Recap of 2019 Semifinal Two

Dear Jen,

I am sorry for leading you astray on Norway. I love you and I will never hurt you in such a way ever again.

Yours,
Chris

Jen:

  • Armenia
  • Switzerland
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • Malta
  • Russia
  • The Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Azerbaijan
Chris:

  • Switzerland
  • Romania
  • Sweden
  • Austria
  • Malta
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Azerbaijan
Europe:

  • North Macedonia
  • The Netherlands
  • Albania
  • Sweden
  • Russia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • Malta

Jen got 7 out of 10 and Chris got 8. To be honest, we probably would have done better if we both hadn’t ignored the possibility that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark might vote for each other. We don’t know that yet, but it does seem pretty likely, right?

We didn’t think Norway was particularly good, though. “Spirit In the Spy” played almost like a parody of Eurovision, a sort of Scandi-Scooch. Then again, the guests at our upcoming Eurovision party have all been excited about joik-pop since we watched Jon Henrik Fjällgren at Melodifestivalen this year, so at least we know they will be happy.

We may despise “Love Is Forever,” but we can’t argue Denmark didn’t give it a good staging or that Leonora didn’t give a good performance. And Sweden was the best of the Scandinavian bunch. John Lundvik has somehow found a fresh new vein of smoldering charm and we’re here for it.

He wasn’t the only act tapping into their reserves of magnetism. The Netherlands has come under criticism for its sparse staging and overuse of long shots. But when Duncan Laurence has the chance to look into the camera, only the most hardened, cynical Eurovision fan could resist melting into his eyes.

And he made the other dreamboats who clinched spots in the Final look like awkward tweens in comparison. Luca Hänni from Switzerland has a certain boyish charm, but the staging for “She Got Me” doesn’t give him much of a chance to really play the camera. Our son watched the performance and said, “It’s like ‘Fuego’ crossed with ‘Dance You Off.'” He’s not wrong.

Speaking of how smart our son is, he said while watching Jonida Maliqi perform, “Albania could qualify with that.” You can imagine his excitement at the end of the night when it turned out he was right. (If only he had made predictions for us this year!)

At first we thought North Macedonia was going to be our unconventional pick. But  Tamara Todevska’s performance of “Proud” was so captivating that we had no doubt she was through to the Final. North Macedonia has never had a top 10 finish before, so we wonder if this is their year. Pity the song is still a bit musty.

We loved Malta’s staging for “Chameleon,” but Michela looked a bit lost and sounded a bit nervous. We’ve heard Malta have kept futzing around with the staging, which may have affected her confidence. No worries: plenty of artists suffer Semifinal jitters only to give stronger performances in the Final. We hope that Michela can do the same.

We disagree a bit on Russia. Jen thought Sergey Lazarev’s staging concept was effective. She got chills watching it. Chris thought it was initially cool, but wore out its welcome by the end of the song. In either case, we think “Scream” is going to do well, but probably not improve on Sergey’s previous result.

At least Sergey’s concept worked. What was Azerbaijan’s staging meant to convey? Chingiz is trapped by lasers for the first 1:20 of his song, barely lit and playing second fiddle to robotic arms. Then he spends the next 90 seconds playing second fiddle to a giant animated head in the backdrop. Then somehow the North Macedonian flag propels his soul out of his body. What does all that mean? That love feels like a near death experience during a post-heart surgery CAT scan in Skopje?

Still, he made it to the Final, so someone got the concept.

As for the acts that didn’t qualify, we actually feel bad for all of them! No real flops tonight, just songs that didn’t get enough votes. Everyone should feel good about how they did. If only one of them could be chosen to replace Serhat.