The famous former entries medley is a tried and tested way of killing time during a Eurovision show, but credit to the Kyiv team for doing something a bit different with it. Tonight’s show opens with the hosts joined by a diverse collective of Ukrainian musicians and traditional dancers to put a decidedly local spin on past winners such as Euphoria, Fairytale and Rise Like a Phoenix. It’s genuinely delightful stuff – and the significance of including the latter song in the celebrations on a primetime Ukrainian-produced TV show shouldn’t be underestimated either…
Eurovision is always a bit of a ‘seat of the pants’ affair when it comes to keeping all of the various technical plates in the air throughout the show. Hopefully it’ll be alright on the night, but yesterday’s Jury Final was marked by a number of issues, including a long delay after the intro due to an equipment failure, some very strange camera shots and a no-show for Norway’s LED masks.
She may not technically have won the contest back in 2007, but the delectable Verka Serduchka is a bona fidé Eurovision legend, so it feels entirely right and appropriate that her bewilderingly hilarious comic stylings are given a lengthy showcase tonight. If you have any idea what’s going on by the end of her interval sketch, you’re a smarter man than I, but it’s fabulously entertaining all the same.
The Inevitable Interpretive Dance Number
BBC viewers will presumably be treated to a sketch of Mel Giedroyc sampling Ukrainian cuisine with the members of O.Torvald at this point, but for the rest of Europe, Semi Final Two means once again filling some time with a local dance troupe. Fun if you enjoy that kind of thing, a timely toilet/bar break for everyone else…
Croatia’s Crazy Rainbow
What to make of Croatia’s Jacques Houdek and his bizarre melding of a saccharine 90s Michael Jackson ballad with an Il Volo album track? The vocal acrobatics are bewildering enough, but the stage show – featuring rainbows, sunflowers and a strong competitor for the most ridiculous outfit in this year’s contest – elevates the package to the status of instant Eurovision classic. Is he in on the joke? Who knows – but it’ll be a much poorer final of this isn’t somewhere in the mix.
With fans still reeling from the shock exits of Finland and Latvia in the semi finals – not to mention the fabulous Slavko from Montenegro suffering an early haircut – nobody going into tonight’s Semi Final can afford to take anything for granted. Anything can and will happen, so buckle up – it’s going to be a bumpy night.