Posted in Eurovision Song Contest

Eurovision 2017 Semi-final 1 performances ranked worst to best

esc17-semi1-qualifiersEurovision 2017 has officially started, we already which countries are proceeding to Saturdays’ Grand Finale and there’s no turning back.

Social media is outraged about the non-qualification of pre-contest favourites Finland and Iceland. But since the results are not only split between jury and televote but also between two different shows, that could explain why Australia’s Isaiah got through despite missing a note on the televised semi-final.

Before ranking the performances, I feel the need to say that this years’ Eurovision —in terms of production— was inferior to what we’ve been used to this decade. However, the 62nd edition in Kyivfelt dated with weird camera angles that made it impossible to appreciate the backdrop of the different entries.

Anyways, let’s move onto the performances. Sadly, if you happen to be located in the USA, Canada, Brazil or South Korea you won’t be able to re-watch the performances on YouTube. That’s due to a geo-blockade as a consequence of broadcasting rights’ issues, according to the EBU. Rumour has it that USA’s Logo TV is behind this.

NOTE: Videos coming soon

18. Cyprus (Q)

Ranked worst due to lack of originality. Both staging and choreography were clearly stolen from Belgium’s 2015 “Rhythm Inside”. Hovig also mimicked the mannerisms of Sergey from Russia last year and yet, it qualified. On its defence, Hovig did sing well.

17. Greece (Q)

Sister state Cyprus copied the staging while Greece’s “This is Love” copied a song. Demy could really thank her backing singers for helping with those high notes. Perhaps it was the water effects or the shirtless backing dancers celebrating diversity. Did Demy do anything in this performance?

16. Slovenia

Kyiv not only took me back to 2005 with their stage but also with Omar’s incredibly dated performance. This is a song that would have created a greater impact back then.

15. Montenegro

Slavko’s voice was fine and he also received a lot of backing. However, the act itself was a disaster with a terrible camerawork that couldn’t capture Slavko’s gimmicky act.

14. Latvia

The stage was a good dose of psychedelia for what had been a brighty and retro-esque show. It was a great closer but not only the song was repetitive but the vocalist was just out of tune.

13. Czech Republic

Despite Martina Barta sang with a powerful voice and passion, the staging just wasn’t right either for her or the song. It was just another tribute to the 80s that went wrong.

12. Australia (Q)

Everything went well during Australia’s performance until Isaiah missed the high note and that overly used star-waterful dropped again. As I mentioned above, perhaps Australia’s number was better during the jury show.

11. Georgia

Georgia’s Tamara delivered flawless vocals and the staging reminded me of Conchita’s 2014 performance. Tamara was very classy and she did manage the stage very well, but the song was just too melodramatic.

10. Iceland

Producers tried to bring science fiction with Svala’s futuristic number, yet the performance got lost between the vast stage and the poor camera angles. Another good song ruined by staging.

9. Sweden (Q)

Sweden brought practically a clone to its Melodifestivalen performance. Then again it was a good technical show with the right directing. Once again, like Russia last year, a shallow song.

8. Armenia (Q)

Artsvik’s vocals were great. But the performance could not be entirely appreciated on TV since much of what was going on with the backdrop could not be captured by the camera and it needed more psychedelia, needed to be darker. This was a performance where the production failed. The great thing, though, the bird at the end.

7. Albania

Here comes Game of Thrones meets Eurovision. Lindita hit the right note and took over the stage -and the world- with her performance. Yet she failed to qualify.

6. Finland

I agree with most of the eurofans who claim Finland was robbed. It sure was a beautiful piano ballad with Norse vibes that perhaps did not suit for the contest. Or did not have the right staging. It consisted only of the duo performing on a red floor behind northern lights.

5. Belgium (Q)

The crowd loved Blanche on the stage and she did sing beautifully. Even though she was nervous, it was that nervousness that gave both the song and her singing a more dramatic feeling. The staging, however, should have been darker considering both the song and her static posture.

4. Moldova (Q)

The guys of Sunstroke Project got the party started following more subtle performances. The song is an earworm yet the vocals were good. This may have looked better on stage where people could appreciate the infinite Epic Sax Guy better.

3. Poland (Q)

Kasia delivered the most powerful vocals of the night. I didn’t quite understand what her heartbreak song have to do with the message of freedom in the backdrop. The important thing was that only the Polish act managed to fill up the stage effectively.

2. Portugal (Q)

Just like Salvador’s sister Luisa said on a wiwiblogs interview, they managed to find the perfect balance between Eurovision and their jazzy-concert approach. Salvador captivated everyone and their dog with his quirky and eccentric performance.

1. Azerbaijan (Q)

At first, I didn’t like the snippets I saw from the rehearsals considering them too gimmicky for such a great song. But this is pure art, experimental, and very original. The Azeri delegation relied entirely on props to bring this performance to life and worked perfectly. DiHaj’s vocals and her performance overall were flawless. Definitely, the best of the night!

Now some trivia

  • The only non-English language song qualified: Portugal (in Portuguese). This is the first time that Portugal reaches the final since 2010. Just like Ukraine last year, Portugal qualified without participating the year before.
  • Except for Sunstroke Project from Moldova, all the other qualifiers are solo singers.
  • Four uptempo dance songs (Cyprus, Greece, Moldova and Sweden) qualified against three ballads (Australia, Poland, Portugal); two alternative pop songs (Azerbaijan and Belgium); and one ethno-pop song (Armenia).
  • Azerbaijan maintains its 100% qualification record. They share this record with Ukraine (already a finalist), Russia (not competing this year) and Romania (trying its luck on Thursday).
  • Sweden qualified for the sixth consecutive time having reached the final from every year since 2011.
  • Armenia qualified for the fifth consecutive time since they returned to the contest in 2013.
  • Poland qualified for the fourth consecutive time. Like Armenia, they’ve done every year since their 2014 year.
  • Belgium and Cyprus qualified for the third year in a row. Australia qualified for the second year in a row.
  • Moldova qualified for the first time since 2014; and Greece since 2015.
  • The Czech Republic failed to qualify after doing so last year.
  • Georgia and Latvia will miss their first final since 2015. Albania, Finland, Iceland, Montenegro and Slovenia haven’t qualified to a final since 2015.

Let’s see what happens on Thursday when eight more countries are eliminated and ten more will proceed to the final.

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