Well then, here we go. Just under twelve months on from Måneskin’s rousing victory tonight sees the start of the hunt for their successor. The Continent spent the winter months finding our fantastic forty but for seven of those, their journey will reach its conclusion tonight. All of a sudden, it’s got very real.
Starting with my own personal one to watch, it has to be Greece. Having seen the rehearsals this past week this is the one that’s grown on me immeasurably. Amanda Tjenford gives us a darkly intense performance that elevates a decent song to the next level. This is going to be a real pin drop of an atmosphere in the arena. Just don’t expect much of a party from a song called Die Together.
Semi one also features the current bookies’ favourite with Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra. The song is penned in honour of the lead singer’s mother Stefania and will no doubt be near the very top come Saturday. Getting out tonight’s semi is much of a formality. And, no, that’s not the Scotland captain Andy Robertson underneath that bucket hat.
If it’s something a bit more fun you’re after well there’s still plenty on offer for you. In fact, this semi certainly has a few of the more unique entries. The Latvian Wiggles are trying to get you to eat your greens in a decidedly non-PG way. There’s a Moldovan folk tune dedicated to a cross country rail line and Norwegian wolves called Keith & Jim getting their bananas out. Eurovision, there’s something for everyone…
Our hosts for the evening, and indeed the rest of the week are Mika of Grace Kelly fame, Grammy award-winning Laura Pausini and presenter Alessandro Cattelan. As an Italian TV host, his presence makes sense. As Pausini is an Italian music legend she’s another apt choice but as for Mika? Erm…I dunno? He’s versatile I suppose. He can brown, he can be blue, he can be violet sky…
Right, I promise not to make that gag again for the rest of the week. I wouldn’t say they have an easy chemistry together. It’s all very reliant on the script which really isn’t up to much. However, where the hosts are found lacking Italy has made up for with the interval acts. Whilst I don’t know which of these acts, if either, will be shown by the BBC these are both most definitely worth a watch afterward.
Italian acts Benny Benassi & Dardust offer a brief history of Italian dance music that’s not to be missed. As a child born in the early 90s the appearance of Eiffel 65’s Blue and Benny’s own Satisfaction brings memories of school discos past. One can almost smell that potent mix of too much hair gel mixed with Lynx Africa lingering in the air. What a time to be alive!
After that, we have the man who should’ve been Italy’s representative in the cancelled 2020 Contest, Diodato. He returns with Fai rumore, his entry that never was and holy smokes…it’s an emotional one. Given this became a symbolic anthem for Italy during those terrifying early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic, it serves as a poignant and reflective moment in the show.
And then, after all that, we say goodbye to seven countries with the remaining ten heading to Saturday’s final. I’ve already made predictions for who’s going through. The game is on! Allora.
Join Scott Mills & Rylan on BBC 3 tonight at 8pm for the first Eurovision semi-final.