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Countdown to Semi 2: The View from San Francisco

by | May 12, 2016 | 2016 Home Blog, Uncategorized

Countdown to Semi 2: The View from San Francisco

by | May 12, 2016 | 2016 Home Blog, Uncategorized

Going through the second semi-final, I realized I am not quite as emotionally attached to the songs here as I was to the songs in the first semi. This heat, as it turns out, is more about the songs I want to stay in it than the ones I want to see going through. And yet I am quite looking forward to it, if only for the bloodbath potential.

Again, no predictions – just my thoughts, wishes and some dark confessions.

Sound of our hearts
Boom boom chucka chucka Latvia’s song is like a like a something I’d like to do really well. I never got Aminata last year, and I wonder if I even should compare the two, but this I do, and how much I want this to do well. But I am starting small. Qualification first, and we can discuss further deals later.

Believe me, I just don’t care
Oh, where do I start? Poland. I like Michal and his voice, but I will have absolutely no problems with not hearing this again. As I said before, it’s probably not a bad song for what it is, but what it is also happens to be the stuff my nightmares are made of and I have no need of having that one inflicted on me again.

Welcome to Pleasantville | Anna Velikova (EBU)

Welcome to Pleasantville | Anna Velikova (EBU)

You Got Style
Switzerland is also a strong candidate to win whatever title someone would win by being first on my don’t care list. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever heard, but I just don’t see why I need to spend three minutes with it. I am looking forward to be slightly entertained when Rykka catches fire, and can’t contain the anticipation of seeing what she’ll do to her hair.

Touch my fire | Anna Velikova (EBU)

Touch my fire | Anna Velikova (EBU)

Hunter of Stars
I don’t like Made of Stars that much, although it has improved drastically with the new version. I am not a fan of Hovi Star either. Yet, I want this to qualify, and not because I’m Israeli. Well, it is because I’m Israeli, but not like that. I’m talking long term. Moving the selection to the commercial channel last year meant that for the first time in many years there’s not only interest in Eurovision back home, but proper investment and work. There is more money. There are people who are trying to understand how the Eurovision game works and how everything needs to be thought about. If you want to get good results, you need to make an effort. They’ve done a lot of work this year, and I want them to get rewarded – just enough – so they are motivated to keep doing what they’re doing and try to do better.

Mirror mirror | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Mirror mirror | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Hour of the wolf
I have to confess that I always liked this song, but thought it had no chances of qualifying. Then we were plagued by Belarus Wants Ivan to Dance Naked with Wolves stories and I wanted them to shut up and get those disturbing pictures out of my face and finish last in the semi just for this nonsense. Then rehearsals came around and I saw the madness they came up with. I feel it would be a waste to not have the rest of Europe getting to appreciate these three minutes of utterly insane brilliance. I doubt the juries were particularly keen on helping out, but I’m hoping that the audience will forget for three minutes that I don’t actually want them to vote for something just because of the show and vote for this anyway. It IS a nice song! Really!

I know what I should do (Undo)
It’s true that I don’t really get Serbia as a song. It sounds to me like several Eurovision songs I heard in the past although I could never figure out which. I managed to hear Undo in there at some point, before I realized what both songs also had in common. I came to terms with this qualifying, so I’m going to put cynicism aside for a paragraph and say that I hope commentators do explain what the song is about. It’s a tough subject, and it’s not easy to take on it in an event like Eurovision, but it it is an important topic and I hope that whatever message they are trying to deliver will be heard.

I was playing with the numbers
And I am really hoping Ireland can qualify somehow, through some sort of a mathematical miracle in which the juries were nice to him because he’s nice and his song is nice and he is pretty, and the audience will vote for him enough because it’s the first happy song after a stretch of songs that requires anti-depressants and he’s pretty and he’s Nicky from Westlife. I know the staging is useless and that his vocals leave a lot to be desired – well, they leave vocals to be desired – but it makes me happy.

One night’s anger
Actually, if Macedonia qualifies, it will be more like two nights’ anger, wondering why 1995 is insisting on haunting us and taking the place of songs that belong to this year. Or, you know, at least this century. Kaliopi is awesome in a barking mad kind of way, but there are some things that can’t and shouldn’t be saved.

Donuts! Say yay! | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Donuts! Say yay! | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Can’t wait until tonight
That’s a sentiment apparently both Donny and I share, albeit for different reasons. We already know he’s really obsessed with nights and waiting for them, but personally I can’t wait for tonight just to – hopefully – get rid of the horror, or at the very worst, have one performance of it behind me and only needing to deal with three more minutes of it ever again.

It's electrifying | Anna Velikova (EBU)

It’s electrifying | Anna Velikova (EBU)

Europe’s living a celebration
And Australia wants to spoil it by winning it under the noses of all them Europeans. I started out liking Sound of Silence quite a bit, and then went on to liking it slightly less every time, so it’s a good thing we’re almost there – I might still like it by the time she performs on Saturday. But I think I’d like to see Jamala beating her and winning the semi.

Nanana
I think this summarizes my feelings about Slovenia well.

My Impossible Dream
My biggest wish for this semi is to discover that everything we thought we knew about the Bulgarian staging was a very elaborate prank, and that tonight when Poli walks on stage, she will have a sensible dress, a nice backdrop and five backing singers who are dancing with her throughout the entire song. This is probably slightly unrealistic, so am going to hope that it somehow looks cool on screen instead, despite everything.

The bionic woman | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

The bionic woman | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Nobody hurt no one
Yet. The keyword is yet. Many will be hurt if Denmark makes it through.

My love grows stronger every minute
Ukraine for me is the opposite of Australia. Every time I hear this, I like it a little bit more. I know it’s a difficult song, and I know many won’t get it – but I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who do get this.

Lady Alpine Blue
I can’t imagine what the last few weeks have been like for Agnete, and I’m sure she didn’t quite expect her Eurovision journey to go the way it did. And sometimes, just sometimes, there are things that are more important than Eurovision, and I found her way of handling everything to be very honest and very brave. I love her songs as it is, and I would love for Norway to do well – or at least qualify – so it will all be worth it at the end. I know that for many singers just being up there is already worth it, but I wouldn’t mind her getting a little extra.

The cold never bothered me anyway | Anna Velikova (EBU)

The cold never bothered me anyway | Anna Velikova (EBU)

On again off again
My relationship with Georgia this year is not very stable. Sometimes I don’t get it at all, sometimes I think it’s brilliant. Sometimes I think it’s great for what it is but totally wrong for Eurovision, sometimes I’m glad it’s there because it’s so completely different from everything else. Sometimes I think it’s going to end last in the semi, sometimes I think it can actually qualify. When it comes to Georgia, I mostly don’t know what I am thinking, but at least at the time of writing this I am thinking that I would like this to make it. Preferably at the expense of Lithuania or Denmark.

Let me cry
I googled “boredom” and “crying”, just to be sure, and the first result I got was a question. “Can being bored make you cry?” Yes, dear person, I can assure you, it most definitely can. See Albania’s Fairytale as case in point. The longest three minutes of my life.

Me and my dress | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

Me and my dress | Thomas Hanses (EBU)

I admit I fell for you so badly
I want Belgium to be in the top 3 in this semi. There. I said it. There’s always that one song that I don’t care for at all before Eurovision, and then it shows up in rehearsals and forces me to root for it more than I do for some songs that are actually inside my personal top 20. I suppose I already liked Laura before, so it wasn’t that hard, and still: I did not see this coming, and I still feel a little guilty about liking this now.

No dream impossible:
1. Backdrops looking less blue than they did in rehearsals.
2. Camerawork being less drunk.
3. An interval that I will manage to watch in full.
4. A logical order of the qualifying countries during the results, so people actually care about the last qualifier.
5. A show that feels a little more exciting and a little less Melodifestivalen 2019 heat 4.
6. More TV magic.

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