esctips podcast: 1st half, semi 1

Apr 13, 2016 by

Thanks to @ESCtips_Gavster for inviting me on to the ESCtips podcast along with to share my thoughts on the 1st half of semi 1. You can listen to it here.

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  1. You all have beautiful, cute voices :-D! Please tell Gavster that he sounds cute….as opposed to his anti-EU tweets hehe.

    Anyway, back to the 1st semi-final. I think/fear it’s one of the most competitive semi finals since the introduction of the 2-semi-final-system in 2008.

    And I have to say that the SVT-running order lacks a certain variation in the 1st half of the show. Whereas in semi final 2 the SVT didn’t have any problem in giving Latvia a 1st slot, I’m a bit agitated that SVT wasn’t ‘ballsy’ to do something similar with Russia or Armenia.

    Whatever you might think of these two entries: They are incredibly strong and should not have any problem to qualify from whatever starting slot. Still, both entries got a late draw in the 1st half of the show.

    The result now is this: The first 6 entries feel a bit….low-key and lackluster. It’s like the show really kicks in with Armenia. And I fear this is a problem for all first 6 entries, including Netherlands and Greece.

    Having said all this, I mostly agree with the remarks from the podcast. It makes things much clearer for me. Combined with my comments, I’d say this would be my matrix of qualification chances:

    000%, FINLAND: Sorry, no charisma. Old-fashioned. And in a way comparable to Finland 2002, which even at that time couldn’t manage to do well.
    000%, GREECE: First time the country won’t qualify from a semi final. It’s a lackluster entry that IMO can’t be helped by exquisite staging.
    000%, MOLDOVA: So all Eastern-European countries are supported by voting blocs? Such nonsense. Moldova is the ‘UK’ from the East…success-wise. And this year is no different.
    010%, HUNGARY: Over-hyped entry. I never understood the appeal of this song. It’s slow and Freddie sounds like he’s moaning all the time.
    035%, CROATIA: Finally the first nice entry, but mainly because of the song and good vocals. I don’t ‘get’ Nina though. And staging-wise this won’t be a ‘Denmark 2013’.
    050%, THE NETHERLANDS: And the start of the show now gets even better! Douwe is charismatic. The song is the first feel-good song of the evening. Still not as strikingly ‘nuanced and small’ as TCL.
    100%, ARMENIA: Original, unique song, with an intro that already gives away one hell of a staging concept.
    000%, SAN MARINO: Also small countries should be allowed to participate, but only if the EBU consistently lowers the entrance fees. Being dependent on artists who buy themselves into the contest is bad for the competition.
    100%, RUSSIA: The Russian ‘Sakis’ enters the stage. Will be a televote magnet, though I can’t see it winning. Not if the staging doesn’t include some of the augmented reality from the videoclip.
    100%, CZECH REPUBLIC: Great change of atmosphere after Russia. The most pure, stylish ballad of the contest together with Serbia. New HoD and he’ll be helpful as well.
    100%, CYPRUS:
    Staging director from Loreen will be assisting with this entry. Another unavoidable entry in its genre. Therefore unique enough to qualify.
    100%, AUSTRIA:
    Also Austria is mastering the art of staging. Very ‘pink sugarpop’, BUT it’s the best ‘pink sugarpop’ on offer in this contest. Zoe is a great singer and oozes charisma.
    100%, ESTONIA:
    And again, also Estonia knows how to master the art of staging. Hugely underestimated, as the lighting, LED-visuals and camera-work was top notch. Visually as brooding as Bond main titles.
    100%, AZERBAIJAN:
    Completely underestimated entry. Song-wise this is the best entry from the Azeri since 2013. Vocals are being discussed out of proportion. This will be staged perfectly.
    000%, MONTENEGRO: After 6 entries in a row that will qualify, we have arrived at another non-qualifier. Won’t be understood by both televoters and juries.
    050%, ICELAND: Actually, this is lovely staged. But there in lies the problem. There’s a disconnect between the staging concept and the less accessible, average song.
    035%, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: If Montenegro can’t qualify, then every Balkan nation shares a similar fate if their song isn’t good enough. The Balkan bloc voting is overestimated. Deen isn’t nice to look at either.
    100%, MALTA: And the show ends with Malta. Pimp slot here, Ira Losco is a great charismatic stage performer (proven record 2002). It won’t win the contest, as the song is ‘too difficult’. But TOP 10 could be possible.

    Short summary of my qualifiers from best chance to worst chance:

    100%, ARMENIA
    100%, RUSSIA
    100%, AZERBAIJAN
    100%, ESTONIA
    100%, MALTA
    100%, CYPRUS
    100%, AUSTRIA

    borderline qualifiers:
    050%, ICELAND
    035%, CROATIA

    almost no chance:
    010%, HUNGARY
    000%, FINLAND
    000%, GREECE
    000%, MOLDOVA
    000%, SAN MARINO
    000%, MONTENEGRO

  2. Rob

    Thanks for sharing your views, Gert.

    It certainly is competitive & difficult to call pre-rehearsals. I would slightly differ from you in having Greece and Hungary in the mix for qualification as well.

    Let’s see what Stockholm brings 🙂

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