Recap of 2016 Semifinal 2

Oh Donny, forgive us for doubting you!

Jen:

  • Latvia
  • Israel
  • Belarus
  • Serbia
  • Australia
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine
  • Norway
  • Georgia
  • Belgium
Chris:

  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Serbia
  • Australia
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine
  • Norway
  • Georgia
  • Belgium
Europe:

  • Latvia
  • Poland
  • Israel
  • Serbia
  • Lithuania
  • Australia
  • Bulgaria
  • Ukraine
  • Georgia
  • Belgium

Jen once again got 8 out of 10, but Chris rebounds from Tuesday to get 9 out of 10. Basically, it came down to this: Poland’s Michał Szpak practices mass hypnosis and forces you to vote for him with the power of his eyes alone. (Because it certainly wasn’t with that pitchy vocal.)

It was business as usual for Israel, Serbia, Australia, and Ukraine. We could nitpick here and there (Serbia’s harsh styling, Australia’s glam box), but we saw four confident performers nail their cues. Ukraine’s staging is gorgeous and it’s easy to imagine that Jamala will be giving Sergey Lazarev a run for his money on Saturday.

Despite our doubts about the costume and the staging, Bulgaria was pretty great. Poli Genova gave an exuberant and infectious performance and suddenly we feel like she has a shot… oh wait, she’s slated to perform 8th on Saturday? Damn, never mind.

It’s interesting that Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitas had a similar idea to Cyprus’ Minus One to plot out the camerawork as if they were shooting a music video. However, the execution could not be more different. “Midnight Gold” was trippy, but it also had an intense energy to it that was impossible to look away from.

Although we picked Belgium to go through, we both thought she came off a bit Junior Eurovision. “What’s the Pressure” was cute, but after a night of some serious bad-ass performances, it couldn’t help but feel lightweight. Laura Tesoro kicks off the show on Saturday and that’s probably the best thing for her.

There’s not much to say about the songs that did not qualify, save for two. In her bio on the Eurovision website, Norway’s Agnete said, “The transition between the verse and chorus has a tempo change that many listeners are responding to. It seems like either you love it, or you simply strongly dislike it.” Sadly for her, more people ended up in the “strongly dislike” camp.

And lastly, pity poor Ivan from Belarus. He delivered so much more than we expected from watching his rehearsals. Specifically some crazy wide eyes to accentuate his crazy broad  performance. Ultimately, it was probably a little too bat-shit insane to get votes these days in Eurovision, but it’s nice to remember the days when Eurovision was just a camp contest.

2 thoughts on “Recap of 2016 Semifinal 2

  1. Huh. Strange how that goes. I found Belgium to be a breath of fresh air (and a sorely needed one) after dreary black-clad performer after dreary black-clad performer and midtempo song after midtempo song. Laura Tesoro is to 2016 what Sebalter was to 2014 – the one and only performer who looks like they’re at least marginally enjoying themselves.

    Also, way too much glitter everywhere. When two performances elicit Twilight comparisons (sparkly vampires and all that), something has gone a little off the rails.

    I was grateful for Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia and Belgium, because they at least managed to inject some life into this rather boring semi, which otherwise proved that yes, things can get TOO professional. (And yes, that most definitely includes Australia – in fact, they fell into the boredom trap harder than the others. Shame on you, Down Under, for going the boring, predictable route in only your second year. I was hoping for so much more from you.)

    Belgium is a good pick to open the show on Saturday, anyway. I’m not sure I need to see Serbia’s “dominatrices against domestic violence” performance again, but you can’t have everything you want, and I honestly can’t think of a song I’d rather have seen qualify than “Shelter”. There’s probably a still from this semi in the lexicon next to “middle-of-the-road”. I don’t think we saw this year’s winner tonight, unless Ukraine pull a massive upset.

    • I get the Sebalter comparison. It’s not that we hated Belgium per se by the way, and we agree that they will be a great opener. I also think Georgia has a great slot too: in case you’re getting a bit worn about by the show, LET’S WAKE YOU THE HELL UP.

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