After a few days to rest up and blog down my work’s network with watching live streams of Eurovision (I shit you not, ma’am), the second semi final of this year’s competition was hot hot hot and here’s what I thought!

Serbia – Željko Joksimović
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.01.Serbia - Željko Joksimovi?

Welcome back to Željko who’s been in the competition before and hosted the show and did quite a successful job. Again coming to the competition with a power Balkan ballad, and with a stunning voice and an extremely simple performance he wraps us in his voice. Oddly sounding similar to United Kingdom’s song at the beginning the stunning Balkan sounds allow us to get easily lost in the song. By no means the best ballad in the competition, but he certainly gets major bonus points for singing in Serbian and not conforming to the pathetically desperate English wave of popularity. My only further comment is, where did the guy with the clarinet go?

F.Y.R. Macedonia – Kaliopi
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.02.F.Y.R. Macedonia - Kaliopi

Macedonia and I have a torrid relationship, years going sometimes well, sometimes horribly. This year is one of those in the middle years where I’m not really sure what to think. Simple ballad turning rock about black and white which really brings you back at the onset to the 70s and 80s of ballad songs, but suddenly we are thrown into modern times with a song that fits better with her voice and timbre. Eventually turning into an anthem type song rocking’ in, oddly it became one of my favourites despite not particularly liking Macedonia the monstername nation.

Netherlands – Joan Franka
SF2.03.Netherlands - Joan Franka

Why do you keep doing this to yourself, Netherlands. Every time we think that you’re going to return to the glory days with some good times you send an odd looking woman named Joan wearing an Amerindian headdress. I really don’t understand what you were thinking about in this one. Honestly it feels like she’s trying to take a number out of Germany from the past few years and the odd accent in English, and working with a country campfire band rocking along. It’s no surprise that nobody bought into it, and if the lowlands keep going along as they have been they won’t be seeing the Final anytime soon!

Malta – Kurt Calleja
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.04.Malta - Kurt Calleja

What’s with Malta and struggling to write their own songs? I like the song, and I think that Kurt really brought the bad boy look with his band, but really is having a DJ necessary? It just reminds of a few years ago where there were all these odd DJs on stage for no reason. It’s a decently feeling feel good pop-rock song that gets you tapping your toes but really to me it gets lost in the larger scheme of things going on. Skinny jeans don’t always look good on guys; just saying.

Belarus – Litesound
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.05.Belarus - Litesound

This one is a tough one to call, because Belarus is really difficult to judge. Jaded by most of Europe and thought of an outsider I’m sure that there is some sort of political voting (or rather lack of voting), but this song caught me by surprise. I would have thought of something more political and feeing “I’m from a freedom land, Belarus” but this is really just a rock song by a rock group with terrible Belarussian accents in English. I’m a believer that if this song was performed by another more positively viewed countries it might have qualified and then flopped in the final; it’s just a hunch but I think I’m dead on.

Portugal – Filipa Sousa
SF2.06.Portugal - Filipa Sousa

Seriously Portugal. Back to the drawing board. For me this was a snoozefest and doesn’t deserve any more of my thought. Better luck next time, again and again.

Ukraine – Gaitana
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.07.Ukraine - Gaitana

Hey Gaitana, Tina Turner called and wants her voice back; Shakira called and wants her music back, and Monaco from the Coco-Dance called and wants her outfit back. Seriously though, this song is a good demonstration of fantastic vocals by a singer, but not really much else in a song. It’s not ethnic, it’s not interesting, it’s just club music that’s glorified on the Eurovision stage. I’m still allowed to like it though!

Bulgaria – Sofi Marinova
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.08.Bulgaria - Sofi Marinova

What can I say about this one? It’s funky, it’s pretty, it’s white and it’s purple! What a great voice, and I gotta say she’s got guts standing out there singing a club song all by herself with no dancers. But really it’s true and it’s effective this way as it doesn’t add fluff. Close your eyes and year vocals from what sounds like another world, and to me has a whole feeling and look of Bulgaria, but that’s why it’s appealing to me.

Slovenia – Eva Boto
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.09.Solvenia - Eva Boto

What happens when you mix Slovenia, Slovene language, a sixteen year old and a bunch of squawking Europeans. You get a great song that’s very underrated and doesn’t qualify. Power to the people, to the language, and the voice. I just don’t think it had anything to pull televoters in effectively like say a Serbian feeling which is much more ethnic and illicit more emotions. I think that this is totally underrated though.

Croatia – Nina Badrić
SF2.10.Croatia - Nina Badric

I would say that it’s not over until the fat lady sings, but this Croatian woman isn’t fat at all (and she’s not wearing a red dress). She’s just wearing a black and white odd dress with a bunch of manlined men dancing around her in dresses, or at least what look like dresses. This performance was pretty to watch and was effective enough vocally, but really didn’t pull me in or give me goosebumps like sometimes Croatia can do. Maybe something a little more upbeat and colourful next year? Maybe just for me?

Sweden – Loreen
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.11.Sweden - Loreen

There is a lot of buzz about Loreen and this competition. Namely that she’s tipped to win, but that’s what they said about Hungary last year. I saw why that didn’t happen, but Loreen has the whole package. Good voice, good song, good performance, and the support of what seems like the majority of Europe. What surprises me the most is that she didn’t change her performance at all from the Swedish competition, and as such it kind of seems a little “old” to me. What’s up with that, Swedish Delegation? Lets get a little more excitement buzzing around the awesome and deserving to win Loreen!

Georgia – Anri Jokhadze
SF2.12.Georgia - Anri Jokhadze

I shake my head at this fiasco of an entry. Seriously Georgia, you couldn’t come up with something better with your first male singer for your country? The skantily clad women aren’t doing anything for me, and your performance isn’t really that good to be honest. It looks like a bunch of fire and crack cocaine with a really gay singer. There I said it; by the way is it okay to be gay in Georgia? Go home, cause this doesn’t deserve to be on stage!

Turkey – Can Bonomo
=> Qualified
SF2.13.Turkey - Con Bonomo

The day that Turkey doesn’t qualify is the day that all the Turks are expelled from all European countries. I don’t think it won’t ever fail to qualify, even with an awkward Eastern song like Love Me Back, with an annoying voice. This song better crash and burn or I’m not going to be happy at all!

Estonia – Ott Lepland
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.14.Estonia - Ott Lepland

Holy shit; this song hit me like a big fat yellow bus that I never expected to come from just about every direction. This is by and far the absolutely best ballad in the year, and it’s in Estonian and it’s sung by a fox of a man. Totally hot, and totally sold it with interest and pounded it with a massive and super-fantastic exclamation point. Everything about this song just oozes desire for me to vote for it. It’s so simple, and so powerful that it brings the hairs on my arm to stand straight up. All we have to do is listen, and we hear the gold ringing from this song. Not only did my hair stand on end, but it sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. It’s everything that I could ever desire in a power-ballad with a man singing. If Sweden doesn’t win, then clearly Estonia should cause they brought the goods this year!

Slovakia – Max Jason Mai
SF2.15.Slovakia - Max Jason Mai

I don’t like rock, I never really did like rock, and I likely never will like rock. Sorry Slovakia, a much as I know you like it, I really don’t and for that reason I will respectfully decline to comment further because I do like you as a country!

Norway – Tooji
=> Qualified
❗ Personal Favourite
SF2.16.Norway - Tooji

I kind of laughed when I got into this song. It’s really really fun, and it’s really really, superfabulously gay. I’m not sure why, and I’m not sure how, but I think it just might be the gayest song of the year, and maybe it’s just as well because Tooji is pretty hot. It’s fun, it’s hip, it’s cool, it makes you smile and dance like a slut, so no complaints from me, but maybe in the final we will see some skin?! Likely not, but no harm in trying!

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Maya Sar
=> Qualified
SF2.17.Bosnia & Herzegovina - Maya Sar

There are sooo many ballads this year I keep mixing them all up when I think about them and hear them. Well as usual Bosnia comes to play with real music, with a good singer and a good song. It’s no wonder they qualify with a song like this, but with better songs and better ballads I don’t think this will do very successfully in the final unless everyone bands together and votes for them.

Lithuania – Donny Montell
=> Qualified
SF2.18.Lithuania - Donny Montell

When a man stands on a stage with a blindfold on singing it kind of raises questions about what’s going on. And then he rips it off and starts dancing and singing in a 1970s disco beat mixed with a creative vocals, I sort of get more confused. Points for the voice, and for the acrobatics, but not for the song which kind of leaves me puzzled. Surprising that Lithuania keeps qualifying but oh well.

Well now that we have our finalists and a super Saturday to come, it’s clear to me about a few things: it reminds me of the mid 90s where the ballad was the key to success and lulled you into a false sense of security. Luckily for that fact, we have enough dance music and exciting things to look forward to on Saturday. I will say that I’m super excited to see United Kingdom and a legend that even my grandmother knows!