Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Semi 1 Through Fish Eyes

While basking in the Canarian, as opposed to the Israeli, sun, I've been trying to get an impression of rehearsals from videos, blogs, messageboard chitchat and Rizo's insta. It's obviously quite far from actually being on site, so don't bet your house or Canarian holiday apartment based on my musings below, but I guess there's also advantages in seeing things from afar. Almost every single time I've radically changed my mind on a song's chances thanks to watching rehearsals live in previous years, my initital, "clueless" predictions have been closer to the truth, so it's definitely easy to get caught up in the bubble at times. This year, I'm at least very happily avoiding getting caught up in any France-hype! (Now watch me be wrong and Bilal wins with two thousand and eleventyfive points).

Aaanyway, it's "only" a semifinal tonight, so there's actually no need to figure out anything more than just ten envelopes, but I'll attempt a full ranking anyway. Been thinking this semi is very tricky most of the season, but the order below actually came together quite nicely in the end - particularly towards the bottom, oddly! One thing I'm missing, however, is an actual semi winner, it just seems like a handful of countries that'll come 3rd or 4th.

1 Greece | Well, something has to win this semi, and it's not going to be Rybak, so why not? Stands out visually, and a strong song.
2 Australia | Could we finally have found an Australian entry the televoters will like more than the juries? I think it's utter rubbish myself (particularly that last minute of pure NOTHING), but it's colour TV of the highest order.
3 Iceland | I can't help but feel that this could've looked so much better if it was sent by Sweden or someone else with a clear plan about camerawork and directing - as it is, it just seems like they rely completely on all of the "shocking" stuff going on, and just asked someone to 'film it' without much more thought behind it. I wish there was a striking visual contrast for when the chorus kicks in, for instance.
4 Hungary | Very solid stuff, despite being a slightly lamer version of Origo blended with a slightly lamer version of Jamala's golden tree.
5 Cyprus | This just has 5th in the semi written all over it, doesn't it? Reports suggesting she sounds horrible, but I actually think the bits I've heard sounded fine.
6 Poland | I assumed this was dead when it came out, but I'm warming to it, and it stands out a mile. Screechy and horrible, but not necessarily in a bad way.
7 Slovenia | Amidst discussions about performances, running orders and whatnot affecting a song's chance, one argument I keep coming back to is that a song that's good enough will always qualify almost no matter what. And seeing as Sebi is loooovely, it really should. But could it possibly not...? Iiiih.
8 Serbia | Some friendly televotes, a decent jury result for being sensible and normal and decently done, and ta-dah!
9 Czechia | I'm really really really not the core audience of this (they feel like they would talk about being in a ban)d a lot... 🙄), but everyone genereally seems to agree it's going through so why not. The one positive thing I can say about it is that in their video of an "unplugged" performance, you can literally see the plug. I love it when things just work out.
10 Georgia | I'm possibly swayed by the segment used for the official rehearsal clip here, unlike several others it clearly is the vital bit. But the bit in question really kicks ass!

11 Belgium | All season I've assumed they'd tidy this up by the time it hits the stage, but not so sure anymore. And even if they did, I still can't quite see what they're aiming for with the song itself, it's all a bit halfway between everything. What I do like about it is Eliot himself though - he has a certain boy-next-door-mixed-with-Blanche quality to him. But I get the impression almost everyone else finds him a bit average/boring/shy/bad/whatevs [delete as appliccable].
12 Belarus | Might manage to get a decentish televote result for being a bit young and cheerful, but when there's no song and no singing, why would any jury care?
13 San Marino | Serhat himself obviously sounds ridic, but what struck me in rehearsal clips was actually how bad the backings sounded. Which, yay, tbh - makes it less likely to attract the attention of anyone but the Monenegrin jurors.
14 Portugal | I had a phase a few months ago thinking this was working, but it was quite brief. Think it was around lunchtime. The red/green look is quite striking, but yet ill-advised, somehow.
15 Estonia | This type of straightforward EDM-ish song really should be right up my alley (hvis det er lov å si...?), but the sheer averageness of it is just making me violent. Add hair that not even Eamonn Toal would approve of, singing that not even Sophie Carle would approve of, and RHYMING THIS WITH THIS, and you've got a disaster in the making.
16 Montenegro | It's just so obviously coming last that it probably won't.
17 Finland | Not deserved at all, but I just can't see why anyone would remember this when voting time comes. Now if only they'd sent this, it'd be a different matter...

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