Eurovision 2018: Semi Final 2 (Hot Take Edition)

We’re well in to the swing to Eurovision season so I think it might be time to take a good look around and have a couple of hot first takes on every countries songs.

This is actually part two of three about the Eurovision songs for this year, but never fear if you missed the first part it is conveniently located over here. Welcome to semi final two where the points are all douze and only your neighbors love your song:

Russia: Julia Samoylova “I Won’t Break”

Hot Take: So at least this is a song instead of a farce like last year. This is not a good song  by any means but Russia’s strong voting bloc will probably carry this in to the final no matter what since this will probably be a slow motion train wreck vocally with fancy staging.

Serbia: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika “Nova Deca”

Hot Take: About half of this song is chanting and vocal filler. While it’s impressive vocally and it’s got a touch of flare, overall it’s too flat to be anything but 11th in the semi final for this old fashioned ballad.

Denmark: Rasmussen “Higher Ground”

Hot Take: Channeling Game of Thrones isn’t a bad look for Denmark but this song is unlikely to make a big splash. It’s inoffensive but highly forgettable. A dark staging and slow build probably won’t win votes either.

Romania: The Humans “Goodbye”

Hot Take: This song is a complete miss for me. Slow, boring, poor lyrics, and not channeling any emotion in particular. The staging at the national final was nothing to write home about and so I’m really unsure if this will qualify or not. Completely lukewarm on this entry.

Australia: Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love

Hot Take: An easy qualifier as it’s a polished and fun track. It reminds me of the Zootopia theme song (“Try Everything”) but I don’t think that’s a bad thing and I think Australia will find a way to make the staging dynamic so I can easily see a top 10 finish for this song.

Norway: Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song

Hot Take: Rybak is certainly living his best life after winning Eurovision in 2009. This song is silly and cute and will probably pass on to the final because fact of the matter is Rybak is the world’s biggest cinnamon roll. I don’t like this song but seeing him preform it warms even my cold heart so I wouldn’t be shocked with a top 10 finish for this romp.

Moldova: DoReDos “My Lucky Day”

Hot Take: It’s always hard to follow up success but DoReDos has decided to just have fun with it and that’s a solid strategy. It’s giving me strong beach vibes and it had an amazingly fun staging at the national final so I think that should give Moldova a door into the finals for a second year in a row.

San Marino: Jessika (feat. Jenifer Brening) “Who We Are”

Hot Take: It’s hard to take San Marino seriously but that’s double true this year. They had good songs in their 1in360 event and instead they picked this. Listening to this you may wonder why I’m so down on it because the recording seems fine but they took down the live version of this on their site – and there’s a reason. This was a disaster live. Not to mention the rapper that was actually supposed to do the rap also mysteriously dropped out. There’s so much more to say but it’s not worth it, just another NQ for the pile.

The Netherlands: Waylon “Outlaw In ‘Em”

Hot Take: Continuing The Netherlands confusing love affair with country music. This is a perfectly serviceable country song that probably needs a kick to really connect with audiences. I’m seeing an NQ for this song but it may surprise me because I still am unsure what Europe thinks about this type of music.

Montenegro: Vanja Radovanovic “Inje”

Hot Take: I love a good Balkan ballad but this doesn’t quite make the bar. There isn’t enough up and down and I’m not getting deep emotion from it. I do love the music video and I feel like this is a song that could get better live but the national final didn’t wow me and there’s no word/phrase to really latch on to for non-speakers so as it stands I think it’ll be sadly forgotten in the semis.

Sweden: Benjamin Ingrosso “Dance You Off”

Hot Take: No surprises from Sweden. A likely qualifier with this completely inoffensive dance song from a country that writes disposable pop music in their sleep. Ingrosso does nothing new, his performance at the national final was 100% LED stage which won’t be available in Lisbon, but Sweden won’t let that stand in their way I’m sure.

Hungary: AWS – Viszlát Nyár

Hot Take: Definitely going to be hard for a lot of Eurovision audiences to swallow metal. However this song is absolutely stellar live! The band is very professional and the song is highly emotional so if they have the ability to connect with the audience this could be a surprise qualifier. I’m a big fan and this usually isn’t my jam (and it’s in Hungarian!).

Malta: Christabelle “Taboo”

Hot Take: Malta isn’t going to qualify but this song will at least work for it. It’s an interesting song but the lyrics are tragically bad and the beat is too off-kilter to really be enjoyed the first few listens through and that’s going to lose people.

Latvia: Laura Rizzotto – Funny Girl

Hot Take: Certainly a risk for Latvia. I’m not a huge fan of this song but with impressive vocals and giving us something totally different from everyone else this may stand out in a good way.

Georgia: Iriao “Sheni Gulistvis”

Hot Take: Late to the party but a really interesting entry. I have to assume this is much more engaging live because the recording is quite flat but the juries will probably really like it as much as the televoters hate it and at least Georgia is giving us something outside of the box.

Poland: Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer “Light Me Up”

Hot Take: This is a surprisingly fun entry from Poland. This is a strong maybe for qualifying. Both the DJ/songwriter and singer have a ton of charm and it could bring this from middling bop to maybe even the 7th or 8th position in the final. Sometimes you just want to have a good time and this song brings that.

Slovenia: Lea Sirk “Hvala, ne”

Hot Take: Well, I love this. Will a Eurovision audience love this? I think it’s going to depend on what they do with their revamp. I can say that I’ve been saying “Hvala, ne, ne” literally since this song dropped a good hook is a big plus. Slovenia doesn’t have a ton of friends in the contest so seeing this stuck in the semi won’t shock me but a good stage might mean it fights its way through.

Ukraine: MELOVIN “Under The Ladder”

Hot Take: What a set of lungs on this guy. Never mind that the song is nonsense, never mind that I have almost no idea what he’s saying because he’s decided he personally hates English sounds, this song is a total earworm and Melovin has the personality to sell it. An easy qualification, would not be shocked with a top 5 spot either but probably closer to 10-12th because a lot of people find him “too much”.

Next entry is the Big 5 and the home team, Portugal!

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