It’s finally here! It’s Eurovision time! So what should we be looking out for in the first semi final?
There’s a lot of strong contenders in the first semi final – bookie favourites Russia, Armenia and Malta look certain to make it through but the three countries with 100% qualification records (Greece, Azerbaijan and Bosnia & Herzegovina) could easily lose out to a fan favourite like San Marino or Austria. The Czech Republic are also aiming for their first qualification EVER.
Both Russia and Iceland have a BYOS (bring your own screen) policy to give their performances the Heroes-effect and Moldova have hired an astronaut costume to really play on that ‘star’ theme. Hungary have brought a giant drum to the stage and, for double points, they’ve got a monk to play it. Estonia are relying on playing card graphics to fit their ‘Play’ theme, while Montenegro have brought a professional dancer/headbanger to support them on stage.
Croatia’s outfit has got her in the lead for the Barbara Dex (worst dressed) award and Armenia are showing all of the legs in a swimsuit/cape combo that (disappointingly) doesn’t resemble a super hero costume. Definitely not an outfit, but also worth mentioning is that Cyprus have easily the best facial hair of the competition this year (although Jala puts in a strong effort for team Bosnia & Herzegovina).
The Netherlands have scheduled an actual 10 seconds of SILENCE into their song that’s not going down great with audiences so far. Malta announced she was pregnant at the weekend, which although not a gimmick is sure to come up several times in the commentaries.
As with any live show, the vocals have got to be on top form and a couple of artists have been less than perfect in rehearsals. Of course that’s what rehearsals are for, so hopefully we’ll be without slip up for the live show. (But keep an eye on Croatia, Finland and Azerbaijan).
I hate to say it but this semi final is going to be a nightmare for monolingual English speakers. Ljubav Je? Sandhja? Gabriela Gunčíková? This could easily be a disaster for the English media. There’s also a few familiar names for the long term Eurovision fans with the contestants from Iceland, Malta and one of the Bosnia & Herzegovina team all having competed in the competition before.
Måns and Petra are looking on top form for the hosting, managing the French with ease and relying on a stock of jokes that should work well with the target audience. SVT (the Swedish channel responsible for the broadcasting this year) have revamped the graphics which, like any big change, can be expected to have mixed reactions. Finally, the stage is looking impressive and well used (if particularly heavy on the strobe lights) with various island podiums for effect.