Eurovision 2014: Second semi first dress rehearsal

No rest for the wicked during Eurovision week. Whilst we’re still digesting the first semi, preparations are well underway for the second heat – the first dress rehearsal has just finished. As before, I will tweet my impressions of tonight’s jury performance.

Malta’s Firelight are wonderfully effective as an opener, setting a happy tone for the rest of the evening. The backdrop and lighting is warm, the band are glowing, and there are plenty of smiles to the camera. ‘Coming Home’ is not to be underestimated. The camera angles have got a lot tighter for the first part of Israel’s ‘Same Heart’ although there are too many long shots in the second half for my liking. Mei is doing a great job of selling this.

Norway’s Carl Espen got a big reaction in the press centre. I find him a little diffident in the first half of ‘Silent Storm’ before the arrangement is cranked up. Georgia are still in a world of their own. Although there’s an authenticity to ‘Three Minutes To Earth’, it’s not one that most viewers will relate to.

Poland’s Cleo was not note perfect, but I’m not sure that makes too much difference here. The show remains as smutty as ever, and it’s just a question of how juries and televoters respond to that. She does get the benefit of being followed by a break. Austria’s Conchita Wurst was in better form today and the camerawork for the reveal has also improved.

Lithuania’s ‘Attention’ continues to baffle. It’s an esoteric song by Eurovision standards and the presentation with the space-age outfits only reinforces this. Finland’s Softengine are stepping up nicely. Topi has had a New Romantics makeover, is finding the camera, and the song fills the arena. Ireland’s Kasey wasn’t firing on all cylinders with a vocally inconsistent performance of ‘Heartbeat’. She’s going to need to improve on this in the jury rehearsal tonight.

Teo is far more vocally assured in comparison. There’s a nice swagger about ‘Cheesecake’, and they’ve improved some of the early camera angles, but again there are too many long shots in the second half. I think FYROM sounds flat and looks messy in comparison, but ‘To The Sky’ is improving from a low bar. Switzerland is still charming in comparison with a lovely stage show.

It was a slightly messy rehearsal from Greece as well, with some off notes and the very dark arena not picking up the audience well enough in the necessary camera shots. The Freaky Fortune boys have to be tighter for tonight’s performance too. Slovenia afterwards comes across as far more traditional, which is not necessarily a bad thing if it’s going to sneak through. Tinkara is solid enough in a worthy package.

We had lots of technical problems before Romania finally got going. Ovi is channeling David Copperfield with his glamorous assistant Paula. The stage show still doesn’t hang together at all, but they came good in 2010 after some less than stellar rehearsal reports.

The two reprises: Ireland starts with a bum note on the first one, both of Romania’s feature the icky embrace, the others seemed fine. Once again, no interviews with any contestants before the phone lines close. Let us know your thoughts on this semi below, and don’t forget to follow tonight’s jury performance on twitter.

27 comments to Eurovision 2014: Second semi first dress rehearsal

  • Dash Berlin

    What makes this SF more puzzling, is outside of the “certains” the country with the most friends is Georgia, who has the worse song of the entire contest, followed by Lithuania whose song is also pretty bad

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    Just backed my first ever non-q bet, on Romania at 10s.

  • Heyy

    My preliminary analysis 🙂 Please give it a look and tell me what you think!

    I think Israel, Romania (hate it, but its Romania), Greece and Austria (who i think will win the semi and go on to a possible top 3 in the final) are all safe qualifiers.

    Norway is also included, but I wouldnt be so shocked if it failed to qualify.

    Macedonia and Belarus I cant see qualifying, both mediocre and forgettable songs. Even Georgia, but it would be my best bet as a surprise qualifier.

    Now heres where it gets difficult…. 8 countries for the remaining 5 spots:

    Malta is first up, which may hurt its chances badly. Though I think the well produces song, vocals and staging aswell as strong jury power followed by some help from allies UK, Italy and Ireland will see it through.

    Poland is incredibly infectious and I love every second of it, and most probably so will televoters. Yet the juries will ‘Igranka’ it, but seeing this is a 15 country semi, I see it scraping through at 9-10 place.

    Despite all the hate its getting, Lithuania can very well surprise us all come Thursday, especially with help if traditional allies Georgia and Belarus. If they could qualify with trash in 2012/2013, they ll make the cut with Vilija.

    Is it just me, or maybe Im not wrong in thinking that Finland is just another rock song with nothing special to it. Vocals tend to suffer somethings and last time they the Finns sent a rock song in 2009 they failed badly, despite having a better song. Im not so sure about this one.

    I personally love Ireland and think its one of the best songs this year. But since rehearsals, im not particularly sure on how a safe qualifier it is…. vocals suffer a lot and its one of those songs that could either be a leading contender, or else flop. Again, I think this will scrape through, but a failure wont be so surprising. I just hope not.

    Switzerland….. if they couldnt qualify last year with a better song from the penultimate position, then they wont this year. Malta is a better song in thia genre plus the Swiss arent particularly surrounded by voting allies, though I expect some votes from Italy and Germany, just not enough. Plus its forgettable. 11-13th in semi.

    Lastly, Slovenia. Like Maja Keuc, I have a feeling Tinkara will sail through to the final and probably wont achieve a bad score there. Only problem is that shes between two upbeat songs…. but I think its good enough.

    So, my prediction:

    1. Austria
    2. Greece
    3. Romania
    4. Norway
    5. Israel
    6. Slovenia
    7. Malta
    8. Poland
    9. Lithuania
    10. Ireland

    11. Georgia
    12. Switzerland
    13. Finland
    14. Macedonia
    15. Belarus

    • Switzerland might have had a better song last year, but it was sung by the Salvation Army band, not a cute, cheeky and super charismatic guy. I would not discount it yet.

      • Switzerland looked great in the jury semi tonight. They are sailing through and will be one of the big movers. Still available at 250/1 right now

      • Dash Berlin

        Switzerland last year finished 5th in the televote and have a lot more potential central European friends than last year, it was the jury that buried them last year for the amateurish look/sound (similar to Latvia this year I presume)

        • Peter

          Hey Heyy, I very much agree about Austra and Greece. Actually, I do think together with The Netherlands they are the ones with a real chance for winning right now. You are also right about Norway, I think. Carl needs until the second half of the performance to feel comfortable singing his beautiful song, and by then it might be just too late for people to relate to it.

  • 01. Romania
    02. Austria
    03. Switzerland
    04. Norway
    05. Greece
    06. Malta
    07. Belarus
    08. Israel
    09. Finland
    10. Slovenia

  • RMarko

    This is really going tight. Everyone has a chance, except Lithuania and Georgia imo. I am convinced there will be some shockers again.
    My predictions:

    Norway (haba haba pt2)

    Personally, I would pay to see Romania nq, just because I think it’s awful, but it ain’t happening.

  • Sander

    I don’t fully agree with you RMarko 😉

    Here are my humble thoughts 😛

    It would be a shock to me if Georgia qualifies but it would make sense as there are always around 2 shock qualifiers. As the first semifinal already was close (between number 10 and 12 only 3 points difference) I think with this smaller semi the jury and televote will average each other out and it will be close again. I believe that countries with a better draw or a bit stronger diaspora/neighbor vote could sneak through. That’s why I think Georgia could sneek into the top 10 even though the song sucks big time. If Georgia could be 8th in the jury vote in 2012 with an awful song, I think in this semifinal it could be in the top 7 of the jury vote as the juries tend to go for the well sung, dull and average songs. Finland, Austria. Malta Switzerland, Norway and Slovenia could be their obvious choices before going for Georgia and also for the more uptempo televote big hitters.

    I think te juries will really punish Macedonia. It seems as a niche song to me and does not show quality.

    Instead of Norway not qualifying I think there is a big chance that Israel will be out. The draw is terrible between Malta and Norway so the juries won’t reward Israel and televote will forget Mei and the parts in Hebrew could keep people from voting. All in all I think it’s just a fanwank and will be out just like Estonia.

    Poland is just too much in your face. I believe the juries will treat it like Igranka and because there are more favourable televote grabbers which are more mainstream and will get more jury love I think Poland will be out just like Lithuania as it is too much in your face. Attention sounds a bit aggressive to me and won’t make people vote for them. Also it will get puked out by the juries.

    Romania and Greece will be in the top 10 for obvious reasons.

    Press talks about Austria on a regular basis and this James Bond song will be rewarded by the juries. I think it’s safe to say that Austria will go to the final.

    Finland is fishing in a different pond than all the others and it’s mainstream. The juries will reward it like Hungary 2012 and as Switzerland and Hungary were popular in 2012 in the televote I think Finland is a safe choice for the top 10.

    Malta has always been popular with the juries and I think this year won’t be different. As it’s quality and a song for the crowd, it will go through to the final based on a decent televote score. (by the way, the background of Iceland feels very recent with the popular game people play on their Iphones… you know which one I mean :P) so I think the selfie background will help a lot.

    Slovenia got much love in 2011 with a very good singer. This year it sounds too average Eurovision style and as the televote was only 7th in 2011, I think this year Slovenia will be out.

    If the 4 out of last 6 rule is still alive, I think that Belarus and Switzerland will go through. They both have an element that is catchy, are well sung and presented. Jury will help Switzerland as they are sandwiched between Greece and Macedonia and Belarus is just so catchy and will get enough televote to help them (remember 2011 when Belarus was in the televote with a catchy tune in a bigger semi final).

    Finally Ireland: it’s a decent popsong with an attractive singer, enough televote friends and decent to good jury score.

    So here is my top 10 in no particular order:


    Going home:

  • Nick C

    Here is my prediction:
    FOR SURE: Greece, Israel, Poland, Austria
    MOST LIKELY: Romania, Switzerland, Belarus, Norway, Finland, Macedonia
    UNLIKELY: Ireland, Malta, Slovenia
    NO CHANCE: Georgia, Lithuania

    I am actually 99 % sure about the top 9. The 10th spot is between Malta, Ireland, Slovenia and Macedonia.

  • Dash Berlin

    If you take a 4 from the last 6 qualify approach – as history shows that this happens, then on the flipside, the first 3 in a semi haven’t all qualified for as far back as I bothered to look.

    The caveat is that previous semis had more countries and were probably of higher quality and had voting blocs in them.

    It would still take quite a lot for Malta, Norway and Israel to all qualify as they all likely need high jury scores. I think Malta and Norway will get those, Israel might be fairly middle of the pack. With Israels week televote in recent years, it looks like a cheap lay to Q at around 1.2-1.25

    • Montell

      I agree. I think value bets at the moment are Israel NQ and Poland NQ

      • Dash Berlin

        Poland was one of the first NQ I laid, ethnic sound, presentation of the show I doubt will please jurys and its followed by the star/talking point of the show, so is more likely to be forgotten quickly. The only thing people will remember is the boobs, I don’t remember boobs getting many televotes

    • Dash Berlin

      well that worked 🙂

      • eurovicious

        It sure did and it’s the approach I took too. Israel was not going to qualify with that song between Malta and Norway. I found myself asking “Who is the song for?”

  • eurovicious

    My 5 NQs are Israel, Georgia, Lithuania, Finland and Iceland. I’ve been on the Poland NQ side for quite a while, for reasons I’ve outlined in previous posts, but I’m Poland Q now. The three songs that the audience (not the fan block, ordinary Danes) responded to hugely last night were Poland, Austria, and Greece, just as they responded most to Latvia, Iceland and Portugal on Monday – the key difference being that Poland/Austria/Greece are all more polished, credible and jury friendly than Latvia/Iceland/Portugal. Poland is really fun and different, and unlike parts of the music video, doesn’t come over as sexist or exploitative – it’s a seaside postcard and the sea is Morskie Oko. It overcomes the language and culture barrier and I think it’s gonna get a big televote. I can’t see it failing anymore – it’s boobs enough to get a broad televote and polished enough to get sufficient jury in this small semi of 15. It’s very professional.

    Tim has been saying Israel NQ for a while and having seen the show I now agree with him. The language shift halfway through is jarring (your brain hears “I touch your dick”) and I’m not sure who the audience for the song is, I think it might get forgotten.

    Lithuania is bombing most in this semi, the way Moldova did on Tuesday. They’re both the archetypal “wtf” bad Eastern European NF song that somehow made it to Eurovision, and in terms of the flow of energy, Lithuania also comes at the worst possible point in the show, right after crowd-pleasers Poland and Austria. It’s a kettle break. The start is jarring if not actively off-putting and takes a while to get going; you disengage. It does what it does very well, but no-one will like what it does. Can’t see juries going for it either.

    Georgia is Alexandra and Konstantin for 2014. It’s not going anywhere and is too disordered to get much jury.

    I’m not sure Finland and Ireland are connecting. Finland is fine but almost just passes you by, it’s not making nearly enough impact IMO. Ireland isn’t hugely connecting and the camp dancers and repetitiveness don’t help – on stage I think it comes over as the most inauthentic entry this year, a piece of derivative phoned-in content performed by a fake-smiling dummy who doesn’t really care. She doesn’t sell it, which is a real weakness in a contest where everyone from Cleo to Valentina is really selling and feeling their song.

    Belarus looks really good, it’s different, fresh and funky, and Teo connects charismatically. The lyrics are the only problem. I think it coud qualify. Macedonia looks and sounds fabulous, it’s a really strong package and offers a lot to Western audiences – good Pink meets good EDM. As long as it gets enough jury, which I feel it will, I think it’ll qualify.

    Sebalter comes over as enthusiastic, weird, amateurish, and the musicians as inauthentic; I couldn’t understand the verse or middle-eight, just the chorus. He mugs something shocking, like some naff cabaret act, grinning more than David Lindgren or the accordionist from Elaiza throughout; it’s cheesy and camp as tits, BUT he’s energetic, connects, and got the audience clapping towards the end of the song. The audience then rewarded him with the most applause since Conchita. So he’s managing to connect and bring the hoedown feel over. Qualifying.

    Greece is destroying – this is getting a huge televote, and is likely top 10 on Saturday unless juries Can Bonomo it. Slovenia looks and sounds great but I’m not feeling it, I don’t think it’s connecting. Could do a Birgit (outside televote top 10 but through cos enough jury). Is Slovenia a post-Rise Up widdle break? It does feel like a comedown, but not as much as Moran after Koza Mostra or Axel after Tick Tock. Romania looks and sounds brilliant and is exactly the ending the show needs. The toilet seat piano hampers it but not significantly. Top 10 in the final but not top 5.

    This is the smallest semi ever (apart from that time I groped a dwarf) and if there were only 3 points between 10th and 12th place on Tuesday, it’s gonna be even tighter tonight (as the dwarf promised me just moments ago). Which is why trying to pick an exact 10 feels silly. But it also feels like a semi where the televote and jury vote will be much more similar to each other than they were on Tuesday. SF1 had crowd-pleasing novelty songs that were too amateurish for juries, and dull ballads that offered more to juries than televoters. In SF2, by contrast, the crowd-pleasers are also jury-friendly, and the songs that turn the audience off will also turn juries off, I think.


    • Dash Berlin

      Ireland as your NQ I think you mean 🙂

      Agree with pretty much everything you’ve said apart from Poland, I’m still thinking NQ for all the reasons I previously thought. Nothing would shock me in this semi though as there is so many poor songs that a lot of them will get points by default.

      I’ve not enjoyed Ireland from the outset, so agree that stuck in the middle could easily get passed by. I don’t even think they can rely on the UK for maximum points.

      • eurovicious

        Thanks for the correction! Yes, Ireland.

        I think Poland is an anti-fanwank to a certain extent – Daniel said the gays in the press centre were enjoying the smut, but I’ve met a lot of gay fans who really don’t like it, and I have a couple of female friends who object to it too. In fact a girl turned round to us in the arena last night and said “I thought this was a family show!” I think it’s exactly this mildly transgressive character that will help it – it allows the audience to subvert Eurovision the way they did by voting for Lordi, We Are The Winners, Alf Poier, Verka etc. I’ve been saying Poland NQ for 2 months, but the way it came over last night I think it’s going through.

  • Kevin

    “This is the smallest semi ever (apart from that time I groped a dwarf)”…………brilliant

  • john kef

    Semi Final 2
    1. Malta Q 4-6
    2. Israel Q 7-10
    3. Norway Q 1-3
    4. Georgia NQ 14-15
    5. Poland NQ 11-13
    6. Austria Q 1-3
    7. Lithuania NQ 11-13
    8. Finland Q 7-10
    9. Ireland NQ 11-13
    10. Belarus Q 7-10
    11. Macedonia NQ 14-15
    12. Switzerland Q 1-3
    13. Greece Q 4-6
    14. Slovenia Q 7-10
    15. Romania Q 4-6

    Possible shocker:Georgia! Because of diaspora, better than Macedonia-Poland at least with juries, they might make it with 42-45 points. In 70% of my simulations were in.

    If i had to choose the 10 finalists based on personal taste i would choose Poland over Belarus, but even though i like the song, it’s way too aggressive and Igranka last year was much better in a more neigbour friendly semi.

  • john kef

    And some facts. Based on the semis history, 2nd is not the worst order of apperance, 3rd is…Even though i have to admit the best placing 2nd in order of apperance ever got was 5th back in the 2008 1st Semi.The country was …Israel…Actually here are some stats about the first half in order of appearance:

    Order of Appeara nce (1st semi final included)
    1. Q 8-17 all time 6-13 double semis Best ranking: 2
    2. Q 8-17 a.t. 8-13 d.s. B. R: 5
    3. Q 3-17 a.t. 3-13 d.s. B. R: 4
    4. Q 7-17 a.t 5-13 d.s. B. R: 1
    5. Q 6-17 a.t 5-13 d.s B. R: 1

    And the other less than 50% of Qualification spots:
    9. Q 7-17 a.t. 6-13 d.s B. R: 2
    11. Q 6-17 a.t. 4-13 d.s. B. R: 1

  • sonovox

    Right, well I’m going to stick my neck out here and predict a boilover Austria NQ, along with Georgia, Poland, Macedonia and Slovenia.

    I reckon this is one of the most difficult semis I’ve seen – can’t rule any entry out and only Greece in for certain. I’d be congratulating anyone who even gets 8/10, despite the fact that everyone gets at least 5.

  • Not at all confident about that block of 4 towards the end of the first half, but here’s my final prediction for tonight.

    Malta – Q
    Israel – NQ
    Norway – Q
    Georgia – NQ
    Poland – Q
    Austria – Q
    Lithuania – Q
    Finland – Q
    Ireland – NQ
    Belarus – Q
    Macedonia – NQ
    Switzerland – Q
    Greece – Q
    Slovenia – NQ
    Romania – Q

  • Ioannis

    The running order for the final will be revealed at 03.00 CET. Another reason to stay up late!

  • stoney

    Damn wish I had waited before putting my Netherlands bet on.

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