Eurovision 2012 is shaping up to be the most fun since 2009. Several countries have chosen lighthearted outings–including paper thin club tunes, teenage boy humor, or ESC inside jokes. Most of these entries appear in the 1st Semifinal–which means some of this wackiness will make the big show. Meanwhile we have a ballad heavy 2nd Semifinal (plus Georgia). More about the 2nd Semi later. We’ve watched the songs in sequence of the draw, and Semi 1 looks to be a fun, well-paced show with a big finish. When all is said and done, this could possibly be turn out to be the most entertaining evening of the 2012 contest.
- Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – “Euro neuro”
Montenegro warms us up. It never had a chance, so in going first this nutty entry doesn’t distract us from anyone else, and it saves the slot from others who might have had a tough time qualifying from first. A fine draw for Montenegro.
- Iceland: Greta Salóme & Jónsi – “Never Forget”
Now the Semi begins for real. Not an entirely bad position for Iceland’s big dramatic ballad. It’ll make an impression and all they need is to be in the Top 10.
- Greece: Eleftheria Eleftheriou – “Aphrodisiac”
Tough draw for Greece. Turkey was badly hurt last year with a similarly early draw. Still, I suspect the Greeks will pull it out in the end, they always do.
- Latvia: Anmary – “Beautiful Song”
- Albania: Rona Nishliu – “Suus”
We hear a pithy entry from Latvia, and then a melodramatic ballad from Albania. I’m not feeling confident about Rona’s caterwauling, since she doesn’t hit the high notes in Festivali i Kenges or the recorded version. 3 solid minutes of pain.
- Romania: Mandinga – “Zaleilah”
Save us Mandinga! After the likes of Latvia/Albania and before Switzerland, Romania’s bouncy party anthem is going to come off really well. As far as first half draws go, they couldn’t ask for much better.
- Switzerland: Sinplus – “Unbreakable”
Switzerland’s alt rock entry could fall flat in this early position, undermined by Romania right before and Hungary which follows later in the evening. If the juries give votes to the genre, they’ll go with Hungary first.
- Belgium: Iris – “Would you?”
- Finland: Pernilla Karlsonn – “När Jag Blundar”
Now we enter the slow part of the show where we can step away for that bathroom break, get more beers, and restock the snacks. On paper I thought the #9 pick might be good for Finland, but after watching the songs in sequence, no, it’s still dull. Nothing to miss here.
- Israel: Izabo – “Time”
Israel’s up tempo entry is very much welcomed at this point to wake us from our depression coma. I suspect they’ll do well with the juries, and countries that have traditionally voted for Israel are voting in this Semi. Borderline qualifier.
- San Marino: Valentina Monetta – “The Social Network Song (Uh oh oh)” (Alternate view)
- Cyprus: Ivi Adamou – “La La Love”
Not a great draw for Ivi, surrounded on both sides by female vocalists that are better singers than her. Another borderline qualifier, if she sings in tune. I wouldn’t pin too many hopes on her pulling that off though. Any song will need about 100 points to qualify–12 from Greece, but where are the others coming from?
- Denmark: Soluna Samay – “Should Have Known Better”
San Marino, Cyprus, y’alls songs are cheap. Step aside. Denmark is the first standout entry we’ll have heard since Romania, and it’s going to feel pretty good to finally have some professionalism and coherence on stage again.
- Russia: Buranovskiye Babushki – “Party for Everybody”
The Babushki are draw proof.
- Hungary: Compact Disco – “Sound of Our Hearts”
We’ve come around to this song since the national final based on the recorded track. I now realize we hated Compact Disco in the Hungarian final because the lead singer was out of tune. This is a nice late draw for Hungary, well after Switzerland but likely to draw favorable comparisons. Live performance is still a question for me, but if they can pull off a live performance they’re likely qualifiers.
- Austria: Trackshittaz – “Woki Mit Deim Popo”
- Moldova: Pasha Parfeny – “Lautar”
- Ireland: Jedward – “Waterline”
We close the show with 3 upbeat, big production songs. Of these 3, I worry most for Austria. Switzerland but not Germany are voting in this Semi, and I’m not confident the Swiss can be considered allies anyway. Moldova follows, giving us the strongest melody in our endgame. Like last year, Jedward closes the night, and like last year, their show is going to be huge.