Well my enthusiasm levels are going up, up, up this week following a highly enjoyable preview party over in the docklands on Saturday night and a most probably ill advised nightcap in an east end boozer hosted by quite possibly the worst drag queen I've had the misfortune to witness! I almost heckled!
The demographic at the party was skewed towards the ageing twink schlager fan (I fitted right in you of course know!) and you won't be surprised to learn the uptempo songs fared better, Denmark beating Norway by 5 points...
Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine (highest performing ballad) completing the top six, UK a respectable 11th with 74. This I can well imagine happening in Malmo for Bonnie, she'll maybe just surpass Blue and make a top ten appearance?
All very scientific this....Not...
And so on to matters at hand, the second half of the first semi...
You know this isn't too bad at all. Not a genre I would normally support but in this year's ocean of ballads a little island of difference will spice things up. I'm reliably informed this style of music is big in the Balkans now so will get neighbourly support for sure however this genre really suffers on the Eurovision stage and might be a big old train smash.
Andrus Projavis proves that smiling during a performance doesn't always engage the audience and that eyebrows don't always follow the rhythm of the song. I had to watch this three times just to get past his facial contortions before I could even decide if I liked the tune. I don't particularly, sorry Andrus. It bounces along all quite innocently in a Coldplay-lite kind of way but doesn't really get going and by two minutes in, I was willing it over.
Next up the girl whose name is almost an anagram of her song and isn't this exactly the kind of song we'd all be wetting our knickers over about ten years ago? Solayoh by Alyona would most likely be one of the hot favourites, cheesy, Latin tinged ethno pop with an equally cheesy dance routine. But it's been done to death hasn't it and whilst I'll love dancing to it in the euroclub I don't see it doing any great business in Malmo. She looks a game young thing though and I'll buy her a Spendrups or three when I see her, and her dancers too..
Borderline, qualifying with neighbourly support?
Another Aliona now and what's the betting that isn't her real surname? Ms Moon employs all the hooded dancer, piano and pyro cliches in her national final performance which will surely be reprised with gusto in Malmo? They must also have got a good deal on the dress projector machine from Azerbaijan's performance last year! I hope to god we don't get a whole load of dress projections to accompany all the ballads this year! This is all style and no substance for me, the melody seems awfully clumsy and I don't see who will vote for this given that Romania are in the other semi.
Now for something completely better! This is just wonderful and, I would argue, Ireland's best in years. Completely current, this wouldn't look out of place in any of the European hit parades and could be on any number of artists latest album ie. Swedish House Mafia or Black Eyed Peas. My only worry is that this is a hard hard genre to carry at eurovision however the Irish delegation normally do a grand job of presenting their songs (Jedward's water feature springs to mind as one they got wrong). Sailing into the final through that sea of ballads!
Could there be a more Cypriot sounding name? Despina Olympiou warbles her way through the Cypriot tourism board's latest offering. Our poor old Bonnie must be sick, she got quicksand at Camber Sands in a faded back leather jacket whereas Despina enjoyed Limassol's finest white sand in a stunning stain glassed window effect dress avec wind machine! But no amount of time trolling around a Troodos mountain retreat is gonna get this lady into the final. Cyprus seem to be aiming for an early flight home on the Wednesday without embarrassing themselves untowardly, I think they'll achieve this aim.... with bells on! It's not bad is it? Just very unmemorable.
Ooh now this is interesting. This totally passed me by when it was announced early on in the season and I only woke up to its charms whilst watching the official video very recently. I am totally wowed by it and absolutely wowed by the fact I am wowed by it! It's Belgium for god's sake and it's not that modern either is it? But it's great! I totally love it though am tempering my excitement with the facts that he might not be able to sell it live, it doesn't go far after the first chorus and Belgium often struggle for semi votes. Though if Witloof Bay can finish 11th, this weirdly attractive boy can qualify, certainly the draw will do him no harm.
Inspired decision by SVT to close with the three Serbian slappers! Based on their white, red and golden frocks I'd imagine they're supposed to represent heaven, hell and Beograd and what a treat this is. It's cheap, naff, catchy and oh so fabulous. They ply their trade confidently onstage, flaunting to within an inch of their young libes and there's certainly enough neighbourly support for them. Given the draw and the plethora of ballads that have gone before I'd say this is going to do very well.
So prediction time now Rosé and I always hate this part. It's easier to try to find the six non qualifiers so here goes...
Cyprus, Moldova, Lithuania, Austria are the four I would point out first...
I already have Estonia, Croatia, Denmark, Russia, Ireland, Belgium and Serbia as qualifiers...
So that must leave five border liners vying for the last two places...
These are Slovenia, Ukraine, Netherlands, Montenegro and Belarus.
I have a sneaky feeling Ukraine will make it with their schmaltz fest and I also think Belarus might just scrape it despite being ten year old hat! But this is a tough call.. I may be reviewing this closer to the time!
Night night all xx