The jury show for semi final 1 took place last night and we were in place in the arena and the press centre to see the action go down. You can watch what our team in the press centre thought below. wiwiblogger David (a 60-something who proves Eurovision isn’t just for people in their 20s) was inside the arena and contributed the following report.
I went in expecting to love Russia, Armenia, Romania and to not love any of the others – but I was certainly surprised by some! Russia was the best as I expected. Amazing staging, singing and song. In a piece of good news for the culture of Eurovision, not only did I not hear a single boo, but at times the audience even sang with Polina.
Armenia have accomplished in months something most ensembles never accomplish – they’re a choir. The entire song feels like it comes from all of them, even when only one is singing. After this, they could well win the show (do any of y’all know if they have good beer in Armenia?). Serbia was a total surprise to me as well. It starts off well, like a mid-table final entry. Halfway through, they kick it up big time. A wonderful surprise and I wouldn’t be surprised if this makes the top five!
My personal opinion is that country music is a way of proving some people have no musical taste. But Estonia is good. The staging at the very start and the very end is really good and different.
Boggie and Trijntje are both superb but, unfortunately, have nothing to make them stand out. Maria-Elena is incredible and a force of nature, but I think she will be eclipsed by Elhaida, and a bit by Nina Sublatti. For me, Elhaida is by far the best of the female vocalists and there’s something in “I’m Alive” that grabs you more than any of the others. I’d say Elhaida, Maria-Elena and Nina will all qualify after this.
Uzari & Maimuna were not as good as I expected. They have an awesome song and are both very talented, but they didn’t sink their hooks into me. In their music video there was intense yearning but you don’t get that on the stage, where they instead come across as comfortable with each other. On the other hand, Anti Social Media were a lot better than I expected (but they were still nothing special compared to some of the others).
I know a lot of people like Loïc but I didn’t see anything interesting there. It’s different and that might be enough to qualify, but I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t. FYR Macedonia have tried to do what Montenegro did last year with a great male vocalist, but Daniel isn’t quite as good and I don’t know if he’ll qualify.
Eduard is definitely having a good time! Last year we had Poland and the milkmaids, this year we have Moldova and the tightest pair of shorts ever. He’ll have to hope that a lot of young boys are voting if he’s going to get through. It’s almost the complete opposite to Voltaj who attempted to pull on the heartstrings with their message. Unfortunately, there’s nothing special there to grab you, and that’s too bad. Finally – and for me, last and least, Finland which to me, was just a lot of random noise.