Eurovision 2017: Semi-Finals 1

And we’re off! This year Eurovision takes place in the Ukraine, after last year’s win. The theme is Celebrate Diversity, and with any luck these performers will be as bonkers as years past.

It always strikes me as incredible how international it is. Like, when I see the people doing announcers I am constantly thinking about being sent to another country to cover a giant version of American Idol. The US has nothing like that and we’re missing out.

The opening is a Ukranian pop star named Monatik performing Spinning. The song and performance are nothing special, but we do get to see that the stage designers are married to the massive screen below the stage, which looks like the strobe rings on a record player.

The hosts are, for the first time, three men (Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk, Timur Miroshnychenko). I will officially be the last person to point out that Celebrate Diversity may not be best served by three white men.

Sweden – Robin Bengtsson – “I Can’t Go On”

Night at the Roxbury + OKGO. It’s guys in shiny suits on treadmills. Weak vocals, much of the choreography is literally just doing catalog poses, and the best part was the 80s laser yearbook background video.

Georgia – Tamara Gachechiladze – “Keep the Faith”

The 80s theme continues with a performance heavily inspired by the Gatekeeper from Ghostbusters. There is no Dana, only Tamara.

Australia – Isaiah – “Don’t Come Easy”

And we have the first performer to actually utilize the giant screen that makes up the entirety of the stage decor. Stiff performance, great voice. Well, until he attempted falsetto and stepped on a cat.

Albania – Lindita – “World”

If you’ve ever wanted to see Sarah Brightman perform in front of the opening to Doctor Who, then this is the song for you! Niche market, but I suppose there has to be someone searching for just that.

Belgium – Blanche – “City Lights”

Blanche plants herself in the center of the stage and does. Not. Move. An. Inch. However, I truly love the song and will probably buy her album.

Montenegro – Slavko Kalezić – “Space”

Slavko appears to be made entirely of sexual leers and braided hair. His song is about exploding galaxies, rockets to the stars, and most evidently, sex. The most amateurish vocals and performance, and no one cares because it’s bonkers and that’s why we’re all here.

I forgot about the hosts until they popped back on-screen at this point. Whatever the opposite of missing someone, that’s how I feel about these guys.

Finland – Norma John – “Blackbird”

Oddly subdued, on the nose lyrics, and constructed like a Coldplay song. Just one short segment of a whole song, over and over again.

Azerbaijan – Dihaj – “Skeletons”

Portugal – Salvador Sobral – “Amar pelos dois”

Salvador appears to be the generation heavily inspired by Adam Sandler’s Opera Man. Still, oddly charming.

Greece – Demy – “This Is Love”

I sort of nothinged this one.

Poland – Kasia Moś – “Flashlight”

think this was in English. I do know that it was written by taking a Mad Libs and just filling in all the answers from a rhyming dictionary.  Then they put the theme from Saw into the orchestration. Fin.

Moldova – SunStroke Project – “Hey, Mamma!”

The sax player? That’s the Epic Sax Guy. I know there was stuff going on between the sax solos, but I wasn’t paying attention. The only other things I noticed were transforming bridal dresses, and the violinist looked like a coy Tobey Maguire.

Iceland – Svala – “Paper”

This was a weird place for the CW to unveil Dagger’s costume.

Czech Republic – Martina Bárta – “My Turn”

Generic ballad performed by… Robin Sparkles?

Cyprus – Hovig – “Gravity”

There are always a few ultra-generic pop songs. Like, could-be-from-any-country boy band runoff that’s just trickled down to the stage. Like Cyprus this year.

Armenia – Artsvik – “Fly with Me”

Yasss. This is one of those numbers that has enough ethnic edge that it stands out. Combined with eye-catching choreography, and this is solid a solid performance.

Slovenia – Omar Naber – “On My Way”


Latvia – Triana Park – “Line”

It was nice to see A) a band and B) someone actually utilizing the stage space. Unfortunately their song wasn’t very good and never really found a groove. A disappointing end to the first evening.

And we have the first semi-finals of Eurovision. Here’s looking forward to more weirdness this Thursday.

About Adam

Adam is a Jewish American who's sick of the white Christian male being America's "default" setting. For money he works in a public library because free books and information access are wonderful things. For love he writes here for his pet project, The Chaotic Neutral, which is always looking for more writers. You can follow him on Instagram, Goodreads, and at his oft neglected Twitter where he will try to post more, and probably live-tweet the Eurovision Song Contest.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.