Four songs are all that remain from the second semi, and they are a varied bunch indeed.
Anastasiya Vinnikova - I Love Belarus (Belarus 2011)
For Portugal, I wrote something similar to this: For a cat exhibition, you enter a cat. For a baking competition, you enter a cake. For a song contest, you enter a song. Belarusian television must have got it all wrong, as they think this is the Eurovision Propaganda Contest.
I am trying really hard not to get political in these reviews, but with this song there is no way around it since the entry in itself has absolutely nothing to do with music. This is a statement from a regime that rigs elections, throws opposition in prison and states that democracy makes people ill.
This entry has many fans online, celebrating its kitsch and camp value. I can hardly even judge it as a song, outside the political context. All I know is that the EBU rule stating that no entry may bring the ESC into disrepute is worth nothing since this one got the green light.
And for the record - I really like Belarus. I think their people would deserve better than this.
No. I really hope not. (And I don't really think so either, in all honesty.)
My grade: 0/5
Musiqq - Angel In Disguise (Latvia 2011)
Latvia has a very interesting music scene and has an impressive eurovision record with three placings in the top five since their debut in Stockholm 2000. The last few years have been more inconsistent and two rather original entries have been left last in their respective semi finals.
This year's entry is less original. A lot less original. And unfortunately not very good either. Another one of those entries that keep going and going, where nothing happens, where three minutes feel very long.
No. It would be about time that Latvia entered a real contender again. I miss them in the final.
My grade: 1/5
A Friend In London - New Tomorrow (Denmark 2011)
My first reaction to this was that it's a shame that when Lise Cabble (one of my favourite Danish songwriters and one of the women behind Denmark's wonderful entry back in 1995) finally scores a victory, it is with a relatively weak song.
A few listenings later, I realise that it's not as weak as I thought at first, it just doesn't measure up to her former production. But Europe won't know that. And the lead singer of A Friend In London makes up for it really well, him being the real asset in this package.
Pleasant and airy, and the last chorus is really effective.
Yes, and with a bit of luck Denmark will find themselves in the top ten again.
My grade: 3/5
Jedward - Lipstick (Ireland 2011)
I don't know where to start, really. The 2011 Irish entry is like a hysterical disaster movie on wheels that will roll through the Eurovision Song Contest and create hysteria and disorder wherever it shows up. And I mean this in a very positive sense.
Jedward are the X-Factor offspring that are loved by their fans, ridiculed by media and generally seen as a passing phenomenon that will be forgotten sometime really soon. This has all ingredients of a real drama in other words - will it be the revenge of the underdogs or the last dance of the has-beens?
I'm all for them. I think their song is one of the best of the year, full of hooks and modern sounds, and the twins themselves are totally loveable in their own little right. Also, for Ireland this song constitutes a smaller revolution, being the first really modern entry they send in. Ever.
Yes! Unless it all goes horribly wrong and falls apart on stage. But that would really be a shame.
My grade: 4/5