Aaand we’re back. On Tuesday night, the first semi final of The Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lisbon and what a show it was. You can look at our reviews and our top contestants here.
This semi final, I believe, is not as good as the first which sucks for the stars here who won’t be known for being part of the best Eurovison semi final, which saw some big shock exits such as Greece, Belgium, Azerbaijan and, for me, Belarus. However, weaker entries will now have the opportunity to get themselves a place in the Grand Final.
Some of these singers are not on the level of those who exited last night and my conspiracy senses are tingling. I can’t help but feel the first semi final was a way to:
- Weed out some favourites to even the competition
- Save Alexander Rybak from humiliation as a returning winner
- Help Russia’s live vocal to save themselves from the wrath of Putin
To that I say … Put-it up yer hole. What a waste of good entries. The new voting system is valid as we want some participation but full voting power to the public means we either vote based on who our neighbours are … or how horny we are that night, if you see what I mean. Both situations are unfair and defeat the purpose of a competition but the new voting system doesn’t half make the competition unpredictable.
Anyway, let’s get started! Tell us what you think down below and stay until the end to see our choices for qualifiers. Have a great Eurovision and we’ll see you for THE GRAND FINAL!
– Your Someone To Watch Eurovision With
Let’s get started!
1. Norway – Alexander Rybak – “That’s How You Write a Song”
Song: I always worry about past winners coming back, especially with not so great songs, because I hate seeing them lose and de-crowned. He ain’t gonna win with this. It’s repetitive, boring and so simple. I know Eurovision songs aren’t supposed to be masterpieces, but there are too many good songs already in the competition (E.g. Finland, Estonia, Cyprus) for him to stand a chance. I can see him getting points just because he’s Alexander Rybak, though. You know how this competition be sometimes. *Side Eye*
Live performance: Can’t fault the live performance. It’s good, but then again it’s not like it was hard. There’s literally a couple of verses and that’s it. Wow he pretends to play that violin so good.
Song: This hurts. Fairytale was one of the first big memories of Eurovision for me. I have to admit though, the melody of the song is growing on me. But still, no. When Loreen tried to return, it worried me because I am dramatic and think it’s like surviving the first Hunger Games just to come back and die. Well, we will be holding a small gathering for Alexander, buried with his violin, the day after the second semi final. This sounds like an audition for Blue’s Clues and it scats on his legacy.
How do you write a song? “You believe in it … and then you roll with it.”
Sound advice. Thanks hen.
Live performance: For what it’s worth, nice use of effects and Alexander sounds good but I can’t image how you would stage something like that. And they didn’t. The styling looks like they woke up late and were told to get on stage and just rock it. Being a professional dancer though and only having to do air violin for a pay check is pretty sweet.
2. Romania – The Humans – “Goodbye”
Song: Hello early 2000’s. She’s got a great voice and range. It’s a nice song and the lyrics are sweet but feels like a filler song.
Live performance: She’s got a strong voice so I don’t doubt she’ll sing the song well on semi-final but I doubt she’ll see the final. I like that the rest of the band are wearing white and she’s wearing purple because it helps to make her stand out. I still don’t think it will do that well.
Song: This song is so non-existent in the competition, they came just to say “Goodbye”. They are literally singing their farewell. And they whisper advice to themselves “don’t cry”. Powerful voice tho.
Live performance: They certainly found a way to fill out the space on the stage. They got around the people-on-stage limit with the dummies lol. I sort of feel like this is the pop rock version of Iceland in the second semi final. Like literal pop rocks, a crackle but no bang. And it has the same terrible order placement. It feels dated but I can’t think of any year gone by that this would win never mind this year. Unlike you Eurovirgin, I don’t like the styling. The band seem to stand out more than the main act because they’re all wearing white and she is wearing purple on a dark stage with purple lights.
3. Serbia – Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – “Nova deca”
Song: The women look like they’re the wives of Dracula in Van Helsing. I love that it seems they’ve incorporated culture and dance but I do feel like the song lost something special when the beat came. Though, I hope this does well at the semi-final 2 and goes through.
Live performance: Yaay they sound good and that brown-haired woman better sang. Dracula found a new mate. Oh, being the third wheel to an already established group is never easy.
Song: Yasss, come through Albert Einstein on the flute. I had a love, hate relationship with the song but I’ve finally come around to the ethno-pop beat. I’m a fan of any country that embraces their ethnicity and culture and Serbia have produced that in a way that is accessible and can be enjoyed by the audience.
Live performance: Everyone has something to add to the song and on stage and then they come together in a really captivating way. I want to see more Einstein though, he’s this years Epic Sax Guy. They all sound so good live too especially having to stay in harmony with one another and you know how much I love an ethnic run. But the rest of these guys should really just be features because that brunette is doing all the heavy lifting. Typical group projects.
4. San Marino – Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening – “Who We Are”
Song: Her voice sounds quite strong, and the song is okay. The lyrics actually make sense. They are a bit simple. The rapping was alright as well *cough* not like Romania’s 2017 weak ass rapping *cough* The robots are a funny touch.
Live performance: Those robots are sassy. Did you see the way they threw that ‘Justice for Valentina’ sign? The staging is a bit disappointing. I can see them getting points though just because they have cute little robots.
Song: Why is no one talking about the chorus sounding like Sweden 2015 – “Heroes”? And the animated sidekick he had has been turned into Robots here. Jessika sounds good but this rapping is making me uncomfortable and I’m not even a fan of rap. I suspect if I were, I’d be offended. Really Eurovirgin? Some of the lyrics are probably the worst of the competition for me.
“We are who we are, and who we are is who we wanna be?”
Live performance: Justice for Valentina! They’re shading their own performance. Valentina will be back, you can bet on it. I prefer the styling of Jessika in the music video, the dress here is distracted by what the featuring artist is wearing. And a featuring artist who only repeats everything Jessika is saying. You are who you surround yourself with. Robots. And I feel absolutely no chemistry between these two. Not to mention just how random these dancers are with no interaction with each other or the performance. I think they just met up to let loose and were allowed on the stage.
5. Denmark – Rasmussen – “Higher Ground”
Song: Okay, this is the first song from the second semi-final that I love. It sounds like a battle song. And his voice is good. The snow/rain turned my mind from Vikings to Frozen. Without a doubt, Tormund is going through to the final. Scandinavian countries always do Eurovision so well. I can see people loving this. Denmark has a special place in my Eurovision heart after Emmelie De Forest won in 2013 with Only Teardrops.
Live performance: Erm… I don’t know what changed haha. The way they are just marching on the spot makes me want to burst out laughing. But I still really like it. I like the sails in the background.
Song: Like Tormund meets Marcus Corvinus. I can’t remember seeing something like this from Denmark before. I actually can’t recall any Scandinavian country producing a song following a theme based on their history or heritage before. The viking theme makes it very exciting and the stirring tribal chant creates for an epic ambience. It’s one of those songs which makes you feel strong and empowered, like a warrior.
Live performance: Very well executed live performance with a strong chorus and I love the dark lighting and the incorporation of the sails into the staging. Rasmussen sounds so good live and the backing vocalists compliment him well. I love the added snow too, it certainly adds to the theme. I think it makes the stage seem animated too and detracts from how much space there is to fill so he’s not lost on it. One thing though … turn your wind machine setting right up. We want to see your flowing locks. Because you’re worth it.
6. Russia – Yulia Samoylova – “I Won’t Break”
Song: Omg she is so cute. I like her voice, the song and the song actually has good lyrics. Compared to other songs in the competition, it’s not the best but I think it might go through to the final.
Live performance: Voice wise, it’s a little difficult to hear her over the backing singers. I like how they’ve done the staging. I like the fact that the song is called ‘I won’t break’ and she’s on top of a mountain. She is so cute, and I think she deserves a fair chance regardless of what country she is representing. But I can’t see her winning.
Song: I really like Yulia; powerful voice, powerful message. Given how many countries have chosen to sing in their native language, I would have liked to have heard Yulia sing the song in Russian which I think would have made it easier for her and added a little more warmth to the song. I can definitely see this as a potential qualifier depending on the performance but even then this is a weaker final so she has a chance.
Live performance: The backing singers are very loud and I suspect that is to cover Yulia’s weak notes. That coupled with poor enunciation because of the push for an English song makes it seem quite cold. I have heard she is off live but I’m hoping she can pull it off. Ultimately, Yulia wouldn’t have been able to move around and that is appropriate to the song anyway, but I like the staging with Yulia on top of the mountain and ditching the wheelchair is a great way to fight back against those who believed she was out for sympathy votes.
7. Moldova – DoReDoS – “My Lucky Day”
Song: This is an up-beat dance performance that I don’t like. Their entry last year was so much better with Mr Saxonphone.
Live performance: Seems a bit gimmicky and not in a good San Marino way. I don’t like what they’re wearing and the background side-walking man. I don’t think this is going through.
Song: DoReDoS … I’m hungry. I agree, it sounds dated in the sense of the cheesy dance pop songs full of cliches that you would expect in the 2000s as opposed to the charming era of music Salvador drew from. They have good harmonies but it’s masked by poor lyrics. You can hear they’re trying to catch the magic of Epic Sax Guy but they achieved closer to Mediocre Accordion Man which makes the song sound like a joke entry. It reminds me just a touch of Israel 2015 – “Golden Boy”.
Live Performance: The clapping might help stir up some excitement but I’m not a fan of the staging, it feels like too much with the set, the dancers inside, the colourful outfits and what was said about Israel 2018 applies now … these Willy Wonka colours are creeping me out.
8. Netherlands – Waylon – “Outlaw in ‘Em”
Song: I mean… if you like country then you might like this but it just doesn’t appeal to me. Good voice. I just don’t think it’s going to go through. O’G3NE were such a better choice last year and well suited to Eurovision. They deserve justice for the place they came in at. They deserved at least top 5.
Live performance: I’m indifferent. Meh. *Picks food from teeth* It’s not something I even want to re-watch for the actual semi-final. It’s just not my thang. Staging was meh. Okeh.
Song: I can enjoy and respect the performance even though I’m not a country fan. I think there will be many that write it off because of that. In that regard it’s a very risky entry because not only is it country which, for some, you like it or you don’t, but it has a rock element also which has generally been shunned by the Eurovision community. Forgetting about the genre or the music, I love the hoarse tone to his voice and the lyrics are great too.
“Everybody’s got a little outlaw in ’em” … Me:
Live performance: He sounds really good live and I like the staging. It feels very much like a jam session with everyone on the podium surrounding him. He’s gone up rather than spread out and the camera shots make it look comfortable rather than restricted. That styling though… come through Shania. Man, I feel like a Waylon.
9. Australia – Jessica Mauboy – “We Got Love”
Song: You can count on Australia to come through with good songs but this might be the weakest one for them yet. I really like her voice, it’s not the best song in the competition but with a weak semi final, I think she will go through.
Live performance: I like this song more when she is singing it live. Staging is nice and I like that she is moving around rather than staying frozen in one spot. Though, at one point she channelled Netta with a chicken dance.
Song: The opening slightly reminds me of the opening of Romania but this takes a much better route. It sounds generic but that isn’t necessarily bad here. It has a nice rhythm and is such a feel good song that has an anthemic edge which is only boosted by the personality of Jessica Mauboy. I also like the subtle dancing, the song calls for that. Nothing over the top. It’s the sort of dancing you can do in your home.
Live performance: Jessica sounds good, though a little fragile. Like, it could go either way on the night. I like that shes up there alone, too many people would have spoiled the song and been unnecessary and the lights compliment her solo performance. The wide shots though. I know I said the dancing is something you can do in your home but I don’t know that an actual performance should take on that image. The front facing shots are great and Jessica has tons of stage charisma but then it pans around the back, ignoring the rest of the production which just emphasises how alone she really is on an empty stage in front of a large audience. it looked underwhelming and like she was up for karaoke night on stage.
10. Georgia – Iriao – “For You”
Song: Vocals are strong but it’s a filler song. I don’t think this will go through to the final. I think it will easily get forgotten about over the likes of Denmark and Australia.
Live performance: Very simple. Just standing in the same position. Staring into my soul. Voices are good but I don’t think they’ll go through.
Song: It’s a very easy and beautiful song to listen to. There’s something very peaceful and traditional and yet unconventional because there’s no real constant, there is something new being added continually throughout. I like the harmonies and the building intensities which lead into much softer, low paced parts of the song. But I can’t help but find myself forgetting that it exists and I feel that in the atmosphere of the competition and being between the uplifting, empowering songs like Australia and Poland, it will get lost.
Live performance: The harmonies are nice and blended and they can perform really well live. They seem rather rigid in their suits all in a line. I don’t like dark suits at Eurovision. It reminds me of men who go into business because it promises financial security but after work take off the blazer, roll up the sleeves and play pretend.
11. Poland – Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer – “Light Me Up”
Song: This feels like a nice, uplifting Summer song. I can see this getting through to the final. He’s got a strong voice and the crowd I’m sure will love it.
Live performance: The staging is nice.I like him dancing and using the full stage. I think he’ll be able to excite the crowd. His voice sounded a little struggle, so I hope he doesn’t wear himself out with the dancing so much that he compromises his voice. He’ll go through.
Song: It’s like a good vibes, uplifting love song with a beat. Which I feel is pretty common in this genre of music. Again, there isn’t much originality here and I don’t know that it will necessarily stand out especially because there are a lot of better self empowering songs but with a lot of “oh ohs” thrown in and a club EDM vibe, it could get the crowd going. I see it qualifying because it is a weaker semi final but I don’t see it making an impact in the grand final.
Live performance: Having the club vibe, I did imagine that this sort of artist would forego dancing or backing dancers in favour of jumping. Nothing special but it sounds good live even if the vocal is a little weak and I like the movement throughout the stage, the staging with the sparks and the DJ set and this will really help when the beat drops to get people jumping along with them.
12. Malta – Christabelle – “Taboo”
Song: I like the melody to this song. She’s got a good voice and the lyrics make sense/ have a great meaning. I can see the crowd really liking this and wanting to dance. I think it will go through to the final.
Live performance: Something felt a little off. Her voice sounded a little off. The staging is different but a bit boring. Hopefully she can sing this on the night.
Song: I like the opening beat and I like her voice. It’s a bit generic and it can come off as very cringey e.g. animals and criminals, but I get the whole metaphor about mental health she was trying to go for and it’s great she is tackling a current issue which isn’t politics. Not a fan of the “break the taboooo” beat drop and the last note on animals has always sounded very messy to me.
Live performance: I actually would have preferred if Christabelle had kept the set of her National Final performance. It just seems so show and tell, walking off to the side and letting the dancers do their thing. Plus she’s got a great voice but the sound makes it seem as if she is singing alongside the backing vocalists instead of in harmony with, there isn’t a blend which makes it sound off key.
13. Hungary – AWS – “Viszlát nyár”
Song: I think this is one of my least favourite songs in the competition. I prefer nice, sweet songs (aka Bugaria/Lithuania/Estonia) or dance songs (Finland) and this ain’t it. It’s a nil points from me. As far as vocals go, he’s alright I guess. I don’t think this is going through though.
Live performance: I’m impressed he can still sing with the head bangs and dizziness.
Song: I love the infusion of genres Eurovision can offer, everyone has a different taste and idea of what can win. However, I’m not a metal or rock fan, it makes me think of demons.
That being said, yes they scream but it’s not an abrasive song, the verses are nice and melodic. This song I feel has grown quite a lot of support and I think it stands out as a raw performance in amongst a lot of overproduced pop songs. But then then chorus strikes and I’m like…
Live performance: I like that they each have a place on the stage and I like the contrast between the dim, almost calm lighting for the light verses against the flashing, the fire and the camera angles for the intense chorus. They give an energetic performance and they sound very good live. Also, watch your brain cells.
14. Latvia – Laura Rizzotto – “Funny Girl”
Song: Sounds quite different compared to the other second semi-final songs. I can’t see this going through but it’s an okay little song. Though, it ain’t anything like Aminata ‘Love Injected’.
Live performance: She has a good performing voice but, like the song (no shade), a bit boring and forgetful. It will be drowned out by the dance numbers.
Song: When Laura sings, you sort of find yourself being moved by the performance. I mean physically moved. You find yourself swaying back and forth, being pulled by the melody. She has a great way of storytelling including the movements that she makes but it’s a slow dark song which, for me, Belgium did better and this lacks any real impact. I think it will go over the heads of the audience.
*Me in the mirror* “You’re looking at her, she’s looking at you…”
Live performance: I mean, really, what else can you do? There could have been dancers sexily doing their thing around her other than just standing there. Laura is a great performer as I said, like a storyteller, almost speaking the lyrics and committing to the performance. I just feel she is wasted with the song and, like with Belgium and Croatia who had similar songs, I don’t see her qualifying.
15. Sweden – Benjamin Ingrosso – “Dance You Off”
Song: This is what I’m talking about. With songs like these, other entries like Latvia and Romania will be forgotten about. I love the chorus to Sweden’s entry. Sweden is always coming through with great Eurovision entries. This is going through I think. Still Eurovision with a bit of mainstream. Groovy (Gravy mate).
Live performance: Unique staging compared to everyone else. Dancing is making me cringe though.
Song: I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed by it at first, it seems very safe but it’s much smoother than what I think we’ve seen from Sweden and it has grown on me.
Live performance: This is altogether a very stylish production even if the song is not that original or supported by amazing vocals. It certainly has one of the most unique stagings this year, it looks like a music video. That is what I think will make it stand out more than anything because Sweden has actual competition this year. I think because the music is so smooth, it would make it hard to move to. At least in a way that contributes to the performance. There is no real BOOM to the dancing and the looks at the camera and awkward hips make me cringe slightly. It’s less Michael Jackson and more Napoleon Dynamite.
However, this will definitely qualify and place well in the final, though I don’t think it will win.
16. Montenegro – Vanja Radovanović – “Inje”
Song: Sounds like a sweet song. I like how his voice fits with the melody.
Live performance: I love how the women are dressed and walking around him like fairies. Compared to the rest of the songs I’ve listened to, it’s a nice slow song. I hope this does go through.
Song: I haven’t really heard anyone talk about Montenegro but I think he has a great voice and there is an endearing quality to the song. It sounds very romantic, very fairytalesque. It’s very theatrical with a great build up and while I I usually like when a song builds to an epic climax, there is something quite beautiful about the build to the chorus which falls away into a sweet nuanced vocal.
Live performance: I’m not sure I’m a fan of the staging. I wish he had incorporated the orchestra into his staging somehow. I feel the backing vocalists took away some of the charm, he was supposed to fucking charm the pants off everyone and went full dim lighting, fairy lights, prince costume etc. People want to be seduced!
17. Slovenia – Lea Sirk – “Hvala, ne!”
Song: When it first started, I thought it sounded a bit all over the place and was more of a…. ne *giggles*. But I’m liking it as the song goes on. Especially when the beat drops and changes. Definitely different vocals and melody to the other artists in the competition. Sounds Eurovision-y without sounding recycled. (Sometimes Eurovision songs be sounding the same. *side eye*)
Live performance: Yaaaaaaas queens, you better dance. I like what she’s wearing. I like the dancers, I like the effects. I think this is one of my favourite acts staging-wise, she’s really giving a visual performance.
Song: I didn’t like it at first either, I thought it was like the DJ keyboard button on repeat but it has grown on me so much and I now love it. It’s consistent with the chorus and verses having the same beat throughout. It was super frustrating at first when the beat was building and then dropped to reveal the same verse beat. It’s cool and her native language adds to it.
Live performance: She sounds so good live, she’s going to do so well and these dancers as well as the lighting are giving the beat life! This is such a win and even if song wasn’t so great, a good performance can make the difference and she has everything styling, staging and attitude!
18. Ukraine – Mélovin – “Under The Ladder”
Song: Can’t really hear what he is saying but of the lyrics I can make out, it doesn’t sound right. And I’m not a fan of the vocals or the melody. Jamala where are you when we need you? I don’t think this will go through.
Live performance: His live vocals are good, it just seems lacklustre and boring.
Song: I thought he was singing in his own language at first but he’s just incoherent. He’s got his own look and his own style of music and he sells it well and you can tell he is confident in what he is doing but I don’t feel much of a presence from him. The song feels a bit rushed to me and a little messy. Ultimately, I think he will call upon the power of the fan girls who will save him in his time of need.
Live performance: Like Slovenia, Ukraine’s video is their live performance so we know what to expect and he’s a good live performer. I like the staging and at least he is doing something other than singing. It may not be dancing, but he’s moving and performing another act too with the piano. I don’t know if he’s actually playing it though, I have a conspiracy that the instruments are pre-recorded to prevent any mishaps. He might even be a better air instrumentalist than Alexander Rybak’s dancers.
Qualifiers in no particular order…