Time to Wake Up and smell the coffee – we’re the day after Semi 1 already! Did we have a good time and found ourselves in Heaven, or had it been preferable to Look Away?
The latter was of course not an option, being a Eurovision freak, but you’ll forgive me in my attempt at recycling a couple of non-qualifiers in that little intro of mine.
As always, with many thanks to the off-season being long as it is/seems, the tension and anticipation were high last night when the Te Deum came blasting through the the television set. And as it goes with high expectations, they were sadly not met. Did we play the songs one too many time in advance? Did we overthink everything to no end? Or was what we saw really not up to standards? Anyway, we were left at Casa Dimivision with the feeling that this was one of the worst semis we’ve ever had the discomfort to sit through.
Not that the organisation had anything to do with it. The postcards were brilliant, the stage looks very cool and there was a nice pace to the broadcast. Still wondering why we need four hosts, two would have largely sufficed. Oh, and the kisscam needs to go back to American sporting events and die a quiet death.
No, the subpar feeling was all up to how a lot of the songs were staged and delivered. Too much buffoonery for my liking, and some of the delegations made incomprehensible choices. Even while having read a couple of detailed reports from accredited fans, one wasn’t prepared for the stylistic challenges one had to endure. I’m looking at you, Cyprus and Greece (and a couple of NQ’s down below). It all made for a bewildering uncomfortable feeling.
Luckily some delegations got it right. While I don’t like Serbia’s traditional ballad, they sure know how to sell it. Same goes for Australia, where the lack of an actual song was forgotten by some impressive shots. And even if San Marino was wrong on all levels, they at least got it right on a presentation level.
I’ll keep the rest of my thoughts on the qualifiers for my final review, here’s what I had to say about the ones that are packing their suitcases as we speak:
- MONTENEGRO: This was always gonna fail and they didn’t disappoint (at failing, let’s be clear). Everything was random, from the outfits over the vocal arrangements to the ‘group choreography’ and this was the easiest NQ to predict of the night. Heaven? No. Hell? Absolutely.
- FINLAND: This one basically lost it in the first verse and hardly ever recovered, even if the chorus came across rather OK. But Sebastian really was all over the shop vocally and that’s what di dit in. The switch trick with the dancer on the screen and on stage kinda worked for me, but it was all too average to really get people voting. Plus, they had direct competition from Estonia who had a more impressive visual presentation and a song that sounds more current in all its Aviici-copy-ness.
- POLAND: I was fooled into thinking this would/could qualify, so this is one of my two predicition misses. Personally I felt it was all too static and noisy, and there were way too many long shots to ever get this going. Plus, the faces on the screen – what exactly was the added value? I’m quite happy that I don’t have to endure this again on Saturday, to be honest.
- HUNGARY: My second miss in my predictions. Even if I only had it 11th in my personal top ten, I suspected it would touch the hearts of Europe but apparently the continent found it as sleep inducing as I did. Kuddos for the visual presentation though, which easily was one of the better ones of the night – which isn’t saying THAT much, I know…
- BELGIUM: As soon as I saw those outfits and the drums in the fan reports, I was having my doubts. And those were only reinforced by what I saw and heard last night. I still like the song and how it sounded in the hall, it was simply not sold the way it could or should have. The visual message was too on the nose, and poor Eliot was clearly too nervous. He even wasn’t audible at times and he lacked the power that was needed to give the necessary OUMPH to this song. Bless his teenage heart.
- GEORGIA: Visually strong, but that song is so inaccessible that nothing was gonna save this anyway.
- PORTUGAL: What, the song and choreography weren’t already arty enough for you to go and ruin it with those outfits? I’m one of those that claim that too much is never enough but i might have to reconsider. Didn’t stop me from having this as my number three of the night though, as I thought the delivery was spot on – but this clearly was too much in a universe of its own.
End result: 6 out of my personal top 10 made it, while I predicted 8. But I had a REALLY hard time with my predictions, this was a semi were anything could happen (which it did *waves at San marino*).
Even if semi 1 was a complete let down, I’m still looking forward to semi 2. In the meantime: how did you do with your predictions?