I'm not sure whether the first or the second semi-final is the stronger one this year. They both have their good and bad points. Indeed, there are both some gems and some dirges in this first half.
Bulgaria – The orgasm to music is back, complete with a bit of nipping and tucking along the way it seems. Bulgarian TV couldn’t make their mind up about the one they originally chose, so in time-honoured tradition they disqualified it and picked a different one. I can see why they’ve gone for the only Bulgarian act to make a final, but this sort of stuff has been done before. Voda/Water was better.
Finland – I watched the whole UMK thing this year and my heart kept sinking at every turn. They had songs featuring banjos, which is always a good thing in my book. Unless it’s in a ‘Deliverance’ sort of context. Anyway, this thing went and won and trounced some far superior competition. I can sort of see its appeal. But the lyric portrays Krista as someone very submissive in a very domineering sort of way. Reminds me of a girl I once knew. I don’t think it’s really good enough and just a little bit too gimmicky.
Iceland – I have to admire the Icelanders for choosing to be proud of their language once again. I never thought I’d hear the unique ‘Þ’ and ‘Đ’ sounds heard on a Eurovision stage, but I’m glad they’re back. Iceland has seemed a fairly safe bet for qualification over the last few years, and the same seems true this year. A ballad, but sung by a bloke. It all sounds good to me.
Latvia – Hmmm. My mother always said to me that if I couldn’t find anything to say, I should keep quiet. Silence. OK, so silence doesn’t come across well in a blog so I better say something. What were my neighbours thinking? Dziesma had potential. Samanta Tina’s song was there for the wonning (sic). Even Ott Lepland showed up. But no, there are times when democracy doesn’t work. The Lats sending PeR to Eurovision was one of those times. Maybe they should have called this song ‘Here we stay’.
Macedonia FYR –If your first choice song doesn’t go down too well, just pick another one. After all, it has worked for other countries. Oh, hang on a minute, no it hasn’t. This is ethnic with a capital ‘ETH’ and it quite appeals to me. Bloke Lozano has a voice slightly reminiscent of the late great Toše Proeski. Esma has an interesting look. A little mature, a little ‘Divine’ if you get my drift. Without her, this song would be going nowhere.
Malta – My Oneurope colleagues were there when Gianluca won. I wish I had been too. A bit of a surprise to some, but Mr Hacksaw called this as a winner ages ago on his highly useful blog. The Maltese are always a fun bunch and are bound to be this year, judging by what I’ve read and seen. I like it because it’s different, it’s very enjoyable and Mr Bezzina is going to have a darn good time in Malmö. He strikes me as the singer who won’t screw things up on the night too. Let’s get the Med’s happiest island(s) to the final again.
San Marino – What has the Serene Republic gone and done this year? They’ve gone and entered a bloody good song, that’s all. My heart sank when I’d heard we were getting the unholy alliance of Monetta and Siegel again. My question is, why couldn’t they have entered this beauty 12 months ago? Or was the German candidate for Mr Eurovision just saving it up for a perceived weaker year? In any event, if this doesn’t qualify for the final my name isn’t, well, whatever it is.
We're nearly there you'll be glad to know dear reader. I'll be back in a few days.