#ESC2021: Live Blog of the the first Jury Semi-Final – 20.00 BST/21.00 CET
The serious stuff is starting. Tonight is that part of the week then the international juries start to pick their favourites. The televoters get their go on Tuesday night.
Join Us as we blog all the action from the first jury semi-final. Will the favourites live up to expectations? Will a surprise package emerge? Just hit refresh for our latest thoughts.
And we’re off! There’s a travelogue of the Netherlands featuring lots of water.
In the arena we see what happened one, sorry, two years ago.
Duncan is dressed in red and is giving us a song. The set is also suitably red and a tad futuristic in a 1980s stylee.
We see the ‘official Eurovision dance group’, and pyros. And the hosts. That’d Edsilia, Chantal, Jan and Nikkie. The usual thanks go to the previous hosts (Israel). It’s’sensational’ says Edsilia.
Eight minutes in, and we’re off with the first postcard. I like that.
Lithuania – The Roop – Discoteque
Yellow hands on a chess board are the Lithuanian postcard. The Roop are already rocking the place. Vaidotas has the show in the palm of his hand. The purple and yellow are very eye-catching. You’ll be doing the moves tomorrow night by the end of the song. The crowd love it. No bad notes there, and a great great opener. Thank you Lietuva.
Slovenia – Ana Soklic – Amen
Sand dunes, old masters, and green are Ana’s postcard choice. Song starts and she immediatly engages with the camera. Her voice has a slightly smoky quality to it, which gives it great character. She’s going well, and the astronomical backdrop really sets things off. The pre-recorded vocals are nicely powerful, although a choir on the backdrop may have worked better. Finally, we get the wow moment when the stage lights up for the final chorus. She did well.
Russia – Manizha – Russian woman
A red set with pizza and quilting means Russia is a-coming. Manizha has an instant presence with her curious outfit on wheels. This is very catchy in the foot-tapping stakes. And then the flames kick in with that show-stopping chorus. Not too many flames, but just enough. If you’re into girl power, this will be just your thing, especially when we see the pictures of Russian women singing about, erm, Russian women. Excellent stuff.
Sweden – Tusse – Voices
The postcard motif here is golden-yellow. Textbooks aplenty too. Tusse catches our eye strsightaway, and the close set means we’re concentrating on him and not the vastness of the stage. It’s a nicely bouncy performance and he’s obviously enjoying himself. For the final chorus there’s another burst of light and, despite the obvious key change is lifts the songs. Tusse’s voices could possibly be a little strained, but we’ll see.
Australia – Montaigne – Technicolour
A green sport-based postcard for Australia. Montaigne likes football/soccer. We know she’s not in Rotterdam, but you wouldn’t really know. She’s in a striking catsuit costume with three dancers. There are also psychedelic effects you might expect in those edgy videos from the 1970s. This ain’t bad, although I think her voice does struggle slightly in places.
North Macedonia – Vasil – Here I stand
Vasil has a purple postcard. Purple rocks, and a bit of climbing thrown in too. Now here’s someone who’s always smiling, but with the best voice of the contest who can blame him. He’s in black, which nicely sets off the growing effects on his shirt. It’s a very engaging staging and you do wonder how much further he’ll push his voice next. And then the glitterball shirt is revealed. Brilliant, and a massive, massive round of applause from the crowd. That could be a qualifier.
Ad break time, fronted by Nikkie. Videos of Joe Public showing off their takes on Eurovision songs. Eurovision fans like to dance too.
Edsilia now, in the Green Room. She’s with the Lithuanians. They also catch up with Montaigne, where it’s about 5.30am (Tuesday morning)
Ireland – Lesley Roy – Maps
Sea green (what else) for Lesley. Pictures of her life, and Lesley playing an electric guitar. Good luck Lesley! It’s the innovative staging you can’t take your eyes off. The stuff all works – she’s clearly been practising. No issues with her voice either. A very good performance that should impress the juries out there.
Another quick break with forthcoming events (that is, Saturday), and Nikkie and Edsilia in the Green Room.
Cyprus – Elena Tsagrinou – El Diablo
Yellow this time. Elena is in silver and it goes well with the red staging. Cut glass choreography here, although does she sing about a potty? Must be me. The mirror effect of the backdrop is a nice little touch. It’s pretty much a done deal that such a slick performance, pretty much note perfect, should not have too much trouble qualifying. And do we get a key change? No, we don’t! We get flames instead!
Norway – Tix – Fallen angel
Blue is the colour for Tix. We get a piano and chandelier. He’s a very striking performer that should get votes alone. And then he sings a really heartfelt song. A song that many can probably sympathise with. It’s all very effective and engaging. And the devils don’t get in the way too much. At one point he removes his sunglasses – that didn’t look scripted. I really like this song and, due to it’s message about triumphing over adversity, I’d love to see it qualify.
Croatia – Albina – Tick-Tock
Albina plumps for a pink postcard. Soft furnishings and a child’s desk. Her outfit is very striking. I’m thinking Princess Ardala in Buck Rogers. This is a great song for that nightclub vibe. They use the effect of reproducing Albina before her burly dancers rejoin her. No issues with her voice and there’s the foot of mine nicely tapping away. And of course we get a blast or two of dry ice. Excellent stuff.
Belgium – Hooverphonic – The wrong place
It’s all gone crimson now. Musical instruments and candles too. This experienced band are in basic black, with the lead singer having the advantage of sparkles. This is nicely dark, and the perfect antidote to several very similar dancey songs. And whilst it’s not the lightest of subjects, it draws you in. Where’s the steadicam going next? How much more engrossing will the backdrop be? A standout performance here and, well, I’d have it through to Saturday.
Israel – Eden Alene – Set me free
We get a raspberry shade for Eden’s postcard. Ballet shoes, and those flying saucer sweets that make your tabs laugh (as we say in the East Midlands). Yummy. Eden is nicely striking in black and white. Hey, that foot of mine is tapping again. Slick choreography and a brighter stage so you can actually see it. I like this too, and the use of the backdrop showing images of her is good. And, of course, we get a costume change, revealing a little black dress. Very good.
Another ad break with Chantel. She’s talking to Måns Zelmerlöw. He even acknowledges that he tries to get in on the act every year. He’ll be performing on Saturday.
Romania – Roxen – Amnesia
Teal this time. Definitely getting the whole range of colours for postcards. So. Much. Dry. Ice. Maybe too much dry ice. I think we have problems here. Roxen isn’t in time with the backing track. Oh dear. She does catch-up, thank goodness. The staging is interesting, as she’s dragged hither and thither by her dancers. It was OK, but unfortunately we’ve seen better tonight.
Azerbaijan – Efendi – Mata Hari
Red greets us for Azerbaijan. And cake. Yum. This starts strongly and draws you in. The instruments of ethnic origin in the backing track have always been a nice touch. As do the backdrop images of Islamic art, and the pharaonic cobra. The choreography is impeccable too. The sound of the crowd afterwards told us how well this had gone down.
Another quick fill-in, maybe because of the next act’s set.
Ukraine – Go_A – Shum
A pleasant apple green is the next choice. More musical instruments, both traditional and contemporary. Hold on to your hats, this is a song to grab you and persuade you to vote for it. The chanting is strangely hypnotic. Kateryna gives us a nice contrast, with her in green, compared to the silvers and whites of everything else. I’ve just had my first goose-bumps of the night. This was utterly utterly brilliant. A whirlwind of a performance. It could be tonight’s winner.
Malta – Destiny – Je me casse
Finally tonight, Malta gives us teal. Geometric designs and images of Destiny in bold patterns. Oops, there must be issues changing the sets. Here we go. She’s in a silver dress and black boots, contrasting with the dancers in pink. There’s sass (I think that’s the word), a bit of irreverence, and a lot of class about this. Note perfect again, and it’ll be the only one to challenge Ukraine in this semi-final I think. And we get pyros! The golden style from the arena roof. Very, very good.
Drama! Romania and Ukraine are performing again! Technical issues mean the powers-that-be have allowed them to have another go.
This means we get some filling in from the Green Room. Tix from Norway and Efendi from Azerbaijan apparently have a love story.
Romania – Roxen – Amnesia Take Two
I pretty much described it above, but Roxen is definitely in time this time, but I think she is still struggling. It might be the nerves and knowing things can go wrong.
We’re now told Malta will perform again too! Let’s hope they get things right tomorrow night!
Ukraine – Go_A – Shum Take Two
This is a more comfortable performance. Kateryna seems more at ease. Everything else is as you would expect. Very assured and may well still win the first semi-final.
Whilst we wait for Malta, we get a plug for the clap-along app. Give it a try, if you dare. 😉
Malta – Destiny – Je me casse Take Two
I couldn’t tell what the problems were with Malta’s first go. This one seems just as good. A safely assured three minutes. Did they just want to perform last again? Hmmm.
No more take twos, so it will be – tomorrow anyway – time to vote. They say you can’t vote for your own country. But sure it should be ‘you can’t vote for the country you’re calling from’?
There will be recaps, a brief interval act, before 10 dummy envelopes are opened, and that’s it. The acts – if they’ve any sense – will be back off to their hotels for an early night, so they can be there for the next rehearsal tomorrow at 14.00 BST/15.00 CET.
We’re signing off from the blog now. Stay tuned for more articles over the coming days, a blog of the Jury Semi-Final at 20.00 BST/21.00 CET on Wednesday 19 May. And enjoy the televised show tomorrow night.
And thanks for your continued support. Eurovision Ireland really appreciates it.
Good night. 🙂 🙂
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Author/Source: Eurovision Ireland