At first glance this promises much. There is a song behind this (unusual for Malta) and people that actually look like they're playing instruments (but only look). they are crowds of people clapping on the backdrop. Well you have to get people to go to a Maltese rehearsal somehow. It isn't that it's necessarily bad, just a bit too ordinary for modern Eurovision I fear which probably means Chiara is on her way back next year...
Toto: he reminda me of me
Franko : yes he is boring
Gigliola: I think I understanda some ofa the words
Franko: well that would be a first for you
Verdict: appearing at the Milano Due cabaret night soon
I think I just gatecrashed a wedding. There are several ladies be-robed in wedding clobber. The song is called Verjammen which disappointingly bears no resemblance to the Bob Marley song. It's all a bit safe and unexciting. I don't think there is room for 5 Yugo songs from this semi-final someone is going to lose out....
Toto: she changer her minda anda marry me?
Gigliola: I don't think I like ita very mucha
Verdict: jilted bride
Sorry I need a swig from the brandy to keep me awake for Croatia.Another tedious Balkan ballad sung by an unenthused Slavic woman. I kept waiting for it to burst into life but it never happened. Indeed there's more life in a congealed pork chop than there is in this. Why go to all the bother of picking this considering all the hard work that's involved in sending a song to Eurovision?
Gigliola: What is this Malta?
Verdict: enhances Slovenia's chances. Definitely an austerity song
There's only one thing worse than yet another dreary female from the Balkans singing yet another dreary ballad and that's when she's sitting at a piano and it literarily doesn't move. If these songs do make it through, I hope for their sake and ours that they aren't drawn together in the final or it will drive people away big time. At least if you're going to have a ballad, let rip a bit. What's going on in the Balkans, have suddenly formed a new nation called Dullsville?
Toto: I cannotta taker much mora
Waves hand in front of her face. I think we've lost her (Franko)
Verdict: hardly worth fighting a war for
Here we go again. Another Balkan ballad. Zejlko has form, this being his 4th such ballad in 8 years of Eurovision. It's sung well enough. Will you just sing something happy for once and give it a rest? I know your country has an unfortunate history but lay off the drippy ethic ballads. Do you hear the Germans enter songs about gassing people and mad dictators trying to take over the world? (Actually they did once in 1979 but at least it was camp). You need a slap with a wet fish and a good hard shag whichever gender is your preference.
Toto: I no lika da holiday in Yugoslavia
Gigliola: he's a nica.. I think
Verdict: pretty much guaranteed top ten in the final... sigh...
Ah what have we here? A light-hearted fest of jollity and merriment? No it's another Balkan ballad. To be fair to Kaliopi at least she rocks out a bit unlike the others, which makes her winner of best Yugo song by default. If one of the Yugos has to get to the final, I'd prefer it to be this.
Toto: You fixa me up?
Giogliola: ciao ciao bambina
Verdict: probably not but it deserves it
Last year proved that Turkey aren't infallible and do need to earn their qualification. they've wisely chosen to break the formula of automatically entering either a rock song or an ethnic dance number and try something different. Trouble is, it looks and sounds like something that no one turned their chair around for in The Voice. It's just a bit repetitive and dull. in fact duller than the skies over Croydon are currently and that really is dull, trust me. something in me longs for a bit of Opera or Seyal. Art least they were amusing even if they didn't intend to be. This contest is really long now and the final is 26 songs so if this does get through, who on earth is going to notice apart from the guaranteed Turkish votes in Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Azerbaijan?
Toto: I lika da groova
Gigliola: you have something nicer?
Verdict: probably in the final and better hope for a good draw.
Having suffered the previous torments, we now have a woman dressed as a leopard singing an over the top out of tune bad Europop song. The only year Bulgaria made it to the final was when they sent something completely off the wall and that alas is not this. Even Humpty Dumpty or Michael Jackson would have trouble being off the wall with this dirge. It's one of the countries i really wish would do well, mainly because I haven't been there and it's cheap but this ain't my ticket to Sofia alas.
Toto: I lika da dress
Gigliola: woulda be betta in Italiano ... no?
Verdict: Not a lot of love lost here
At last we finally leave the Balkans and move onto the Baltics. And what have we here? A ballad sung properly and with a tune! In fact almost anything in the Estonian final would have run rings around most of the fair in Baku but unfortunately that's not how it works voting wise. You gotta have friends as the song goes and with Poland not here this year and Latvia in the other semi, Estonia's a little biot isolated. I'd love to be able to say that this will sweep to victory on Saturday but unfortunately he'll probably be already back in Tallinn before then :-((
Gigliola: Monsieur Nef?
Verdict: if there was any justice top 5, but unlikely to be needing the hotel room for Friday and Saturday
OK, I'm most of the way down my bottle of brandy after several hours and I have to congratulate Lithuania on giving me my first laugh out loud moment of the afternoon (or if you're David Cameron, lots of love). Our singer starts off blindfolded in a sparkly blindfold ( I thought it was the judge who weren't supposed to be able to see on The Voice?). Impressively he manages to follow the path of the handheld camera even though he can't see. Are you watching Corinna Mae?! Then he whips off the blindfold and suddenly turns into Josh Debovie. I wish I could say that he'll be a big hit just because of the sheer entertainment factor but truth be told an amputee's got more chance of growing back their missing limb.
Toto: (Franko: Toto are you bothering any more?) (Toto sways to movement of his walkman
Gigliola: Itsa quita nica...
Be of good cheer, not many left now. And onto one of the countries that consistently do well even when people write them off. yes it's the homeland, dear olf Ukraine. Ok the song isn't quite up their with their best but it's still a damn sight more exciting than most of the fair we've herd this year. We've got backing dancers clad in the livery of the Greek army (well they need the money so they had to sell the uniforms). The tempo builds well and they even find a use for the dreadful footage of the people in that awful dance thing they did for the interval in Oslo.
Toto: Shesa nica birda
Verdict: guaranteed finalist and probably top ten. More than you can say for their football team....
And so to another nation that has never failed to make the final (except when they refused to withdraw their song about Putin). La Georgie. My immediate instinct is to hate this, but in reality I admire him greatly for saying f**k you to the rest of Europe and doing his own thing. He has a group of backing dancers and singers, each with their own zimmer frame and they find a use for one of the redundant drums from Rimi Rimi Ley. Musically it's abhorrent but this contest badly needs his presence in the final if people in the rest of Europe (never mind Azerbaijan) are not asleep before the voting. And personally I don't recognise the rights of South Ossetia so bollocks to you Russia!
Toto: I hadda the friend just like him
Gigliola: Excuse please?
Verdict: sailing through to the final and don't bet against top ten once the British see it....
It's only fitting we should end with the host country who hasve chosen to enter possibly the least inspiring song they could find in Azerbaijan. having said that they've never finished outside the top 10 at Eurovision and I don't see any reason to suppose that this year will be any different. they'll get plenty of host votes anyway. I would say Eurovision won't be in Baku 2 years running but I'd have to rub my lucky rabbits foot first.
Toto: Rabbit's foot?
Franko: oh never mind Toto. Time to go now
Gigliola: we leave? (she brightens)
Verdict: pretty much guaranteed top 10 and maybe even a challenger.
So we hope you enjoyed this years run through of the songs and all the special guests. We'll be preparing for Tuesday's first semi final before heading for Glasgow for the second semi and the final. Have a good Eurovision wherever you spend it 🙂