The second ESC semi final televised this evening - for non-fans, there are now too many entrants to the numbers have to be whittled down in a semi final. 25 songs in all, 10 to go through.
One of two 'novelty' entries, this was rather like a revisit of dr. Buzzard's original Savannah Band with a spot of yodelling. Very professional performance, but a quirky song which I liked a lot but can imagine a few scratched heads and confused expressions.
Totally forgettable, ordinary, uptempo song. I honestly cannot remember the tune, at all, only an evening later
This was a mess. Its good on the CD, but live, it seemed frantic, with the singers too out of breath from their dance routines to concentrate on the song. It could have been good - a powerful chorus - but simply sounded overblown
The second novelty entry of the night. Manic stuff, featuring a Granny and a drum, this doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, but 8 year olds will enjoy it. Much the same effect as Alffor Austria some years before. QUALIFIED
My favourite song, pre-contest. It wasn't a confident performance from the young singers, but it still has charm a-plenty and with a very favourable final draw, I wouldn'truleout its chances if they are less nervous on the big night. QUALIFIED
Fantastic performance from a very good singer. The song, a very dramatic, heavily orchestrated show tune, didn't quite have the automatic appeal needed, but if singing alone was the criteria, she'd have walked it.
I'm a ballad fan. So, I should love this song. But somehow it doesn't do much for me, and I don'tknow why. Its pretty enough, pleasant tune, good singer - but I didn't like it as much as any of the female ballads which didn't qualify. Just lacks that tingle factor which a great ballad has. QUALIFIED
Almost ridiculously over the top, this sounded like a 'lets get the gay vote sewn up ' effort, which coming from a country as homophobic as Belarus is quite amusing! Pure hi-energy, excruciatingly badly sung, and what exactly was she wearing? I thought this would get through, I'm relieved it didn't.
The mystery non-qualifier of the evening. Strong sonmg, great vocal, albeit it is Whitney Houston to a tee in style. Black female singers don't have much of a record in ESC; perhaps its a very clearly American style of music which doesn't appeal widely in ESC terms ( see Bulgaria later)
Selma isn't the best live performer in the world, and this stop-start, awkward song never sounded good to me. I didn;t think it wouldqualify and for once I was right. Just too ordinary, and forgettable - and yes,maybe she should have won in 99, but will anyone watching otyher than the diehard fans remember that?
A very fine vocal performance indeed - but the song wasn't brilliant . Lyrically very repetitive (as my partner said, every other line, he's saying 'ce soir'). With a good song, he could have done very well. Portugal, choose him next year!
A shambolic mess. They looked as if they were enjoying themselves, though, but the song , apart from being almost identical to 'My Heart Goes Boom' (Norway 2000) was predictable and ...loud!
I can't comment fairly on this. I hate and loathe rock music, and so trying to judge whether this is a good version or not is meaningless. Suffice to say, I hate it, and its the one song on the CD I havenever listened to and never will. Having Moldova in the final may well split its support. QUALIFIED
The surprise of the evening. A splendid performance and a very good, strong voice. Its not the greatest song in the world - tuneful, upbeat pop - but she did Romania proud and fully deserved to qualify. A bit like Albania last year- lets hope the sound engineers don't wreck her chances on Saturday QUALIFIED
Ethno-pop, with a touch of Riverdance, a bit of Eastern promise, and a singer who, to me, looked as if she couldn't wait for the three minutes to end. Well choreographed, certainly, but I can't see what all the fuss is about. Boring song. QUALIFIED
Another very strong singer, but the song is seriously downbeat and mournful. Now, I like downbeat and mournful, but on the whole, this sort of song never does well. I liked it but it was never going to qualify
Mmmmm. Thats for big, chunky Martin, who certainly floats my boat. Before the contest I thought this would provide our Jemini moment, but I was pleasantly surprised - he was fine, and whilst its not world class, its a catchy pop tune - which ,interestingly enough, was the song I hummed to myself after the contest. QUALIFIED
Another very, very professional performance of a complex and difficult song - perhaps just too classy and uncommercial for mass appeal. It got a vote from me
This one mystifies me. Its a drab and dull song, very averagely performed, and I think the least deserved qualifier of the night. Just plain boring QUALIFIED
An anthemic ballad with a football chant chorus. He sang it very well, and did look as if he was enjoying himself - makes so much difference. One day croatia will produce a real corker and win, but i don't think this is it QUALIFIED
Another very well performed song, but again, laid back jazz isn't going to be a big scorer at ESC. This is the sort of music I liten to most, and it was probably the one I enjoyed most on the night, but I wasn't in the least surprised it didn't make it. I can imagine it being played alongside Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua on R2 though.
What does Ireland do well, when it produces a good song? Ballads. Unfortunately, recent years have produced weak singers murdering pleasant ballads meaning few points. They sung well, but the whole thing had the effect of 'lets write a song which isnt a ballad for ESC' and tragically enough, Donna and Joe would have perfectly suited a sugary Disney ballad which could well have got through.
My partners favourite. Cute Omar sang well enough, and I was surprised it didn't qualify, but the effect of the loud rocky backing and the female backing singer was a shade of overkill. They should have stuck to the original instrumentation.Didn't stop me voting for it,though
A very good, assured performance of a totally unmemorable song. At least it broadens the varity in the contest, and its nothing less than pleasant and well sung - but I don't think its a great song by any means.
Frantic Roma wedding music. Reminds me of an Israeli entry from the 80's - energetic enough, but not my sort of thing.
So - of the five I voted for ,only Latvia got through (no change there!). The draw has been kind to both my favourites, Malta will stand out in a sea of noise, and Latvia has the coveted penultimate spot - always good for a quiet, gentle ballad. They will be my votes on Saturday