Vision magazine editor Hass Yusuf (words) and assistant editor David Ransted (photos) report from Stockholm.
Ten days already… we’re nearly there.
So, Semi-Final One! I thought it was great show last night. AS far as predictions go, Mr David Elder got 9/10. Well done him! Myself, David Ransted and Robin Scott each got 7/10. All four of us got Iceland wrong. That was one of the surprises. We expected that to qualify after such a great performance.
And another surprise was that for the first time, Greece and Bosnia have failed to qualify from a semi-final. I suppose that’s good in way as that shows that no country is guaranteed to qualify. Despite the rap in both the songs, I really liked them. I guess songwriters have to realise that rap doesn’t seem to work in Eurovision.
Really chuffed to see Croatia going through – fab song – but I thought it wouldn’t do it, And also congratulations to the Czech Republic – first ever they qualified!
So, let’s go through the lucky ten.
HUNGARY: Well done to Freddie singing Pioneer.
CROATIA: Well to Nina singing Lighthouse.
NETHERLANDS: Well done to Douwe singing Slow Down.
ARMENIA: well done to Iveta singing LoveWave.
RUSSIA: Well done to Sergey singing You Are The Only One.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Well done to Gabriela singing I Stand.
CYPRUS: Well done to Minus One singing Alter Ego.
AUSTRIA: Well done to Zoe singing Loin D’ici.
AZERBAIJAN: Well done to Samra singing Miracle.
MALTA: Well done to Ira singing Walk On Water.
NEWS: The EBU is set to sanction Armenia because Iveta was shown waving the Nagorno-Karabakh flag! The was clearly a political statement as Nagorno Karabakh is a disputed area within Azerbaijan that is occupied by Armenia. The two countries are still technically at war. The Azeris are naturally up in arms. Iveta and her delegation should’ve known better. They could very well be banned from next year’s contest! Bit awkward if they win this year’s show…
We may not all agree with the EBU rules, but we all have to keep to them! And the Armenian’s action goes against the unifying spirit of Eurovision. Bad form. I’ve removed Iveta’s photo from the qualifiers.
Anyway, it’s time for the first Dress Rehearsal for Semi-Final Two.
Petra and Mons are on good form again. They’re going into a musical theater number. Hilarious. Think Springtime For Hitler!
First up with:
Latvia. Justs sings Heartbeat. He’s looking good, but is exposing his knees. He needs a new pair of jeans for his birthday. It’s a very performance.
Poland. Michal Szpak sings Color Of Your Life. He’s a snappy dresser in a nice red coat. I like his black fingernails. Not sure why he’s exposing his ankles. Socks for Christmas I think. Again, another great performance.
Switzerland. Rykka sings The Last Of Our Kind. As usual she’s letting off smoke – and her permed hair with the blue rinse is back. This song as grown on me, but I imagine it’ll struggle to get through. Nice use of the sparkly firewall at the end. It needed it.
Israel: Hove Star sings Made Of Stars. I never rated this song much, but seeing Hovi sing it I’ve been converted. A very simple act, even if it does contain spinning acrobats. Bravo! Best performance so far.
Belarus: Ivan sings Help You Fly. He got his wish to appear naked with a wolf. Technically this is a great act with impressive special effects. This a decent rock number that will hopefully get them into the final.
Watch out for our own Schlagerboys, Andrew Moffat and David Onion during the interval taxi ride segment. Yesterday we saw the Wiwiiblogs guys.
Serbia: Sanja Vucic sings Goodbye (Shelter). She looks great in black tassels. And nice to see the backing singers and dancers getting some limelight. Sanja has a great voice. The act is all in black and red – very effective.
Ireland. Nicky Byrne sings Sunlight. This is s great pop song which comes very natural for NIcky, what with his experience with Westlife. This deserves to qualify for our nearest neighbours.
Macdonia: Kaliopi sings Dona. She’s a friend of OGAE UK, so we should all wish her good luck. She’s certainly belting it out. Her vocals have a great intensity. I love it. It’s a very understated act, but absolutely powerful. Go girl!
Lithuania: Donny Montell sings I’ve Been Waiting For This Night. Why has he permmed his hair? He’s a snappy mover though. This is a perfect pop song, which suits Donny’s style perfectly. He’s brave doing gymnastics on stage. I like his. I shouldn’t, but I do.
Australia: Dami Im sings Sound Of Silence. This must surely be a Top Three contender. It’s ruddy marvelous. She looks fab, she sings fab, she’s got a fab outfit and she’s got fab legs. Yes, fab. I said Fab.
Slovenia: ManuElla sings Blue And Red. ManuElla delivers with his Country Rock song. She’s dressed in a white outfit, which also shows, off her legs and, err… chest. She’s joined on stage by a very effective acrobat, but unnecessary pyros.
Bulgaria: Poli Genova sings If Love Was A Crime. Poli looks marvelous in her super-hero inspired outfit (love the lit-up garters). And it fits the mood of this up-tempo number. All villains should give up! She’s invincible y’know.
Denmark: Lighthouse X sing Soldiers Of Love. This trio is certainly having fun. It’s a decent pop number that could’ve been performed by Westlife or Boyzone. Pleasant but probably won’t be remembered.
Ukraine: Jamala sings 1944. This song makes a powerful statement. And no one sings their song with more conviction than Jamala. Haunting. Will do well.
Norway: Agnete sings Icebreaker. OK, I have to finally admit it. I hate this song. The jarring key-changes just leave me cold. However Agnete definitely knows how to sing and perform. But I prefer watching the fabulous dancer. Sorry. But we have our tastes.
Georgia: Nike Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz sing Midnight Gold. This song left me a bit cold as well at first, but I soon began to appreciate the Brit rock sounds. Now I love it. The split-screen effects really suit the performance. It’s all-psychedelic, man. The song comes at you at 120 miles per hour and smashes you in the face!
Albania: Eneda Tarifa sings Fairytale. This is your typical Albanian song – a powerful ballad sung by a powerful singer. Eneda looks wonderful in gold. And what a great voice.
Belgium: Laura Tesoro sings What’s The Pressure. This is an act for you youngin’s. It’s a great energetic funky act.
So, who do you think will qualify? We’ll be back tomorrow with the predictions.
But before that, let’s go back to the show. The interval act is quite unusual. On stage performing are also Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. These three performances will be performed live again tonight at the Jury Final and recorded and edited to about two minutes for Semi-Final Two.
Jamie-Lee of Germany performed well enough.
Francesca of Italy likewise. She’s fab. There are some Italian journalists sitting behind me singing along. Well they should be proud of their entrant.
Joe & Jake of the United Kingdom were superb. Brings a tear to the eye.
Don’t forget it’s our fan meet-up tomorrow afternoon (Thursday) from 14:30 at Stockholm’s Hard Rock Cafe for those of you in Stockholm.
But before we go, here are some comments from our twitter feed:
Ira’s back! She pays tribute to those who didn’t make it through, saying music is about “unity not competition” .
“Eurovision is a song contest and it’s all about music” states Samra, after another politically-loaded question about Nagorno-Karabakh.
Zoe has been a big fan favourite but admits she was “crying with nerves” before her performance (last) tonight.
The Cypriots use their moment in the press conference to pay tribute to their songwriter, a certain Mr G:son.
Huge applause in the press centre for the Czechs. “It’s an honour and a pleasure” says an ecstatic Gabriela.
“Gay life exists in Russia, we are a modern country” notes Sergey Lazarev, adding “you can feel safe in our country”
A bit of politics…Iveta defends her decision to wave the flag of Nagorno-Karabkh in the Green Room.
Douwe Bob says he’s in it to win it…and reveals he’s going to get another tattoo to celebrate! But where…..;-)
Tough words from Nina (Croatia) – “this success is for all of those in Croatia who wanted us to fail”