With a lineup including a past winner, a former runner up and a performer who was at the centre of one of last year’s biggest controversies, the second Semi Final of Eurovision 2018 was always going to be newsworthy. In the latest edition of the ESC Insight newsletter, we report on the artists who are building momentum and the ones who still have a lot of work to do…
You’ll have to sign up for the newsletter to get the full story, but as a small taster here are some personal highs and lows of Semi Two from the ESC Insight team…
Eurovision is about acceptance, about open spaces, about freedom and expression through music, about the emotion of humanity. And Hungary’s AWS delivers that in spades. With guitars. And pyro. And more guitars. And more pyro. It’s not noise, it’s Eurovision and it’s glorious.
I suspect everyone will have the same downer, but it bears repeating. Slovenia’s gimmick… hvala, ne.
Going Up: Georgia
The Georgians almost always nail styling and 2018 is no exception – these men are pure class, in terms of accoutrements and vocals. Each run through (5 in 30 minutes!) was better than the last.
It’s unclear who the voting constituency would be for this, but as is often the case Georgia are rather good at offering us the best possible version of their entry. In with a chance of qualifying..
Cause for Concern: Poland
This could have become the hit from this year’s Contest: there’s a lot of this sort of EDM on pop radio. But that genre works only with a soaring, compelling vocal, which Lukas struggles to deliver. Gromee’s rolling wave gesture also gets tired rather quickly. Malta is winning the battle of the bangers in this Semi.
Doing Well: Malta
The most stand out for me in SF2 was Malta. I’ve always liked the song and was wondering how they were going to stage it. I needn’t have been concerned, what they’ve done is brilliant. Using the video monoliths, and a dancer (called Anthea!) they’ve absolutely nailed the story of mental illness that the song is talking about. Christabelle looks amazing and vocally was pretty on the money with every run through. It stands out in SF2 because the rest is almost pure bonkers.
Biggest disappointment from SF2 has to be Slovenia. This song was in my top ten before the contest but it has now dropped way down because of the cheap, awful and tacky trick in the middle of pretending that the lighting and sound has failed and she has to struggle on against the adversity. It’s a low blow, it’s gimmicky and it’s not particularly done well. It’s insulting to RTP and the show production team and to be honest I am surprised it got signed off and agreed by the EBU. So annoyed with this, mainly because it’s a good song that I now feel is tainted.
Sitting Pretty: Moldova
Moldova’s three-minute Kenny Everett comedy sketch is easily the most delightful stage show in this semi final, and the reaction in the hall was ecstatic. After a few years in the wilderness, Sunstroke Project’s success has clearly restored Moldova’s confidence – this is a country who know exactly where their strengths lie and exactly how to deliver them.
In The Danger Zone: Russia
Having waited over a year to finally live her Eurovision dream, you’d expect Yulia Samoylova to get the star treatment in the stage show for I Won’t Break. Which makes the choice to put practically all of the focus on a pair of dancers…. a courageous decision.
AWS brought me 360 Degrees of Fire…
Vanja is a legend, and I wanted better for him than a pale blue bubblewrap suit.