Despite my knowing better I’m still given to folly, so once more, dear reader, I shall attempt a review of the semi from my sofa. I’ve perused the officially sanctioned bijou clippettes, and am – naturally – now fully poised to give you an authoritative opinion that couldn’t possibly be half-baked. Oh no! Check back next Thursday if you don’t believe me. I will. And laugh.
Top of the Pops
Hungary retains the national final performance, which I thought was great then, and makes first use in this show of the satellite stage, so it’s no surprise that I’m picturing Juicy Papi on top. Bulgaria too left us with little doubt after his live debut at the London Eurovision Party that he can sing this just fine, so I’m envisaging a Beautiful Mess following Juicy Papi’s topping. Israel has become one of my favourites as we all need some buff boy fun at Eurovision and Imri gives us just that with what looks like a jolly performance indeed. And Belarus continue to bring their infectious joy, which I’m liking a lot.
So what’s improved? Well, I love Macedonia but like many I feared for their staging, and Jana gave us little to go on vocally, relying on playback at the preview shows, so it’s a pleasant surprise to hear that she seems in fine voice, and the big backdrops add a nice dimension to this. Although I think it’s a bit dull, I have to give credit to Anya from Denmark for a great performance too. After hearing her soundcheck in London I knew she had a great voice, and it lifts this otherwise rather plain song immensely. And by avoiding all the female balladeering in Semi 1 Claudia Faniello is giving herself every chance to qualify for Malta, despite having an old-fashioned song, but by being an old-fashioned and very classy singer. I’d say she has a better than middling chance now.
But of course, some things have to give, and first of those is Ireland. I’m reading mixed reviews, but many of the more optimistic ones seem to be stretching it a little, based on the little we can actually judge for ourselves. That balloon idea is fecking atrocious! What were they thinking? Sorry too to the Netherlands: I’ve never really rated this and whilst the girls can certainly sing, being just stood there in those ill-advised outfits leaves their vocals to do just too much work and they’re let down by the visual aspect. And Norway – just no. It doesn’t seem to have any energy at all; Croatia before him has sapped it all.
Nothing’s going to save Lithuania, is it?
Of course, there’s one great whopping WTF moment in this semi-final and it’s Croatia. As awful as the song is it’s done that annoying thing of getting right inside my head as I’m been listening this part month, and the lush orchestration of it all is pushing me towards it qualifying anyway. Throw this staging at it, and you can’t take your eyes off him. I can’t wait to see the full thing but it looks like he’s serving us up a great slab of clip show realness that will be remembered for years to come. Astonishing!
Romania too will slip into this bracket for me, not because of the unlikely juxtaposing of yodelling and rap, but because of Alex getting his big shooter out and slipping off as he tries to mount it. Yodel Off The Cannon Of Love, indeed. I hope he hasn’t done a mischief to his coccyx.
Surprisingly I’m going to stick Serbia here too: Tijana seems fine, but it’s the boy running around backwards around her that’s making me titter in ways they don’t intend me to. And completing this sub-set is Estonia, sadly. I LOVE this, and it’s clear from the way they shuffle around in the short clip that this is going to be dependent on the camera angles, much like Monster Like Me was for Norway, so it’s almost impossible to really say how impactful this will be without seeing a screen edit, but I don’t like the backdrop, and I’m worried they’re not going to be able to give this the result I think it deserves.
Going either way are a triptych of perennial little-chancers: Austria, San Marino, and Switzerland. I like Nathan, and I think he’s a bouncy chap on stage, but I’m not sure there’s enough places left for him to steal one. Switzerland as a song has come up a lot for me, but the choice of yellow toilet roll cover as a frock is not the best look she could have plumped for. And San Marino? Well, let’s be optimistic, shall we? She gives it as much as she’s able to.
That’s it. Over and out from me until tomorrow when I shall – finally! – be on Kyiv! Eurovision, please, pilot! And don’t spare the winged horses!