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:

  • Serbia
  • Russia
  • Switzerland
  • Georgia
  • Finland
  • Iceland
  • Hungary
  • Lithuania
  • Azerbaijan
  • Greece

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!

Click here to see who our readers think will win the second semi-final!

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oikotimes.com/eurovision/2011/05/13/vote-in-2011-europrediction/

Nirgal
Guest

Greece had maybe the best song of the night. They also had the worst song of the night. The problem is that they were sending BOTH of them. Loukas alone would have been great.

I rooted for Poland, but my interest vanished with her washed-up performance, I really expected more. Now, what trully upset me is that Croatia didn’t pass. The act was distilled Eurotrash of the best kind!

ZetaBlc`
Guest
ZetaBlc`

Greece was by far the best yesterday!I’m not saying that cause i’m Greek,but because it’s a fact!!According to the media when Greece performed the whole crowd loved it!I’m so glad that you make it through the 1st semi final and i’m sure Lucas will suprise us all with his voice on Saturday:D

vangelis
Guest
vangelis

The azeri girl was out of tune throughout but everybody loved the golden rain. Corny love duets always do well at Eurovision but they never win. I hope this does not change this year.
Armenia: very energetic performance and the sexiest dancers, but you couldn’t get away of how embarassingly bad the song was. Jedward beware.
Russia: Fantastic performer, second-rate song.
Georgia: Great costumes and song but her voice was not up to it.
Lithuania and Iceland: did not deserve to qualify, but were helped by a good draw and the juries.

vangelis
Guest
vangelis

Turkey picked a completely indifferent song to begin with and made it worse with ugly band members, a woman trapped inside a ball and an obsession with the horrible colour green. Plus the diaspora couldn’t help them since most of the countries with muslim populations (Germany, France, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Bosnia) did not vote in this semi. They had it coming. The azeri girl was out of tune throughout but everybody loved the golden rain. Corny love duets always do well at Eurovision but they never win. I hope this does not change this year. Armenia: very energetic performance and… Read more »

vangelis
Guest
vangelis

If you sat through Armenia, Russia, Malta, San Marino, Croatia et al. and your ears bled during Greece, then maybe you should become a little more open-minded about your taste in music. Not every country has to do anglo-pop every year you know. In Loukas Greece had by far the best male voice in the semi and the most handsome, engagingand passionate performer. She also had the best overall presentation (decor+dance routine) and if you know even a tiny bit of greek music, you would get goose-bumps by the greek part of the song. The only downside I will concede… Read more »

Przemek Bartos
Guest

Where is POLAND! I don’t understand! This is great song 😉
I likre Georgia and Lithua

David Thielen
Guest

Very good comments but I would add a couple of things (I purposely did not watch any videos before so I saw everything for the first time today): Russia, Switzerland, & Georgia were my favorites. Part of it was they put everything they had in to it. Finland, Poland, & Norway struck me the opposite – that they were doing their job but it didn’t come across as 1,000%. As to Portugal & Greece – those were painful.