The first semi-final of Armenia’s Depi Evratesil was filled with twists and turns, carpets and choreography. And tonight semi-final 2 rolls out with a somewhat stacked line-up, which features some of the contest’s most talked-about acts.
Semi-final 2 takes place tonight — that’s Thursday 22 February. The show will commence at 22:15 local time (that’s 18:15 GMT and 19:15 CET). Five more qualifiers will compete in the grand final on 25 February. You can watch all of the action on the AMPTV live stream, though we’d suggest using the Depi Evratesil YouTube channel. The live stream there flowed much better for us on Tuesday.
The second semi-final features Depi Evratesil returnees Asmik Shiroyan and Amaliya Margaryan, who were both eliminated prematurely in last year’s competition. Sevak Khanagyan will compete with the only Armenian-language song left in the competition, following the elimination of Tamar Kaprelian and Gata Band in Semi-final 1. The enigmatic Kamil will also take part and she is as confident of a victory as Mger Armenia.
The Wiwi Jury reviewed all ten of the semi-final 2 acts. Things were a bit closer at the top than in semi-final 1, with Asmik narrowly edging out Sevak as the Wiwi Jury’s favourite. If the Wiwi Jury’s predictions are accurate, the two favourites will be joined by Amaliya Margaryan, Maria’s Secret and Kamil Show in the final.
Depi Evratesil 2018 Semi-final 2 reviews and rankings
1. Asmik Shiroyan — “You and I” (7.61)
The best: WOW. After seeing Asmik’s performance of “Sweet Lovin’” at last year’s Depi Evratesil I dreamed of how incredible it would be to see a classy tropical house song at Eurovision — but never did I believe it could come true! The uplifting banger is production perfection and Asmik’s powerhouse, unique vocals, stunning looks and captivating stage presence will take this to another level. With the right promotion, this could be heard in nightclubs from London to Thailand and launch Asmik into international pop stardom. (Edd, 10/10)
The worst: More at home on a Gay Pride ride than on the Eurovision stage (no shade), “You and I” is an engaging EDM number that would animate a crowd, but would fall on deaf jury ears. However, if Ms Shiroyan wins Depi Evtratesil, we might be onto an unforgettable Euroclub banger. But not a Eurovision winner, I’m afraid. (Bogdan, 6/10)
2. Sevak Khanagyan — “Qami” (7.46)
The best: “Qami” draws strength from its connection with the forces of nature, and in turn, stirs a powerful emotion. Sevak is an accomplished vocalist with years of televised singing experience both at home and abroad. It is a brave move to sing in Armenian — not many will understand what he’s singing about. However, no one can deny the power and strength of his vocal presence. (Deban, 8/10)
The worst: “Qami” is a fairly strong ballad and Sevak handles the light and shade of it well. It does take about two minutes to properly get going, and once it does, the backing choir drown Sevak’s vocals out too much in the studio version. But, if he manages to deliver an emotional live performance, then this could be a treat of the national selection. (Jonathan, 7.5/10)
3. Amaliya Margaryan — “Waiting for the Sun” (6.71)
The best: Amaliya’s voice captures my interest from the very first note and when the classical instrumentations kick in I’m already immersed in it. For some reason, the song takes me on an emotional journey for three minutes and it builds up to an intense climax. The flute flourishes gave me chills but it isn’t enough for a 10. I would see it as an outsider to win the ticket to Lisbon. (Bernardo, 8/10)
The worst: Amaliya has a lovely voice, serving delicateness and strength in equal quantities. The trouble is the song. “Waiting for the Sun” has a very slow build which seems to promise a huge climax. But when it comes, it’s just Amaliya being shouty for a bit then the song dies down. It could make the final, but there are better songs in the competition. (Robyn, 5/10)
4. Maria’s Secret — “Escape” (6.36)
The best: “Escape” is a very interesting song. I do really like it, especially the rap part — it’s so good. I would love to see the song competing in Lisbon. It is absolutely different from the other songs in the selection. I can’t wait to see the live version and I hope she does well. (Cinan, 8.5/10)
The worst: I don’t understand half the lyrics in this song, and that doesn’t bode well for its chances. Moreover, the music itself is all over the place, as if the songwriter couldn’t decide if they wanted to pen a power ballad or an R&B track. Oh, and to top it off, and the rapping is sub-par. It’s a no for me. (Bogdan, 3.5/10)
5. Kamil Show — “Puerto Rico” (6.14)
The best: Kamil has personality and attitude for days. That makes up for everything that Kamil lacks in terms of vocal talent or singing experience. “Puerto Rico” straddles the line between being an enjoyable joke entry and being a serious contender. Whether you consider it to be a joke or not, this is one of the best entries in the Armenian selection. Everything about “Puerto Rico” is un-Armenian as a Eurovision entry and that might be the best reason to send it and deviate from the trend. (Antranig, 9/10)
The worst: Insanity on acid! This “Puerto Rico” boasts a poverty of ideas and execution. The tropical sound here conjures an ugly nostalgia, and overall, despite the humorous leanings of this act, it is just bad! (Deban, 1/10)
6. Suren Poghosyan — “The Voice” (5.71)
The best: The verses of “The Voice” aren’t so great, but the chorus has a good amount of emotional heft and a memorable melody. Sadly the song’s production, with the clunky percussion sound, doesn’t do much to give it a sense of progression. It plods along, when it should sail. (Robyn, 6/10)
The worst: A wailing digital ballad with poor enunciation — “The Voice” is packed with many ingredients that have gone off. Suren belts a few high notes, but that just makes this offering more annoying. (Deban, 3/10)
7. Alternativ — “Stare at Me” (5.36)
The best: What’s exactly “alternative” about a boyband singing a mainstream pop-rock song? “Stare at Me” doesn’t bother, you could listen to it and even hum it at some point, but so you could with “Do It for Your Lover” and we know how that ended. This kind of composition, despite having very talented musicians backing it, fall too short for the bombastic show that Eurovision is. (Luis, 6/10)
The worst: Alternativ provides an alternative type of song for Armenia which is inherently different from anything else in Depi Evratesil. Unfortunately, it’s also weaker than most of the national final. “Stare at Me” would be fun to listen to over dinner at a bar on a quiet weekday but as a Eurovision entry, it would not stand out. The biggest positive here is the vocals which leads me to think that the band could succeed with a different song. (Antranig, 4/10)
8. Mariam — “Fade” (5.18)
The best: Gently does it. I love how Mariam lets her soft voice be encompassed by all the beautiful sounds she’s packed into this song. Admittedly, especially when things get a bit dubsteppy, it does feel a bit weird, but there’s a lot of interesting things going on here, and I like it. I wish that she held back a little bit, though, at the end it all felt a bit confusing and messy. Still, this is a really intelligent and indulgent song, and I hope it does well. (Natalie, 7/10)
The worst: I could actually see this song working as an uplifting ballad if the production was completely stripped back to just piano and strings. However, the cheap attempt at “Beautiful Mess”-esque modern production along with Mariam’s weak vocals make for an overwhelmingly underwhelming product. Toilet break. (Edd, 2/10)
9. Arman Mesropyan — “What You Hide” (4.21)
The best: Nope I’m hiding nothing (as he asks), but I wanna hide myself from this song, even he has a very good voice. I don’t know why, but Armenian men have really good voices, which is absolutely amazing. The song is another ballad for me — nothing special, sadly. But I wish him much luck and keep slaying! (Cinan, 6/10)
The worst: If you’re gonna do a ballad at Eurovision, it needs to be excellent. Unfortunately “What You Hide” is not. Cheap music can work if it’s entertaining, but this is pure dirge. This would sound 10x more professional if Arman sung in Armenian, but all emotion from the music is lost with such a strong accent and poor lyrics. I’ll give a point for the “oh ooh oh” part. (Edd, 1/10)
10. Tyom — “Follow the Ocean” (3.93)
The best: Before Tyom starts singing, the song packs some Iberian heat that would not be out of place in Lisbon. Once he starts singing, I’m not too impressed with the vocals. He can sing but it doesn’t really match the song well. Ultimately “Follow the Ocean” has a lot of potential and while it may not be a serious contender for the Depi Evratesil title, it is enjoyable for what it is. Sit back and enjoy the tropical vibes. (Antranig, 8/10)
The worst: Sounding like a karaoke effort at best, Tyom and the song he’s plugging need a complete re-design. Armenia should only advance this song if it doesn’t want to be a part of the Eurovision Grand Final. The sax riff towards the end is nausea-inducing. (Deban, 1.5/10)
What do you think of the second semi-final? Will any other big names drop out before the final? Let us know in the comments below.