Eurovision First Listen: Preview of the First Semi-Final

One last first listen to the Eurovision Song Contest Semifinal number 1.

It’s almost time for Part 2 of the Eurovision coverage at What Else is On to begin. To give all the tracks some fresh perspective, Mike and I are trading semi-finals.  Before I let go of Semifinal 1’s songs, though, I wanted to give my first ranking of how I’d currently want things to shake out come May in Copenhagen:

Making the Cut

  1. Iceland – This song manages to satiate my hipster impulses and my love of a good Eurovision-y pop song.  I am also possibly the only person ranking it as their number one, but the song makes me happy.
  2. Sweden – A perfect example of how to build a power ballad over 3 minutes.  Sweden is full of quality songwriters and this is another proud export.
  3. Netherlands – I think how this one does will depend on how much Europe loves Americana, but I thought this was surprisingly gorgeous.
  4. Hungary – Like Iceland, this manages to mix a Big Issue with a Big Melody to good effect.
  5. Armenia – Amongst this year’s surprising number of mid-tempo ballads with dubstep elements, this one is the cream of the crop.
  6. Azerbaijan – Azerbaijan’s near-scientific method for generating Eurovision songs produces another great, smoky number.
  7. Moldova – This isn’t my favorite entry from Moldova, but there’s a lot of interesting things going on that could do well on the big stage.
  8. San Marino – I’m really pulling for Valentina Monetta this year.  Hopefully this year’s mid-tempo ballad will go all the way to the final.
  9. Russia – It feels slapdash and last minute (and it is), but Russia’s song is surprisingly decent.
  10. Ukraine – Updated lyrics have raised this one in my opinion, but it still remains middle of the pack.

Not Quite There

  • Portugal – This would have killed at the 2003 contest.  Unfortunately, it’s 2014.
  • Montenegro – There are a lot of “meh” ballads this year.  This is one of them.
  • Albania – Although the arrangement’s better, Albania’s song is still really wordy, and the English translation doesn’t help.
  • Estonia – This feels like a copy of a copy of “Euphoria”, and Tanja’s voice rubs me the wrong way
  • Belgium – This is another one of the “meh” ballads.
  • Latvia – I was raised to not say anything if you couldn’t say anything nice, but the hell with that.  I actively hate the lyrics of this song.  There is no way in hell this is winning.  Nul points.

We’re back tomorrow with Mike’s thoughts and initial rankings for Semifinal 2. Here is a refresher on the running order for the first Eurovision semi-final:

Eurovision Song Contest 2017 First Semi-Final

1SwedenRobin BengtssonI Can't Go On1241032273
2GeorgiaTamara GachechiladzeKeep the Faith62379911 (-16)
3AustraliaIsaiah FirebraceDon't Come Easy139211606
4AlbaniaLindita HalimiWorld38387614 (-39)
5BelgiumBlancheCity Lights401251654
6MontenegroSlavko KalezićSpace17395616 (-59)
7FinlandNorma JohnBlackbird41519212 (-23)
9PortugalSalvador SobralAmar pelos dois1731973701
10GreeceDemyThis is Love615411510
11PolandKasia MośFlashlight50691199
12MoldovaSunStroke ProjectHey Mamma1111802912
13IcelandSvalaPaper29316015 (-55)
14Czech RepublicMartina BártaMy Turn8128313 (-32)
16ArmeniaArtsvikFly with Me87651527
17SloveniaOmar NaberOn My Way16203617 (-79)
18LatviaTriāna ParkLine1202118 (-94)
These 18 countries competed in the first semi-final of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday, May 9. Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom also voted during this semi-final to determine the 10 countries that advanced to the Grand Final on Saturday, May 13.

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