The 2nd semifinal also opens with beautiful images of the Netherlands. Eefje de Visser and the ballet with Redouan Ait Chitt can then be seen on stage in Ahoy. After that we see the presenters. Edsilia Rombley stands out most because of her bright green dress, and what you cannot see from afar: Nikkie de Jager’s dress has stitching in the colors of the trans flag.
San Marino: Senhit wears one thing around her head at the start of her act. It most closely resembles an icon, and at the first rehearsal there were also images of Christ on it. They were later replaced by photos of Flo Rida, but they are now redundant because Flo Rida is on stage herself. We are absolutely sure of a place in the finale.
Estonia: Uku Suviste had to fight for his place at the 2021 festival himself, even though he was already the candidate in 2020. Still, many feel that he got so many votes this year out of pity. He is a good singer, but with this song he really does not convince us. No Eurovision final for Estonia this year.
Czech Republic: In recent days, Benny Cristo has been everywhere. Now that he is on stage, we still feel that he has forgotten to take that energy with him into Ahoy. We get a very strong feeling something is missing. His voice is not perfect either. We think it is not impossible for Benny to reach the final, but it will be hard.
Greece: Stefania, who represents Greece, is secretly also a bit from the Netherlands, because she comes from Uitrecht. Greece has pulled out the technical gadgets of the greenscreen, which makes it seem as if the dancers are invisible. You only see their clothes. In addition, Stefania seems to float through the city. Greece, Stefania in the lead, makes something beautiful out of it. She will very likely reach the final.
Austria: Another prayer, again “Amen”. David Bueno sings a ballad in which he can let us hear his strong voice. The staging has been kept simple. With the LED light around him, the whole thing is still spectacular. If Belgium succeeds on quality alone, you would say that Austria succeeds too. We think that’s what’s gonna happen.
Poland: Hardly anyone believes in the Polish entry. The question that arises is whether Rafal does that himself. Rafal is on stage with four dancers and wears sunglasses. All fine, but with his song he doesn’t seem to impress for a single moment during the entire song. No final for Poland this year.
Then Nikkie de Jager shows up. She gives the floor to Molly Sandén, who sang the soundtrack of “Eurovision Song Contest: the story of Fire Saga”. We also see Jeangu Macrooy pass by for a short while.
Moldova: Natalia Gordienko once played a (scantily clad) supporting role, now she plays a leading role in the Moldovan entry about sugar, surrounded by dancers. Lots of pink on stage, but we still have the feeling that the Moldovan team has run out of sugar. Unfortunately, Moldova makes very little impression. However, it can still reach the final.
Iceland: Do you see the Icelanders? In fact you don’t really see them, because they are not allowed to enter the stage stage. So you will see a recording of one of the rehearsals. The green sweater and the wicked dance: it has been thought through. Same goes for the instruments. We can reveal that they are not real. Still, it looks like a slick show. Nobody has any doubts about a place in the finale.
Serbia: There is something weird about the Serbian entry: unlike you might expect, the ladies can sing quite good. Their dance is a bit stiff. Unlike the song, the Hurricane ladies themselves are not really rocking. Our entire team expects the girls to be in the final.
Georgia: Before the festival, Tornike Kipriani grumbled that it was a shame you had to participate in such a shit show. Now he brings his ballad with verve with his Leonard Cohen-like voice. It is not such a shit show. Georgia is not going to reach the final.
Albania: Just like two years ago, Albania has remained close to its own culture. The song is sung in Albanian. Lots of red and green smoke, especially in the second half a kind of golden glow like the setting sun. Does the Albanian trick work twice in a row? It’s not impossible, but it will be difficult.
Portugal: Nobody gave a cent for the Portuguese entry beforehand. But with the right staging, people are no longer so sure that this will go wrong. Portugal starts in the time when the world was still in black and white, to bring some color to the stage halfway through the song. Portugal can be the big surprise in the final.
Then Chantal Janzen will reveal that we are going to see former winners this Saturday. In the meantime she talks to Helena Paparizou (ESF05).
Bulgaria: Victoria sits on a rock in the middle of a virtual sea. The picture is one of her and her father. That picture is dear to her because of her and her father. The father has ALS and therefore cannot be in Rotterdam. Viktoria’s vocals are fantastic as always. Bulgaria in the final? Was that a question? We know the answer: yes.
Finland: You may not raise your middle finger in the family program that the Eurovision song contest is: then you paint it red. A number of metal fans were angry that the song is called metal. So, dear reader, this is not metal. It is enjoyable for those who like heavy rock. Or would people who enjoy enjoyment get angry now? Anyway, we will see Finland back in the final.
Latvia: Samanta Tina brings a song that is extremely suitable for getting everything out of the closet in an act. We don’t understand why she doesn’t. Samanta is a fantastic singer. Given the mudguards the backing singers seem to look for a job at the Dutch Railway Company. But the train does probably not go to the final.
Switzerland: Ceci n’est pas Duncan Laurence. Gjon’s Tears sings his French ballad on a plastic scaffold. Lots of black and white in the background. Like Duncan Laurence, he lacks the talent to jump out of control vocally; no matter how high they are, the notes come out perfectly with Gjon. We are convinced of a place in the final.
Denmark: The writer of this has, during the first lockdown, reviewed a number of old Danish preselections. It has to be admitted, this entry would have fitted in perfectly. It is a pleasure for lovers of the eighties sound. The vocals are not always good. Where are Kirsten & Søren (ESC 84, 85 and 88) when you need them? It will be tough for the Danish to reach the final.
Then we are treated to “Close encounters of a special kind”, as Jan Smit announces it. Ballet dancer Ahmad Joudez and BMX rider Dez Maarsen will perform. Something spectacular again, so we’re sorry, but you can’t go to the toilet again. Some videos of viewers follow. And after another recap, Duncan Laurence, Izhar Cohen, Getty Kaspers, Ruslana, Nicole and Niamh Kavanagh will be seen and they talk about their experiences. And then it’s time for a second part of Eurovision Tutorials. Now she will explain how to win.
And you can also hear fragments of three direct finalists:
France: Edith Piaf is alive! You can say a lot about Barbara Pravi, for example that she can sing well, has a strong stage performance, a strong song… well, you know what we mean. Strong entry from France.
United Kingdom: The country that is so strong in the world of pop music, is so disappointing in the Eurovision Song Contest. Two lamps pretending to be trumpets are a nice idea, but if the singer sings that badly with a song that is not too strong, it’s still not a success.
Spain: In itself there is nothing wrong with the Spanish entry. However, Blas Cantó’s singing left something to be desired throughout the week. The performance he gave away at the jury final was the best of the whole week. But it is still not strong enough, no matter how much sympathy we have for the singer.
photo credits: EBU