Mighty Aphrodite

May 10, 2022 by

Mighty Aphrodite

The serious business starts tonight and the first chance for Europe to see this year’s current 1.73 favourite to win ESC 2022 performed live. How do you solve a trading puzzle like ‘Stefania’?

At extremely cramped odds of 1.41 to win semi 1, Ukraine looks worth taking on because there are both jury and televote doubts attached to it. Performed from the 6 slot, in any other year it would have an also-ran feel.

You can make the argument it has the most impact in the early section of the semi but even so, on a Tuesday evening there may not be that strong an engagement with it among the general ESC televoter.

And if music professionals are objectively ranking the semi 1 songs, it’s hard to find a place for it that high up, given you are dealing, in part, with ethno rap, not to mention a long last minute partially concealed by a break-dancing segment. The flute is the highlight but overall it doesn’t have the look or sound of something that is especially jury appealing.

At extremely cramped odds of 1.41 to win semi 1, Ukraine looks worth taking on because there are both jury and televote doubts attached to it

The quality in semi 1 this year resides among the solo females, in particular, S10, Maro and Amanda Tenfjord. Of those 3, Greece appears to have most in its favour to challenge for the semi win. Excellent live performance, evocative staging, and the best of the running order in 15.

‘Die Together’ has all the ingredients to achieve a high finish on both the jury and televote side and looks the bet to potentially topple the favourite.

Netherlands and Portugal should come under consideration for a top 3 finish. Both are executed with true musical artistry, should be going high on the jury side, and despite only middling r.o.s of 8 and 10, plenty of viewers should get on board with them.

In terms of the qualification picture, 6 are looking fairly lock-ish to make it through in Ukraine, Greece, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Armenia.

While you can make a qualification case for Austria and Lithuania, I’m hesitantly shifting them to the NQ pile alongside Slovenia, Bulgaria and Denmark.

Here’s a handy rehearsal reprise edit of all semi 1 acts in running order:

This, in theory, leaves 6 contenders vying for 4 Q spots and it’s tricky to say the least. While Albania is rated around a 1.45 shot to Q, that looks on the skinny side. Ronela’s live vocal wasn’t particularly assured in front of the juries last night, ‘Sekret’ is a Balkan banger lacking any real venom, and there is enough quality in semi 1 to see this falling well down.

Albania is relying on televote and diaspora support and it doesn’t strike me as the greatest semi opener in the world. In its last three ESC appearances, Albania has crept through in 8th, 9th and 10th.

If it makes it through it will likely be by the skin of its teeth, again, courtesy of points from the likes of Greece, Austria and Switzerland but I think its luck is overdue to run out. Shock NQ.

Moldova also looks a little vulnerable. It should be able to rely on points from Portugal, Italy and Ukraine, but like Albania it won’t be doing that well on the jury side, and is probably going to need a solid televote to pull through.

In its last three ESC appearances, Albania has crept through in 8th, 9th and 10th

It is also squeezed between two high quality entries from Netherlands and Portugal, which leave it feeling a bit lightweight.

‘So Lucky’ was proper madcap visuals in 2011, more overtly fun than this, and only sneaked through in 10th. So Moldova looks another one for Q layers to consider taking on, but they had a great run in front of the juries last night and could go big in the hall again tonight.

It could be argued Latvia is doing a better job than Moldova bringing energy to the stage. The main issue with Latvia is the song itself which to my ears is painfully weak.

While Latvia is a poor song elevated by the staging, Switzerland is the other way round: it’s a quality song but Marcus’s stagecraft isn’t the best and it does risk falling flat, but he did a good job last night and I think jurors will have rated Switzerland quite highly.

Iceland was an entry that jumped off the page during the Icelandic NF and it’s been the same in Turin. They have done a sterling job with the staging of it, and it possesses a timeless feel that is very easy to warm to.

The worry is, the lead singer slightly lost her way last night, sounding flat at a key moment on her solo before her sisters came to her rescue and aided her recovery in the harmony.

Tonight may count for more for Iceland recalling the fact The Common Linnets did better on the televote than they did with juries. Overall, it has a veneer of quality so I think Iceland can make it through.

Coming to Turin, I was keen on Croatia’s qualification chance. That enthusiasm dwindled due to lacklustre staging. But much like ‘Boys Do Cry’, my view would be ‘Guilty Pleasure’ is among the ten best songs in semi 1, and Mia had a solid run in front of the juries.

While Latvia is a poor song elevated by the staging, Switzerland is the other way round

It often proves more sensible to stick to the basics of song quality trumping all other facets and on that basis, both Switzerland and Croatia are sneaking onto my list of 10 despite becoming pretty friendless in the market, and despite very little confidence on my part in calling them through.

That leaves one Q spot being fought over by Latvia and Moldova and for partly sentimental reasons I’m giving the last place to Moldova.

So my 10 going through: Greece, Portugal, Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Ukraine, Armenia, Switzerland, Croatia and Moldova.

The one that might create hype this evening when UK punters get to see it for the first time is Norway. There could easily be a plunge on this across all markets. This could open up laying opportunities because, cold-blooded analyst’s hat on, the clear concern has to be a potential shortfall on the jury side.

My view is, it comes across too gimmicky, ‘Give That Wolf A Banana’ is no world-beater as a song, and it is probably relying on big votes among younger viewers, the TikTok generation, which may not amount to as many votes as people think.

Matt’s verdict:

Tonight’s semi is quite interesting. Whereas on paper it looked like Thursday’s semi was weaker, there are many in this heat which are unimaginatively staged, have been hampered by the looming black hole sun, or just aren’t working very well on stage.

There are also very few jury big hitters here so those who score highly with our esteemed music professionals should have a head start. The public vote is tougher, with lots of nations vying for the affections of the watching millions.

With this in mind, the safe choices, which most will have, and in no particular order: Portugal, Netherlands, Ukraine, Greece, Norway, Armenia, Moldova.

This leaves 3 from my other 5 possibles – Latvia, Austria, Iceland, Switzerland and Albania. The latter is trading very low but feels like it has enough friends and USP, especially in a fan-friendly semi. Austria was OK vocally last night and Latvia, while I personally am not a fan, brings a slice of fun.

Final 10: Portugal, Netherlands, Ukraine, Greece, Norway, Armenia, Moldova, Latvia, Austria, Albania.

Best of luck from Matt and I to everyone tonight. Please do feel free to post your 10 Qs, best bets, and semi 1 thoughts below.

13 Comments

  1. Montell

    https://twitter.com/emocijus/status/1523738636256116737?s=20&t=rVIk-b-h-WQhQIMlGXWPwQ

    I will stick to my qualifiers that I posted yesterday:
    Albania
    Lithuania
    Ukraine
    Netherlands
    Moldova
    Portugal
    Austria
    Greece
    Norway
    Armenia

    I anyone gets 10/10 it’s only because of luck because this semi final is impossible to predict. For example, I could easily switch Albania, Lithuania, Austria with Iceland, Croatia Latvia.

    Albania is nothing special in my opinion, but it’s better than their past entries which all qualified in 9-10 position so this should qualify as well.
    Lithuania is the country which I think I will get wrong, but I just love that song (I’m from Lithuania). Monika is very charismatic and Lithuania has quite a few friendly countries voting in this semi so I think Lithuania is capable of achieving that 9-10 place.
    And I chose Austria just because their song is so different from the surrounding songs. But if Iceland qualified instead of Austria, I would be very happy as well.

    Good luck everyone.

  2. PeterNL

    Good luck to you guys!

    My qualifiers are:

    1. Ukraine
    2. Greece
    3. Netherlands
    4. Norway
    5. Armenia
    6. Portugal
    7. Moldova
    8. Albania
    9. Switzerland
    10. Latvia

    It’s a bit of a struggle for the last spots, and having three out of the first four songs qualifying doesn’t feel very satisfying. That’s given that viewers are likely to be looking forward to the big moment of the sixth song, and no matter how Ukraine lands, they might have forgotten about what came before by the end of the show. Still I think Albania should make it, based on the unique song and some love from the region and diaspora. I expect Switzerland will get enough jury votes to compensate for a less impressive televoting score. And in the case of Latvia, mainly based on a remarkable 6th place in the Eurojury in this semi, I think it should be able to score just enough on both sides to be in the overall Top 10.

    If anything goes wrong here, then I think Iceland should take a place of one these three. Although I personally don’t like it, and I think with Netherlands, Greece and Portugal it’s surrounded by better calm songs. But I’ve noticed it received some appreciation from casual viewers around me in the Netherlands, which tends to be a warning signal that it might do better than expected.

  3. Ian Follin

    I’m hoping Robs correct here as I’ve done both Albania and Austria as nq and put Switzerland in as a q.

  4. Showlad

    Good luck all! Enjoy 🙂 Showlad’s 10:
    Greece,Portugal, Netherlands, Ukraine, Norway, Armenia, Moldova, Latvia, Austria, Albania.

  5. neomichael

    For My prediction would be the following:
    1 Ukraine
    2 Greece
    3 Norway
    4 Armenia
    5 Netherlands
    6 Portugal
    7 Switzerland
    8 Moldova
    9 Denmark
    10 Albania
    11 Austria
    12 Iceland
    13 Bulgaria
    13 Croatia
    15 Latvia
    16 Lithuania
    17 Slovenia

    I hope also Albania and Austria doesn’t qualify.
    My “safe” bet would be Lithuania to NQ.
    Good luck everyone!!

    • Rob

      Will be an interesting test case for the efficiency of the markets this evening. Matt and Showlad will land 10/10 if the Betfair Q odds are correct pre-show.

      • neomichael

        True this is after all the best possible prediction taken everything into account. Hope for some surprises though, if not in this semi at least in the second one.

  6. Evening – good to be back. Let’s see how this goes:

    Greece
    Ukraine
    Norway
    Netherlands
    Moldova
    Portugal
    Latvia
    Armenia
    Albania
    Lithuania
    ———
    Austria
    Iceland
    Switzerland
    Denmark
    Croatia
    Slovenia
    Bulgaria

    GL

  7. mark dowd

    seems the major faultline here was Austria/Albania…for Switzerland/Iceland..

    Up tempo shaky vocals losing out to mellow, assured lyrical material?

  8. Guildo Horn Forever

    Didn’t get to watch Semi-Final 1 yesterday evening, so I’m sort of catching up with it a bit as i write this.

    Glad to see Albania didn’t make it: a generic song fronted by an unlikeable singer. Ronela always gave me a (Malta’s) Destiny vibe. Mystifyingly full of herself.

    It’s good to see the back of Austria – I feel the chances of my Top 10 bet on Czech Republic landing have slightly improved. The Austrian song asked too much of its singer with its densely-packed tongue-twister lyrics to a rapid bpm and deserved to get sent packing for its la-la-la-la-la-la-la sections. Just watching the performance, now. Pia’s hair styling is embarrassing. She looks like an alien species from a Star Trek spin-off.

    From the clips I’ve heard, CR still sounds a bit pitchy to me, despite all the media centre review raves, but its staging is meant to work a treat, plus Dominika is a big plus.

    I thought Latvia would sneak in, so I’m a bit surprised at its qualification failure. (Memorable) novelty lyrics aside, the song’s pretty good and a bit of a banger, and although the group, while prats, they were sort of likeable prats, I thought. And I liked that each group member got a distinct Starburst / Opal Fruits coloured suit (albeit obviously Mighty Morphin Power Rangers inspired). I suppose this is another warning against sending a kid’s song to Eurovision? Rybak’s 15th place finish with That’s How You Write a Song comes to mind a bit. Latvia were like an experiment in taking Uptown Funk as a starting point and going through countless iterations until you came up with a package you could send to a child’s birthday party.

    Amazed myself by taking the 10s EW on Sweden yesterday. I don’t like the singer (she reminds me of a couple of people, don’t really like her vocal tone nor her rasp. I’ve long thought that the whole package has been overrated by ‘the bubble’ coz seasoned followers were refreshingly surprised by the change in direction of a Swedish entry.

    But…people really do seem to like her and love the song and with it being Sweden it’ll be overrated by the juries and be given as favourable a draw as possible. And the Swedish machine can be relied upon to faithfully transplant what worked so well on the Melo NF stage to the Eurovision stage. It feels bonkers that my faves have been Italy and the UK…but I back neither of them, instead backing something I don’t really like!

  9. Guildo Horn Forever

    Looking at the Oddschecker outright, i see that no Semi 1 qualifying entry noticeably contracted.

    Most noticeably, I see Greece has drifted, with @95 available on the exchange and EW 55s on one sportsbook.

    Skimming through the Semi-Final 1 show, I see Ronela was, erm, a vision in pink. She wouldn;t have looked out of place doing a duet with Kermit.

    Mention of Kermit is a fitting segue to the “Being green is hot / Being green is cool” of Latvia. Perhaps an ESC running-order choice in-joke?

    Lithuania – dated, stylised cabaret feel, but mellow, with a mild but nice groove and the singer is pretty and likeable.

    Switzerland too pedestrian. Weird styling. Baggy, black PVC jacket that he looks like he borrowed off James Newman; peroxided hair; cross-like dangling ear-ring. He’s an unattractive, dopey-faced man who looks like he lives in a bedsit and singing a kid’s lullaby while risibly and failingly styled to look like a bad boy (to give the package a contrasting edge!). When he has that bit of the song to actually sing past a whisper, he can’t do it. Embarrassing and charmless. Potentially a bit creepy. Frankly. I’m amazed this qualified. Rubbish. Possible last-placed finisher?

    Slovenia – group looks like they should be on Junior Eurovision. Lead singer is awkward-looking and a bit dead-eyed. Borrowed his velvet suit from Austin Powers, I see. Zero charisma. He’s poorly lit and the camera doesn’t want to linger on him – with the swirling, repeating camera moves distracting and weird. No surprise this failed to qualify.

    Bulgaria – like a track that failed to make it onto the original Top Gun soundtrack. ‘Intelligent’, my arse! Bit of a toe tapper, despite that!

    Netherlands – she sings this so well. She’s not especially photogenic and reminds me a little of a young Martina Navratilova but with long hair. Unfortunate. Gosh, she sings this so nicely and towards the song’s end, her voice endearingly starts to crack with the power of the emotion she’s feeling. She’s nearly overcome. I wonder what she was singing about? I genuinely want to know now after that performance.

    Moldova – great fun. Brought a smile to my face. Total party song.

    Portugal – wow! The staging of this has come on leaps and bounds. Stunning and Maro is absolutely adorable. Lovely, lovely harmonies. Such a pretty, intriguing song. A comfort blanket of a song – in that it does, unfortunately, just lack dynamism or dynamics.

    It’s odd in that feels like there’s not a single element of the Portuguese entry that could be improved upon.

    Beautiful, charming lead singer with a gorgeous voice. Beautiful, on-point group harmonies. Gorgeously staged. I love the blues (with Maro in lilac) and the underplay of mist. Interestingly constructed song with a beautiful, catchy melody that transmits whatever that Saudade feeling is. There’s a slight sense that the exact same package could have caught fire in another year, but for whatever reason it’s just not hitting?

    Croatia – another Croatian dancer-laden stage show issue. Dancers are meant to demonstrate and aid the storytelling but instead clutter the stage. I was put in mind of Pac-Man at one point. Annoyingly twee.

    Denmark – perhaps even more dated than the Intelligent Music Project. This was my guily pleasure. Bit gutted this didn’t Q.

    Austria – worse on re-watch and re-listen. Terrible.

    Iceland – nice, but -strike a light- it’s stultifying tame and boring. Where’s the song?

    Greece – well, that was terrific! The song still hits hard, now it’s on the stage. Crowd genuinely seem to be feeling it. She sings this very, very well (including that big moment), but I have to say that all of the many media centre reports about Amanda being note and pitch perfect are obviously over-stated. The overstating of a singer’s vocals from media / press centre reviews seems, disappointingly, to be a running theme. Amanda is very vocally shaky and wobbly on many parts – it’s unmissable, surely? I do love her tone and love how the emotion comes through her voice.

    I like the choice of white dress but it looks a bit cheap. If they were going for ‘classy’ then choose better material!

    I like the broken-chair staging theme but the background giant-size silhouettes of a courting couple (back from the honeymoon period) are too peripheral, randomly fleeting and disconnected from Amanda and the broken chair themed staging.

    I hate the camera shot choices on the “Take my heart and rip it out /
    Bring it to the other side” bridge section – too many cuts, too many mid-distance panning shots, all adding up to a dilution of what should be building intensity (the music video avoids that mistake). Plus, Amanda’s over-shaking hand gesture, while (partially) in synch with the lyrical content, does make her look a bit unhinged. Terrible choice of gesture that doesn’t even exactly match the lyric. If anything, shouldn’t she be casting away her ripped-out and discarded heart? Or slowly unfurling her bunched hand to ‘display’ her disappeared heart? No one needs the bunny-boiler angry reaction. Ruins the story.

    Disappointing, as that was so close to hitting a bulls eye. Lots to really like. Still tweakable, though. Then again, she’s vocally shaky in parts and that will remain a bit of an issue, I feel.

    Was considering backing that EW, but I think it’ll miss the Top 4.

    Norway – love this clever, polished, novelty perfection but, ultimately the masks kill its prospects.

    Armenia – loved the staging and the staging surprise. Rosa’s a good singer. Given the difficulty of some of the sections of that song she possibly gave the best vocal technically?

  10. Guildo Horn Forever

    Won’t be able to post tomorrow (later, now), so I thought I’d tuck this is in now at the bottom of the comments, here.

    Haven’t tried picking the 10 Qs before, so here’s giving it a whirl…

    Short Form.

    Qs:

    1. Sweden
    2. Poland
    3. Serbia
    4. Czech Republic
    5. Estonia
    6. Cyprus
    7. Australia
    8. Azerbaijan
    9. Romania
    10. Ireland

    Non-Qs:

    11. Montenegro
    12. Israel
    13. Finland
    14. San Marino
    15. Belgium
    16. Malta
    17. North Macedonia
    18. Georgia

    Longer form (using the ESC second rehearsal 30 second clips as a main reference point):
    In running order…

    Finland: Jarring and amusing that this and Give That Wolf a Banana both share a yellow & black colour scheme. The Rasmus’s lead singer is rocking a forehead that reminds of the Ferengi species from one of the Star Treks – which is combined with a dishevelled mop-mullet that features a front right-hand side, dropped curtain of hair that reminds of The Human League’s Phil Oakey’s early trademark hairography, circa Love Action. His bare chest and midriff is available for viewing due to his open yellow raincoat -possibly deliberately inspired by the iconic wardrobe choice of Jonas from the absolutely fantastic (Netflix funded) German TV sci-fi, Dark- so this, all-in-all does convey a sense of slightly dodgy dad rock.

    I only realised the other week that this is The (actual) Rasmus of In The Shadows fame. After Blind Channel’s 6th placed finish last year, does this herald the beginnings of a Finnish Eurovision brand?

    It’s a fairly catchy and decent rock track, and competently performed (as is to be expected), but nothing that special. My mind is drawn back to Cascada from 2013 – they automatically qualified but finished miles down the Grand Final table with a miserable points total, despite coming into the contest with a lot of hype and expectation. I think Darude flopped hard the other year, as well.

    Israel: Self-absorbed, campily narcissistic and yet the rehearsal clip surprised me as the stage show looks slick and fairly amusing. I wasn’t expecting much but his singing sounded strong and I enjoyed his crisp dance moves. This looks to have come on leaps and bounds. I was very surprised and also impressed at his seeming ability to have the breath control for the vocals despite his energetic stage movement.

    I’m sure the song’s still a bit of a bore, and he remains full of himself, but maybe he deserves a bit of that diva status he aspires to.

    Serbia: I didn’t rate this back when first seeing it and judged it a self-indulgent joke entry or anti-ESC entry (was thinking Dustin the Turkey type stuff), before realising it had potential cult status. Memorable as Hell and iconic. The singer / performance artist / political activist has remarkable charisma given that she doesn’t really sing a word and spends the show sitting down moisturising her hands. Catchy beat but that simple beat continues endlessly and monotonously. Where this finishes up is probably more interesting than where Ukraine places. Simultaneously hypnotic and boring.

    Azerbaijan: Difficult to judge the vocal from the rehearsal clip, which focuses on a quieter part of the song. Media / press centre reviews seem to be very impressed by his vocal. I’ve found the song unmemorable (I think he’s going on about “the weather” or something. Is he English?!). I could never remember how Azer’s Start A Fire from 2013 went, either. Difficult to assess.

    Georgia: I find this repetitive and annoying. Don’t get the steampunk goggles and styling, with a sort of 90s retro psychodelia-style, lighting backdrop. Perhaps it’s amusing? I don’t care for it, but I suspect they’re not too bothered about others’ reaction to them. And, sincerely, good for them. I feel like they should be at an Indie festival somewhere.

    Malta: Cheesy, vanilla, generic song. So bland. Superficially purporting to make a statement, but for real statement-making, look to Serbia. Likeable girl but Emma sounds very pitchy and is straining and failing to hit the notes in the rehearsal clip. Silver and white costumes out front with a glowing orange and gold sun backdrop looks uplifting and cheery. Song sounds in too high a key for her?

    San Marino: Looks and sounds very inspired by last year’s winners. Lead singer, Achille Lauro (!) and Israel’s Michael Ben David seem to have identical self-regard and similar stage movement. Are they brothers? Looked better than I thought it would.

    Australia: For a self-absorbed persona, no-one can out-do Sheldon. How much room is there in this Semi for camp divas? But I’m sure that Sheldon would argue that he’s not the same. He’s the only diva in the contest. The rehearsal clip is taken from the very end of Not The Same. It looks like Sheldon has just done his identically quivering reveal for the umpteenth time. Sigh at the inauthenticity of it all one more time. He does like to proclaim that he’s not the same, but I remain none the wiser as to what he’s not the same as – never mind what he is the same as, or even what he actually is. Three minutes of intense storytelling wherein he doesn’t tell you a story. Quite the achievement. What is “his pain”? The irony of: “Cause you never want to be the kind of person / Who can’t work it for those ones who can not word it.” The repetitive and vague song annoys the heck out of me.

    He’s a very pretty guy and I love his costume. Gorgeous and a terrific upgrade. The darkness and use of white (costume and lighting) looks suitable dramatic and effective. He has a look of an all-white Spanish bull-fighter, with part of his extravagant costume made from vanquished swans. Arguably, he’s singing the most vocally challenging song in the contest so there’s a case to be made for his being the best vocalist in the contest. His vocal always sounds stellar.

    Cyprus: This song seems to have passed me by. Reminds me a little of Albania’s Sekret – like a subtle, low-key song from the same composer. Pretty, if a little lacking in memorability. Interesting staging and the singer has a lovely tuneful tone – albeit this isn’t a challenging song. One possible issue is that the singer and dancers appear to blend into the background? Nice enough, I suppose, and the juries will probably rate it. Bit of a lullaby feel. Also meandering.

    Ireland: Her vocals seems to have improved; alternatively, this isn’t as bad as I remembered it. Has she sort of grown into this song? The song’s still going to be meh.

    North Macedonia: I liked this on initial listen way back when, but, oh my, this song is repetitive. Andrea looks more frantic than ever in the rehearsal clip. How many cups of coffee does she drink a day, an hour, each minute? She looks like she’s trying to combine signing with krumping. She looks ridiculous. In the rehearsal clip, when she throws in that “Crazy”, I sniggered. Bonkers.

    Estonia: I’ve always liked this song and especially this singer. But what’s with the staging? Or should that be the non-staging? Is he really just up there on his tod? Puts everything on his shoulders. He’s sounds in fine fettle, as always. Reliably strong.

    Romania: Cheap-sounding song. Beat sounds very generic and always reminds me of a stripped-back version of the beat to (mid-Nineties) No Mercy’s Where Do You Go. The song is like something Stock, Aitken and Waterman would have knocked out as a Latin-flavoured track for Peter Andre. Singer has some charisma and sings the non-demanding song well. Slinky and he shimmies nicely, too! He successfully brings something uplifting to the song. Singer – yes; song – no.

    Poland: The two-songs-in-one song. There’s one of this type of song every now and again. They never seem to do well, though this must be the best so far. The mournful song is beautifully sung; and when the beat drops the dance song excitement is palpable. Therein is the issue: I feel I don’t get enough of either song. I want to hear both songs fully fleshed out, instead of the fragments of each song each taking a turn.

    From the rehearsal clip, with it’s CGI and shaky-cam effects when the beat drops, it looks like Poland has decided to emphasise the heck out of the dance sections – probably to provide the visual drama that Ochman (who continues (as he has all pre-contest long) to close his eyes when concentrating on big notes) isn’t able to provide with facial expressions.

    Everyone knows, Ochamn’s vocal is absolutely, reliably, flipping sensational. I really enjoy his voice in all registers.

    Montenegro – This song takes so long to get going. What’s that circle of light that Vladana has attached behind her back like a version of fairy wings? Should Andrea be wearing that, instead? I think the juries will like this better than the televote. It’s probably telling that even during that mere 30 second rehearsal clip footage, I was already a bit bored. I always feel like I should like this more than I do. It always feels a bit disappointing. She sounds in excellent voice, so that’s a plus. This song always feels underdeveloped to me. This could have been so much more.

    Belgium – Oh boy, this had so much potential. But yet again, even in this short rehearsal clip, Jérémie is horribly out of tune – just as he has been all pre-contest circuit long. I’m wincing as I listen to him sing this. A massive shame. He simply can’t sing this song; he simply can’t reach most of the notes. The music video of this was totally misleading as to his ability to sing this.

    Sweden: Sailing through. I see the sportsbooks have this as a general 1/4 favourite, with Poland a general 5/1 second fave, with it (the market) then about 20/1 bar.

    Czech Republic: Dominika does sound a bit wobbly at points but mainly if not absolutely convincingly (slightly shouty) gets the huge, extended “Where are you, NOOOOOOWWWWWW!” Seems like she can (mostly) sing this song, after all, despite her ‘party’ season performances suggesting otherwise.

    Staging looks intriguing in a good way. Pleased and relieved to see lights successively being switched off as required at points by the song’s title lyric. I did like the quirkiness of the Indie, baggy denim jumpsuit look of the NF, but I can see why they’ve switched away from that Indie hipster vibe to a more modern, slicker look. Dominika, as charismatic as ever, is wearing a kind of (mainly) Royal blue evening-wear trouser-dress. Good to see violin bow guitarist man is still at it. Hopefully, he gains a little of the memorability of an epic sax guy. I understand why they’ve moved away from the blue lighting of the NF but I do miss it.

    If the vocals could (somehow!) improve again, then I think this could crack the Top 10; as it is, I think this qualifies and gets Top 15 in the Final.

    N.B. Reacting to the songs is straight-forward but ranking them is so hard! Belgium as the surprise non-Q. Finland as a possible bigger surprise non-qualifier.

  11. Guildo Horn Forever

    Ha! Just realised I’ve missed all the Jury Show coverage and reviews! Dang! Still, I’ll stick with what I’ve put, despite reviews and reactions being suggestive of my being mistaken with some of my reactions and choices.

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