Eurovision Song Contest 2008: Semifinal N°1: Belgrade

This year’s Eurovision Semi-Final(s) appears to be heating up to be a really fierce competition. I’ve listened to all the songs, followed the Swedish selection (Inför ESC), and formed my own opinions and now for the great evening.

In all fairness, being in Canada and working during the days means that I have to watch a taping of it, which sucks, but also because my ISP is so horrible I’m 5 days behind it’s tragic. On to the show..!

Montenegro – Stefan Filipović
Montenegro
I gotta say that I’m not terribly fond of this song, mostly because it’s the first one out of the block and there isn’t anything that makes it stand out from the others. On stage it didn’t look very comfortable, nor did the song really fit. Maybe it was because it was in Montenegrin, but it didn’t have any flare that makes me like songs.

Israel – Boaz
=> Qualifier
Israel
As usual, I’m not fond of Israel, even when they have decent songs. I don’t understand why they keep sending the same sort of stuff and they don’t mix it up. This one in particular was written by Dana International which gives it some star power, but the guy’s voice and the way he holds himself up just sort of scares me. Although Europe liked it, it’s a go home song for me, as Israel usually is.

Estonia – Kreisiraadio
❗ Personal Favourite
Estonia
This is a country that never ceases to amaze and amuse me to it’s ends. The songs are always “different” and have something special about this one. This song is something that comes straight off the special bus. Although I find it heinously unattractive and insulting on stage, with creepy voices and basically nude dancers, I really like the song as it’s catchy. If I am walking around saying Leto Svet, then we know we’ve got a good song on our hands. 😉

Moldova – Geta Burlacu
❗ Personal Favourite
Moldova
It turns out that this song and performance is actually good. I didn’t expect it to be, but it’s cute in a special Moldavian way. The teddy bear and the cuteness of everything is so special to me, I just can’t help but give it a gold star.

San Marino – Miodio
San Marino
There is a huge Italian presence this year, and with San Marino being the closest possible entry that is Italian without being Italian, it works. I’m not very fond of the singer, but the song is decent. The whole time I kept thinking that he looked a little constipated and struggled with the stylist. In any case, no surprises here that it didn’t do well.

Belgium – Ishtar
❗ Personal Favourite
Belgium
What a lovely little song in gibberish, which seems to be a Belgian specialty. The song is nice and catchy, however am I the only one that notices that the instruments on stage don’t actually match what is on the track? The chubby woman is holding a clarinet, and it’s an oboe on the track. I hope that someone noticed this. Large poke-a-dot dresses are now in, it’s official, and there is nothing sexier than a cellist.

Azerbaijan – Elnur and Samir
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
Azerbaijan
This song is so hawt. Maybe it’s because there is an angelic vampire on stage who is actually a dentist, hairstylist, and contra-tenor voice. It’s hawt as fuck, that’s all I can say. If anyone actually noticed Elnur’s eyes, they would know what I’m talking about. The wine pouring is a bitch much, but it’s a greatly entertaining show on stage with some good vocal stuff going on all at the same time. I love this first entry!

Slovenia – Rebeka Dremelj
❗ Personal Favourite
Slovenia
What a wonderfully fun song! I thought it would flop and not be good on stage, but really I was really entertaining. I think that the chains were a bit much, but the song had a lot of “umphf” that it needs to do well. I was super impressed with it’s shock factor and what it had to bring to the competition. I mean, neon lights.. Common!!

Norway – Maria
=> Qualifier
Norway
I hesitate to make this a personal favourite, because it’s borderline. I think that it’s a lot of good in it, and it’s totally worthy of going to the final and doing well, however there is something about it that bothers me. Maybe it’s the Norwegian delegation telling her to cancel everything and be ready for the final, that bothers me so much. it’s a song with everything, though I will admit. Even the cheesy backup dancers doing “oooh” all the time!

Poland – Isis Gee
=> Qualifier
Poland
Well at least Poland didn’t bring a whore this year; just an American who looks like she has the fakest tan ever. She’s dripping sweat, wailing out a ballad, in a beautiful dress and pretending that she’s actually Polish; which she clearly isn’t. It’s a good song, however I don’t think that it was good choice for Europe at all; and that’s what bothers me, as it took the space of another song that could have had a birth in the Final.

Ireland – Dustin the Turkey
❗ Personal Favourite
Ireland
This is so tragic but I actually like this song; it’s just catchy and funny. So superflu as the French would say. There are large feathers, and a stuffed Turkey, and lots of dancing around and making fun of other people. I think that it’s fabulosity level is so high that it hurts. I’m not surprised that the Irish picked it though; as it’s clearly a backlash from sucking so badly last year. Instead of backlash, may I say, one should just form a better song…

Andorra – Gisela
❗ Personal Favourite
Andorra
Catalán schlagger twenty years too late makes me so happy. It should have been something from the 80’s, but Gisela rocks it out with massive hair. Why is it so large, I don’t know but it’s awesome. The vocals are a bit sketchy, but the song is just fun fun fun. Why would anyone vote for Andorra anyways? I mean there was a huge controversy this year about the song being in English and not Catalan, but oh well, even with a stir they can’t muster enough voices. So sad.

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Laka
==> Qualifier
Bosnia & Herzegovina
A lot of people have tipped this as a favourite, but I find it kind of annoying. I can see why it made it further, but the lead singer’s voice just makes me cringe it is so whiny. The song is fun and different, but he’s so awkward looking and odd singing voice. I’m not with the masses, here. I am not a big fan.

Armenia – Sirusho
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
Armenia
Oh my goodness this is so fabulous. I love it so much, I don’t even know why. I think that it just makes me get up an dance, with Eastern flavour, and it makes it all just better than it really is. The little noises in the mixed background make me happy; however her hair is just a little too much for her to handle, and the song would have been better if she had smaller hair. But the song is just fabulous, and I’m so glad that it will place top 10 for sure!

Netherlands – Hind
Netherlands
I’m not surprised that this didn’t go through at all. It’s a decent song, but it lacks so much. Each year Holland tries to do better and better and they just end up doing worse and worse; maybe if they took things less seriously that might result in something good? The nation has a huge history and tons of experience, but when Hilversum calls, I don’t think things aren’t workin’ so well for them.

Finland – Teräsbetoni
==> Qualifier
Finland
Wow, Finland actually qualified? Why is this? It’s because it’s hard-rock, and all the boyfriends of the girls that force them to watch the show with them vote for the only song they can relate to… plain and simple. This song has nothing else to offer, and is only a poor reflection of hard rock music that Finland offers and loves. When will they have the goths on stage, I can only wait!?

Romania – Nico and Vlad
=> Qualifier
Romania
Now if I’m not mistaken, I don’t really remember this song much at all. I can’t remember anything special about it, nor really what was going on, which means that it wasn’t the most exciting thing on the stage but it works, I suppose. I think it was in a foreign language, but I could be mistaken, at least I think…

Russia – Dima Bilan
=> Qualifier
Russia
Him again? This is a straight-up go home song, again. His English singing is horrendous, and there is a pad of ice on the stage with Yvgeni Plushenko (or whatever his name is) skating around. Can we say try-hard? They are probably fucking each other backstage, and just want to throw the competition by appeasing to all the homos that watch figure skating and Eurovision. Ugh; I hope this song crashes and burns.

Greece – Kalomira
=> Qualifier
Greece
Nothing exciting here, just a nice beat. Not really anything else apart from that, which bothers me greatly. Why does it go through? Why does Greece do so well? Why do we have to deal with secret combinations? I just don’t understand.


All-in-all it’s been a decent semifinal, however there were a few upsets, but most of the deserving songs went through, so it’s at least fair. I can’t help but wonder if Poland will be in the final by the grace of the back-up juries…

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