SO wasn't last night just BRILLIANT!?
So glad to have Eurovision back on the screen! And wasn't it amazing? I don't know who commentates for your country, but you should really listen to Scott Mills and the girl from the Scissor Sisters who did the commentary for BBC (United Kingdom). They were hilarious. And of course we have Graham Norton for the final which is just excellent!!
First of all, wasn't Lynda Woodruff absolutely hilarious? Shame I can't say the same for Petra Mede - personally I found parts of her hosting just cringe-worthy nonsense. I thought Loreen was fantastic though. Those children were adorable and apart from when Loreen seemed to descend into a pit of over-excited Euro fanboys (although if I was in Malmo, I'm pretty sure I would have done exactly the same), I really enjoyed the opener to the show. The performances went without hiccough as far as I noticed, but I have to admit there were 2 absolute stand outs for me. They were (without bias) Moldova and Ireland! They worked perfectly going one after the other, but the best bit was that I wasn't expecting them to be so good. Wasn't Aliona Moon's dress just sheer brilliance!? Oh and of course, Pasha was on the piano. Splendid!
Let downs? Denmark. I knew that I would get extremely bored of the song by now, but still her performance wasn't just disappointing, it was embarrassing. No emotion at all, and her voice just came across generic without anything special. If it wasn't for the strength in the song and the tin whistle then I would even go as far as ruling Denmark out of contention. Don't get me wrong, I still reckon Emmelie will be top 5 at least, but will she win? Definitely needs to up her game.
Surprises? Belgium. Undoubtedly, Roberto Bellarosa has come a long way since being chosen to represent the Belgians this year. The re-mastering of the song never really changed much for me, but some how it really came across on the stage and the sounds and everything were just fantastic. AND HE CAN SING! After hearing that he won "The Voice" I was very sceptical of the amount of talent, but it turns out that Roberto can sing, so Congrats to him!
But let's be honest - the biggest shock was LITHUANIA QUALIFYING FOR THE FINAL. HOW!? I think Andrius Pojavis has tons of charisma, and naturally, his eyebrows can make for an interesting performance. But please, the song!? He sings about shoes for goodness sake! In all fairness, I was very critical of Donny Montell last year and he ended up doing very well for himself. There is always one shock, but I was maybe thinking Slovenia or Montenegro would provide the shock...not Lithuania and some dodgy lyrcis.
Interestingly, all the ex-Soviets made it through, but none of the ex-Yugoslavs made it through. If you've been reading all the blogs around they probably have reported how much of a shock it is blah blah blah. But is it that much of a shock!? Let's take a look at the facts. Slovenia was first up and Straight Into Love has never been popular, let's face it. Hannah and the dancers may have been great, but the song just wasn't good enough. It was the first real up beat song, but there were plenty of better upbeat songs coming later. Slovenia would have been forgotten...
Then we have Croatia. Now I found this interesting - it's not been a big favourite with fans but the vocals are very strong and the composition of the song works really well. The message comes across and I thought the juries would support that. Plus, its sung in national language. I think perhaps Croatia may have just missed out because they didn't receive enough televotes. And they were 4th after all...and they did proceed big favourite Denmark.
Coming up next is Montenegro. Igranka did provided a huge contrast to Birds before it and Something after it. But to vote for this, you have to appreciate it's absolute bonkers-ness and the song does require an acquired taste. I believe the juries didn't like this and it was the televoting that may have made this just miss out. Montenegro have never qualified independently though so they are always punching above their weight.
Finally we had Serbia. Not only do they have a strong qualifying record in Eurovision, they also performed last which usually makes you fresh for both juries and televoters. Yes there was some dodgy acting of the song, and the dresses looked like an explosion in the sweet factory but they had something going on. There was something to watch on screen, but perhaps everyone just saw this as a bit of mess following the slickness of Love Kills (let's be honest, that performance was rehearsed to the core - it was slick!). It'll be interesting to see if Serbia did finish 11th.
Every year there is diaspora voting (and it has been going for year's people!) so you'd of thought that one of the ex-Yugoslav countries would have benefitted from this. Evidently not (even if I did happen to vote for Ireland several times myself last night - but I did vote for Moldova just as many times, and I might have snuck one or two votes in for the Netherlands as well). If there was strong diaspora voting from the ex-Soviets that would explain why Lithuania made it but still, it just goes to show that we don't just vote for our neighbours anymore! And plus, there were 4 of the top favourites in last night's semi - Denmark, Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands.
That brings me to my favourite part of last night - the Netherlands qualified for the final! Birds was such a contrast to Gravity and Igranka that Anouk really stood out. The song was very deep and emotional, and so unique that I think it may have put televoters off. But rest assure, I believe the juries rate this. I don't care how the Dutch do in the final, I'm just thrilled they shook off that horrible curse of not making it through!
And the draw for the final? WELL, this year we don't have one. You draw whether you perform in the first or the second half of the final. Maybe not as exciting in the press conference, but there were many countries who drew the first half. Denmark managed to sneak a second half performance though, so it'll be interesting to see where SVT places them. Ireland got second half - yes! Moldova sadly drew first half though :(
NO! I won't speculate...Russia and Albania proved top 5 can still happen from poor positions (although what would have happened if you had swapped Sweden and Azerbaijan in 2011? I'm still convinced Eric Saade would have snatched that victory and Sweden would have done the double).
Now I promise I won't speculate until I've seen the full draw, but I've just found out that Bonnie Tyler will perform for the UK in the second half of the final. Yes Yes Yes! This news does delight me. If Bonnie performs in the last 3 or 4, I reckon we stand a good chance of contending for the grand prize. She has that lift after all! (it's not a giant - but Bonnie Tyler brought on stage by a Giant? Only Ukraine could pull that off - which incidentally they very much did!).
SO then I look forward to tomorrow's semi final! Will FYR Macedonia be the only ex-Yugoslav country? Will Latvia join their friends in the final? Will we have ALL Scandinavian countries in the final? Will San Marino finally qualify?
My bets on the BIG shock (cos you know there will be one)...Malta (hopefully).