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Eurovision 2022: Semi-final 2 May 12

Some surprises and disappointments in Tuesday night’s qualifications and I’m sure there will be more tonight.

Thursday is the stronger of the two semi-finals and it also has 18 rather than 17 acts – so one more country will be disappointed as only 10 go through to the final.

This is also the semi in which UK viewers can vote and there will be previews of the Spanish, German and British entries. Here are the contenders.

Finland

  • The song: Jezebel – The Rasmus
  • The pros: It’s The Rasmus. We kick off with a bit of early 2000s rock.
  • The cons: It’s 2022.
  • Chance of qualifying: 65%

Israel

  • The song: I.M – Michael Ben David
  • The pros: An upbeat anthem of self-empowerment. The performance will be incredibly slick from vocals to choreography. Big in Tel Aviv gay bars.
  • The cons: The self-empowerment tips into self-aggrandisement. There is no good reason that this isn’t called I Am.
  • Chance of qualifying: 50%

Serbia

  • The song: In corpore sano – Konstrakta
  • The pros: Proper arty wackiness with a point to make about health and access to healthcare. A performer who grabs your attention when you hear “Meghan Markle” amongst the Serbian lyrics and then holds it with her steely gaze. A Latin title. Clapping.
  • The cons: Could easily be mistaken for just being wilfully daft. Is a grower which is never helpful at Eurovision.
  • Chance of qualifying: 55%

Azerbaijan

  • The song: Fade to Black – Nadir Rustamli
  • The pros: Winner of the Azeri version of The Voice, for good reason. The staging, a mirror universe version of You’re The One That I Want, will likely be very effective.
  • The cons: The song is broadly forgettable and the lyrics are dreadful.
  • Chance of qualifying: 50%

Georgia

  • The song: Lock Me In – Circus Mircus
  • The pros: A catchy chorus. The band have a very strong look.
  • The cons: Circus Mircus promised a lot when they were announced but their surrealism has been muted and they’ve been out-weirded by Subwoolfer. The staging is really static.
  • Chance of qualifying: 35%

Malta

  • The song: I Am What I Am – Emma Muscat
  • The pros: A very simple, unsubtle song competently performed. Emma is engaging.
  • The cons: A very simple, unsubtle song competently performed. Feels terrible and cynical rather than optimistic and life-affirming.
  • Chance of qualifying: 50%

San Marino

  • The song: Stripper – Achille Lauro
  • The pros: A stage show with everything but the kitchen sink – huge amounts of pyro, a bucking bronco… Lauro is a big star in Italy.
  • The cons: All of that is trying to distract from a very mediocre song performed by a very annoying man.
  • Chance of qualifying: 65%

Australia

  • The song: Not the Same – Sheldon Riley
  • The pros: Sheldon’s incredible voice. Strong visuals. As on the nose with it message as Malta but the lyrics are genuine rather than cynical.
  • The cons: The song itself is quite bland and carried by Sheldon’s vocals. The masks he wears is symbolic but it makes it very hard to engage with his performance. One for the juries.
  • Chance of qualifying: 60%

Cyprus

  • The song: Ela – Andromache
  • The pros: Erm. It’s not bad, I guess?
  • The cons: Too bland. If we ignore the aberration of 2020, this is Cyprus’s weakest entry in years. The staging is clever on paper but doesn’t seem to work in practice.
  • Chance of qualifying: 45%

Ireland

  • The song: That’s Rich – Brooke
  • The pros: An absolute bona fide banger. Staging is waaaaaay better than in its national final. Just a great 3-minute pop song that we need in the final.
  • The cons: Might be treated as disposable, especially by the juries. Needs a strong performance on the night.
  • Chance of qualifying: 50%

North Macedonia

  • The song: Circles – Andrea
  • The pros: A passionate, competent performer.
  • The cons: No staging to speak of. Not a memorable song.
  • Chance of qualifying: 20%

Estonia

  • The song: Hope – Stefan
  • The pros: A charismatic singer giving us a toe-tapping bop with a Morricone vibe.
  • The cons: Some mumbled lyrics, which is certainly a choice.
  • Chance of qualifying: 70%

Romania

  • The song: Llámame – WRS
  • The pros: Romania goes Spanish. An easy to follow chorus with a really catchy hook. Good moves.
  • The cons: It’s solid but it might struggle to be anyone’s favourite.
  • Chance of qualifying: 40%

Poland

  • The song: River – Ochman
  • The pros: What you’d get if Henrik Ibsen entered Eurovision. A very different song that will stand out. One of the strongest singers vocally. All of the video effects.
  • The cons: Ochman seems lovely but he just doesn’t sell this. It’s technically great but I wish you some passion came through in the performance because it has potential that isn’t being realised.
  • Chance of qualifying: 65%

Montenegro

  • The song: Breathe – Vladana
  • The pros: A song with real feeling inspired by loss. A camp light circle strapped to her back.
  • The cons: The one you keep confusing with North Macedonia. Lyrics that are incredibly on the nose. A song about Covid.
  • Chance of qualifying: 30%

Belgium

  • The song: Miss You – Jérémie Makiese
  • The pros: Another winner of The Voice. Nice mix of slow intro and more upbeat chorus.
  • The cons: A song that’s enjoyable while you’re watching but out of mind as soon as it’s over. Dancers could probably do more.
  • Chance of qualifying: 50%

Sweden

  • The song: Hold Me Closer – Cornelia Jakobs
  • The pros: A slick, well staged performance that translates straight across from Melodifestivalen. A melancholy pop song that perfectly matches Cornelia’s distinctive voice. Rightly one of the favourites.
  • The cons: Faces the usual accusation of Sweden being too slick. Perhaps grabs you more on repeat listens. At the mercy of camerawork, lighting and stage crew.
  • Chance of qualifying: 80%

Czech Republic

  • The song: Lights Off – We Are Domi
  • The pros: Absolute banger to close the show. Musically interesting, original lyrics, enthusiastic performers. A great place in the running order. This group met at Leeds College of Music and that academic background underpins the quality. Also: more lights than I have ever seen in a stage show at Eurovision.
  • The cons: Eurovision doesn’t seem to go for EDM (but this is a quality pop song). There have been concerns expressed about the high notes but I’m not even going to entertain that – these are pros and they will smash it. In other words, I don’t think there are any cons other than the taste of the juries and the voters.
  • Chance of qualifying: 65%

See the people behind each performance in semi-final 2 on my Six on Stage website.

My favourites from this semi are Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and, of course, Czech Republic. I did turn up on screen in the opening section on Tuesday if you didn’t blink so keep looking out!

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