Sixteen going on seventeen…

On Tuesday night we saw sixteen songs compete to get through to the grand final of ESC2015. Tonight seventeen will battle it out to be one of the ten songs making it to Saturday night. Yesterday I sat through the dress rehearsal in the arena, ahead of the second semi-final tonight on BBC3 at 8pm. And, ever the glutton for punishment, I watched it again today in the press centre, to see it on the big screen!

01 Lithuania

A bright and lively start from Lithuania. Remember there are eight couples/pairs in the contest, with more to follow tonight. Perhaps they will start to cancel each other out? Similarly cheery to recent entries from Malta (Gianluca, 2013) and Switzerland (Sebalter, 2014) that made it to the final, and I think this will. Or I am I going to be the kiss of death again tonight?! 😀

02 Ireland

Last year we sent a Molly to Eurovision, and this year Ireland have! I like this song. I get shades of Tori Amos, and it’s a very accomplished song from seventeen year old singer-songwriter Molly. She seems to have grown in confidence on camera, and I really hope that it goes through.

03 San Marino

Anita and Michele are representing San Marino this year. This pair are youthful and happy performers. You might find them a little ‘stage school’. The song is bonkers! The visual is stunning, but something doesn’t connect for me. Although they will do their mum’s proud…

04 Montenegro

You might get distracted by Knez’s rather sculpted eyebrows! This is a performance with vim and vigor. My bessie Rachel Rolfe has put money on this – does she know something we don’t? 😀

05 Malta

One of my pre-contest favourites. It keeps getting a great reaction from the audience, and again it is visually very strong. You might find the backdrop a little too similar to Conchita’s last year, but flames aside I hope it doesn’t crash and burn tonight.

06 Norway

This song is amazing. Nuff said! The presentation works better on your TV screen/tablet/computer than it does in the arena. Fantastic tone and harmonies from Mørland & Debrah. Stick with the song, it’s slow two-thirds before you get the big finish. Awesome. If I was a betting man…

07 Portugal

Poor thing. Leonor Andrade is the bookies favourite to come last, in a tussle with San Marino. You can kinda see why. Seems to lack a good hook, but Claudia Winkleman fans will be happy!

08 Czech Republic

If you like a bit of scruff (man with a beard) then this is probably your winner. Yet another duet, this time from Marta and Václav. There is poll here for “Eurovision’s next top male model” and you’ve guessed it – Václav is in the mix! There’s good chemistry from this pair, with tempestuous Marta throwing her shoes aside as the track reaches its peak. It certainly is a case of the battle for Eurovision’s top duet in this semi-final – will this make it through?

09 Israel

Back in 1984 Sweden won the Eurovision with the classic “ Diggiloo Diggiley”. One of the memorable things about the song (perhaps the most memorable!) was that the group, Herreys, wore golden boots. This year, sixteen year old Nadav does the same. It’s a fun song, and an enthusiastic performance. The song is a bit of a mash-up, with shades of old-school Justin Timberlake. I hope it goes though, or our boy will be less than golden…

10 Latvia

Aminata has one of the best vision-mixed songs on the screen tonight. Her song is contemporary, with another powerful vocal. You might find it a bit shouty. That said, great mix of visuals and vocals.

11 Azerbaijan

A bit like Spain, Azerbaijan seem to have found their niche by sending ballads each year. They also have a tendency to distract the eye and ear with some kind of sideshow that doesn’t necessarily add to the impact of the song. You might disagree with me, but that’s my view. Probably going through…

12 Iceland

Another youthful looking performer. Maria looks like Hannah Montana, and delivers a song very much in keeping with Miley Cyrus’ early career. Some of my students really like it, and that’s good as it’s probably aimed at them…

13 Sweden

My winner! The bookies current favourite. Excellent staging, great visuals, and one of those songs that you have heard before (shades of Avicci thrown in for good measure). I predicted this will win both the Swedish Melodifestivalen and Eurovision, back in March. Pity I didn’t put a bet on it doing the double – I wish I was a betting man now! 😀

14 Switzerland

It’s always a bit tricky when a song title is a bit prophetic. Remember, the UK sent Nicki French to ESC 2000 with ”Don’t Play That Song Again”. Guess what – Europe didn’t! The Swiss entry this year is “Time To Shine”, but will it shine brightly enough tonight?

15 Cyprus

There are a few songs which give me that ‘euro-tingle’, and this is one of them. A beautiful song, with a beautiful visual – all enhanced with audience participation and a sea of mobile phone torches. Should be popular with the juries, and I really hope with the public too – deserves to go through.

16 Slovenia

Another one of my early favourites. Trouble is I have now over-played it and I’m a bit bored of it now! It is a cool song, performed by another cool couple (in real life too, not just as performers). It will go through, but the staging doesn’t really do the song justice. BTW: the headphones are Maraaya and Raay’s trademark – because they always want to hear the music as it was recorded in the studio…

17 Poland

A nice effort from Poland, and for those in the mood for a gentle ballad it will be of interest. Not as full-throttle as many of the ballads, so it might do well.

 

So, that’s tonight’s line-up. Do we have winner in this semi-final?. I would like to think so. I want to go to Stockholm next year! Let me know what you think! 😀