Kristian Faith

May 10, 2017 by

Kristian Faith

Semi final 1 only took place last night, but it’s already time to take a look at semi 2 before tonight’s crucial jury rehearsal.

Serbia has come together a bit more visually. There were some glowing lights near the start in addition to on-screen water effects. With strong voting power, could this be the Poland of semi 2?

Nathan is sounding his strongest yet for Austria. The high note at the bridge is the most obvious concern, which was about 90% on-point today. There’s lots for juries to appreciate here.

FYR Macedonia has adjusted the sound mix to make ‘Dance Alone’ sound more like its studio version. Jana’s giving the camera plenty of smiles, but the outfit and overall styling aren’t the best.

One can’t help but draw parallels between Malta and Slovenia from semi 1. This is perhaps an easier heat to escape from but Claudia could be shoved down the memory hole preceding Romania.

Alex is now rocking a ‘curtains’ hairdo from the late 90s for Romania. We saw with Moldova that novelty definitely still has an audience, but how high can this realistically go with the juries this evening?

OG3NE almost missed their cue at the start, but were otherwise as flawless and professional as ever. “A really moving performance” says the host, and he’s not wrong. It gets me Every. Single. Time. The Netherlands is a potential jury winner this evening.

Post-break, there are now more noticeable floor effects for Hungary. Otherwise, there are plenty of talent show warning signs here including fire pyros and a very long, aggressive rap.

Denmark’s postcard features Anja displaying her yoga abilities. The opening “Laying down my armour…” line comes out of nowhere and takes you by surprise. An effective package overall.

Brendan looks much more appealing in a new white jacket. “I know you’re scared, but so am I…” and it really seems like he is. With more than a few of the notes missed, Ireland looks to be in danger.

It would appear San Marino is Rob’s guilty pleasure this year. Actually, it’s a lot of fun following Ireland. Valentina isn’t particularly convincing with her dance moves. Will juries really be giving 70s disco any love?

Like Poland in semi 1, Croatia feels like a very difficult call. The whole thing is completely ridiculous but it’s at least more interesting than many others. Vocals are right, but the visuals are very wrong.

With so many modern-sounding songs qualifying last night, Norway should be in the mix to go through tomorrow. It’s a very difficult entry to get particularly excited about, but it is well performed.

Switzerland’s Mirela wears a yellow dress in the postcard, which makes her ‘Big Bird’ dress come as less of a shock. “A colourful performance,’ the host declares. Vocally this was solid and it was her best effort yet.

Naviband are as happy as ever for Belarus. Everything has come together for this, with the sparkly pyros and dry ice adding to the visuals. It could get forgotten preceding potential semi winner Bulgaria, and I have doubts about its jury appeal.

Kristian put in a solid rehearsal for Bulgaria. I’ve perhaps heard him sounding a little stronger, but it’s tonight in front of the juries when vocals will matter most. Just ask Australia’s Isaiah.

There’s barely anything good to say about Lithuania. It’s almost unbelievable how they have gone from a Top 10 finish to this in just a year. ‘Rain of Revolution’ could be last in this semi.

Estonia strikes me as quite a bizarre overall package. This duo are slightly older and not particularly voteable, and it’s hard to work out whether the humour in this is intentional.

The contrast is very apparent with Israel, in that it’s a modern song with an attractive performer. Vocally this has come on leaps and bounds, and doesn’t look likely to fail from the pimp slot and do a Serbia 2013 or Latvia 2017.

As with semi 1, we get to see one minute of three automatic qualifiers. France’s Alma appears to have more confidence, but otherwise the staging was as before.

Germany is also as before and manages to be both dull and nice at the same time.

O.Torvald are rocking out as ever for Ukraine. If we really are ‘celebrating diversity’, this would be finishing in tenth place, but I’m not sure there is enough in the staging or the song to help the host nation achieve its usual Top 10 finish.

In the recap, what’s particularly apparent is that the bottom end of the jury vote is potentially very crowded in this semi. The qualification market remains a quandary, and likely will stay that way until the qualifiers are announced tomorrow night.

Just for fun, the fake qualifiers in this rehearsal were, in order; Israel, Serbia, Bulgaria, Belarus, Malta, Ireland, Austria, Croatia, Romania, Switzerland.

Hopefully tonight’s jury rehearsal will clarify things a little more.


  1. Great review Tim. Just a question for you. If everything goes according to plan, we will have Italy, Portugal, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, and if there’s some luck in play Austria as well. How do you explain the Western dominance (dominance of ‘classic’ Eurovision nations) in this year’s contest?

    Secondly, why is Armenia lower than Portugal, Sweden and Belgium in the betting odds? At this very moment….

    • Tim B

      Hey Gert, thanks for commenting. Well firstly it’s a bit of a strange year without Russia participating, that’s one very likely Eastern Top 10 and potential winner (in a normal year) out of the picture. Ukraine are hosting and therefore not trying to win again, and probably won’t finish in the Top 10. The only competitive Eastern entry this year for the outright win appears to be Armenia. There’s been a massive drift for Armenia in the markets since last night for several reasons. Firstly, the feeling over here is very much that Portugal won last night’s semi. This is despite Armenia having a better slot in the running order and many voting allies to rely on. Secondly, Armenia is barely charting on iTunes at all. Now I know Eastern nations do not tend to pay to download music, but even Jamala was charting all across Europe after her semi-final and that was hardly your radio-friendly chart song. Similarly, YouTube views are for Armenia are relatively low compared to Portugal and Belgium, which suggests it hasn’t caught on in the way its backers were hoping. Finally, Betfair is largely used by UK punters and ‘Fly With Me’ is very Eastern-sounding. To the average UK punter it won’t sound like a Eurovision winner, that’s for sure. All of the above is why Armenia has drifted so significantly in the outright market. However, perhaps all is not lost for Armenia as the exact same thing happened with Ukraine’s odds last year, and of course they ended up winning. They were written off completely by many smart Eurovision analysts such as yourself. You’re right in that there aren’t many Eastern European contenders for the win, Top 5 etc., but as we know, Bulgaria is an honorary (sp?) ex-USSR entry this year, and I believe they can win. Regardless, it’s a very solid overall package in its own right but I’d like to see Kristian pull out a second half draw in terms of his overall chances. You will see it for yourself tomorrow.

      In regards to Azerbaijan, for me it’s too batshit crazy and unlikely to finish in the Top 10. But with Azerbaijan you never know what er, tricks they might be up to.

      • Hristina

        “…but as we know, Bulgaria is an honorary ex-USSR entry this year…”

        Bulgaria was never part of the Soviet Union.
        The only time Bulgaria received points from Russia was in 2007. 4 points.
        Yes, Kristian Kostov was born in Moscow, but years after the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s 2017, it’s a song contest and we still talk about this…

        • Bulgaria was a satellite, puppet state of the Soviet Union, like Hungary, East-Germany, Czechoslovakia and some others. Thus, in essence, they really were soviet states.

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