I’m back from my day job to give you a few hours of my time. I’ve missed you (all), dear reader(s). I’m blogging what I can see so you can picture it in your mind’s eye…
We open the same way we did on Tuesday, with lots of weed seeds being blown about to the far-flung corners of Europe (and Australia).
Måns and Petra (you must remember them) open with himself saying he’s her son. Do you agree? And then it’s song!!!!! No, not Latvia, as that would be silly. P and M are singing about languages and I just about kept pace with them all. They even mention Võro. Mmmmm. With a showstopping camp/musical/kitsch* performance like that, Lill Lindfors must be gnashing her teeth. At least, she would be if she could see what we can see.
Song 1 from Latvia. Hurrah. Justs likes being alone on this stage that’s as big as San Marino. His song is pretty good and if you didn’t know, you could guess which famous Latvio-Burkinabé wrote it. He means business here and it’s so much better than last night’s opener. This is through.
Poland’s very own number one Wizard of Oz’s cowardly lion impressionist has a nice red jacket. He must have been sneaking around some military museum. I find it distracting even though I think this is a duller song than something composed by Dull D McDull. And it’s ‘Colour’, not ‘Color’! And he hit a very bad note towards the end. So bad, there were audible gasps from the entire press centre.
Canada Switzerland is on now. She’s gone back to the perm. She really must have that flight booked back home early on Friday 13 May. Blue-rinsed perm is not good. Granny Ametnik has the same style and she carries it off a whole lot better. The whole look put me off the ‘song’ like you wouldn’t believe. Switzerland may well have lots of money, but money can’t buy musical genius. Or anything musical it seems.
At last we’re in quality song territory. Hovis Tar has put his flouncing on one side now to smoulder his way through a galaxy of stars. And if, when you’re watching him, this song doesn’t stop you dead on your tracks, I’ll change my name to Jellyfish McSaveloy. Everything about this is top banana – vocals, staging, melody. If you’re in a country voting in this semi-final, you should darn well vote for it.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. IVAN – yes, that’s IVAN, not Ivan – starts naked before he’s joined by the wolves of Minsk. Combined with the other special effects, that could just get a little bit confusing when he appears to be singing and separately playing a guitar too. You’ll see how it’s all done during the course of the song, and then when you get the baby at the end you’ll realise you’ve had a three-minute treat for eye and ear.
It’s break time, and we see P&M picking up ‘random’ (honest) individuals from an airport. It’s the same schtick as Monday/Tuesday but with different ‘characters’ that often frequent the likes of the press centre or Euroclub in these parts.
Sanja from Serbia (with or without ZAA, I’m not sure) is on now. It’s refreshing to see backing singers, and a guy who looks like he wants to take extreme liberties with Sanja’s knees. She mustt work out as she successfully throws him off and makes him perform a little dance. There is the odd note that’s a little off, but since no-one votes this afternoon we shouldn’t be overly concerned. I think she’s safely through.
It’s Ireland time, and esteemed colleagues of mine who work for Ireland are looking pensive. I’ll start by saying this is in the danger zone tomorrow – not a guaranteed qualifier, but not one to write-off either. The performance was good for what the song is, and there’s lots of nice camera angles to try and draw you into voting for Mr Byrne. I do however have my concerns.
It’s only Kaliopi on now, with her long black dress and vintage voice. We’re not sure who or what ‘dona’ is but the song seems to be all about Kaliopi. All the spotlights are pointing her, in a reverse homage to Sanna Nielsen. She gives this her best shot, but I think that the high notes at the end may prove costly.
Dona Donny Montell and his hairdo with a life of its own now. He needs frizz-eze. His stage show is really really busy to say it’s just him on stage. Lots of lit flooring, jggling about, dry ice, a trampette and a discarding of his spangly white jacket. It’s OK but the hairdo just looks plain silly.
Australia? Oh yeah, they’ve been towed north haven’t they. Dami Im is an eye-catching creature dressed in silver and sat on a box. It bounces along nicely, but I’m still distracted by the box she performs most of the song on. I keep trying to see who she gets off it, as there’s no block-and-tackle in sight. Her off-stage backing singers do a fair bit of singing towards the end and it would have been nice to actually see them. It’ll be in the Grand Final.
It is a good idea to start a song with a yodel? In the canyon of love? Erm, maybe not. Manuella has a nice dress that makes me forget she has a face. And are they leather straps? They’re not blue and red that’s for sure. I want to like this, I really do. But it’s just too meh. And it doesn’t need a man on a wobbly stick. We won’t be in Lake Bled next year.
It’s Poli from lovely Bulgaria. This is more like the song that the televoters will love. She has more stage presence than you can shake a very shaky stick at. And the dress is a pleasing flesh colour which makes you look twice, and then once again for good measure. It is utterly brilliant with effects that work and she strikes a blow for backing singers everywhere by getting them on stage with her. It could win this semi-final.
What do you do if want to win a contest in a country for the third time in a row? You send a good song. I don’t think Danmarks Radio bothered to think of that when they and the people of Denmark picked the Lighthouse Three. It’s so safe that it’s gone round so far it’s fallen into the kitsch category. Kitsch that will be forgotten thirty seconds after the song ends and you’ve seen Måns giving us a few words of wisdom about lurrve.
We get a slight ‘technical’ pause and Petra practices her Green Room ‘witty banter’ with several performers. for several read one technician who has to run around like a blue-tailed elk. And Petra tells us she can’t sing ‘for legal reasons’.
After the triteness of Denmark we has serious-ness and darkness from Ukraine. Apart from the vivid lines acreering around the stage. I still think she has the oddest of voices for someone who looks the way she does. Just occasionally Eurovision needs serious so Ukraine could have struck a chord with this little ditty. It draws you in with the angst and drama, and then when the golden tree appears it’s game over. Qualifying at a canter.
See, the mysterious Agnethe from norway does exist. Or it’s a doppelgänger that sings the same way. This is still two songs (badly) spliced together and that just grates with me. Stick to one tempo is what I say. I really can’t get enthused about this song, and it’s not because she’s not been around to press the flesh. I just find the song a bit insipid. On the plus side, Agnethe is easy on the eye.
It’s specialist music time again, with this those arch-experimenters Georgia offering some that will please people of a certain age. I know it will die like a dying thing on Thursday, but that doesn’t mean to say it’s not a decent song of its type. There’s lots of strobing lights here, so those of a certain disposition may wish to close their eyes for three minutes. Not a qualifier, but darn good fun all the same.
Eneda from Albania scrubs up well, with her golden hair and almost matching dress. It’s another song I can’t really get excited about. It bumps along as a song should but there’s nothing to grab you and say “vote for me” in the same way that at least a dozen songs in this semi-final gave the potential to. It might pick up a few votes, But not many.
Finally we have plucky little Belgium and pluckier littler Belgiumer Laura. Yeah, this may be all shades of High School Musical, however it’s three minutes of fun and optimism after a run of ‘special’ songs. This is sailing through to the final if I’m any judge, with its bounce, bright lights and very slick dance routine. Belgium: we love you for giving us hope in this contest.
There’s a bit of spiel in English and French about voting. And then ‘Europe and Norway’ is told to start voting. How we guffawed.
If you’re in the UK, you won’t see the next bit. It’s about some Swedish popular singing group from 1974 who were getting involved with some riotous cavalcade of quality song. On balance, you might be happy to know you won’t be missing much.
We get more reprises of the best bits (allegedly) of the 18 songs.
The rest will be fun and games of mammoth proportions. Interval acts no-one will watch, ‘envelopes’ being opened, and congrats to the winners. I don’t need to tell you, but you can read more when Mr Phil blogs from 8pmBST/9pmCET tonight.