Sunday 20 October 2019

Eurovision Semi 1 – How we rate the ten qualifiers

Brian O'Reilly in Malmo

LAST night we saw the first ten qualifiers for this year's Eurovision final, now we cast a critical eye over the performances.

Ireland: Ryan Dolan

No one could argue after watching Ryan’s performance last night that we didn’t deserve to qualify.

For someone who only took up singing recently and has very little TV experience, he delivered the song like a pro.

He looked confident and happy, he communicated well with camera without being cheesy, and himself and the girls were in fine voice.

The Bodhran playing backing dancers and great graphics gave the performance a uniquely celtic feel.

He’s been drawn to perform in the second half of the final, and with a built of luck we could see ourselves back in the top 10 – or maybe even top 5.

Rating: 9/10

Moldova: Aliona Moon

She certainly had one of the most eye-catching performances of last night.

She wore a dress with built in LED panels which put on a display during her song, before the dress lifted her up towards the sky – it typical understated Eurovision elegance.

She’s not going to bother the top 5 on Saturday, but might nab the lower end of the top 10.

Rating: 7/10

Lithuania: Andrius Pojavis

It was probably the biggest upset of the night to see Lithuania qualifying, very few had seen it in the mix come results time.

Andrius looked quite bored throughout, and if he can’t be bothered to sell a song how can we be bothered to buy it?

It would come as no surprise to see this at the bottom of the scoreboard come Saturday.

Rating: 3/10

Estonia: Birgit

Again this was one of the bigger surprises of the night, however many had ruled Birgit out not based on technical ability, but the song’s drabness.

However she turned in a faultless vocal, communicated well with the camera and won over Europe.

I’d imagine the juries helped her over the line, and it will be telling to see how she performs in a more crowded field on Saturday.

Rating: 6/10

Belarus: Alyona Lanskaya

Belarus have a poor qualification record, only making the cut twice, but in a night full of ballads this would always stand out.

The performance at times seemed it was going to overload the Eurovision cliché machine – She came out of a giant disco ball, in a sparkly sequined dress, enough fire works to destroy a small town, wind machines, broken English – and of course the catchy ethno dance track.

She was drawn in the first half of the show, and I wouldn’t be surprised if producers decide to open the show with her.

Rating: 7/10

Denmark: Emmelie de Forest

Since last night’s performance Emmelie has cemented her position with the bookies as runaway favourite.

And it’s easy to see why, she oozes charms on camera, the song builds to a soaring conclusion, and in a night of astronauts and giants this seems so much for authentic.

Rating 10/10

Russia: Dina Garipova

If Bealarus broke the cliché machine for a dance track, this did likewise for a ballad.

But boy, Eurovision knows how to stage a good old ballad.

Dina sounded fantastic, and the performance used great wide shots of the arena to create a spine tingling conclusion to her performance.

Rating: 8/10

Belgium: Roberto Bellarosa

Many thought if Belgium qualified Ireland wouldn’t – however both managed to make the cut.

It could have been Roberto’s Bieber like looks which helped him over the line, however the song is quite catchy.

He won the Voice in his homeland less than a year ago, and some stage nerves are still on show.

Rating: 7/10

Ukraine: Zlata Ognevich

If there was ever a sure thing for qualification, this was it.

Ukraine is one of less five countries with a perfect qualification record from Eurovision semi finals.

This year’s song is well staged, and Zlata comes over well on camera – if a little cold.

The giant who carries her on stage is one of the more bizarre touches, and seems to be a gimmick just for the sake of it.

However it could be a contender for the win on Saturday.

Rating: 8/10

The Netherlands: Anouk

This was by far one of the most assured and professional performances of the night.

Anouk oozes life experience and it shines through when she delivers her song.

There was quiet confidence Netherlands would qualify for the first time since 2004, however nerves were fraught when they were left as the last country announced.

Rating: 10/10

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