TURIN, Italy (Fwrd Axis) – Switzerland, Armenia, Iceland, Lithuania, Portugal, Norway, Greece, Ukraine, Moldova, and the Netherlands successfully came through the first Eurovision semi-final.
Albania opened the show with her high-energy performance of Sekret. It got the crowd going but vocally seemed just a tad off, which may have cost her. Latvia continued that energy and took it to another with Eat Your Salad. It engaged the crowd but not the voters.
By contrast, Lithuania followed up with a slow and sensual retro performance of Sentimentai that voters responded to. Boys do Cry from Switzerland allowed Marius Bear to showcase his voice, and the voters rewarded him.
Slovenia came with Disko and tried to bring more energy than the more stationary singers before them. More experienced performers outshone LPS and they didn’t advance.
The favorites came up sixth, and Ukraine got a massive ovation from the crowd. They were engaged the whole time, singing and clapping along. That is regularly a good sign for a favorite. Their performance was very well done and cemented their status as favorites.
Bulgaria’s Intelligent Music Project with Intention surprised many with its performance. Still, it may have been better suited for a live concert than the Eurovision TV show. The Netherlands De diepte was a phenomenally emotional performance that saw S10 crying by the end. The staging was a little too simple, but there is time to correct it between now and the final.
The following two songs were unique, both using styles that could only be from their country. Moldova’s meandering train journey lifted the crowd and had an energy that saw it over the line. Portugal has always been unapologetically Portuguese. In sending a song, Saudade continued that with stunning use of the small intimate stage that sent the country through.
Croatia’s Guilty Pleasure had divided opinion, but a staging that really aided in telling the story helped boost its chances. Denmark’s The Show builds to a rock number, but with only three minutes to do your song, that build was risky. The beat lifted again with Austria playing the dance banger Halo that paid homage to 90s Euro-Dance. While the beat fit well in Eurovision, the vocals just couldn’t back it up.
Iceland came in with a slower country ballad from Systur that set up well for Greece and sold the voters. Greece took risks with Die Together and needed the vocals to work, and they did. Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord sang her ballad beautifully to advance.
There was a significant mood change to close the show with Norway’s men from the Moon who executed Give That Wolf a Banana perfectly to advance to the final. Armenia closed the show with an inventive staging that created a closed-off bedroom and brought the audience in and to the final.
While votes were being gathered, the audience was treated to two interval acts. The first was a tribute to Italian Dance Music, including popular songs, including Blue. The other principal act was Diodato performing the song he was supposed to enter Eurovision 2020 with, Fai rumore.
The results saw plenty of shocks leaving many online stunned. The second semi-final is on Peacock at 3 pm Eastern on Thursday.