Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Baku 2012 - semifinal 1

Wheee ... !!

OMG light your fire ... !!1!

First impression is ... pretty great, actually. Interesting blend of modern and historical. I love the inside of the arena. Hard to believe it's all been put together in just one year. Best not think too much about that right now.

Interesting reaction when the last of the big five was mentioned. But this year the UK have at least made some kind of effort. I'm soo glad the voting has been put off till all the entries have been performed. It's really unfair to start the voting immediately ... we've been doing that here for the last couple of years, I really don't like that. Good for the EBU for changing it back to this system.

The postcards are always ... I was going to say always interesting, but of course sometimes they turn out to be dull, but it's always interesting to see what the host has come up with. I like this first one.

Montenegro. This year's weirdest entry. I don't have high hopes for this. The song itself is most likely just too weird to appeal to more than a small segment of the audience and the presentation, well ... pardon, what was that about no political songs allowed? Sorry, not familiar with that. Anyway ... they may be hoping to appeal to young viewers with the breakdancing and the whatnot, but I really can't see this in the final. Just too weird all over. But I applaud them for sending something different ... there are depressingly few genres represented this year, so this is kind of refreshing. Even if it'll bomb.

Iceland. I like this entry. Looking forward to seeing how they'll present it. Ooh, mountains! Yay! This is exactly what I was hoping for ... understated (you have to compare it to their giant floating dolphin in Moscow) and evocative of Iceland. I really wish they would have performed in Icelandic. Oh well. It's dramatic and melodious and really all over an enjoyable entry. Good stuff. And of course it seems all the more impressive after Montenegro. I'm sure we'll be seeing this on Saturday. Already looking forward to seeing it again. :-)

Greece. Now this is a shoe in for the final. I'll be shocked if they don't get through. And they deserve to. Even though you can tell they've done it on the cheap. They haven't even been able to afford more than half a dress for their singer. Who is actually better at singing live than I had feared. So, good for them. They'll do well this year. Although it would be dreadful for them to actually win, of course. ;-)

Latvia. Oh, how I wish this had been in Latvian. And about something else. Because it really is a beautiful song - that is in fact the irony of it. The crazy lyrics totally ruin it. And the performance isn't too great tonight either. (Plus she should have considered a slightly tighter dress, right? o_O) I really don't know what to say about this song. It's just ... no. I really don't know. I think they'll be safe if they've made other plans on Saturday though.

Albania. Well, this song is ... really difficult to pay attention to because of that bizarre hairdo. o_O Good for her being alone on stage though. And wow, she's really getting the audience going. She does have a very striking voice. I think the song is quite beautiful, but it's also obviously very very sad, so that may be a little counterproductive. I'm not sure that this will get people voting. Although she's a very passionate singer, and really puts her heart into it. I'd be happy for Albania actually if they got through. But I'm not convinced they will. Kudos for singing in Albanian though.

Can I just say that I LOVE how the arena is lit up in each nation's colors when the postcards end ... !! :-D

Romania. I like this entry. She's not much of a singer, or in fact she's pretty bad at it, but the song is energetic and catchy. The costumes are very strange, apart from her dress, and I personally would have lost the bagpipes, but that's just me. I'm sure the rest of Europe is wacky for bagpipes. This is a very typical ESC entry ... upbeat, fun, catchy, performed by a pretty girl who can't really sing, and doesn't really mean much. I expect this to get through.

Switzerland. Interesting that there are two sets of brothers with very spiky hair performing tonight. Well, interesting is maybe not the word I'm looking for. This song is a little strange ... pretty boring verse and then really catchy chorus. Another singer who's not so great at actually singing. I like it that this is a little bit outside the genre standard, but this is probably too boring to get through. Poor Switzerland. But I'm sure they can do better than this. It's OK while you're listening to it but not much more.

Belgium. Very young girl performing, but one who can actually sing. I like her voice. Classy and understated performance. A lovely song, a melodious ballad, and she puts a lot of emotion into it ... they'd deserve to get through on the strength of the entry, but I'm worried it's a little too understated to really be noticed. To be honest I wouldn't vote for it myself, even though I like it. Good luck to the Belgians, could go either way.

Finland. Now this is the entry I would vote for if only I could ... !! (Note to foreigners: We can only vote in our 'own' semifinal, ie the one where we're competing. Which is too bad for Finland, because they would get a lot of votes from Norway tonight if that was an option.) I love this song. Soo pretty. I love the theme - it's a love song from a grown child to a mother - the singer is wonderful, the melody is so beautiful, the presentation is classy and understated (SO glad they decided to lose the dancer) and of course I love that she's singing in Swedish with her adorable Finnish accent. She sounds just like the Moomin! Problem is that at least parts of what I like about this song has only local appeal. So if could go either way for Finland too. But they soo deserve to get through ... !!

If you can vote in this semi, please vote for Finland on my behalf ... ! ;-)

Israel. Another entry where I really don't know what to think. I like it, it's fun. Again slightly outside the genre standard. But also again probably too weird. Pretty catchy, and at least makes for an interesting show. But probably too weird, yeah. Kudos to Israel though for sending something totally different after last year.

San Marino. Sheesh. The year's kookiest entry. The singer is doing better than I expected, but she can't disguise how stupid this song is ... and to be honest the presentation is pretty stupid too. Who picked these costumes? No, sheesh, let's get rid of this. It's slightly catchy at first but then just gets annoying. We'll all have a more enjoyable Saturday without this. Glad to know that there's no way they'll get through.

Cyprus. One of my favorite entries this year, but I'm afraid the singer may ruin it with her performance. Well, with her singing, actually. And ... yes, she is probably doing that. :-( The performance is certainly ... energetic enough, the presentation is pretty good and the song is really catchy. If only they had had someone who could actually sing! Alas. Fingers crossed for Cyprus, I hope they'll get through, but having seen heard this, I'm not convinced. :-(

Denmark. What is the deal with her outfit?? Seriously? Who picked that? Or possibly, who failed to talk her out of this? In fact there is nothing but bad wardrobe choices on stage right now. It's distracting. The song itself is, well ... I actually liked this quite a lot when I first heard it, but it's like every time I hear it I like it a little less. That's not good, is it. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but there's nothing special about it either. And that outfit really is distracting ... especially the hat. And the sunflowers, what's the deal with those? Oh, and 'insh'allah' ... ! Yes, a Muslim country is hosting for the first time. What a wonderful occasion to pander. >:-( Good luck to the Danes, they're going to need it.

Russia ... !! Yay for Russia!! I totally dig their entry this year. Not the song as such, the song's not that special. But the entry as a whole is just wonderful. Grandmas! :-D When I say that there aren't a lot of genres represented, don't forget that within a genre there can be a lot of creativity too. ;-) I love this whole idea. Respect! to Russia for sending this. They MUST be in the final. I'll be shocked and appalled if they don't get to the final ... ! The entry's too gimmicky to win, most likely, but it's soo wonderful. We have to have it. :-)

Hungary. When I first heard the name of their performers this year, I was expecting something totally different. But hey, confusion gets our attention, I guess. And the song needs a little help ... like the Danish entry it's an OK song, there's nothing wrong with it, as such. But it's also rather bland and too ... standard. We've all heard this before. IMO they should have made this much more of a rock song, that would have stood out, and could have really helped them. But it's too late now. I won't be surprised if this is the last time we hear this.

Austria. Right. Although the songs are mostly pretty samey this year, there are some that stand out. Like this one. Which really stands out. This entry is theoretically fun, but in practice, mostly tacky. I'm really not sure who they think this will appeal to. It seems to be getting a good reception in the arena, but will people at home vote for this? I think not. I can't imagine we'll be seeing this again on Saturday. I certainly hope we won't.

Moldova. This is a pretty catchy song with pretty awful lyrics. Good thing most of the audience won't understand enough English to really get how bad they are. Would have bombed if they'd stuck with the same godawful presentation, but they've changed the outfits, so ... maybe there's a vague chance? The choreography's pretty hopeless. Meh. Probably not.

Ireland. Oh, yay, Jedward's back. They really are. Seriously, Ireland? Now you're not even trying. Same performers as last year, but with a much less catchy song. That doesn't immediately seem like a brilliant move, but who knows. They have slightly less crazy hair now. And look, they have a water ... fountain ... thing! And their song is about water! That changes everything! Or maybe not everything. 8th place last year, less than 8th this year.

My computer crashed like three times in the past half hour so I'm way behind right now ... the results are in as I'm writing this. The interval entertainment was good, really interesting. Now I don't have time to list my predicitions, alas! We'll have to look through the above. ;-) Now the results ... !

Romania. Yup.
Moldova! Well, good for them. Less good for us.
Iceland! Yay!!
Hungary. Really? Huh.
Denmark. Wow. And people say this is all decided for the easterners ... ?
Albania! Oh, good for them!
Cyprus. Whew! She didn't ruin it. :-)
Greece. Yes, of course.
Russia! Whew. I almost got a little nervous. But of course they're in. :-)

Who will be the last ... ?? Finland??

Ireland. So no. Alas!

Well, you win some, you lose some. It's hard to tell this year, because the lineup is so even and mostly so samey. None of the really shitty entries got through though. Tee-hee. Already looking forward to Thursday ... !! :-)

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