A Look at the First Rehearsals of the Second Semi, Part One

Serbia
My only real complaint about the presentation of Željko Joksimović’s “Nije Ljubav Stvar” is that it is very reminiscent of  the staging for Hari Mata Hari’s  “Lejla.” This was strictly a blocking rehearsal, but Željko sounded great, and despite kicking off the Second Semi, I can’t see this not going through.

FYR Macedonia
Kaliopi is a bad-ass singer, although she borders on going out of control a little bit. But she is in pretty great voice, so she should sell “Crno I Belo” well. I’m still not a fan of this song, because I think the transition to the rock song is really awkward. I mean, if you’re going to complain about Donny Montell suddenly going disco, you have to complain about Kaliopi suddenly going metal, right? As a side note, I also liked the cello shaped like an F1 car.

Netherlands
Ah, Joan Franka. She is of course wearing the headdress for “You And Me.” She has lost the tacky back-up dancers, which is good. She’s replaced them with a band skiffling along, and I hope they’ll be dressed as cowboys. She’s also added several fire pits. Keep those away from Jedward’s set.

Malta
Kurt Calleja’s staging for “This Is The Night” is kinda charming, to be honest, although the backdrop with the animated grooving audience and the rock show lighting kind of reminded me of 3JS’ ill-fated number from last year. This is going to get lost in the shuffle ultimately, but I thought it was a pleasant way to spend three minutes.

Belarus
Litsound decided to give “We Are the Heroes” a more dance-friendly mix for Eurovision, which is sort of disappointing to me, since I liked the rockinger version they did at the Belarus national final. Not a huge fan the Tron-like backdrop, but I like the avant-garde mic stands. I’m not entire sure this is going to make it through, but it’s still the best entry from Belarus since “Work Your Magic.”

Portugal
Filipa Sousa is doing basically the same staging of “Vida Minha” she did at the national final, which is basically the same staging for “Senhora do mar.” So there you go.

Ukraine
If I could use just one word to describe the presentation of Gaitana’s “Be My Guest,” it would be “busy,” but I would insist that waytoobusytothepointofdistraction is a word. I still like the song, but this one may win the annual Blue award for most indulgent staging.

Bulgaria
Man, I really find “Love Unlimited” annoying. I dig the Saxobeat sound, but Sofi Marinova’s singing really grates on me. And the staging is just her standing there singing, which only plays up how grating I find it.