1) Montenegro - Any chance of qualification requires this to have brilliant staging. Not too sure what on earth is going on with the banner and the horse and so on, but then I have no idea what's going on with the song to be fair. The song is bonkers, they staging is bonkers, it's all just right. Brilliant staging? No. Montenegro need to go further if they want to qualify. I'm hoping they surprise us on Tuesday...perhaps it is a trojan horse they have with them on stage? Barack Obama could get out and start rapping too. Now that would be interesting.
2) Iceland - Sensational staging. So proud to have them in the sweepstake. The backing singers fill the space well, and the backdrop is brilliant. Jonsi looks pretty suave and Greta's violin playing is brilliant. The staging is perfect, there are no stupid gimmicks, although the stare off they have at the end makes me think they are about to go into a shoot off. Nevermind, that awful bloody pause halfway through has gone! Such a contrast from Montenegro...definite qualifiers!
3) Greece - Really nothing special. Thoroughly disappointed. With the media going round saying how she is nothing different, she really could have done something with the staging and mix it up. But she didn't. What on earth is with the shells? She could've least incorporated them into the performance!? Really regret raving about Eleftheria now. The dancing isn't that great either. I am really doubting as to whether this will actually qualify...
4) Latvia - So this is still as terrible as ever. Poor Johnny Logan... What get's me is that Anmary starts off by having a chat with the girls and then they all seem to get excited and it's very much teenage girl sleepover. Teenage. Anmary even mentions she was born in 1980. Anmary is not a teenager, so what on earth is she doing? I suppose the staging could have involved some terrible gimmicks, so at least it's pulled back. I expect there to be a horrible gimmick on Tuesday though, otherwise I will be disappointed.
5) Albania - The staging really suits this, and really is just solely focussed on the vocal, which by the way is just amazing. Rona Nishliu really pulls it off. Again, this is stripped back, but if it wasn't, it would be very much like "huh?" After watching it though, and I pray that Rona takes out the god awful luminous earring thing, I sort of think that she doesn't really fit the song. But let's remind ourselves of how bad the song is though. I would be surprised if this qualifies.
6) Romania - Apart from the fact that she can't really sing and dance at the same time, this will be a brilliant performance! It needed to be really fun and it is. From the glammed up instruments to the cheeky dance routine, Zaleilah really gets the staging it deserves. I'm slightly concerned about the fact that I am more interested in what the instrumentalists are doing than what the lead singer is doing, but that doesn't really matter. The juries might feel the same though, and they wont like that.
7) Switzerland - Switzerland do exactly what they need to do. They do not dress up as monsters, have anything creepy going on, or have some sort of weird female dancer parading herself around. They perform a rock song the way it should be performed. The lead singer is the main attention, there is some silly guitar playing, and the girl on double bass looks like she is trying to feature in "that" Robert Palmer video. Just one problem (again): DICTION!
8) Belgium - Love the song, she seems really sweet...but the performance is soooo boring that I'm afraid even I'll use this as a toilet break. Iris has absolutely no stage presence and this will be forgotten very, very quickly. The background is nice though. Bubbles.
9) Finland - I think Pernilla is under the impression she is Irish. She is wearing green with bright red hair. Only the Irish can pull that off. Ha ha. I take back my earlier negatives about this song, it's actually quite nice when performed live. Because Pernilla follows Belgium, she really needed to up the game to avoid looking like another lifeless singer stood alone on stage...and so the celloist adds so much to this performance that it pushes into a strong qualifier. The fire effects in the background are really nice as well. However, that is the problem. Everything is "nice". This performance will certainly not blow the roof off.
10) Israel - The song is fun and bouncy and takes me to the 70s. The performance matches this. It's fun and bouncy and has a 70ish feel to it. Loving the clockworks in the background and this is definitely a memorable performance. I told you that their experience would be immediately evident! This is similar to Switzerland's performance though, and kind of puts clouds over it sadly. The one problem I have is that the lead singer is theee scariest man with a really creepy smile. It freaks me out. Europe like weird though, don't they?
11) San Marino - Oh My God. Hahahaha! This song is just hilarious. So glad there is a laptop in this performance. Without the gimmicks I would have cried. This performance NEEDS gimmicks badly. The funny thing is, this is memorable. More memorable than others... I'll be watching this in enjoyment too. Okay, forget I said all of that, roll on Cyprus! Oh and... IT'S NOT EVEN A SONG!
12) Cyprus - This performance is slick and effective...there is a definite theme and Greece could really take a leaf from Cyprus' book. The dancing is good, then the dancing is great, and the use of levels is done really well too. Was kind of expecting something like this, but then the staging and performance is brilliant, so it doesn't really matter if I was expecting it or not. One down side...vocals could do with some sharpening...
13) Denmark - After Cyprus, this was incredibly dull. I have seen Soluna do this so many times already, and skipped most of the performance, expecting perhaps something else to happen. Denmark really does not benefit from going after Cyprus. It's sounds boring and the staging is pretty boring. I will give some credit though...Soluna's hat is cool.
14) Russia - The Grannies. They are amazing. The choreography, the costume, the staging, the singing...it's all there! I'm really annoyed though, because I can't see what's on the baking tray! I assume it is a baking tray? Anyway, memorable, amazing, and actually pretty fresh from all the modern commercialism we have already had. This song is going to do really, really well!
15) Hungary - After Russia, I'm really, really not fussed about what Compact Disco are doing. Especially because Israel and Switzerland were able to do it so much better... the performance needs to be a lot more exciting because the song goes on and on and on...not good! Also, does anyone agree that Compact Disco sound like they should be made up of adolescent boys? Sound Of Our Hearts feels too teenage for the ragged looking lead singer of Compact Disco.
16) Austria - This is surprisngly a really slick, professional performance. The choreography and dance take you by suprise, but it's balanced out by the pole dancers, and everything is so so much better than I imagined! This will really wake you up after Hungary have performed, and the LFX halfway through add even more "jazz". Trackshittaz really pull this out the bag! I can see Europe immediately appreciating this, and the good thing is, it's memorable. So if it qualifies, which I think it has a high chance of now, it could end up doing well. Austria's draw is perfect, and I really wouldn't be surprised when this qualifies. Love the performance, loving the song even more now! Brilliant.
17) Moldova - The song is really fun, and so is this performance! Pasha Parfeny brings it, the dancers bring it, the choreography brings it, there is no unnecessary stupid staging...one thing though, WHERE IS THE TRUMPET? Ha ha ha ha. No seriously, the end of the first semi final becomes fresher and fresher, and I think Pasha will really benefit from performing near the end. This isn't that memorable, but peforming second to last means this really will be a strong contender for qualification. I really enjoyed watching it, really like the song, and I am positive Europe will really enjoy this too...and will vote as it's near the end!
18) Ireland - Itsssssss Jedward!! COME ON! These guys definitely bring it to the stage. They have little choreographing, but they don't really need it, they seem to know that their doing, and if they forget, they just start jumping around. And that's what Jedward are all about! Love the fountain...not so much the cheesy Eurovision heart, but nevermind. It's a good performance, good staging, they follow on from Moldova well and finish the evening nicely. I don't know how the Irish government are affording that fountain though... hahaha! WELL, I think we can already presume these guys are in the final...will they finish higher than 8th though?
BEST of the evening: Iceland, Romania, Russia
WORST of the evening: Latvia, Belgium, Hungary
Most suprising: Austria
Least surprising: Greece
Iceland, Romania, Finland, Israel, Cyprus, Denmark, Russia, Austria, Moldova, Ireland.