As with semi-final 1 there are no opening titles as such.I don't like this opening act with the dancing orchestra. Being the old ESC purist that I am, I'd rather have the real orchestra back. This looks more like something out of "Sweden's Got Talent". It gets slightly more interesting when it goes all free running and cycling-up-the-skatepark-wall. And there is dubstep. Oh bloody hell, will someone please take dubstep away?
LATVIA: "Here We Go" - PeR.
Oh my beloved Latvia, what has become of you?
PeR, with their glittery outfits, spikey hair and random jumping around could be misconstrued as a Jedward tribute act. There's even a stage dive and they're proud to tell us all about it. "The first stage dive in Eurovision history comes from Latvia!!" It's a lively start and they make the most of the catwalk, but I can't find anything positive to say about it.Mum is watching again tonight and she is unimpressed.
M: I don't like rapping.
L: I like good rapping, but this isn't good rapping.
SAN MARINO: "Crisalide (Vola)" - Valentina Monetta.
is is thankfully a million miles away from the car-crash that was the Social Network Song/Uh oh, oh oh oh beep beep etc etc. It's a song with a major identity crisis though: it starts off as a ballad and turns into a big gay old Euro-stomper. I like it, but it might just be a bit too old-Eurovision. I did have this as a qualifier though....
One of this year's biggest pre-contest fan-faves, th
Unfortunately the staging (man in a box and a woman in a big frock) is from the "Believe" Kitchen Sink School of Eurovision Staging. Which can end up a major distraction, to the detriment of the song.
M: This is too gimmicky, too distracting. Can he not just stand there and sing the song without all that rubbish going on?
L: The song is good and his performance is very good but it's ruined by the choreography.
FINLAND: "Marry Me" - Krista Siegfrids.
Lightweight nonsense from the Finnish Ke$ha with ding dongs a plenty, and a "controversial" kiss at the end. Mum is irritable.
M: This is naff. Like something from 40 years ago.
L: Actually it's quite up to date - you could imagine something like this in the charts nowadays.
M: I don't listen to the charts so I couldn't tell you!
L: Oh oh, oh oh a ding dong!
We then get Ana interviewing Andrius, the guy with one shoe called love and the other one is pain. Now back to the songs.
MALTA: "Tomorrow" - Gianluca.
Or Dr Gianluca Bezzina to his patients, administering a prescription of sunshine and relentless glee throughout his performance. This is such a nice, happy song which always hits the target. Gianluca high-fives his way along the catwalk, and the result is three minutes of happiness.
M: This is a nice cheery song.
BULGARIA: "Samo Shampioni" - Elitsa and Stoyan.
Ana calls Elitsa "the Bulgarian Sheila E" - I loved that comparison! It's three minutes of percussion interrupted by wailing and what looks like the grandchildren of the Buranovskiye Babushki on backing vocals.
ICELAND: "Eg A Lif" - Eythor Ingi.
Eythor's wearing the black jacket, good choice I think. There's a lovely stage backdrop with a lighthouse and little wooden houses which makes me want to board a flight to Iceland right now.
L: Good old egg a leaf.
M: He's not singing egg a leaf, he's singing yegg a leaf.
L: Yes but the song title's egg a leaf. Oh forget it.
M: He looks as if he should be in a heavy metal band. Good singer though. I like this.
GREECE: “Alcohol Is Free” - Kosa Mostra and Agathon Iakovidis.
Unfortunately due to the ongoing and worsening economic crisis in Greece, which shockingly resulted in the government's recent closure of ERT, we wonder where this leaves Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest. Maybe a small and insignificant matter in the larger scheme of things, but we still wonder anyway.
ISRAEL: “Rak Bishvilo” - Moran Mazor.
ARMENIA: “Lonely Planet” - Dorians.
Hello, how's the flow? Yes, Petra is relaxing in the green room and interviewing none other than the legend who is Lys Assia, the queen of Eurovision. Long may she reign.
ALBANIA: "Identitet" - Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko.
Followers of this blog and my Twitter feed will be well aware that I wasn't too happy when this won FiK back in December 2012. So it was one of the biggest surprises of this Eurovision season when this duo and their band took to the ESC stage to deliver a rock-tastic performance and suddenly it all made sense. A confident performance with that pyro guitar solo.... they were robbed, weren't they!
GEORGIA: "Waterfall" - Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani.
The G:son-written, bought-in song. The not-entirely-unattractive Nodi will be welcome at ESC any time as a solo performer. They may be sailing on a sea of dreams, but there is little chemistry between him and Sophie, and at one point it looks as if she's drunk and he's holding her up. I still think we're back in cynical 'let's win ESC' territory. It's a little too cold and calculating. It's Running Scared II.
SWITZERLAND: "You and Me" - Takasa.
Or the artists-known-as-Salvation-Army to be precise. That 95 year old guy with the double bass doesn't know where he is. Not much effort has gone into this - from the drab backdrop to the stage presentation where they all just basically stand in a line. This is not qualifying, is it? But that guitarist is hot. Oh, and did I mention that guitarist is hot???
Darin gives us a little medley of “Nobody Knows” and “So Yours” proving yet again that he should be a major international megastar. I would really love so see him represent Sweden at Eurovision some day but that probably won't happen now :( Ditto, Agnes.
Ms Carlsson then takes to the stage (with a subliminal nod to Sertab’s 2003 winning dress) with “One Last Time” and “Release Me”.
Meanwhile over at BBC Three, they're interviewing Aussie commentator Julia Zemiro and the legend who is Paul "Dr Eurovision" Jordan, swiftly followed by some hot Greek men in kilts, and then Bonnie Tyler. I think we all agree that the Ana Matronic experiment has been very successful, and maybe she'll talk Jake and her other 'Sisters' into representing the UK, eh? But wait...
BBC Three: “Oh look, there’s a song we know - quick - let’s go to the TV coverage for the last minute of “Release Me”.
Let's then have a look at the big 5 (and Sweden) shall we? Petra then introduces ESDM and Cascada-Natalie in the audience.
Petra: "When in doubt, turn to Norway!" as she introduces Mr Eurovision, Jon Ola Sand.
After a blast of the Euphoria-foghorn, Petra reveals the qualifiers for the final.
And the final qualifier is:
Greece #kilts #hotbeardedmen #greeceistheword
So, San Marino misses out again, but could it be third time lucky for Ms Monetta in Denmark 2014? It has been announced this week that she will represent San Marino for the third year in a row! Glad to hear it - people of Europe, please reward her and San Marino with a place in the final next year!
Albania fails to make the final: will they play it safe next year or will they send something completely off-the-wall Rona style? The answer is just 6 months away!
And finally...there is no place for my lovely Lozano in the final, meaning that for the first time in many years, there will be no presence from the former Yugoslavia in the final.
So the line-up is now known for the final in Malmö....