LIVEBLOG: EuroVision Song Contest, Semi Final 1 – May 14 2019

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Hi all – TC here, and I’ll be here starting at 3 PM US ET/12 PM US PT with coverage of the first semi-final of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest!  It’s my first time doing a live blog during the show, and it should be fun!

Here’s what to remember: 1) the live blog is only here at http://ecinemaone.com – the transcript of the live comments will be posted later to The Kirkham Report and Planet BiblioMusica, so if you want to see what i’m doing live, eCO is where to be! 2) newest comments will be on the bottom of the blog; hit ‘refresh’ to see the latest update!

Now for preshow commentary…..heh heh…

2:42 PM

If you’ve been reading my ESCOuntdown this year, you know I have my favorites and loathing songs this year like everyone else – the three songs I absolutely LOATHE this year are ALL in the first semi-final today – it’s probably too much to ask, but can we PLEASE get rid of Iceland, Belgium, and Portugal RIGHT AWAY? OMG, please – I can’t believe the amount of support that turd of a song from Portugal has – what is it with people liking crap like this? Iceland’s song might be fine any other time, but a song called “Hatred Will Prevail” (English translation) has NO PLACE in Eurovision, which is SUPPOSED to be about promoting peace and harmony through music and songwriting….this does NEITHER. And Belgium–I like Eliot, the performer, but the song is a SNOOZEFEST from beginning to end, and I am completely at a loss to understand the HUGE fan support of this turkey….”Wake UP”? Not likely…..:;snore::

2:50 PM

It will be a crime if San Marino and Hungary are eliminated today, although having watched Serhat’s rehearsal, I have a feeling even that usually locked-in-the-final last performance spot may not do it for him…that song is AWESOME and deserves so much more than the shit people are giving it…it’s so happy and fun. And Joci Papai’s beautiful “Az en apam” is getting neglected by so many…and it’s so damn good it hurts…I wish his staging had included the two young actors in the video…it would have helped it A LOT in it’s chances for the Grand Finals…

My predictions on record now – I think the following countries have a LOCK to the Grand Final: Cypress, Slovenia, Serbia, Australia, Estonia, and Greece. Belarus and Georgia might also pull it off. The rest….it’s a true crapshoot…we’ll see as the afternoon/evening goes on…

3:01 PM

We Are LIVE with Eurovision Semifinal #1 for 2019! Show is opening with Netta’s new version of “Toy” and Welcome to Tel Aviv- the audience is HUGE and HOT tonight!  I love the set from this year’s show – awesome. Netta just emerged from a gigantic blinking Meowth….interesting outfit….wow….

You gotta give Netta credit – she knows how to please a crowd – this is an awesome opening for this year’s show, without a doubt. They’ve done some spectacular work at the venue – it is really fantastic looking!

Netta’s taking her bows, and the crowd is going nuts….

The festivities are underway as the hosts take the stage….running down the order of the songs tonight, the rules, and reminding us that only ten acts will go through to Saturday’s Grand Finals….

And here we go…first up is Cypress – Tamta, “Replay”….Her postcard is really cute…I like this song a lot, but the staging is rather bland compared to some of the other acts I’ve seen during the dress rehearsals. She’s very good live. and she’s got some really good dancers on the stage with her for this…not bad, but it could have been better…

Next up – Montenegro, D Mol, “Heaven” – these teenagers are fun, and obviously enjoying being here at Eurovision. The staging is deadly boring, though…I liked what they did at their national final better…I miss the stringplayer from the video. They definitely have the chops live as well, although their harmonies aren’t QUITE there…they’re giving it a good shot though….I am not fond of that sea of white outfits either…they don’t stand out at all…I think they’re going to be left behind…good, but not great…it’s much better in the recording, but they are really great together…

Next Up is FInland – Darude featuring Sebastian Rejman -“Look Away” – their postcard is the most interesting so far….Reiman opened completely FLAT…not good….now he’s kicking into gear…those low opening notes were really BAD…and the chorus of this song is just repetition…I’m not terribly fond of this song anyway, but I’d hoped for more exciting staging…but it’s not working at all for me…several other social justice songs work way better than this one does…Nope…not working at all for me live. It’s much better on the recording as well….

Next Up – Poland, Tulia – “Fire Of Love (Pali Sie)” – Love their postcard, very traditional and fun….Yeesh those outfits, are those considered tradition folk outfits?  The whole staging is on a revolving platform, with some background visuals that aren’t really striking…this song isn’t my cup of tea…never has been…and the live performance makes it sound even more like whining to a tune….not impressed at all…it’s just there….the hand choreography is interesting…and yes, that’s sarcasm….this is just not working AT ALL at least for me….it’s too damn shrill…

Whoops, expected a host break, instead Slovenia is up, Zala Kralj and Gasper Santi, with “Sebi” – Postcard was very cutesy…this is one of my favorite songs, let’s see how they do…more white outfits….yikes, what is up with that…very stark staging, just the two of them on stage, surrounded by stars and galaxies in the backdrops…love this, it works completely here…I love her voice…it’s so soft and smooth, very silky, very similar to Ieva Zasamauskaite last year…but again, those all white outfits…come on, wardrobe people, can’t you come up with something more exciting…top notch performance all the way around….crowd loves it…

Next up Czech Republic, Lake Malawi, “Friend Of A Friend” –  postcard is very cutsy again….they need a really strong live performance to get into the Final…the song is just ok, nice video work on the director’s part, little Brady Bunch boxes, I like it. They’re a likeable band, but the song is so bland…I just don’t know if it has what it takes to get through. The performance is top notch…they may have pushed their way into the top ten….too early to tell yet…but this was fun and fresh, it might just get there….

Host segment now…male host is talking to Tanta from Cypress…what the hell kind of stupid ass question is that? Now female host is with Tulia asking about their clothes…Tulia doing more live singing…yikes…I hate host segments, let’s get back to the music…

Next up is Hungary…Joci Papai, “Az en apam” – GO JOCI! GET THROUGH TO THE FINALS!!! Love the postcard, it’s awesome! Dark stage, solo vocal…OMG, I adore this song. Top notch vocals from Joci….he’s been here before in 2017, he knows what the drill is…I also love the fact that he performs barefoot…he did this on the Hungarian national final as well. The song about his father is just utterly beautiful. How can anyone NOT fall for this song. I have to say again though that I wish he’d brought the two boys from the video for this live performance….it could only help it along. I also miss the whistling from the original mix of the song. Stark staging really makes his performance shine. PLEASE let him get through, please please PLEASE!!

Next up is Belarus, Zena, “Like It” – Postcard is too “Baby One More Time” for me….background video is interesting and surreal, even more so than what was done in the video. She’s good for just 16 years old, but like I said in my review a couple weeks ago, she reminds me too much of Britney Spears…she needs to find her own groove. I love the flamenco-style instrumentation during the verses of the song, though….I don’t know if she’s done enough to make it through though. Likeable for sure…but not a showstopper by any means…

Next is Serbia, Nevena Bozovic, “Kruna” – this postcard is funny and fresh – very swing sounding, fun. She’s good too, and she could have what it takes to get through, she’s got a lot of fan support on her side. I’m not fond of that outfit…vocals are stupendous, as I thought they would be…she’s got one hell of a great voice…stark staging is also working for her, with just a mininum of video action on the floor and backdrop…very smooth and stylish…I think she’s going to pull off a finals trip with this number….she is just really amazing live…it’s even better than the video performance, which was awesome…

Next up is Belgium, Eliot, “Wake Up” – he needs to do something to really floor me, because I really loathe this song. And it’s not starting with the bland and boring postcard. He reminds me of what you might get if Rick Astley and Clay Aiken had a baby, both in looks and his style…staging is too static, but his vocal life is far more interesting life than on the video, although he’s flat and sharp in place, at least there’s more life to it here….The crowd is really loving this song, which continues to leave me utterly perplexed…this song is NOT VERY GOOD AT ALL…the performance is better than I expected, I’ll give him that much. I like this kid, but there’s just something about this song that I just cant’ stand, although the live performance has much more life in it than the horrible snoozy video….unfortunately he might pull off a finals slot, but I still don’t think he deserves to get through…

Next up, Georgia, Oto Nemsadze, “Keep On Going”….he comes off as way less creepy in his postcard, heh heh…this song is just…I don’t know….it’s creepy, it sounds like it should have been in a Halloween movie or something…He’s a stellar singer,but I can’t get into this song, and his background singers….shudder….they’re like a devil’s chorus….yikes….this man never relaxes, does he? Wow….his eyes look like they’re filled with something other than music. The background videos are interesting and intriguing. I hate to use this word again, but this song is almost TOO intense….despite myself, I just can’t get into this song… I just can’t….

Australia is next, Kate Miller-Heidke, “Zero Gravity” – postcard is fun, love all the drumming…lots of fun. I’m not a huge opera fan, but she is STELLAR in what she does…that dress is a riot though…I don’t know how she balances on that thing…love the video effects they’re using both stage and background…very surreal and appropriate for the lyrics…she has the crowd loudly behind her, and she’s going to go through for sure, I think only a real shocker could knock her out…the actual choreography is kinda funky and offputting at the same time…I keep feeling like she’s going to tip over in that thing….I love her mix of opera and dance sounds but that pole swinging…yikes…

More host segments…back in the green room….hostess Lucy Ayoub is with Lake Malawi…inane interview with plug plug plug using the song title as the answer to the questions….yikes…now we get a story about how depressed he was when he broke up with his girlfriend…and now Bar Rafaeli is with Eliot….now back to the songs…

OH god, it’s ICELAND….Hatari with “Hatred Will Prevail” (English title)….these guys are pretty out there, but you will NEVER convince me that this song deserves to be here simply because it’s subject matter is completely contrary to the spirit of the contest overall.. postcard was interesting….I’m sorry, I really HATE HATE HATE this song….so I guess that means they’re glad how I feel, given the content of the song, right? I will give them props for being ….um…original? I also don’t think the S&M stuff has anyplace in a family show like Eurovision, but I suppose that makes me a American prude….hey, what they do in their own home is fine, but on a worldwide TV spectacular? YIKES…. Please don’t go through.. please don’t go through…you’ll be knocking something that DESERVES to be here out….hey, at least they can do this live…it’s not just in the recording…

Estonia is next, Victor Crone, “Storm” – postcard is too cute again…he shaved…wow, I think he looked better with the kinda half beard…damn, he is SHARP in places, he’s having trouble with the high notes…staging is virtually identical to the national final…he’s really not pulling this off live AT ALL….we could be seeing another Gromee from last year…he’s a favorite to get through, but I don’t think he’s going to make it with this performance…it’s just not very good…too bad, it’s a pretty decent song even if it’s too similar, right down to the title, as UK’s entry last year…wow, this performance is just BAD all the way around…I think he just blew his chance at the finals…

next up is Portugal, Conan Osirus, “Telenoveis”…Postcard terrible…song terrible…costumes ridiculous…what is the fandom THINKING with this one…this song SUCKS SO BAD IT”S SCARY…..why does it have so much support? Is it PITY?  I can’t fathom any other reason why this song has even ONE OUNCE of support…it’s pure SHIT FROM START TO FINISH…yes, I know it’s satire…and really bad satire at that….does Eurovision have a hook? USE IT NOW!  Oh god it’s still going on….AAAAAAHHHH!

Next up is Greece, Katherine Duska, and “Better Love” – ok, a librarian postcard, that’s different…just noticing how much Duska looks like actress Kat Dennings….why does she sound like she’s singing through her nose? What is happening? She didn’t sound like this in the video? OK, we’re to the chorus, that’s better…I thought maybe she was having voice problems…man, she is just NOT there vocally live today…I’m hearing a woman who is really straining to hit those notes…and not QUITE making them…not completely crazy about the staging either, althought it’s better than the video, which I had issues with…what the hell is up with the sabres? Nothing says love like swordplay?  Wow….should have been much much better….

Next and Last  San Marino, Serhat, “Say Na Na Na” – Postcard is typical Serhat,,,gotta love it.  Already I don’t like the staging…and Serhat has problem staying on key when he’s singing live…DAMMIT!  He’s completely off key – he’s got to be having problems with his headset…he’s completely off…worse than he’s ever been before…NOOOOOOO!!!  OK he’s recovered for the second verse -he’s back on key…I dont’know what happened, but he just kissed his possible trip to the finals good bye, I think, Dammit DAMMIT!!! Son of a bitch….this should have been one of the best performances of the night…and it’s totally ruined…it’s another 2018 Poland….he just BIT THE DUST BIGTIME…..SHIT

The songs are done….now we get the annoying guy host – televoting is now beginning….

I am having a hell of a time staying connected – I keep getting huge buffering no matter what country I hook up with…

The song reminders are now playing , then it will be time for more host shenanigans and hopefully a good interval performance…

Based on the live performances, I think both Estonia and Greece may have knocked themselves out of real contention for a spot in the Grand Final, San Marino is (DAMMIT) a foregone conclusion…we’ll see…come on, forget what you saw, televoters, give Serhat some love….

Dana International (winner, Israel, 1999) is performing now…terrific interpretation of Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are”…she is so fantastic…they’re spotlighting people in the audience in the Eurovision heart logo, it’s really cute…

My connection is back – switched to my main computer for the feed. Now I’m going to switch the blog to my laptop…can’t do both on one browser….hehh heh…

Great performance from Dana International. Lucy is now talking to the winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, Roksana Wegiel of Poland.

Set piece about a previous winner now…this year’s competitors dancing to ths song…before my Eurovision time, I don’t know it at all, sorry…but the video of the dancing from this year’s performers is pretty damn cool…they all look like they’re having all kinds of fun…back to the televoting coverage…looked it up it was “A-Ba-Na-Bi” by Itzar Cohen and the Alphabeta….

OF tonights performers, I think Lake Malawi and Kate Miller-Heidke had the best staging…creative and fun…

The televoting is about to close…let’s see who gets through…TELEVOTING IS CLOSED…it’s all over but the results..Lucy is with VIctor Crone now…and now Conan Osirus is with annoying guy. Ok, Assi Azar is his name..sorry..he’s ANNOYING…

World premiere of a video about the history of Eurovision…should be interesting…they need to put this up on the YouTube site it’s AWESOME!

Hawking the DVD releases…then to the green room for more interviews…then the results…talking with finalists Miki (Spain), Kobi Marimi, (Israel) and Bilal Hassani (France)…with clips of their rehearsals…

Here we go…going through to the Grand Final….

Greece

Belarus

Serbia

Cypress

Estonia

Czech Republic

Australia

Iceland

San Marino

Slovenia

WOW! I am SHOCKED Serhat made it through! WOO HOO! Sorry for Hungary and disgusted about Iceland…and that’s all folks…see you on Thursday, same time, same website….GOODNIGHT EUROVISION FANS!

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