ESC2016: The second semi-final – the douze and the don’ts…

If you were watching the opening sequence on Tuesday evening, doesn’t it look rather like the Globe arena is being annihilated by an alien invasion? 😀 It’s the same sequence tonight, but with a different opening routine, the sylings of which are suitably schlager-tastic and Busby Barclay-esque. Lot’s of fun, with a witty musical take on what the ESC is all about.

This is clearly aimed at the American television audience, as for the first time the contest is being screened live in the USA. What they will make of it all is anyone’s guess! The musical number suggests “music is a language that we all know how to speak”. I’m sure that the music tastes of our pan-European participants will perplex the American audience…

01: Latvia

David Tennant’s younger brother does a great job opening the second semi-final. Since the national final Justs has worked on his moves, and the vocal is still strong. It got a great reaction from the young audience watching the family final in the Globe arena this (Thursday) afternoon. Should make it to the final.

02: Poland

There are two big ballads from men in this semi-final. First up is Poland’s Micha?. His vocal is on point, his hair well set, and so as long as he doesn’t get counted out by the Israeli entry, this should get through.

03: Switzerland

Rykka looks like she’s on fire at the start of this performance, as smoke emanates from her dress. It’s all a bit disconcerting really. It’s just about the only thing that’s smoking about the performance. Taxi for Switzerland…

04: Isreal

As I said on the blog before I arrived in Stockholm, I think Hovi Star has the best male vocal in the contest. The song connects with the audience, but is another entry with slightly distracting dancers. Not enough to distract from the voice and the song, going through I hope.

05: Belarus

Well, as you may remember, Ivan had requested to perform naked with wolves. Fat chance? Well, surprisingly there is the illusion of just that! Another performance using the projection trickery/illusion, all of which is well done. However, none of which seems to lift the song, for me.

06: Serbia

Not particularly on my radar before Stockholm, this comes together with an effective performance and strong vocal. Another well choreographed number, with Xena, sorry Sanja ably assisted by her warrior princesses. Should make it through.

07: Ireland

Nicky is ably assisted during his performance, with stereophonic vocals provided by the backing band. Aesthetically it all looks rather impressive, slick and polished. It makes the song feel more promising. Nicky’s vocal is a little thin, but with the back-up of the band the performance is safe. Not sure it will get through, but the family audience just gave it a good cheer at the end.

08: F.Y.R. Macedonia

There’s a slight danger that this might get cancelled out a bit by Serbia, but Kaliopi gives it some welly, and with the exception of the rather screeching final note it’s a sound performance.

09: Lithuania

Like in 2012, Danny is channelling his inner Michael Jackson (shamone!). The performance has smooth moves and vocals, with slightly questionable hair styling, and the bizarre introduction of a trampette! Lithuania have done well in the last few years, and their luck will probably continue tonight.

10: Australia

It’s a strong song, and one of the best female vocals of the week, but the staging is a bit off for me. Sitting singer Dami Im on a big box for much of the song feels a bit lifeless. The emotion of the song feels like it needs a more physical performance. Going through for sure, but lacking the impact I had imagined.

11: Slovenia

Manuella’s channelling of Taylor Swift prior to Sweden seems to have been diluted and replaced with too many distracting elements. Not the strongest of songs, it now looks and sounds a bit of a hot mess. Room in that taxi for Manuella, I’d say.

12: Bulgaria

Still feels a bit vanilla for me. We have the first use of the self-illuminating costume of the contest. It didn’t work for our Electro Velvet last year…

13: Denmark

We might need to replace the taxi with a minibus…

14: Ukraine

A passionate performance, great staging and a great vocal. Currently second favourite with the bookies. I’m sure it will have done well with the juries when they voted last night. I think a top three finish on Saturday night for this song. I’ve never been to Kiev…

15: Norway

The best bit of the song is used on the voting recap, so it doesn’t sound as disjointed. Agnete’s ice-cool styling is great, but the swtich between two styles in the song still doesn’t work for me.

16: Georgia

This does stand out as a bit of a tonic in this semi-final. I might be losing my mind now, but I think it will get through. Look out for one of the Gallagher brothers on guitar…

17: Albania

Dull staging, great frock. For Eneda, it may well be the end of the road.

18: Belgium

An upbeat end to the second semi-final. It gets a great reaction in the arena, and also a ripple of applause in the press centre. Just enough Bruno Marrs and Bonnie Langford (back in the day) to work. Youthful energy and up-tempo numbers are lacking in the competition this year, so this is a welcome conclusion to this semi-final.

Can you pick ten qualifiers for the final? To be honest, I’m finding it difficult! Overall I think the standard of songs this year is weaker than in the recent past. I know that by the time the Grand Final arrives on Saturday night we will, most likely, have a cracking show, but at this point it’s not feeling very inspiring. Good job that I am flying home on Friday night so I can watch the show on the telly.

So, it’s time to make your ‘napkin of death’ decisions. I will post ours on the comments at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, enjoy the show…

Ding-a-dong, it’s time for round two! 😀

 

2 thoughts on “ESC2016: The second semi-final – the douze and the don’ts…

  1. And so, your euro-fabulous jury (Brian and myself) think the following will make it through to the final:

    Australia
    Belgium
    Bulgaria
    Israel
    Latvia
    Lithuania
    Macedonia
    Poland
    Serbia
    Ukraine

    What do you think?

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