We had the second semi-final offerings last night and it falls upon my shoulders to give my honest review of the proceedings, I have to say I was less than impressed with most of the second show’s offerings, but as it’s all subjective here’s my thoughts:
An impressive opening to show number two with the dancers dressed in suits, the choreography was slick but why did they end with six dancers dressed in green body suits – made no sense.
Laura Pausini wore better frocks this time but why did her hair look like she’d just stepped out of the shower? And talking about Laura, the duet with Mika was dreadful. Opening with the Sting song, Fragile, she was shrill, and he struggled to hit the notes. For a better duet go and listen to Sting’s version with Julio Iglesias. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ8g9rZOX_I
Finland: The Rasmus with Jezebel.
Great opening, The Rasmus show that they are an accomplished act and it’s no surprise they were chosen to open the show. The hints of yellow against black were just enough of a gimmick, including the yellow guitar strings to make their performance more user friendly. The singer looks like the Finnish cousin of Chucky as he leaps around the stage, but the song in my opinion was safe in comparison to other Finnish metal. 4/5
Israel: Michael Ben David with I.M.
Here we go, onto the stage comes Campy McCamp who’s channelling Madonna and wearing one of her second hand corsets over his shirt. He’s trying his best to be a diva, blending Conchita Wurst with Dana International but failing. The song is blocky, no proper structure, verses that don’t move effortlessly into the chorus. And DON’T WINK AT THE CAMERA, it’s annoying. 2/5
Serbia: Konstrakta with In Corpore Sano.
What the actual –
Opening lyrics talk about Meghan Markle’s hair as the singer sits centre stage looking like a fortune teller with henchman surrounding her – very GoT. She proceeds to wash her hands telling us all the ailments we can suffer from – a cheery little ditty this is not. This is awful, and makes me wonder what songs the Serbia rejected were before they chose this one. I spent much of the performance cringing and wondering at what point she’d lean forward and predict the lottery numbers. 0/5
Azerbaijan: Nadir Rustamli with Fade To Black.
Since winning with Running Scared in 2011 Azerbaijan have struggled to produce anything else that would tickle the voters taste buds, but they’ve managed to strike gold with this track. Simple staging supported by a great vocal. This will do well I think. 4/5
Georgia: Circus Mircus with Lock Me In.
This was bonkers, but fun. A willy Wonka look-a-like (Johnny Depp version) A man with more shrubbery in his beard than Charlie Dimmock could use on a garden make-over and another in a gimp mask. The song was a tad psychedelic but it lifted the proceedings. I’m not sure if this will be appealing though. 3/5
Malta: Emma Muscat with I Am What I Am.
Her bio reads: As well as being in-demand, singer, Muscat also composes music, writes lyrics, and is an accomplished pianist. The song is called, I Am What I Am and sadly I can tell you what you’re not, and that is a good singer. She starts off for 10 seconds at a piano then moves away – waste of staging – then we’re subjected to wobbly and at times screechy vocals. 2/5
San Marino: Achille Lauro with Stripper.
And the award for trying to hard to emulate last year’s winners, Måneskin goes to …
Looking like an extra from a Rocky Horror Show audience Achille has a song that sounds very much like it was written for the 1970’s Glitter Band. Musicians in cages and a bucking bronco says it all. This was dire. 2/5
Australia: Sheldon Riley with Not The Same.
If there has ever been a singer so desperate for stardom it’s Sheldon. He’s auditioned and appeared on America’s Got Talent, X factor USA and several countries’ productions of The Voice. I’m wondering if it could be the metal he covers his face with that people find off putting or just that this contrived image is, well, too contrived. Looking like a crystal encrusted meringue this vision in white bleats on about how he’s different to other boys – so boring and so last decade – I really don’t like his voice and sadly I find him pretentious. 2/5
Cyprus: Andromache with Ela.
The lights go up and there she is, standing in a shell looking like Botticelli’s Venus, the anticipation is palpable and then she starts to sing, badly. Even the traditional sounding backbeat couldn’t save this car crash of a song. 1/5
Ireland: Brooke with That’s Rich.
The show has just got interesting, Brooke is a breath of fresh air after so many slow and turgid songs. The staging is slick and her vocals are on point. This is proper euro-pop but maybe a little too much bubble gum to appeal to the Eastern European voters. 4/5
North Macedonia: Andrea with Circles.
Looking like she’s picked a random coat off the shelf in a charity shop this is a dull vocal teamed with lots of surly looks at the camera. Sadly this performance and the song is as appealing as haemorrhoids. Another offering that made wonder what’s going on this year? 2/5
Estonia: Stefan with Hope.
Yee-Ha! the cowboy song. I can see his appeal but this was a case of The Good, The Bad and The Unremarkable. I think this will do well. HE’S ANOTHER WINKER – stop it! 3/5
Romania: WRS with Llámame.
When this started I thought Israel had decided to have another go, but no it was Campy McCamp II and another act channelling Madonna, this time from the La Isla Bonita period. As an ex TV backing dancer he worked the stage and thankfully didn’t wink at us. I particularly liked the Bucks Fizz costume reveal and overall thought his performance outshone Israel’s similar artist. 4/5
Poland: Ochman with River.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Nice looking man with a great voice. Simple staging and well crafted song. I just questioned the need to have him share the stage with Macbeth’s witches. 5/5
Montenegro: Vladana with Breathe.
Oh dear, looking like she’d fallen backwards and become impaled on an oscillating desk fan the costume may have been impressive but sadly the song wasn’t. The commentator said this was her first song in 10 years, I’m guessing there’ll be an equally long period before her next offering. 2/5
Belgium: Jérémie Makiese with Miss You.
Why didn’t this blow me away, the intro was full of promise, very Bond sounding but the vocals didn’t have the depth to carry the song forward. Dancers that looked like creepy stalkers in the background. Sadly he looked like he was working in the warehouse at Amazon rather than performing and what was with the astronaut boots, did he fear gravity would let him down? 3/5
Sweden: Cornelia Jakobs with Hold Me Closer.
No gimmicks, just great vocals and a great song. I loved this simple performance where her voice did all the hard work. 5/5
Czech Republic: We Are Domi with Lights Off.
Started with an 80’s vibe reminiscent of OMD and Human League then morphed into 90’s club culture. Retro rave track but with uninspiring lyrics and a singer that struggled with the song as she only had a limited vocal range and one big note. This would have benefitted with a stronger singer. 3/5
So the voting took place and here’s who got through along with my ratings out of 5 points.
Tomorrow I’ll give my verdict on the acts that are guaranteed a place in the final.
Ciao for now.