Well, that was interesting. What for me was the stronger semi now feels like a slightly weaker show than last night. I think there are more certain non-qualifiers, though of what’s left those that miss out will be bigger names. Serbia is a great opener followed by a fantastic vocal by Macedonia which really engaged the crowd. Joan continues to charm for the Netherlands, along with her banjo player the lovely Mark. I had a moment during Malta, which is just charming and I really hope this goes through.
First nonqualifier for me is Belarus, who had a small pause for a technical hitch at the start. Next is Portugal and though Fillipa delivers a great performance I just can’t see who’s going to vote for it. Ukraine fills the hall though having seen it live and on the screens it’s not quite the big number I thought it would be. Coming directly after it Bulgaria is thoroughly lost alone on stage, but ther gap is quickly filled by a string and charming performance by Slovenia. Nina from Croatia is still looking like something should be happening with her very strange frock, but as yet there’s a lot of flounce and not much action: will be get a gimmick on the night?
Sweden next and a very good show from Loreen with a killer end shot in slow-mo but the high-level plummets for me with Georgia up next which is a mess. Can for Turkey is managing to limit the annoyance and up the charm, thankfully, before Ott from Estonia turns in what I have to concede is a class act with, for me, a dull song. The dullness plumbs new depths of dull with Slovakia which is a bad performance of a very bad rock song, which fell flat in the hall. Tooji ups the game for Norway and I think this is sailing through, but the last two mean we limp rather lamely to the end of the show. Bosnia is just not working for me, and there were a couple of terrible camera shots where the piano lid is cutting out her face. Finally Donny from Lithuania continues to be miles better than his song.
Spoiler alert for the interval: We caught this from the press centre, a medley of the 2007 – 10 winners reprising their songs with a marginally local twist before being joined by Ell & Nikki for a chorus of Waterloo, which is, at the moment, a bit odd.
So what do I think is going through? I’ll say: Serbia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Malta, Ukraine, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, Estonia and Norway.