Eurovision is back! I love Eurovision beyond all rationality and was very upset about it being cancelled last year.
Now it’s back and the first semi-final is over. The excitement and happiness of the crowd in Rotterdam was touching as people got ready to dive into the silliest culture event of the year.
All the acts chosen last year were invited back (with new songs). Most of which seemed really similar to their last year songs. That’s okay.
Lithuania: Last year’s favorite (and winner of an informal, unofficial balloting) back with a similar song. Higher energy number to get things off with a bang.
Slovenia: Kind of anonymous song. The singer did what she could with it but…. kind of anonymous.
Russia: I’m not sure about this. I find it hard to believe that the chorus isn’t taken from some old Russian folk song… is that allowed. A lot of it was in Russian so that’s nice but it was hitting culture notes that I dont’ get.
Sweden: Sweden always has a slick pop number that the judges love. It’s pretty good but not a winner.
Australia: Just sad. The lockdowned freaks in Australia didn’t go to Europe and they had to video in a performance. This could have worked last year, but not now.
Macedonia: Sad sack song delivered with heart and my favorite dumb gimmick of the night a disco mirror vest which sent out a blinding light when the spotlight hit it.
Ireland: What’s going on? Is this another video? No! She’s interacting with tiny props placed close to the camera so they look big (instead of interacting with the audience). The song isn’t bad, but ignoring the in-person audience is probably not the best option.
Cyprus: Similar to the song Fuego a couple years ago and Bad Romance by Lady Gaga… okay. Not my thing.
Norway: Feathered angel wings, sunglasses, demons and singing about being a fallen angel. Norway, I love you! Never change!
Where else but Eurovision?
Croatia: High energy dance number. If you like high energy dance numbers at Eurovision then you’ll like this.
Belgium: Supposedly a famous group and a nice song… but not really Eurovision material. They keep repeating lyrics about being in the wrong place – and they’re right.
Israel: I was wondering about the reception, especially since the song is called ‘Set me free’. The number was fun and she threw in some coloratura high notes in for fun.
Romania: Song was kind of a mess and apparently hadn’t been going well in rehearsals. I find the singer to be fun and interesting but the song… no.
Azerbaijan: Almost exactly the same song with a few changed notes and different lyrics (Mata Hari instead of Cleopatra). On the other hand she gave it all she had and it was one of the most committed performances of the night.
Ukraine: Similar to last year’s number but a bit better. I was skeptical about this techno-folk number based on the video but they brought their A-game and absolutely destroyed the audience. Best performance of the night and she ended with a weird ululating trill I really want to hear again.
Ukraine tears the roof off the joint.
Malta: I liked last year’s effort better but this is pretty good. A “you go girl!” number with thematic similarities to Toy. The singer was a bit nervous and kind of made a hash of the first line but then recovered and looked like she was having a great time and so did everyone else.
I hadn’t been enthusiastic about this year but this semi-final pleasantly surprised me. Only 10 of the 16 can go on to the final and to no one’s great surprise Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, Ireland, Australia and Romania don’t make it through to the final (Croatia was the biggest upset).
Next stop Semi-final 2 on Thursday!