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Countdown to Semi 1: The View from San Francisco

by | May 10, 2016 | 2016 Home Blog, Uncategorized

Countdown to Semi 1: The View from San Francisco

by | May 10, 2016 | 2016 Home Blog, Uncategorized

The last 24 hours before any Eurovision night are always so difficult. The seconds slow down until they’re standing still, and time definitely doesn’t feel like thunder (oh oh). In these hours of need and struggle, I find the only thing I can do is come up with a wishlist and a collection of thoughts that people may or may not care about – but hey, it’s my blog and I care.

If you want my prediction then this is the wrong post, but you can find it elsewhere on this site together with the thoughts of my two favorite (and only) escgo! editors, Felix and Martin, who will also share their predictions and expectations. If it is material for future online abuse that you are looking for, then head over there and make fun of me later.

Otherwise, here are some of my thoughts before tonight’s semi final – presented, of course, in a random order.

Hope never dies
Just to show that I am not completely useless, last year I wrote this about the Czech entry: “It could, perhaps, get close enough to qualification to make the powers that be at Česká televize decide to stick around for another year. Maybe next time they’ll do even better. Hope never dies.”

Out on my own | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Out on my own | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Well, what do you know. It’s a year later, and my girl crush Gabriela is half a day away from finally taking the Clueless Republic into the final. When she does – insert jinx here – I am also hoping to feel better about all the hours I spent arguing that yes, I know that it’s the Czech Republic, and no, I don’t think it means they won’t qualify just because it’s the Czech Republic. Here’s to the hope that, next year, I’ll remember that some arguments are hopeless. Hope never dies.

Song #2
How crazy is this year? Crazy enough to have brought me to a unique position in which the song that I have ranked as my second favorite out of all them – that’s 43, because Romania, you are gone but not forgotten – is also a song that I have on my PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DON’T QUALIFY list.

When the music dies | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

When the music dies | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

How did that happen? Well, Samra happened. And her team happened, thinking for whatever reason that people watch Eurovision on mute. And those dancers happened. With their costumes. Gisela and Svetlana would be so proud!

Coming to terms with the situation has been difficult: Can I really give up so quickly? Can I take a song that treated me so nicely with its studio version and dump it just because it’s going through a rough time? What kind of a person am I? Probably the kind that would be really annoyed if a song I didn’t like made it through, sounding like Samra does.

Sorry, Azerbaijan. We’ll always have the mp3.

I love you 100% yes I do
There are four countries with 100% qualification records in semi 1. And if I could have it my way, only one will have their record still intact after the semi, which should free up some more time for Sergey to go and save the world from incoming asteroids. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

Salvem el mon | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Salvem el mon | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Azerbaijan I already dealt with, so this leaves us with Greece and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Give me one good reason as to why they will qualify – “Because it’s Greece” – and I will give you two, give or take ten more, as to why they really shouldn’t.

I should confess that despite trying to claim that I have a good taste in music, I definitely have my weaknesses too, and sometimes it’s very easy to make me like certain songs in Eurovision. Oh, you brought eight types of Middle Eastern drums to the stage? Give me a moment, I need to rewatch your performance a few more times. You use lyra or mandolin in your song? Congratulations, you just made it into my playlist. You have a Gaida musician on stage? I am your faithful slave forever.

Therefore, it was with great sorrow that I realized I can’t stand either Greece or Bosnia this year. Despite my best efforts, I did not find it in my heart and ears to warm up to them. Now add the performances into the mix. The Greek performance is taken straight out of My Big Fat Greek High School Graduation. Deen’s award-winning performance of Marvel’s fabulous villain, the Red Skull, turns Bosnia’s attempt at delivering a meaningful message into something that cannot be taken seriously. The result is two songs that really shouldn’t be in Saturday’s line-up.

Europe – the fate of my sanity is in your hands. Do the right thing and save me from being stuck in X WILL ALWAYS QUALIFY discussions until the end of eternity. I beg you.

Hello From Mars
Since the beginning of time – or at least the beginning of the semi-final system – there was always a song I was emotionally attached to in at least one semi that I never even bothered hoping will qualify, because I am optimistic, not delusional. This time, this honor belongs to Moldova. While the song is pretty unremarkable, I find myself humming the melody of the chorus every time I wash the dishes. I am not asking for much, Eurovision Gods, but if you could please let her be out of the bottom 3? Is this too much to ask for?

The Martian | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

The Martian | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

While we’re at it: Freddie is still stuck on Mars. His rescue team seems to be stuck in the Moldovan song. Please send help ASAP. Freddie has a Eurovision final to attend.

The Social Network Song (Oh Oh – Uh – Oh Oh)
If I have to pick one social media reaction I’m looking forward to tomorrow (tonight? today? damn you, time difference), it is the moment in which the rest of the Eurovision semi-watching world will witness Nina’s treehouse for the first time. In fact, I think this should qualify only so that a larger audience will get to experience that moment too on Saturday.

I also really like the song, but I am giving up on countries with great songs that try to sabotage themselves. If you don’t want to help yourselves, then I’m definitely not going to help you!

I’m in love with a fairytale
Zoë. I think it’s self-explanatory.

Diamond of night | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Diamond of night | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Playing with fire
Despite a rocky beginning to my relationship with Iveta – I was hoping for something like Ari Yar (yes, I know it’s a cover) and she came up with “LoveWave”, which meant three minutes of shock – I ended up loving her song, but I didn’t expect her to be able to sing it. Then it turned out that she can, and this allowed me to gleefully look forward to another performance element that is dear to my heart: PYROS!

Touch my fire | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Touch my fire | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

I love pyros at Eurovision so much that this is basically a legitimate reason for me to adore the performance of “I Love Belarus”. So having a full firework display in a song I love? Better than my birthday!

Never Forget
I really like Greta. I liked her in 2012, and I liked her song, and I love her song now. I think she suffered quite a bit among fans just by being chosen so early, but her rehearsals this week looked fantastic and I hope she gets to remind us what a great composer she is by making it to the final again.

Just Get Out of My Life
You, San Marino. You. Don’t give me that I didn’t know speech. You knew. You always knew.

Don't play that song again | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Don’t play that song again | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Lost and Forgotten
If I didn’t mention it, it’s not because I forgot, it’s because I don’t care.

Work Your Magic
One of the great things that can happen in Eurovision is that even after you hear the songs so many times and watch all the rehearsals, you can still watch on the night and be completely mesmerized by something you didn’t expect. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’s magic.

Speaking of magic, I would also like Estonia’s stage to magically disappear, but that’s probably not going to happen.

I can't make you disappear | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

I can’t make you disappear | © eurovision.tv / Andres Putting

Enjoy the semi final, everyone! Back tomorrow, for a proper semi 1 post-mortem AKA “how did I get everything wrong?”.

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