Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Semi 1: Tobson top ten
Perhaps it's just a growing realisation of how unpredictable life is and how little I really know.
Perhaps - and more likely - the standard of songs has become more streamlined and you can't really know out of five standard ballads which one the audience will warm to. It feels totally arbitrary.
I am reviewing the ESC also for the terrific EILE Magazine and when I sent them my prediction for the first semi final, I couldn't believe what I had written. It was pretty much what I thought and still it just looked so... wrong.
I'd still like to blame this more on too many entries lacking an edge or attitude or a genuine will to win, which makes it arbitrary to guess which one will be lucky enough in ninth place and who will cry in twelfth.
But here goes, my ten qualifiers tonight are (in almost random order):
Everybody loves a classy superstar that belts out a big ballad. Everybody loves peace. The Russians love their children too. This one can't lose.
Simply too good not to make it. Fresh, different, intriguing. And Loïc is arguably the most interesting performer in this entire line-up.
Because quality works. A solid, tuneful and moody offering that feels real and trustworthy.
Romania always makes it to the final and this happens to be their best song in many years. Will also stand out for using mainly their own language in a sea of Bad English.
Being the last one on stage is really going to help this one make it. The aggressive tone also sets it apart from the sweeter female solo entries on offer.
I still have a hard time judging this one properly, but it will stand out of the crowd like a naked guest at a Nobel Prize reception. Like it or dislike it, but at least you'll remember this one once the phone lines open.
Despite the lazy songwriting, I hope Trijntje will make it to the final at least on the merit of being commercial and radio-friendly. And to keep the Dutch happy and make a tiny bit more of an effort next year.
People judge not only what they hear but very much what they see. This explosion of ESC kitsch is probably right at the border of relegation tonight but will amuse just enough people to sneak into the final.
I feel it in my bones that Boggie will manage to convince quite a few members of the audience on charisma and presence alone. This one also stands out by being slightly out of place and fashion and anything that sets you apart in this semi might work to your advantage.
Being the opener could really wreck it for this one, going for shock value and provocation, which would have worked much better later in the running, when people would have had a bunch of more well-behaved entrants to compare to.
So that would mean Greece, Armenia, FYR Macedonia, Belarus, Denmark and Albania are out. It makes more sense when I see it now, in all fairness.
I think Denmark and the Netherlands are fairly interchangeable, not all hope is lost for Denmark, but I'd prefer the greater radio hit potential of the Dutch entry.
Armenia could make it in case the points are all over the place and a low average is enough to make it into tenth place. So could Greece or Albania, but both feel like too much technique and too little emotion. Either one could easily snatch Hungary's place, though. Belarus and Moldova fight for the same points, somehow. I think Belarus makes too little of what they have, while the Moldovan bad taste overload will at least leave an impression.
I feel absolutely certain about four out of my ten qualifiers. That is the lowest possible amount of correct guesses you can have. I hope I will do a bit better than that.
It's just a lot easier to predict when you really enjoy songs, find them strong and convincing and want them to do well. This semi is full of competent but slightly indifferent entries and the guess is rather who will underwhelm more than the others.
But I am looking forward to a very good show tonight either way. Bring it on, Austria.