For some odd reason, the second semi-final usually features better songs and more diversity than the first. However, that is not happening this year. Let’s take a look at them:
There must be an interesting EDM scene in Latvia. Last year they were represented by their very own FKA twigs. This year is another alternative electropop song. The lyrics are very cheesy, though.
If we were in 2006 and we did not need intense visual stimulations, this song would had been a top five potential. Ten years later, this is just another guy who can sing and nothing else.
This is too downtempo and the lyrics are
beyond chessiness. I like the 80s synthpop-inspired bass, though.
This is your usual let’s make love-not-war song. Hovi Star can sing and he sure has a good voice but he needs much more than that. Bring back the golden boy!
This is the guy who wants to perform naked with wolves on stage. That is probably not going to happen but the only thing I am wondering is what is the correlation between wolves and flying? Shouldn’t he perform with eagles, instead?
Serbia seems to be producing a lot of female singers with soulful voices. They sent a similar song last year. However, this one is not as earth-shattering and just like Israel. She is just another singer who can sing.
Westlife has had a distant relationship with Eurovision; they performed in the 2004 Junior contest and Ryan Keaton (their former manager) hosted the show in 1997. Twenty years after the creation of this boyband, one of them, Nicky Byrne, is hoping to bring Ireland’s eight victory? Can he? Judge by youself, to me this is one of the worst songs ever released.
The (Former Yugoslav Republic of) Macedonia choose the veteran Kaliopi (this is her third appearance in the contest since 1996). This song sounds extremely outdated, like around twenty years old, and is identical to one of those theme songs from a Mexican soap opera.
Nothing special, this is somewhere between One Direction and Nick Jonas. I wonder if he is going to make out on stage with anybody this year, just like the 2015 participants did.
And here we have our odd participant, Australia —If I were one of the Eurovision producers, I’d be like “let’s just make a surprise Australia participation in the middle of the semi-final” but that’s quite impossible with social media nowadays—. This is not a bad song and their participant Dami Inn is an already established singer in Australia, they might even win!
Romania is back to basics as they decided to send yet another Vampire-esque/Dracula and pseudo prog-rock song. Yes, this song is terrible
It took Bulgaria two years to get a suitable song for Eurovision and they’ve seemed to find it: Balkanic traditional sounds, generic EDM beats, and overly produced vocals. It is a good song for the contest, anyways.
I guess if there are twenty-six songs in the final, we could have this one; the usual cheesy Eurovision pop/rock group is always fun.
Another goal in the Eurovision Song Contest is who gets to piss Russia off the most. Ukraine leads on that race whether by singing Russia goodbye? or chanting for the Orange revolution of 2004. Now back to business, Ukraine send a slightly political song that talks about the deportation of Crimeans of 1944. The song is actually pretty good and it is also a bilingual entry that actually works; Jamala sings the verses in English and the sorrowful chorus in her native Crimean Tatar.
Nordics are experts with putting on-stage visuals but this song is just another overly produced post-Schlager number.
Georgia the country, not the U.S. state. This song is not Eurovision friendly at all, but it is my favourite entry and also the best song this year. These guys work travel around that britpop sound of the late 1990s, the industrial vocals of the 2000s, and synthethic rock instrumentation of the 2010s. This is a perfect combination for weirdos like me but not for the average Eurovision fan.
Bad. Nothing special, nothing we haven’t seen before
This is one happy-go-lucky/radio-friendly pop song I could listen to. Maybe because I live in North America and I haven’t heard it on the radio, but the song is actually quite good and does sound like material for Top 40 radio.
Once again based on my experience and betting odds here are the countries that may qualify, in order of likelihood: Australia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Ukraine, Belgium, Israel, Serbia, and Bulgaria.
Now let’s move onto the already qualified finalists. As I mentioned in the previous article, the host country (Sweden) and the “Big 5” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom) have a direct pass in the final. This is not an advantage at all. Since the year 2000 United Kingdom had only reached the top ten twice and France thrice; Spain had a good steak between 2001 and 2004; and Germany won once in 2010. Italy has been the most successful of the group since they re-entered in 2011, as they have only missed the top ten once. Let’s now take a look at them:
Sweden is Eurovision’s powerhouse. Since the year 2000, they are the only country to have won twice and they have only missed one final. The last back-to-back win happened with Ireland in 1996, and could the Swedes make it this year? Well this song is quite odd mixing in some indie pop, house, and a touch Macklemore rap. They are not winning again but they will sure put up a great show.
France’s last win dates back to 1977 and their record for the last ten years had been so poor that they often go unnoticed during the contest. However this year’s entry is quite hopeful. It is a regular and cheesy europop song with one verse in French and the chorus repeated five times in English (in which Amir is not too good). But the song is catchy enough and is currently leading the polls among the most committed Eurovision fans from OGAE.
Everything is crazy about this year’s German Eurovision entry. It is a song about two ghosts chasing eachother and look at the singer’s Alice in Wonderland/Comic Con-inspired dress. I rest my case now.
My beloved Italy. Once again they sent a quality entrant from the Sanremo Festival and RAI (the Italian broadcaster) had to ruin the song by adding an English version of the chorus that does not rhyme. You can follow this pop-ballad with the beautiful voice of Francesca Michielin until the last thirty seconds where she decides to rhyme in English.
¡Ahora vamos a España, la madre patria! or should I say? ‘Spain, the mother-land’. Native Spanish speakers (including me) have mixed feelings about the fact that Spain will be singing entirely in English for the first time. But nobody is angrier than former Eurovision stars and the Royal Academy of the Spanish language who had expressed their disagreement on Barei’s song. In the end, it is a catchy tune and it might do well, though it definitely ripped-off the choreography of LMAO’s “Party Rock Anthem”.
The BBC definitely does not want to host the Eurovision anymore. You might think the UK, having one of the largest music industries in the world, is at good at Eurovision as they are in everything else. You are wrong. They did pretty well during the first forty years of the contest, but ever since the new millennium they’ve done very poorly and this year they may once again finish at the bottom of the scoreboard.
What do you think? Did you like any of the forty-three entrants? Who are your giving your 12 points?
Despite the music is not high quality, I highly recommend you to watch this show. The Grand Final (as well as the semi-finals) will be broadcasted live on Eurovision.tv on Saturday, May 14. However I advise you to invite some friends over, order some food, and get booze. Eurovision lasts three hours with no commercial breaks.