Eurovision 2018 – 2nd Semi-Final

Don’t go into Eurovision unprepared, it’s not a good look. Here’s a brief overview of all contestants so you can impress your peers with minimum effort, part 2/3.

Following on Wednesday’s post, it’s time to look at the contestants that will fight for their right to sing in the Eurovision Final on Saturday the 12th of May. The below list is in order of appearance. I will discuss the Big Five and Portugal in the last and final part of this series, which you will be able to find here on Manic / Eclectic this Saturday (the 5th of May).

Norway – Alexander Rybak – “That’s How You Write a Song”

Rybak represented Norway in 2009 and won that year with “Fairytale”. I think he’s back to gloat? Not charming, Alexander. Well, let’s see what this song is all about. God this song is basic. It’s literally a vague step-by-step of how to write a song. Let’s just say Rybak is not the best teacher. Maybe stick to composing for yourself rather than advising others? It pains me to say that I would be lying if I said this song isn’t catchy. 

Romania – The Humans – “Goodbye”

Although the song starts quietly, I cannot help but expect that shit is going to go down at some point. Maybe it’s the guitarist’s goatee. Maybe it’s the people in the creepy white masks. Wow, ok, I didn’t expect stadium rock, but that’s what we got. I’m not really feeling this, Romania. The moment where she whispers “don’t cry” is laughable and adds insult to injury. Unless she’s talking to Alekseev? 

Serbia – Sanja Ilic & Balkanika – “Nova Deca”

I mean, I did expect something with a Balkan sound, but this is quite something! When the bald yet bearded man comes out he does kind of piss all over the hard groundwork these funky ladies have been laying down, and I cannot help but feel slightly disappointed. Then there’s the drummer who is working way too hard for what we’re actually hearing? This song is a bit of a mess but I’m a sucker for Balkan vocalisation. It’s one of the reasons I love Eurovision. I am glad Serbia is giving me what I want, and I think many will feel the same. Let’s not talk about the flutist. 

San Marino – Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening – “Who We Are”

Yes! It’s another “let your freak flag fly” anthem! And it’s a good one! I don’t understand why the lady MC joins the party but she’s living her truth so I’m not mad seeing the context. I don’t have much else to say. I think this song is a good contender for a reasonable spot in the top 10 at least.  It will kind of depend on the live performance. I’m hoping for lots of fireworks. That usually works. Although… is it just me or does this song sound a little bit like Måns Zelmerlöw’s 2015 winning Eurovision song “Heroes”?

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Denmark – Rasmussen – “Higher Ground”

At first sight this group looks like they might be a folk metal act. There’s a cool viking vibe so I’m open-minded at this point. It turns out it’s not quite metal but definitely viking romanticising 101. Also: a dramatic key change! Drink up me hearties, yo ho! Wait that’s pirates. I actually prefer the acoustic version of this song, and it has made me appreciate Rasmussen so much that maybe this is even one of my favourites? 

Russia – Julia Samoylova – “I Won’t Break” 

Leave it up to Russia to send a sensual blonde with a heavy accent. There is a strong disconnect between the song and the music video. I mean, why does she bite her lip? Why the bedroom eyes? I also feel like I know her… Oh wait this is the girl from last year! Yikes. Although it’s nice that they gave her another shot when she was not allowed to participate last year, I feel like this song might get pity votes from the likes of Belarus but will be shunned by everyone else because politics. Then there’s the wheelchair though. I don’t want that to influence voting but I cannot help but assume that it will, and that that’s why Russia sent in this particular contestant. 

Moldova – DoReDos – “My Lucky Day”

I’m getting tired of this shit. It’s not creative, it’s not interesting. I just want it to end. The intro is promising but as soon as the singing starts it’s just over for me. Remember Yolanda Be Cool’s “We No Speak Americano”? This is that but 100 times lamer. 

The Netherlands – Waylon – “Outlaw In ‘Em”

See, this is where it gets complicated. I know why we sent Waylon. As a part of the Common Linnets he smashed it and scored an unexpected hit that was only topped by Conchita Wurst in 2014. But this song is gross. I hate it. From the extreme Southern accent to the faux cowboy vibes. Are we seriously glorifying Confederate America right now? This song would’ve been more interesting if it was about daisy dukes and pick-up trucks, and that ain’t good. I think it’s a distasteful and ridiculous decision. I’ve always been a bit creeped out by Waylon anyway, ever since he was on Holland’s Got Talent in 2008 and my mum said he had “cocaine eyes”. I cannot help but want to shove his dirty cowboy boots down his pie hole. Belgium take the wheel, please. 

Australia – Jessica Mauboy – “We Got Love”

Australia has been watching from the sidelines for years and years and they did their homework. It might help that English is their mother tongue, but this song is euphoric in its classic Eurovision sentiments. Love is all we need, don’t give up, change can happen if we work together, that sort of stuff. Although a guest country would most likely co-host if Australia were to win, I’m still into the idea. 

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Georgia – Iriao – “For You”

Apparently this type of music is called Ethno-Jazz. I don’t know if I understand where that comes from, but this is incredibly unique and a lovely idea. Having said that I don’t really get why this is on Eurovision and their live performance really needs to emphasise the melodrama to even stand a chance. I think there is potential there. Perhaps some flag waving, confetti guns, something grandiose to hide the fact that this song is underwhelming. 

Poland – Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer – “Light Me Up”

I hope Gromee doesn’t wear that wide-rimmed hat or those clear aviators on stage, because those are some regrettable style decisions. Honestly this is a sad attempt at creating a song with chart potential and I don’t think anything can save it. 

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Malta – Christabelle – “Taboo”

It looks like Malta is going dark. Will it be about bullying? Losing a loved one? Genocide? Honestly you can never know what to expect. There is some Mad Max imagery in the music video that is a bit confusing. I’m trying really hard to figure out what this song is about but I have no idea. Maybe I’m distracted by the “sticks and stones won’t break my soul” line? I think it might be about mental health? Or maybe about being gay? Or maybe neither? Perhaps Graham can enlighten us. 

Hungary – AWS – “Viszlát Nyár”

Yup, Hungary sent a metal act. It’s a bit emo and honestly I would’ve totally listened to this in ’05. The fact that AWS stands for Ants With Slippers just sold them to me. There’s also a nice surprise in the form of a dramatic key change, so drink up me hearties!

Latvia – Laura Rizzotto – “Funny Girl”

I’m ready for some comic relief. Yet I think the title is misleading. The story is that someone the singer has feelings for is into someone else, and appears to only see her as a “funny girl”. It’s actually something I’m sure a lot of people find relatable. It’s a more sincere interpretation of friendzoning that reflect on the insecurity one feels when a person we are into does not see us in that same way. I mean, it’s a bit of a bummer that this isn’t a fun song for once, but at least it’s a decent narrative. 

Sweden – Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off

Oh those Swedes. This funky Bruno Mars/Bieber mix is a happy marriage. However there’s been some PR drama after a video of Ingrosso was released of him commenting on other contestants in a not-so-friendly manner. We all know that Eurovision is only about music to a certain extent, the rest is politics as well as likability. I think Ingrosso dug his own grave. But at least we can have a well-deserved dance break!

Montenegro – Vanja Radovanovic – “Inje”

A song in Montenegrin, I am here for it. I think I’m a fan. The chorus is just hauntingly beautiful, there is a dramatic key change, and even though I don’t speak the language, the music speaks to me anyway. For once I don’t care that I don’t know what this is about! I also love the Magritte references in the music video, which is very artistic and worth a watch. 

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Slovenia – Lea Sirk – “Hvala, Ne”

Lea Sirk is edgy. Or at least that’s what we’re meant to think, I think. The song is shite, though. 

Ukraine – Melovin – “Under the Ladder”

Yeah, the Melovin dude is not a good singer. If you pass asleep after Slovenia don’t worry, you won’t miss much. 

Faves (in alphabetical order): Australia, Denmark, Montenegro, San Marino, Sweden

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