Time for the last slice of semi-final flan, before tempting your taste buds with the Big Five (and host nation) cheeseboard.
With seven casualties promised, let’s take a look at what remains. Please wipe your feet.
Second semi-final – part the second
Tornike Kipiani comes over all Lou Reed balladeer. Fandom has written him off because he (allegedly) showed a lack of respect for their Contest and posted some nonsense about fucking your mother in the ear. As you do if you’re a fully rounded grown-up alpha male. Ignoring the fact the guy has issues, as a song ‘You’ is a simple ditty with (very) simple words and I suspect the juries will take one look at their fabled ‘Green Document‘ and mark him down on craft. Sadly, I can’t see the song setting phone lines on fire, either. Shame, because I have more than a sneaking regard for the entry.
My vote: 7/10 Will it qualify: No
In my humble opinion, ‘Karma’ would have made a solid opener for this semifinal. In the video, Anxhela flaunts her ample assets and smoulders in a variety of frocks and never once mentions the song title. It’s a very controlled performance that suggests something inside about to erupt – and with creative director Sacha Jean-Baptiste calling the shots, there’s every chance it will. Expect eagles. There’s a smattering of ethnic instrumentation, but overall, the song is nothing special or new. In a weaker year, this would sail through, but I’m left underwhelmed, like here’s more to give.
My vote: 6/10 Will it qualify: No
Shortly before lockdown, I found myself in a sticky-carpet pub for a look-alike 80s tribute nights, headlined by a Simply Red-ish act. It’s like time stood still, for the same pub band is back and singing for Portugal. It’s a dreary song with vocals that will test even the more forgiving of ears. I detest it.
My vote: 1/10 Will it qualify: No
From the half dozen songs I’ve heard from Victoria, she has a ‘style’: moody and mumbled. Last year, I thought she had it spot on with ‘Tears getting sober‘, but this feels like that song’s b-side. That said, I still really like it. There’s build and an emotive backing vocal lifting things towards the end. Coming after the dreadful Portuguese song and the loud and shouty Finnish one, this will stand out, but it’s not quite the fave (rigged) odds might like to have you think. I’d love to hear her do something different.
My vote: 8/10 Will it qualify: Yes
Every Contest needs its rock song, and this (for the semi finals) is it. Blind Channel come across as trying too hard. That’s a shame, given the song is tightly melodic with an obvious hook. Strikes me this is going to be one of those songs that get bathed in strobe lights, making it hard to watch. It’s not my bag, and the whole thing feels desperately laboured.
My vote: 3/10 Will it qualify: No
I might as well just score this and move on.
My vote: 0/10 Will it qualify: God, I hope not.
I understand the appeal of ‘Tout l’univers’, and I see what others see in the performance, but the package as a whole feels contrived to me. It’s like they took ‘Arcade’ and sprinkled it with strings and turned up the backing track and drained it of any emotion. This is a song I’m happy to hear once or twice, but not one to play on repeat – and that’s why I don’t see Gjon’s Tears as the winner. Although, staging is (once again) by Sacha “I only work with artists that give me total control” Jean-Baptiste, and she’s rarely one to miss up a chance of over-egging a Eurovision pudding, so … shits and giggles etc.
My vote: 8/10 Will it qualify: Fo’ sure
Ralph Siegel lives and breathes in lockdown Copenhagen. Fyr & Flamme have nailed the 80s sound, like a modern-day Hall and Oates without the dodgy facial hair and coke-fuelled eyes. I’m not sure what’s worse. The performance, the forced fun or the song itself. The entry might crack a relieved smile among viewers (especially as it’s the last one of the night), but the whole package hits me more like one of those rowdy chug-beer-along songs I used to hear when knocking them back at Amsterdam’s self-elected best gay bar Montmartre in the early naughties. By the time their three minutes are up, the resulting headache resembles a bad beer hangover.
My vote: 1/10 Will it qualify: Sadly, I think it will