Eurovison 2nd semi final cheat sheet
The Eurovision second semi-final is about to take place in Lisbon. 18 countries will battle it out to secure the last remaining spots in the Grand Finale on Saturday. We have another Eurovision cheat sheet for you, packed with facts, insights, and gossip to enhance your viewing pleasure. As you watch the second semi-finals, scroll through this guide and connect our observations with the various countries as they perform live. We consulted two huge Eurovision fans to create our cheat sheets, Kennard Bos and Joseph Kearney. The countries and songs listed below are in the same order as they will be performed in the second semi-final.
Norway, Alexander Rybak with ‘That’s How You Write A Song’
Alexander’s ‘Fairytale’ won back in 2009 for Norway. ‘Fairytale’ was a powerful love song that genuinely gripped the imagination of Europe. Alexander himself was a mind-blowing contestant; all-singing, all-dancing and even playing the violin to smash records and get the most points ever at the Eurovision (at the time). His impressive score has since been beaten by Jamala for Ukraine and Salvador for Portugal.
So with all of that in mind, Alexander has a lot to live up to, a lot to prove, and a lot to lose. This time he sings a sweet song, but it’s just nice, nothing earth-shattering. You can never really predict what’s going to happen in the final, but history has shown that only Johnny Logan has managed to win twice at the Eurovision. Lena, Dana International, Niamh Kavanagh, and Charlotte Perrelli, were sent home disappointed on their second attempts. Good Luck Norway, because you’ll need it!
Romania, The Humans with ‘Goodbye’
Romania has never won the festival, but also never missed a final. This year they should make it to the final with a beautifully constructed rock number. Vastly different to the happy yodel song they sent last year.
Serbia, Sanja Ilic & Balkanika with ‘Nova Deca’
It’s not a bonafide Eurovision if it doesn’t have at least one entry in the style of that hypnotic and exotic Balkan sound! Fortunately, this year Serbia creates a mix of traditional Balkan sound and modern music. And it is a magnificent song, especially the female vocals. The official video is always so perfectly crafted that the live show is the real test to see if such perfect sound can be recreated. Israel was not as pop-tastic on Tuesday as their viral music video. ‘Nova Deca’ will face the same scrutiny.
San Marino, Jessika, featuring Jenifer Brening with ‘Who We Are’
San Marino is a mountainous microstate surrounded by north-central Italy. Among the world’s oldest republics, it might only participate in the Eurovision so people know it exists. They have only made it to the final once, and this year it’s unlikely they’ll place at all.
The song sounds just a little bit too much like Måns Zelmerlöw’s Heroes, which won for Sweden in 2015. ‘Who We Are’ also includes a rap interlude about trolling on Twitter and not being bitter, so that’s a shout out to the youngins. Enjoy the show tonight ladies, as this is probably it for you, and San Marino at Lisbon.
Denmark, Rasmussen with ‘Higher Ground’
Game of Thrones meets Eurovision! Viking Pop! The Danes have entered a song based on a legend about a Viking who refused to fight but stood up for what he believed in. So it’s a peace message. The song was written by two Swedish composers who found the perfect interpreter of their Viking message in the Danish Rasmussen. The song has a 90s feel, so get ready for nostalgia. It’s very much a masc for masc warrior anthem. Pop it on the next time you’re getting ready to go out and see if you butch up for the boys.
Russia, Julia Samoylova with ‘I Will Not Break’
Drama, drama, and more delicious drama. Here’s a little recap, last year Russia invaded Crimea, officially a region that belongs to Ukraine. Anyone entering Crimea from the Russian side would not be granted a visa for Ukraine. Julia had performed in Crimea and was not allowed to enter Ukraine. It’s as if Russia sent Julia to provoke Ukraine. A live connection was suggested, Russia refused and withdrew. Thus Russia was not in the final in Kiev.
This year Julia gets a second attempt, and though the song is better than the one they had planned for Kiev, it’s still not great. Aside from the very serious political squabbling, the biggest problem is that Julia can’t sing.
Moldova, DoReDos with ‘My Lucky Day’
Last year Moldova scored the highest place they’ve ever reached in a final and came in third place with the happy jolly tune, ‘Hey Mama’. Due to that success, they’ve stuck fast to the infectious cheerfulness formula with ‘My Lucky Day’; a delicious mix of traditional folk music, and euro pop. The stage act is a bit clumsy, but strangely enough, that also fits the tune. Moldova, the final should be in your future.
The Netherlands, Waylon with ‘Outlaw in ‘Em’
Waylon is 38 years young and a highly established performer in The Netherlands. He dueted in the 2014 Eurovision with Ilse DeLange finishing in second place with another country tune, ‘Calm After The Storm’. This time he’s back in his own right, and although Waylon is a Netherland’s native, he’s bringing the experience and skill he picked up while training in Nashville, to try and take Europe’s most coveted music award. He won our beauty poll, let’s see if he has the same luck in Lisbon.
Australia, Jessica Mauboy with ‘We Got Love’
It’s Australia’s fourth time to enter the Eurovision. Obviously, it’s not a European country, but neither is Israel, and Azerbaijan’s geography is up for debate.
Australia takes the festival ‘super cereal’. They see participating as a great honor, and rightly so. They send a strong quality song every year because that shows respect for the contest.
It’s not the first time that Jessica is on the Eurovision stage. She already represented Australia in the Eurovision interval performance, of 2014. Jessica is one of the most popular artists in Australia, famous since her participation in Australian Idols in 2006. Her song is a typical Eurovision song with a positive message. ‘We Got Love’ is one of the better songs in the second semi-final.
Georgia, Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao with ‘For You’
Ethno – Jazz Band Iriao is a Georgian jazz and ethno folk group, led by David Malazonia. The band is known for their unique style due to the combination of traditional Georgian polyphonic singing and jazz. ‘For You’ is a beautiful combination of male vocals, classical instruments, and effortless charm. They should make it through the second semi-final, but will this empowering Georgian lullaby be enough to win outright? Unlikely.
Poland, Gromee feat Lukas Meijer with ‘Light Me Up’
Poland has been doing well for years, despite themselves. It’s partly because of the televoting, and mostly because their songs are hard to forget. Remember the sexy churning milkmaids? (Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic).
This year they’re taking things a little more seriously and have sent Gromee, a DJ in the tradition of the recently departed Avicii. The vocals emanate from the diaphragm of Swedish singer Lukas. The final is more or less guaranteed.
Malta, Christabelle with ‘Taboo’
Malta’s entry ‘Taboo’ could strike a chord with the gay community with these lyrics:
“But sticks and stones won’t break my soul, Gotta be your own miracle, miracle.”
The performer, Christabelle, co-wrote this song. It’s a personal number about mental health and stigma. She’s committed to breaking the taboo surrounding mental health and is an ambassador for a mental health foundation in Malta. She is also a welcome guest at Malta’s LGBTQ Pride because she opposes any form of discrimination. So, a socially engaged lady.
Hungary, AWS with ‘Viszlát Nyár’
With a sound that echoes the passion and energy of Lordi, this heavy metal Hungarian band might be dismissed by a Eurovision audience as meaningless noise, but listen carefully and let them convince you they have something worthwhile to contribute. The band wants to make a different sound and they make music for the music and not to become famous. Extra points for singing nicely in Hungarian.
Latvia, Laura Rizzotto with ‘Funny Girl’
Get ready for Latvia in the second semi-final. Well, what can we say about ‘Funny Girl’ apart from, it’s not funny? Laura is half Brazilian, half Latvian, she lived and studied in New York, and her last name sounds like an Italian dish. The number and her voice are similar to something Alicia Keys might bang out at a wedding. Unlikely to place. Next!
Sweden, Benjamin Ingrosso with ‘Dance You Off ‘
Sweden has won six festivals to date and is the current ‘one to watch’ of the competition. Ireland still holds first place with seven wins under their belt, but Ireland’s glory days are a distant memory while Sweden’s lucky streak is much more recent and relevant. A win this year mean’s they’ll be tying with Ireland for the most crowns in the treasure chest.
Representing Sweden in this year’s competition, Benjamin Ingrosso will be performing the song ‘Dance You Off.’ The lyrics are about getting over an ex by embracing the party spirit. Benjamin shares 6th place in our beauty poll with Ryan O’Shaughnessy, and both are young, established artists in their home countries. Sweden has performed incredibly well at the Eurovision. Could this be Benjamin’s year to take home the trophy? We’ll see.
Montenegro, Vanja Radovanovic with ‘Inje’
Montenegro has not yet won the festival, not even when it was still together with Serbia, nor as part of Yugoslavia. The last time they were in the finals was in 2015 with the traditional Balkan Sound, so they decided to bring it back this year.
Last year they didn’t place with the wonderfully bizarre, alternative, and queer Slavko Kalezić’s Space, the guy with the tightly wrapped, super long ponytail. Remember his spinning head in the semis in Kiev?
This year’s Balkan ballad is instantly forgettable and they’re unlikely to see the final on Saturday. Send back Slavko next year, Europe is ready!
Slovenia, Lea Sirk with ‘Hvala, Ne’
With 23 appearances since their debut in 1993 and 13 finals, Slovenia has some experience points at the Eurovision. The song this year features a repetitive sound in the chorus that can work on your nerves. Lea brings a unique sound, and her voice is distinguished. We’ve heard reports that she likes to sing naked, so that’s cool with us. Although, she’ll probably wear something on stage in Lisbon.
Ukraine, Melovin with Under ‘The Ladder’
Ukraine has a big problem this year. Among the things on the official list of prohibited items is a ladder. How are they going to solve this? LOL.
On a more serious note, in the fourteen times that Ukraine has participated, they have always made it to the final, and this year they are super likely to continue that trend. As one of the most successful Eurovision countries, they have a reputation to uphold. Melovin is the artist’s name based on the word Halloween and the last name of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. So, Melovin is a scary queen? He also wears a strange lens in one eye, because that’s fashion? (You can’t make this shit up!) The song is a nice pop track and a suitable conclusion to the second semi-final.
And you can watch the live stream of the second semi-final here:
That’s it for tonight. At the end of the second semi-final the qualifiers for the real final will be announced in no particular order. You can compare the actual results against what our Romeos predicted to see if we match Europe’s choices, or if we perhaps diverge?
Well release one final Cheat Sheet for the Grand Finale on Saturday when all finalists have been announced. So, stay tuned.
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