Thursday, May 12, 2016

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest - The Second Semi-Final

It's Eurovision week and we're in the midst of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest from Stockholm Sweden (last year's winner). The First Semi-Final was Tuesday, The Grand Final is on Saturday, and today was The Second Semi-Final.

By the way, this edition of the Contest had an introductory explanation song of what Eurovision was all about

Eighteen nations competed in The Second Semi-Final with only ten going through to 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…

Latvia - "Heartbeat" by Justs - Cute boy in a leather jacket always equals points in this contest. He's so earnest, and rules the stage as he sings. Tis one is a good opener and has good chances.

Poland - "Color of Your Life" by Michal Szpak - Johnny Depp as a Redcoat? Though, this might be weird enough to go through… just based on his jacket…

Switzerland - "The Last of Our Kind" by Rykka - She's smoking… on my, is she on fire? No, but let's face it, it wouldn't be the first time at Eurovision. Not a bad song, very hopeful, and anti-war songs always do well in the Contest, but the performance is a bit lacking.

Israel - "Made of Stars" by Hovi Star - I like the retro-hair, but not the song so much until it kicks in, but I do kinda dig the spinning acrobats in the big Hula-Hoop. This is definitely one where the performance is better than the song.

Belarus - "Help You Fly" by IVAN - Naked guys and wolves, always a winner. Wow, he got dressed quick. Great use of effects and illusions, Belarus is always good at that, even though it looks like they cribbed some of Russia's act, but that might be reversed, depending on the order of performance. Lots of charisma, I liked it.

Serbia - "Goodbye (Shelter)" by Sanja Vučić ZAA - There was a lot of buzz about this one, but really the song and Sanja don't do much for me. A lot of leather on that stage.

Ireland - "Sunlight" by Nicky Byrne - This was one of my early favorites before the Contest, very catchy and fun, but it’s Ireland, which doesn't usually get many votes, ever.

FYR Macedonia - "Dona" by Kaliopi - This was actually another early favorite, but after a while it began to grate on my nerves, much like her waving her arms has in this performance. If she keeps flapping her arms, she's going to take off… On a serious note, this is one of the few songs not in English, so I have no idea what it's really about. It could be quite important.

Lithuania - "I've Been Waiting for This Night" by Donny Montell - Another pretty boy trying to own the stage, but unlike Latvia's Justs, he has more energy, hotter dance moves, and better effects… he's just not as cute.

Just a word about the song intros, this year they are very simple, just the artist(s) chilling and posing in Sweden. Usually the intros are very arty, so much so that they leave you scratching your head more than the performances themselves. These are pretty basic, almost disappointing from what we've come to expect from Eurovision.

Australia - "Sound of Silence" by Dami Im - This is Australia's second year in Eurovision, but like Ireland and the UK, its chances of winning are slim. I like the sparkly dress, the levitation effect, and the holograms, and she's got quite a voice. She is very Eurovision.

Slovenia - "Blue and Red" by ManuElla - This has a interesting country music vibe underneath, and that's quite a dress. She's even yodeling, always welcome at Eurovision.

Bulgaria - "If Love Was a Crime" by Poli Genova - Oooh, is she from the future? Kidding aside, this is actually pretty good and catchy, and it ends with a choir, she might qualify for The Grand Final.

Denmark - "Soldiers of Love" by Lighthouse X - Is it just me or could these guys be David Tennant's kids? Just average Eurovision boy band garbage.

Ukraine - "1944" by Jamala - As I mentioned above, anti-war songs always do well, and seeing as Russia invaded Ukraine recently causing much Eurovision controversy, this tune definitely raises some eyebrows. She's not playing around, this one is definitely going through.

Norway - "Icebreaker" by Agnete - Is this Frozen? This one has its moments but it's a bit schizophrenic as a song with its stops and starts.

Georgia - "Midnight Gold" by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz - This was another of my favorites, mostly because it's one of the rare rockers. Pearl Jam meets Bush with none of the balls, and a retro sound that doesn't quite fit their image or Eurovision. I like it, but I'd be surprised if it goes through.

Albania - "Fairytale" by Eneda Tarifa - Another song called "Fairytale"? I guess they want history to repeat itself. I didn't like it, and in a way, I was happy my streaming went out during the song.

Belgium - "What's the Pressure" by Laura Tesoro - This tune is a great closer, even with its derivative disco rifts. It has great dancing, energy, and performance. If there's anything that unifies Eurovision fans more than an anti-war song it's mindless fun. This one is a score.

Those going through to the Grand Final on Saturday are Latvia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Australia, Ukraine, Serbia, Poland, Israel, Lithuania, and Belgium.

Ukraine versus Russia on stage will be fun… or interesting at least. See you on Saturday for The Grand Final, which will be broadcast live for the first time in the United States on Logo, details are here. And did I mention the guest appearance by Justin Timberlake? Yeah, be there!

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