Eurovision 2012: Semi-Final 1 preview

We’re finally at the big week, are you excited? With all 42 entries reviewed finally (*phew* – click “Eurovision 2012” at the top of the page to find links to them all), we are just in time to see how the first semi-final is shaping up. It’s on Tuesday night, so not long to wait now!

Do you like the banner? I made it myself, I’m so PROUD. Before my energy is totally gone from my travelling this weekend (I went to France), let’s see how the 18 nations competing tonight are doing, and their chance of qualifying. Only 10 can make it! The links on the country names also go straight to their reviews (and video clips)

Montenegro Well this really is the black sheep of the contest, I seriously doubt anyone outside of Montenegro’s back yard is going to get this. Sadly for them, a big band of Balkans are in Semi 2 and therefore aren’t voting tomorrow.Qualifier? Dear God I hope not, realistically I can’t see it happening.

Iceland Sounding tight in rehearsals, this has really grown on me. Its Nordic buddies are largely absent in this semi, but I think the great vocals and striking visuals will make them a strong contender, despite its crummy slot in the running order. Qualifier? Comfortably.

Greece Is invincible Greece’s Eurovision luck going to run out tomorrow, breaking their 100% qualification record of 8 years? Never count them out, but Turkeys complacency cost them a place in the final last year. It’s a catchy song, but could well be upstaged by long-time allies Cyprus. Qualifier? I’d given them the benefit of the doubt, but a Greek tragedy could be on the cards.

Latvia I LOVE this. Somewhat poorly classified as a ‘joke entry’ though, which could count against it. Though Anmary’s pronunciation isn’t great, maybe people will be humming on and on instead of dissecting the lyrics. I really hope it makes it.Qualifier? They’ve had mixed luck recently, but as former winners they’ve shown they can make it big, so why not now? I’d say qualifying was doubtful but I hope I’m wrong.

Albania Rather a difficult one, but some hair-raising big notes in this song if she can pull them off. Might be a bit heavy going after the last two happier tracks, though that might actually help! Qualifier? The more I think about it, I think Albania might add another black mark to its spotty qualification record tomorrow.

Romania Happy and clappy, if you thought Albania were morose then this is perfectly timed. Upbeat, even if the lyrics are just a bit nonsensical (also Spanish, typically not a great choice!), but their looks seems very together and glossy. Qualifier? I think this is an easy qualifier.

SwitzerlandWhat IS this guy singing? Terrible diction, and the song isn’t that memorable, especially if you’re only hearing it for the first time. Just a bit nothingy, a weak version of The Killers or something. Qualifer? After scraping into the final last year, I think the Swiss will have to think again this year. Sorry boys!

Belgium – Timid little ballad, I’ve seen plenty of these get lost in semi-finals over the years. Iris is alright but doesn’t seem a very good performer. Who knows, maybe she’ll show off a bit of magic tomorrow, and the song is OK. Qualifier? I’m inclined to say no. If it makes it, good for Belgium but I’m sure it’ll be a close-run thing if she makes it.

Finland Lovely little waltzy ballad, rather oddly in Swedish – the first time that’s been heard for a while, the Swedish entries are always in English! It’s pleasant but I can’t see the casual viewer getting interested, especially if they have that interpretive dance thing going on too. Qualifier? Don’t see it happening, I’m afraid.

Israel Ack… still not really feeling this, but it’s certainly different to the rest of the semi, and not in the particularly bad way. Might need some party tricks to get people into this, let’s hope they have some nice visuals. Qualifier? I don’t see it, personally.

San MarinoHa! Well they have some dazzlingly cartoonish visuals to show, which didn’t hurt Jedward last year. It’s certainly memorable and fun, and she can sing too, who knew! Might be a blunt way of learning from past mistakes, but kudos to San Marino for trying something brave. Plus Italy are voting in this semi…Qualifer? I’m going to stick my next out and say it could well be San Marino’s first ever finalist.

Cyprus – Now this is one to watch I think, it’s a real grower. I wrote it off a bit as a J.Lo rip-off, but it’s really catchy, I love the phrasing of some of the verses. Looks to have a simple but effective dance routine too, especially that breakdown bit. Watch out Greece. Qualifer? I’d go as far as calling this a potential semi-final winner… would be very shocked not to see this qualify.

Denmark I still don’t like this, crummy lyrics (“I miss you, like Sahara misses rain”), awful outfit, annoying voice. Denmark are usually solid qualifers, but I think this isn’t going to do as well as the last few years. Qualifer? I’d lean towards “yes” on past form, but none of its neighbours bar Finland are voting tomorrow, and I don’t think it has the widespread appeal of previous Danish hits.

Russia Ugh, those grannies. They have been popular with the bookies for a long while, but as we saw last year, they can get things quite spectacularly wrong. A lot of Western Europe are voting tomorrow, and I just don’t think they’ll get the appeal. It’s just not a good song, it’s a mess, and it’s bad for Eurovision that this gimmicky shit can be sent by one of its biggest nations. Qualifier? I think I have to say yes, but Alexander last year looked a sure thing, and he only JUST qualified. Hope springs eternal…

Hungary Nothing extraordinary with this, it’s a bit of a miserable song that might get helped out with interesting visuals. It’s a decent enough song but I doubt it’s much to get excited about in 3 minutes. Qualifer? I don’t think their poor qualification record is in any danger of improving this week.

Austria Oh God why do I like this? It’s pretty naff white-rap, and frankly it could go either way. On record it’s catchy as hell but I can imagine the vocals being crap on the night. Really this one could go either way. Qualifier? I think it will either do really well or really badly. If someone’s voting for a novelty song, I think they would easily go for this instead of Montenegro (and hopefully the Russian Grannies.

Moldova OK this could work, he seems an energetic performer certainly, and Moldova seem to attract the cheeky anti-votes. They are lucky not to be facing off against Turkey, as it sounds quite individual in this semi. Qualifier? I think it might well do it!

Ireland After sending Jedward last year out of spite/desperation/idiocy last year, Ireland unwittingly made European stars out of the twins. Now they sending them again, this time as a ‘big artist’. I don’t think the song is anywhere near as good, but often it’s not just that which swings the vote. Qualifer? That water feature is surprisingly effective, but the song is dated and they still can’t sing for shit. I think the great staging and a prime slot in the running order could well give Jedward the luck of the Irish tomorrow.

So that’s it? Who do I think will qualify?

Iceland, Greece, Latvia, Romania, San Marino, Cyprus, Russia, Austria, Moldova & Ireland.

What do you think?

I’d be sad to see Belgium, Finland and Albania go, but I don’t think it was ever going to happen for them.

Anyway, enjoy the show, and I’ll see you on the other end!! To get your appetite’s going, here is a clip of the rehearsals so far.

 

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Filed under Baku 2012, Eurovision, Music, Reviews

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