I’m going to start by thanking all those eurofans around the world, who shared links so others could bypass the unfair geo-blockade of the Eurovision Song Contest on YouTube and enjoy the show.
The second semi-final seemed to be better, both in terms of production and quality of the songs, than Tuesday’s show. And now we have all the twenty-six acts that will be contesting the Eurovision trophy, which seems to be going to Italy according to the bookies, polls, and almost everybody else.
There weren’t any surprises. Most eurofans are upset about Estonia’s exit but, they were not certain qualifiers like The Netherlands or Austria. Love it or hate it, Croatia’s schizo/operatic-pop was expected to qualify.
Here are the eighteen competing performances of the night ranked from worst to best:
Other than the backdrop and the visuals, there was nothing else good about Tijana’s performance. Though her voice sounded fine, she didn’t feel confident on stage. There was no interaction between her and the dancer and that was probably what caused them a place in the final.
This song just did not make any sense, and even though the lead vocalist of Fundsermac knew how to dominate the massive stage. The visual effects were great but this a song contest, staging would have been the only good reason to give any points to Lithuania.
Many eurofans are upset that Estonia did not pass the final with their Shakespearean-retro-pop number “Verona”. Yet, the staging was a mess with the duo standing on both corners of the stage without making a move. Koit creepily stared at the camera at the sound of the word “lost”, while Laura did all the singing. This was a failed duo.
Brendan’s vocals were flawless. However, him standing in the hot air balloon the entire three minutes would certainly make anyone want to change the channel. Ireland keeps missing the point when it comes to staging.
14. San Marino
Unlike Koit and Laura, Valentina and Jimmie did enjoy their time on the stage. They danced and sang passionately. However, the staging wasn’t at all impressive and was simply forgotten among the more elaborate shows that surrounded it.
13. Romania (Q)
“Yodel It!” is an annoying and weird yodelling/pop/rap song. Romania made a great staging and the duo was very charismatic. I give them credit because both of them performed well in what they were supposed to do; yodelling and rap. However, in the context of the song, this was just nonsense.
12. Croatia (Q)
Another qualifier that I disliked was Jacques, and it simply because his song is too cheesy. I didn’t expect this to qualify because it didn’t do well on polls, odds and jurors don’t tend to favour operatic-pop performances. The public loves gimmicks, and there we have it.
After last year’s performance featuring Ira’s face on the LED floor, special effects, and stunning visuals; Malta decided to rely on their entrant’s voice. It was the simplest performance of the contest after Portugal’s on Tuesday. However, unlike Portugal’s Salvador, Claudia choose the big stage and got swallowed by it.
10. Israel (Q)
Almost all the other singers had better vocals than Imri, the difference was that the Israeli team put up one of the best stagings of the night. The lightning and the visuals were synchronised with the song. But just like Sweden this year, and Russia last year; this is purely a good technical show.
9. Belarus (Q)
Neither the vocals nor the song of this Belarusian duo was very impressive. However, their charisma, their energy, and that flying boat made up for a great act and brought the energy of the arena up after some mellow performances.
8. FYR Macedonia
Sadly the producers of this song electronically altered Jana’s vocals making everybody like this song. The end result was that Jana needed a lot of help from her backing singers to make the song more studio-like. It simply didn’t work. Yet, Jana’s choreography and visuals were stunning. And because the song was better than certain qualifiers, it probably deserved a place in the final.
Timebelle’s vocals were amazing and they had a very good electropop song. But the performance was boring, as it featured the lead singer standing on the staircase for about half the song. Probably a catwalk and more interaction with the camera would have made Switzerland advance the final.
6. Denmark (Q)
Anja used her signature red dress to deliver some of the most powerful vocals of the night. She can sing and be very charismatic. However, having the over-used star-falls for the climax proved the Danes are running out of ideas for Eurovision. Despite the stunning vocals, I don’t expect this song to reach the Top 10 anymore.
5. The Netherlands (Q)
The Dutch sister trio sang with all their passion and gave an outstanding vocal performance in tribute to their ill mother. A very emotive number, yet the staging was not that impressive.
4. Norway (Q)
Norway gave an outstanding performance of their chill-out house song alongside their masked DJs and Aleksander’s stunning vocals. Definitely one of the best performances of the night that took the stage to the next level with a hologram of the vocalist performing the computerised voices.
3. Hungary (Q)
Just like Blanche on Tuesday, Joci Papai was notoriously nervous yet he delivered a beautiful performance. There was no need to understand the lyrics of the song to understand the emotions of the performance, the only one to feature both stages. The whole act was theatrical and dramatic with a great cinematography.
2. Bulgaria (Q)
Speaking of cinematographic performances, Bulgaria’s Kristian Kristov nailed vocals and staging at tonight’s semi-final. Kristian is surrounded on stage by a beautiful mess that both the producers and camera crew delivered very well on stage. Kristian, however, did not have the best vocals of the night.
1. Austria (Q)
The Austrian entry is your typical happy-go-lucky song, there’s nothing special to it. What was special was Nathan’s charisma, acting, vocals, and the great number he put up on stage. Nathan had the best song, the best vocals, and though his staging was not as dramatic as Hungary’s and Bulgaria’s, it was nonetheless the winning performance of the night.
Now some trivia
- All the competing non-English songs are now in the final following the qualification of Hungary (in Hungarian) and Belarus (in Belarusian). They will join Portugal and Italy, singing entirely in their native tongues, and the bilingual songs of Croatia, Spain and France.
- Three pop songs qualified (Austria, Croatia, the Netherlands) against two ethno-pop songs (Hungary, Romania); two ballads (Bulgaria, Denmark); two dance songs (Israel, Norway) and one folk song (Belarus).
- Four of the qualifiers are groups or duos (Belarus, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania).
- Romania maintains its 100% qualification record alongside Azerbaijan and Australia who qualified on Tuesday and Ukraine already in the final.
- Austria will be in the final for the fourth time in a row since their win in 2014.
- Hungary qualified for the seventh consecutive year since their return in 2011.
- Israel qualified for the third consecutive year.
- Bulgaria, Croatia, and The Netherlands qualified for the second consecutive year.
- Norway qualified for the first time since 2015; Belarus and Denmark since 2014.
- Malta missed the final after qualifying last year. Lithuania and Serbia will be missing their first final since 2015.
- FYRO Macedonia fails to qualify for the fifth consecutive time; Ireland for the fourth; San Marino and Switzerland third; and Estonia second.
- There will be no Baltic state in the final for the first time since 2010.
- Croatia is the only country of the former Yugoslavia in the final. Much like Sweden was the only Scandinavian country last year.
- Another weakened voting bloc is the ex-soviet following the elimination of the Baltic States, Georgia, and Russia’s withdrawal. There are only 5 former Soviet republics in the final (Armenia, Azerbaijan —who don’t exchange points—, Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine).