Semi Final 1 Review
|Qualifiers: Romania, Moldova, Iceland, Hungary, Denmark, Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Ireland|
So we’re underway for the 2012 Song Contest, with, lets be honest, a rather unsurprising ten progressing. Ultimately the first semi-final had such a strong selection of songs that any of the ten were likely to be quite good songs, and that is certainly the case with what was chosen at the end.
I am devastated with two songs failing to make it, for me, Israel’s entry, Time, was brilliant, and one of my favourite ones of the whole contest. But it failed to make it and I’m kind of unsure why, the stage performance seemed highly competent, and arguably more people decided they didn’t like it rather than they did. The stage show was completely bonkers, but in a rather brilliant way, this failing to qualify is the greatest injustice since InCulto in 2010. In another sense, I was both surprised by the performance of Switzerland as well, although I would have much rather watched it live in the arena rather than on television. It looked fantastic, and the Sinplus boys took to the stage magnificently and had huge interaction of the audience. Although it’s in my personal top 10 from the night, you can see why it lost votes with the viewers at home, and even the juries. Little care was given to the camera, and vocally, they weren’t singing ‘Swim against the stream’, which maintains to be my biggest gripe about the whole song.
I’m hardly surprised Albania qualified meanwhile, it was always borderline and no doubt the juries gave this the top marks. It certainly is not my cup of tea, and Rona Nishliu seemed rather insistent on trying to permanently damage my ear drums, but it’s something the juries are going to go for, instead of say, San Marino (who, in a brief summary, we’re even worse than I thought possible).
Cyprus is arguably the only one I’m disappointed that it qualified. I thought Ivi Adamou’s vocals were especially poor, and were very lucky to qualify especially that a similar song of its like, Aphrodisiac by Eleftheria Eleftheriou, also qualified to the final. Eleftheria was far from perfect too, although she had combined the art of singing and dancing better than Ivi had, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Greece were much higher up the order.
I’m amazed Romania qualified too, but not because I dislike the performance. It’s clear Elena had technical difficulties with her earpiece (her rather frustrated pointing to it and subsequent throwing it away showing it), and the vocal performance was very out of place because of it. Everything else about it was spot on, and I think Mandinga are breathing a very loud sigh of relief that it wasn’t as serious as I thought it was going to be. On a similar note, I’m glad the lead singers vocals for Hungary have improved since the last time I heard them live, they really helped carry the song and I did enjoy it for once.
I find there is little to add about Denmark and Iceland, both were performed well, but I do feel there is a growing complacency around the Danish camp, and I’m not enjoying it as much as I did when I first heard it back at the Melodi Grand Prix. Greta and Jonsi, for me, were easily the best performers of the night. Although, I would say that anyway.
As always, I fail to see the appeal of Jedward, but once again, they helped Ireland get into the final for the third year in a row (first time since 2004), probably getting wet helped them quite a bit. And Russia, I’ve never seen a crowd at Eurovision so enthusiastic and love a song as much as they loved the Russian grannies, they were adorable to watch, and they have the benefit that the audience in the arena loves them, the audience watching on television loves them. I’m now terrified though that they could win this whole thing.
The big winners, for me though, were Moldova, my word was that fun! And their running order (more of that later) is so good, I am very tempted to go for a very good finish from this song. It was fantastic!
And a brief thought on the rest, Austria really could have done with more woki-ing of the popo’s, Finland could have been less boring, Latvia could have been less condescending and Montenegro, well, couldn’t really have done anything else.
So apart from swapping Israel and Switzerland for Cyprus and Ireland, this top 10 is very similar to what I would’ve sent, and arguably, I have no complaints with that. No doubt that will all change when the Second Semi Final comes around.
Along with the semi final, the running order for the final was announced. The big winners from this were Ireland (23rd) and Moldova (26th), who will be especially helped if a couple of ballads come through and take their position. Ireland have shot from a potential non-qualifier to a top 10 prospect in the space of 2 hours.
On the other end of the scale, Hungary drew the ‘position of death’ (2nd), where no one has ever won before, followed by Albania (3rd), and with the show being opened by Engelbert Humperdinck, it’s a rather low-tempo start for Eurovision yet again, and some decent news for the UK at least. Russia (6th) and Iceland (7th) have also struggled with a bad draw, but I suspect not many people are going to forget Russia that easily.
Cyprus (8th) start a set of strong female vocals, hampering France and Italy after, and Romania (14th) start after one of the breaks. Denmark (15th) and Greece (16th) have fairly average draws.
So that’s Semi Final One down with, and 18 more songs will try and force themselves into the remaining ten places in the final. If you agree or disagree with anything, don’t be afraid to share it in the comments.