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Line-up check 2022: Semi 1 from Portugal to Armenia

by | Apr 28, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured

Line-up check 2022: Semi 1 from Portugal to Armenia

by | Apr 28, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured | 0 comments

All images from the official preview videos on YouTube

Our 2022 Line-Up Check continues! Last time, we looked at the entries from Albania to Moldova. This time, our three editors – Felix, Shi and Martin – cast their eye over the second half of the semi-final. Starting with…

10. PORTUGAL
Shi: I don’t know why, but there’s no song on this year’s line-up that confuses me more than Portugal. Do I like it? I think so. But I also get bored for a bit until we get back to the chorus and I think that maybe I do like it after all?

Its atmosphere and melody does well in bringing the idea in the core of the song to life, but introspective songs can very much be a hit or miss, and neither option would surprise me. It somehow reminds me of “Kedvesem” meeting “O jardim”. I do hope for them that the result is more like the former.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😊

Martin: I can see that “Kedvesem” comparison, there’s something hypnotic about the rhythm of this one. I certainly like it, and I feel it could find enough of a niche to qualify, at least.

Felix: This wasn’t my favourite in Festival da Cançaõ, but this grew a LOT for me. There’s this calming vibe about it that I adore. The comparisons further above fit.

CROATIA: Then he grabbed his old guitar and began to play

11. CROATIA
Martin: There are always a few songs like this in every ESC line-up. Songs that are just there.

I don’t mean that in a negative sense, like with e.g. Slovenia. Unlike that one, there’s nothing I dislike about “Guilty Pleasure” – it’s an attractive little pop song with a nice lyrical conceit that manages to put a new spin on the age-worn “I’m with him but I want you” concept, and Mia is a winsome performer. I’m always happy to hear it on my playlist. It’s just so lightweight that I worry viewers won’t notice it actually happened.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😊

Felix: I want to like this more than I do. It’s a bit too flat and repetitive. But it’s more likable on first listen, which should be good news for Croatia.

Shi:  I am with Felix on this one. I liked it quite a bit the first time I heard it, maybe in contrast to the rest of the Dora line-up, but it gets tiring quickly.

12. DENMARK
Felix: “You can try me. You can’t stop me.” “In this crazy, crazy world.” Oh Denmark. Quite a statement to pick that one bit from the melody of Denmark 2011 that was widely discussed as being plagiarism.

Maybe I could make friends with Denmark 2022, IF the rest of the entry (including their fashion choices) wouldn’t feel so amateurish, uncool, stiff. Maybe I could make friends with Denmark 2022 if Maxi & Chris Garden would suddenly join them on stage. But as it is, no, I am not a friend of Denmark 2022, and it’s obviously doomed. NQ for sure.

Prediction: Personal:

⬇

😩

Shi: Wait, what was Denmark again? Oh! The one that isn’t my last place because Bulgaria exists. Never mind, forget I asked.

Martin: “Amateurish, uncool, stiff” is a good way of putting it, actually. This could be quite a fun song, but it never rises above the level of a performance in the school hall.

AUSTRIA: There’s no halo round my head, no

13. AUSTRIA
Shi: There are five things no Eurovision is ever complete without: love, love, peace, peace and an uptempo/dance track you love but already know it’s going to be a glorious disaster live.

Well, let me present to you the victim of this year’s edition of “they just had a terrible cold during jury rehearsal”. Hi there, Austria. A great track by two very young artists, and so little chance of this working live I’m not even bothering to get emotionally attached to the song – and we didn’t even talk about the staging yet.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😊

Martin: Yeah, even experienced artists struggle to stage this kind of song for an ESC audience (looking at you here, Darude!). If it all comes together, it could be a brilliant moment. But that’s a huge “if”.

Felix: Sorry, Austria, I can’t stay friendly here. If the lead voice gets on your nerves after two seconds, then any fine tune becomes pointless. Decent composition. Catchy chorus. Annoying production.

 

14. ICELAND
Felix: Doomed in the mainstream poll results, top 5 in our ChatVote. That’s Iceland, a haunting and hypnotizing song. What an oasis in the boring mishmash of the modern Eurovision recently. Yes, it reminds me of a few entries from the early 1970s, in a good way. Its vibe has a touch of “Tijd”, “Vita vidder” or “Falter im Wind”… songs from a Eurovision era that I wasn’t alive for, but which captured me in a special way.

This is bringing the best of “Old Eurovision” back into the present. Thank you, Iceland, my favourite entry of the Eurovision Song Contest 2022.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😄

Martin: It is lovely, isn’t it? Haunting indeed, although (regrettably) perhaps too low-key to do much at ESC. But as long as they keep that triptych camera shot near the end, I’m happy.

Shi: I love this song to bits and its mood really is pure and haunting. How will this work out? No freaking clue, but this one wins my “I’m just so happy it’s there” award this year.

15. GREECE
Martin: OK, this is an interesting one. Once you know it’s effectively a second Norwegian entry, it makes a little more sense, but it’s a daring ESC submission whatever flag it’s representing.

It’ll be fascinating to see how that long, a cappella opening section with all the vocal effects is reproduced live. But what I really like about the song is how it manages to combine that and a full-bodied power chorus in the same song without ever feeling disjointed. It has a strong, organic build. My main concern is whether the message is just too downbeat even for these troubled times.

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😊

Shi: While I don’t mind this, I struggle to like it and am yet to figure out why. I suspect it’s a tiny little bit of each element – the lyrics, the melody, the song – that doesn’t fully work for me.

Felix: I’m a big fan of these kind of vocals in the beginning. And the following three minutes are pleasant. It’s not among my favourites, but I’m glad it’s there.

NORWAY: Eating the same banana sandwich, dressed in the same kind of kitsch

16. NORWAY
Shi: Norway’s entry – perhaps because its national final lasted forever while not actually providing too many song choices – is one of those songs that felt to me like it was a bit forgotten as the season progressed. A humorous, gimmicky entry at Eurovision is always a bit of a risk. Juries can penalize something for being more of a gimmick than a song, and the audience can miss the joke entirely.

Luckily for Norway, this is not a problem. The gimmick and the humor are obvious but serve as a supporting act to a fun, catchy song that is performed extremely well.

Prediction: Personal:

⬆

😄

Martin: I don’t really get what this is doing or what I’m meant to take away from it (I know, looking for meaning in a novelty song is dumb, but still). I can’t deny it’s excellently produced though.

Felix: I’m not the right audience here. I could get behind it if it was a hardcore techno track. But this handtame wolf has neither bite nor oomph. Disjointed fabric softener.

 

17. ARMENIA
Felix: How to write 100 words about Armenia this year? It’s a nice song. But what else can be said about it? I don’t have any personal connection with it, it’s neither in my dislike department, nor in my list of favourites. It’s really nice when it’s on, but if it was an item, I’d not be sad about losing it.

If it’s nicely staged, and if the artist can build a connection with her audience, then it will qualify with ease (the draw helps a lot here), but it’s one of those entries that will be forgotten after two years.

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😐

Martin: I broadly agree with Felix, albeit from a more positive perspective – I really like it when it’s on, and it’s very earwormy too. But its shelf life is probably limited, yes.

Shi: I like her voice a lot, and it’s fun and catchy – it’s what Croatia wanted to be and didn’t quite manage. Like Croatia, though, it is in danger of getting tiring quickly.

 

And that completes our overview of the first semi-final! We’ll be back with our thoughts on the second semi-final very soon…

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