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Line-up check 2022: Semi 2 from Ireland to the Czech Republic

by | May 2, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured

Line-up check 2022: Semi 2 from Ireland to the Czech Republic

by | May 2, 2022 | 2022 reviews, Eurovision, Featured | 0 comments

All images from the official preview videos on YouTube

TikTok, TikTok – that’s the sound of our Line-Up Check slowly reaching its conclusion. And if we’ve already had parts one, two and three, that can only mean one thing: it’s time for part four, a.k.a. the second half of the second semi-final. Brooke, kick us off!

10. IRELAND
Shi: Once again, the Irish have picked a pleasant pop song and while it does manage to show some progress – it’s uptempo! It sort of sounds like it belongs to this decade! – there’s nothing in it to suggest that it can do great things. Unless you consider not completely embarrassing Ireland as a great thing, which you might.

I’d like to be hopeful and think the Irish delegation can lift this up with a good staging and performance, but I have seen all the Irish performances in the last decade and therefore will expect nothing of the sort unless proven otherwise.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😐

Martin: I do think it has a pathway to qualification, but in the Ryan Dolan sense – they have to get it exactly right for it to even squeeze through. That’s tough.

Felix: It took me a while to remember what Ireland 2022 even is. Unimportant noise. Ireland has to finally find its new self at Eurovision, like the Netherlands did successfully years ago.

11. NORTH MACEDONIA
Martin: It’s weird that I still have this “aww, bless” view of North Macedonia as a perennial Eurovision underdog, considering they literally won the jury vote in 2019. Still, their qualification record is beyond patchy, and I always find myself rooting for them to get it right.

With “Circles”, they’re almost on the correct track, but I don’t think they’re quite there. The song strikes an interesting mood but doesn’t really develop much, and Andrea has a striking image but perhaps doesn’t have the performance chops to inject this with the spark it needs. A near miss, but a miss nonetheless.

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😐


Shi:
I don’t mind this when it’s on, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out she’s capable of singing this live, but that’s really not much to go on, is it?

Felix: I don’t have any pet country feelings for the country, and I don’t have any words for this song either. I don’t even remember how it goes. Shrug.

ESTONIA: Dans un pays loin d’ici

12. ESTONIA
Martin: Come on, Estonia. When you’ve got a song with a pleasant but generic vibe and a couple of nice but unspectacular hooks, at least make a music video that shows us the singer for more than a few seconds, otherwise what are we actually expected to remember about this entry?

There’s a school of thought that the “hope” message here could really tap into the prevailing European mood in mid-May, but I think the surrounding package is just too safe and vanilla to have that kind of cut-through. I’m guessing more of a Douwe Bob or Victor Crone result (and a shoulder-shrug from me).

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😐


Felix:
A Crone result is probably a safe prediction, and I get similar vibes of ephemerality as with “Storm”. But I find “Hope” much better, and Stefan a lot more charismatic.

Shi: Basically everything Felix said with the little extra bonus of Stefan’s ability to do basic stuff like, you know, singing.

13. ROMANIA
Felix: In my reactions on the songs this year, there has hardly been any wider discrepancy between first and second listen as with Romania. While I couldn’t do anything with “Llámame” initially, it now holds a monopoly in my ranking: It’s THE guilty pleasure, for me, this year.

A song so incredibly flat, banal and musically frugal… and somehow it managed to get onto the same shelf as “La Coco-Dance”. Its chances are probably higher than its musical quality, but semi-final 2 is too strong to predict a qualification. And this one is really bad. And I love it.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😄


Martin:
I know what Felix means. Everything about this is… not necessarily wrong, just really not right either. And yet it adds up to an unintentionally entertaining whole.

Shi: “Llámame” is that song that I find myself humming a bar of but not knowing what I am singing. This little tidbit sometimes tricks me into believing I actually like this. But I really don’t.

14. POLAND
Shi: Joining us in this semi’s line up of male solo doom and gloom is the Polish entry! It has some very distinct advantages in this semi: it’s a gorgeous composition, Ochman has a lovely voice, it’s pretty late in the running order and Polish diaspora exists.

It has some obvious disadvantages too: quite a few other male soloists in this semi and a complete lack of charisma. Yet, it still feels like something that could do quite well with both viewers and juries, and even if it’s not going to get an “Arcade” result, it might well be a “Silent Storm” one.

Prediction: Personal:

↗

😊


Martin:
Yeah, I initially took against this because of the hype, and he does seem to have issues with charisma and finding cameras – but I increasingly expect it to do pretty well.

Felix: I neither got the winner vibes when it came out, nor those voices that totally dismissed it. It’s no winner material at all, but I really enjoy it. Good choice.

MONTENEGRO: And when I see your face, I wanna follow my emotions

15. MONTENEGRO
Martin: In the same way as Romania, Montenegro has developed from an initial reaction of “meh” into a source of real delight for me this year. In the case of “Breathe”, it’s the melodramatic lyrics that have earwormed their way into my brain. The AIR is what they need! They’ll DIE without it! It – possibly the death, possibly the air, who knows – is UNFORGIVABLE! Terrific stuff.

The song? Och, you know. Standard overwrought small-country ballad, surely doomed. But between the alternate language versions, Vladana’s styling choices and those lyrics, there’s the potential for this to become a cult entry in the years ahead. Approved!

Prediction: Personal:

↘

😊


Shi:
I will shamefully admit I never managed to listen to this in full, and not even the important task of having to review it convinced me to do otherwise. Yet it’s not in my bottom two. Go figure.

Felix: It took me what felt like 28 plays until I managed to remember it. But now, Montenegro improved from “ugh” to “got it” in my book. Quite what Martin said.

16. BELGIUM
Shi: I would love to know what was the chain of events that led VRT and RTBF to launch a little domestic friendly competition to see who sends the better James Bond-esque songs to Eurovision, because that’s quite a specific niche.

On paper, “Miss You” has the right ingredients. It’s an interesting composition performed by a young (and not terrible to look at) singer who has a beautiful and recognizable voice color, and some proven experience performing on live TV to boot. In practice, from the little I’ve seen of this live, it never quite connects, maybe because he still doesn’t have the maturity required to perform this like he actually means it.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😊


Felix:
I like “Dirty Diana”, but this chorus here has the vibe of a squeaking door. I kinda liked it in the beginning, but now find it to be quite unenjoyable.

Martin: I’m not hugely sold on this either, but then unlike Felix, I didn’t like “Dirty Diana” first time round. I’m very open to being won over by a strong performance, though.

17. SWEDEN
Felix: Okay, I’m sure I will have difficulties with expressing my thoughts properly here, but I’ll try. Take “Llámame”, which I find musically really bad, but I love it. Then Sweden is musically really good, but it’s more a “three points” rather than a double digit for me. But then there’s also my big appreciation for the fact that Sweden is finally sending something different, something more genuine, more melodic.

In short… it is a good song. I don’t feel winner vibes, but 2022 is a rather open contest, so it’s of course within a chance to get to the top.

Prediction: Personal:

⬆

😊


Martin:
Same feeling on the winner vibes – “Undo” territory feels more like its upper limit. But yes: cool song, and cool to have this song from Sweden of all places.

Shi: It’s one of those songs that I feel are objectively good – but while I can appreciate it, it never actively excited me. No reason to think it won’t do very well, though. How well? Only Mr. Math knows.

CZECH REPUBLIC: You never walk alone, I will be your friend

18. CZECH REPUBLIC
Felix: If the title was “Where are you now”, I would actually remember how the song goes. Okay then, “Lights Off”… I happen to quite enjoy it when it’s on. It’s a decent, danceable track that works in some situations but doesn’t in others.

Its place in the running order is We Are Domi’s biggest friend. Their biggest problem is the lack of a catchy chorus. With the right staging, this can be an effective number and effective enough to help the Czech Republic into the final, but the records of Czech stagings at Eurovision indicate a problem here. Borderline material.

Prediction: Personal:

➡

😊


Martin:
An excellent studio track – I love the production values – but I also fear its performability, if that’s even a word. Could be a limp end to the semi-final, though I hope not.

Shi: When the Czech Republic had its first game at the 2006 Winter Olympics hockey tournament at the Palasport Olimpico, their legendary goaltender, Dominik Hašek, got injured and retired 10 minutes in. That’s 7 minutes longer than the projected total competition time of his daughter, Dominika.

 

And with that, we’re nearly there! Check back tomorrow when we’ll be finishing the ESC 2022 line-up check with the five automatic finalists…

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