Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest - The First Semi-Final

The really big news this year is that the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest (the Grand Final at least) will be broadcast live on American television, on Logo, this coming Saturday at 3:00 PM EST. More details can be found here.

The event will be hosted, as it was today, by Mans Zelmerlow and Petra Mede from the Globe Arena in Stockholm. The voting is quite a bit different this year, but still more complicated than it needs to be. An explanation can be found here. Oh, that wacky Eurovision. Also new this year is the app that you can use anywhere.

There were eighteen nations participating in the first Semi-Final, ten will qualify for the Grand Final, the links below are to the song's video, and not their Eurovision performance, and I'll give you my impressions as they performed…

Finland - "Sing It Away" by Sandhja - Very old school disco, but entertaining.

Greece - "Utopian Land" by Argo - I'm surprised Greece could afford to enter this year, it's a very traditional tune with a bit of hip-hop rap, not a bad song, but the performers seemed more than a bit sedated.

Moldova - "Falling Stars" by Lidia Isac - Alone on stage, she had more energy than Greece… and hey, what’s up with that creepy astronaut?

Hungary - "Pioneer" by Freddie - Hot guys and a big drum, what more do you need?

Croatia - "Lighthouse" by Nina Kraljic - It's just not Eurovision without some yodeling and an insane dress, and backing vocals by druids…

The Netherlands - "Slow Down" by Douwe Bob - This is seventies American country music, really not bad, and it grows on me more each time I hear it. The tune sorta has a England Dan and John Ford Coley vibe, I like it.

Armenia - "LoveWave" by Iveta Mukuchyan - Is she a superhero? Nice cape. Sexy, the performance is better than the song, as so often happens at Eurovision.

San Marino - "I Didn't Know" by Serhat - I love this song, for all the wrong reasons. It's so bad, and yet it has everything it needs to win this.

Russia - "You Are the Only One" by Sergey Lazarev - Great song, great effects, wings and lightning, definitely a qualifier despite the country's recent actions. With these effects, the song could have been awful and it would have qualified.

Czech Republic - "I Stand" by Gabriela Gunčíková - Zzzzzzzz, she's just standing there… zzzzzzzzz…

Cyprus - "Alter Ego" by Minus One - Strong pop rocker, a rarity in this contest, will definitely be in the Grand Final, as good as Russia, its best contender even if it does remind me far too much of "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers.

Austria - "Loin d'ici" by ZOË - She has more energy than Greece (but most of the acts do), her smile and movements are contagious, the performance better than the song.

Estonia - "Play" by Jeri Pootsmann - Once again, a better performance and effects than song, I like it, but is he twelve? He definitely is giving off a serial killer vibe no matter how old he is… like someone on Twitter said, he's definitely a Slytherin.

Azerbaijan - "Miracle" by Samra - Okay song, nice effects, but 'it's gonna take a miracle' to beat the other effects-heavy entries this year.

Montenegro - "The Real Thing" by Highway - This one is harder than one might expect, somebody got guitars for their birthday… so not the real thing.

Iceland - "Hear Them Calling" by Greta Salóme - I like the outfit, definitely more superhero than Armenia.

Bosnia & Herzegovina - "Ljubav Je" by Dalal & Deen featuring Ana Rucner and Jala - Gold and silver foil outfits with fishnet accents? Anti-war, anti-Russia song? Great presentation …ummm, did he have to rap? Still, better rap than Greece.

Malta - "Walk on Water" by Ira Losco - Nice song, better performance than song, Ira kicks it, but that guy crawling around on the floor has got to go.

Those going through to the Grand Final on Saturday are Azerbaijan, Russia, The Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Armenia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, and Malta. That should give you an idea as to how they vote, and how good I am at picking winners. See you in a couple days for the Second Semi-Final.

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