Chris’ Eurovision Semi-Finals One Recap, Part One

The first semi-finals of the Eurovision Song Contest were held in Belgrade, Serbia earlier tonight. Here is the first part of my notes about the show. By the way, unless I mention that the dancing was good, assume, as always, that the dancing sucked.

After the opening festivities, with the first klezmer version of “Waterloo” I’ve ever heard, we jump in with…

1. Montenegro

Thanks for playing.

2. Israel

I hate the sound of Boaz’ voice in his upper register. The song itself is good, but his voice is a bit nasal. Still, he’s a good enough singer, and certainly dreamy, so he might just be memorable enough to make it to the finals.

3. ESTONIA!!!!!

“Leto Svet” is just… odd. The song has grown on me, actually, the way Verka did last year, but the staging is so… odd. I mean, I know it’s a jokey song and all, but still… odd. There’s a bit of booing after the song is over.

4. Moldova

Ah, the Bacharach song. Geta is performing on a couch with a teddy bear and a trumpet player. The performance is competent, although I think she goes flat a bit in the end. Not bad, but I don’t know what her chances are to escape the semi-final.

5. San Marino

I forgot about this song while I was watching it.

6. Belgium

This is frigging adorable. Pitchy, but adorable. Also, the lead singer is wearing a costume made from old White Stripes backdrops. The crowd is clapping along, but I’ll be honest: a little of this song goes a long way, and it went further than that.

7. Azerbaijan

High concept: Elnur is dressed in white as an angel, and Samir is dressed in black as an evil guy, but the twist at the end is that Samir has a face turn and changes into a white outfit. This is so very silly, and so very shrill. In other words, it is everything that’s right about Eurovision and wrong about Eurovision all in one over-the-top package.

8. Slovenia

S&M! Rebeka starts off in chains, surrounded by gimps (well, just two, but they move around a lot). Then she breaks her chains and changes her costume all at the same time. This is serviceable Euro-dance-pop, competent, but hardly memorable. Still, it could go through.

9. Norway

A little tip for anyone who stages Eurovision numbers: don’t have back-up dancers who are all a foot taller than the lead singer. This is another song that has grown on me, but still, you can’t get past those lyrics: “Love can be hard sometimes/Yes, it can catch you off-guard like bad crimes.”

10. Poland

Apparently, Poland is still behind in tanning booth technology. Isis Gee is so tan she’s almost leathery. I mean, seriously, she looks like Barbie hitting middle age like a divorced Beverly Hills socialite. The song is a grand power ballad in the Celine Dion vein, and it’s not bad at all.