Eurovision 2016 Semi Final 1 – Second half – A Closer Review from Lisa-Jayne

Semi 1 Title


Here I am again, bringing you up to speed, reminding you who’s who, and taking a closer look at all the songs and performers in this year’s show. Yesterday we looked at the first half of Semi Final 1, with my thoughts on each song. Today we’re delving into the second half and I’m bringing you my thoughts on each song.

You may have seen John’s statistical analysis of who’s likely to qualify based on placement and previous years voting patterns, I’m going to give you my favourites and predictions.

The back nine! Ok, here goes…

Czech Republic This came as a bit of a shock when it was released into the Eurovision community, it’s funny no one ever seems to expect much of Czech Republic and then they come along with this power ballad. There aren’t many ballads in the contest this year so this makes a nice change. I do worry that it might get lost though in between Russia and Cyprus, I wonder if it’s strong enough to hold its own amongst those big songs.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? No

Cyprus 5 piece rock band Minus One are up next. I absolutely loved this the very second I heard it and it has remained my favourite in the contest this year, other songs have come and gone but this piece of rock/pop has really stood out for me. The electric guitar riffs, the raspy vocal, the driving bass all adds up in my book to a fabulous entry from Cyprus. There are those for whom it doesn’t work, but it ticks every box for me and if you like Nickelback and Bon Jovi this’ll be the one for you!

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

12970651_10153523670544562_653815232_o Some may say that the Austrian entry being sung in French is a little bit of an odd move, however Zoe is quite a well established artist in Austria and has some chart success with her French language songs. Just last week she was nominated for Female Artist of the Year at the Amadeus Austrian Music Awards. I love it this sweet dance/pop song, with its highly stylised fantasy world staging element and the treadmill! It has some work to do to counteract the challenging place in the running order, but I think will over come and make it through.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

Estonia This is one of those songs that you really enjoy whilst you’re listening to it but five minutes later you’ve begun to forget how it goes. The song starts with just the vocal and piano and then builds to the chorus adding strings, drums and backing vocals. For me this song doesn’t really go anywhere, it wants to, but it never quite manages the high point. But that said it is a pleasant enough song but Austria before it, it needs to overcome it’s position, but there seem to be enough people on social media who like it to indicate to me that it will qualify.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? No
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

Azerbaijan Yet another really strong entry from Azerbaijan and if this goes well on the night there is a slim chance that we could be returning to Baku sooner than we’d expected I do expect this to do well at the Semi’s and in the final too. Although this is in the mid-tempo, power female vocal group it does have enough to stand up above the crowd and make itself heard. I do particularly like the ending, it’s sudden fade to quiet piano is unexpected but works really well.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

Montenegro This is a throw-back to the grunge scene of the 90’s; Highway are channeling their inner Nirvana! Now this is not a genre of music that I am particularly in to, however I don’t find this as vexing as perhaps I should. In fact the heavy guitar intro I do really like and the use of the synth pad on the keyboard are quite nice, I think perhaps for me it’s the slightly unnatural growling vocal that upsets the balance of this song.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? No
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? No

Iceland I can never decide if I like this or not! There are times I hear it and think, ‘yeah, ok, whatever, more of the same;’ and there are times when I hear it and I think this is a fun little song that would definitely be a dance floor filler at a disco. I like Greta’s vocal very much and again the 90’s vibe is coming through in this song uses many of the tricks of a keyboard with synths and orchestra hit pads, plus a sweet and subtle violin line running through it. It’s a bit on the cheesy side, but not so much that it’s unlistenable. You’ll have to make up your own mind, and good luck on that because I still can’t make up mine!

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? No
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

Bosnia Herzogovina The element that first sold this song to me is the striking lead of the Cello. Beginning with that dramatic drum beat and then melting into the soft sound of the Cello and adding other instruments and the vocal blend really keeps up the very artsy feel of this song. There is always a danger when adding a rap section into a song like this that it will jar and feel a bit alien, but this one doesn’t, in fact the blend of the different artists in this entire song is very clever and works very, very well. However I’m not sure there are enough people out there who feel the same as me about this song.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? No

Malta Semi Final 1 will be closed by Ira Losco from Malta and if they were going to pick one of the great female vocal performances to finish with then they’ve certainly picked one of the best. The song was controversially changed after the public voted for Ira and the song ‘Chameleon’, but ultimately if victory is the goal then it was probably the right decision. Ira is stunning, the song is powerful and although some have said it’s a bit clichéd, I think it’s fresh and modern, with on point vocals and if staged well could become and magic moment. I fully expect this to qualify and I also think it will do well in the final too.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten? Yes
Lisa-Jayne’s Predicted to Qualify? Yes

So there we have Semi Final 1 fully laid out in front of you. At a glance it looks like this: 9 solo females, 5 solo males and 4 group performances. It’s been 10 years since a group won (Lordi 2006) so I think it would be nice to see that again, when you find a good group the result does become more than the sum of all the parts and I think there are a few here for whom that is true.

Also performing at this Semi Final are France,

Here’s a recap of my favourites and predictions:

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Top Ten:
Greece, Hungary, The Netherlands, Russia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malta.

Lisa-Jayne’s SF1 Predictions to Qualify:
Hungary, Croatia, The Netherlands, Russia, Cyprus, Austria, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Malta.

And now we’ll have to wait till 10th May to find out if I was right?

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Author: Lisa-Jayne Lewis
Source: Eurovision Ireland

4 replies »

  1. For me deserve to go to final are Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Iceland
    Who wili go to final Cyprus, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Malta
    I don t like what Malta do this year with change their song in last minute.

    • I like azerbaijan aswell but I fear they might miss out this year.
      Regarding Malta, No! They did not change the song in the last minute – Just because it was released after almost all of the songs were released, doesn’t mean they changed it in the last minute. The rules permitted them to change the song and Fortunately they did because Chameleon was bad.

    • I love azerbaijan aswell, but I think they will miss out of the final this year 😦
      Regarding Malta, No! they did not change the song last minute – Just because it was released after almost all the songs had already been released, doesn’t mean they changed it in the last minute. They saw if Chameleon was the best song they could send & then they ended up sending Walk on Water because it seemed better. In my opinion thank god for that decision! Walk on water is just sooo much better!

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