Due to extreme outdoors activities yesterday I totally missed my ‘the day after’ appointment for Semi 2 – let’s make up for that by giving a quick look back and a quick look forward in one go. Cause this is our night, we’ll fly to the top baby – oh sorry, wrong Greek crowd pleaser!
So yeah, unlike most years I just couldn’t really be bothered yesterday with my traditional ‘the day after’ post. Partly because my day schedule had been taken over by the bamboo that took over my garden – removing that was as close to hell as you could get, if ever you want to get back at someone and really make them pay for what they’ve done, just plant a bit of bamboo in their garden and they’ll be remembering you for years to come. Anyway, I was so dead beat by the time eveing came rolling around that I skipped my thoughts on semi 2 – but here they are anyway: what a terrible semi it was. My my, sitting through that was almost as heavy a chore as removing the bamboo. So was predicting who would eventually make it through to the final. I eventually, to my big surprise, got eight of them right! I foolishly left Slovenia behind, despite it being my personal number 2 of the night, and equally foolishly thought both Balkan ballads would get stuck in the semi. Before looking forward to tonight’s final, let’s quickly run through those who got left behind on Thursday:
- ROMANIA: Even though the abundance of mannequins was highly distracting and kinda freaky, I suddenly began to like this one – even if I can still not remember how it goes. Thought this one would make it cause it’s Romania, I momentarily forgot we’re in a crazy year where previous voting patterns play no significant role.
- SAN MARINO: Bless them. It was all adorably clumsy and quintessential Sammarinese. I expect to see and hear fragments of this one in various Youtube lists for years to come – revolving around poor vocals and ‘no go’ stage presentations of course.
- RUSSIA: I know I stated the hope that Russia wouldn’t emphasize Yulia’s condition to get votes in my preview post, but they really took that advice a stretch too far. I mean, the poor girl is sitting atop a ‘volcano’. And she’s hardly seen on screen. Or heard. With only a focus on backings and dancers, this was truly a bewildering experience. I could say that I took a gamble in predicting a NQ, but it really was ever so clear that this would be the year Russia got stuck in the semi.
- GEORGIA: For me personally this is one of the weirdest experiences ever in eurovision – I didn’t know what to think of it as it is just sooooo non-Eurovision, and for some reason it still captivates me. And even though I had it in my personal top 5 (for some reason) I’m not even mad about not seeing it again tonight. Very, very weird sensation.
- POLAND: Everything about this was painful: the vocals, the wierd hand gestures, the lame and empty instrumental bit… I could go on, but I can’t.
- MALTA: My eyes still burn from that overload of visual trickery – Coco Chanel used to say that you have to take one thing off of your outfit before leaving the house to get the perfect ensemble, and Malta should have at least edited out one (if not three) ideas for their stage act. The song remains as insipid as it always was – still I got this one wrong, simply because I guessed that Christabelle herself and the ‘more is more’ approach would have their fair share of fans. Luckily they didn’t.
- LATVIA: I love the studio version of this, but it completely drowned on that big stage. Despite Laura giving it her all. Would’ve been lovely seeing her again tonite, but if it were between ehr and Slovenia I’d pick Slovenia anyday!
- MONTENEGRO: That almost looked like a parody. Can we just go back to the days of Igranka?
So now that we know all finalists, who’ll be competing for the crown?
After having seen all performances, what can we expect tonite? And will it be a semi battle, or will one of the Big Five Plus One get its say in the debate? I admit to being virtually clueless as I see at least seven countries as viable candidates, so let’s check the bookies so we at least have something to hold on to:
- CYPRUS: Still flabbergasted this is the frontrunner, but Eleni sells it incredibly well and it’s just a cracker of a party song. Would be weird having this as Cyprus’ first winner, but equally wonderful cause (much like Portugal last year) it’s about bloody time. And why am I surprised anyway? Greece won with something similar after all. Ah yes, cause that was more than a decade ago…
- ISRAEL: I never had a winning vibe with this, and I’m still waiting for that moment that makes me go ‘OK, maybe I’m wrong’. I’ll only believe it when the credits start rolling and this is playing, until then I’ll think it’ll come top 5 but fall short eventually. Coming up after Hungary has only strengthened my view.
- IRELAND: I admit this came across way better and more effective than I would’ve ever guessed, but number three in the betting? That’s just crazy. With that draw however it should easily soar into the top ten. But winning for the eighth time? Not just yet.
- FRANCE: I’ve considered this a main contender throughout the season – and I’m sadly not convinced by the performance I’ve seen. The last 30 seconds are VERY effective, the rest of it is perhaps a tad too simple to really rock the boat…
- SWEDEN: I love just about everything about this, but I feel it’s too clinical and sterile to really go all the way. I do hope it does though *nodds head*
- ITALY: Love this in studio version, the live vocals are a bit too ropey for my liking. The lyrics are bewildering during the first minute, and then give us the chills during the last ten seconds. Don’t know if this is instant enough to grab the audience to make the most of its great place in the line-up.
- LITHUANIA: Win it won’t but I can easily see this sliding into the top ten, and even top five. Lovely and adorable, sure it’ll touch hearts all across Europe.
- GERMANY: My number 43 in my previews and I have to admit it comes across very effective on screen. Still not keen on the pushy feeling I get from this, not helped by the visuals when the come round for the second time, but the Germans definitely squeezed the most out of this. But win? Nah.
- ESTONIA: My guess would be that the shaky vocals in the verses and the lack of an actual song pushed this down in the betting, but I can still see a lot of people going for the impressive opera and dress trickery. Not ruling this out at all.
- NORWAY: I’ve been thinking all season that Rybak could do the double, but ever since semi 2 I simply don’t see it happening. The song is really too weak to do anything outrageous on the scoreboard.
Looking at these it seems that some betters are a tad too enthusiastic about some of them. I am surprised to see Bulgaria and Czechia out of the top ten. Equinox will surely fly high with their dark Gagaesque attempt, and even though I didn’t really fall for Mikolas in semi 1 I think his natural charm will seduce a lot of hearts across the continent.
So I’m going for these countries gracing the top five: Cyprus, Bulgaria, Czechia, Lithuania and Estonia.
And let’s end with a couple of outsiders: Hungary, Moldova and … Denmark, why not.
So, how did you do?