Well, what do I know, eh? What a crazy night!! Well, a crazy morning for me, it’s a lovely Spring morning in Japan, and I’ve just been watching the show via a rather buggy connection on SVT’s playback service. At least it was up (no thanks, iPlayer…). So let’s take this one stage at a time.
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Not every result was a surprise, and certainly the most-expected qualifiers made it through. Sweden overcame earlier technical difficulties and an early performance slot to get through to the final. Good luck Sanna, I think she’s one to watch.
Bookies’ favourites Armenia and Hungary also made it through, book-ending the night’s performances. I’m a little more sold on Armenia now I’ve seen it performed, but Hungary I really don’t get. The lyrics for the bridge and chorus are so bland, it’s just a lot of window dressing. Still, we don’t know how well any of these countries did, so I guess there’s still a lot of mystery left.
Also, keeping their 100% qualification records for another years are Russia, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Russia in particular put in a very strong performance, though it was a bit disappointing to hear booing when their name was read out. Still, Ukraine made it too, even if I feel the performance could have benefitted from a bigger scale.
I had my doubts about Azerbaijan, but she performed well – the trapeze was a bit of a weird addition, and I still don’t rate the song against their earlier entries, but I like the singer a lot.
SAN MARINO!!!!! SAN BLOODY MARINO!!! I was amazed and overjoyed to hear of their qualification – the first Sammarinese qualifier since they started participating. I wasn’t quite expecting it (especially after last year’s tragic 11th place) but that reaction shot from Valentina was definitely worth the wait. Well done!!
Also celebrating their first ever qualifier against all the odds was Montenegro. The song was lovely, and had a great slot but I had zero confidence it would make it through. But here we are! I’m still not sure how that lady skated over the plastic, but I guess it did the trick.
It was a night of underdogs too as The Netherlands brought home another qualifier after Dutch redemption last year. Great news, it’s a lovely song and it finally made sense on stage. Finally, with a totally unpredictable selection of qualifiers read out, who was going to get that last ticket? I was angling for Estonia, but Iceland made it – again a bit of a surprise but it was certainly different to the others, and it’s a great message. I love Iceland anyway so I’m happy.
But every semi-final has sad stories too, and I’m particularly sad to see Estonia and Portugal not making it this time. Admittedly Estonia were great but a little generic – the dancing was superb but I think the song wasn’t striking enough to stay in your mind after such an early slot. Portugal I thought had a good shot though, and what a non-dress Suzy was wearing!! A real shame though, I thought it was the strongest Portuguese song for a long time.
Also in the doldrums, not unexpectedly was Latvia. Seemed to get the crowd going but with the slot of death (2nd) to deal with, it didn’t have enough impact to make it. Moldova also got lost in the mix, it just hadn’t clicked with me. Not even a Game of Thrones Franken-dress could save it.
Belgium didn’t make it either – I thought it was a gamble but I was sure it had a good chance of paying off. I guess not though. Finally, Albania really impressed me with that performance, but I think the early slot didn’t help there either. A real shame, I hope to see Albania return next year.
How did I do?
Pretty good actually! 8/10!! Estonia and Belgium didn’t make it, but San Marino and Montenegro did – I can certainly live with that.I’ll do another preview post for Semi 2 very soon, but I need to get ready for work, #JoinMe again soon!