In The Danger Zone?

May 8, 2017 by

In The Danger Zone?

A first chance to see semi 1 as you will see it tomorrow evening and get a feel for the running order. Ukraine’s answer to Justin Timberlake opens things. This could have gone top 5 this year.

Clever segue for Robin with him getting ready in his outfit at the end of his postcard before he appears at song start.

Georgia’s Tamara looks like she exhales from a cigarette at the start of this. Visually striking this, and she has the pipes.

Isaiah sings this fine but neither the staging nor the song feel like it is connecting.

And then Lindita arrives and sings the hell out of her song. Could the 2 big-voiced divas force Isaiah down the memory plug-hole?

Blanche reverts to a slightly more suitable black ballgown. If she performs like this tonight, she is sailing through. This has come together well. You feel the emotive power of the song.

Slavko follows and feels like a cabaret intermission. And the break follows. They introduce Georgia. Stats mentioned on Georgia’s qualification record. Then Australia get a moment. Isaiah’s age, ‘only 17’ mentioned. Sweden’s Robin then introduced. Next, Albania’s Lindita and mention of Albania’s best place finish of 5th.

Finland’s haunting beauty next. Leena handles this with aplomb. As a Finland Q backer, hope she is in this sort of form tonight.

Dihaj seen getting a tattoo in her postcard. She has to do so much in this it is a tough assignment. She copes admirably here but this will be one to watch closely tonight – a fair degree of jeopardy attached.

Loose fitting black suit for Salvador. Couple of camera angles not quite working here. He delivers this in his unique way, and takes it to a different level to his sister, nervous tics and all. He could do with a couple more close-ups and a live crowd to applaud him during a couple of moments like the Portuguese NF.

‘That was the fantastic Salvador Sobral from Portugal,’ says one of the hosts afterwards.

After Salvador, Demy’s vocal sounds a bit iffy here, pretty much all the way through the song.

Kasia has the vocal chops for this and probably jumps ahead of Tamara and Lindita if she sings like this tonight.

Moldova looks and feels like a Championship side trying to mix it with Premiership rivals. Can this get through in a semi showcasing so much quality? Going to take this one on maybe to my cost.

Svala is vocally fine but the visual concerns remain – jumpsuit exposing cleavage. We have a break after Iceland. Norma John chat to one of the hosts. Then he chats to Sunstroke Project. ‘Welcome back… in 2010 a legend was born…’ Then a clip from 2010 of Epic Sax Man. Ukraine trying to give its neighbour Moldova an unsubtle leg up here.

Martina is a fine singer but her outfit is horrible. Czechs really need to work on the art of good staging.

Cyprus staging has really come together well. And Hovig gives good camera. Likeable guy.

Powerful visuals for Armenia. This feels like another staging triumph and a high quality entry.

Omar’s vocal a bit patchy here. Plus, he gives off some borderline creepy glances at the camera. Hovig beats Omar by technical knock-out in the giving good camera stakes. It’s very much a Disney ballad, old-fashioned but couldn’t discount it.

Agnese in her rave gear looking cool and giving it plenty of attitude. Not sure the thigh high boots are a wise fashion choice. Fantastic beat this track has. ‘All I see is you, all I see is you…’ will get the crowd bouncing. Visually extremely colourful but there is a moment of Agnese in darkness when her face needs to be lit.

Word is, we will see one minute of each of Spain, UK and Italy tomorrow night. Big reverb for Lucie. Powerful and it looks great.

Francesco in an Italian bar, as a waiter, cheering on as a football fan, then him and his gorilla and friends. Fun postcard.

Recap – ‘I can’t go on, I can’t go on…’ for Robin. ‘But it don’t come easy…’ for Isaiah. ‘All alone in the danger zone…’ for Blanche.

“I’m a skeleton…’ for Dihaj. ‘Meu bem. Ouve as minhas preces…’. Big applause for Salvador from the press centre during his recap. Might this be repeated in the arena?

Poland wisely gone with the strings and Kasia belting it out at song end.

‘Let me be your heart and your company.’ Always felt Cyprus is stronger in segment form.

‘Fly with me high oh high…’ Strong clip for Armenia. And it uses a different clip during the second recap. Those Armenians are shrewd.

‘Tell me babe. Where we draw the line?’

Jamala sings 1944. Fun segment with Verka. Another Jamala song. Australian team asked why ESC is so big in Australia. EBU really does want to keep pushing Oz, it seems.

Chats to Spain’s Manel. A clip, ‘Just suet for your lover…’. That’s no way to treat a lover, Manel.

Lucie Jones welcomed. Clip: ‘I’ll never give up on you…’

Francesco chatted with. Asked about the arm movements. Cue clip: ‘… and singing in the rain, chorus’.

Dummy run of Qs and already have palpitations here. Graphic shows countries in alphabetical order, not running order.

Called as Qs: Armenia, Czech Rep, Greece, Finland, Albania, Slovenia, Australia, Moldova, Iceland, Belgium.

If this is the result tomorrow night I’ll be getting the bus home from Kiev. Please check back in tomorrow for a full betting preview of semi-final 1, with Tim and I giving you our predictions for the 10 Qs.






  1. Pettuleipä

    What do you think helps Belgium to qualify? Although the composition is good, there is not much staging or charisma, she looks very nervous. The vocals, especially in the end, sound bad. Competitors (Cyprus, Australia, Poland, Greece, Latvia) seem to have better package in terms of vocal capability, running order and/or neighbours/diaspora. Can the composition by itself take it to final or is there something I’m missing?

    • Rob

      I don’t have as much of an issue with Blanche’s vocal as some others here, Pettuleipa. As I wrote, if Blanche performs the song the way she did in the 1st dress rehearsal, I feel the song resonates and the quality of the track shines through. For me, it is a much stronger song than Australia & Isaiah has his own issues in being something of a charisma vacuum when performing it. That’s my impression anyway but as always it’s a subjective business.

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