Home TV Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final Recap, Night One

Eurovision Song Contest Semi-Final Recap, Night One

Where we fall hard for a Celtic Witch.

Greetings, fellow Eurovision fans! It’s time to break out your platform heels, vampire capes, and most awkward dance moves. It’s time to celebrate the music of Europe (mostly) as the first 15 countries compete for a spot in the finals.
If you are unfamiliar with this annual celebration, you are in for a treat. Lovingly parodied in the movie, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, EVS is known for its outlandish spectacles and staging, songs from Eastern European countries about vampires, and, oh yeah, the international launch pad for the careers of mega stars like ABBA and Celine Dion.
The show is a lot of fun to watch, especially if you like a catchy bop you can dance to. The semi-finals are May 7th and 9th, with the finals on Saturday, May 11th. You can catch them on Peacock here in the USA, and if you download the official Eurovision app, you can even vote for your favorites.
Without further ado, let’s get to it! Here are my thoughts from the first day of competition. You can watch all of the competitors here.
Cyprus: “Liar,” Silia Kapsis
Fun bop. Sounds a bit like it should be in a Disney channel musical, though.
Serbia: “Ramonda,” Teya Dora
Moody, atmospheric. The staging makes me think of a Goth version of Frozen.
Lithuania: “Luktelk,” Silvester Belt
Catchy tune, great beat, cool lighting. I’d dance to this at a club if I had youth or energy.
Ireland: “Doomsday Blue,” Bambie Thug
Fuck yes, this goddamn rocks. What do the kids say? Bambie Thug understood the assignment. This Celtic witch and their demon boyfriend are awesome. (Thug is also Ireland’s first non-binary entrant.) Just so you know, this website is now a Bambie Thug fan page.
This year we also got some previews of the countries that have already qualified. The Big Five — the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy — get automatic spots as well as last year’s winner and host country, Sweden.
UK: “Dizzy,” Olly Alexander
Ok club song. Reminded me of Lion of Love from the Eurovision movie. More notable for its shirtless boys than its musicality.
Ukraine: “Theresa & Maria,” Alyona Alyona and Jerry Heil
Lovely singing, apparently they have a rapping samurai, but it works.
Poland: “The Tower,” Luna
Now this is some classic Eurovision nonsense. Pretty girl in a giant costume, singing with dancing chess pieces. The song kind of grows on you, but it’s just ok.
Croatia: “Rim Tim Tagi Dim,” Baby Lasagna
Another hard rocking one. These really pop when surrounded by all the wannabe club bops. Costumes are great, including what I think is a naughty milkmaid.
Iceland: “Scared of Heights,” Hera Bjork
How long until I stop yelling “PLAY JA JA DING DONG” when Iceland comes on? Never! That will always be funny.
Anyway, they should have played that, instead. This song sounds like a generic power pop song you’d play over the credits of a Girl Boss movie from the ’80s
Time for another preview of a pre-qualified country:
Germany: “Always on the Run,” Isaak
I like this guy’s voice, and song reminds me a bit of Adele. Pretty good! Catchy!
Slovenia: “Veronika,” Raiven
Look, I’m certainly not mad about the pretty blonde lady and her backup dancers being practically naked in their sheer body suits. The song is decent, too
Finland: “No Rules!,” Window95Man
Ok, best band name so far. And, again, the pantsless man bursting out of a giant egg and using various props to hide his wiener is classic ESC staging. Every year has a “wacky” entry and this is the one. Clearly bringing the “Give That Wolf A Banana” vibes. (IYKYK. Look it up on YouTube)
Moldova: “In The Middle,” Natalia Barbu
This power pop ballad is pretty and pretty generic. It’s ok, but I’d be surprised if it makes the cut.
And now, a preview of the host country…
Sweden: “Unforgettable,” Marcus & Martinus
Oh, this is a banger. High energy, driving beat. These guys are giving me Pet Shop Boys vibes.
Azerbaijan: “Ozunlo Apar,” Fahree feat. Ilkin Dovlatov
This song is nicely melodic, and I kind of like the yodeling. Also a big blue head is floating around on the video screen.
Australia: “One Milkali (One Blood)” Electric Fields
How is Australia a part of Eurovision, you ask? Good question! Apparently they just really wanted it. Glad they’re here, because this is a bop, complete with a digeridoo break.
Portugal: “Grito,” Iolanda
This is a soulful ballad, which has been kind of lacking tonight. Her voice is lovely, and her dancers clad in white suits and face masks remind me of Moon Knight. I dig it!
Luxembourg: “Fighter,” Tali
Ok, I have a type and it’s women with French accents. So I’m already in the tank for this lass from Luxembourg. The song is a bop, although the purple CGI leopards are certainly a choice.
Favorites: I’m only counting those that were in competition, otherwise I think I’d have Sweden in second.
  1. Ireland (by a mile)
  2. Portugal
  3. Lithuania
  4. Croatia
  5. Ukraine

Least favorite: It was a pretty strong semi, with no real clunkers. Having said that, Poland and Iceland failed to impress me.

Results: It looks like the rest of the world agrees with me. All of my favorites advanced, a long with Cyprus, Serbia, Luxembourg, Finland, and Slovenia. This was a pretty strong group!

Congratulations to the winners! I’ll see you back here on Thursday! Till then…

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