Seconds out…

Thursday was always going to be the more competitive of the semi-finals.

There are a batch of good songs, good looking men, two sets of twins and a returning winner -Dana International (who I met in 2008, when in Belgrade – go on, look back on the blog!).  And yet today, in the semi-final dress rehearsal I did find my mind wandering.

I’m battling a bit of a cold, but I can’t let that interfere with a busy week. The dress rehearsal was sketchy – as it was on Monday.  A few long delays whilst the technical difficulties were solved.  The huge LED screen which is the backdrop for the impressive stage failed today – can you imagine if that happened on the night!  It was fixed in due course and the rehearsal continued.  Below is the existing footage once again, with my pithy insights.  I said pithy…


I like the song, but I don’t like it when I watch it. It should get through, but then again?

02. Austria

It’s really impressive that Nadine starts (for a prolonged period) singing without a backing track.  Especially because she did it  note perfect today.  It wasn’t on my radar before today, but she was channeling Christina Aguilera in what was a great vocal display.  Like Lithuania the other day I think this will go through, as there aren’t many diva ballads this year – and this is quite a good one. Great backing vox also. It’s the kind of song that Alexandra Burke might have sang as the finale song for the X Factor a few years back

03. The Netherlands

I quite like this (not quite a guilty pleasure), but the staging is dull, and the lead singer needs to wash his hair.  No, really…

04. Belgium

Again – brave to do acapella, but adios amigos…

05. Slovakia

These girls are a bit like Jedward (ahem). One can sing and one can’t. Unlike Jedward this will struggle to get through as the vocals were ropey today. If they get it right on the night it might go through.

06. Ukraine

Mark my words, you will not remember the song after you hear it on the night. Why?  Because – and whilst it is a clever concept – the backdrop to the performance on the LED screen is a female artist who does ‘sand art’. It’s really clever – but you will get absorbed in that rather than the song.

07. Moldova

“So Lucky”?  to sit through this – not so sure.  The band wear those cone hats that the Pet Shop Boys used way back in 1993.  And then there is a woman on a unicycle. I’m sorry – I don’t watch Britain’s Got Talent because I don’t want to see random acts like this! Going home… them, not me!

08. Sweden

My friends and students know that I likes me a bit of schlager, and I follow the Melodifestivalen (the Swedish process to select their entry) religiously for six weeks each year.  This is the best of the bunch this year, but he just doesn’t have a very strong vocal.  The Melodifestivalen backing tracks masked his vocal inabilities, but the Eurovision stage is very unforgiving (as you probably noticed!). That said, excellent choreography – and the ‘smashing effect’ will look stunning when you see it.  Surely (kiss of death) going through?

09. Cyprus

Effective concept on stage – but is the song memorable enough?

10. Bulgaria

Great set of pipes, but one of many female artist who just screech their way through a song. Adios…


Not their year, again…

12. Israel

An icon of the ESC returns. Well-loved is Dana international, but there is a feeling that this song is a disappointment after her winning song “Diva” took the title back in Birmingham in 1998.  I like the track, but I expected more.  That said, she is the only artist (other than the Danish lead singer) to use the entire stage. Given that she alone changed gender politics and amplified sexuality within the context of ESC, I’d like to see it go through.

13. Slovenia

14. Romania

Going through for sure. Romania finished in third place last year and have a great track record in the Contest over the years. Right, Ruxandra? :D. The lead singer if from the UK – and he had, well, let’s call it a moment of madness, when he posted more than his holiday snaps on the web…

15. Estonia

A youthful artist and track. I thought the staging might be a bit out of date. Having seen it today it is a carbon copy of their national final performance, but it has been done well, and I think it’ll go through and do well.

16. Belarus

Anyone know the address of the Belarus Tourism Board?

17. Latvia

Any song which uses the word ‘thigh’ in the lyrics must be sent home.

18. Denmark

As I arrived at the press centre today these guys were in the security queue in front of me.  They are surprisingly ‘ickle. Telly really does wonders for some people! Nice guys  – and a fantastic performance should see this sail through.  You will love it. The second song of the night to mention diamonds and pearls (there are a lot of doubles this year). That’s a euro fact, readers!

19. Ireland

The smart (ahem) money is on this to win. Erm. Well. It’s 10000% better than you think it’s going to be. The staging is *stunning* and Jedward will do Ireland proud. If we’re off to Dublin, that’s cool. But there are better songs in my opinion.

Be watching on BBC3 on Thursday night at 8.00pm.

Napkin of death later. Night from DD….



2 replies on “Seconds out…”

Blimey! Jedward were like Gilbert and George meet propaganda posters! Without the backdrop they’d be floundering. Who’d have thought that this is where those boys would end up!

I missed a lot of this show (Ellen’s Year 11 achievement awards – she did good btw) but I scored the songs on the clips at the end and got a lot from one hearing. Must look at Cyprus in more detail!

Roll on Saturday!


Nothing stands out this year. The first semi-final was awful! I doubt the second will be much better. Moldova – same group that sang 3 or so years ago (Grandma plays the drum, if you remember it). At least they are funny. And why are some acts singing off key? Plus, the setting doesn’t look that spectacular on the telly…

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