The general public puts in an appearance for the first time, and to coin a phrase, it seems to be the greatest public we’ve ever had. The queues to get into the arena were HUGELY long – if they’d closed doors at 1:30 as advertised, there’d have been a lot of unhappy people including me.
First point to note – even though there are lots of concession stands around the place, you can’t take food or drink to your seat – you have to eat it in the lobby.
The opening sequence is frosty, quirky and somewhat bizarre yet works – very much the Finland we know. The postcards, too, are quirky, serviceable and don’t get in the way – they’re perfectly watchable, but they know they’re only there to let the stagehands do their business.
I won’t run down everyone this time – that’ll wait until tonight. Things we noticed, however:
In general, this audience didn’t react much during the songs, but there were definitely different levels of applause after them.
Bulgaria works far better in its proper context in the show, and there weren’t many that got a bigger reaction. The next three all got unexpectedly muted responses.
Iceland is dull and possibly ought to have stayed in Icelandic so Europe wouldn’t understand how trite it is. Georgia gave me either goosebumps or indigestion, and I’m not sure which. The hosts popped up afterwards to do a non-commercial break. I still think Montenegro’s a danger, but nobody else does.
The first commercial break has me in it, lying on a beanbag on Thursday evening. Be afraid.
The Netherlands really is Edsilia with some song or other. She’s not going to be bottom 10, probably. During Albania, I looked around the arena, saw everyone else looking around the arena, and observed “Everyone is waiting for this to finish.”
Denmark – non-fabulous as ever, Croatia as un-memorable as ever, and as a result Poland is going through with a bullet on a fresh, funky and good-looking performance. A lot of people disagree, however.
Serbia’s a safe qualifier too, but I think Marija’s too scary-looking to win. And I’ve used *that* line before in the past, too.
The Czechs present one of the reasons why I think Montenegro’s going through. Portugal didn’t really spark, though I still find it dangerous – Macedonia disappointed its main cheerleader, too. The face of L’Oreal Norway (with a suitable postcard) is actually quite slick and went down better than Portugal did.
Belgium was the surprise of this show – really went down very well indeed, and I think they’re coming back on Saturday. Slovenia, Turkey and Austria all found some support in the hall, and the missing member of the OnEurope delegation thinks Latvia is the only thing in the semi that’s a potential winner of the whole thing. It’s his first time in the Hartwall – I’d recommend taking him seriously.
Presenters are clean and crisp and are likeable without ever outstaying their welcome. There really isn’t *time* in this show for them to outstay their welcome – they somehow get from the Ted Deum to the last note of Latvia in two hours flat.
Didn’t watch the interval or the envelopes this time – that we can do tonight. It’s a good show, and I enjoyed it. Next up, live reportage of SFR II from the press centre from 20:00 CET.