Chris got 8 out of 10 and Jen got 7 out of 10. Jen in particular is annoyed with her result, but she is happy that juries are no longer forcing through songs like “On My Way.”
What have we learned? First off, Portugal feels like a legit contender to win. The gentle, controlled performance of “Amar Pelos Dois” stood above all the other songs tonight. We include the clips of Spain, United Kingdom, and even Italy that were shown in the interval. Francesco Gabbani needs to dial back his energy a bit so that it looks infectious and not manic.
Sweden does not seem like a contender to us. Robin Bengtsson seemed to be performing on autopilot and we’re wondering when he is going to turn on the jets and really perform. The immediacy he had back in that third heat of Melodifestivalen has slowly disappeared. It’s still good, but it could be so much better. Maybe he’ll find it in the Final.
Of course, Portugal and Italy are both drawn into the first half of the show and Sweden is drawn into the second. There are only three slots left to fill in the second half of the show, so if there is another contender coming through Semifinal 2 (say, Bulgaria), they are likely to get drawn in the first half as well. This could turn out to be very interesting indeed.
Are we ready to admit we are wrong about Belgium? It looks like YouTube views and digital sales of “City Lights” went up after Blanche’s performance. Obviously, the song has something that people besides us get. So much for our smugness!
We were very surprised Australia and Greece made the Final. Neither Isaiah or Demy (or her back-up singers) really delivered in our book, and there were a lot of bum notes being thrown around in both performances. We are really looking forward to see the split between the jury and the public votes. Did juries help put them through?
The biggest disappointment on the night for us was Finland not qualifying. We thought “Blackbird” was ravishing. At least we can understand how Belgium went through. How this did not is a mystery to us.
Otherwise, there were no big surprises. We absolutely adored Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenia in particular seems cruising for a top 10 finish this year. What does it say about us that we thought Azerbaijan’s performance was straightforward? Cyprus and Poland were solid, if not spectacular. All were deserved qualifications.
Then, we come to Moldova. Sunstroke Project are drawn into the first half and we are guessing that they will be chosen to open the show. In a way, we hope they aren’t because they would be the perfect palate cleanser between, say, “Flashlight” and “Skeletons.” But we can see the producers looking at “Hey Mamma” and saying to themselves, “Let’s get this party started right.”