Eurovision (ESC) Thursday – Semifinal #1

Preface:

As I mentioned in a previous post (Random Thoughts Thursday: Eurovision), I’m going to start reviewing and making my predictions for ESC2022 as countries begin to name their artists and release their songs.

In this post, I gonna give some quick thoughts about the qualifiers and non-qualifiers for the first of two semifinal rounds. One good thing about following Eurovision throughout the season is following all of the songs and the artists throughout the weeks leading up to Eurovision week. One bad thing about doing this, sometimes your views can be a bit skewed (both in a positive and negative way) regarding the songs and the artist. Without further ado, here goes.

Image courtesy of Eurovision TV

Albania – Ronela – Sekret (Did not qualify; Shocked)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

Ok, I will admit that this was one of my favorite songs and performers going into this contest. Unfortunately, Ronela’s performance did not resonate with the national juries and/or the public. While she probably is one of the most popular performers in the Eurovision class of 2022, she has faced a lot of criticisms (most of which were underserved) over the past week. Objectively, looking at her performance, I guess I can understand why she did not qualify. That said, I would love to see the breakdown of points from the national juries and the televote. In Eurovision, we do not learn about the scores for the semifinal rounds until after the contest. While the song is a pop banger with traces, aspects of the staging, camerawork, vocals, and choreography were not as strong as what we know she can deliver. I think some of the drama during the week kind of messed with her confidence, which was reflected in her performance. Although she did not qualify, I think she definitely has increased her international fan base.

Latvia – Citi Zeni – Eat Your Salad (Did not qualify; Somewhat expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision World

In my opinion, this entry was somewhat borderline. I feared that the first line of the song “I don’t eat meat. I eat veggies and p*ssy” would not be accepted by many casual listeners. Ok, the band did not actually say p*ssy during their performance, instead they let the audience do the dirty work. 😉 I’ll say I thought the guys did a great job. Even with the cheeky lyrics, no one can disagree that they brought strong energy to the performance. Also, the staging with the bright colors and images of various fruits and veggies (FYI: everyone in the group are vegans-hence the obsession with salad) was very engaging. I wonder if the juries and many of the voting public thought this song was a joke entry instead of a serious entry.

Lithuania – Monika Liu – Sentimentai (Qualified: Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

I am so glad that my girl made it through this semi round; however, I had no doubt that she would make it through. While the performance was “simple”, sometimes you can say more with less.

Switzerland – Marius Bear – Boys Do Cry (Qualified: Shocked)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

In previous posts, I constantly mentioned this is the only song that did not grow on me during the season. I have to say that my mouth stayed open for a bit after Switzerland was the first country announced as a qualifier. While the song and the singer are not horrible, the song (IMO) never really hits the mark. Marius Bear is a decent singer, but I found him to be a bit pitchy during his performance. Also, the performance reminded me a lot of France’s performance last year. Hey, I guess Switzerland was like if it worked for France last year, it will work for us this year. Eh, I guess they were right. 😉

Slovenia – LPS (Last Pizza Slice) – Disko (Did not qualify: Expected)

Image courtesy of ESCToday

While I expected this song not to qualify, you could tell that LPS really had a great time performing this song, and I enjoyed watching them perform each other. Although they did not qualify for the final, I think the group took the news well. The group tweeted something like: Even though we did not qualify, it was nice to miss two weeks of school.

Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra – Stefania (Qualified; Expected)

Bulgaria – Intelligent Music Project – Intention (Did not qualify; Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

Ok, I know that it was going to be a long shot for this group to qualify so I was not bummed with this result. While the song was not popular with the fandom, I gotta them credit for remaining positive throughout this process. I will say that the staging for this group was way better than I expected and the vocal and sound was pretty on point. Although the song was not strong, compared to others in the contest, you definitely got a sense of the band’s professionalism and experience.

Netherlands – S10 – De Diepte (Qualified; Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

What a simple, yet powerful performance that shows one does not need to have 80 million things going on a stage to make a great impact. Since S10 vocals were so good, I would have fallen out of my chair if she did not qualify. During the results portion, I was nervous for her because she was the last one announced as a qualifier. The only concern I had with S10 performance was the shaky vocal near the end of the song. I think her emotions hit her because she started tearing up during the last few moments of the song. While this might be viewed negatively, I thought this vulnerability kind of helped her performance by making it more personal. You could tell that song was a reflection of some trials and tribulations. Briefly, De Diepte is a reflection of her sad memories after the passing of her boyfriend, which resulted in her suicide attempt.

Moldova – Zdob si Zdub & Advahov Brother – Trenuletul (Qualified; Pleasantly Suprised)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

I think this song could have gone either way in regards to qualifying. 1. The song is very quirky. 2. The song was in a semifinal with two other quirky songs. Moldova definitely delivered the hell out of this song. According to social media, as soon as the violin started, the entire arena was on its feet dancing. While the song is in Romanian, it’s one of the songs that will get you moving even if you do not understand the lyrics. In fact, while watching the show, my Apple Watch even told me to get up.

Portugal – Maro – Saudade, Saudade (Qualifed; Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

While I never got into this song, I thought Maro and her backup singers gave a very elegant and strong performance.

Croatia – Mia Dimsic – Guilty Pleasure (Did not qualify; Expected)

Image courtesy of ESCDaily

Going into the semi, I kind of knew that this one was not going to qualify unless she brought something amazing to her staging. Well, she did bring three contemporary dancers to the stage (the song is about a woman going back and forth between two lovers), but it was a bit lackluster. However, I LOVED her changing the song and singing the last part in Croatian.

Denmark – Reddi – The Show (Did not qualify; Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

While Reddi was eliminated, I would not have been upset if the group qualified. The Show was never high on my list, but the four young women gave a flawless performance. You could tell that they were really enjoying themselves on stage.

Austria – LUM!X ft. Pia Maria – Halo (Did not qualify; Expected)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

The good: This is a great EDM song that would get any party started. The beat, musical arrangement, and chorus are sooo infectious (in a good). Let me be your halooooooo. Cause we’ve been through hell and back in one night. Let me be your halooooooo. Cause heaven can’t wait for us to finish the fight.

The unfortunate: This has been mentioned several times during the preseason, but Pia Maria’s vocals have been pretty much lackluster. I think this is due to her limited experience, BUT she deserves a lot of credit as an inexperienced singer and performing in an international song contest. Besides the vocals, I felt the performance should have had a bit more umph with the staging, which was Pia Maria and LUM!X (the DJ) inside of illuminated halo. I guess they were going for a rave vibe.

Iceland – Systur – Meoaekkandi sol (Qualified; Pleasantly Suprised)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

This song became one of my favorites during this season because of its chill and relaxed vibe. I have to say that I was 100% surprised (in a very good way) that the group was announced as a qualifier.

Greece – Amanda Tenfjord – Die Together (Qualified; Expected)

Image courtesy of ESCDaily

Pretty much everyone in the fandom was hooked on this song. Early on, it was a no-brainer that this song would go to the final.

Norway; Subwoolfer; Give That Wolf a Banana (Qualified; Slightly Suprised)

Image courtesy of Eurovision Song Contest

Since this semi had three quirky songs, I assumed that two of the three quirky songs were going to advance. With their characters as wolf-aliens from the Moon, Subwoolfer definitely made this year’s preseason very interesting. In fact, the group made Tik Tok parodies of the other contestants’ music videos. Although they qualified, I have to admit that I was expecting a bit more from their performance.

Armenia – Rosa Linn – Snapp (Qualified; Slightly Suprised)

Image courtesy of the Public Radio of Armenia

Even though this was one of the last songs released, it went straight into my top ten list. This is the type of song that forces you to sing along . . . if you know the words. “Snapping 1, 2. Where are you? Snapping 3, 4. Don’t need you here anymore. Get out of my heaaaart. Cause I might snap.” I think Armenia did a wonderful job replicating aspects of the music video, where she is singing/writing the song in a flying house. No, there was not in a flying house in her live performance. Instead, the staging was set up as if we were in her room while she was writing with her song notes all over the place. As she was singing the song, she removed various patches of notes that displayed certain lyrics of the song. Then, for the final bridge and chorus she removed a huge patch of notes that allowed her to leave her “room” and enter the stage.

Concluding Remarks

There we go; the first 10 songs that will compete in the final on Saturday.

Later today, the second batch of countries will compete in the second semifinal round. I’ll say (and most of the fandom will agree) that today’s semi is going to be a bloodbath. From this batch of 18 songs, I would say 12-14 songs deserve to qualify BUT there are only 10 slots. EEEKKKK! Let’s see what Finland, Israel, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Malta, San Marino, Austraila, Cyprus, Ireland, N. Macedonia, Estonia, Romania, Poland, Montenegro, Belgium, Sweden, and the Czech Republic will bring.

Questions of the Day (if you follow Eurovision):

What did you think about the 1st semifinal round?

What are your expectations for the 2nd round?

Social Media Plug:

5 comments

  1. I’m finally watching Eurovision! Super easy to do so here from Greece. Ok, I watched half of semi-final 1 then fell asleep during 2 but I caught up thanks to the recaps on the morning shows here. The Die Together song is EVERYWHERE here (radio and TV).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greece sounds like so much fun. I hope that I can visit in the near future . . . Maybe not in the summer because they say Greece is hot as hell during summer months.

      I can image that Die Together song was everywhere. Die Together was in my top ten throughout the contest. Did you happen to hear the Cyproit entry, Ela (Έλα, since I have been learning Greek), while in Greece?

      Like

      • It was amazing! Don’t think I heard the Cypriot entry but will listen to it again. May was a good time, I think June would be pushing it for heat.

        Like

    • Since the husband is from Spain, we were team Spain. While I like Chanel, I had a slight preference for the UK and Poland. That said, I have to give Spain and the UK a lot of credit, because both countries have not faired well in the contest over the past couple of decades.

      Liked by 1 person

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