So last night we decamped to Duncansby Manor for the traditional showing of the Second Semi Final with the usual wide range of alcohol and nibblies. As on Tuesday our arduous task was to identify the ten songs that we would jointly and severally put forward to Saturday night’s final.
Latvia – Had an instant appeal to Lady Duncansby and Mrs Chrisparkle, but then again they hadn’t had the “benefit” of hearing it all the way through before. Two bouncy chaps in glittery suits certainly seemed to enjoy themselves and it’s a happy sound; but the truth is that there isn’t much of a song in there. I briefly considered having my haircut like a shark’s fin too. Mrs C and Lady D were swayed to vote for them – not me.
San Marino – Lady D said it instantly reminded her of Apricot Stone, and how much she hates that song. I wondered why Valentina wasn’t draped in her sheet, and was also very concerned about that bit of hair that kept getting in her mouth. It’s a song of two halves, but the ladies had got too bored with it before the upbeat final fifty seconds. Only I voted for it.
FYR Macedonia – Verging on the camptastic, but rubbish at the same time. Lozano was fine, but Esma was just awful to my ears. She provoked a lot of mirth on the sofa though. At Esma’s second chorus Mrs C cried “oh no, she’s off again!” Scott Mills’ description of her as a tomato on castors was about right. No takers.
Azerbaijan – Lady D looked at Farid; then she looked at the boy in the box; then back at Farid; then sighed “decisions, decisions…” It’s a very strong song, and Farid sang it really well. The boy in the box gimmick was effective when they were absolutely in time – the couple of occasions they weren’t, it jarred. When they were back to back they looked like a pair of bookends. All three of us voted it in without hesitation.
Finland – A pre-show favourite of mine, I thought it lacked just a tiny bit of oomph in that performance. Still it’s a massively fun number with a quirky routine and a naughty ending. We all liked it, but it didn’t spark discussion. But we’re all members of Team Ding Dong, so we all put it through.
Malta – It’s been a long time since I’ve seen someone look as though they were genuinely enjoying their performance as much as Dr. Gianluca. Its light, story-telling style had a big impact, and although it’s a gentle song, it went down really well with us. A very appealing performance, and best use of stage apron so far. Three yes’s.
Bulgaria – It took the dreadful performance of Macedonia to make me realise this song isn’t quite as bad as I first thought. Still, that’s not saying much. The bagpiper looked like he was strangling a pig. Mrs C would look very nice in Elitsa’s jacket. Still sounds like the record is warped. Three no’s.
Iceland – Lady D was rather taken by Eythor’s looks, whereas I knew he would not be Mrs C’s cuppa tea. Personally I thought he looked a little like a hamster in a wig. It’s a simple, pleasant, dare I say it slightly plodding song that doesn’t offend in any way. Not quite strong enough for me to send through but the ladies did.
Greece – I don’t care if this is a searing indictment of the Greek economy, the chorus is just the title being repeated ten times and it’s really rather tedious. The guys looked quite smart in their Moss Bros kilts but Agathonas looked very uncomfortable. After three minutes of it, Alcohol Is Necessary. Only Mrs C put it through.
Israel – Whilst Moran’s face says “sexy secretary” to me, her body says “bit of a bruiser” to Mrs C. It’s a strong song and she sang it well, but the three of us couldn’t stop looking at her dress. The ladies thought if she got through to Saturday’s show that perhaps they could find her something more “forgiving”. Repecharge material, and only I gave it its Saturday night slot.
Armenia – Although this is a bit of a dull song, it was very different from everything that had gone before, and its style had a good appeal at that point of the evening. Mrs C admired its variety; Lady D liked the way Gor wore his scarf. I wasn’t sure of his tremolos. Nevertheless it came across quite well, and we all voted for it.
Hungary – A sweet song, not entirely well sung, but with a certain Magyar charm. Lady D was not only attracted to the guitarist, but she also thought ByeAlex would be the kind of guy you could talk to after sex. She must have been on the oysters. This song does successfully what Lithuania’s doesn’t (IMHO). 100% from us.
Norway – That Verfremdungseffekt of a technothrob introduction either appeals or it puts you off. Both Mrs C and Lady D were turned right off at the beginning, and Lady D stayed switched off to the end. I’ve always liked the song, but it did lose something in that live performance. Mrs C and I gave it the benefit of the doubt, but there was quite a lot of doubt.
Albania – When the introduction started up, Lady D said “I’ve heard this before, I like it”; and then as soon as Bledar started singing she said “oh no I don’t”. Very firmly. I quite appreciate this song’s anthemic quality – I tend to like that sort of thing at euroviszh. I prefer it to the Armenian entry anyway. Again Lady D was the only nay-sayer.
Georgia – Starts promisingly, then becomes a dull dirge. I felt sorry for the eurofans who must have been gagging on that dry ice. We watched in silence until the hilarious choreographic moment when the two of them walked towards each other – plod, plod, plod, stop. Terribly stagy. Mrs C described it as “overblown woodchip”. No score.
Switzerland – This has long been my favourite song of this year’s contest, and Lady D’s too. Sadly on the stage it looked and sounded a bit ragged, and 95 year old Emil – to whom all kudos be given – did look as though he couldn’t really keep up. Out of fondness for the recording, we all put it through.
Romania – This has long been my least favourite song of this year’s contest. It’s still awful, and the faux-naked dancers just looked ridiculous, although not as bad as Cezar dressed as Abanazar from Aladdin – the stuff of nightmares. Mrs C and Lady D stunned into speechlessness. Thumbs down from everyone.
So Lady D and I both got six right and Mrs C got seven, so she was the overall winner of the two heats. For that, her prize is to spend Saturday afternoon bedecking a bar in Birmingham with balloons and flags in preparation for our Eurovision party.
Best lines of the night – Ana Matronic on Petra Mede’s dress: suitable for “my big fat gypsy funeral” was the killer.
Have fun everyone on Eurovision night!