Second Semifinal Results

Well, that’s more like it!  A much more entertaining show than the first semi, and a much better result for us. I got 10 of 10, Chris got 9 of 10 — but they kept to the very last envelope to let us know which of us had done better.

When this year’s contest is all said and done, we’ll be viewing the 2nd Semifinal more than the 1st.  Though the 1st had much stronger songs in the beginning, the show just wasn’t all that entertaining.  Tonight’s show was full of talented singers, wackiness, fails, and occasional moments of coherence.

Bosnia and Austria gave excellent, professional performances to start.  Dino got a huge ovation in the audience.

Netherlands and Belgium were good as well, and for a brief moment we wondered if the Netherlands might just pull it off.  Then there was just too much loose movement and long camerawork, and we were reminded that 3JS viewed Eurovision as just another concert. Belgium represented for the a cappella world — good on ya.

Slovakia, boooring. The shouty backup singers did it no favors. I found myself screaming at the TV “Really? You couldn’t write a frickin’ bridge?” Ukraine achieved a decent balance between singer and art in the camerawork but I found myself screaming at the TV “Show me more sand art!”

And then Moldova, lovely lovely crazy Moldova. I am tickled that this has made the finals.

Sweden pulled it out, but don’t you get the feeling only just?  Right down to the 10th envelope at the end. It puts rather an appropriate mark on what’s been a rough week for Eric and company.  The glass breaking worked, and the one panel breaking actually works in the Eurovision context, especially what he’s been through this week — like he’s over coming obstacles, as opposed to simply being transcendently awesome, as he was when he broke 3 panels at Melodifestivalen. He alluded to something extra for the Final, will he break all 3 at the final?

Cyprus, I’m sorry to say, was a fail. I liked their concept, but Christos’ backing singers let him down and he didn’t “seduce” the camera like other singers in the competition.

Bulgaria didn’t get it done either, though they do win the award for best use of the catwalk. The flyaway camera was a excellent idea–a clever solution to the too-long catwalk that interfered with both Israel and Denmark’s performances tonight. Sadly, she went back to the shredded wedding dress, and the costume change was completely lost with the pyro and the wide angles.

FYR Macedonia didn’t make it but was not a fail. They put together a high-energy, engaging performance of ethnopop–nowhere near the bottom feeder they were made out to be.

Israel fail. The energy level was there, I guess, but all the posturing just went to show that there wasn’t a lot of there there. Not much to the song, not much to the vocal, not much to the staging. And the voters saw through it.

Slovenia–when the votes are released, I’m betting she just eked it out. Maja’s vocal was strong and she played the camera well, when the camera was on her.  What was with all those long shots in the last 30 seconds? I nearly thought they blew it because the camerawork undermined the crescendo.

Romania and Estonia both came off as cheap. They are both good songs but with silly performances. Alarmingly, Romania’s staging reminded me of Germany 2009’s disastrous Alex Sings Oscar Swings, with a native English speaker, a guy at the piano giving us a shit-eating grin, and 2 manic dancing girls.  All I was missing was Dita Von Teese. Estonia’s song has a lot of hooks–the staging needed to have less changes to soften it, not more. The staging was chaotic, Getter’s make up was very Joel Grey in Cabaret, and the whole presentation seemed unfocused. A former front-runner, she should consider herself lucky to make it through.

One wonders if Belarus decided to turn up the camp at the end, because there was a ton of fire. More unfocused chaos.

The Latvia boys got up on stage with their bowties and pretended to be rockstars for 3 minutes. The song sounded nice enough when I averted my eyes.

Denmark, after about 5 songs of unfocused chaos, was simply coherent. Bless them.

To wrap up the show we returned back to the world of chaos, but with great production value and executed flawlessly. One thing I will say about the Jedward boys–they know exactly the images they want to portray. There’s a certain authenticity behind the outrageousness because they’re being true to their inner voices, their inner crazy voices.

Here’s are the finalists, along with their draw:

Estonia, 8th in the final: not so great a draw, right in the middle of a lot of heavy hitters

Romania, 17th: late draw, but between Germany and Austria

Moldova, 15th: good draw, going right after UK is going to play into their crazy and will show Europe what a successful backdrop looks like.

Ireland, 6th: early draw. They go right after Hungary, and if Kati can’t sing on the night, their presentation heavy performance may play well

Bosnia & Herzegovina, 2nd: TRAGEDY. Poor Dino couldn’t hide his disappointment. The silver lining is he goes after Finland, but no one has ever won from the dreaded 2nd position. He will need all the voting and jury help he can muster.

Denmark, 3rd: About friggin’ time they got an early draw. Time to show what you’re really made of. My guess is not much.

Austria, 18th: Great draw for Nadine. Can she do some damage to Azerbaijan by showing viewers what a real singer sounds like?

Ukraine, 23rd: Fantastic draw. But the closers aren’t really all that strong–door’s open for songs that come earlier.

Slovenia, 20rd: Great draw.

Sweden, 7th: Rough draw, right after Ireland and before a spate of strong songs.