Phil: Well this gets no better unfortunately – they still have the Swedish disease of shouting at each other for 30 minutes and scoring precisely nothing. They NEED your votes – however on this showing, I fear they are not getting any!! We will NOT be seeing Lithuania in the Final. Linas does strip off to reveal a heart on his t-shirt but he still looks like a biker boy from Toxteth on crack. It isn’t going to do much – but the backing singers (who also must surely resort to Class A substances to mince around the podium waving white flags of surrender – I kid you not!) are the highlight of this low-budget production. The best bit is undoubtedly the intro and the end – but as for the three minutes in-between – just think of Ruslana!!
Nick: We’re seeing them in full costume now, and I’m more impressed with her than with him. He starts off in a white vaguely military jacket which he takes off at a key point (how original!) to reveal an under jacket with a big pink heart on it. Prior to that he does a little bit of Acting and throws his single red rose on the floor and repeatedly asks Simona what happened to her love and… oh, I don’t know. I think I’ve gone all tired and jaded, but this doesn’t impress me much at all really. Not ruling it out as a cauliflower for the final, but it’ll be borderline if it does.
Michelle: This has no chance. Although maybe I should actually watch it through before I definitively say that…..Oh dear. They’re trying to go down an alternative Bucks Fizz route. Except it doesn’t do anything for me. I enjoyed eating three bits of halva for breakfast much more.
Nick: I like this woman. She still doesn’t scare me, in fact she inspires me with confidence. She seems to be giving the semi-final something that very few others are, to with a confident simple performance. She’s dressed in a yellow vest with a kind of white/red/black tie-dye skirt, and she moves around just enough, and she just pointed at me – well, the press section generally, and she’s getting all the notes, Roy tells me that the camera is basically loving her on the monitor… I’ll be surprised if this isn’t still here for the final based on that performance.
Phil: She ain’t Ruslana and that’s a shame – however she IS Albanian – and that’s good enough for now….. She has got better – she still stands centre and looks into the camera and the backers are to our left and just do some minimal hand movements which does not detract from the performance I do think, however, that this, along with the next two – will suffer from “The Ruslana effect” i.e they are so boring in comparison that they could get next to nothing. However, back to the performance. She is competent and it is uptempo enough to gain a decent result in this competition and should qualify by right on the songs merits. However, on that proviso I sense that she would be seen as trying too hard in the final as it comes across to me as she is trying too hard on the higher register notes in the Semi – a great Semi song no doubt – but she would do badly IF she qualified. Though she is a very confident lass , so who knows!!
Nick: That really passed me by, I’m afraid. She seems to be making a better fist of it than on Thursday, and was going for everything… I dunno, she still just doesn’t quite… she worries me. She looks very very alone and small there in the middle of the stage, and if she’s shooting for the “Awwwwww…” vote she’s pretty much got it sewn up. It’s a really lovely song, and I so feel for her, but it’s three minutes of sheer emphatic terror as far as I’m concerned. Please let it go well on the night!
Phil: Cyprus is distinctly average – it appears that she is having trouble remembering the words for her own song.. it is average at best and is too weak to get though to the final. It would take a damn lot of votes to do it. It comes across, not only to me, as insipid and weak sung by someone with great potential…. to fall flat on her arse in this contest. I know I will offend many people, but it is not a great song.
Michelle: Lisa appears to be sweet and innocent. Whether she is or isn’t is open to questions since I don’t know her at all. She’s avoiding any great vocal challenge at this stage and just putting in what one could call a solid performance. Not astounding or memorable, just solid. Not sexy.
Phil: It is good – but it doesn’t need the chairs!! You’ll all see what i mean – he is accomplished – he is professional – he is in an Apron – but having said that it is very good – I understand the power behind this song and so will Europe – this is a total contrast to the Cypriot song which will not qualify because it is too weak. This however is 100000x stronger He owns the stage with his presence and he really sells this song to the audience. Dressed in white – with the backers in black not doing a great deal – its simple and effective.
Nick: Tose impresses me, it’s good to see a guy come on and command the stage, and he TOTALLY does that. He’s in what I can only describe as a long white flasher’s coat, but he does the decent thing and keeps it on for the entire song. The backers are all in black, and the dance routine with the chairs is still worrying some people… personally I don’t think it makes a lot of difference, but a fair few think it damages it somewhat. Damned good song though, and it really ought to be in the final if there’s any justice in this world. Is there? We shall see!
Michelle: This lone female member of the OnEurope team stayed for all three of the rehearsals and thoroughly enjoyed every testosterone filled moment of it. OK, so the chairs are still there and someone in the team decided that it was worth trying to imitate Sertab with two flimsy bits of black ribbon. There is a white army kind of coat which hide his wonderfully toned upper arms but that voice still does something to me. Yes, boys and girls, I mean something good ! MMM yeah, bring him on !! Does it show that I am the only girl in a large group of men having a cracking time ???
Nick: In the great tradition of Eurovision, Slovenia bring us a couple who shout at each other from about six inches apart (copyright Mr T Wogan, 2003). They’re dressed all in white which is a good idea because the sets all a bit dark apart from the rain of pink and yellow Planet Latvianess on the backdrop. It’s a simple easy listening show, they seem to be genuinely affectionate towards each other (I would hope so anyway, they’re getting married on Thursday). It’s a nice performance. It’s got its chances, although I can’t really see it in the final shakeup if it makes the Saturday show. I’m less spiky today. There’s so much less to be spiky about… SO FAR!
Michelle: Slovenia are pure sugar syrup. In fact,they are steeped in it. I accept that it is probably genuine but it’s just not my thing. I hope they have a happy married life together. Seeing as I expect they’ll be using this song for the rest of their working lives!
Phil: Nice enough – but i fear it will get lost in the fog of war so to speak – all the others around it are a bit different and this is your standard ESC fare. However – it does have a something that sticks in the back of the throat and goes “oi”. It’s not bad – just…. nice i suppose!! Visually they still look like Ant and Dec with 2 sets of backing singers on either side of the stage doing no choreography. They are getting married on Thursday – and it shows in their choice of white outfits!!
Nick: I love these guys. I love the Estonian Lovely Girls competition on centre stage, I love their dancing, I love their Crown Paints contemporary shades of beige outfits. I love the drummer.. Everybody loves the drummer. He could keep the National Grid running for a week off one performance. He puts so much into it that he needs a bit of a lie down at the end of the song. And, presumably, a nice cup of Tii. Wonderful. We love them.
Michelle: “The Lasses” are just in a different class – fresh, funky lively. No Ruslana but they will get through unless some televoting blip happens. They give it some welly and their drummer is no slouch. I predict very good things for these lasses !!!
Phil: Words are not enough – this IS fantastic with a capital “huh?”. The 5 Lovely lasses circle round each other – do some Israeli linked dancing then join Peter the drummer for another session of ” twat the cymbal till it cries” – It is the Hardcore Eurovision Winner – though Europe might not get it. They do give it their all though!
Nick: I’m sorry. I have taken advice from my managing editor and head of the OnEurope delegation, and he assures me that I can slate this man badly. He is wearing what appears to be his interview suit. His trousers seriously need ironing. He looks like he’s wearing bicycle clips even though he isn’t. He has studied the Open University module BJ2-001 – How to look sincere with arm movements. Unfortunately, he failed the final exam with flying colours because he can’t do it. His song. His song belongs on Music To Slit Your Wrists To Volume 3 which is the most pointless album in the world because there’s no-one left to buy it. I can’t stand anything about this performance. It’s worse than Switzerland. At least Thomas Thordarson is funny. Where is he???
Michelle: Its tony Adams with long trousers! This guy is Living Anesthesia… He could be prescribed on several Healthcare plans around the world as a sedative to hyperactive Ruslana’s!! Am i giving you an impression of how dire this is?? or would you like me to spell it out?? It’s static. staid, dull and dreary – he stands away from his backing singers and quite frankly, should not receive a point as he snores the pants off Europe! Croatia is like the Blake’s 7 theme tune. Or Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. But that’s faint praise. It’s a lovely song that I like to listen to. But not four times in a row and not if I have to watch it. Which is why I am using this time to write up instead of diligently observing. It just isn’t worth it. I have to save my valuable physical and laptop energy for laughing at Denmark.
Nick: WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Thomas Thordarson No Longer Particularly Funny! In all seriousness, he has seriously toned it down from the performance that entertained us so on Thursday. There’s still a slight whiff of campness in the walk, but it’s been brought down way within EU guidelines and is now entirely acceptable. It leaves us looking again at how he’s performing the actual song, and to be honest it’s not at all bad. He puts in a certain amount of vocal gymnastics and ad libbing at times – again, easily within EU standards, and sings it really confidently. I have to put him back on my list of possibles now.
Michelle: Golden Fork (In association with the Retail Jewellers of Ireland) candidate and no mistake – then he toned it down!! He must be reading!! He didn’t prance round like a fairy – he did still skip and take off his jacket and throw it at the front row – vocally still competent so he’ll do – for now!! Now unsure as to whether it is still a contender though!
Nick: Phil has just bought me a cup of Fluorurlu Su and it’s refreshed the parts other Sus cannot reach, I’m telling you. Whilst he was doing that and charging up Lappy here, on which I type at this very moment, I was enjoying the wonderful Zeljko Joksimovic again. I love that song, I love the staging. It works so well, coming on one at a time, being all ethnicky on a darkened stage and I am – frankly – lovin’ it. Now I’m enjoying Deen. I hope these are the final outfits, they’re decked out in pink with cyan trimmings looking for all the world like Crystal Palace’s away kit from 2010. He is – as I believe I may have remarked previously – he IS disco. He is sparkly. He is Bobbysocks and Marija Naumova all rolled into one sequin-trimmed package. And he sings alright too. What more can you ask for? [EDIT] It seems that what more I can ask for is for bits of outfit to be removed in the course of the song. That’s original…
Michelle: Now, some people weren’t happy about what my esteemed colleague and fellow P1 Fils said about certain camp Danish rehearsals. But he was camp and it’s a shame he toned it down because now I lost my laugh for the day…… Now Deen’s campness is another matter entirely. It suits the song perfectly and makes a damn fine show. Without knowing the exact viewing and voting demographic it’s almost impossible to tell what will go through. Aside from Ruslana, it’s just a guess as to who will get through. Not because all these pre-selection candidates are good, just that a midweek audience will be different. We will see !
Phil: Bobbysox lives!! He’s pinched their outfits (= desequined them) and has actually got their dance moves to a tee – he’s still the go-go boy on speed – but I, as one that likes that sort of thing – could not take my eyes of him mwahahaha! Still don’t rate the song though and Donna Summer should sue quickly – but hey … its not my vote that counts!! He does prance around the stage a LOT better than 2 days ago and does a good job – but still – its good but not right!
Michelle: We sat through (about ) three runs of the Netherlands. Again, I like this song. But the performance is very umm……competent but pedestrian. What can you say about two men sitting on bar stools singing ” Without yooooooouuuuuu” repeatedly ?
Nick: It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t talked about the annual outing of the Amsterdam branch of Agoraphobics Anonymous yet. I have to say, they seem to have recovered. The two guys are now out centre stage sitting on bar chairs, the backers are up on the pedestal stage behind them and it really looks much better. Once again I’m left looking out for the song instead. Again, it has a certain charm after all the excesses of Deen and I’m going to need to make it a possible again. Not sure about it being an actual “likely”, but it’s nice enough and might just get somewhere.
Phil: Now they have moved from the front right of the stage to the middle and on the podium for the backers – unfortunately they have not pepped up the performance at all – still static on chairs – still boring the pants off people – sorry all Dutch people but I fear ANOTHER set of semis for ya in 2005!
There aren’t any more semi-final rehearsals now. Tomorrow is the longest day, starting with Spain at 9:30 and ending with Sweden sometime on Tuesday if everyone doesn’t get a bit of a shift on. Naturally, we will be here to guide you through the whole day unless we fall asleep two-thirds of the way through the day for some peculiar reason!