Eurovision 2020: Semi Final 2, Second Half Thoughts

We’re well in to the swing to Eurovision season so it’s time to look around and have a couple of hot takes on every countries songs.

This year instead of individual entries for each song I’ve split the songs into half of the semi finals so there will be first posts all together and instead of getting too in depth I’ll just jot down some thoughts on my first(ish) impressions. I might do a ranking and/or prediction post later on but this is just a barrel of thoughts for now. Since allocation hasn’t happened all the entries are in alphabetical order for fairness.

Albania: Arilena Ara”Fall From the Sky”

This is the “her?” of songs for me. I cannot remember that this song exists. Since the original (Shaj) was the first song for Eurovision it’s one of the songs I’ve heard the most but the melody is so bland and so much like a dozen other better songs this slips right from my mind. Albania has a real uphill battle to make this song stand out when it’s so…even-keel and plain. This is about as modern a ballad as you could ask for but somehow it sounds dated anyway. What a shame.

Armenia: Athena Manoukian “Chains on You

Armenia cannot hide from me, I watched the national final and Athena, while doing dance moves that put most people to shame, cannot carry a tune. Worse yet, she absolutely can’t carry this tune and revamping it is sadly trying to tell us that the emperor has clothes. I really dislike this song for a number of a reason and while it’s not bad as Belarus’ “I Like It” from last year it has the same problems as that song: a weak vocalist, a repetitive hook, and an over reliance on the staging and costume. Belarus qualified last year though so maybe I’ll be eating my words later but this is a big no from me (and a strobe light warning for this video).

Bulgaria: Victoria “Tears Getting Sober”

It took me a few days but I did finally figure out what this song was reminding me of: it’s this Fruits Basket (anime) closing song from about 15 years ago. Yeaaaaahahhhhhh I hate this. I recently saw a video that was discussing the end of melody in pop music and while there are negative and positive sides to that trend, this song is a star of the trend. In 10 years when we look back at music and Eurovision we’ll see this was a moment. Something that will probably read as “so 2020” and “dated” which is amusing to me. Anyway I just kind of zone out during this song and it’s not for me and I can’t figure out why it’s topping the betting odds since I’m not sure the jury will love this and I have yet to meet a real human who thinks its a top 5 either but I will say it’s odd that Romania and Bulgaria decided to serve the same market. Like pulling up to a wedding and seeing another woman in a white dress…it’s not a great look.

Denmark: Ben & Tan “Yes

Leave me to my tooth rotting trash. This is just too cute to be alive and it’s such a weird throwback thing but to like, 2014 which is a thing used to be common at Eurovision where songs were soooo trendy (if trendy meant that they would have played on the radio 5 years prior). I like these cutesy duets, loved Romania 2010, Iceland 2012, and yes, I even loved Lithuania 2015. Is this great? Eh, not really and she needs to clean up her vocals and movements and camera awareness a lot but it’s just enough to warm my heart and I think it’ll qualify on the nan vote.

Finland: Aksel “Looking Back

I don’t know what to do with this. I instantly forget this song after listening to it. Finland had a very weak lineup at UMK and picked this song because it’s well preformed but it’s so soft and inoffensive that it ends up bland. A middling song done well is never going to get as much attention as a good song done badly or a bad song done well. This will NQ with grace and I wish Aksel all the best in his career, he’s clearly got plenty of talent being wasted currently.

Georgia: Tornike Kipiani “Take Me As I Am

This is a “grower” of a song. I kind of like it more for its strangeness each time I listen to it but I worry about it alienating audiences (or blowing out a mic) at Eurovision. I love seeing a diverse line up at Eurovision and this is fitting that bill nicely. I’m not sure I will ever love this song but for now it’s sitting comfortably in the “yeah, I can listen to this in a line up and I won’t skip past it” category. With the right staging this could qualify.

Latvia: Samanta Tīna “Still Breathing

*buzzer noise*

I have no idea what this is. I’ve read the lyrics, I’ve heard her talk about the song but between the mush noises coming from her mouth and the vocal choices and arrangement choices made on this piece I very rarely am able to listen to this song all the way through. I find it really grating. I know some people really jam on this but I can’t. Even if Aminata wrote it, I can’t imagine this is another form that doesn’t make me want to cover my ears about halfway through 🙁

Portugal: Elisa “Medo de sentir

I don’t know why this has a duet part. I feel like the entire song that Elisa is struggling to sing this song. Not emotionally, just…actually struggling. The melody is this is pleasant enough but it didn’t make me feel all that much. This is likely not going to qualify if they send it just like this so it’ll be interesting if Portugal takes steps to modify it some way or if this is just…it.

Switzerland: Gjon’s Tears “Répondez-moi

I’m absolutely desperate to hear this live because I need to know if he can somehow impart even more emotion into the track than he does when it’s recorded. I have to admit the first listen I felt very unimpressed but after three or four more times it started to drill its way down into my heart. I now walking around humming this song (always a good sign). Is this ever going to be my number one? No, I don’t think so but it’s quite good and it’ll deserve it’s place in the top 10 (possibly top 5) if he can pull out the vocal fireworks and look into the TV camera just right.

Stay tuned for the auto qualifies coming up tomorrow!

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