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The View from San Francisco: I Don’t Know

by | May 12, 2022 | 2022 Home Blog, Eurovision, Featured

The View from San Francisco: I Don’t Know

by | May 12, 2022 | 2022 Home Blog, Eurovision, Featured

Hello, and welcome to another edition of “very important questions I need to ask” ahead of the second semi-final – which is somewhat more appropriate for this considerably more questionable semi. I almost feel sorry for any casual viewer who watched the first semi, which was as tame as a Eurovision show can be, and comes to watch this one expecting the same. Alas, said viewer is going to spend the evening asking many questions, mostly along the lines of “why am I doing this to myself?” or “What the hell did I just see?” – both being entirely valid reactions to much of this semi.

Rock me, baby

There are three entries of the rock variety within the first seven songs of this semi, and when the song opening the show – the one where the band members have the friendly vibe of axe murderers – is the tamest, most obviously audience-friendly entry of the three, it should remind you that it’s never too early to question the life decisions that brought you to this point.

The organizers of the show graciously gave us four songs before having to come face-to-face with whatever Georgia is – no, I still don’t have any words, I might need to invent some – but a lot less time after that before coming face-to-face with Achille Lauro.

Georgia in rehearsal

O julissi na jalyni
(EBU / Nathan Reinds)

Now, even if our viewers have never heard of him before and don’t know what to expect, having an artist name himself after a ship that was once hijacked by a terrorist group that murdered a passenger of the ship, and a few years later caught fire and sank (on my 13th birthday, no less) to never be found again, should give them a clue.

Lauro clearly had a wish list of all the things he wanted to do on stage and never had a chance to before. Either he got everything he asked for or I really want to get a look at that list if not, because damn, imagine what else was on there!

In any case, I’m curious to know which of these three rockers will manage to survive the semi-final and how many viewers will have been harmed in the process.

Dance You Off

With Israel and Romania, we get two big servings of unabashed OTT choreography and too many abbreviations. 11 spots separate them in the draw, which is not as much as the two decades that separate the actual songs, I suppose. I – with complete disregard to my Israeli roots and Romanian heritage – would be absolutely fine with not seeing either of them in the final, but will others be a more receptive target audience? I suspect that, at least for one of them, the answer is yes. Which one? Much like Achille Lauro, I don’t know.

Romania in rehearsal

Call me every time you’re feeling lonely
(EBU / Nathan Reinds)

An Everlasting Piece of Art

If there was ever an entry that was the Eurovision equivalent of a painting hanging in a museum, it’s Serbia. It’s basically that large, colorful piece on the main wall that always has crowds gathering around it, some oohing and aahing in appreciation or taking photos without the museum guards noticing while others just tilt their heads to the right, tilt them back to the left, squint, and are still unsure what it is they’re supposed to see exactly.

I have no doubt Serbia is going to be noticed. By everyone. The question is, of course, is will they get it. Much like Achille Lauro, I don’t know.

Boys Do Cry

How relieved was Marius Bear to realize he wasn’t competing in this semi, where all the other male soloists are? As relieved as I was to not have him in this semi on top of everything else, I suppose.

We not only agree on that, but also that boys, indeed, do cry. And despite the mass qualification of mellow songs in the first semi, it might be hard for the entire quintet of Azerbaijan, Australia, Estonia, Poland and Belgium to all make it through. If so, at least one person here is going to end the night with unhappy tears.

Poland in rehearsal

A storm like this can break a man like this
(EBU / Nathan Reinds)

I don’t need your help on this one, Achille, because I think I do know the answer to this one. Oh, you will miss him, too? That’s so sweet, I’ll let him know.

Let’s Dance Our Last Dance

In addition to I.M and WRS, we have four women trying their best to get to show off their choreography on Saturday night. Or maybe we have the Czech Republic trying its best while the others are aiming at “not terrible”, with varying degrees of success.

If you are among the unfortunate ones who got to listen to Cyprus’ performance in the jury show, you might have an good idea about Andromache’s chances to get to perform again, which: not great. Therefore, since I already complained about her lack of vocal ability and disregard for the alphabet, it’s time to ask some important questions about that staging. Make it one question: why? Just… why?

What were the requirements from the artistic director for this? “Find something that doesn’t require her to move because she can barely sing when she stands, but also find something where we can show her during the entire three minutes because she is a very beautiful woman and why waste that? Oh, and wait one more second, also get something that can distract from looking directly at her, because she’s also not great at emoting anything other than existential boredom” – well, that’s my best guess, anyway.

Cyprus in rehearsal

The precious moment of my life holds me excited
(EBU / Reinds)

Then we have Ireland with their cute but cheap outfits and their cute but outdated choreography. Luckily for them they also have a very cute Brooke who actually does look delighted to be there, which might or might not be enough for her to sell this to the audience and to have convinced the juries to overlook the absence of backing vocals throughout the verses that made it a bit too easy to focus on the fact Brooke is delightful, but not the best singer in the bunch. Although, she did perform right after Andromache, so she might have sounded like the new Adele by comparison. Context is everything!

Malta was supposed to be a shoe-in, but then Emma decided to be a worse singer than what we were all led to believe, because why do something the easy way when you can do it the hard way. Yes, I know, you are what you are, take it or leave it. For what it’s worth, I’m not opposed to leaving it. But at the same time, it’s also bright and cheerful and she is bright and cheerful, and some of Malta’s closest bestest friends are in this semi-final, so you see where I’m going with this, right?

Malta in rehearsal

Where do you want me to dress like an Italian?
(EBU / Nathan Reinds)

We Are Domi are completing this midtempo/uptempo female pop segment, and while their song is perhaps the most nondescript out of the four, they are also easily the most competent out of the four and find themselves in a very televote-friendly slot right at the end of the running order.

Is any of those ladies about to dance her last dance tonight? Only Mr. Österdahl knows.

Tears Getting Sober

The remaining three female soloists will attempt to pull our heart strings, but that won’t change the fact that they are responsible for the most obvious and less interesting questions of this semi.

Sweden in rehearsal

We are the heroes of our time but we’re dancing with the demons in our minds
(EBU / Nathan Reinds)

Will Sweden win it? Most probably. And who will finish lower, North Macedonia or Montenegro?

Much like Achille Lauro, I don’t know.

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