Forget what happened on Tuesday. We’re freaking geniuses! 9 out of 10, baby!
So let’s get something out there right off the bat. When we were debating which songs could potentially miss out on the Final, we never thought it was going to be Estonia. Particularly after Koit became a legend with his epic Blue Steel. It was amazing, and we have to admit we are sad we lost our “Verona.”
But we are absolutely chuffed to bits that Norway qualified. We were worried that following Croatia was going to suck the life out of their performance. In fact, the opposite happened: JOWST and Aleksander came off as modern and professional.
As expected, Bulgaria solidified its standing as one of the odds leaders with a confident staging and effective animation. Kristian looked in command the entire way. Right now the conversations are about either Italy or possibly Portugal winning, but with those two drawn in the first half and Bulgaria drawn in the second and performing 25th out of 26, you figure Bulgaria may just top its fourth place finish of last year. Unless going that late hurts their chances. There are lot of songs to get through before “Beautiful Mess” goes on.
Hungary also had a great night. Joci performed with the most confidence we’ve seen out of him, and the staging took what he had at A Dal and elevated it. We think a top 10 finish could be in the cards.
We were a bit underwhelmed by Romania and Croatia. There was a weird lack of energy in Ilinca and Alex’s performance that dragged “Yodel It!” down a bit. It’s hard to explain, but all that madness on stage came off as a bit dull when it should have felt invigorating. Plus the glitter cannons didn’t do anything, which was just odd.
As for Croatia, we wonder if we built up in our minds the camp potential for “My Friend” to a level it could never reach. Camp usually needs to lack self-awareness to really be camp, and Jacques and his buddies seemed to be in on the joke. And yet, it was still bonkers enough that it was still campy. We call this the Scooch corollary of camp.
Belarus and Israel overcame slightly dodgy vocals, while Denmark and Netherlands overcame slightly dodgy songs with some strong vocals. We don’t see any of these songs troubling the top of the leaderboard, but they are all deserved finalists.
Lastly, let’s raise a glass to Innsbruck’s own Nathan Trent. We jumped out of our chairs when the hosts finally announced he made it through. In “Running on Air,” he sings, “I ain’t gonna stop til I make that final score.” As our son (age 8) pointed out, it made sense they announced Nathan last because he was the final score. The kid has a point.