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Line-up check 2022: Semi 2 from Finland to Cyprus

by | May 1, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured

Line-up check 2022: Semi 2 from Finland to Cyprus

by | May 1, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured | 0 comments

All images from the official preview videos on YouTube

The rehearsals in Turin may have begun, but with fan-available content heavily limited for now, we’re continuing with our 2022 Line-Up Check to give you something to read in the meantime! The format is the same as the previous two articles (see our front page if you missed them) – Felix, Shi and Martin take it in turns to briefly review each song, or reply to what the others have to say. And our overview of the second semi-final starts with…

1. FINLAND
Martin: “In The Shadows” was a huge hit, and perhaps nowhere more than in the big music market of Germany, where it hit the #1 spot in the charts. Germany is where I was living in 2003, so the nostalgia value of that song is huge for me.

Does “Jezebel” reach the same heights? No, but it’s a decent effort – an unashamed schlager, key change and all, wrapped up in a likeably punchy radio-rock package. It should do pretty well (10th-15th maybe?) – although I actually wonder if it would do even better without the Rasmus name and expectations attached…

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😊

Felix: Big “In The Shadows” fan here too, but I believe it will mostly be judged based on what it is, expectations or not. Catchy song. Hope he can deliver it.

Shi: I like the verses so much more than the chorus that I struggle to not feel let down when we get there, but they’re such pros and know who they are that the package works.

2. ISRAEL
Shi: It’s never a good sign when you keep forgetting your own country takes part in ESC because you have avoided listening to the song to such a degree.

It’s not even because it’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard (and Michael actually performs this very well), and yet everything about it just makes me wonder why. Why is this a collection of ethno and pop uptempo shticks without cohesion or just, you know, a point? Why do the lyrics sound like they were picked out at random? Why did anyone think that the best way to revamp this is adding even more things? Just… why.

Prediction: Personal:

⬇

😐

Felix: Truly bad songs at Eurovision, and not meaning those that can become a guilty pleasure, have a long history. This is the heir to “Celebrate” and “I’m A Joker”. Awful.

Martin: I very occasionally find myself finding this not terrible. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go, though. Camp can be done so much better.

SERBIA: Pop you up with that beat, get rid of rotten meat

3. SERBIA
Felix: I have no idea what this song is about, and I love it. I’m not a fan of interpreting art, so I didn’t even read any translation… and “In Corpore Sano” is exactly what it is: Art. And so, it must be acknowledged as such, even without any attempt to understand it.

One doesn’t have to “get” art to acknowledge that something is art. That’s the former art history student speaking here. The Eurovision fan in me grew from shrugging to LOVING this like hardly anything else this year. One of Serbia’s best ever. Will Europe appreciate it, too?

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😄

Shi: I still don’t know how I feel about the song, but I know she grabs my attention every time, and I suspect that will be true across the board.

Martin: My rational brain finds it hard to believe this can do well. Surely it’s just too difficult. But it seems to be cutting through with many. Here’s hoping – I like it too!

4. AZERBAIJAN
Shi: Azerbaijan – as always – waited until the end to choose and release their entry. Apparently when they saw every other country sending a slow song performed by a male soloist they felt left out.

I personally like it quite a bit – there are some really pretty parts in the melody and the backing track is gorgeous. And yet, much like all their other purchased efforts, the sum is always smaller than the parts. I don’t know a lot about Nadir as a performer, but it’s the type of song that requires sincere emotion to have a chance to stand out, and that’s never been Azerbaijan’s strength.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😊

Martin: I really quite like it while I’m listening to it, but I would never think “ooh, let’s listen to that one!”. Which is probably not a great sign for them.

Felix: Ah no, I thought I’d like it during my first listen, but as my overview on this year’s lineup grew, the more bland this one became. No recognition value.

5. GEORGIA
Felix: I was afraid. Very afraid. Before my first encounter with Georgia, I heard quite some remarks about it which made me feel nervous. Will this be as scary, as irritating, as repulsive as my fellow fans’ reactions suggested?

Then my first play happened. A while into the first verse, I thought, hey, this is daring, different, catchy. And finally, the chorus put that huge smile on my face, something that hardly any other 2022 song managed to do. Daring, but still melodic and inoffensive = absolutely my cup of tea. So good it’s there, even if it probably won’t be on the big night.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😄

Shi: I listened to this several times and managed to find it entertaining, annoying, catchy and boring, and each time it just depended on my mood. Still undecided. Ask me again later.

Martin: In terms of what I listen to outside ESC, I probably should like this (even) more than I do. But it is quite cool. I’m extremely curious about the performance.

MALTA: We’re not the same

6. MALTA
Martin: I’m hardly the first person to point out the grim irony of a “take me or leave me” inclusivity lyric being sung by a generically attractive white girl. I may, however, be the first person to point out that Emma really looks like Rebecca Black of “Friday” fame in the music video, right down to the slightly gormless way she sings to camera. Once you notice it…

The song? Cynicism aside, the song is fine, really. It’s probably the most “Eurovision” thing in this year’s line-up, but the margins wouldn’t be as interesting if there were no middle ground to anchor them.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😐

Shi: It’s actually a perfectly nice song and Emma is a strong performer, but I’m at the point when Malta being Malta just adds a layer of rage to my response to their entries.

Felix: I have no issues with Malta 2022, and that’s a nice surprise compared to last year. I agree about its Eurovisionness, and that might be its biggest strength.

7. SAN MARINO
Shi: It only took rotating through all of San Marino’s local and imported artists three times and Italy winning and hosting Eurovision for this tiny country to finally start digging into the Italian artist pool. Who could have guessed?

They went big with Achille Lauro, who has an extremely successful career in Italy, and who – with no disrespect to previous entrants – will definitely get strong support from the home crowd. Lauro can be a very acquired taste, and this song is fine for what it is (and very much stands out in the crowd), it also might be mistaken for a parody of last year’s entry.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😐

Felix: Una Voce per San Marino had unforgettable highlights, long before established artists joined the game. I hoped for others, but I’m fine with Achille at Eurovision. Show is key though.

Martin: A Wikipedia list of random cultural references and a tired Gary Glitter beat are not the way to my heart, Achille. You can do so much better.

8. AUSTRALIA
Felix: Oh no, do I really have to? Review Australia? Okay… something positive first: There are moments in this song when I go, oh, this is actually really nice, his voice and the melody make a wonderful pairing, there could be some magic created on stage, but… and there’s that big BUT here… uff.
Listen, I don’t want to participate in philosophical questions whether we’re all the same or the opposite (or both), that shouldn’t be the point here. There’s just that overriding question whether this fellow is serious with the veil and the crying. Lordi was more accessible. I’m sorry.

Prediction: Personal:

⬇

😩

Martin: I don’t mind the veil, I can cope with the message, I don’t even mind the forced tears. I just find the song to be a complete dog. My #40 this year. Sorry from me too.

Shi: I first met Sheldon’s veil in his brilliant cover of Madonna’s “Frozen” so I am used to it, but since most people aren’t, he’ll have to give a much stronger performance to get away with it.

CYPRUS: Where are we? Rock bottom

9. CYPRUS
Martin: Melodifestivalen once had a song called “Å, sjuttiotal”. My response to this year’s Cypriot entry takes a similar form: “Ahh, the early 2000s!”

In style, structure and even language, “Ela” feels like it’s fallen out of a wormhole from that particular era of the contest – and I’m not going to lie, I’m here for it. It’s an unspectacular little song, as much rolling atmosphere as actual melody, and I suspect the bottom right-hand quarter of the final scoreboard is its absolute limit, but it makes a pleasant change from the diminishing returns of the “Fuego” clones from Cyprus.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😊

Felix: Yeah, nice new (old) sounds coming from Cyprus, indeed. Pleasant tune, just not very instantly memorable. Another one from that box that I’d not miss if it was stolen.

Shi: “Ela” is a pleasant, breezy lightweight three minutes of Greeklish folk pop that should totally be my thing, but I keep being distracted by her inability to pronounce the letters S and Z.

 

And that’s the first half of semi 2 complete! The second half will follow very soon…

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