I stocked up on cheese balls, pickled onions and creme de menthe, aiming to be the one nobody wanted to kiss come midnight.
Before I reached that shocking state, Mr Phil and the combined forces of the Eurovision Ireland press corps joined me to walk you through the first Eurovision 2019 semi final.
|03||Finland||Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman||Look away||ELIMINATED|
|04||Poland||Tulia||Fire of love (Pali się)||ELIMINATED|
|05||Slovenia||Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl||Sebi||QUALIFIED|
|06||Czech Republic||Lake Malawi||Friend of a friend||QUALIFIED|
|07||Hungary||Joci Pápai||Az én apám||ELIMINATED|
|11||Georgia||Oto Nemsadze||Keep on going||ELIMINATED|
|12||Australia||Kate Miller-Heidke||Zero gravity||QUALIFIED|
|13||Iceland||Hatari||Hatrið mun sigra||QUALIFIED|
|16||Greece||Katerine Duska||Better love||QUALIFIED|
|17||San Marino||Serhat||Say na na na||QUALIFIED|
In the UK, we lost the qualifying recap two seconds into ZENA's screeching encore. There is a God.
Not bad....... Big shock being Belgium and Georgia not qualifying, and San Marino even with a vocally hideous performance.
We'll be back on our sofas on Thursday.
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
Ten qualifiers coming your way ... after top bantz from Jon Ola
Not your toy ...
Spare a thought for the house band
From the big show
There is so much that has gone write and wrong that literally fifteen songs *can* qualify. Montenegro and Portugal are the only two that I have not qualifying. Perm ten from fifteen then.
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
I'll add in my defence, Mr Fanning had more of a say in this than I felt was right.
Go on, go and vote.
And that’s me for this evening. I’ll nip back in to confirm who made it through. Feel free to assault me and Mr Phil with your predictions.
Na na na na
San Marino. This feels to be nailed on, as a cool down from a stretch of absolute chaos that has just assaulted our eyes.
I can see viewers across Europe getting up to refresh drinks, flick on the kettle or check their messages.
Serhat mumbles his way badly through something fished from the one of Boney M’s less successful mid-70s albums on a stage that looks woefully under-used.
This might raise a smile, but it's not the refreshing camp finish I was promised.
Serhat is completely off with the backing track - Something is amiss because he wasnt like this last night or in any of the rehearsals.
Sometimes there are no words needed.
The Portuguese song is my absolute bête noir this year. Before this performance, I’ve not managed to listen to the full three minutes.
All credit to the people who staged this – they’ve turned unlistenable noise into a dramatic performance, but the deep dark reds and ridiculous green outfits and ample man boobage can’t make up for the (lack of) song.
That said, Eurovision wouldn’t be what it is without one totally bonkers no-hoper, so I almost want this to get through to the final to grant it exposure to a wider audience and tick boxes.
But it would be at the cost of sixteen better songs.
Yes, even Montenegro!
Victor Crone has one of the most straight-down-the-line songs tonight. It’s a touch antiseptic, but he does his best with what’s he’s been given.
I’m not sure why there’s a guitar – although it doesn’t last long – given instruments can’t be played live and it adds nothing to the performance.
He looks a bit lost on a wide shot stage. It misses the bit with his backing vocalist that gave this life in Eesti Laul.
And those last long notes hurt.
I can’t get excited by it, and buried in a run of madness, it’s likely to get lost.
... unlike the guitar, which he got back
Hatari have provided this contest with a true marmite song. Yes, it’s deliberate and calculated, an obvious product, but it knows its market and the band are great actors.
The performance is polished to within an inch of its life – this isn’t punk by any stretch of the imagination.
The lead ‘vocal’ sounds suitably angry and the stage show that supports what’s going on brilliant use of the ‘six and no more’ rule. Klemens isn’t the best vocalist in the world – and was flatter than ever tonight – but that probably shouldn’t matter.
If anything, the performance felt more subdued than the one that saw them triumph in the Icelandic national final.
This is a band aiming for points, no matter how much they tell you hate will prevail, they would love to win.
I found it a tad underwhelming.
Not much love in the room it seems here and people are just walking about hardly looking at the screen, apart from Mr Roy of this parish who is suitably glued to every word. My head says it shouldn't qualify.......
that was fucking ludicrous. Fans need to realise that "cos Australia Innit" is not a substitute for talent and a decent song.
Australia next. I’ve had my doubts about ‘Zero gravity’ but the song has grown on me. Kate Miller-Heidke is incredibly charismatic and the performance is one of those rare times when over-the-top staging matches the song.
She’s in perfect voice throughout – and that can’t be easy when to all intents and purposes, you’ve literally got a pole up your arse. There were a few touch-and-go moments when an out of view wind machine caused her frock to flat dangerously close to blocking out her face, but she made it through, picking up a deserved round of applause for the big note towards the end.
This must surely be sailing through, and based on what I saw tonight, ought to be in the running for the prize.
She’s won me over.
We, the assembled press corps of Eurovision Ireland and OnEurope respectfully disagree. That was brill and a sure fire qualifier.
Right, get ready for some madness
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Georgia, and it’s certainly the kind of song that causes a certain section of fandonia to get their kickers into all kinds of twists.
To me, it’s overwrought pub singer droning with nice stage effects and terrible camera work.
PS. I'm never happy if there's a manbun in the room.
That was truly awful. I bet it wins.
Little Eliot has clearly upset the wardrobe mistress, and she’s out to put an end to his scampish tricks with a jacket clearly fashioned for a larger fellow.
This is a song from the same guy who penned ‘City Lights’ for Blanche a couple of years back – and it shows.
The staging doesn’t quite fit, it’s as if they wanted to add punch where punch doesn’t fit. It’s not terrible, but I think a minimal paring back would have worked better.
Vocally, Eliot veers towards foghorn, and he looks petrified throughout, counting thecsteps in his head.
It’s an accomplished pop song, and benefits from sitting with the weaker half of the show.
of the lovely Eliot appearing to touch the equally lovely Miki in places reserved for either lovers or court cases...
PM for more details? 😉
The Serbs have kept things relatively simple and relied on a few on-screen effects tied to the sweeping arm gestures of Nevena Božović.
In her leg-flashing split skirt, she’s like the ghost of Eurovision past. It’s a traditional ballad that isn’t especially well- delivered. She looks really lonely out there.
I don’t see this making it through.
There is a feeling in the press room that she should, much to Mo's chagrin, qualify on last night's showing and a bit on tonights though. Definitely screechy as fuck though on some of the high notes.
ZENA (her caps, not mine) from Belarus is one of the youngest performers this year, and inexperience shows.
It’s soulless and empty, the staging a mess, even the pyrotechnics feel like an afterthought. Whoever staged this has relied too much on skipping around and set-piece camera poses.
Nothing screams fun.
There are so many better songs in the running tonight and I’m sure she’ll return in a few years with something better.
I can’t see this going through.
If you're new to this, the second half of the show is very different
Joci Pápai will only have himself to blame if he ends up with a verruca after wandering this much used stage barefoot.
This is a pleasant enough bit of mid-European folk, with more than a touch of the oldhey nonni noo ... I can't help but think it goes nowhere at a jaunty pace.
It’s apparently about his (and everyone’s) father. There’s a bit of oblique (family) tree symbolism. You end up feeling it’s very professional and slick, but it’s nothing I need to hear twice.
But I think I will.
That doesn't make it right
....He does actually speak like that Mr Fanning and Mr Fanning.
The Czech Republic has built a reputation for sending something a little different. They tend not to follow Eurovision trends and the contest is all the richer for it. Lake Malawi are young and full of energy, but they bring to the stage the kind of cockney accent last heard when Dick van Dyke tried to woo Mary Poppins.
The guitarist looks a bit simple.
The cutesy-pop overload of an off-stage voice is one lump of sugar too many and I’m glad they leave the stage before anyone in the Fanning household collapses into a diabetic coma.
It’s likely to be there again on Saturday. I’ll find a reason to leave the room.
Big in hall cheers.
Zala and Gasper are truly in love. The staging for this is meant to convey intimate intensity. It doesn’t.
Zala oozes charisma, doesn't she?
Flatness seems to be a theme thus far.
When Tulia’s Easter bonnet parade performance looks dynamic, you know things are looking bad, but stick with it. The best is yet to come. To me this sounds like the various members of Bananarama reconvened to shout their way through three hellish minutes.
Make it stop.
Mr Fanning has yawned for the first time this evening and pointed out there's someone drowning on the backdrop.
Good night Finland.
Even this is worse than DMol, if that were possible. It is everything I have said it is... contrived and a vehicle for Darude. Is it in my head? - No... Is it in my Final? - hardly!
When Finish telly said they were sending Darude, Eurovision fandom set about looking up the prices of Helsinki hotels for next May. If anyone has a room on hold, now is the time to cancel. It’s proof – if that were needed – that DJs with featured vocalists just can’t cut it at Eurovision. Sebastian Ryman has been kitted out in midlife crisis booty/jeans (beans?) and couldn’t look more ill at ease.
Montenegro – This has to be the blandest song this year. D Mol have all the cohesion and charm of one of those groups thrown together for a TV talent show – when tonight is over, they’ll never meet again. The song is as weak as water and skipping around the stage, DMol succeed in making Steps look like Slipknot.
and they're all terribly flat.
Thank you, next.
Very loud on our table as the Cypriots decided that they are going to win this contest.
For all of you reading, i'm going to be dipping in and Out and leaving you for, the most part, in Mo's capable, if cheesy, hands
The Eurovision decency laws that forbid too much bare skin means that performers have to wear ‘flesh coloured’ opaque body suits under their stage outfits if there’s any chance of a more conservative broadcaster catching sight of a bare chest, back or bum crack. On Tamta, someone clearly didn’t use the right colour chart, and it looks a bit like she’s wearing her nan’s support garments.
It’s still a brilliant opener, and I think we’ll see this on Saturday night.
I admire the brass neck of the Cypriots to call a song ‘Replay’ when they’re basically reconfiguring the song they entered (and came second with) last year.
It’s full of energy, but Tamta lacks the punch and sizzle of last year’s runner-up Eleni.
There’s some really annoying hands around the face work from the mesh-vested backing dancers and a ‘Making your mind up’ Eurovision costume change.
She certainly looks more like Madonna than Madonna does at the moment - all this needs is a slut drop.... anyway... moving on
Tamta is singing for Cyprus – and by the look of what she’s almost wearing, someone was up into the small hours sewing sequins onto something designed to cause cystitis.
I can comment and live blog on here now - hurrah.
Tamta still looks filthy on screen and her crotch is the most important thing on screen!!
The Cypriots on my table are excited
Netta (in a questionable outfit) kicked things off and it's already time for Cyprus.