An unnecessarily comprehensive guide to Eurovision Semi-finale 1

Want to impress all your friends by sounding like you know things about Eurovision but can’t be bothered spending an entire day watching YouTube and reading Wikipedia? Because, honestly who has time for that? Luckily for you, the answer is me. I do. And I just did. You’re welcome.
This contains no spoilers for the actual performances or for who got through. 


Finland


About: Her great grandmother was born on a boat. She considers herself to be her great-grandmother“successor”? I don’t really know what this means but this song is not boat related and that is disappointing.
Song: It’s pretty forgettable to be honest. It’s trying to sit somewhere between ballad and upbeat pop but fails to really hit either. It’s solidly middle ground stuff.
Performance: In the video she wears this shirt with insane giant fire-hazard fringes off the sleeves. So maybe everyone will be Cousin It style draped in suede fringing. We can only hope.

Greece


About: I’m not saying that rapping in Greek couldn’t win you Eurovison, I’m just saying that it won’t. Pretty sure the Greek economy is still rooted (I tried to understand the Wikipedia page on the Greek economy to verify this but it was confusing) so it’s likely they don’t actually want to win and therefore incur the costs of hosting (this is true of a lot of minor nations too).
Song: This song is in THREE languages – English, Greek and a dialect of Greek spoken in Northern Greece called Pontic Greek. So much Greek! It’s nothing if not patriotic.
Performance: Giant drums. I am hoping for ridiculous giant drums.

Moldova


About: Lidia used to be a member of a duo called “Glam Girls” who auditioned to represent Molvda three times. Despite the fact that they looked like this, those three times were not in the late 70s.         
Song: I quite like it? It is not good but what is Eurovision for if not objectively terrible pop songs.
Performance:The song is alright but she has no charisma. In the music video she looks like she is self-consciously trying to work out what to with her hands the entire time. Does not bode well.

Hungary


About: My favourite part of Freddie’s Wiki page is this bit: “By 2010, he had not only sung but also played guitar in small bands.” IMPRESSIVE. Also his grandfather was a Hungarian football coach.
Song: Every year someone enters a song that’s basically a rip off of last year’s winner. This is that. Also I don’t know if it’s just the whistling men but this sounds like Coldplay.
Performance: Dudes whistling. Probably an under utilised giant drum. Blah blah blah, I’m bored with this.  

Croatia

About: Nina has voiced the main character in the Croatia dubbing of both an animated Disney show and a “Russian-French-American-Emirati-Iranian 3D computer-animated adventure fantasy comedy family film”. Try rattling that off to impress your friends.
Song: I will like anything 70% more if it has boats in it. So possibly the nautical imagery is clouding my judgement but this is probs my favourite.
Performance: No idea but the video clip is so great and weird and cool.

The Netherlands

About: So his dad was part of a Dutch design collective called The Fool who worked for people like The Beatles and Eric Clapton. I’ll be honest, I fell into a Wikipedia hole researching his dad and did not find any facts about him. He probably gets that a lot.
Song: Unsure why the Netherlands have decided it is their responsibility to make sure Eurovision has a token folk/country entry every year?
Performance: Hopefully he will wear something designed by his dad.

Armenia


About: In 2012, an Armenian fashion magazine called El Style named her The Sexist Armenian. So there’s that?
Song: It is a solid power ballad. Going off the video clip, I can only assume it’s about how much she doesn’t like her boyfriend’s top knot?
Performance: Her dress will be good. I think she will have a good dress.

San Marino
About: During the 90s, Serhat was an extremely popular game shot host. He hosted the Turkish version of Jeopardy (called Riziko!) and also a game show based on Connect Four somehow? He won awards for doing this.
Song: Oh San Marino. What would we do if you weren’t so consistently, entertainingly awful.
Performance: What’s even the point of having a maximum number of people on stage if solo artists don’t max it out with back up dancers?

Russia


About: So sergey has a lot of proper achievements and success but also he once came second on Russian Dancing with the Stars and won some American thing called Circus of the Stars where celebrities do circus tricks for, I assume, the lols.
Song: This is one of the favourites. It’ll be in the top five for sure.
Performance:Likely some crazy, strobing, chiaroscuro (a word I learned for my HSC English exam and don’t get to use enough) light show. Also hopefully pyrotechnics. 

Czech Republic

About: Where did they source Eurovision entrants before they invented singing-based reality television because for real basically all of them have won some version of The Voice.
Song: Yeah it’s alright.
Performance: Ok this song is called I Stand and she is lying down for like 80% of the video clip so maybe she’ll just lie on stage not understanding irony for three minutes while people put glitter and flowers on her face.

Cyprus

About: Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room. The guitarist has the most enormous, ridiculous turquoise goat beard. Like why. What is that. Who does that.  
Song: There’s a bit where (spoilers) the lead singer just howls like a wolf for a good ten seconds because wolves are tough I guess?
Performance:Much head banging.

Austria

About: Another entrant with famous parents. Fun ad break activity – listen to this truly awful Christmas song by her mum and dad, featuring Zoë (aged six).
Song: Look, she’s no Conchita.
Performance: Fingers crossed she does some cutsey light stuff and it isn’t just her singing and being absurdly young (yawn).

Estonia

About: Apparently his voice was so high as a child that he had to sing in the girl’s choir. I can only assume his puberty was rocky. His hobbies allegedly include “walking alone in nature, especially in Estonian forests” (Wiki citation needed).
Song: Basically Bublé. So I guess it depends if you like Bublé?
Performance: Why don’t more dudes use excessive wind machine? I feel like this could be improved with a lot of wind machine.
Azerbaijan

About: She’s been a finalist in not one but two reality singing shows! How does Azerbaijan have their own version of The Voice? How many people live in Azerbaijan? Do any countries not have The Voice?
Song: It’s actually great. It’s a high energy ballad with a lot of potential for an amazing performance, if she nails it.
Performance: Ok, I think she’s great but is it just me or is the lip syncing in this video… not good. Not good at all.

Montenegro


About: It took less than 24 hours between Montenegro confirming they’d participate in Eurovision and announcing Highway as their entrant. So either they were an obvious choice or… they don’t have a lot of options.
Song: I mean… it’s Montenegro…
Performance: Calling it early but you can probably schedule a toilet break. (Am I being too mean to Montenegro?)
Iceland

About: Her full name is Greta Salóme Stefánsdóttir but outside Iceland she goes by a shortened version, probs because she don’t trust us to be able to spell or pronounce her surname which… yeah, fair enough.
Song: Can’t decide if this is pretty or awful? Wait… awful? Good? Maybe good bad???
Performance: This video has a lot of birds. I feel like “projections of birds” should be added to the drinking game because uuuuurgh bird backdrops  in the bin.
Bosnia & Herzegovia

About: Bosnia & Herzegovia has a coastline that is twenty kilometers long. Twenty! Also they have three presidents – one from each major ethnic group. Europe is weird.
Song: I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you. It is not a good surprise but it is a surprise, none the less. 
Performance: Fingers crossed for an appearance from the bizarre plastic skeleton cello that features in their video.
Malta


About: In 2002, Ira came second in Eurovision, loosing by only seven points. She’s done pretty well since but the odds of her making a miraculous comeback to score victory? Loooow.
Song: It starts well but gets fairly repetitive? Fine. It is fine.
Performance: I’m hoping for some really over the top dancing. Probably with a dude dancing weirdly in her general vicinity.
If you would prefer not to watch every single one of these videos multiple times (like me and/or a crazy person) there is this official recap video. It’s not the performances so no spoilers.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year