Eurovision Song Contest 2012 Semi-Final Two Review: Turkish Ships and Dutch Red Indians

by Matt D

On Tuesday night we had the first Eurovision semi-final which ended with Jedward’s performance in which they completely soaked themselves in a fountain, however tonight I felt they were one-upped by the Swedish entry Loreen who was almost blown over by wind machines before being pelted with a torrent of fake snow. I feel with the rain and the snow already sorted this could be the precipitation themed Eurovision and somebody could come out on Saturday night to throw a bucket full of hailstones over Englbert Humperdink, sorry #TheHump, to liven up his performance slightly. The fake snow was a highlight of a very bland second semi-final which couldn’t live up to the madness of Tuesday night as there was no baking, no donkeys and no laptops however there were four Turkish men pretending to be a ship but more on that later.

The opening act, Željko Joksimović from Serbia, started off a trend for slightly dull orchestral ballads with his song which when it started sounded like a Coldplay track but I wasn’t sure if it was Paradise or Violet Hill. The only thing that Željko had going for him was the fact he looked a bit like Gino D’acampo who I’m told the ladies love but while I wasn’t much for him his musicians were very talented.

Macedonia also seemed to be bringing us a standard ballad however half-way through her number Kaliopi, who bore a striking resemblance to Nancy Dell’ollio, started rocking out as her Olly Murs look-a-like drummer kicked the beat in as she recited the saucy lyric, ‘I’m naked, wild and free now it’s time to step into me.’ Since the semi-finals were introduced the poor old Netherlands have never qualified but I thought they at least had a chance to do so tonight with Joan Franka who was dressed as a Red Indian in order to fully illustrate her song which was about her first love who she used to play cowboys and Indians with despite the fact the men on stage obviously didn’t want to arse about in wild west uniforms. I liked Joan though and her song was very sweet in fact it had a little bit of Kimya Dawson to it and I found it a very personal song almost too much so for the carnival that is Eurovision.

Talking of a carnival atmosphere next up we had Malta’s entry Kurt Calleja who had everything from the leather-clad backing singer to the fake DJ while he himself must be the only man in history to co-ordinate his one Michael Jackson glove and pocket handkerchief in the same colour – it was bright yellow for those who wanted to know. Though I was initially a bit bored of his song it eventually drew me in with its hypnotic retro beats and I think I was slightly entranced with Kurt’s yellow ensemble. More yellow this time on the video screens of the Belarusian act Lightsound whose song We are the Heroes included the line ‘we are the winners’ a sure-fire way to ingratiate yourself with the voting countries and find yourself a place in the final. Portugal went a little bit more traditional with their offering Vida Minha performed by the very elegant Filipa Sousa who was flanked by backing signers who seemed to be draped in bin-liners as they assembled in a specific formation.

If you ever wondered what happened to Samantha Mumba then look no further than Ukraine where she now goes by Gaitana and is the official friend of Euro 2012 as well as representing her home nation at this year’s Eurovision. In fact Gaitana sounded more like Heather Small as she belted out her hit Be My Guest extending each note on the chorus for as long as humanly possible I have to say that I quite liked this one as it made me quite nostalgic for the dance tunes of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The most entertaining thing about the Bulgarian entry Sofi Marinova was when my subtitles informed me that she was ‘singing in different languages’ though whatever tongue she sang in her tune was still bland. Slovenia had similar issues with their slow song however they did have fascinating backing singers who were all dressed in bride gowns as if they’d escaped from their respective nuptials to be serenaded by the beautiful Eva Boto. Croatia too fielded a ballad sung by a feisty female however Nina did have one trick up her sleeve namely her male dancers who seemed to be decked out in Greek clothing but were almost topless and then started accompanying her on trumpets, this was all fairly strange.

Though it wasn’t as strange as the aforementioned snowing incident which was up next however what I didn’t divulge was that once she’d stopped being snowed on Loreen had to then fight dance with a man much larger than herself while still singing her catchy dance track Euphoria. Anri Jokhadze made history as the first man to represent Georgia at Eurovision, it is a girl’s name after all, though women were represented during his performance of ‘I’m a Joker’ as his backing group were all done out in cut-price burlesque outfits in addition he also had the lyric of the night when he crooned, ‘I’m a womaniser let me be your supervisor.’ The Turkish entry Can Bonomo took his nautical theme seriously even though it was only based around one line his song Love Unlimited when he warbled, ‘never ever sink my ship and sail away.’ Can himself was done up like a captain while the men around him looked like they should be in the Merchant Navy however they then started waving capes about before the big finale allowed them to all get into the shape of a boat which proved to be one of the best visual motifs of the night. It certainly had a lot more going for it than Estonian Ott Lepland who seemed like a nice enough chap as he earnestly belted out his ballad but personally I didn’t care for it one iota.

Thankfully Slovakian entry Max Jason Mai livened things up with an awesome hair metal stadium rock number which generally back-ups the notes in which we are told that he is influenced by both 30 Seconds to Mars and Whitesnake. Of the two nights I think this is the performance that I have most enjoyed in a genuine way rather than in the sarcastic manner that I loved San Marino on Tuesday. The Norway entry was extremely catchy with lots of na, na nas in the chorus it built up to a very elaborate dance routine which was far and wide the best part of this performance as I’ve already forgotten how the song goes. This year’s Bosnian entry Maya Sar got her ticket to the big time after playing piano for last year’s entry again she sat her piano however she got to sing this year as well as be bathed in purple and wear shoulder-pads. The final act of the night, Lithuanian Donny Montell, couldn’t hope to better Jedward’s Tuesday night performance but he did go all literal on us for ‘Love is Blind’ coming out sporting a jewel-encrusted blindfold before pulling it back to nail some awesome dance routines while the video screens behind him played footage of women dancing.

One of my highlights of tonight’s semi-final had to be the interval act in which the past five winners of Eurovision all performed their individual entries before joining together on a performance of Waterloo. This just got me thinking if the UK had won the last five contests not only would we be severely in debt but our group of victors would include Scooch, X-Factor runner-up Andy Abrams, one of the Sugababes and that lad Josh who I’m sure is now signing on at his local Job Centre Plus. Anyway after lots of faffing around the last ten acts to make Saturday’s final were announce they were – Lithuania, Bosnia, Serbia, Ukraine, Sweden, Macedonia, Norway, Estonia, Malta and Turkey. I sometimes wonder why I watch these semi-finals and then I realise it’s because some of the best performances are on show here with the countries that deliver them not making it through due to political allegiances. There are so many boring ballads from the Balkans this year that I will struggle to differentiate between them so I wonder why there was no room for lovely Dutch Red Indian Joan or Slovakian rocker Max it’s a shame they don’t make it any further but at least I got to see them. So now we’ve got the water, we’ve got the snow and we’ve got the grannies so next stop is Saturday night with #TheHump now added to the contest I wonder who’ll get the win?

Did you enjoy tonight’s semi-final? Who are your tips to win? Leave Your Comments Below.

1 Comment

  1. Robert on May 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm


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