Georgia’s resident Ethno Jazz band Iriao were an utterly delightful start to the day. If I’m honest this is not a song I’d given any real thought to prior to viewing the staging. However, seeing the lads bring high class to the Eurovision stage has raised it hugely in my estimations. Following the performance of Australia and preceding a messy Polish show Iriao will feel like a really up-market palate cleanser. Head still says not qualifying but heart would love to see our Georgian pals make it to Saturday night.
The highlight of the morning session fell to Malta’s Christabelle with ‘Taboo’. The Maltese have delivered dark, arresting staging without being overly aggressive or off putting. Taboo is a complex song that tackles difficult subject matter, literally trying to break down the Taboo of mental health issues. This performance combines effective use of LED screens, lasers & pyro to create a breathtaking stage show. Add this to the thumping beat and Christabelle’s spot on vocal and you have yourself a thundering three minutes. Ditch the odd overlay of the beating heart and they’re qualifying with ease.
My undisputed highlight of the day came from the only country to provide the guitars, Hungary. I have been reliably informed by those that know a damn sight more about this style of music that AWS are serving us ‘screamo, post-hardcore’, whatever it is I love it. If you’re playing along with the drinking game of ‘drink on pyro’ at home then you’re going to need at least three bottles of your chosen tipple (mine’s an advocaat, btw) to see you safely through ‘Vislat nyar’. The pyrotechnic kitchen sink has been thrown at this entry and compliments the song perfectly. Behind the pyro and the stage show the lead singer’s vocal, tormented by anguish and anger is perfection. I’ve not been a huge fan of Hungarian entries in recent years but this right up my rua.
The second half of this particular semi final does trudge on a bit for my tastes. Once we’ve had all the bells and whistles from Hungary I’m afraid to say I somewhat lose interest. The Swedish conveyor belt of pop continues on apace producing competent but entirely dull pop. There’s really bugger all different from the Melodifestivalen performance. Benjamin’s doing a grand job but by the end of the rehearsal I was somewhat bored. Vanja Radvanovic’s rehearsals were also incredibly solid but the song just isn’t to my taste. He does appear to have inherited one of Dale Winton’s old suits though. The only thing that raised interest in the latter half was Slovenia’s fake technical error. Two minutes in Lea Sirk pretends the music cuts out and she asks the audience to help her along. It’s fake, cheap and naff. Needs to be ditched.