Notes on the ESC 2010 – Oslo: Second Semi-Final
Pre-Show Predictions for countries that will move forward: Armenia, Israel, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Romania, Ireland, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus
Opening Act: Same video as last time, boo. The hosts’ outfits improved from last night to tonight. Therefore, we should expect great things on Saturday!
Lithuania: What a great way to start the night! Pop-ska, cheesy choreography, and a well timed costume change! I really liked this one, too bad it won’t make the Final.
Armenia: The first of several favorites tonight. I thought this was a slow song, guess not. I like it, though. It’s not as moving as I think it should be due to the tempo of the song. However, Eva has a nice voice, the staging is perfect (despite the creepy tree), there is no reason this should not move through to Saturday.
Israel: Is it me, or did Harel Skaat look quite nervous during the postcard? The second favorite to perform tonight, and another shoo-in for the Final. I think Skaat has a lovely voice, I really do, but all of his songs sound the exact same! Essentially, a pretty song that is sung very well, great staging, and an overall moving performance, well done Harel!
Denmark: Whoa! Go Danes! And the streak of bookie favorites extends to three. Chanee and N’Evergreen merely needed a decent performance to make it through, and they did slightly more than that. If they want to carry the day on Saturday, they need to show the heart and passion they did during the Second Round of the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, otherwise it will be another near miss for Denmark.
Switzerland: I see why it has such a strong and vocal following. And I also see why it will probably linger behind in the Semis. It’s up-tempo and kind of fun, but it is forgettable. Sorry Switzerland, hopefully we’ll still see you next year!
Sweden: The official website kept saying Sweden would have light staffs, those are just glow sticks! The song is alright, it sounded like it was too low for the singer. It will pass through because it is Sweden, but expect another disappointing finish for the Land of ABBA.
Azerbaijan: Safura is showing herself to be the weakest singer among the favored acts. The song is alright, it will definitely make the Final. However, like last year, Azerbaijan’s song is too American and too dispassionate to win. She will definitely have to step up her game if she hopes to carry that microphone trophy back to Baku.
Ukraine: This is so different than anything that the Ukraine has ever done! A “Call to Action” song dressed up as a rock ballad. It’s actually not that bad of a song, and doesn’t deserve a lot of the crap people say about it (on a musical level, as you recall, the crap I say about it is more based on the controversy surrounding its selection). I am tentatively changing my vote and saying that it will go through.
The Netherlands: One of the most talked about entries this year! This is so catchy and fun; why do people hate this song? By no stretch of the imagination is it the only old-fashioned thing this year. It’s so cherry; I hope it goes through just to spite all of its critics!
Romania: I really like this song, but it is probably the most overrated song this year. It will move through, but it will probably finish in only the lower teens (11-14) on Saturday. I do really like the two sided piano, though.
Slovenia: This was a great concept that was very poorly executed. First, it should have just been Ansambel Roka Zlindra, without any vocal input from Kalamari. Second, the polka parts should be expunged, and it should just be like how the refrain is, folk sound with rock music underneath. No way, no way, no way will this song make it through to the Final.
Ireland: This is what made Ireland the winningest country in the Contest; beautiful ballads like this. She will definitely make the Final, every previous winner is almost guaranteed this (and past favorites – Chiara, Sakis Rouvas, Dima Bilan, etc…). Mrs. Kavanaugh merely needs to tweak some spots vocally, and nothing that will be able to stop Ireland from returning to the Top Ten.
Bulgaria: Are those male dancers oiled up enough, I think I can see my reflection on one of their shoulders, and I am watching online! The Bulgarians took a page out of Greece’s book by sending a generic pop song with an awesome dance routine. Problem is, this song has a weird ending, and doesn’t come from Greece. Expect it to linger behind in the Semis.
Cyprus: Another strong with a strong fan base. I see why, it’s a captivating song. It’s a shame so many heavy hitters were stacked up tonight, it forces these medium songs to fight it out for two spots. Cyprus competes for the golden ticket against Sweden, Georgia, Ukraine, Lithuania, even Bulgaria and the Netherlands for one of those spots not taken by a sure bet (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Turkey, Croatia, Ireland, Romania, and Israel).
Croatia: The final favorite of the night. Wow! This is awesome. Feminnem is in it to win it this year. I can definitely see why they are one of the favorites! I don’t quite understand why they make a heart at the end, since the song is about a woman cheating on her lover; maybe to show remorse and that she is still in love? We will definitely see this one again, and, depending on its draw and the draw of some other acts, there odds could sky rocket.
Georgia: This is alright. I really like the choreography and how it interprets the song. Too bad the song is generally forgettable. Due the strength of tonight’s competition, I will predict that this will be Georgia’s first time lingering behind in the Semis.
Turkey: As is typical for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the Turkish entry. It will obviously move through, as the Turkish Diaspora is probably the largest in Europe. Not to mention that it is just an awesome song and is quite different than all the other entries.
|My Top Ten||Who I think will be moving through to the Final|
|5. The Netherlands||Turkey|
|10. Armenia||The Netherlands (it will probably be Sweden, but maybe Europe has fallen in love with the happy tune, let’s hope “Sha-la-lie”)|
Interval Act: Was that one of the drag queens from Slovenia 2002 in that video with the sound effects choir (playing the part of the flight attendant waling past the main character)? Oo, Norwegian hip hop dancing. By the way, that was an awesome Interval Act! Yay! They brought back the tiny version of the hosts, and this time with the senior versions, too!
I realized that I didn’t give my opinion of the Big Four and Norway last time from the short clips: Spain – a waltz! How awesome, definitely the leading candidate to be this year’s dark horse. Norway – not bad, but i think it wouldn’tbe getting the kind of favor it has if it wasn’t the host country. UK – so the song is a little corny, it’s Eurovision, songs are allowed to be corny, get over yourselves all you who hate the entry! In fact, the UK has won and done quite well with corny songs, like Ireland, the BBC has just returned to its wheelhouse. France – I agree with a comment from the official website, this is going to be a great summer song, especially with the World Cup coming, but it’s not meant for Eurovision. It will probably finish in the mid-teens. Germany – this sounds like it’s gonna be an awesome song, I see why it’s a favorite. It’s quirky but not too eccentric
Songs that Actually Qualified for the Final
- Georgia (I guess Cyprus is not going to move through)
- Ukraine (really? I guess the controversy wasn’t as big a deterrent as I thought it would be, does that mean Sweden isn’t moving through?)
- Turkey (1 for 3 so far; no surprise here!)
- Israel (2 for 4 so far; no surprise here, either!)
- Ireland (3 for 5 so far; yay! First Irish entry in the Final since 2007)
- Cyprus (4 for 6 so far; whoa! I’m happy, but I think another favorite may fall tonight.)
- Azerbaijan (5 for 7 so far, no surprise, but now things are getting tight!)
- Romania (6 for 8 so far; it’s official, another favorite will be going Slovakia on the sidelines on Saturday)
- Armenia (7 for 9 so far; no surprise, let’s see who wins between Croatia and Denmark)
- Denmark (8 for 10 so far; too much press to fail)
Final Thoughts: Five favorites to win the Contest performed tonight. Of those five, two came to win, Israel and Croatia. I get the idea that Harel Skaat (Israel) hit his ceiling tonight and will only decline on Saturday (or at least only maintain), whereas Croatia seemed like they still had a whole lot more to give. Unfortunately, Croatia will not have a chance to show this; I cannot believe that Croatia failed to move through! Oh well, such is life at the Eurovision Song Contest. I am shocked Ukraine moved through, as it is a very off-center song that I wouldn’t think would get much attention in Europe. Georgia’s success is not a surprise (especially with Azerbaijan and Armenia on the same night), but I don’t know if I think it should be moving on. Following that, Sweden had a lot of online support, and it failed to go to the Finals.
To recap, a bookie’s favorite (Croatia) failed to progress tonight as well as a fan favorite (Sweden). Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Denmark all still have some tweaking to do in order to pose a serious threat to Israel, Germany, or Iceland (who I think stand a great chance of winning given its draw in the running order). I know on Saturday that all of the singers and dancers will up their game tenfold! I look forward to this year’s Grand Final with much eagerness and anticipation!!!
Looking Ahead to Saturday: So, two favorites have fallen by the wayside, Croatia and Slovakia. Slovakia was not that big of a surprise, but Croatia, after the press that Feminnem received, the fact that they were returning to the Contest after having a popular song in 2005, and the fact that they were stellar, was a big surprise. But, such is life. Denmark, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, and Germany all still remain in the hunt, along with 20 other countries looking for an upset. Since the second semi-final, Belgium and Albania are both strong contenders according to esctoday. I don’t know how much I buy this. I honestly think, given the running order, Germany, Iceland, Armenia, Israel, and Denmark are the top entries to beat, with Germany and Denmark being my the two I have the most faith in. The last three countries to give votes are Georgia (big points to Armenia, medium points to Germany), Sweden (big points to Denmark, medium points to Germany and Armenia), and Armenia (could shoot themselves in the foot by giving medium/big points to Germany and/or Denmark). This means that we can see a situation similar to 1998 and 2001, when the final countries to give votes determined the winner.
*So, I just read an interesting article on esctoday about the shifting of power in this year’s Contest. The Nordic countries are held to only three finalists (apparently, it’s the first Final without Sweden since 1976!), and the former-Yugoslav countries are held to only two (Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina). Meanwhile, Belgium, Ireland, and Cyprus have all returned to the Final after multi-year absences. So this could mean…well, a few things, actually. The selection pots are working at lowering rates of diaspora and same geographic bias in voting by splitting up statistically supported voting blocs. However, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan were all together on Thursday (whereas Greece was by itself on Tuesday) and that whole little “Barely Europe” bloc is quite strong. Then there’s the idea that all three countries is putting up entries that are far superior (in the majority’s eyes) than anything from those countries in the past few years. But then, look at Switzerland. That country has put up its best acts for the last four years running, gained a strong fan base, and lingered behind in the Semis each time. A post dedicated to the Swiss will be the one of my first after the Contest is over. One more possible answer, people. Niamh Kavanaugh is a former winner, so she was pretty much expected to make it to the Final. Tom Dice and Jon Lilygreen are both cute, young, emotive singers, which plays well with the large teeny bopper (think 8-16 year old girls) that like that sort of thing — and their style speaks to the 16-25 year old population that seems to be really into this acoustic movement that is sweeping into pop music. I don’t know, but then Sweden would have moved trough with this logic. Who knows? What do y’all think?
(A link to the article: http://esctoday.com/news/read/15869)