12. Romania – Mihai Traistariu: "Tornero"

Pure Eurotrash pop. Points for what look like Chuck Taylors on Mihai’s feet. The streaming video is a bit pixallated, which makes me wonder if the Norwegian singer actually was impossibly cute. Ooo, bad falsetto. Like Ace Young bad. And a key change. Wow, all the goodwill from the sneakers is gone.

10. Russia – Dima: "Never Let You Go"

Here’s the first song from the semi-final round. Dima has the number 10 on his wifebeater tonight, of course. Knowing that there’s a woman in the piano waiting to pop out helps distract me from Dima’s mullet. It’s really an amazing hairdo, though. Good round of applause for the woman emerging from the piano. The song is growing on me, but it still pales in comparision to Germany and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

9. Denmark – Sidsel Ben Semmane: "Twist of Love"

One of the rules of the competition is that all the songs are three minutes long, and thank goodness, because “Twist of Love” can’t end soon enough. The song actually is a twist song; key lyric, “he didn’t know how to twist.” It sounds like a song cut from “Grease.” Too bad it wasn’t cut from Greece. I hope this gets the nil vote.

8. Germany – Texas Lightning: "No No Never"

Texas Lightning is a country band from Germany that specializes in gimmicky covers of pop songs. They are as country as Senor Coconut is Latino. I love the fact that Germany barely takes this competition seriously. How else would Stefan Raab’s “Wadde Hadde Dudde Da” make it to the final? The song is just adorable, though. Right now, they’re vying for my vote with the song from Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Hari Mata Hari. If I were voting, I mean.

7. Malta – Fabrizio Faniello: "I Do"

Fabrizio looks like Hal Sparks, he does, he does, he does, he does. “I Do” is one of those prototypical Eurovision songs, cynically calculated to compete but not even remotely good enough to win. Although, actually, I don’t completely hate this. Oh, there’s the key change. Cardboard. Pure cardboard.

6. Spain – Las Ketchup: "Bloody Mary"

Las Ketchup had a minor dance hit a couple years ago with a song popularly known as “The Ketchup Song.” I can’t remember what it sounds like, but I’m sure their song tonight sounds like it. They’re doing choreography in office chairs, while two modern dancers wander around the stage. The song is pretty awful, on a Pussycat Dolls level. They’re dressed in red, by the way.

5. Norway – Christine Guldbrandsen: "Alvedansen"

Christine is impossibly cute. She has three back-up singers and two “violin players,” who “play” like they’ve never touched a violin before. The song has a modern Celtic feel to it. You know, the type of Celtic music you see on PBS pledge drives. Mediocre. The song title translates to “elf dance,” by the way. (I’m assuming. It looks like it would translate to “elf dance.”)

4. Latvia – Cosmos: "I Hear Your Heart"

Cosmos is an a cappella group. Unlike the other numbers so far (and indeed, likely for the rest of the night),† they’re clearly singing live. All the signs of good a cappella are here: tight harmonies, smooth beat boxing, lame choreography, a constipated-sounding tenor singer. Unlike most a cappella groups, Cosmos has a small metal puppet. The puppet is so lame, I stopped listening to the song and tried to figure out why they needed the prop.

† Actually, one of the rules of Eurovision is that you have to sing live. Obviously I didn’t know this at the time.

3. Israel – Eddie Butler: "Together We Are One"

Israel isn’t in Europe, but gets to compete because, come on, who doesn’t love Israeli pop? The song is a generic “Wind Beneath My Winds”-type ballad, with Hebrew and English lyrics. Eddie Butler is a good singer, but the song is trite. Also, is it me or is it weird for Israel’s song to have a gospel breakdown near the end? Decent crowd response, though.