Posts tagged “Semi-Final One

Happy Eurovision Week!

Hello Dear Readers!

Today we have a special treat: a collaborative podcast with my friend DizzyDJC! We’ll be recording podcasts ahead of each remaining show (so, on Wednesday and Friday) as well as on Sunday after the Contest. Join us live on his YouTube channel or catch it later on mine – either way, enjoy!

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Eurovision 2017 Song Reviews (Finally!) – First Semi-Final, First Half

Hello Dear Readers!

Here are my reviews for the first half of the first semi-final. I have kept them in alphabetical order because, frankly, I had written this before the running order was revealed and do not really have the time to reorder everything. Overall, I think this semi-final is the weaker of the two. However, there are some real gems that, sadly, I do not think will make the Final.

First Semi-Final, First Half

Country

Performing Artist

Song

Selection*

 

Albania

Lindita

World

Televised

Thoughts:

So epic! So powerfully sung! Still not 100% sure what she is saying; honestly, she could have left it in Albanian without much difference. Love the song – but it probably will not get Albania back to the Final.

 

Australia

Isaiah

Don’t Come Easy

Internal

Thoughts:

A well-done ballad; Australia once again brings a strong entry. However, I do not think this will continue its uphill trajectory of success (i.e., it’s not going to win). Will definitely make the Final, but it will be a stretch to see it in the Top Ten.

 

Azerbaijan

Dihaj

Skeletons

Internal

Thoughts:

A dazzling number. It definitely sounds more conventional than Dihaj’s more experimental look and sound, but still a great number. It’s been a long time since Azerbaijan wowed us with a stunning staging. I am thinking this might bring that back (as well as Azerbaijan’s place in the Top Ten).

 

Belgium

Blanche

City Lights

Internal

Thoughts:

Already a heavy favorite, this is definitely another side of the contemporary sound. I really like it, though, not quite sure I’m seeing it as a winner just yet. Blanche’s voice is definitely unique; not too often you hear a female singer’s voice be quite that deep which might be a big part of her appeal.

 

Finland

Norma John

Blackbird

Televised

Thoughts:

Haunting, simply haunting. Each time I hear this song, I like it more and more. Her voice is so captivating and the arrangement perfectly captures the lyrics. I wonder how it would sound in Finnish…

 

Georgia

Tamara Gachechiladze

Keep the Faith

Televised

Thoughts:

This song delivers a powerful message that is well sung. However, it comes off a bit self-important and I predict a lot of controversy around the staging come April. I do like the song, but think it has little chance to make it to the Final.

 

Montenegro

Slavko Kalević

Space

Internal

Thoughts:

When people ask me for a good example of “gay pop,” I can now point to this song. And, if you’re curious as to what makes this “gay pop” – here is my rationale: the composition is a dance track with a disco feel (plus disco trumpets!) and, even more so, the erotic nature of the lyrics and music video. With that said, I think the song is a good club track, but a poor competition piece.

 

Portugal

Salvador Sobral

Amar Pelos Dois [Love for Both of Us]

Televised

Thoughts:

A lovely, understated ballad. My initial thought was that it could stand out in this field of EDM and power ballads; however, I just don’t think Sobral has the stage presence nor is the composition enchanting enough to make much impact.

 

Sweden

Robin Bengtsson

I Can’t Go On

Televised

Thoughts:

I like to think of this as discount-Måns Zelmerlöw. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is very well done schlager. But not much more than that. Even with a slick staging, this will merely be another Swedish Top Ten song that doesn’t really challenge for victory.

*There are three basic ways for a song to be chosen. Internal Selection which is when the broadcaster within a country chooses both the performing artist and the song completely on their own without help from a professional jury or the public. Televised Selection which is the exact opposite, both the performing artist and the song are selected through a competition (or set of competitions) in which some combination of professional jurists and the public vote on the winners. There are also Mixed Selections, in which either the performing artist or the song is selected internally and the other is selected through a televised process. The examples of that this year are Armenia, Greece and Israel. Greece internally selected Demy and had a televised final to select the song. Israel and Armenia had televised shows to select a singer and then internally selected the song.

What are your thoughts on these songs? My outlook is fairly bleak on most of them, but I’ve been surprised by semi-final results before. Just see my reactions to ANY of the semi-finals on this blog over the years (this is ESC Obsession’s 8th Contest!).

Find the other reviews from this year here!

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Reactions to First Semi-Final

Hello Dear Readers,

Last night was the First Semi-Final. What do you think?

So, there you have it. Our ten qualifiers from Semi-Final One are:
Azerbaijan
Russia
The Netherlands
Hungary
Croatia
Austria
Armenia
Czech Republic
Cyprus
Malta

Some historical markers from last night:
-This is the first time ever that the Czech Republic has qualified for the final! Czech Republic was the only participant this year not be in the Grand Final, even once.
-Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina missed the Grand Final for the first time ever since semi-finals were introduced in 2004.
-Whereas, Russia and Azerbaijan extend their 100% qualification rate. We’ll see tomorrow if Ukraine can also continue its 100% streak.
-For the first time (though I’ve been advocating this for years), we get to see the automatic qualifiers on the ESC stage. I suggest going and watching the full performances, they were great!

My reactions:
I am very excited that the Czech Republic moved through. It’s my favorite song this year and is, I think, the strongest ballad in the Contest this year.
-I am still a bit shellshocked that Iceland did not qualify. It’s a tremendous song with a tremendous staging. It’s just crazy that it didn’t qualify.
-I’m most disappointed in Estonia. The staging was so, so weak and his attempts at being sexy came off as – at best – like a child pretending to be an adult or – at worse – like a complete creeper.

I’m excited to see our eighteen competitors, Germany, Italy, and the UK all take the stage as well. It’s going to be a good night!


Reaction to Dress Rehearsal (Jury Show) of First Semi-Final

Hello Dear Readers!

The Jury Show for the First Semi-Final was last night. What a show! There were definitely some questionable choices when it came to staging; however, each entry was performed at top level. My general reactions to specific acts will come tomorrow as I don’t want to give anything away. I will say, though, that the influence from last year’s winner can definitely be seen. There’s an array of stunning visuals on display. Also, the interval act is amazing! And powerful!

After last night, a few songs still have work to do:
CzechFlagMapCzech Republic – she started off a bit shaky and the whole first verse was off key. She righted the ship by the refrain, but there is damage done.

Moldovan Flag MapMoldova – the staging choice was… interesting, but her vocals were strong. She’ll need another strong performance to have any hope tonight.

Estonia – this is one of my favorite songs this year, but the performance was weak. Estonian Flag MapThe staging comes off a but lazy, and his overall demeanor was a bit tired; he lacked energy from start to finish. He’ll need to turn things around tonight and really come alive.

My predictions will stay the same from Sunday with one exception. GreeceI’m switching out Moldova for Greece. Utopian Land went big in the hall and the performance was spot on.

So, that means, I think our finalists will be: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, the Netherlands, Russia. I think either Russia or the Netherlands will be the top winner tonight.

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