STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – Globen (and ourselves of course, live from press centre) are ready for the second semi-final of this year’s edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Just like on Tuesday, 18 entries are about to battle for the 10 last spots for the Grand Final. Tonight semi-final seems more open than the first semi-final and the outcome is rather hard predict. Enjoy the show!
Latvia: Heartbeat sung by Justs
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: The most modern song of this year’s line-up is starting the show; “Heartbeat” is a powerful electro act, and we can feel Aminata’s feel in the song. Justs may look young and fragile, but he’s giving a strong, confident performance with simple but nice light effects. The audience does enjoy the Latvian entry hence this one should qualify!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: What an amazing start and what a casual stage presentation. Exactly what the song needs and I definitely want to see it to the Final. Great vocals, unique tune and of course Aminata behind this! Simply excellent!
Poland: Color Of Your Life sung by Michał Szpak
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Poland as, once again, opted for a strong ballad this year. I’m not a huge fan of this very typical tune, but I must confess Michal is good tonight and almost emotional. It’s far too sweet and cheesy for my state, almost as if Michal was about to burst into tear after each note. But this king of song has some fan and there 50/50 chance Poland could go to the Grand Final.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Am I the only one that see here a Polish Conchita – somehow – copycat? Polish entry is amazing .. but only to listen to. I don’t see this style of Michał to be appealing to the European audience but I have to admit that vocally he is perfect. I don’t know how to estimate this song’s future!
Switzerland: The Last Of Our Kind sung by Rykka
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Some songs grow on you… Well this one doesn’t actually. I loved it but now, it’s just getting a bit boring, and the staging doesn’t help this one to stand out really. A smoking dress, really? Not to speak about those repetitive fitness flexions Rykka does during the chorus. No need to have a good singer (even if the performance isn’t flawless), and a rather good song if you don’t have a great staging… I’m afraid we may not see Switzerland going further…
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: average vocals, dreadful outfit, blue hair and … smoky dress! This is definitely the last of ITS kind! Totally indifferent and apathetic. This one will not go through the Final and I am 99% sure!
Israel: Made Of Stars sung by Hovi Star
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: In my opinion, this is the strongest ballad of this semi-final. The staging is simple but just perfect for this type of anthemic tune. Stars are everywhere on stage, until a nice ending with firework. The only problem here could be the useless presence of acrobats in a hoop on stage… Hovi Star is just perfect, flawless and does know how to play with cameras. This must qualify even if it’s not the most up to date entry of the line-up.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: The best ballad in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The hoop act with the two dancers seems very artistic and the vocal performance is perfect although many will smile when they see Hovi. But in the very end it’s all about tolerance, acceptance and personality and this guy has it all plus a stunning voice. To the final for sure!
Belarus: Help You Fly sung by IVAN
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: An average song can become a great contender with the correct staging. This was the case of Armenia last night, and tonight Belarus is following the rule. Very good effects for Ivan with plenty of holograms, but unlike Russia, that makes the singer stand out. The Belarussian delegation is using the LED screens like no other, and Ivan is flying to the final!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: stunning! the best stage presentation for Belarus since 2007 entry with Dmitry Koldun. Amazing 80s tune and a great vocal performance by a guy that spreads only positive energy and hugs. Belarus is in the final 100%!
Serbia: Goodbye (Shelter) sung by Sanja Vučić ZAA
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Sanja is simply beautiful and gives a very strong performance with her great voice. In fact, she really looks like a younger Kaliopi! Her song is a powerful ballad with some Balkan elements (in the pure tradition of Modlidva country). Once again, the staging is simple but very nice and classy. Her backing singers and dancer play an interesting part in this act and I can’t see Serbia not qualifying tonight.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: the moment when a dramatic performance meet great vocal performance. One of the best Serbian entries in the Eurovision Song Contest with one of the most amazing in personality artist ever sent to Eurovision. Not sure about the fuzz with the dress but the vocal performance will send this one to the final.
Ireland: Sunlight sung by Nicky Byrne
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: A good looking singer with a pure pop song, that sounds promising indeed. Unfortunately, Nicky ain’t that good of a singer, and “Sunlight” is an entry we’ve heard dozens of times before. Luckily enough, the Irish singer is almost flawless tonight and the song is really good on screen (especially the last part). That could help for an unexpected qualification!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: this entry causes confusion in me. Nicky is truly believing in his entry and he is confident but on the other hand I don’t see the Westlife magic here. Not bad vocally but not the best voice in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. Stage presentation is simple, rock and effective and the camera work is definitely boosting the song. I am not sure how this end up in results tonight. I don’t think it will qualify but on the other hand I would love to see Nicky in the final.
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Dona sung by Kaliopi
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: We left Kaliopi in 2012 with a strong ballad, and this year she’s back with a more dramatic but strong ballad (performed entirely in her language). The song though may sound a bit outdated despite the strong, flawless performance. Simple staging, but that song doesn’t need any gimmick, the singer must prevail. Not sure this can qualify, especially if we focus on the last high note which is not the easiest on my ears.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: I don’t have much to say here. I see a stunning singer / performer in a pompous dress singing a totally outdated song that sounds as she wants to eat donuts! I cannot see it to the final, sorry!
Lithuania: I’ve Been Waiting For This Night sung by Donny Montell
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: After Armenia and Belarus, here is the average Lithuanian song that really is better on screen than on the radio. The staging just looks amazing. A very wise use of LED screen here: dynamic colours and pyros. Donny is perfect in performing and dancing (not to say jumping). I didn’t like that song, and now I’m enjoying the performance. Well done Lithuania, you deserve a spot in the final.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: I have to mention this: Donny is the blond version of Hovi when it comes to hair style (ok he has his fluffy hair on the other side). Now back to the song. First of all we have a hot hunk onstage who can actually deliver the song 100%. The tune is modern, fresh and the message is clear. He was waiting for this night, his comeback to Eurovision. This is definitely go to the final (in my opinion)>
Australia: Sound Of Silence sung by Dami Im
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: One of the favourites is taking the stage now. Dami Im is gorgeous in her glittering wedding dress. The song is a really good one, the artist is perfect, the staging is good but something lacks there…. Emotion. It is very professional, even too much. Dami will seduce the juries for sure for her vocal capacities, and the public will like the whole performance. The audience just LOVES her and you’ll see her on Saturday, fighting for gold!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Dami Im is not here to fool around, she is here to win and she gives one of the best performances in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. I had enough with the dispute between UK and Australia about “why Australia participates in Eurovision”. It’s all about music and Australia is the only non European country showing such loyalty to the contest. Dami Im is simply stunning and gives a great performance. Of course she will make it to the final.
Slovenia: Blue And Red sung by ManuElla
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: A little country from Slovenia now. The song is pleasant, Manuella is very good (even if her outfit isn’t that good), the staging is simple but effective, but the act lacks that little extra something to stand out. I’m afraid, Manuella’s performance may be forgotten. OK, there is an acrobat on stage and pyros, but what’s the point? I’m afraid that won’t help Slovenia reach the final, in my opinion.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: an acrobat, pyros and a song about red and blue, positive and negative things in life. All that in a typical country tune which reminds nothing of European (not to mention Slovenian) music. Anyway ManuElla is confident in her while sexy dress and delivers perfectly the song. But I am not sure it can make it to the final especially appearing after Dami Im.
Bulgaria: If Love Was A Crime sung by Poli Genova
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Fans’ favourite Poli is performing now. Everybody seems to love the song, in the audience and in the press centre as well. It’s indeed a good up tempo song and poli is delivering “If Love Was A Crime Perfectly”. Nevertheless, I don’t like the staging and the weird choreography. What I like about this entry is that Poli is really enjoying herself on stage and can’t hide how happy she is. It will go to the final and will surely do a very good finish!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: The lena goes frantic with Poli Genova who gives once again a flawless performance. Definitely the best comeback in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with great gimmick, perfect stage presentation and excellent camera work. This is going to the final (and it’s my today’s personal wish)!
Denmark: Soldiers Of Love sung by Lighthouse X
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: You didn’t like Ireland? So you won’t like this one. Very similar indeed: unoriginal pop song you’ve heard many times before. I would call this one average and easy-listening, despite the good performance of the 3 Danish hunks. In the early 2000’s this could have done well but… Nevertheless, the audience seems to enjoy the song.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Simple song, rock pop tune by three cute Danish singers who averagely deliver the song just fine. I think there is missing some magic to make it powerful. I am not going to be surprised if this one goes to the final, especially after last year’s failure to proceed to the Grand Final. Soldiers of Love seem to be loved by the arena audience and it remains to be seen if the European viewers will be attracted by the charm of the three boys (who love anyway the charity concerts especially when it comes to children).
Ukraine: 1944 sung by Jamala
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Ukraine is back, and is back the big way. “1944” is very original and it’s hard to describe it. Mystical, ethnic, classy, sober and emotional… This one will be juror’s favourite and I can see it winning on Saturday night. The entry’s uniqueness is incredible, and believe me, Jamala can give you goose bumps if not tears. The staging is extremely simple but sooooo beautiful. Kyiv should get ready to host the show next year…
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Ukraine returns to Eurovision and follows the same strategy. Goes quietly up to the Eurovision week and then becomes a hot favourite. This is happening since 2004! The press centre and the arena go frantic and Jamala is giving an astonishing performance making everyone feel electric vibes in the arena and on TV.
Norway: Icebreaker sung by Agnete
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: A very Nordic entry now. A good pop song with a great chorus. The staging is simple but nice. Unfortunately, the performance isn’t perfect. The staging, in my opinion, is clearly inspired by “Frozen”, but why not, it’s quite beautiful and this should help Norway reaching the final.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Oh there she is! we finally got to see Agnete for the first time like YOU back home do! She has skipped all social activities due to mental issues. On stage though you cannot see that, she gives a stunning performance, although what you hear is two songs in the offer of one! Bit confusing and bit bipolar for my taste! Somehow I see a copycat version of Margaret Berger!
Georgia: Midnight Gold sung by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Underground rock is not that often played on Eurovision stage, and we’re not used to it. Even if this is not really my kind of music, “Midnight Gold” is a good track for those who like this type of sound. The staging is very dynamic and suits the song perfectly. I’m surprising myself now, starting to believe that this could qualify…
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: I always liked this song but I always thought it stood no chance for qualification. Somehow after hearing the 15 semi finalists tonight, this one stands out without been the best song of the night. It’s maybe due to the rock style of the song. The camera work and the extra graphics (black and white) are working. It feels like I am watching the MTV EMAs. No surprise if they qualify!
Albania: Fairytale sung by Eneda Tarifa
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: When she won Festivali I Kenges in December, the song was really good. But, some Albanian artists have decided to revamp it, and now it’s plain boring. Eneda’s great voice, great look and gorgeous dress won’t help. Albania will fail tonight I’m afraid. The staging is blank (gold, gold, gold), as blank as the song in fact. Sorry Albania.
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: When I listen to the song, I think it’s a sweet melodic tune with a great vocal performance. When I see it on stage, I see a dreadful pompous Dynasty style dress, lots of gold, which anyway they don’t have in Albania and desperation to make the Globen stage, another FiK national selection show stage. I don’t see Albania to the final (that’s my own opinion) but not because of the song and the vocals which are perfect but due to the overall style of the song’s presentation.
Belgium: What’s The Pressure sung by Laura Tesoro
OLIVIER ROCHER from FRANCE: Ιf you’ve fallen asleep during the Albanian act, Laura will wake you up. The Belgian entry is very groovy and perfectly performed. Belgian colours are displayed everywhere on stage and that’s as unique as pleasant, really. You cannot help but clap to the rhythm here, and the singer is so fresh that she puts a smile on your face in a second. Laura MUST reach the final!
FOTIS KONSTANTOPOULOS from GREECE: Definitely the definition of “last but not least”. Laura brings fresh air to the stage after Albania. Modern, vintage and Belgian entry makes you wanna dance your a** off! Excellent stage presentation, adequate vocal performance and a sweet baby face on stage, the complete recipe for this one to qualify!
Now the recap of the songs will come up, plus one minute video from last night’s live performances from Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. That’s all folks from this post, we will be back with the results.