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Line-up check 2017: Second half of semi-final 2

by | Apr 27, 2017

Line-up check 2017: Second half of semi-final 2

by | Apr 27, 2017 | 2017 reviews, Eurovision, Featured

images: Kalle Veesaar / Moonwalk, Diliana Florentin / Virginia Records, BTRC

As the first rehearsals in Kyiv come ever closer, it’s time for the escgo! line-up check to complete its analysis of the songs of the second semi-final. As always, the entries have been split between our editors – Felix, Shi and Martin – to give their personal preferences and predictions in text and emoji form. The non-assigned authors also get a 30-word “right of reply” afterwards. You know the format, or at least you should do if you’ve been reading our posts so far – so let’s get on with it!

10. San Marino
Martin: can be a bitch. I drew the short straw with Serhat last year, and now I get San Marino again? Fortunately there isn’t really too much to say here once we get past the sheer ridiculousness of Valentina Monetta (YASS GURL SLAY!). This time she’s gracing us with a soulless, pointless “disco” duet that overstays its welcome by approximately 90 seconds (and what feels like eight key changes), but otherwise does little to truly offend. Jimmie Wilson, meanwhile, once recorded a song called “You’re the One (Miss Model of the World)“. It’s every bit as good as you’d expect.


Felix: It’s not like Valentina Monetta is a representative from San Marino. Rather, San Marino is the country behind Valentina Monetta. I don’t wanna talk about the song though.

Shi: I’ll admit to seeing myself drunk-dancing to this at Euroclub. Also, as ever, she’s a good performer – and so is he – they just deserve a better song. Or a song, really.

CROATIA: L’amour, c’est moitié-moitié

11. Croatia
Felix: Oh Jesus I got Croatia. Do I have to? Well. Half of me is kind of glad that I keep forgetting half of the song. The other half of me is kind of glad that I keep forgetting half of the song. Seriously, if you think Malta is kitsch, then look at this. Unlike with Malta, I don’t sense any honest emotion here. Neither in the composition nor in the presentation. Yeah, someone will vote for this, but didn’t anyone tell him that channeling Axel Hirsoux is a bad idea? He must have a seriously bad friend.


Shi: Speaking of San Marino, where’s Michele when you need him?

Martin: It’s shit babes no lie

12. Norway
Martin: “Grab The Moment” is a real curiosity among this year’s entries. In many ways it’s the nearest thing to actual music that could have a life outside ESC, but it’s also clearly an inferior version of that particular genre – while risking being too cool and standoffish in its performance to strike a chord with voters. Coming where it does in the running order, though, I suspect it’ll come across as three minutes of blessèd normalcy and competence, which should be enough for a qualification spot. As long as they can sort out those robotic backing vocals one way or another.


Shi: The voice in his head is just the remnants of the prior entry, but otherwise this is fun and has a great beat. I hope it can be staged right.

Felix: I have no idea about current chart music, because I don’t consider it relevant for me. So I can’t compare. What I can say though is that I like Norway.


SWITZERLAND: Demantar í matinn, ást í eftirrétt

13. Switzerland
Shi: I keep getting the same song to review this year, I swear. At least this one has a ridiculous enough phrase in the chorus for me to be able to actually hum and remember it. I’m yet to figure out what Apollo has to do with any of it, though. That aside – the Swiss are doing what they’ve been doing in the last couple years and are sending a sort-of-modern-sounding song that isn’t bad, but a bit useless in context. Unlike the previous two, this seems safe enough to not be at the bottom of the pile, but a Saturday repeat doesn’t seem too likely.


Felix: Now I have to disagree, as in: This is the best song that Switzerland has sent in decades, maybe ever. At least it’s my favourite Swiss song ever.

Martin: I assumed this dullness was a safe NQ but it seems to be getting a surprising amount of love from people whose taste I trust. Last place in the final?

14. Belarus
Felix: Eurovision songs often walk a fine line between too little and too much. Considering the bouquet of horrors and awkwardness that the country previously brought to the competition, it’s even more surprising that in 2017, Belarus is doing absolutely everything right. This song is timeless, without being dated. It’s charming, but not kitsch. It’s uplifting, not annoying. It’s organic, and not boring. Ethnic, but accessible. This could have won Eurovision 1967, and I give it a very small chance for winning Eurovision 2017. This year, I’m a fan: I love Belarus. Applause.


Martin: They’re adorable on stage, and if they can get the crowd to “hayayayayo” along, this could be quite special. I can’t call it a winner myself, but surely it qualifies?

Shi: They are so likable, and I adore this but I have no clue what the audience or the juries will do with it. I’m delighted to have something different in the line-up, though.


BULGARIA: In our darkest hour, right before the dawn

15. Bulgaria
Shi: It’s “song that does really well in odds and polls and I don’t really get it” o’clock! Well, I sort of get it. It sounds current and pleasant. He’s adorable, a good singer and sells the act of an up-and-coming pop star well. It’s just that every time I play this I keep hoping it will go somewhere this time and it never does. It doesn’t really build towards what I feel it promises, which I find very frustrating. He works it as a performer, though, and it looks like they are putting the staging effort into it, so I’d imagine it’ll do as well as predicted.


Felix: I’m dying to… don’t come easy… no wait. How did this go again? I only remember it’s the best of these three. Overrated though.

Martin: Absolutely the grower of the season for me. Dismissed it at first, now I love it. And Kristian is a different and engaging performer. When did Bulgaria get good at this?!

16. Lithuania
Shi: Have you ever watched “Seinfeld”? It was often dubbed as “a show about nothing”. I’d like to say that this is the musical equivalent, except “Seinfeld” was hilarious and brilliant in its exploration of mundane nothingness, while Lithuania’s entry isn’t even unintentionally funny. It’s just there, and it makes noises for three minutes while avoiding any attempt to make anyone care about it or remember it. I can’t imagine a single person watching this semi thinking they should vote for this, and I imagine the juries will place it last just by virtue of being unable to remember it. And the Lithuanians only needed 42555 heats to find it!


Martin: Reasons this might not finish last: Diaspora televotes. Late position in the running order. Masochism. Deafness. That’s all I’ve got.

Felix: Oh Lithuania. You’ve done it again. I love you. It’s unbelievably bad.

17. Estonia
Martin: The moment I first encountered “Verona”, I knew it would be my guilty pleasure of the year. But I was wrong. Turns out there’s no guilt involved – I just plain love this, in all its Modern Talking-tastic 80s glory. Unlike many, I even liked the Eesti Laul performance, full of suppressed Nordic emotion and melodramatic telenovela glances to camera. That said, the lack of palpable chemistry – for all it fits the song’s message – will probably cost Koit and Laura in the voting if they repeat it in Kyiv. Find a southern-friendly staging, though, and this could go places.


Felix: It happens every five to ten years that I instantly love a Eurovision song SO much, and of course I want to see my big favourite in the final.

Shi: I love the song, and Koit and Laura for all their flaws, but my God they are creepy and I wouldn’t trust them to appeal to southerners despite the geographical theme of this.


ISRAEL: I hope someday you’ll spot me in the crowd

18. Israel
Felix: And this is the moment when I must confess to myself and to you, dear reader, that I am not a big fan of this year’s line-up. While I do love five to ten songs, I have at least twenty songs on my list that I don’t care about at all. This is one of them. If anything, it makes me allow myself to live out suppressed superficiality: He’s hot. And that’s what counts, doesn’t it: To put at least one good ingredient into the bowl. Would I vote for it though? No. But others will. Finalist.


Martin: I’m a bit like Felix concerning the overall line-up, so it surprises me that I really quite enjoy Israel. It’s fun, uncomplicated, and does what it says on the tin.

Shi: I keep wishing it would start building earlier because it feels like it ends before it really should, but I also think it works in context and he’s fairly lovely.

If you’re keeping count, you’ll have worked out that that’s 36 songs down and only six remaining – the “big five” plus host country Ukraine. We’ll be turning our attention to them in the fifth and final instalment of our 2017 line-up check series shortly before rehearsals begin in Kyiv – so stay tuned!

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