Eurovision 2022 (Semi-Final One)

So it’s Eurovision time again, and tonight we saw the first of the semi-finals where the acts are whittled down for the final. This is excluding those countries that have paid to enter like France, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom (not that paying so far has got us above single figure points).The acts are listed below as country, act and song title.

The show was hosted by Scott Mills in beige and Rylan with sleeves that looked unfinished. The opening dance routine was an assemblage of styles and genres and lots and lots of shiny fabric. The hosts arrived; the Italian popstar Laura Pausini, who looked awful in cerise with matching eyeshadow that made her look like she’d done a few rounds with Tyson Fury. Mika didn’t fair well, he was unnatural, you could see him reading the autocue so much so he’d not look out of place using his finger to underline the words.

So without further ado, here’s my verdict on the songs:

Albania: Ronela Hajati with Sekret.

Looking like she’d raided the dressing up box and picked an outfit that was too small, Ronela bursts onto stage with a yell and keeps shouting for the next three-minutes. Looking like a quasi I Dream of Genie extra the song is repetitive and really doesn’t go anywhere. 2/5

Latvia: Citi Zēni with Eat Your Salad.

Their bio says – Citi Zēni are an award-winning, 6-piece band from Riga, they are the self-proclaimed ‘Princes of Rap’ and ‘Divas of 21st Century Pop’ known for their energetic performances, eccentric style and their cheeky lyrics. Sadly primary coloured suits and wide smiles do not say eccentric and cheeky to me. Any important message in the lyrics is lost in this mish mash of music, that at times sounds like a direct copy of the hook in Sax, the X Factor finalist, Fleur East’s song. 2/5

Lithuania: Monika Liu with Sentimentai.

With three albums under her belt and appearances on Lithuania’s Masked Singer and The Voice Monika commanded the stage at once. With echo’s of Bassey and a great hairstyle she seductively performed her song, looking like a hybrid of Piaf and Sophie Ellis Bextor. A throwback to 1970’s light entertainment staging but a cracking song and great vocal. 5/5

Switzerland: Marius Bear with Boys Do Cry.

Another throwback, this time to the 1980’s with a leather jacket that was too big. An image that suggested he needed a Stock, Aitken and Waterman sequence track behind it to lift the song. Marius gave up a career as a construction machinery mechanic to pursue one in music, I think it’ll be a short career. Boring voice and dead pan delivery, but I can see people liking it – I didn’t. 3/5

Slovenia: LPS with Disko.

LPS stands for Last Pizza Slice, silly name. Static musicians flanking a huge glitterball delivering a song that had a retro sound to it, reminiscent at times of Jamiroquai with a middle eight that needed the sultry tones of Luther Vandross to save it, the song wasn’t bad, the performance was bland. 4/5

Ukraine: Kalush Orchestra with Stefania.

This song is a tribute to one of the band member’s mother. This combo fuse hip-hop with traditional folk vibes. The staging was odd, two men dressed like car wash brushes either side of the band and another in what looked like graffiti covering him who leapt around in a distracting fashion. The audience liked this, I’m guessing to show support for the war torn country, but I think it’ll be sad if they win with votes of sympathy rather than merit. As a song it was just a little bit meh! 3/5

Bulgaria: Intelligent Music Project with Intention.

A self proclaimed supergroup of musicians who missed a trick. Safe American style soft rock with a singer styled in the image of Dave Grohl with a touch of Johnny Depp. The best part of this song was the middle eight as everything else was easily forgetful. 3/5

Netherlands: S10 with De Diepte.

S10, actual name Stien den Hollander, is a 21 year old Dutch singer, rapper and songwriter and darling of the alt-pop scene. A boring performance that couldn’t be saved by her decision not to wear a blouse. Lots of da da da da lyrics – awful. 1/5

Moldova: Zdob si Zdub & Advahov Bros with Trenuletul.

Hurrah, a nod to their country’s traditional music. This is what Eurovision is all about, fun, tradition and great stage presence. Shouts of ‘Hey Ho! Let’s Go’ for this song charting the journey on a train. 5/5

Portugal: MARO with Saudade, Saudade.

She’s supported some big names including Jessie J but I didn’t like this offering. The staging was dull as was the song and I wanted to tell her to stop shaking her head when she warbled. Harmonies were good though. 1/5

Croatia: Mia Dimšić with Guilty Pleasure.

Mia’s had two chart topping albums in Croatia so as you’d expect she looked confident on stage, even if it looked like half of her dress had been torn away by a wild beast. The dancers were distracting just wandering about the stage doing nothing much. A pleasant enough song, but is it memorable? 4/5

Denmark: REDDI with The Show.

Four female musicians make up REDDI and they say that this song represents their views on women being able to achieve just as much as men. “It’s all about daring to do what you want regardless of your gender. We want to tell the world that you should not let the outside world stop you from doing what you dream of.”

Great opening even though it had echoes of Never Enough from The Greatest Showman. Reddi are The Bangles on steroids and they woke up the audience. 5/5

Austria: LUM!X feta Pia Maria with Halo.

LUM!X is the moniker for Luca Michlmayr, the musician behind the 2017 international hit, Monster by Eiffel 65. For this offering he stood behind the decks while Pia, looking like a fan of Fraggle Rock belted out what was a 1990’s dance track. Sadly dated and uninteresting. 3/5

Iceland: Systur with Með Hækkandi Sól.

It’s a family affair from Iceland, three sisters and a brother make up the band that were in my opinion the most boring act of the evening. Like throwbacks from the hippy era the song never picked up and sounded empty. I think they possibly hadn’t had time to thaw out before performing. 1/5

Greece: Armanda Giorgiadi Tenfjord with Die Together.

Odd vocal effect in the opening verses and broken chairs all over the stage – Why? A well structured song with diva elements, a crowd pleaser. 4/5

Norway: Subwoolfer with Give That Wolf A Banana.

According to Subwoolfer they formed 4.5 billion years ago and are the biggest band in the galaxy. You can always rely on Norway to bring something odd to the competition and they don’t disappoint. Lunacy but catchy and it’s obvious that the audience like this. Before that wolf eats my grandma, give that wolf a banana what a genius lyric. 4/5

Armenia: Rosa Linn with Snap.

Interesting staging using sheets of paper, but what they dressed her in was bland and made her blend in rather than look like she was the focus of the performance – she looked like a cold cappuccino singing surrounded by napkins. That said it was a good song and vocal delivery. 4/5

A quick comment of the offerings by Italy and France – Italy the song is a horrible noise and France’s song is as appealing as shingles.

Finally, who dressed Lauara Pausini, her second dress made her look like a panto evil queen and the third was equally as awful as the first.

So, who got through, did my scoring reflect the voting choices? No. Here’s the contestants through and the rating I gave them above.

Lithuania 5/5

Switzerland 3/5

Armenia 4/5

Norway 4/5

Greece 4/5

Iceland 1/5

Portugal 1/5

Ukraine 3/5

Netherlands 1/5

Moldova 5/5

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