Mixed emotions is the least I can claim to have after the second semi final. I am very happy for some finalists and left speechless when it comes to others. Somehow it seems that the uniformly good taste that marked the result of the first semi is now somehow shaken in its foundations. The burning question is really which one of these were selected by the juries...
My prediction after seing all 19 countries perform wasn't the strongest ever, as I only got six out of ten right: Iceland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Croatia and Portugal.
Well, this is what I think of each qualifyer (in order of appearance):
A very welcome sight in the final, where we haven't seen them since 2004. They sang well and kept their dancing under control - a well deserved success.
I will not lie to you - after seeing all 19, we were in serious doubt. The performance wasn't as strong as we wanted it to be and we feared people would forget about "Hero" before it was time to vote. Was this one selected by the jury?
Felt like a sure qualifyer from the word go, especially when they looked and sounded way better than in the previews. Fairly engaging rock that will do reasonably well in the final.
Ani Lorak couldn't lose, could she? Good thing they called her first - she was as sure in the final as a Finnish flop in the 90's. Impeccable on all account except the vocal - not as 100% as one would have expected.
I really wanted this one to pass on, but didn't expect anyone else to understand. Olta was wonderful and acted like a different person compared to that shy little girl that won the Albanian final in December. Did the jury pick this one?
And this is where it all went wrong. In my list, this is the worst out of all 43, and Europe votes it into the final instead of, say, Bulgaria or Switzerland. What is wrong with you people? Fun for Latvia, but horrendous for the rest of us. If the juries picked this one, they ought to be taken down.
A good decision to put this one through. Old man 75 Cents was almost as over-heated as I feared, but the whole package still came across as totally charming.
And again, I understand nothing. Weak, repetitive, bleak, uninspired, boring... (did I already say bleak?) It is great to have all five Nordic countries in the final for the first time since 2000, but this ditty makes no sense to me. The juries had better not picked this one.
The lady did the trick by singing really well, and making our jaws drop with that rather intriguing dress trick - the best one since Marie N back in 2002.
Again - great fun for Portugal, who are very welcome back on the board for the first time since 2003, but I still don't understand an inch of this. Over-worked, fake passion and quite a lot of drama, and Europe bought it. Or was this the jury choice?