So I had a little sojourn over the weekend including a fun night at a place called Sepp Kõrts. All very good. This second semi-final is a different kettle or pollock to the first one. A lot more open with maybe one or two certs. We also have five, yes, count them, five of the former Yugoslav republics in this semi-final. Thursday 24 May could be fun...
1. Serbia – Serbia’s cross between Mr Eurovision and Dennis Waterman (competed in the show, written songs for the show, presented the show…) is back with a half decent song he’s thankfully kept in his native tongue. Anything he does will always be overshadowed by the brilliant ‘Lane moje’, but this one must stand a chance. First on is never a bad draw if you have an average song or better. So will this qualify? Easily.
2. Macedonia FYR – Part II in our five-part cavalcade of former Yugoslavia is the little country that used to punch above its weight until the EBU had the wizard wheeze of introducing juries. But 60-a-day Kaliopi (formerly of the Grill) hasn’t done half bad with this. Whether her gravelly voice will satisfy those voters out there is a little beyond me. Will this qualify? Borderline.
3. Netherlands – Every good Eurovision stage needs feathers – the more the better. Bring on them crazy Dutch (with their shwimming and their shnorkelling) to satisfy pteronophiles everywhere. Why Indian Joan is dressed as such is beyond me, but what’s not to make you smile. And the world needs more smiling. She appears winsome in the delivery like she has a ‘special’ secret she doesn’t want to share. Part of me thinks this will scrape through to Saturday night, and part thinks it’ll be this years’ Kuunkuiskaajat. Will this qualify? I have absolutely no idea.
4. Malta – Some of my fellow bloggers were there when this was picked. Should I join them next year, dear reader? Kurt’s song appears to have been around for months and months, and I vaguely remember it being instant at the time. Those draw statisticians out there are bound to tell us the whys and wherefores are being drawn fourth between a Native American wannabe and a national final’s runners-up. Will this qualify? I think this has something about it. It won’t win this semi-final, but might just scrape in.
5. Belarus – Our White Russian brethren ditched their first choice, and I think they’ve made the right decision. I can’t help likening the lead singer’s voice to Chad Kroeger of Nickelback (but that’s just me). I may use the word contemporary often (not as often as the word cheese though), but this is a contemporary song that should get Belarus through to the final. No gimmicks like lift doors or insects this time, but just a good honest pop song. Will this qualify? Yes.
6. Portugal – Trainee for the monicker of Mr Eurovision, Andrej Babić, has got his sticky little mitts involved in another song for Portugal. It’s typical Portuguese stuff, but maybe not up to the standard of Senhora do mar. Still, it’s between two bouts of more upbeatedness, so may strike a chord with some of the populous out there. Will this qualify? Hmmm, will finish somewhere between 8th and 13th.
7. Ukraine – Lunacy strikes again with a big bold number that curiously isn’t a replacement song for one that won a first Ukrainian national final. It has a hook to it and a larger than life voice in Gaitana. Would I want to be her guest? Hmmm, I’ll get back to you on that. Will it qualify? It will indeed.
8. Bulgaria – Some might describe this as a similar song. To me, it has a classic disco vibe that will fill the floor at the Baku Euroclub. It seems to have a bit of every language going, except Udmurt or Estonian (pulls sad face) which makes it slightly un-unlimited to me. But that aside, it may be mad enough to get through to the Saturday night bunfight at the OK Crystal Hall. Will this qualify? Maybe
9. Slovenia – Eurovision wouldn’t be Eurovision without a 16 year old performer, and this one ain’t half bad – a bit like the first two instalments of our musical tour around former Yugoslavia. I think her lovely backing singers need to ditch their gravity-defying nets to stop the pointing and laughing that may take place for the three minutes of this song. If she plays this right though, it could mean Spring 2013 in Ljubljana. Will this qualify? Yes