EUROVISION: Semi Final 1 Review

8pm (BST), 9pm (CET) and all will be revealed in Semi Final One!

8pm (BST), 9pm (CET) and all will be revealed in Semi Final One!

Tonight, 16 countries will battle it out for ten places in the Eurovision Grand Final 2015. I’m not going to deny it, it is a bit of a ballad fest this year with many slow songs amongst the very few upbeat songs – which means the United Kingdom might just avoid nil points. In preparation for such festivities I’ve looked at all the tracks – and here are my thoughts:

Moldova
Nice upbeat start, good strong beat. For a Eurovision that according to the forums is supposed to be full of ballads it’s nice that the first song I properly review is what I’d consider to be upbeat. A touch repetitive but this could really work on the stage, and should be big and bold. 7/10

Armenia
This is a real cobbler of a song. So many different tempos, beats and styles plus a jarring use of some chord sequences, which means it’s a no from me. The chorus is catchy enough however I don’t think it’s going to be enough to see the song through. 3/10

Belgium
It’s another slow song that’s following the same idea of a strong beat, though the jarring melody has been replaced by a drumbeat. It’s pleasant enough – but possibly still too much for your average Radio 2 listener. It’s trying to be dark and edgy and could work when performed. Unfortunately it just isn’t anything to get excited about. 5/10

Netherlands
This has a nice Corrs vibe to it, and I could quite happily sway along to this waving a suitable flag. This has a good chance of qualifying for the final I suspect – the only issue it may have is that it is very much your typical middle of the road song – pleasant and inoffensive with nothing to make it stand out. It is, however, a yes from me! 6/10

Finland
Now this is seriously different. Think heavy rock – lots of drums and electric guitars. Unfortunately without sounding too harsh given the band’s composition, the lyrics are totally incomprehensible to me and it just sounds like a lot of noise. I can only hope the performance is better. It does however sound better than Armenia… just. 3.5/10

Greece
You couldn’t get an entry more unlike last year’s ‘Rise Up’ if you tried. Dark, atmospheric and the typical key change highlight this ballad – it’s even got a dramatic pause at its climax to help us along. Unfortunately it’s going to be performance dependent, it’s another nice enough nothing special type song. 6/10

Estonia
We’ve had the jarring ballad, the Corrs ballad, the dark ballad…. This is the mid-tempo indie-esque ballad. Lots of guitars with a bit of jazz rhythm going through it, this is quite a likeable tune and I can see why it is quite well favoured. Good song. 7/10

FYROM
Another ballad echoes through FYROM. This time it’s piano based. Typically Eurovision with flashes of Westlife. I’ll be honest I don’t like it – maybe because it’s getting difficult to tell these songs apart. Just one slow song after another. I think Europe might be bored by this point. 4/10.

Serbia
A nice soothing, gentle drumbeat introduces this cute little song from Serbia. It quite nicely picks up the tempo fairly early on and has a nice anthemic feel, before pumping up the tempo to a steady dance beat. This could be an underrated song in this year’s contest. I quite like it – go Serbia! 8/10

Hungary
A simple guitar background, and a solo female singer to begin with. This is another entry which grows but instead of layers of music, it grows in layers of voices. This could work very well on the night if presented right – very simple. I’m picturing candles and a close, friendly atmosphere. Another likeable track. 7/10.

Belarus
Another slow start on piano that builds to a slightly repetitive building steady mid-tempo beat. Nice enough, and is bound to pick up votes – but unfortunately not from me. 5/10.

Russia
The lyrics of this song almost make it like a love letter from Russia to the rest of Europe. Can we start again? We can shine. It’s hopeful, and almost has that Disney feel to it that the Ukraine captured so well a couple of years ago with ‘Gravity’. It’s clearly a very strong entry from the Russians and it will probably do a lot better than most people want it to. 8/10.

Denmark
The bad news for Russia is that after Russia comes this. Upbeat, catchy, happy – it’s got that really nice 70s pop-rock feel to it that just makes even the worst of days feel that little bit better – and as they say ‘Just the way you are, that can make my day, bad times go away.’ A definite qualifier 9/10.

Albania
It’s a nice middle of the road track with some dramatic elements. This should qualify – it’s nice enough. 7/10

Romania
Another ballad! Simple piano this time with a male singer. Following the blueprint it picks up around the one minute mark to something that falls into middle of the road before slowing again for another sentimental finish. Essentially it doesn’t stand out enough. 6/10.

Georgia
Dark, gutsy, strong drums and more importantly something that has a bit of tempo characterizes this track from Georgia. I can imagine a really good dance mix of this being done for the clubs with someone that has far better DJ skills than I. It’s a good one! 7.5/10

So… Here are the results of the nutleyone.co.uk jury!!
12 points: Denmark
10 points: Serbia
08 points: Russia
07 points: Hungary
06 points: Georgia
05 points: Belgium
04 points: Moldova
03 points: Albania
02 points: Estonia
01 point : The Netherlands

 Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 1 is being broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Three, 8pm tonight. Commentary will be provided courtesy of Scott Mills an Mel Giedroyc.