Eurovision 2022: Semi-Final 2
Revisiting Semi-Final 1
GENERAL THOUGHTS ON THE SHOW
I think this might have been the weaker one out of the two semi-finals. As I have said already, I do not really like the hosts and this has not changed. The opening act with Alessandro Cattelan dancing to "My name is Chicky" (or whatever the song name is) was beyond cringey. TikTok is among the contest's sponsors this year, so I can understand why this was included. However, I have always seen TikTok as a platform for the youngers and thus I have never taken it seriously. Maybe I am a bit old-school. I also understand that the organisers are trying to appeal to the younger audience. On the other hand, many of the joyful performances were eliminated which creates a mismatch between what the target audience might be interested in and what is offered to it.
Eurovision's 2022 biggest Shortcoming
Probably me being more mature also has something to do with it. When I was younger, I used to have a favourite or two. I tended to ignore the other participants, as well as the points given unless they were given to the acts I liked. This led to me missing the bigger picture. As my favourites would not win usually (excluding Netta in 2019), I was always unhappy with the results, the contest and most things around it. As I grew up, I started enjoying the event as a whole instead of focusing on the ones I would like to win. It is still a contest, after all, so the winner is still important. This year feels predetermined. In that regard, the competitive element (and the excitement around it) is gone. The only thing that is left that can surprise me is Ukraine not winning the contest.
Furthermore, this year I managed to correctly predict almost all of the twenty qualifiers. Evidently, I make a proper distinction between my favourites and the potential qualifiers. After following the results closely for the past few years, it was quite saddening to come to the realisation that what we see every year is the (exact) same thing as what we have already seen. Some countries send the same type of songs over and over again and they always manage to qualify. The songs that seem to be doing particularly well are usually ballads sung by artists who are trying a bit too hard. A good example is this year's Australia entry, "Not the Same", which I already stated I cannot stand. The artist was out of tune numerous times. The whole performance sounded extremely forced and was, personally, painful to listen to. Even so, it qualified and was praised by many afterwards. Just to show that I am not against ballads and artists who actually perform songs that are within their vocal range — Australia's 2016 entry, "Sound Of Silence", was my favourite back then. So much so that I included it in my 2016's annual pop compilation "Sweet Nothing" (even if I do not usually include Eurovision songs in these projects).
Presumably, the spectators have expectations from certain countries to present a certain style of sound. I have also seen several years when the national jury of a given country has consisted of the same people. This automatically means a bias towards a given country or music genre and definitely does not help for introducing (and accepting) music-wise diversity in the contest.
As creative individual, I am especially fond of abstract art. I know how hard it is to be able to produce something which is at the same time abstract, but also within a boundary so that people can interpret what they see or listen to in their own way while it still being in the direction that the artist has intended. Here, the incredible talent lies between being abstract and somehow concrete at the same time.
Konstrakta also gives me fabulous vibes as a person (unlike some contestants, such as Israel's Michael Ben David). She has been engaged with the Eurovision community and she is loved by many. Similarly, Norway's Subwoolfer has been engaging with the fans for the past few months. The duo has released a song about Turin that even mentions the problems with the stage that I wrote about in my previous articles which I found hilarious. They have also created interpretations of the songs that participate in the contest this year.
Cyprus failed to QUALIFy
While I like the staging, the performance was quite poor, which, I believe, is the ultimate reason why Cyprus failed to qualify for the first time since 2015. Undoubtedly, the vocals were the biggest slip. A couple of people have suggested the performance also lacked energy. I really cannot tell if she did not want to be there (as some have pointed out, because of her previously failing to connect with the contest) or if she is just an inexperienced artist. She has only seven songs released so far, so I would assume it was a bit of both.
Another thing that immediately caught my attention during the performance, still related to the vocals, is the way she changed the melody so that she can sing the song live. I found it hilarious that it was an artist from such a country with such a song that had to do this. While Cyprus is not a Balkan country, the song is heavily influenced by Greek (and thus Balkan) music. A potential problem that we have in the Balkanic countries is that our pop artists perform mostly at clubs, rather than big concerts. As an artist, songwriter and listener, I love our music, as it is over-produced (not with a bad connotation) with many vocals layered on top of one another. In most cases, the songs are rich in vocals and also hard to sing live. In other words, the music we like is meant to be listened to in the clubs and thus not really sung live which also means that the songs are hard to be sung live and many artists are inexperienced with live singing (and yes, lip-syncing is a big thing over here).
Finally, while I love the song, it lacks the WOW factor. It is something that people on the Balkans have listened to many times and there is really nothing that stands out. Anyways, I really wish Andromache good luck with her career.
THE OTHER NON QUALIFIERS
The other two songs that I like but knew will not qualify are "Circles" by Andrea (North Macedonia) and "Breathe" by Vladana (Montenegro). I think that North Macedonia had an issue with the staging — while Andrea has a great vocal, it was quite obvious that North Macedonia was on a budget. Montenegro seems to be in a similar position. Vladana has also chosen a singing style that I am not a fan of and the way she sang might also had a negative impact. I also liked Malta's entry, although I think it would have been more appropriate for the Junior Eurovision and I get why it did not qualify.
The other qualifiers
I have managed to correctly predict all of the following qualifiers, but unfortunately, none of which I like: Finland, Azerbaijan, Australia, Estonia, Poland, Belgium, and Sweden. Australia and Belgium are definitely at the bottom for me, followed by Azerbaijan, Poland and Estonia (which I am as equally indifferent to), Sweden (which I feel is overrated), and Finland. Stefan from Estonia was quite charismatic, while Ochman from Poland showed off some strong vocals. It was, although, still not enough to make me like their songs. In general, we have heard all of the listed songs time and time again. None of them is particularly touching or memorable to me, nor does any sound new in any way.
The Grand Final will take place on 14th of May. The show starts at 8pm BST (21:00 CEST). I will write an article this Sunday with my final thoughts on Eurovision 2022, discussing the show, the winner, and the scoreboard.
Article cover image by eurovision.tv