People who know me often ask why I spend a large chunk of my holidays going to obscure cities in deepest Europe, watching certain styles of music sung by people who disappear from view within a week of Eurovision. I think the five countries we saw rehearse will answer that question completely. If there's something song-wise I've not seen this afternoon, I probably never will.
We had Margaret [insert meat type here] Berger singing her little song in a long white dress that leaves practically nothing to the imagination. More please I say! I can understand why this is one of the hot favourites. She's your stereotypical Scandic lass with a decent voice and an atmospheric presentation. And a source tells me she's single.
Prog rock is something we don't here much outside of Rick Wakeman anthologies, but it's the musique-du-jour in downtown Tirana. I'm almost prepared to say more please, even if it's just to disprove the rumour that Eurovision is all Kreisiraadio, Sophie & Magali and Scooch. I quite like a good guitar riff and this has one of those too. And yet, and yet, I don't really see how this will appeal to the housewife in Interlaken.
Some of my esteemed colleagues sat in the cheap seats of our cinema started working how to get to Tbilisi/Batumi after Georgia rehearsed. I can sort of see why, but I also think they're being a bit previous. They do their stuff damn damn well and it's been in Riigi's top 3 since he first heard it. They don't seem to give the impression that they actually fancy each other that much. They just seem to be going through the motions of singing a love song. Having said that, I do still like it and I want to see it do very well. I suspect the Sopho (all Georgian women seem to be called Sopho) that represents Georgia in 2014 won't be singing in her home country.
From enforced duetting to thinly-veiled evangelism. Not that there's anything wrong with how the band look. There is something for everyone whatever your persuasion. Even those of you out there whom have unnatural obsessions with double basses will be happy people. Our nonagenarian doesn't know exactly what's going on, but that's what you get when the Swiss Confederation's branch of the Salvation Army has an open casting session. Zürich 2014? No. Switzerland in the final on 18 May? Possibly.
Finally, as if attractive blondes, prog-rock, duets and preaching isn't enough for you, Romania went and filled in every remaining genre going. We had, in no particular order, red cloth, huge crucifixes, a castrato, lifts and black-out curtains fashioned into a long frock coat. It started to get a little too much for me when someone pointed out it looked like a plate of raw meat. But Margaret [insert meat type here] Berger was nowhere in site. Cezar's song is mad mad mad as a big bucket of wasps. Europe will either voting in their droves or stunned into silence. I can't decide which.
So that's the final five for today. The way I'm talking, all but one or two from this second semi-final will make it through to the final. Maybe we should just cut to the chase and let them all perform on Saturday.
Keep watching, there may be Sammarinese cheese news tomorrow. I can't wait.