Eurovision 2018: Lisbon ALL ARE BORED! Semi Final One

2 May

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Okay so, with only a week before semi final 1, I’ve left it a little late this year. To be honest, over the last couple of years the standard of songs in Eurovision has gone up significantly and the majority are relatively listenable now. True, many are still ice ages away from being good, but there has been clear progress. I’ve managed to avoid every single entry bar the United Kingdom’s so this will be my first time hearing them. No time for them to grow on me. One listen before I give my terrible, honest opinion. I pride myself on being always wrong.

This year we are in Portugal as the world continues to provide daily proof that its population have lost their tiny little minds. Nearly twelve months ago Portugal entered a rectal prolapse of a song that not one human being in living memory could hum the tune to an hour later. We all woke up the next day in shock at the events of the night before, just as with Trump’s victory or after Brexit. I have a fear in my heart that this year more cuntries will enter the same type of audio syphilis just to ruin it for everyone. I will not be kind on them.

1. AZERBAIJAN: Aisel – X My Heart
Your basic slow verse with 90s dance stabs chorus. Genuinely sounds like many pop songs you’ve heard before stitched together. For me, it reminds me of Fireworks by Katy Perry in places which is never a bad thing. Very impressed with the nonsense lyrics too, which appear to blend past with present references: “I’m tearing down firewalls, I’m stronger than cannonballs”. It’s safe to say they did not spend long on those lyrics. I have heard better from a Russian bot account on Twitter. Or Kanye West.
Rating: ***  A catchy chorus will always do well
Make it to final? 100%

2. ICELAND: Ari Ólafsson – Our Choice
Oh god. Song 2 and it’s the type of song I was dreading. You know that friend you have who’s into issues and they’re spamming your social media feeds with links to good causes, etc? And you know how they never actually do anything like volunteer or go on protests and just sit on Facebook damning everyone from a throne of self-righteousness? Well that’s Iceland’s entry.

It’s all “somehow”“and “we can” but Ari never explains how he’s going to do any of those things, making his entire proposal weak. Bring a solid fucking argument next time you Guardian-reading skidmark.

Halfway through he sings “somehow we could ease the pain”. I found a way. I skipped the song.
Rating: * Make the world a better place? No thanks, you cunt.
Make it to the final? 35%

3. ALBANIA: Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
Albania don’t care about winning Eurovision this year. Or at least the fans who voted for it in the televote didn’t care about winning Eurovision. I respect that. They chose a song that they liked. It’s pleasant enough with some lovely vocals but it’s more of an album track than a single, if I can use that analogy. It’s finished and I can’t remember it now.
Rating: *** Never put pepper in the bush
Make it to the final? No

4. BELGIUM: Sennek – A Matter Of Time
Ooh. The verse really reminds me of Confide In Me by Kylie Minogue. This has got to be a contender, eclipsing the last three. Catchy chorus with a stern, darker ballad verse. This will now all ride on how they stage it.
Rating: ***** She looks like if the female bass player from the Muppets went goth
Make it to the final? Yes

5. CZECH REPUBLIC: Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
I am fucking living for those horns, queen. While still a few years away from sounding truly modern, it manages to blend that cliché sound from Eurovision with a Justin Timberlake vocal. It’s a slightly whitewashed Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo but, importantly, I just like Lie To Me more.
Rating: ***** He is riding a fucking camel in the video
Make it to the final? 100% and top 3

6. LITHUANIA: Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old
When We’re Old? Older than this ballad you mean? Christ, this is as slow as chemotherapy and more poisonous. The only joy to be found here is hearing her sing the word “old” in a way that sounds like the language is being strangled.
Rating: ** When we’re Ouoooooooooouuuuuulld
Make it to the final? 50%

7. ISRAEL: Netta – Toy
Ah. Okay then. It’s Beanie Man, Björk, La Roux and Jessie J wrapped into one. Oh, and a fucking chicken. Words can’t really do this justice. The live performance will make or break this one. It’s kinda hilarious and I would risk an each-way bet on it winning.
Rating: * or ***** 
Make it to the final? 100%

8. BELARUS: Alekseev – Forever
They spunked all their money on a LED suit for the lead guy and couldn’t afford any backing singers or dancers. Song does not suit a “man in front of a screen” staging. It’s missing bolder production. His voice is too deep and muddles with the song. The lack of backing vocals to help him out sinks it. Sure looks pretty though!
Rating: **
Make it to the final? 0%

9. ESTONIA: Elina Nechayeva – La forza
Awesome. This is the first operatic one and I am enthralled. You know, I’m listening to this on the bus as the sun streams down on the only day of summer in Scotland. I am really feeling it. Takes a minute or so to get into gear – like that song in the Fifth Element. This is very lovely and finally not in English so who knows what she’s wailing about. This could be about bumming Scooby Doo for all I care.
Rating: *****
Make it to the final? 100% if she hits all the notes

10. BULGARIA: Equinox – Bones
Noughties electric soul. A slow burn where the climax is just a more layered version of the chorus. This doesn’t make me feel anything. This will fade away unless they can jazz it up on stage.
Rating: ** Bland
Make it to the final? 1%

11. MACEDONIA: Eye Cue – Lost And Found
A solid opening with a Mr Bean clumsy transition into a reggae section. It’s impressively poor and sounds like two things that just do not go together, like Michael Barrymore and pools. Importantly the video highlights how little stage presence they have, so chalk this one down as a disaster. Just watch how she does the same dance on a loop.
Rating: *
Make it to the final? No chance

12. CROATIA: Franka – Crazy
Out of the plethora of songs called Crazy I’d like to nominate this as the worst. Features a tragically weak rap, but it’s the arrangement that flushes it. A trumpet tries to save it but it’s too late and it disappears after a few bars of embarrassment as if the session musician just shrugged and gave up.
Rating: *
Make it to the final? No way

13. AUSTRIA: Cesár Sampson – Nobody But You
Well. Um. It’s. Er. A. Song. It’s fine.
He looks extremely uncomfortable singing in the video. That’s a concern for his live performance.
Rating: ***
Make it to the final? This has a chance as last couple of songs have been poor

14. GREECE: Yianna Terzi – Oneiro mou
Love the horn howl in the second verse. Haunting. A middle section that brings to mind Britney Spears’ Toxic. There’s a carefully constructed restraint on the chorus. It gets under my skin. Fuck yes.
Rating: ****
Make it to the final? 100%

15. FINLAND: Saara Aalto – Monsters
One note vocals with a black-on-black stage show. She looks like a black traffic cone doing yoga. There just isn’t enough here. The shanty arpeggiator synth and simple beats need something else to pack a punch. It needs another instrument to bring it all together.
Rating: 0% Dreadful
Make it to the final? No chance

16. ARMENIA: Sevak Khanagyan – Qami
Armenia aiming to be the Madeleine McCann of Eurovision in Portugal.
Rating: * Lost and forgotten
Make it to the final? 0% 

17. SWITZERLAND: ZiBBZ – Stones
I’m in two minds about this one. Cliché as hell but her voice is killer and the chorus gets better each time I hear it. Is that enough? Based on the last couple I think it is.
Rating: ***
Make it to the final? Yes

18. IRELAND: Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together
A rather delicate love song which if there is enough goodwill left in the room by song 18 should see it sail gently into the final.
Rating: ****
Make it to the final: 99%

19. CYPRUS: Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Dripping with sex this one. Her eyebrows are on point too. It’s impressive that it sounds like it could have come off a mainstream radio station and if it slipped into my Spotify playlist I’d not think anything was wrong. I wouldn’t be like “who the fuck put this shit Eurovision song on my goddamn playlist” like I would with a chunk of the others here.
Rating: *****
Make it to the final: No because she’s not white and a woman: all the things Europeans hate.

Siri, turn this shit off.

END OF PART ONE

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