well.
PERFORMERS: Jessika ft. Jenifer Brening
SONG: Who We Are
The Song: Let’s address the elephant in the room first – the start of that chorus is a bit too ‘Heroes’ for its own good and if I were Linnea Deb & Co I’d definitely get it investigated. It all results in something way more flavorless than the 2015 winner though, so one might argue ‘why bother anyway’. It’s got more umph than your average Sammarinese attempt and it might sound more contemporary, but it’s still hopelessly behind. Despite that rap infusion, which doesn’t even come close to being half-decent.
Standout lyrics: “She’s a special VIP” – Define ‘special’?
The Voice: A firm candidate for this year’s Sophie Carle award.
The Performance: Should be entertaining enough, knowing the Sammarinese track record.
In one line: “En toen kwam jij, Jenifer Brening!”
Why it will qualify: Valentina Monetta joins them on stage and saves they day.
Why it won’t: It’s got dibs on last place already.
Biggest competition in this semi: Malta.
Pre-Contest status: This one is screaming (no, really) non-qualifier.
PERFORMER: Yulia Samoylova
SONG: I Won’t Break
The Song: Well, I suppose we should all be thankful they didn’t go down their 2017 route cause that one was really sickening beyond all reason – and not as in the good kind of sickening, henney. This entry is far more digestible and even shows some nice flavors, a surprise feat for the team that was behind the equally sickening world peace pleas from 2013 and 2015. It’s like an amped up version of Norway 2016, with verses and a chorus that are a better match than they were in ‘Icebreaker’. It’s by no means a masterpiece, but at least it doesn’t beg for the ffwd or the mute button.
Standout lyrics: “My castle in the sand is now made of stone and rock” – That’s actually a very nice metaphor, if you think about it (and ignore the fact that stone and rock are basically the same thing).
The Voice: The big question mark for this entry of course. After doing a bit of research we can conclude she’s no Whitney Houston but that rendition wasn’t really as bad as I feared. Then again, some performances of her 2017 entry do reveal some weaknesses when she’s not going all karaoke on us – so it’s still a bit of a mystery how this’ll come across. Acceptable thanks to a bunch of backings, would be my guess.
The Performance: Will or won’t they emphasize the fact that she’s in a wheelchair? In 2017 they’d have definitely opted for a full blown YES, in 2018 however – with the harsh criticism that’s been flying around almost non-stop – I can see them taking it down a notch or two. It’s what I’d advise them from a PR point of view anyway: they don’t have to hide Yulia’s condition, but if I were them I’d stay far away from highlighting it and thus confirming their hypocritical (mis)use of (oppressed) minorities to please (aka manipulate) the crowd (see also: 2003).
In one line: Bend, don’t break.
Why it will qualify: It’s Russia. (Gosh, it really makes me sad having to type that.)
Why it won’t: Is that scenario even possible?
Biggest competition in this semi: Russia’s reputation.
Pre-Contest status: Qualifier, presumably welcomed by a whole lot of booing.
Croatia, Armenia, Greece, Belgium, Estonia
Bulgaria, Switzerland, Cyprus, Norway, Czechia, Lithuania, Russia, Israel
FYROM, Albania, Finland, Azerbaijan, Romania, Austria, Serbia, Ireland
San Marino, Denmark, Belarus, Iceland