Tonight at 21:00 CET it is time for the Second Semi-final of the 67th Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool, United Kingdom.
Ukrainian contest on British soil
We almost forget about it, but this contest is a Ukrainian contest on British soil, and luckily this reflects in all sorts of things, like: The presenters, the interval acts, the use of lighting, and much more. Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won last year with their song “Stefania”, and Sam Ryder of the UK came in second, which also meant that the UK was asked first to host the contest on behalf of Ukraine, because of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
Recap of the First Semi-final
The First Semi-final of this year’s contest was supposed to be absolute carnage, but when we look at the qualifiers there were no surprises. Most of the songs that made it into the Grand Final are being hyped and loved for months now, so it only seems fair for them to progress. The countries that we are going to see again in Saturday’s Final are: Croatia, Czechia, Finland, Israel, Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Entrants of the Second Semi-final
Personally I think the Second Semi-final shows a lot more variation, and a raster of entrants that really need to battle it out against each other. There are not a whole lot of entries of this Semi-final that I could bare without, so this is going to be a tough one. Let’s have a look at all the entries.
Reiley – Breaking my heart
This song is very now, because it is sung in very current “Kpop” tradition, which is Korean pop music, but no worries, the song is sung in English. Reiley has a good voice, but maybe he was nervous yesterday during the first dress rehearsal, because his vocals were a bit off, especially during the high notes. Let’s hope he can pull it together tonight when all is for real. Youngsters will vote for this song, because of its western Kpop ambitions. This performance is vibrant, colourful, and cute, just like Asian Pokémons and mochi balls. I do like it, although I am not sure whether it is for everybody.
Brunette – Future lover
A very haunting song by Armenia’s Brunette who sings about how she will conquer her “Future lover”. The staging of this song is beyond amazing, and Brunette and her team have managed to keep the fact that there is also a dance break in this ballad a secret. The song is a ballad, rap, and RnB, all mashed together in a great mix, sung by an absolute belle; when Brunette walked the Turquoise Carpet last Sunday with a very sexy and cool ensemble, everybody was just gasping for air. I do hope for Armenia that this country will “be good. Look good. Do good.”
Theodor Andrei – D.G.T. (Off and on)
Although I do like Theodor Andrei’s personality and great vocals, I have to say that I am almost certain that this song is not enough for him to make it to the Grand Final. We have noticed that Theodor has quite the following online, but I do not think the song will stick; the presentation is also a little wonky. I wished for him to have a better song, but that is just not the case.
Watch the interview we had with Theodor Andrei here.
Alika – Bridges
Alika’s ballad is a heart-felt one, not necessarily about love, but about life itself. She sings that there is always time to find your way again, and to get back on track. Personally I love this mega ballad from Estonia, but Alika does not always seem to understand her stage presence and vocal power, and because of that she can come across as distant and very much an introvert. I do hope that Alika qualifies, because besides Switzerland’s Remo Forrer, there are no real ballads in the Grand Final.
Watch the interview we had with Alika here.
Gustaph – Because of you
Gustaph is such a sweetheart, and he has a voice that reaches all the nooks and crannies of the arena. Next to this, Gustaph is a very modest person that always seems to be surprised by his own magnificent actions. This Belgian singer dedicates his song to the LGBTQIA+ community, because there is still a lot to gain when it comes down to the acceptation and emancipation of this group. “Because of you” is more than a mere song, it is an anthem, meant to empower those who still feel repressed by modern-day’s society. For me, he has the golden ticket to continue to the Grand Final.
Watch the interview we had with Gustaph here.
Andrew Lambrou – Break a broken heart
Let’s start by saying that Andrew Lambrou is a gorgeous man. We can all see that, but just to remind people who are either blind or keep on saying that Eurovision should “only” be about music, the eye needs something to work with. Next to being the trade of this year’s Eurovision, Andrew can sing like no other, even high notes are not a problem for this half-Cypriot, half-Australian singer. The staging of Andrew’s song is also very dramatic, but really cool.
Watch the interview we had with Andrew Lambrou here.
Diljá – Power
I am a little on the fence about Iceland’s Diljá; this girl has a voice that can be heard from the arena in Liverpool all the way up north in Iceland itself, but there is also this very rough type of performance that is supposed to support her song, and that is where the mismatch is a little bit for me, it is almost too rough. There is a point in the song where Diljá’s vocal power can be really heard, and some might like that and others might be indifferent about it.
Watch the interview we had with Diljá here.
Victor Vernicos – What they say
Victor Vernicos is only 16 years of age, which has nothing to do with his singing, of course. In Liverpool Victor has been the best; very spontaneous, cool, and always willing to have a conversation with everyone. Greece sends an Ed Sheeran-like song to the contest this year, that is as nice, as it is a bit boring. The spice should come from Victor, and that is where the age-thing comes in for me, because he does not have the goods yet to give volume to the song performance-wise. Knowing Greece though, they will make it into the Grand Final.
Watch the interview we had with Victor Vernicos here.
Blanka – Solo
Blanka, a.k.a. “bejba”, became a meme right after her Polish national final win because of her pronunciation of the English-language, and the fact that her vocals are not really up to par. I do have to say that she pulled it together for the Eurovision stage; her performance is vibrant, colourful, and full of gimmicks, and that song of hers is in my head all week long, that is “kinda crejsa”.
Joker out – Carpe diem
This year’s contest has many bands, some better than others. Where Joker out differentiates from the others is because the guys are gorgeous and they have very fun personalities, which shows on-stage. Their song is not my personal thing, it is just there, and does not really have a hook or catch, in “my” humble opinion. I do believe that people will vote for this song, because youngsters will like it.
Watch the interview we had with Joker Out here.
Iru – Echo
Iru is a small girl in-person, and it is hard to believe that so much vocal force can come from her, but when on-stage she stands there as the goddess of love and thunder. The way this song is staged is really powerful, and really cool. The English that is used in this song is very, let’s say “surprising”; when I heard this song a second time after its release, I was frowning all the time, because of sentences, like: “Days in a row I’m thinking I know. I’ve got a big faith, my love is my crown. Will be better way, will be better day now. It is not a secret”. What?! A really cool performance though.
Piqued Jacks – Like an animal
This is the song, just like Romania’s, that is just there, with no real “need” to win. “Like an animal” seems to go nowhere, and I have to say that I hear a sentence and then “like an animal” for three minutes. Not my thing at all, but that is just me. There are better bands in this Semi-final.
Teya & Salena – Who the hell is Edgar?
The public’s favourite of this Second Semi-final. I like the hook of this song, and the story behind it. Austrian Teya & Salena sing about 19th century American writer and poet, Edgar Allen Poe, but ask the audience if they know who he is. The world has changed, we only seem to know what we know, and the rest we look up online, but isn’t it also important to know where things come from; things we do now, and take for granted do have an origin in history. Next to this, the duo sings “zero, dot, zero, zero, three (0.003)”, which is the amount an artist earns these days per stream on a digital music streaming service; the price of creativity anno 2023. I love this song!
Albina & Familja Kelmendi – Duje
This what Eurovision really is for me: Being united by music and singing in your own language, which is one of the things that make each country unique. Albina and her whole family do so with the Albanian song, “Duje”. The harmonies are ethnic, and feel authentic because of it. Next to Spain’s Blanca Paloma’s “Eaea”, this might be the only song that remains true to its core national values and traditions. Did I already write that Albina is on-stage with her whole family? How cool and impressive is that?!
Monika Linkytė – Stay
Monika from Lithuania has a song that starts as a ballad and then all of a sudden gets an African, Lion King-esque vibe. It all works really well, and the song is very endearing. The staging is colourful, and fits the hope that can be discovered in the song. For those of you wondering what the chorus says: Monika sings: “Čiūto tūto”, which refers to “the ace of clubs” in a playing card deck, a symbol of good luck, prosperity, and abundance.
Voyager – Promise
This is the band to beat this year from my perspective. The ‘80’s rock sounds of Australia’s Voyager really fill the arena here in Liverpool, especially the last part after the bridge of the song. It is the first time that there is staging that has an actual car in it, this has never happened before. I do really hope that this entry makes it onto the Grand Final, because it is so unbelievably cool.
Overall conclusion of Semi-final 2
Below you can find my overall conclusion of Semi-final 2.
- I “personally” think that the countries are sure of a spot in the Grand Final of upcoming Saturday are: Armenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Poland, Georgia, Austria, Lithuania, Slovenia, Albania, and Australia.
- Next to this, I think that the following countries are not going to qualify: Romania, Iceland, and San Marino.
- And finally I do not know about: Denmark, Estonia, and Greece.
The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will take place on May 9th, 11th, and 13th 2023 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. 37 countries will compete for the crown. This year’s Eurovision Song Contest will be a joint venture, since last year’s winner Ukraine cannot organize the contest on home soil because of the ongoing war with Russia.