Eurovision: Semi Final 1 – Reviews and Possible Qualifiers

eurovision

 

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Lisbon, Portugal from 8th May 2018 – 12th May 2018. This is always a good time for me as my birthday is on 14th May and Eurovision has even fallen on this date before. I can’t believe a year has passed already and the competition is back following Savlador Sobral’s win in Kiev, Ukraine. Lisbon seems so magical and Salvador’s song as well as the talent this year will make for a good competition. I’m speaking into existence my attendance next year. I wanted to be in Lisbon this year but unless I can do it the way it needs to be done, I’m not putting myself in a situation to be ‘Taken’.

 

taken

 

Anyway, I thought I’d give my thoughts. I’ve spent some time with the songs and I have to say, I think this is such a strong year and this semi final is the strongest of the two in my opinion. Maybe that’s because the majority of my favourites are here. There are only 10 places. You start to shite yourself if an outsider takes a spot.

I thought I’d put a spin on this post and I’ve got a friend who is listening to the songs for the first time to compare our opinions and at the end we’ll talk qualifiers.

Tell us what you think down below. Have a great Eurovision and we’ll see you for our Semi Final 2 post!

– Your Someone To Watch Eurovision With

Let’s get started!

Oh, P.S. Our opinions are shite and uninsightful… uninshiteful. Be warned.

 



1. Azerbaijan – Aisel – “X My Heart”

Eurovirgin

Song: It’s an okay song. A filler song for the show. Ain’t special. Lyrics are alright. Strong like cannonballs?

Live performance: Sounds good. I like what she’s wearing and staging is different.

STDNW

Song: This is a good choice to open the show. We’ll start on an easy up but nothing too exhausting or boring and in that respect it’s quite refreshing. When I listen to it, I think of summer months and the sun coming up and so it’s a nice warm welcome back to the competition. I can’t say I’ve been a fan of Azerbaijan’s entries but the song is catchy and I really like the intro and the build to the chorus. Some of the lyrics are a bit incoherent and overall lack originality but this is a song which has grown on me over time. However, I don’t so much know that being a grower is beneficial for a first time viewer.

Live performance: I like the styling, easy and flows nicely with the song. The vocals are good and, being a song that I can’t imagine would be easy to dance to, the use of the stage and the choreography is impressive. I think the set up will really help the song.



2. Iceland – Ari Ólafsson – “Our Choice”

Eurovirgin

Song: I really don’t like it. Probably not going to do well.

Live performance: For a rehearsal he sounds good. But I don’t like how everyone surrounds him. Bit of a struggle for that top note tho.

STDNW

Song: Maybe a little more detail Eurovirgin? You sound like Trump.

donald trump

Second in the draw and with a song like that? You might be able to make it home by the time the show is over. He has a nice voice but it’s a mood killer, euroboners will be lost and it’s a very mature song for someone so young. I don’t think it’s a good strategy to submit slow songs the year after a slow one won. A whole year has passed, we want something fresh and different. Let’s hope the stress doesn’t throw him through puberty. Or that high note might switch like Croatia 2017.

Live performance: I wonder if artists go to the competition thinking they’re shit hot but really they’re just a literal pile of hot shit. This couldn’t have been the best in the selection. Really? They are wasting the multipurpose stage, glued to one position and he still sounds like he’s straining. The backing vocalists make him look like a wee boy whose family came out to support him and that outfit does not fool us into excitement. Next!



3. Albania – Eugent Bushpepa – “Mall”

Eurovirgin

Song: This is so typically Eurovision. Really not feeling it. Although I like that they sang in their own language. I like when countries represent their culture because isn’t that what Eurovision is about? I imagine it like one big Eurovision Hunger Games. And soz Albania, you’re out. *Listens for Azerbaijan’s cannonball*

hunger games

Live performance: Yeah I’m still not feeling it. His live voice is really good. Vocal on point.

STDNW

Song: Something I love about Eurovision is the vast differences in genres. This might not be as out there as Hungary which I’m also kind of into but it does still have a rock-y vibe to it (did I just say that? I am so cool).

how do you do fellow kids

I also love that he is singing in his own language and there is a nice flow to it. It feels like an anthem. I can’t say that I see them winning or making it through to the final given the popularity and real competition of the other contestants. It’s a tough semi final to be in and perhaps if this were Semi Final 2, he would have a chance.

Live performance: They are quite far apart from each other and if feels like the band are lost to the stage. I don’t feel the energy I got from the video. A podium/ platform and tighter shots would have helped shuffle them together and created a better illusion of space. But he’s a strong vocalist with a great range and the song still sounds great.



4. Belgium – Sennek – “A Matter of Time”

Eurovirgin

Song: I can imagine this doing well. It’s a bit boring though. I wonder what her stage presence is going to be like. The lyrics actually make sense for Eurovision and I thought it flowed nicely.

Live performance: From the rehearsal I don’t know if this will do great. The staging seems a bit boring. Voice is good.

STDNW

Song: Um, what in the fat hell are you talking about Eurovirgin? This song is one of my favourites. This bond theme with it’s artsy video, easy flow and build up to the chorus makes me feel cooler than the ugly face on this clumsy body will allow. I love the ease back into the verse. It takes a lot of effort to be effortless and I think this is what has been achieved here. It’s consistent, not complicated.

Live performance: Oh, I’m worried. I’m worried Belgium, with the dress and lack of any real movement, will get lost in the stage and lights. I’m worried that it might seem more Broadway than Bond. I’m worried that a great song is undone by a mediocre performance. I want to see movement, I’m not feeling the standing on the island belting. The video was creative, so I’m disappointed by the staging. It feels like a copy and paste of last year.



5. Czech Republic – Mikolas Josef – “Lie to Me”

Eurovirgin

Song: Erm… no. I don’t like it. Fuck boy territory. It sounds like they’re ripping off Jason Derulo’s ‘Talk Dirty’ chorus. Lyrics are weak and cringey af. Also, 2016’s entry Gabriela was robbed of a better place and I demand justice.

Live performance: Nope. What’s the point of the backpack? It’s just something that you know he’s going to mess up with on the day. But let me guess … the fan girls can’t even?

STDNW

Song: OMG Eurovirgin.

stop hes already dead

I have to admit I like the chorus and the beat, its fun, but from what I understand of the lyrics, it doesn’t sound like they make sense. I’m also not impressed by this obviously fake swag. It comes across as arrogant. I think if this does get through, it will be because of the fans in the realm of one direction etc. who fool themselves into thinking something is a masterpiece all because they fancy the singer.

Live performance: I am impressed by the staging and the screens. It’s a smart concept especially if he can’t dance. The symmetry of it all is pleasing and with the platform on the stage, I think helps to close him in so the stage doesn’t appear completely empty.  He does sounds good even if I’m worried that the track may be louder than his voice.



6. Lithuania – Ieva Zasimauskaitė – “When Were Old”

Eurovirgin

Song: Hopefully this does well. It’s my favourite so far. The lyrics are really nice and the video is so cute. She’s got a nice soft voice, but I hope louder acts don’t drown her out. She reminds me of Nina Dobrev a la The Vampire Diaries. Oh I liked that. Cutiepatootie.

Live performance: Didn’t like the rehearsal. Yawn. Couldn’t understand a word.

STDNW

Song:  Me reading your description Eurovirgin.

no seatbelt

I think I’ve fucking got whiplash. I think this is such a sweet song and the lyrics are really lovely. I feel the want for an upbeat song alongside other favourites will belittle it. I don’t think it has the charm or appeal that Salvador had last year that made it unique. It’s cute and there is great strength in her soft spoken voice but, again, it’s a strong semi final and I think it will get lost.

Live performance: Focusing the camera on the bridge of the stage, added to the intimate lighting, is the perfect romantic setting for this performance. However, I hope the full performance isn’t there. The song’s a journey and concentrates on movement through time, so I feel the performance should have some movement to it also. I think with soft spoken singers, there will always be a battle in an arena to be heard over the music but her voice is good and she has shown here she can expand on it, belting out some of the notes in the chorus.



7. Israel – Netta – “Toy”

Eurovirgin

Song: So Eurovision. One of the most interesting songs so far. I can imagine just like Italy’s act last year, people will love this/ make this a favourite. The video though reminds me of some Willy Wonka shit with the colours. Kinda creeps me out.

Live performance:  Sounds the same. Alright vocals. On the day it will probably do well.

STDNW

Song: I can understand why this is a favourite. It’s a party anthem and incredibly fun and I enjoy that it’s not formulaic, there are different parts that work together. Obviously she’s a great vocalist and I hope she does incorporate the loop station which I have watched her use elsewhere. The lyrics … eh, but it’s Eurovision and English isn’t her first language. I thought the ‘chicken sounds’ were alluding to the idea that I’m not a chicken, I’m not a plaything, a toy but I saw someone online say it is a cultural thing. Regardless, I love the ethnic sounds throughout and she showed she can really sing. Yes Eurovirgin, like Italy last year, it’s an early favourite. I hope it doesn’t prove to be cursed by that title though.

Live performance: I think there was good use of space dispersing the dancers elsewhere and leaving the main stage for the set and station. Those backing vocalists were trying it though and the vocal of Netta was good but not as strong as I was expecting. I have to understand that some contestants are saving themselves for the final. Overall, I’m in agreement with many online who feel the performance deflated the idea that they could win.



8. Belarus – Alekseev – “Forever”

Eurovirgin

Song: A bit boring for Eurovision. I kinda like it though. The lyrics make sense which is rare lol and I like the melody plus he has a nice voice. Will it do well though, I don’t fink so.

Live performance:  He sounded a bit of a struggle. Didn’t like the staging. Boooring. Probably not gonna do well.

STDNW

Song: I LOVE this song, the build up, the chorus and his voice is so smooth. I’m worried about it’s placement because I think it should be high up there but the placement is awkward and could be something that goes against him. P.S. I know people are fan girling over him too but I tend to let it pass in these instances because I think he actually has talent and has a good song.

Live performance: Hmmm. Let me start by saying I like the simplified version, not sure that I like it more than the original. The cameraman/delivery man situation seems a bit cheesy Eurovision. I like the dancer and I get the romance they’re going for but I do feel like it is missing something. Having him standing and doing nothing is not an appealing thing for a viewer either. Perhaps they sacrificed too much to make a struggling vocal work. Also the camera is on the dancer for too long. It’s like a dance competition and Alekseev is the backing entertainment, he is the contestant so should get the focus.



9. Estonia – Elina Nechayeva – “La Forza”

Eurovirgin

Song: Okay vocals yas. Fifth Element shit. The verses are boring but I like the chorus alright and the run she does. However, can’t really see this winning.

Live performance:  Sounded really good. I bet she will do well. And I really like the lighting on the dress. Reminds me of Rapunzel’s hair in Tangled.

STDNW

Song: This is another favourite of mine, I think it could even win. Amongst all the upbeat and slow songs competing, this seems in a league of its own. It has a uniqueness that Salvador had that set him apart and for that I want Elina to win. Plus I read a psychic prediction which was dated before the Estonian Nationals began that said Estonia will win. I’m not saying I’m superstitious but I may or may not have £100 to lose.

i speak that into existence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a live performance so we know what to expect. What is Eurovision without an opera song?

Live performance: This is a solid performance no one has to worry about. She’s not just a singer, she’s trained and this live vocal is without a doubt the best in the competition. Her performance is complimented by a beautiful dress with character which helps to make up some space on the stage and so it’s different to others who are alone on the stage. It’s an accessory which adds to the other world like quality of the music. Europe will erupt in nerdgasms.



10. Bulgaria – Equinox – “Bones”

Eurovirgin

Song: One of my favourites. This is gonna do really well. Voice is different, the lyrics are good and make sense and I really like the melody.  Is Eurovision-y but also a bit mainstream-y. The crowd will like this.

Live performance:  Love the vocals. Like that they’re all just there singing and it works because they are a group and it’s not just backing vocals surrounding them bukkake style like Mr. Fuckboy Czech Republic.

STDNW

Song:

 ha

Eurovirgin! This is another favourite which grew on me. I love the progression of the song and it’s continual intensity. It’s an epic. This is the song you listen to at 4am and wonder what life is and how you’re wasting yours. The 3 minutes seems longer in a good way because of the new concepts throughout the production and they all compliment each other greatly. The flow of the song is never wasted on these changes. And the call at the end … sends us all to prayer.

Live performance: I still think this was a good vocal but I’m not sure about the harmonies. They didn’t feel as blended as I would have liked. Also, I feel the staging is off. Walking and switching places on a platform doesn’t seem enough for this song. The camera angles threw it off and the split screen was a bit of a bad move too.



11. F.Y.R Macedonia – Eye Cue – “Lost and Found”

Eurovirgin

Song: I don’t like the Jason Mraz vibe to this. I was going to say I wasn’t feeling it until she came in with the chorus. I like how it quickens up but as a whole it’s maybe a 4 points from me.

Live performance:  She never even did anything and she’s well breathy. And her voice isn’t strong. She will get drowned out by the other acts.

STDNW

Song: I really like Macedonia and I feel like one of the few who do. I do understand how inconsistent it seems but I don’t really mind it as much as musically gifted ears (I mean what do they know? They only have years of experience critiquing). I like the lead up and the burst at the chorus with the dancing. It’s a bop in my opinion and her voice is so good.

Live performance: That dress is really unflattering. I know that seems shallow but I loved Croatia 2016 and her whole performance was undermined because of the dress. It shouldn’t matter, camera work shouldn’t matter, staging shouldn’t matter … but it does have an impact on public opinion. The music is good but the vocal does seem a little strained and while I’m happy the dancers are receiving a pay check I find them unnecessary given that the video was solo and had good interaction with the band. I don’t think they thought the staging through and it will impact them no doubt.



12. Croatia – Franka – “Crazy”

Eurovirgin

Song: This is missing the Eurovisiony feel. It’s a pass fae me hen. Can’t see this doing well. She’s got an okay voice, but nah. Reminds me of a mainstream song but can’t place my finger on it. Weak sauce song and I can’t see this doing too well.

Live performance:  Not feeling it. Blah. Boooring. Next.

STDNW

Song: I’m really not feeling it either. The lyrics are a mess and the vibe of the song seems a little misplaced for Eurovision. The break where she begins talking, I’m sorry Croatia, Europe will be Cro-inging. The chorus is catchy and the song is original but it’s not going through.

Live performance: Where F.Y.R. Macedonia added dancers, Croatia has gotten rid of them which was a mistake as it could have added to the edginess and artistry of the song.  Like performance art. But the poor use of the stage, again, leaves her alone with an awkward song. The dress is cute though and she does sound very good live.



13. Austria – Cesár Sampson – “Nobody but You”

Eurovirgin

Song: His voice is good and the song is good but sounds like another filler song. Can see this doing alright in the competition but not winning.

Live performance:  I think on the night I’ll cringe with the hand gestures. Alright vocals though.

STDNW

Song: Cesár is a great vocalist and injects soul into the competition. There is a Hozier-esque quality to the song and his voice. There is also an interesting gospel-like quality to the backing vocalists and I really love it. The song is a grower for me. I think like many, I’m tired of too many slow songs and love songs etc. I do worry that this is a case of a good song lost in the middle of the draw. Might be forgotten.

Live performance: That britney mic makes for an awkward performance if you have nothing to do on stage and even less to do with your hands. I’m praying that this gospel song doesn’t include air grabs and reaching out to the camera. I also feel he gets lost in front of the stage in the red lights and his ill fitted outfit washes him out.



14. Greece – Yianna Terzi – “Oniro mou”

Eurovirgin

Song: Dem flutes though. Yas beetch. Love it. Love her voice, the melody of the song and that she is singing in her own language. I think this is my favourite so far. I hope this does really well but sometimes Eurovision doesn’t appreciate good songs (*cough* Croatia and Czech Republic circa 2016)

Live performance:  Was okay. A bit boring but I like what she is wearing and vocals were not bad. Yas Grecian Goddess.

STDNW

Song: Yas, flutes friends. Bury me to dem flutes. Yas to the ethnic runs. Yas to ethnic break. Yas to the Greek language. I’m a fan of classical history so this excites me. This song is like a spiritual experience. Again, it stands out like Estonia and is one of my favourites. It is unique in its strength and tempo.

Live performance:  I like the outfit but I would have preferred a flowier toga like dress than a white gown. The vocal sounds great but I am worried that the stage is empty. I’d have loved for some movement especially in the ethnic break near the end. An ascent of the bridge and some halo effect back lighting to make you look angelic would have mesmerised the public and emphasised the epicness.

tumblr_ni2i5m1Vgi1r0lapto6_250

Real footage or Yianna eliminating the competition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



15. Finland – Saara Aalto – “Monsters”

Eurovirgin

Song: Okay, I change my mind. This is my favourite. I hope it wins. This is so Eurovision I’d be surprised if it didn’t win. Voice is strong and the melody is upbeat and nice. She was also runner up on UK X Factor so you know she can sing live. She sure loves contest shows (Think she was on Voice of Finland too).

Live performance:  Yaaaas! Sounds good. Her staging isn’t boring. She’s obviously going through to the final.

STDNW

Song: You’re an unloyal bitch, Eurovirgin. Saara has an incredible voice and this is such a feel good LGBT anthem. The straights are going to be so jealous.

apply

I listen to this when I need 20 seconds of courage after which I’m ready to start swinging.

Live performance: What were the backing vocalists doing at the end? lol I love this song and Saara delivers a good performance here, making good use of space on the stage in terms of the set and her ability to move throughout it. I also believe this could be a winner. I admire Saara’s ability to take constructive criticism seriously and this can be seen in the subtle changes she has made throughout performances. This is another reason why she could win.



16. Armenia – Sevak Khanagyan – “Qami”

Eurovirgin

Song: Nah, his voice is good but it’s another Eurovision filler song. Not my favourite, but not the worst. It’s alright. It’ll probably be an average scoring for Armenia.

Live performance:  Good vocals, staging was meh.

STDNW

Song: I’ll tell you, I forgot this was in the competition. The song sounds nice in his language and I like the soft chorus at the beginning building towards the end. Powerful vocals.

Live performance: I think he’s giving a great vocal and the set makes him the centrepiece enclosing him in which is better for ballads or slower songs so you’re not left alone on an empty stage just singing which, even though this is a singing competition, rarely garners votes. Especially if the song is meh. The outfit is nothing special but nothing distracting like that breastplate he wore. I think you lose when you make your outfit the talking point so it’s better when it’s subtle. I’m unsure it will qualify though.



17. Switzerland – ZiBBZ – “Stones”

Eurovirgin

Song: Don’t like it. And I don’t like the lyrics either. She mentions a cannonball. Switz. and Azerbai. have more stake in that than this competition. Nil Points.

Live performance:  Nope.

STDNW

Song: Not a fan of the breaks at the beginning. The song is alright but I don’t find it’s anything special. I really like the performers though, they seem sweet and the vocal is good. Her voice is unique and has a raspiness to it that I enjoy.

Live performance: I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised by Switzerland. I like the performance but the song has had to grow on me a little. I think they have a great vocal and I like that they left it just as they were, the two of them. She’s making good use of the stage and in songs where dancing might be more difficult, go to the smallest area so you and your performance appear bigger. That is the bridge and she makes good use of it.



18. Ireland – Ryan O’Shaughnessy – “Together”

Eurovirgin

Song: It’s an alright song. But it’s definitely not going to win and I think it might be in the bottom half. It’s weak.

Live performance:  A bit cringey. But the staging is different and I like it.

STDNW

Song: I like the vocal and the melody but it’s not very memorable. I enjoy the dancing and that something is actually being done. I couldn’t take another standing on stage doing nothing. In all honesty, it seems very typical of what we would expect from Ireland and what we, The UK, would produce ourselves. Part of me is cynical when it comes to the gay theme of it. I think it’s the same method people might take to win a show with an LGBT fan base like they would singing in English because it reaches the masses more.

Live performance: The set, the lamppost and the snow is gorgeous to me but Ireland and UK need to take note too, to stop sending young men with their guitar. Stop trying too hard to recreate the One Direction feel. The vocal was nice but nothing special. I’m happy there are dancers to create movement on stage and they seem like they’re helping the performance rather than trying to be the performance like with Belarus.



19. Cyprus – Eleni Foureira – “Fuego”

Eurovirgin

Song: One of my favourites. I think the crowd on the night will really like this. Really like the melody.

Live performance: The gays will love this. This is going through. I like what she’s wearing and I like the dancers.

STDNW

Song: Me.

cool off

This song mixes the ethnic notes with an upbeat, modern dance track. This will be a crowd favourite and a show stopping close. I like the delayed chorus and the build before the beat drops.

Live performance: I knew this was going to be a PERFORMance. This is exciting and is sure to make great use of the dance breaks, so you would if you were the last one to perform. A dance track after a slow song makes you memorable enough but to have a lucky placement as well, to close the show you better work it! If there was one thing I would say, it’s a big stage for one person to fill and the six person limit might still make that difficult. Travelling throughout the stage might have made that easy, tight camera shots could make that easier still but I want real choreography for a dance track, not hairography.


In no particular order…

my top 10 semi 1

My Top 8 and Possible Qualifiers

top 10 semi 1

How I Think It Will End Up and Possible Qualifiers

 

 

 

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