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Well, I did a writeup last year, so I might as well do another one this year. I'm not going to bother going back over Semi-Final 1 - though I was pleased to see that the standard of songs (if not singers) was, overall, higher than usual - but just post my musings on SF 2 as I go along.

The presenters... well, it's the usual Eurovision "humour", but at least this lot are less bouncy and ridiculous than many. By Eurovision standards, they're almost bland.

Anyway, the songs have kicked off, so here we go.

1 - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Love in Rewind, Dino Merlin
I do get slightly annoyed by mutton dressed as lamb, and that's what this is. It's bouncy and rather old-fashioned, with some farmhand running around like an idiot and playing the trumpet.

Also, Sara Cox's commentary is irritating. The guy, whatever his name was (Mills?) is better; like all Eurovision presenters he tries to be Wogan but doesn't quite pull it off, but I have difficulty with Cox's accent, delivery, ruthless enthusiasm for the songs...

2 - Austria - [Insert Title Here], Nadine something
Actually pretty good. Not to my taste, but a good tune and a competent singer. And that stage is brilliant.

3 - Netherlands - Never Alone, The Three As
Starts off pretty insipid... it's a good tune, well sung (by a guy who looks like he should have a greasy moustache), but it's not grabbing me.
...Yeah. It's good, don't get me wrong, but for me it's just a bit dull.

4 - Belgium - With Love Baby, Witloof Bay
A capella, they said, and with a renowned beatboxer? This I have to see.
I'm not sure I see what Cox means by saying they're "visually alarming" - by Eurovision standards, they look almost normal. As for their performance, I do enjoy a capella, and I'm a sucker for beatbox, and I even rather like the song. Yes, I'm enjoying this. Why is Scott Mills saying they're bad?

Why this obsession with Jedward this year, by the way? It wasn't that long ago since they were the type example of everything that was wrong with the world, pilloried on Buzzcocks (like everything else, I suppose, but even during their appearance on the show they appeared slightly less compos mentis than Dappy). It's like Justine Beaver, I can't see the point in her either.

5 - Slovakia - I'm Still Alive, Twiins [sic]
Oh, I know this tune. I like it. "But there's no sense crying over every mistake / you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake / and the science gets done / and you make a neat gun / for the people who are still alive..."
Oh, it's not that one.
Well, there's no doubt which of them is the lead singer, given that the one in the coloured dress just stands there pouting and going "Look, I have a chest!" The song's not that bad, really... standard insipid pop, nothing great, but nothing really wrong with it either. Apart from the godawful drummer. You have a whole kit, mate, you can do more than a two and four on the snare.

Sara Cox, just shut up now. "I'm live in Dusseldorf" - yes, we can see. There's a stage in the back. And for some reason Arlene Phillips apparently thinks "all entrants tonight are tone deaf", in which she's wrong. They weren't all tone deaf, or even a majority this year. So far.

6 - Ukraine - Angel, Mika Newton
I see what he means about Mystic Meg on the sand box. It's actually pretty clever, but a bit twee.
The song... again, a bit of a non-entity for me. It hasn't even finished yet, and I've already forgotten it. Perhaps that's the point of the sand box, to keep the audience's attention?

Mills: "I don't need to be impartial, 'cos you can't vote." That's the stuff.

7 - Moldova - So Lucky, Zdob si Zdub
Ye gods. That's the Eurovision I remember. It's Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in a bottle. And now there's a unicyclist miming playing a clarinet that's obviously a trumpet. And a big horn break halfway through that makes the similarities to the Leningrad Cowboys all the more palpable. (Difference is that I actually like the Leningrad Cowboys...)
I'm starting to see the point of this entry. It's mad, but this is Eurovision and that's the way it should be. I don't think I'll want to hear it again, but I almost enjoyed it.

8 - Sweden - Popular, Eric Saade
I saw this in Melodifestivalen when it was selected. Don't get me wrong, it was by no means the worst tune clamouring for Sweden's approval, not by a long shot, but given that there were two or three entries with actual musical merit rather than this vapid techno-dance thing, I find myself hard pushed to like it.
High-energy, certainly. But the choreography's annoying me (along with the tune, the lights, Saade himself and everything about it), and gives the impression of being done by... well, the guy who choreographs everything else in Sweden, and always does it badly.

9 - Cyprus - San Aggelos S'Agapisa, Christos Mylordos (yes, really)
Apparently this tune will feature giant sperm. Let's hope the tune's as spunky.
Oh, nice - they're doing the Smooth Criminal lean. Well, the royalties from that should help put Michael Jackson's estate back in the black (so to speak).
But now there's a shouting woman with a spinning ball, a guy gesticulating wildly, and four Chaos Cultists standing in a line emoting as wildly as cultists can. I'm not convinced by the song, though. At all, really.

10 - Bulgaria - Na Inat, Poli Genova
Am I imagining things, or is the drummer not actually the one making the drum noises? He looks like he's playing a straight four, but the sound has syncopations on the hi-hat and snare... Anyway.
The tune's actually not bad, with a hint of 80s pop rock about it. I don't think I'll ever actually like it, but it's not bad.

Apparently someone on Twitter "can't wait for Jedward". I weep for humanity.

11 - mumblemumblemumble Macedonia - Vlatko Ilievski, Rusinka
Oh dear, it's a modern dance troupe. Still, the tune itself is surprisingly tolerable, with a nice beat to it and a singer who (for once, nowadays) isn't singing in falsetto.
...okay, so the accordion break was odd, and the megaphone is for the second time tonight reminding me of things the Leningrad Cowboys did better. But overall not a bad tune, and the box on the backdrop had me fascinated trying to figure out how to do the CG.

OK, Sara, we all know Dana International used to be a man. I'm not sure it should still be a big deal seventeen years later...

12 - Israel - Ding Dong, Dana International
Ding Dong? A lament to things lost?
Oh wait, not that kind of ding-dong. I'm actually not convinced by the song. It's not that it's bad, in a background-music-in-a-teenage-clothes-store kind of way, but... Meh. It's just not something I'd actually want to listen to.

Hee hee - Victor Meldrew BASE jumping.

13 - Slovenia - No One, Maja Keuc
Sunrise... Sunset... oh, no it's not. The opening, at least, shows a gratifying amount of singing skill, which is nice. The cleavage monster in the background is disconcerting, though. Cutouts like that really aren't flattering, and just remind me of that armour Klingon women used to wear on Star Trek...
Anyway, the song's not bad at all. It's not one that'll earworm me at all, but it wasn't bad. (And besides, it's competing with You Can't Stop The Beat from Hairspray.)

14 - Romania - Change, Hotel FM
Apparently this singer's a Geordie. I quite like the tune so far - the intro's leading my thoughts to Arvingarnas' entry from back in the 90s, Eloise. The song itself is nowhere near, but it's actually rather pleasant. Nice and catchy, a drummer who's clearly playing live, backing dancers wearing trilbys (contrary to grammar, "trilbies" just looks wrong), and yeah. Overall, a really good number. Easily my favourite so far tonight. I'd like to see it go far, maybe even win, so I guess it's doomed.

Sara Cox is talking again. For some reason, whenever the presenters say anything, this vapid twit starts yammering on about something irrelevant. Still, the Blue clip was quite interesting. But hey, the whole point of Eurovision is to mock the presenters and their stupidity, so why take away that opportunity?

15 - Estonia - Rockefeller Street, Getter Jaani
Buildings... Homeless guy... I smell social commentary.
Ooh, nice magically-appearing cane. I've got a magic wand that does much the same thing - one of those rolled-foil things that pops open out of nothing - but a very slick gag.
Oooh, nice break in the middle, almost reggaeish, but the breakdancing bits were all too short. Not a bad effort.

16 - Belarus - I Love Belarus, Anastasia Vinnikova
Oooh, flames. Not sure why her backing dancers are wearing harnesses of electrical tape.
As ever, it's a tune that doesn't really annoy me in any way... but it's not interesting at all.

17 - Latvia - Angel In Disguise, Musiqq
Apparently we must look out for this chap's tan... oh yes. Good heavens, he's been dunked in coffee. Why does he have a strange-looking mate sitting next to him mouthing along with the lyrics but without a microphone?
Anyway, the tune's boring. Then the strange friend starts rapping, there's some stuff about killing with luscious thighs, and they go up in falsetto for the ending. And it gets boring and bad.

18 - Denmark - New Tomorrow, A Friend In London
Oh, I've heard this somewhere. I don't like it, but at least it's got a bit of rock to it. Actually a decent groove. What's happened to his hair, though?

Oh dear. Coming up next, the one we've all been dreading. And for some reason they're wearing shoulder pads.

"So many people... looking forward to this," says Mills. WHY?

19 - Ireland - Lipstick, Dreadward
It's almost hypnotically awful. Quite apart from the fact that they seem to have been living on a diet of amphetamine and acetone, the song is musically deficient, the constant leaping about is annoying and nauseating, the shoulder pads make me expect them to shout "WAAAAGH!" at any moment and charge at the audience shouting for more dakka. Except that Jedward are, as far as I can tell from their performance on Buzzcocks, too dumb to be orks...
Dreadful song, dreadful little creatures, ghastly performance. And why were the backing singers doing most of the singing?

Why are so many fond of those two?

Anyway, that's that. I suppose I should care about who gets through. But... yeah, I just can't be bothered without Wogan.

Mills, on Twiins: "There's a lot that's not flat about that performance. Can you guess what it is yet?" Yes, we can. We just didn't feel the need to gloat about it. (Mocked it, sure.)
Mills: "If you've just tuned in, no, Roxette aren't back, it's Bulgaria's entry."
Apparently someone on the website asked "How does Dana International still look so fab?" Assuming that one agrees with the premise, the obvious answer is: the same way she became she.
Mills: "Let's go back to Sara in the arena." No, let's not.

Well, then I skipped a bit, and skipped the first few results. I can't be bothered sitting through "In the final are... (dramatic pause)" ten times over.

Huh, Romania and Estonia both through, and even the bonkers Moldovans.
Oh gawd, Twitward are through. Incompetent little buffoons.
The tedious Bosnia & Herzegovina are in, as are Denmark, the competent but bland Austria, the infinitely tedious Ukraine, Slovenia of the disturbing cleavage, and now with just a single spot left, Israel and Sweden are both out.
Ah, Sweden got it. No real surprise - Sweden has a history of good results in the Eurovision (perhaps a result of Swedish producers and writers for much of the pop played today?) - but I really didn't like that tune. That said, I didn't like Israel's either, so hey...

Well, I might actually watch the final live tonight, if I remember. See you then?
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