Hass Yusuf reports after viewing the jury final.
If you need reminding, here’s the running order.
FINLAND The Ramus Jezebel
You would’ve though something with a title, Jezebel, red would be the prominent colour, but it’s all yellow in this performance – not that that actually defects from this impressive rock song! A yellow balloon plays a big part in this act – as does a bare torso. These Fins don’t feel the cold – but this is how to rock!
ISRAEL Michael Ben David I.M
He is what he is. Michael is having the time of his life on stage, dressed in white he’s performing his hips off! Sure, there’s a lot of camp dancing in this up-tempo dance number, but it’s all good fun,
SERBIA Konstrakta In Corpore Sano
Techno talk that a Cyclon would be proud of. Konny performs her song sitting down wearing a nurse’s uniform in front of a washing bowl and, er… washes her hands – often. It’s all very post-modern and quirky. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy attitude to life. Quite bonkers, but this is Eurovision.
AZERBAIJAN Nadir Rustamli Fade To Black
They brought along a wooden structure of giant benches. Nadir sings and relaxes on the higher tier while a dancer delivers a rather angst performance. Lots of fading to black effects as you might expect. Nadir has an impressive vocal ranges and manages to bring the best out of this slow ballad.
GEORGIA Circus Mircus Lock Me In
You would probably lock yourself in if you bumped into this strange and scary looking group – but what fun they offer! The act is all very psychedelic – all very weird, whacky and wonderful! It’s very fast-paced but settles down into a pop song – a bit Britpop/rock – with some nice ethnic sounds thrown in. Another act that is bonkers!
MALTA Emma Muscat I Am What I Am
There’s a lot of standing on pianos in this Eurovision, luckily they don’t catch on fire or conceal any weird dancers! This is a very hand-clapping act, where Emma jumping off her piano goes on a walkabout picking up loads of her friends in this up-tempo number. And that’s about it basically – just having fun.
SAN MARINO Achille Lauro Stripper
I’m beginning to think Eurovision might be a bit camp. It’s cowboy hats and feather boa her – all very glittery. It’s also about sex with Achille getting a bit carried away with his guitarist – but he doesn’t care – he’s got attitude. And then he mounts a mechanical bull. Obviously.
AUSTRALIA Sheldon Riley Not The Same
Here’s a very emotional and emotive performance. Sheldon gives the performance of his life – in his unique mask. The unmasking is like a ritual – the face is revealed – and while we may all look alike as people, deep down we’re not. It’s all very passionate.
CYPRUS Andromache Ela
Ah, yes – a beautiful pearl in the middle of a shell. Water is the theme here – may it wash away the pain and any angst. There’s a nice haunting feel the act with ‘mermaids’ flaunting themselves. It’s a decent and interesting up-tempo performance with some fab ethnic sounds.
IRELAND Brooke That’s Rich
This is a good hand-clapper – always good to get the audience on your side. Brooke is dressed in a blue super-heroine style outfit and performs in various heart-shaped effects. Her vocals weren’t spot on, but the act is bright and colourful.
NORTH MACEDONIA Andrea Circles
Now for something completely different – this is all moody and full of angst. There’s so much angst this year. Andrea is all alone on stage and dressed in black to set the right atmosphere – and her vocal range is impressive. There are some nice effects involving circles in a storm – running in circles getting nowhere.
ESTONIA Stefan Hope
Well this is my favourite song this year – inspired by Spaghetti western movies of the 1960s. And as an homage the act starts off in sepia tone with scratchy film. But it soon emerges out of the dark into the hot desert. Stefan goes on a walkabout stirring up the audience into a frenzy by clapping along! He even produces a big leap (of faith?) while still producing great vocals. Go for it mate!
ROMANIA WRS Llamame
Someone’s having a fab time! WRS is dressed in a red top and sprayed-on shinny tight black leathery trousers and ably dances around with his pals heating up his audience! This is a South American style number full of sexy dancing – as you would expect this year. The camp volume is definitely ramped up!
POLAND Ochmann River
Something calmer now where we have another fan favourite. Ochmann probably has the best voice in the contest this year – his vocal range is amazing. He really gets across the message of the song – let the river wash away the sadness and revive yourself. As expected the imagery is very much reflections in water and he’s joined on stage by a few ‘river spirits’ – all very effective. Outstanding.
MONTENEGRO Vladana Breathe
Good to have the country back with this worthy effort. It’s another moody and gentle song with Vladana attached to a gossamer web-like halo. Her vocals are excellent and the setting is all glittery blue. The ethnic undertones are very effective – just take a deep breath and enjoy.
BELGIUM Jeremie Makiese Miss You
Jeremie is dressed in silver and grey while the lighting is again very dark blue. But there’s a good use of spotlights to aid the song. The performance involves a number of dancers who aren’t really needed, as they get in the way – Jeremie can carry the angst on his own.
SWEDEN Cornela Jakobs Hold Me Closer
This won the poll from Vision magazine readers. A worthy winner of Melfest, Cornela uses her vocal range to great effect. The act starts off with a green moon and eventually turns into passionate red! She might be sitting down and relaxing to begin with, but she soon gets the audience going! It’s a perfect performance where she really owns the stage.
CZECH REPUBLIC We Are Domi Lights Off
This is a perfect way to end this semi. It’s a superb electronic dance number with the expected lighting and effects – many classical statues on display to add favour with the home crowd – but it all works. The whole performance is very toe-tapping and leaves you wanting more! And that’s what Eurovision does best!
And there you have it. Hope your favourites get through to the Grand Final on Saturday.