Review: Semifinal 2

Eurovision 2012 – May 24th sees 18 acts battle it out for the second 10 places in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest Final. Hulluna has a look at the contestants in the second semifinal, the current betting odds, predicts her 10 qualifiers, and wants to hear which ten you think will still be in the contest on May 26th.

I was most upset when Litesound from Belarus didn’t originally win their national final with ‘We are the Heroes‘ , and did a joyous canter round my house when the presidential intervention put them back in. One of my favourite songs this year. Do I genuinely think they’ll qualify, or is it desperate wishful thinking because I like it so much personally? The bookies don’t think much to their chances at 100/1. OGAE voters have given them no votes to date. They need a big stage show. The recent rework of it doesn’t bode well.

I’ll be honest, Maya Sar from Bosnia & Herzegovina has not been on my radar at all. I’ve not heard anything about her since she was selected. The song, ‘Korake Ti Znam‘, is a very slow pretty piano based ballad. Maya’s vocals are very smooth but I find myself searching for the chorus. A search which appears futile. As soon as it’s finished, I can’t remember any of it. Bookies are saying 150/1 to win the contest. I seriously doubt it will get out of the semifinals.

Bulgaria’s Sofi Marinova takes me back in a time warp to 90s euro dance and I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It feels rather dated, and her vocals grate on me personally as they are quite screechy and nasally. I don’t see anything special in this song to make anyone pick up the phone and vote. It’s a non-qualifier for me and no surprise that its odds are 200/1 to win the final in my opinion. OGAE clubs haven’t awarded it any points so far.

Nina Badrić for Croatia is another solo female singing a ballad, ‘Nebo‘. Unlike Bosnia at least I can vaguely remember a hook line after the song finishes. I just don’t think any of these ballads from solo females, in their own languages, are going to resonate with the majority of voters or stand out from the pack on the night. Another 150/1 bet by the bookies.

Estonia are represented by Ott Lepland singing ‘Kuula‘. Ten seconds in and I’m falling asleep. Saying it is a slow ballad would be an understatement. It does however then build up and go somewhere with a passionate crescendo to wake me up. I’m envisaging power grabs and angsty looks as Ott sings with passion. I hope he doesn’t let me down. A big performance on the night should see him go through. 50/1 with the bookies for the final suggests they think he’ll also get through the semifinal. He seems quite popular with OGAE voters.

As much as I like the very talented Kaliopi from FYR Macedonia, I think she may have a battle on her hands, especially with the draw she has got, coming after Serbia. She’ll pick up less points from surrounding friends if they dish them out to Serbia and I think she could, sadly, struggle to qualify. ‘Crno I Belo‘ is a good song and may get some jury support though. Borderline. Betting odds and OGAE votes don’t favour her, with the bookies having her as an outsider at 200/1. She’d need big support from the juries I think to get through.

Oh dear Georgia. Anri Jokhadze with ‘I’m a Joker‘ is one of my most hated songs this year. In fact, for many years. Irritating to the point of tearing my hair out. I don’t like his voice, or the annoying chanting style chorus. I’m hoping other people feel the same and it doesn’t qualify. The bookies have it way out at 250/1 for the final and OGAE have given it a big nil points to date.

Donny Montell from Lithuania bores me to tears with ‘Love is Blind‘. If I wanted crooner, I’d stick with Englebert Humperdinck. For someone so young to be singing like a dated pub singer, I find Donny rather second rate I’m afraid. Over dramatic and a ridiculous blindfold to start with and then bizarrely sees him doing random breakdancing style hand flips as the beat kicks in. No doubt people will vote for him in their droves and he’ll qualify. I personally don’t get it and feel like we’ve gone back in time as I watch him. The odds for him to win overall are 150/1, and OGAE have given him a fat zero. So I’m really not sure about his chances. Might squeeze in.

Next up is Kurt Kajella for Malta singing ‘This is the Night‘. His odds are a whopping 200/1 which I find a little strange. I think the song is pretty catchy and has a decent chance in this semifinal. He’s done plenty of promo (who knows whether that even makes a dent in voting or not?) but it’s a chirpy catchy little number that you do find yourself singing afterwards. I’m going against the bookies and OGAE and I say he’ll qualify for the final. So there.

Norway‘s Tooji is one of my favourites this year. I was willing him to Baku in his national final. I know there are comparisons with last year’s Eric Saade, but I just love the dynamism of ‘Stay‘, the dance moves, the slightly Eastern sound on it and at the end of the day it makes me dance and I can happily put it on repeat. 20/1 at the bookies sees this as one of the favourites. OGAE members are voting a lot for him. I’m not so sure of a high placing in the actual final, but I think it’ll easily get through the semifinal.

Poor old Portugal. Filipa Sousa has an amazing voice but has a pretty standard ballad, and languishes at the bottom of the betting odds with the likes of cheesy facebook songs at 300/1 and no points from OGAE members. For me, despite Filipa’s talent, ‘Vida Minha‘ is yet another ballad that merges with the others in this semifinal and doesn’t stand out especially. I can’t see it getting many points.

Serbia should be guaranteed of a place in the final regardless of the song due to Zeljko Joksimović‘s popularity in the Balkans. Surely he’ll pick up plenty of high scores from neighbours? The song itself is a strong ballad. As there are very few solo males singing ballads this year, it stands out. He’s rattling up the points with OGAE voters, in fourth place, and 16/1 to win overall. It will be interesting to see his scores compared to Sweden in the semifinal.

Time to rock out with Max Jason Mai of Slovakia with ‘Don’t Close Your Eyes‘. Will it win overall? No way. Will lots of girls swoon and vote for him? Oh yes. Will it get through the semifinal? Now there’s a question. The odds aren’t good, at 150/1 to win overall, but it does stand out a little and may pick up some votes. Sadly, I doubt it’ll be enough.

No-one understands my love of ‘Verjamem‘ by Eva Boto for Slovenia, including me. My continued moans about how there’s too many solo females with ballads… and then I love this one. I just love the tune, how well the backing vocals work, how it builds up, how great Eva’s voice is for only 16 years old. Will she qualify? In this semifinal, anything could happen. A good performance and tv show could get her through. As could jury support, which I think it may get. Current odds for the final are better than others in this semifinal, at 66/1.

Is there any point talking about Sweden? If this doesn’t qualify for the final then the televote machines in every country will have been not working properly. ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen is a stunning song that gets stuck in your head. Her floaty dancing makes the performance memorable. Dancefloors all around the continent go wild to it. She’s already charted in 14 different countries with it. I think it might just qualify for the final. By a squillion votes. OGAE voters agree; it’s easily winning with them to date.

When The Netherlands initially chose Joan Franka, resplendent in her Red Indian head dress, I again sighed and dismissed yet another strange Netherlands entry. Having seen ‘You and Me‘ live a couple of time, it’s definitely grown on me and is a pleasant and fun little ditty that you can sway about to. Joan’s still wearing feathers, although less of them, but seeing as the Apache tribe can’t vote in Eurovision, I’m not sure where she will pick any votes up from. No close neighbours who regularly vote for them, and not a strong enough song to win the juries over. But she could just pull it off in this rather close semifinal and is 100/1 with the bookies.

After last year’s shock exit in the semifinals, Turkey have sent a ‘name’ this year in Can Bonomo to restore some pride. Unfortunately he then sings a song with rather bizarre lyrics and seems to want to be a sailor. Can is, however, a classy performer and character, and his quirky dancing will stand out on the night, as will his unique voice. Turkey normally do well in most countries and last year’s blip should be forgotten as Can goes through to the final this year. He’s 40/1 in the final at the moment.

Gaitana for Ukraine has been rather quiet apart from the disappointing reports of some racism directed towards her. She failed to attend the ESC in Concert event despite being on the bill. She has odds of 66/1 and the Ukraine usually represent well. I’m also very interested in the racism angle in Eurovision though, and suspect it had an impact on Norway failing to qualify last year. Will this year be similar for Ukraine? It would be terribly sad if so. Song wise, a little dated with the beat and a little repetitive with the lyrics. Nil points from OGAE so far too. I’m therefore really not sure whether they’ll qualify this year as I can’t see the juries favouring this effort this year either.

The second semi-final really does seem very close to call and several acts could be very close on points to each other.

Hulluna’s prediction for the 10 qualifiers from semi-final 2 (before seeing the rehearsals!):

The Netherlands

What do our readers think? We expect there to be widely ranging views on this semifinal and a lot of disagreement with the choices here!

3 comments on “Review: Semifinal 2

  1. I’ve changed my mind about the 10 qualifiers about 1000 times whilst writing this. I genuinely don’t know what will happen with some of them.

  2. I agree with 7 out of your 10 qualifiers. I think BiH , Ukraine and FYROM will get through instead of Malta , Lithuania and Belarus ! But I am only sure about BIH in and Malta out :P

    7.The Netherlands

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