And after a week of hyping and judging from Kori and Dan, the semi-finals for Eurovision 2018 are officially over! Boy was that a workout for anyone in the United States. Thanks a lot, ESC YouTube channel for blocking the shows AND STILL BLOCKING THE PERFORMANCE VIDEOS. Don’t worry, we’re dedicated. After some nebulous VPN adjusting and a Latvian broadcaster livestream, we got it sorted. That means we now know who is competing tomorrow for the Grand Final, which we’ll list at the bottom of the article. However, let’s take a moment to remember those acts who will not be joining us on Saturday. Reminder: Dan and Kori are liveblogging the Grand Final here at the Fandomentals starting at 3:00 pm EST.
Dan: A really good pop song that was well engineered, well performed and well stage. Not quite new enough to win, it certainly was more fun than most of the blah that DID make it through. Probably just got cursed by being in a very competitive group.
Kori: I was worried when Azerbaijan and Aisel were slotted to perform first that this might happen. It was a fun song, but more shocking is that for the first time since joining the contest, Azerbaijan will not be advancing to the Grand Final. And they aren’t the only Grand Final mainstay to be dethroned this year.
Dan: A really good song brought down by bad visuals, which seems to be a pattern here. The video for this song was pretty wild and was really interesting, but sadly that apparently didn’t translate onto the stage.
Kori: Look. Croatia and Franka absolutely slayed vocally on Tuesday. Her vocal performance alone had me changing my tune and hoping they’d go through, because it was that good. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Still suffering from a song that never really peaked and a bare stage show, Croatia will have to try again next year.
Dan: Just seems like a fluke for Eye-Cue, who had a good video and pretty good staging. They just didn’t bring their A game and the whole thing fell flat. Pity, because their sound was damn unique this year.
Kori: I agree with everything Dan said. All of the elements were there, the vocals, a killer song, a fun stage show, and for whatever reason, they just weren’t connecting the night of. Macedonia widens their streak of not advancing to the Grand Finals since 2012.
Dan: I guess this town wasn’t big enough for TWO folky pop songs this year, between Greece and Serbia. Sadly, this was the better of the two, I think, but the magic of Flute Gandalf was too strong. I am genuinely baffled by this because the stage show looked and sounded really great and the song itself felt like a proper national tune.
Kori: My polyphonic chorus goddess is not advancing. It’s never a good sign during the rehearsals when you hear that a country is bringing in more and more effects because that usually means its staging is a dud. All the smoke and lights did what they could, but something fell flat, and with it so did Greece. This is another country, usually a Grand Final mainstay, not to advance.
Dan: Oh no baby, what is you doing. Malta learned so much between their national performance and their video and they just dropped it all for the two lame boxes and some projections. All they had going for them was presentation and they dropped the ball severely.
Kori: Oh, no. I wanted so badly for this to be good. I actually liked the projections, but Lithuania did them better in semi-final one, and none of the epic story from the music video really carried over. It’s a shame, I was rooting for them.
Dan: This was a really solid pounding rock song with a unique voice. It didn’t quite lend itself to anything groundbreaking but it had some sick pyro and the band sounded great. I have NO idea how this got knocked out and the f*ckboy anthem from the Czech Republic or The Netherlands cowboy music got to move up.
Kori: Color me shocked, because I really thought Poland was going to sail through to the final. The staging was a little wonky, but the song was modern and Poland has been doing pretty darned well for itself in the contest with advancing to the Grand Final since 2014.
Kori: Yet another Grand Final staple country has been knocked off. I grew to like the Humans’ song, but what kind of nightmare show was that with the mannequins of demonic soul-sucking? Seriously, are you trying to give me nightmares? Baby, no, stop it.
How on earth did they qualify?
Dan: I just…really hate this song. It’s just disappointing how polished it is. All of the good musical production and unique staging in the service of a dude who looks like he makes his own hair gel. My only consolation is that Eleni is gonna kick his ass in the finals.
Dan: I’m convinced the judges just fell asleep and their head landed on the “yes” button for this one. One girl in a white dress singing in the sort of dull, pleading tone you get in a DVD Disney sequel does not quality production make. However, if one reads the skinny dude who appears only at the end as the Grim Reaper, marked by his dark clothes and skeletal frame, then this may, in fact, be the best staging.
Dan: I’m not surprised because I dislike this song, I actually really love it. But it’s just NOT really much of a Eurovision type song. I love this heavy stuff, though, and AWS brought a lot of energy to bear on stage. Party on, dudes.
Dan: I just remain baffled by this song. Do Dutch people love country music? Why? Is Waylon just some kind of cowaboo? Why does he need three different guitars for a basic pop-rock country song? Tell me your secrets, Waylon.
Kori: I just. How did this get through? The performance was a hot damned mess! White dude singing rebel country in a leopard pattern jacket, surrounded by all-black background “band” members/dancers who start crumping? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, Europe?
Kori: Look, I think Alexander Rybak is overrated at this point. I didn’t really care for the song going in and thought if it advanced it would be more to do with Rybak being a former ESC winner. Guess who was right! What on earth was up with that performance? Did he get sick backstage? Rybak usually has a charming personality going for him, but it was nowhere to be seen last night. Instead, he looked exhausted and I was worried he’d collapse before the song was over.
As mentioned above, several Grand Final mainstays didn’t qualify this year, including Russia, Belgium, and Armenia. To tally, that’s six countries knocked out which drastically alters voting predictions. Sure, we can reasonably bank on Greece giving their 12 points to Cyprus, Belarus giving theirs to Norway, and Russia sending theirs to Moldova, but everyone else who normally voted for these countries? Voting is going to be wild on Saturday, y’all.
Bonus note: After the second semi-final, only one country has now qualified for the Grand Final every year since the semi-finals were introduced in 2004, and that title goes to Ukraine.
Countries performing on May 12th
Semi-Final One Winners:
- Czech Republic
- Ireland (good on them for qualifying for the first time since 2013!)
Semi-Final Two Winners:
- The Netherlands
And as always, be sure to include the United Kingdon, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and last year’s winner (Portugal).