“First stage dive in Eurovision history!” Latvia’s Ralfs summed up the fun he brought to the arena as he crowdsurfed his way into the audience’s hearts. It’s a great opening to the show. San Marino were much improved today. The stage is not so dark and they’ve added some extra bling lighting-wise for the gear change. Valentina was in good form vocally.
Lozano was also sounding excellent. If he was singing alone, Macedonia might stand more of a chance. Heroine though Esma is, her parts just don’t mesh with the rest of the song and she stops it in its tracks. Azerbaijan’s Farid is a bit nervous at the start of ‘Hold Me’ but recovers quickly to give a very powerful performance, all cheekbones and tortured love.
Finland’s ‘Marry Me’ is as strong as before. Krista has been dogged by rumours of ill-health over the last few days but she was in great form here. There seem to be no worries on that score. Handily enough for her, she’s followed by a short break. Malta’s Gianluca was his usual charming self, and the nerves were rather less obvous than they have been earlier in the week. ‘Tomorrow’ does feel slightly anonymous in this line-up though.
There is a lot going on in Bulgaria’s act. Whilst Elitsa and Stoyan are doing their best to sell ‘Samo Shampioni’, I have to admit it can seem rather disjointed compared to what comes around it, including Iceland. I hope Eythor will ditch the outfit he wore for this afternoon’s rehearsal as the grey jacket, trousers and red shirt he wore didn’t flatter him. Nonetheless he was as vocally effective as before.
Greece’s ‘Alcohol Is Free’ gives the semi a kick up the backside again, and the Koza Mostra boys show great energy. What they’ve done with the staging makes sense, but I’m not sure it’s executed quite as well as it could be. Still, you’ll be seeing it on Saturday night too. Israel’s Moran Mazor is an ideal change in tone; ‘Rak Bishvilo’ looks and sounds great.
I actually forgot Armenia in doing this write-up, that can’t be a particularly good sign, but nonetheless they were very competent at doing what they do.
Hungary’s ByeAlex started off-key, but there’s something about the beat of ‘Kedvesem’ that does get to you, and he even had a few waves for the audience today – the most animated he’s been. Norway’s Margaret Berger was as effective as she’s been all week, and her fans should be encouraged by that. Whether ‘I Feed You My Love’ has the mainstream impact to go all the way is the question.
There were all sorts of sound and camera issues at the start of Albania’s number, and it really detracted from the impression given by ‘Identitet’. These were technical problems for SVT to solve, and it should be alright on the night. This remains a borderliner. Georgia’s Sophie and Nodi were in fine form for ‘Waterfall’, I just worry that the build-up is too slow before we get to the impressive power notes and fireworks.
Switzerland’s Takasa were a bit more effective this afternoon than I’ve seen them otherwise this week. It’s a great draw for this singalong melody even though the act is underpowering. Finally, Cezar’s backing dancers were in their undies and painted gold. I’m not sure that helps matters, but Cezar was giving it his all as always.
The initial conclusion? This is a brutal semi that will take no prisoners. Do continue the debate below.