The fourth of five shows reviewing the songs competing in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. This week, we have Ann Squires of ESC Armchair joining us as our fourth special guest judge as we look at the songs in the second half of Semi-final 2.
After a week-long absence, the team are back alongside special guest Elliot from The Euro Trip to discuss the final two weeks of the national final season, and take a look back at some of the best national final songs that will not be in Kyiv this year.
Hej! The jury rehearsal for the second semi-final has come and gone, Kylie was there to witness it while Nicolas and Sara had to rely on videos and blogs from home. Will that show a difference in opinions and predictions between the three of us? Let’s find out…
Before we start, let’s have some quick comments about the first semi results:
Kylie: I don’t want to talk about it. At least my friends were happy, but, yeah… At least I wasn’t the only one in that press centre who was upset.
Nicolas: My god, for a split second I thought Malta wasn’t going to qualify, but then my heart was broken as Iceland was not announced last. But in general, I was very happy and, let’s not forget, for once I’m in the lead on ESC Pulse! I had 9 qualifiers right compared to Kylie and Sara’s 8! But.. I doubt I’ll keep that title after semi 2…
Sara: Iceland should’ve qualified! Go Austriaaaa!!!!! Just reminding people, by the way, that my predictions are based on a big load of statistics! So don’t blame me if I’m wrong!
Also, as there won’t be a podcast for predicting semi 2 (as we have quite a sick baby with us right now…) both Nicolas and I will actually try and predict the exact placing of every country on here instead!
Kylie: Yes. Talk about a jury performance! I just hope my heart doesn’t get broken again after Tuesday…
Nicolas: Yes. Though I’m not too fond of the song, there’s no denying he hits all the notes plus he’s very passionate. Should sail through! Will be 4th.
Sara: Yes. I don’t think this will do as well as people say it will. The staging is weak and boring and he’s pretty boring as a performer too… 6th.
Kylie: Yes. He kind of fluffed up the jury performance but I’ve always thought of this as more of a televote song, and I think it can get through on that basis.
Nicolas: Yes. Like Kylie said, televoting will save him, though I secretly hope he misses out. Will be 9th.
Sara: Yes. I think the juries will really like this, as long as he doesn’t make any mistakes and there are a lot of Polish people around Europe, so who knows. 4th!
Kylie: No. It’s just so weak compared to the two songs before and the one after it, and don’t get me started on her clown wig hair…
Nicolas: No. WHY did she decide to go for the curly hair? Anyway, it’s not like straight hair would’ve saved this. I think this year might have the interesting result of having the same last places in the semis as last year: Finland and Switzerland. 18th.
Sara: No. Just curling her hair is already putting her down five places. Bad decisions all around! 18th.
Kylie: Yes. Dark horse alert! I’m so sorry Nicolas for dismissing you in the review, you were right! The staging just looks so lovely and it’s very well sung, and it has THE pyro curtain of the year.
Nicolas: Yes. HAH, Kylie! At least I like that you aren’t trying to talk your way out of it. I had the feeling from the moment the final version got released that that would just wow everyone. The pyro rain will however not seem as impressive to viewers, I feel, because of Switzerland using it literally 3 minutes before. I do feel it’s one of tose that would do better in the final than in the semi, partly because of the draw. 8th.
Sara: No. I think it comes too early in the draw and too close to Poland to really have an impact. There’s nothing about this song that stands out (besides his sparkly clothes!!!). The backdrop has been done a million times before in this competition. 12th.
Kylie: No. I dunno, I just feel that between Israel and Serbia, this seems a bit trying too hard. I’m not confident about that statement though.
Nicolas: No. I really want this to qualify and I think that if someone like Mr Zelmerlöw (I don’t feel like going to copy the weird ‘a’, okay?!) had performed this with this staging, it’d be a definite top 10, but IVAN is still just as charisma-free as an overused toilet brush (or as Rykka’s hair, for that matter). Televoters will save this from the very bottom though. 13th.
Sara: No. He’s just too weird as a person and it will put people off. It’s a cool performance but I don’t see anybody voting for this. 13th
Kylie: Yes. Juries will love it and it’s not too dark or uncomfortable for the public to appreciate in my opinion.
Nicolas: Yes. If I were more daring, I’d say it’s top 5 in the final, but I need to see the performance first. But from what I’ve seen, it’s a perfect staging and her voice is outstanding. Great job, Serbia! 2nd in the semi!
Sara: Yes. I think this a really strong entry and a really good performance. She sounds spot on all the time and she’s a very likeable person. 5th.
Kylie: No. Being between two Balkan vocal powerhouses is very bad news for them. It just feels like a bit of fluff between two very substantial pieces of work. And yes, the fact that they’ve got a red backdrop for a song called freaking SUNLIGHT still makes me irrationally irritated.
Nicolas: No. I don’t think he’s chanceless just based on songs, as it’s very much in the vein of what Denmark would’ve sent between 2008 and 2011, but Nicky just can’t make it work. 15th.
Sara: No. This is just weak… Ireland doesn’t know how to stage their entries anymore. It’s so boring and the song lacks that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. 14th.
Kylie: Yes. I’m not 100% confident about this, but I’ve got a feeling that she might’ve done just enough to make it.
Nicolas: No. Though like Kylie said, not 100% sure either. I feel like this will narrowly miss out. In 2012 they only barely qualified with a much stronger song, so I feel like they might just miss out this time around. 11th.
Sara: No. It doesn’t appeal to juries nor televoting. Just too old-fashioned and her voice is something that you need to get used to and first time listeners won’t get the chance to do that and won’t enjoy it. But since they have a few friends in this semi they will get 11th anyway!
Kylie: No. I don’t know why, but today I got a hunch that this is going to fall short. I know they’ve got plenty of support in this semi, but something just doesn’t feel right here.
Nicolas: Yes. It won’t be as high as I first thought as I think the staging really fails to grab people’s attention. But Lithuania literally has all of its friends so I think it’ll manage to make it, though very narrowly! 10th.
Sara: Yes. I think this is the only song of its kind in this semi: a single male singing a real uptempo dance track. He’s a seasoned performer and I think if the camera shots are right he could impress quite a few viewers. 8th.
Kylie: Yes. Unfortunately…
Nicolas: Yes. No reason why this wouldn’t qualify. 3rd
Sara: Yes. She’s obviously one of the best singers in the competition this year and I feel like her performance will look really cool on screen (even though I haven’t seen it yet). 2nd.
Kylie: No. I don’t get the random acrobat and its running order position doesn’t really help.
Nicolas: No. This is the ultimate pee break material. 17th.
Sara: No. This song is too weak. Europeans don’t usually like country/pop songs like this. There’s a reason why Taylor Swift only really became popular in Europe after her change of style. And coming between Australia and Bulgaria will make her forgettable. 17th.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a really good pop song and people will appreciate that, it’s really enjoyable in my opinion
Nicolas: Yes. It should make it easily, but somehow I’m scared that if we have an Iceland 2.0 in this semi, it might be this… But loyal listeners will know that that’s just the pessimist in me talking, though I won’t let that part of me overrule the reasonable side of me! 5th.
Sara: Yes. I think a lot of the casual viewers will really like this song and relate to it. It’s extremely catchy and everybody will be singing it all night whether they know Bulgarian or not. 3rd.
Kylie: No. If they couldn’t qualify with the same schtick last year, what reason is there for them to do it this year?
Nicolas: No. Middle of the road things used to make it in Eurovision, but what statistics about this new voting system taught me is that the middle of the road songs are the ones that suffer the most from this. Juries might have this as qualifying, but televoters will forget about this completely. 14th
Sara: Yes. Just because I have faith in my Danish men, just like I had faith in them in DMGP! You’ll all see! 10th.
Kylie: Yes. It stands out in its semi and will be well-liked enough on both sides of the coin that they will be safely through.
Nicolas: Yes. I know that back in February I said this might be the shock failure of this year, but no way that this is going to happen. I’m even thinking this will win the semi. 1st!
Sara: Yes. It’s Ukraine. 1st.
Kylie: No. You have no idea how much it pains me to say it about my beloved Norway, so I’m just going to leave it at that and go cry…
Nicolas: Yes. I think people are being too harsh here. The song was seen as a definite qualifier at first and just because the box went away people now think this won’t qualify? Show a bit more faith in the actual song! She sings it really well and I think she’ll still sail through! 6th
Sara: Yes. I think the song appeals to teenage girls (I’m.. sorry, Kylie?) and you either love it or hate it. 9th.
Kylie: Yes. Another one that I’m not 100% confident on, but I’ve got a hunch that this might be exciting enough for people to appreciate and it MIGHT just sneak through, although I’m not entirely sure how much of that is my own personal wish…
Nicolas: No. As much as I want this to qualify, I can’t see the niche that this song appeals to pick up the phone to vote enough for this to qualify. And juries will sink it, I feel. 12th.
Sara: No. I think this song only appeals to a very small group of people and those people wouldn’t vote in Eurovision anyway. 16th.
Kylie: No. She really belts it out but it just does nothing and you will forget it by the time Belgium’s postcard comes on.
Nicolas: No. Again, if I were braver, I’d predict this as a shock qualifier, but I’m going to go safe and say that it’ll be completely forgotten between crazy Georgia and fun Belgium. 16th.
Sara: No. The song is lacklustre, lacks any type of real melody. People will be impressed by her voice but will forget her 30 seconds after the song’s over.
Kylie: Yes. Not much to say other than that it’s the semi-final closer that we all needed.
Nicolas: Yes. For once I’ll show faith in Belgium! I just feel like there’s too many things going for it to go really wrong in the semi. It’ll fail to do that well in the final, but the fact that it’s the only real fun song in this semi, with good choreography, making people want to dance, makes me quietly confident. 7th.
Sara: Yes. This is a funky song that people will enjoy. She’s really cute and super likeable. 7th.
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy the show, and if you agree/disagree with us, or want to make fun of us after the show for our incorrect predictions, hit us with a comment!
Kylie talks about the sixth day of rehearsals for Eurovision 2016.
Nicolas and Sara are not in Stockholm, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t have a say about what they make of the rehearsal footage back home in the States!
Kylie talks about the third day of rehearsals for Eurovision 2016.
The third of five shows reviewing the songs competing in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. In this episode, we look at the songs in the first half of Semi 2.
It’s the last national finals episode of the year, and our last podcast under the Euro Dummies name! We look at the last chosen songs in Sweden, Lithuania, FYR Macedonia, Croatia, San Marino, Australia, Greece, Czech Republic, and Azerbaijan. There’s also our last weekly news roundup, our last round of listener’s Twitter questions, and we have another round of the Love-Hate Game.
We have our penultimate National Final episode as we look at the last two finals in Sweden and Lithuania, plus we have songs from Armenia, The Netherlands, Russia and Montenegro. There’s also our weekly news roundup, and we answer listener’s Twitter questions.
Let’s talk about the results of Semi 1 first…
Kylie: I’m pretty happy with the results really, a bit sad that some of the songs I like didn’t make it but no real heartbreaks last night. Oh, and FAO Nicolas: I TOLD YOU SO!!!
Nicolas: Of course I’m really happy about those results!!!!! I was SO nervous and so convinced that Belgium wouldn’t qualify especially coming in tenth. I was so sure it was going to be Finland! But I’m really satisfied with the results!
Sara: I’m really happy because my three favorite songs qualified! Woop for Finland having been judged on their musical merit!
Ok, that out of the way now… as per usual we will go through the songs of Semi 2 and give a Yes or No answer in regards to whether they will qualify or not, and give a short comment as to our reasoning for our answers.
Nicolas: This is such a hard semi-final to predict! Anyone (but San Marino) could qualify! I can’t call it! Also, just warning people, Sara’s really grumpy!
Sara: I’m not grumpy! I just have a massive headache. Might be from Bojana’s screaming, to be honest.
Kylie: Yes. A very cute opener to the semi and they’ve got plenty of friends, so no problems there.
Nicolas: Yes. Cute opener indeed, very bright, very fun, though a bit contrived. Considering who votes in this semi, it won’t have too much trouble.
Sara: Yes. It’s the most uptempo song and it just makes everyone feel happy.
Kylie: Yes. Molly was nervous tonight but I feel juries will see it through, it’s a very authentic performance.
Nicolas: Yes. This is one of three songs that I come back to every time when it comes to whether it’ll qualify or not.. I feel that in the end, it’ll get enough jury votes as it’s different to every other ballad in this semi, it’s way less ‘showing off vocals’ and much more intimate.
Sara: No. She doesn’t sound amazing and it gets forgotten very easily because of this bad draw. Her voice and song are nothing special.
3) San Marino
Kylie: No. They’ve staged it as best they could but sadly they’re pretty much the most certain non-qualifier out of the bunch. Their jury performance was also bad, I feel for those two.
Nicolas: I’m going to let Michele decide on this one. What do you think, Michele? “……………. No”
Sara: No. It’s simply the weakest song of the semi. Also, Anita doesn’t sound the best, to be honest…
Kylie: Yes. It’s a visually stunning performance and Knez knocked it out of the park tonight. Call it the Željko Effect.
Nicolas: No. I’m really sad that I have to say no, but even though Knez is such an amazing vocalist, he does not have a face that works on camera and I also fail to see who would vote for this in this semi-final.
Sara: No. Knez is too creepy-looking for anyone to vote for. The song is okay, but he ruins it.
Kylie: No. It sounds weak thanks to them ditching the backing singers and I think this will do surprisingly badly in the televote. I remember Nicolas saying all the way back in November that it would be a shock NQ and I said he was talking rubbish… Nicolas you were right, I’m sorry.
Nicolas: No. I can see this slipping into the final with jury help, but I do stick by what I said back in November. It’s simply not powerful enough.
Sara: Yes. The song has nice instrumentation and she sounds really good. I think it’s strong enough to qualify in this semi.
Kylie: Yes. Well, duh! Heia Norge!!!
Nicolas: Yes. I can’t see this fail, but I can’t see it challenging anyone for the win either.
Sara: Yes. I think this one is really obvious.
Kylie: No. It just doesn’t leave much of an impression at all, I think it’ll be bottom 3 of the televote.
Nicolas: No. It grew on me with the way she performs it live, she gives it her all and she looks really charming on camera. However it just doesn’t leave a lasting impression at all…
Sara: No. It’s just a bad song and everyone will forget about it, getting drinks during this one. I just don’t like it, especially after she wanted to go sing it twice in the jury rehearsal, wha wha go cry to your mommy about it.
8) Czech Republic
Kylie: No. I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong here, but I feel it’s been badly memory-holed by Israel coming after it, they sounded great tonight though, so I hope they got a good jury score at least.
Nicolas: No. Like Kylie, I really hope I’m wrong on this one, but I can’t see it happening…
Sara: No. It’s boring, the shoe throwing will put people off, it’s stupid and… it’s Czech Republic, what do you expect.
Kylie: Yes. It’s a very well done performance, well shot, lots of fun. The final NEEDS more fun songs!
Nicolas: No. I’m just scared juries will collectively put this last considering he has the worst vocals of the night…
Sara: Yes. It’s a breath of fresh air after the 25,000 slow songs. He’s not the best singer but televoting won’t care. It’s fun. Eurovision needs fun. And if Serbia can make it, this can make it.
Kylie: Yes. Visually great, it’s a breath of fresh air, looks like Latvia is making a long-awaited return to the final!
Nicolas: Yes. I always go from yes to no and back again on this one. Is it too avant-garde to make it among all these other ballads? I hope not…
Sara: Yes. She hits every note perfectly, no mistakes, good backing vocals, nice staging. Everything that leads to a qualification.
Kylie: Yes. I still LOATHE the dancers and I feel it suffers coming after Latvia, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.
Nicolas: Yes. If there’s a massive shock non-qualifier in this semi, it’ll be Azerbaijan. But I’m not gutsy enough to actually make that prediction. :p
Sara: Yes. Azerbaijan qualifies with anything so why not this too?
Kylie: No. I am so so so SO sorry Sara, I sincerely hope I’m proved wrong but I’ve got a horrible feeling that she’ll be the shock NQ, she did well tonight though.
Nicolas: Yes. I know a lot of people are now predicting this to fail, but I think this has really strong televoting appeal.
Sara: Yes. Screw everyone! She’s a fairytale princess and every fairytale princess gets their way. And her way is to qualify. So she will. Also, she doesn’t sound that bad, she hit the notes that mattered, so all the haters can get glitterbombed! Suck it!
Kylie: Yes. Well, DUH!!! Semi-winner and still the obvious winner of the final. The reception in the arena was HUGE!
Nicolas: Yes. No doubt about this. Winning Eurovision.
Sara: Yes. He’s handsome, he’s got a good song and he’s Swedish.
Kylie: No. It’s suffers a lot coming after Sweden and I feel it’s kinda anonymous. The uber noisy jet streams also really drowned her out at the last chorus.
Sara: No. This is the most insignificant entry of the year (even though I quite like it). Coming after those four songs and before these three songs it’s just a death trap. She won’t qualify and yeah.
Kylie: Yes. SERIOUS dark horse, there’s no way this ain’t top 10 in the final!
Sara: No. Even though it’s sparkly I don’t think anything that special about this song. It’s a pee break in my opinion and he looks funny.
Kylie: Yes. Solid performance and I see no reason why it shouldn’t make it.
Sara: Yes. Sounds good. The violinist is good. It’s a popular song, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t qualify (besides the fact that it’s Slovenia). Justice for Ula!
Kylie: No. I’m probably gonna slip up on my predictions with this one, but I just kinda feel this will be a jury fave that doesn’t make it.
Sara: Yes. She’s a good singer and she’s in a wheelchair. Good job, Poland. Oh, and it’s pink. Good job, Poland.