Eurovision Song Contest 2015: A JEF judgement on Semi-Final One

, by Laura Krawczyk

Eurovision Song Contest 2015: A JEF judgement on Semi-Final One

The 60th edition of the Eurovision 2015 Song Contest has officially started! It aims to portray the best talent that each country has to offer. This year’s motto was ‘Building Bridges’, which fits in perfectly with JEF’s Twinning Programme. After watching the first 16 contestants give it their all, I was a bit taken aback by some of the entries, whilst impressed by others. Sadly, none of them have rivalled my favourites, such as ABBA’s 1974 win for Sweden, or Alexander Rybak’s 2009 win for Norway, nor Tom Dice’s 2010 entry for Belgium.

The competition was hosted in Vienna, after Conchita Wurst’s victory last year with her controversial appearance and “Rise Like a Phoenix” hit. She was joined by three other female presenters, which makes me wonder why the organisers opted for an all-girl team. Usually it’s the other way around, therefore this move was as disconcerting as it was impressive. I’m yet to make my mind up whether such display of girl power is a ‘yay’ or a ‘nay’.

1. Moldova:

Eduard’s long blond hair along with the sexual innuendos and the naughty female cops was as distasteful as it was unentertaining. With a striptease and barely there amount of clothing, I expected them to know better. There was some good synchronised dancing, apart from that, it was a performance which left little to the imagination. Even though you “want my love”, you do not have it.

2. Armenia:

Beautiful graphic designs on the floor display which fitted in very well with the gloomy smoke-machined stage. Very nicely done make-up on the lead female singer. Their costumes at first glance looked impressive and the colour balance was outstanding. Unfortunately, the currently popular trend of combining clothes with capes or just arm capes is not one to my liking. Even though it looks glorious when the wearer’s arms are down, it looks terrible when their arms are up, especially whilst holding a mike and flapping about with additional strips of material. I will “not deny” that the song wasn’t half bad, even if some of the singers were of a different quality to the others in the group.

3. Belgium:

The song started off sounding like something Adele would put together. Although, that is all the criticism that I can muster with the “Rhythm Inside”. The powerful performance and the even more powerful lyrics, will definitely be a pleasant addition to my iTunes. It reminded me of my favourite theater performance of “Radio Gaga” by Queen that I’ve seen multiple times at the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town.

4. The Netherlands:

The vale at the beginning had the taste of a good performance. Her entire costume still has me confused. The song was overly plain, whilst the performance was quite simple. The tune was good, although much more could have been done to improve the song, if merely by special effects.

5. Finland:

No, no, no. I’ll leave it at just that, and let you figure out for yourself what was wrong.

6. Greece:

Apart from the awkward head bobs and the non-conservative neckline, the performance was good. I’m a fan of the classical approach of just a solo musician on the stage. The halo of lights which reminded me of the EU flag, was very befitting. Her hair being lightly blown, made the recipient feel the Greek summer on their cheeks.

7. Estonia:

Beautiful duet. The guy playing on his guitar and then the girl walking in, gave a very happy and relaxed feeling to the listener. I don’t think anyone would mind him “waking them up”. A good performance with a catchy tune.

8. F.Y.R. Macedonia:

A good performance. Might have something to do with the singer’s Burberry coat. I would strongly advise him to get rid of his mustache, but apart from that, keep the act as it was, with perhaps some real leaves being dropped from the roof.

9. Serbia:

Geez, what is up with the capes? An interesting performance which surely will have people talking about it, if only because of the weight of the signer and the theme of the song being beauty. The most accurate description of the first half of the song would be to say that it was steady. The second half was not needed, and it ruined the act pretty badly for me.

10. Hungary:

With the title being “Wars for nothing” it sounded promising. Once again the one lead singer act prevailed. With the other singers being portrayed as stars in the galaxy by the noticeable floor display, I will have to say it was a good performance. It made the listener hear the beauty of the song as well as to think of the difficult times of war. It takes courage to sing of hardship at such a highly awaited competition, well done.

11. Belarus:

The song started very calmly, until the thunder (literary) started making its mark. It combined the classical approach with some hip tunes. The violinist in the white dress was a pleasant addition, and so were the heart rhythm readings. I would have preferred the song to stay in the tune that it had at the beginning which was very soothing until it got disrupted by the addition of modern music.

12. Russia:

Unlike last year, the artist was not met with a round of boos before even starting to sing. A very enchanting performance. Beautiful dress, passionate singer, and very good use of the backdrop. Well done Polina, your “A Million Voices” song will definitely be heard by millions of pairs of ears.

13. Denmark:

Tells us that “the way we are” is just right. A simple song with an allure to the flower power days that will make most girls feel special.

14. Albania:

It’s official, cape-like dresses are in season. The song certainly showed us that the singer is “alive”. There was something missing from her song, perhaps she was trying too hard to sing out the long lyrics in the short amount of time that she had.

15. Romania:

Unfortunately the song was not entirely in English and my understanding of Romanian is non-existent, maybe that’s why I didn’t feel as a part of the song as I would like. From what I could understand, I did enjoy the “start again” theme.

16. Georgia:

The singer looked like the Wicked Witch of the West minus the green skin, or more accurately like Cruella de Vil. I wouldn’t call her a “warrior” just because of her get-up and her thigh-high boots. She tried putting on a powerful performance, and I think she succeeded in displaying all the badass girl-power she had.

The 10 countries that have moved on to the final are: Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Estonia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Albania, Romania, and Georgia.

I would like to applaud the countries singing in English. It’s always a very nice addition to understand the song, and not only judge the performance based on the show that is put on, but also to really get into the rhythm of the song by understanding the lyrics.

The second semi-final is on Thursday 21st May, whilst the grand final will be held on Saturday 23rd May 2015. I look forward to seeing who the other countries put forward are and seeing which countries will vote for Australia in the final as the debutant.

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