Thursday, 16 May 2013

Some thoughts on tonight's semi-final

I watched the jury performances last night next to Sild while he was blogging, and I have to say that I think it's one of the hardest semis to call in a number of years. So much so that I genuinely think that absolutely anybody could - there's literally no act I would automatically discard.

Oh, and as I sit writing this in our apartment close to the Folkets Park here in Malmö, I can hear some guy teaching kids a dance routine to the instrumental version of Montenegro on the big stage there. Only in Sweden.

1. Greece - not my cup of tea at all, but they're great on stage, and we know how strong the Greek results have been in the semi-finals.
2. Azerbaijan - it's Azerbaijan, obv. Only the early draw stops this winning the semi. Oh, and here's a video of Farid jogging - keep your eyes up!

3. Iceland - I wasn't convinced about this until I saw it at the dress rehearsal yesterday, but there it was absolutely amazing. A beautiful atmosphere and one of the best vocals of the night, supported by an excellent choice of recap clip at the end.
4. Israel - complete jury fodder; probably less appeal for televoters, based solely on the fact that it's sung in Hebrew, but it's a strong performance of a good song, and should be safely through to Saturday.
5. Norway - a very good song, and one that I find very difficult to rate as I love it so much Am I overrating it because of my love, or underrating because I'm paranoid about it and see the tiniest flaw?
6. Georgia - mechanical, cold, effective. Sailing through to Saturday night and probably getting the Georgian result when it gets there, but Sophie in particular will need to sing better on Friday to secure the all-important jury vote in the final.

A bit of a drop now to...

7. Finland - won't be loved by everyone, but Krista's really selling it and does sing well. Could be a loser on Saturday night, but should be safe for now.
8. Bulgaria - hated it until a couple of weeks ago, got into it a bit more while out running the other day, then saw the stage performance and remembered just how Elitsa in particular dragged Voda kicking and screaming into 5th place in 2007. More of that should see it safely through tonight.

Now a gap to the next four, which are all very close.

9. Albania - inaccessible and in Albanian, but it's a good song. And it's actually very effective on stage. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised to see it drop out, replaced by Armenia, though I doubt there's room for both to qualify.
10. Malta - I completely ruled Malta out the last two years. One time they came very close with a pretty terrible song, the other time they snuck through with a decent if slightly amateur song. That's the issue this time too. Based purely on the combination of song and performance, Gianluca should probably be out - I don't really find it makes the connection it needs on stage - but its friendly votes will probably jump it above the parapet.

11. Armenia - we've seen before that they can fail. Other than diaspora, I really don't see where this song's votes come from, even if I quite like it myself. Wouldn't be surprised to see it swap with Albania though.
12. Switzerland - close to the ones above, but without the friendly votes it drops out of the reckoning. Before this week I might have rated it lower, but with a good draw it somehow works quite well on stage.

A gap here to the ones I'm most willing to leave out - though as I mentioned, I wouldn't be shocked to see any of these qualify.

13. Latvia - I hope I'm right, at least. It's a decent opener, and gets the audience into the show, but who really remembers the warm-up act after the main performances have been on?
14. Romania - if this were Saturday night, I probably wouldn't rank Romania this low (or rather, I'd probably predict it about 14th out of a field of 26. But on a Thursday, when the majority of the televoting audience aren't completely hammered, and with a jury that's probably going to crush it, I have to put Romania.
15. Macedonia - it's a great song, I do love it, and I think its chances will really depend on if juries respect it, but my feeling is that most of the audience is just going to find it a little difficult and weird.
16. Hungary - I'm sad to do this, and maybe I'm just being overly critical and paranoid about its performance and chances, but I really didn't feel it connected at last night's dress rehearsal - and that's what this song really needs to do.
17. San Marino - Oh San Marino... Valentina sings well, but the whole performance just comes off a little amateur, and, to borrow a comment Martin made a month or so ago, it's just Sense tu with a fast bit at the end really, isn't it? I see no reason an audience should really go for this. On the other hand, with the automatic points we suspect it has from its friendly juries, being this low is probably unlikely - it's probably one of the least likely to actually come last, but also the least likely to qualify.

Probably completely wrong, and I'll actually feel sorry for several of the songs that don't qualify, whatever they are. Everyone's clearly put in a lot of effort and upped their game, and compared to Semi 1, the overall standard is clearly that much higher.


  1. Great post. Loved Farid's video. I just don't get why, in such a sunny waether, he went to job with that shirt and jacket :)

    1. Quite right. He keeps his clothes on far too much.