Welcome to Germany, more specifically Düsseldorf for the first time in a really long time, a welcome one, and hopefully a well produced show. There are lots of songs to focus on, and of course we will have to get to it, but first noting that this year we have three hosts, all of whom are quite comedic in their own special German way. Danke für alles, or however you say it in Sprachen Deutsch!

Poland – Magdalena Tul
SF1.01.Poland - Magdalena Tul

Well what a way to start the first semi-final of this years competition. Having originally based my opinion on this songs completely musical competencies I had given it two out of a possible five stars. I regret this and I have to take a moment to talk about Poland and the recent years. Sure they send attractive individual that can, on occasion, sing reasonably well. But honestly I feel like each time Poland brings an entry, it will have women looking like prostitutes dancing around with a mediocre singer trying to focus our attention. I guess I juts have flash-backs from stripper looking women dancing in a cage from years ago. Not a good performance, not a good song, not much good about this one…

Norway – Stella Mwangi
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.02.Norway - Stella Mwangi

This song is catchy, entertaining, and something completely different from what I’m used to. It’s creative to try to be inclusive to Africa, because after all it’s been quite some time since Morocco participate, but I guess that didn’t really win anyone over. I find the song catchy, yet a bit too repetitive, but what really sticks out when remembering this song, was the fact that for the first minute or so, Stella really struggled to sing in tune. It’s really quite unfortunate, but it’s kind of strange to think that I thought it’d be popular.

Albania – Aurela Gaçe
SF1.03.Albania - Aurela Gaçe

I ranked this low, forgot why, and then realized it once it came onto stage. A really good singer, but a really horrible song. I see great graphics in the background, but the song come across very angry. And as such, it’s the first time in recent memory that Albania hasn’t qualified for the final. I don’t disagree with Europe in the least.

Armenia – Emmy
SF1.04.Armenia - Emmy

One of the two predicted songs that didn’t qualify. Quite sad because I really did like this song and find it very catchy, until it got performed. She’s a decent singer and was doing well in comparison to the first few entries, but I was struggling to see what the red thing she appeared in was. At first I thought, maybe it was an apricot, which I would have thought been cheesy, but I realised that she was trying to make a pun on “boom boom” like boxing. It didn’t fly; cause the only thing that did was but busy choreography by the cute dancers.

Turkey – Yüksek Sadakat
SF1.05.Turkey - Yüksek Sadakat

I’m really quite surprised that I was dead on this year about Turkey. I usually rank it low because I don’t get a lot of their songs. This one included but for some reason the Turkish disapora didn’t materialize and life this through to the final like usual. Was it not cultural enough? Was the fact that the lead singer was wearing jeans such a faux-pas (yes!)? Was the fact there was a woman in a cage another? I think they were all contributing factors, and I’m not impressed at all.

Serbia – Nina
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.06.Serbia - Nina

A fun loving, feel good favourite, funky gunky song which I’m so happy qualified. It was kind of received with mixed reviews with the Swedish pre-analysis but it was a good choice for me right from the beginning. A polished performance with a very powerful and fitting voice, funky colours that are so retro, and a simple performance makes this a great choice this year. It stands out in many ways. At least now I know what the 70s look like in Serbia-vision!

Russia – Alexej Vorobjov
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.07.Russia - Alexy Vorobyov

The opening to this song blows major chunky chunks but as the song progresses it gets better. It has a very strong chorus but the poor guy had the worst stylist ever, especially hair-wise. It was a disaster on legs. Boy-band songs by wannabe teeny-bopper boys who look older than the genre suggests makes this a little awkward to me on stage, especially with the clear struggles in English and obvious accent through the song. All in all he’s a decent singer, with a decent song, that just needs a better intro. It was good enough to win me over, but only half stars worth.

Switzerland – Anna Rossinelli
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.08.Switzerland - Anna Rossinelli

I really like how Swizerland has put some effort in this time. It’s tough to go year-in-year-out with good songs but taking the topped best singer in the competition and giving her a simple yet effective song really is a good recipe for success. The Swedish pre-analysis wasn’t favourable to this, but I saw potential and the song makes me feel good. I like how it’s simple 1 + 1 + 1 = 3 which is why I gave it three stars! Fantastic to see success for the Swiss, one of the founding members.

Georgia – Eldrine
=> Qualified
SF1.09.Georgia - Eldrine

Wow am I shocked. Shocked that Europe would find something appealing about this entry which I just found offensive. Nothing about this performance did it for me, and I even initially ranked it low thinking that maybe the performance would bring something but all I end up saying is “No No No!” It makes it even worse that I have to listen to it again in the final. This is just whack given what Georgia has brought in the past!

Finland – Paradise Oskar
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.10.Finland - Paradise Oskar

Most of Europe and well informed Eurovision fans from abroad have tipped Paradise Oskar, also known as Axel as sex on legs. He’s hot, and he’s pretty much a simple wet dream. Some high profile Finnish delegates have said that this is the best they can do, well I disagree, but it’s still pretty good. Simple, effective, and polished. It should be a top choice for Europe, but I’m not sure that will materialize in the final. Totally rocking’ this one!

Malta – Glen Vella
SF1.11.Malta - Glen Vella

I like it but I don’t. I want to like it more, but I don’t. In my initial rankings I had it on par with the other three star choices, but in the “non-qualifier” category and I was bang on. There was something that just didn’t add up for me. It might have been a little too over the top in general, but it seemed like it was a wannabe anthem but didn’t quite cut it. It feels old and reused and not fresh at all, and despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of music that comes from Malta, this one didn’t float my boat.

San Marino – Senit
SF1.12.San Marino - Senit

Have you ever been in a room where you thought that you were a huge elephant and nobody will mention it? Well that’s what I feel about this entry. It’s a decent throw in the mix, but it really lacks conviction and something special. I’m just not convinced by the performance and so it doesn’t convey to me a need or want to vote for them. Visually it was simple and clear as to what they wanted to express, vocally it was decent but lacked gusto, but it still didn’t have the tangible aspects that I associate with a Eurovision winner. By no means horrible, though!

Croatia – Daria Kinzer
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.13.Croatia - Daria

Another one of the songs that I liked but didn’t qualify, which this semi-final was quite rare, but never-the-less the performance was a bit different from what I was expecting from the studio version. The performance nearly clean, with clear issues with backing and the bridge that was borderline disastrous with nobody being able to sing in key; but the chorus is what keeps this one afloat for me. I like the disco-anthem feel and it makes me want to dance. Who doesn’t like a costume change, but honestly I thought there would be a third at some point and we’d be displayed with a skankalisicous outfit, but it didn’t happen. How anti-climactic! And what was the deal with the fugly DJ/dancer?!

Iceland – Sjonni’s Friends
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.14.Iceland - Sjonni's Friends

Iceland is so charming and I never really know how to effectively convey my affection, but this is a great song. It makes me want to just tap my toes and bop along with it. As much as I’m trying to restrain myself, I have to say it: I hate fatties. It just really is unattractive for me, and doesn’t add at all to the entertainment factor. With that out of the way, I thought it would be tragic for this number to not make it, but thankfully Europe saw the light and brought this attractive man-group into the final. What can set them apart from the rest though? Maybe that tuba decline before the chorus?!

Hungary – Kati Wolf
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.15.Hungary - Kati Wolf

There was a lot of talk and speculation about this number and for good reason. It’s daring, it’s bold, and it’s a potential winner. There was a lot of talk during the tweeting masses saying that she can’t sing, but really you people are crazy. She’s not perfect, but the first 30 seconds were bang on, but once she got doing the more difficult articulations and explorations, it got a little sketchy. What I have to say is those backup singers really know how to give gusto with their snaps. This song thankfully got through because Hungary really sent a contender this year, but I see it crashing in the final sadly.

Portugal – Homens da Luta
SF1.16.Portugal - Homens da Luta

We have reached the “go home” song of the year. What are you doing Portugal: are you on crack? Judging by your entry you clearly are. Political slander or insinuations aren’t welcome in Eurovision for the most part unless it’s talking about freedom or overcoming obstacles. This is wrong through and through, but still manages to share some cultural flavour in the music. Having said that, I’d hope that the delegation is on it’s way back to the boot of Iberia.

Lithuania – Evelina Sašenko
=> Qualifier
SF1.17.Lithuania - Evelina Sasenko

I didn’t call this one and I can’t remember why but it’s just not my cup of tea. I like a good ballad but this isn’t one. It’s cheesy through and through and is far too much like last year’s entry that it doesn’t do it for me. Sure Evelina can sing well but it doesn’t sell anything to more than 50 cents. Surprise with Lithuania’s qualification.. something odd is afoot!

Azerbaijan – Eldar & Nigar
=> Qualifier
❗ Personal Favourite
SF1.18.Azerbaijan - Ell and Nikki

A lot of talk about Azerbaijan is afoot! Dark horse for sure for this competition. This screams Sweden with a slight Azerbaijani flavour. Written by Swedes, choreographed by Swedes, Swedish backing singers, Swedish backing dancers. The only thing Azerbaijani about this, is the two singers. They are adorable, frankly put (and I tip it to be the most attractive man of the competition), and despite there being fears of the chemistry being awkward between them due to age, I think 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4 stars might get a bonus point and move up to a perfect 5 for 5. If the recipe works out, this could be our winner.

Greece – Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike
=> Qualifier
SF1.19.Greece - Loukas Giorkas feat. Stereo Mike

This was so lowly ranked on my initial list that I didn’t even remember how it went, and then once the rapping started I was reminded. Rap has no place in Eurovision, period. Having said that, the other singer was fantastic and conveyed his hotness effectively which clearly won the hearts and hard ons of many, adding an ethnic flavour, but still didn’t convince me. I wasn’t a fan of the whole package, and yet I’ll have to listen to this song again. Drats.

The evening was long but by-and-far there were only a few shockers. Norway for one, and my personal choice of Croatia. Georgia for some reason must have gotten pity votes from Lord knows who, but also