It’s late in Dusseldorf, but Wiwi and Vebooboo are working hard to report how things went down in Semi-Final 1.
As you surely are aware, the following acts qualified for the Final:
So, were there surprises? HELLS YEAH! Let’s review them one by one:
— Serbia: Nina brought her A-game to the circular stage tonight. She looked adorable in her 1960s get-up, and the tunnel-like LED background provided the perfect psychedelic effect. As one of the few acts to actually sing in her native language, Nina proved you can honor your culture while being funky on the European stage. We are both seriously happy to see this cutie make it through. She was all smiles at the press conference and Euroclub afterwards, but more on that to come [Hint: she posed for a photo with us. Loves it!]
— Russia: Given the strength of the Russian diaspora, I don’t think anyone was surprised to hear Alexey’s name called out. But in all fairness to Alexei (or Alex as he’s now known…), his song is catching like a house on fire. He and his dancers worked it on stage, and it was clear Alexei was trying his hardest to get the crowd pumped up (by constantly shouting, “Do you feel your heart beating Dusseldorf?”). Vebooboo isn’t so sure Alexei realizes this is a song competition and not a concert, but that ain’t all that important. For now, the good news is that the Russian hunk is through and looking to eat up some of Eric Saade’s votes in the final, assuming both make it!
— Switzerland: This was without a doubt the happiest surprise of the night. The entire stadium cheer for Anna, who brought together simple staging, a beautiful voice, and an even more beautiful red dress to woo fans into voting her through. When Switzerland was announced, Anna used the opportunity to jump on her colleague and kiss him. We hope she’s not pregnant after a very hands-on congratulations. Hopefully she’ll get douze points from someone in the final so we can see what happens next!
— Georgia: It wasn’t TOO surprising that Georgia made it through: at least one heavy metal or goth act usually advances, and a number of Georgia’s neighbors voted tonight. But the fact that Georgia trumped Turkey WAS a big deal. Good for Eldrine, though. They showed that risky dress decisions (hello big-ass green bow!) sometimes DO pay off.
— Finland: Well, no surprise here. Paradise provided the only song of his genre—crunchy granola folk ballad—in the semi. But the fans’ support for the youngster as he made his way through to the final was quite telling. Will he be a dark horse and win? We don’t think he can take it all the way, but a Top 10 is definitely on the cards if he performs to tonight’s standard on Saturday.
— Iceland: Good for them. Everyone wrote off this slightly old-fashioned song over the spring, but most of them seem to have changed their mind this week– so much so that a number of press members were rushing to place bets on the nation at 200:1 to win the semi. Do we think they actually won? Hells no. But does Iceland care? Hells no.
— Hungary: By far the biggest relief of the night. Kati was under a lot of pressure—the majority self-inflicted—as she worried whether her lack of choreography and movement on stage would turn her into the Kate Ryan of 2011. But her powerful voice and amazing song pulled her through, and she will get another chance to sing for her die-hard audience on Saturday. Hide your cubs — the tiger is on the prowl!
— Lithuania: Evelina has, without a doubt,
the biggest breasts one of the best voices in the competition. Unfortunately, it is wasted on one of this year’s worst songs. But props to her for defying all odds (and betmakers!) to make it through to give one more performance on Saturday.
— Azerbaijan: Rumor has it that pre-pubescent El was so worried heading into the Semi-Final that he pulled aside a Eurovision crewman to ask if he honestly thought Azerbaijan could make it through to the Final. Well, despite his worries (and Nikki’s pitch problems), the not-so-romantic duo made it through accompanied by mediocre applause. The fire effects and overall staging were amazing, but the key question is whether Nikki can hold it together vocally in the Final.
— Greece: The crowd clearly loved this song. We don’t understand why. The staging was one of the best of the night, but “Watch My Dance” sounds like two different songs copy-and-pasted together. Wiwi and Vebooboo aren’t looking forward to another three minutes of this on Saturday, but we’re happy other listeners are happy.
It’s great to talk about the ‘winners’ of the night. But how about the people we may never see again? What the hell happened to some of them?
— Poland: Magdalena did such a great job tonight, 1000x better (at least!) than her horrific first rehearsal just a week ago. But performing first meant there was little that she could do to save herself.
— Norway: Many a tear were shed tonight as Stella and “Haba Haba” had to say good-bye to Germany. A pre-ESC favorite, Norway steadily dropped in the rankings. Although most people were surprised by the result, it seems “Haba Haba” just lost its juice. But the little things in life will make Stella happy, so we’re sure she’ll focus on the fun she had and get ready for another chance to shine.
— Armenia: Most improved player of Semi-Final 1, with great staging and total sex appeal, albeit fully copied from Greece 2005 (My Number One). We’re upset that Emmy won’t get to fight another match on-stage in Dusseldorf, but apparently the big-boobed diva fell apart in last night’s jury performance which cost her a spot in the finale.
— Turkey: The biggest shock of the night by far. Everyone assumed Turkey would make it through, because they always do. But clearly the jury played a part in deciding their fate, and Georgia was favoured over its regional neighbour.
Turkey’s failure, if nothing else, will help put to rest doubts that the jury system has not had any impact.
— Portugal: The repetition in this song is what killed it. Songs like this have made it through before, and appeal to a certain demographic, but without any choreography or vocal changes on stage it was no huge surprise that this didn’t make it through.
— Albania, Malta, San Marino, Croatia: Honestly, there’s not much to say about these entries. Nor was there much to say before tonight to be truthful.
So what do you think about what happened tonight? Were you happy with the results? Do you feel robbed? Let us know how you feel!