23 January 2018
Saturday, 15 February 2014 20:49

Iceland: Söngvakeppnin 2014 - LIVE

Gott Kvöld! We're all set in Malta, to see who Iceland will be selecting as their next representative in the upcoming edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the beginning, RUV received round about 300 submissions, the largest amount to date with ten (10) acts competing in two (2) semi-finals. From each semi-final, two (2) acts had to qualify with the professional jury at liberty to select up to two (2) wildcards, one from each respective semi-final, something which they also did, thus bringing up the total number of acts for this evening to six (6).

WebTV, a feature initiated by eurovision.tv will be offering a live stream of the broadcast, directly from RUV, kicking off in a couple of minutes time. In recent years, Iceland has always been part of the final at the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, they hope that their selection this evening will entail them to make it through to the final stage of the competition once more. Ragnhildur Steinunn Jónsdóttir & Guðrún Dís will be responsible for hosting the show. In the first round of voting, the jury has been allocated 50% with the general public also allocated 50%, but then in the second round of voting, with the top two (2) songs in tow, the general public ONLY will determine the winner.

The Show (Part 1)

Well, our hosts for the evening, are seemingly chatting to everyone they find on the streets and showing them photographs of artists who have been to the Eurovision Song Contest, and who are representative of the Icelandic music scene. The funny thing is that the public is seemingly not recognising their faces and for example referred to Eythor as Jesus. It has been a pretty weird opening thus far, but nevertheless, the audience is ready, set in their seats for the selection!

Running Order

F.U.N.K. - Þangað til ég dey (Ottósson, Finnbogason and Arnarsson)

Interestingly enough, I quite like this track and that is probably because it had a bit of a retro feel, one which I am very much inclined to enjoy. The lead vocalist is wearing the most bizarre blazer, one which would still suit my wardrobe. His vocals are spot on but his overconfidence on stage makes him look super weird and I do not even want to comment on the weird movement by the rest of the group on stage. The audience has gone mad for an electronic piano solo. This is just all over the place, and I honestly cannot believe that I am watching the Icelandic final. Horrible start!

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Ásdís María Viðarsdóttir - Amor (Johnson)

A fan-favourite which only got through thanks to the wildcards awarded by the professional members of the jury. One has got to love the beginning, both in terms of composition and staging, noting that the stage has gone all dark albeit some dry ice. Ásdís is wearing a black gown and some make-up gone wrong, or tribal, whatever you decide! The vocals are sultry, and lead you to something bigger, and better but I believe that the presentation should be done differently. The audience enjoyed that and this could very much be our winner!

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Sigga Eyrún - Lífið kviknar á ný (Olgeirsson & Eyrún)

Well, it seems that one of the songs intentionally planned for the hit musical Chicago has found itself competing to represent in the Eurovision Song Contest. They decided to also make use of the costumes; feather boas, curtains and all. It is a sweet little number, but I just cannot see this being performed on the international stage because it lacks the punch to make it a big track. Throw in a long note in the middle of the song to give it some character .. NO! It does not work that way but who am I to criticise, apart from being a potential voter in a couple of months. This is also all over the place and I am extremely disappoint.

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Gissur Páll Gissurarson - Von (Helgason)

It has become customary to include a opera performer in the selection process and Iceland has decided in favour of this as well. Technically speaking, it is one of the better songs in the selection this evening and I would definitely not be surprised should the juries go for it. Gissur is wearing a tuxedo, minus the bow-tie to have a taf of an edge and he is joined by a pianist and an acoustic guitar player. The vocals are strong but I feel like this song is a bit too dated to compete at the Eurovision Song Contest, unless the arrangement is picked up and re-done in a manner where it could be made a hit.

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Gréta Mjöll Samúelsdóttir - Eftir eitt lag (Björgvinsdóttir / Sævarsdóttir)

Our lead vocalist has taken to the left part of the stage, playing Gianluca's ukelele and then, as the music picks up, she takes to the middle of the stage, joined by two (2) female backing vocalists playing the guitar and the accordion and another female playing the cahones. The music is fun, and it definitely stands out from the rest of the line-up this evening. It would very much be a travesty to see this song go to waste, noting that it is my pick to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest. The bridge is infectious and I could see the tiny nation being noticed, in a similar manner Malta was in 2013. Good Luck Greta!

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Pollapönk - Enga fordóma (Kristjánsson and Gíslason)

Well, the sixth and final song this evening is being presented by a bunch of middle-aged man who had nothing else to do on a Saturday night but embarass themselves live on stage. There is nothing good with this song, starting off with the choice of clothing, exercise gymsuits, or with the presentation, noting the backing vocalists who look like statues, or the beards which definitely are unsuited. The choreography is stupid and silly. Why are they shouting? The audience are enjoying this. I am definitely NOT because I tend to go for quality.

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The Show (Part 2)

Our backstage hosts are currently chatting away to the participants this evening whilst we head onto the main stage in order to watch a recap of the competing entries, as the tele-voting continues. Once more though, our backstage hosts are back on screen in order to chat to the artists who are hoping to represent Iceland in just a coupe of months. Well, we've got a feature with the Olsen Brothers currently and they look amazing. They chat to the backstage hosts about their winning entry Fly On The Wings of Love. Another recap, probably the third of the evening. We get to see Eythor's journey at the Eurovision Song Contest, followed by a super cute children's version of Eg a Lif.

Super-Final

Pollapönk - Enga fordóma (Kristjánsson and Gíslason)

I have lost all my faith in Iceland, and if they pick this song, I will surely put this down as one of the worst songs ever to be played at the Eurovision Song Contest. They had a below average selection and ended up picking this piece of trash in favour of of either Von or Eftir eitt lag. Iceland restore some dignity to yourselves and pick the first song.

Sigga Eyrún - Lífið kviknar á ný (Olgeirsson & Eyrún)

Well, the only difference in the performance this time round is that the song is being performed in English but it still sounds like a discarded cabaret number taken from Chicago or possibly Nine, but that would be too classy. The vocals are strong but the song needs a brand new production, for sure. Nevertheless, this is surely the option for Iceland should they wish to possibly not be ridiculed at the Eurovision Song Contest in the same manner that Silvia Night was a couple of years back.

Winner

Pollapönk - Enga fordóma (Kristjánsson and Gíslason)

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Thursday, 14 February 2013 20:06

Germany: Unser Song für Malmö - LIVE

All of the thirty-nine countries competing in the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest have made reasonable choices in recent years on how to select their entries for the competition, whether through a multi-artist selection, or just a multi-song selection with one artist in tow and the difference has really resulted in varied results for several countries. This evening, Germany will be selecting their entry for the international competition in a selection process that has been coined Unser Song für Malmö. The show which is being organised solely by Das Estre, the main member of the European Broadcasting Union will be quite different to what the people have come to see in these past couple of years and thus, with several renowned artist putting their hat into the ring, it should prove to be quite an entertaining evening.

Their last three entries in the Eurovision Song Contest were Satellite, Taken By A Stranger and Standing Still and they have all managed to finish in the top ten with the first song mentioned being a winner back in the 2010 edition held in Oslo, Norway. This evening, at the TUI Arena in Hannover as from 20:15 CET, the journey to select the next German representative will commence and the fight will be quite vicious according to critics who attended the rehearsal earlier today. There are a number of performers who have garnered respectable fan-bases across the years, even from the European perspective. The show will be hosted by Anna Engelke and will include a panel of judges including; Tim Bendzko, Roman Lob, Anna Loos, Mary Roos and Peter Urban. You can view the show through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Show

The winner of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has just taken to the stage and she is performing her track Euphoria in a huge arena which seems to be situated in Hannover. She is quickly followed by Lena Meyer-Landrut who brought the competition in 2010 and it seems that Satellite is still extremely popular because the people have gone mad. Anke has just taken to the stage wearing a beautiful red dress and many will remember her from hosting the Eurovision Song Contest two years ago, whilst also being slightly political whilst giving the German votes last year, speaking about individuals' rights in Baku. She is one of the most well respected comedians in the country and this seems that it is going to a stunning show. Anke is still introducing this evenings' showcase, and the way that the final result will be decided whilst the audience is really in the mood for such a grand competition. The jury has now been introduced and Anke is interviewing them on their experiences within the music industry.

Running Order 

Finn Martin - Change

Finn Martin is the opening act this evening and he finds a way to fill up that stage because he brings several four aids who are playing the drums and garbage like cans. This scruffy look is not completely authentic because he does seem slightly made up but first and foremost, one has to commend the broadcaster on such an amazing stage. The vocals from Finn are spot on and the fact that he keeps smiling throughout is a definitely positive. The song in itself is catchy especially the chorus and this is a great opening number. Some pyrotechnics at the end of the performance. The graphics used to introduce the act is very similar to the songs seen at the Eurovision Song Contest. 

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Mobilée - Little Sister

The audience is really going for this second entry which is very easy on the ear and could easily be a radio hit based on the pop/rock genre. The female artist is joined by a number of people on stage including a drummer, three guitarists, one of which also plays the tambourine. The screens are showcasing a huge city and the lead performer herself. It is quite nice to see that they managed to get the vibe of the preview video to the stage performance and Whoa! this is looking really good on screen. The vocals are good but dare I say, that they were better in the recorded version. Nevertheless, this really came across well on screen and I would not rule this out of the competition just yet.

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Blitzkids mvt. - Heart On The Line

Blitzkids were always going to be that kind of drawcard which I would either like or rather don't like on the day of the performance and I am actually somewhat in between whilst writing about this performance. An electro/dance track which is surely to be in place whilst in a fashion show or even within the wee hours of morning. The act is well planned though considering the attire which includes a lot of black and silver, well inclusive of the make-up. The graphics for this one are stunning and similar to what was seen in the preview video which you may see below. The song is good but definitely not good enough for the Eurovision Song Contest in my opinion.

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Betty Dittrich - Lalala

The fourth performer of the evening is Betty and she brings about this evenings, first number which could be best described to coming out either a commercial or a musical set in the sixties. The performer is clad in a red dress, the colour of the evening really. Her two male dancers, are wearing cardigans and bow-ties and this is very much my style of clothing. The huge stage is also very fun looking throughout the performance because there are bubbles being showcase with a backdrop of yellow and red. The lighting is superb in the bridge and the vocals are spot on. Brilliant song in my opinion and I would not be surprised should this do well.

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Ben Ivory - The Righteous Ones

The second male performer of the evening is Ben Ivory and he is seemingly looking very tense as he takes to the stage with a dark setup behind him. He is joined on stage by a multitude of individuals who are playing the electrical piano, drums, electric guitar and also backing vocals. Lasers are somewhat the highlight of this song but one has to commend the broadcaster on such a stunning staging, especially when it comes to the lights and Brainpool has really got the best resources in the country to host such a show. The vocals are not on par with the studio recording but have improved as the song developed really. This is good but once more, a radio song not typical of the Eurovision.

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Saint Lu - Craving

Another female performance this evening and Saint Lu as a group have decided that this performance should be pretty muted in terms of visuals because everything behind her is black but then, she is the one to appear on the screen. She is joined on stage by a drummer, a guitarist and a keyboards player. The vocals are really good and much better than on record this time round. When first released, I really liked this song and The Netherlands would surely have a run for their money because this genre is very much the typical presence of Anouk within the industry. The bridge is lacking musicality and that is why, this track shouldn't be considered for the international competition. A good effort nevertheless!

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LaBrassBanda - Nackert

It seems that Germans are somewhat dead beat on sending a band to the Eurovision Song Contest considering that this yet another one which takes to the stage this evening. The lead artist is wearing a green shirt, somewhat extremely casual but he is joined by a whole brass band, and considering the name of the group, that was to be expected. The lighting is a mixture of yellow and green and whilst the vocals are good, the whole track is just purely insane. Are they actually playing the instruments live? because that would have definitely been a story. The people definitely enjoyed that performance though, thus one doesn't mind!

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Nica & Joe - Elevated

The last time that a duet successed at the Eurovision Song Contest, they represented Azerbaijan and it seems that Nica & Joe are much better performers yet lacking the distinctive track. The female performer is clad in a star studded black evening gown whilst her companion is wearing a black suit, rather in smart formal attire. It is quite awkward to denote that they are on a platform and she is still very much taller than him. The fireworks mid-way through the song are literally the kitchen sink thrown at this performance. The backing vocalists are doing a stunning job and seriously, this gave me chills and coudl actually win this evening!

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Mia Diekow - Lieblingslied

No commecial breaks in Germany and the show does indeed continue with what seems to be someone known as Mia in the industry. I wouldn't have been surprised if this type of song was included in the debut album of Lena Meyer-Landrut because this track is totally up her street and would have made a great B-Side to Satellite whils the promotion was taking place. Mia has a distinctive look and this is aided by a strong vocal but nevertheless, the two female backing vocalists somewhat tuined the song because they were not in complete unison. There is also a guitarist, drummer and a cellist behind her and they add to the image of the song. This is still very much a personal favourite of mine though.

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Söhne Mannheims - One Love

Sohne Mannheims entered the preselection as the joint favourites with Cascada but nevertheless, their entry has left a lot to be desired especially considering the tracks that they have released in recent months. They are all clad in dark suits and it does indeed give them a smart look but neverthless, this r'n'b number is not really doing it for me and I cannot imagine Germany sending this to the Eurovision Song Contest because they will assure themselves yet another disappointing result and considering the trouble that they have gone through, it would be quite irresponsible. 

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Die Priester ft. Mojca Erdmann - Meerstern, Sei Gegrüßt

This has got to be the more out of this world type of performance that one will see in this years' edition of the national finals of course and the staging is clearly helping the overall outcome of the performance. The male priests are performing as backup vocalists and the star is surely Mojca who seems to be enjoying her moment in the spotlight whilst fire is lit beside her. The staging is just magical and works with this respective performance. Germany have really gone out of their way to make sure that everything looks great on screen and indeed, this was just stunning. People might not like it, but it is one of my favourites, and wouldn't be disappointed with this winning.

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Cascada - Glorious

Nathalie, the lead singer of Cascada is wearing a black/silver corset and it seems that the arena has gone mad for this performance and that somewhat sums up the way that the televoting will be heading this evening. On stage, two female backing vocalists with a star studded background behind them. Nathalie's vocals are out of this world and suddenly, it seems like she is the one to beat hands down. The track is infectious but nevertheless, the creator of dance music in the twentieth century should head to the Eurovision Song Contest and the host is seen dancing, and performing this. We have a clear winner everyone! This will do Germany proud in Malmo and Whoa! we have purple lit curtains at the end of the performance and the stage is shining,

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The Show (Part 2)

Following the twelve performances, Anke is back on stage and one could barely hear her talk because of the outroar that there is towards Cascada, who is still one of the biggest Eurodance acts to come of the country. Their success does indeed precede them and many think that Germany is a possibility for victory at the Eurovision Song Contest with such a song. A recap of the performances has now also been introduced and thus, the show continues. The international guest of the evening, Loreen is back on stage and she is performing My Heart Is Refusing Me which she entered in the Melodifestivalen in 2011 only to remain in the second chance.

Radio Jump: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

Bremen Vier: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

SR1: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

SWR3: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

Bayern 3: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

Fritz: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

NDR 2: 12 points go to LaBrassBanda

So, we just learned that the total vote of the radio voting will be put into a typical Eurovision vote worth one third of the final vote and more is expected in the coming hour. The jury are actually going to start their voting now and this is surely quite intriguing and it seems that our first judge is enjoying giving our radio winners, just one point and she delves into the rest of her voting. Lena is back on stage now and she is performing her latest single entitled Neon (Lonely People) which is actually one of my favourites from her latest album to be honest.

Jury: 12 points to go Blitzkids.Mkz

Tele-Voting: 12 points to go Cascada 

Friday, 07 December 2012 19:30

Belarus: National Final - LIVE

The 2013 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest will official start to take shape this evening as the excitement in the months preceding the continental showcase marks a series of regional competitions which will see a number of nations select their entry which will they ultimately be represented by in Malmö, Sweden. For the first time in years, the first country to select their entry will not be Switzerland but will actually be Belarus and ten artists will be competing for the prestigious prize. Belarus have not been so lucky in this event noting that they have only managed to qualify to the final on two occasions; the first time being in 2007 thanks to Dmitry Koldun, finishing in sixth place with Work Your Magic and the second time in 2010 with the track Butterflies performed by 3+2 which finished in a resounding twenty-fourth place. They will be hoping to improve on their results with their choice. 

BTRC have been carefully paying attention to their selection procedure in order to avoid controversy, something that has become rather synonymous with the nation. Olga Ryzhikova and Denis Dudinsky have been internally selected as the hosts for the evening and there are a number of guests which will surely make the spectacle enjoyable. As a matter of fact, former representatives; Aleksander & Konstantin as well as Dmitry Koldun along with multiple finalist; Gunesh will be taking to the stage whilst the votes are being counted. Having heard some of the tracks prior to the final, it has to be said that the mixture is quite intriguing and that there are a couple of diamonds in the rough. The result will be decided through a 50% Jury and a 50% Public Vote with the jury having precedence in the event of a tie. The final is being transmitted live as from 20:00 CET through either the broadcasters' official website or through the official website of the Eurovision Song Contest. It is expected to run for around an hour and a half to two hours maximum.

Two hosts seem to be accompanying us throughout the evening - the female host is an evening blue dress whilst the male host is a traditional suit. They seem to be explaining the procedure for the night where they explained how the result will be decided to tonight. Before every song there is a postcard with a Belarussian celebrity introducing the song along with the singer. 

LIVE

01. Vitaly Voronko – I wonder how you

Lame dance moves and loads of colours. It seems like we either went to a bad Junior Eurovision act or else back to the Seventies. I can't understand a word he is singing about. His diction is non-existent and the song goes nowhere. It's cheesy as cheesy can get and the rhythm is a bit catchy but that is as far as it goes. If they are in their right state of mind this song stands no chance at all tonight.

02. Max Lorens – I love your charming eyes

A traditional Belarussian ballad is up next and after what we have witnessed before this sounds pleasant. The four backing singers accompanying the lead singer are in perfect harmony. The song goes nowhere though and surely is not strong enough to leave any impact at the Eurovision Song Contest. Two weak entries so far from the country. I hope that that the best is yet to come.

03. Alyona Lanskaya – Rhythm of love

Four half naked dancers accompany the singer and their routine is perfect, so perfect they all look like robots. The song itself is quite modern though and surely the strongest thus far. The pop dance number is well presented in general. The singer gives a good performance although she was a bit breathless in some parts of the song even though she didn't do a lot of strenuous dance moves. 

04. Yankey – Letter to mother

Did he write just one letter to his mother or a whole he filled a whole notepad because with the amount of paper flying around on stage you'd think he has written down his life in one letter. The dramatic Belarussian ballad goes nowhere. The visuals are over dramatic, the voice is good but his diction is horrendous and the fact that there seem to have been a hurricane on stage does not work. Reminded me of Lost & Forgotten from Russia but this is much worse. 

05. Beaver Band – Incredible girl

 A Robin Williams look-alike leads this crazy band and when I tell you they are crazy, believe me they are. Lame dance moves and crazy antics by all the three leading man of this band and their three mad backing vocalists. He is singing something about 'NEVER'. Well, I have a few suggestions for him. He should never try to sing again, never appear in public and never try for Eurovision unless he wants to make his country look like fools. 

06. Daria – Catch me again

Finally a song that is different and this time round, it is good different. This is how they need to do it. The Cabaret style entry has some original dance moves from the five backing singers and the main singer does a brilliant job in charming her way through this lovely song. It seems it is a song from a musical but a musical you would enjoy watching not one of the horrors we have witnessed before. I guess this is one to watch out for tonight. It's a risk to send to Eurovision but I guess it would be worth it as it is something that we have not seen at the Eurovision Song Contest stage.

07. Uzari – Secret

Four backing dancers and a strong female backing singer with a singer dressed like a Tekken character. The choreography is tight and the visuals are impressive. It is an entry you cannot really forget. I can't understand the whole act though but it seems intriguing and in a strange way I like it but I really do not know why. Oh well.... I just hope I am not losing my sanity watching this final. 

08. Alexey Gross – One way love

A run of the mill ballad is next sung by a young singer who might pull some votes from the young girls at home. He gives an okay performance but the backing singers could have been miles stronger. The song is catchy and it makes a good festival song but I don't believe it is strong enough and different to stand out in Malmo unfortunately. Still with some tweaks, it does have potential. The presentation was pleasant and worked well with the song.

09. Nuteki Band – Save me

Man in black are trying their luck with a boring rock song that seem to feature a giant robot or alien on stage which lifts one of the singers up in the air. It seems that even my screen is in shock as for a second it blacked out. The rap part which was rather mismatched in the song was the only interesting part in it. The end of the world is rumored to be near but if a lot of people will hear this I am sure it is going to be even closer. 

10. Satsura – Get out of my way

He seem to think that by taking his top off he is going to get more votes, oh well maybe it works. His dance entry is decent and the visuals used give it an interesting touch. The backing vocals give the song an amazing feel and I would not be surprised that they saved the best for last tonight. Still not particular enough to stand out at Eurovision but I guess it will be one of four songs that can win tonight's show and with a revamp it can fair well. 

 

The public are shown the recap to vote for their favourite entries - for the country's sake we hope that they don't lose their sanity and vote for one of the decent entries in the competition. Some of them are to weird to be taken seriously and would surely be considered amongst the joke acts of this year.

The public votes goes as follows: 

12 Points - Song 3

10 Points - Song 9

08 Points - Song 10

07 Points - Song 8

06 Points - Song 2 

05 Points - Song 1

04 Points - Song 7

03 Points - Song 5

02 Points - Song 4

01 Point - Song 6

 The 2004 Belarussian representatives start off the interval act with their Eurovision entry 'My Galileo' and they sing another song from their repertoire. Gunesh is up next and she starts off with the song she came 3rd with in this year's competition. Dmitry Koldun is up next and he performs his Eurovision entry and another song from his repertoire. After a number of messages from different celebrities in the country, the singers are all on stage for the final result. 

The winner is Alyona Lanskaya with Rhythm of love. Second time she is declared as the winner of this competition but last year she was amidst a voting scandal and was disqualied. The song in second place then went on to represent the country at the Eurovision Song Contest. In tonight's show the song in second place was Save Me by Nuteki Band and the song in third place is Satsura's Get Out of My Way. 

The lead up to the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest has surely been one of the most significant ones in recent years especially due to the fact that there is a lot of national interest with Malta competing in the finals for the very first time since 2009 when Chiara had taken to the stage for the third time leading her to achieve her lowest showing in the competition. Nevertheless, this evening might be about change because there has been a lot of talk in recent hours that Malta might actually be the country to look out for during the voting with betting odds shortening and improving putting up into a better mid-table position at this stage. At the end of the day, passing the first hurdle has already been a tough cookie to crack and tonight, we are sure that Kurt Calleja and the rest of his band will definitely give the best performances of their entry This Is The Night.

 

Good Evening Europe! Welcome to this years' Eurovision Song Contest brought to you from Baku, Azerbaijan. It has been quite an exhilarating competition this year noting that we have taken you throughout the two weeks with the best possible coverage noting that our team has always been on the alert to make sure that you are updated with the latest interviews, predictions and other tidbits. This evening is going to be special because escflashmalta.com will be leading you throughout the competition with four commentators, the first one being none other than former Junior Eurovision Song Contest representative Sophie who last year made her debut in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Swedish songwriter Magnus Kaxe who has written tracks for the likes of Celine Dion and Clay Aiken amongst others, Local recording artist and Bay Radio charting sensation Christabelle who has also tried to represent Malta in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in the past and of course, Marc Calleja Bayliss, our very own Chief Editor.

The Show (Part 1)

Many people are somewhat gasping at how good the opening of this years' Eurovision Song Contest it and it does feature a lot of traditional elements with drums, flutes and everything traditional and it is the strongest that this could actually be. Once more, we listen to the reigning winning entry of the Eurovision Song Contest as Ell & Nikki take to the stage with the song Running Scared. The female hosts are clad in white dresses and are on their own due to the fact that Ell had just been performed. In the meantime, a video clip of the arena being built is also being shown on screens. 

LIVE

United Kingdom

Sophie: A very simple song and performance! The style is a bit old fashioned for me, but I'm sure people will warm to it! It's a lovely little ballad, but will everyone remember it after 25 more songs, probably not.

Magnus Kaxe: Nice track and Engelbert sings really great! The chorus is amazing! Though the ending wasn't that good. But all in all, a good performance.

Christabelle: Not my fav song but my predictions are that he will do well because he has a huge fan base .. Love the melody of the song though.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Engelbert Humperdinck is the first act of the evening and he is clad in black attire as he has been throughout all of the rehearsals this week. Despite his old age, he seems to be holding well onto his vocals singing clearly and distinctively/. He is joined on stage by a guitarist and also a couple who are dancing a mixture of waltz and ballet. I must say that I am impressed with his rendition this evening and the people are definitely enjoying this because they are really getting into the performance. Unfortunately I still cannot see this in the top ten because he murdered the song during the Jury Rehearsal and will definitely not hit the top ten but that was a good opener.

Hungary

Sophie: This song sounds like something I've heard before, It's not very original.. Could tonight be Hungary's night, I'm not too sure! Also the diction isn't very clear, would have liked to understand the words more, but at least it's in English!

Magnus Kaxe: Electro vibes - in my taste. :) Unfortunately the singers voice is a little bit weak. Power production, love the bass and kick drum. Good punch! One of my favourites.

Christabelle: Loved this song in the semifinal Aswell!!! Great interpretation but it's not a Eurovision song in my opinion but it's one great track still.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Well there has been a change in costume from the semi-final with an orange and black leather jacket. This is the most modern track in the competition and would definitely be played on the radio wherever actually. The vocals today are unfortunately very much over the place and it seems that the dreaded number #2 position has hit once more. This was one of those songs that has been stated to have been saved by the jury but I must say that they might have not made the right choice. A very poor performance of what was in my opinion a very good song.

Albania

Sophie: Not too sure about the snake-like hair round her neck! This song is a bit too much for me, it starts off so lovely and peaceful and then goes down hill in the chorus as it's a bit too shouty for my liking! But most people think shouting is good singing, so this will probably do well, it's pretty memorable!

Magnus Kaxe: Cool singer. She reminds a littke bit of Björk. The song is beautiful and has advanced buildup. Demanding to sing. The melody range must at least over 2 and half octaves. The longer higher notes were unfortunately not that nice to hear...saldy enough.

Christabelle: What a great voice! I wish that I could understand what she s saying hehe but I guess I have to just look at her and her snake around her neck.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Rona has to be one of the most decadent performers in this years' Eurovision Song Contest as she brings to the stage powerhouse vocals as she has always done within each and every performance. The early draw though is definitely not helping and I just cannot imagine this finishing in the top three even though she will most likely finish in the left hand side of the scoreboard. The stage is bathed in black, white and red for most of the performance and she has been saving up her voice as much as possible throughout the day to make sure that she gives a stellar performance. Well done Albania, you should be proud of that performance.

Lithuania

Sophie: A good vocal performance from Donny however he isn't as strong as he was in the semi-finals, he's actually going off pitch on a couple of notes! Very musical theatre in the beginning then changes to a more funky beat! Liked the song on the whole, however his nerves got the better of him.

Magnus Kaxe: This is just silly. Don't understand this ridiculous "song" at all. Love is blind and I wish I was deaf. At least for these three loooooooong boring minutes. Hope it gets zero points tonight.

Christabelle: What's up with the blind fold hehehe I know it's meant to be love is blind but hehe.. The song is quite good and he has a great voice ... The only thing I don't like about him are his dance moves hahha

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This had to be one of the surprise qualifiers during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest and wearing a black suit with a white shirt and a black glittery blindfold, he takes to the stage and performs what seems to be a ballad earlier on but then mid-way through the performance he changed the tempo completely and turns this into a dance song. His beautiful eyes might be distracting for some but tonight I am definitely listening to his voice crack unfortunately which is quite disappointing. I do not think that this will do well this evening.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Sophie: Such a beautifully sung ballad by Maya, her voice is so pure and has a lovely tone to it! The setting on stage is also really outstanding! The only thing I don't like is that she stops playing the piano at the end however the piano in the track keeps going... But a good performance on the whole.

Magnus Kaxe: I love these kinds of songs. Not a typical Eurovision song. The arrangement and production is huge. She sings beautifully. Unfortunately I don't think the song will get that many votes tonight. I keep my fingers crossed that i will though! It deserves to be in the top ten. Easily.

Christabelle: Again I wish she was singing in English!!! She has such a beautiful voice :) loveee the dress!!! And her hair too! :) this is a great ballad! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Honestly enough, when this song was previewed for the very first time, I believe that it would be a contender for this years' competition but then again, things changed and this song somewhat became slightly boring at times and this is due to the fact that one cannot understand the lyrics. The stage is completely black in the beginning but changes to red and blue to show what seems to be a sunset like atmosphere. The vocal performance is stunning as always and the wind machine effect in the end is just beautiful. Could this surprise this evening or will it be forgotten? We will see!

Russia

Sophie: I absolutely adore these women, I'm not sure if the beginning is supposed to sound off tune, but makes the rest of the song seem even better! Such a feel good song and performance, I can't get over how cute they are! This will probably do really well.

Magnus Kaxe: In opposite to many I don't find this amusing at all. Suddenly there's a cirus on stage. It has nothing to do with talent or professionalism at all. The old women are cute. That's all.

Christabelle: So simple!! Love russia this year.. Their voices aren't as strong as the others but it is a really catchy song!!! I won't be surprised if this song will be the winner the nannas are too cute!! Party people, come on and dance!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: There we go, the first real contender for the evening is Russia as their lovely grannies take to the stage. The vocal performance does not really need to be flawless but I believe that they are doing the best that they can. The performance is just lovely and the colour scheme featuring blue, red, yellow and green looks so great on stage. The people in the hall have gone crazy and everyone is up on their seats and dancing away with the ladies. Mid-way through the song they just start mumbling in Russian and then, here come the freshly baked goods. This is just amazing and will be one of the songs to beat.

Iceland

Sophie: This is quite a strong song, however I feel that something is missing! Greta & Jonsi's harmonies are perfectly pitched, and I love the violin break, but the song doesn't really go anywhere, it just has a couple of nice moments, but that's it!

Magnus Kaxe: A touch of scandinavian and irish folk tune. Song sounds to be good song, especially the chours. But i'm not convinced by the singers and their perfomance. Boring. Easy to forget.

Christabelle: Loved their voices in the first semi final. Loving the fact that she uses the violin :)

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This is one of the most successful songs in Malta apparently being bought through the digital iTunes store and here they are this evening clad in black attire in a musical like atmosphere. It seems that Jonsi has managed to bring out the very best vocal this evening noting that the beginning was pitch perfect and then when Greta joins, it is just beautiful. I mean this melodramatic ballad has always been tipped to do well and I believe that Iceland will be making their return back into the top ten this year having last been there with Yohanna in 2009. Well done!

Cyprus

Sophie: Love the staging of this! The dancers are outstanding.. The vocal performance is really strong considering the amount of energy Ivi is putting into the dance movements! Such a typical infectious Eurovision song, very memorable, and energectic! I'll be surprised if this doesn't place high tonight.

Magnus Kaxe: Yeah! This is going to be the big summer hit this year! The beach bars in Malta and Ibiza will play thison repeat. Simple, effecient and a tempting sing-along chorus. On my personal top three list tonight!

Christabelle:  Cyprus was my favorite song from the first semi final . I think it's very similar to Greece though! Another Helena paparizou in my opinion but this is one of my favorites for sure!!! Such a catchy song too!!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The beginning of the song is much better than it was during the semi-final and it seems that Ivi has patched up a lot of elements which were not working then to make them work this evening. The backdrop does feature a lot of architecture and the colour scheme is mostly blue, white and grey. The choreography for this one is just superb and one of the elements that she is mostly using is her sex appeal but mid-way through the performance she seems to have lost her voice but hey, she just starts to ramble something to get the people going. This is a good performance though and Cyprus might be getting their best result in ages because she also got a very huge applause. 

France

Sophie: Anggun's voice is a bit shakey, it's probably due to nerves, however she pulled it off nicely! Very original having gymnastics in the rountine, loved the costume too (maybe she should have covered her pants a bit more) hehe..

Magnus Kaxe: Whistle! Good song. Like the chord progression. Nice synth sounds with a 80's touch. Unfortunately too anonymous to make a lasting impression tonight. It's a tough competition!

Christabelle: Anngun has a very distinctive voice! She s 40 years old omg!!! I can't believe it what a great body! Love the whole concept of the song! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The performance of France was always going to be extremely eye catching especially due to the fact that she is joined on stage by a pair of backing vocalists and also three gymnasts who carry out what seems to be a very elaborate choreography, maybe promoting the Olympics. Anggun in the meantime is wearing a silver, golden dress with a train and she is carried on the stage at times. Her vocals are flat almost through the performance and why has to remember that she is a star in her native Indonesia and adopted France. This will not do well this evening.

Italy

Sophie: Love the style of this song, you wouldn't expect this sort of song for the Italian entry.. But I think it will do well, just think she could have done with a couple of male dancers around her like on her music video and it would have made me love it even more.

Magnus Kaxe: Has Amy Winehouse risen from the dead? No, but her musical heritage has come alive again. Is it as as good as Amy? No... Good, but a really strange harmonic modulation from the verse into the chorus. But I believe is going to well tonight. In its own genre it stands out. People will notice. And remember when the recap of all the tracks comes. I believe it's going to be in the top five.

Christabelle: What a fantastic song!!! Italians never disappoint!!! Great jazz tune!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Well Nina Zilli is definitely rocking the stage this evening with a beautiful silver dress and that Ammy Winehouse type of hairstyle. The mixture of English and Italian does work well and she is definitely toying with the track at times in order to show just how strong she is vocally. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists who just carry out their part exceptionally well. This is just an incredible performance and I do still believe that Italy can pull off the victory this evening. She interacts with the crowd well, what a performance!

Estonia

Sophie: Wish I could understand the words to this song, I would imagine it to be a love song! The vocal delivery is really good and strong. Very simple staging, but a song as strong as this doesn't need anything fancy going on.. Hope it is memorable enough for people to vote for after they've heard all the songs!

Magnus Kaxe: So what's the name is song? Yes I heard it. Approx a million times. Kula kula kula kula. Nicely written tune. But so so so so slooooooooow.... No. Doesn't work for me.

Christabelle: Great voice!!! but all I can understand is Kuula :) and he's easy on the eye too!! Such a simple performance just showcasing his wonderful voice.. I wonder what kula means in his language 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Time and time again, I have said that this is the performance that I voted for within our semi-final and I have maintained my stance that it is a beautiful entry, a charming ballad which is performed extremely well by a performer who is well known in his native country. He is still clad in the same outfit he had during the semi-final and of course, the complimentary vocals of the backing is just stunning. He is definitely enjoying this performance on stage and will most likely see a lot of votes from the jury coming forward this evening. I am not sure this will appeal to the tele-voters though.  

Norway

Sophie: Such a great, catchy song! Makes me want to get up and dance along, the whole thing is staged perfectly! He's a very good mover and keeps his vocal at a good level while bouncing around the stage. Hope this one does well!

Magnus Kaxe: Wow is Eric Saade back for Sweden this year again?! No, it's a Norwegian copycat. Tooji. Trying to be modern with a Ben Benessi synth sound. And some arabic rymth sounds. But this was modern...five years ago. The chorus is simple and Simplicity is good if it's done in a good way. But this is not good. But the dancing is tempting and the track will probably get a lot votes tonight. But not from me.

Christabelle: Stay Norway !!! How cool !!! He doesn't have an amazing voice but wow what a performance and what confidence on stage! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: So you think you can sing? I am not so sure because Tooji is definitely not performing well this evening starting off on a very bad note and does not really recover. The colour scheme is a mixture of orange, red and yellow and this does look very well on the cameras. He is joined on stage by four dancers, two of which are male and two of which are female. The choreography is extremely tight and does look very good on the screens but many people are comparing the song to the one of Sweden last year. The difference is that he could actually perform well! Quite the disappointing performance on the whole. 

Azerbaijan

Sophie: Wow! What a strong ballad, Sabina has such a great voice.. Her diction isn't perfect, but that's understandable as English is probably not her first language! I think this would have been better without backing vocals, frankly she didn't really need them! Staging was beautiful!

Magnus Kaxe: Love the the piano arpeggio in the background. Predictable song that definately won't give Azerbajan a victory this year. But maybe that's the purpose - not too win. It's a very expensive happening to arrange for the winner country.

Christabelle: Sabina is one beautiful girl! She has a beautiful voice!!! And wow look at her dress !! She really deserves to be there she has the whole package! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Azerbaijan are hosting this years' edition and they will surely be receiving a lot of support this evening because Sabina Babayeva who is clad in a beautiful outfit which changes colour according to the backdrop is joined by a well known Azeri performer and also three backing vocalists. She is performing a very melodramatic ballad which will surely go down well across the board with a number of countries. This is just a beautiful performance and I am almost convinced that this will make the top give this evening. Huge applause in the hall and it seems that everyone is enjoying this entry. A huge well done to Azerbaijan for this evenings' showcase and for this performance. 

Romania

Sophie: I love this song! It's so catchy and fun! Love the 'band' in white, they make the song so lively! Mandinga's vocals are much better tonight, this song reminds me of Shakira's 'Waka Waka' song, in a good way! I really hope people love this song as much as I do, and vote for it..

Magnus Kaxe: Next summer hit makes an entrance. Love the beat. Accordion used in a clever way Chorus fits well with the production. This is going to one of the top tracks tonight.

Christabelle: Loving the fact that she included orange in her colour scheme! In the semi final she had some technical difficulties so she was playing with her microphone and ear set but she makes up for it with such a great Eurovision song!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Huge applause from the crowd for Romania as Elena Ionescu takes to the stage clad in a short red dress with just minor black touches. She is joined on stage by the rest of the members of the group Mandinga and is clearly enjoying her performance but it seems that this has not been her week following trouble with her earpiece during the first semi-final and then also forgetting a line during the jury dress rehearsal. This evening despite trying to give her all, I believe that the vocals were very much off key throughout most of the performance and what is really making this song special is the backdrop and the shots. I still believe that they could scrape a top ten performance though. 

Denmark

Sophie: Love the style of this song, it's not very Eurovision, so I'm doubtful how well it will do! It's a very pleasant song, and quite catchy too.. I remembered it from the semi-finals, so that's a good thing.

Magnus Kaxe: The singer reminds a little bit of Alanis Morisette. Though the song isn't even close to be an Alanis track. Though it doesn't mean that this is bad. Effecient chorus. Though I would love to have heard more varity in the song composition and production. Becomes boring after a while.

Christabelle: She is so cool!!!! Love the sailor hat!!! And she is an inspiration to all her country ... I love her and her unique voice! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Soluna Samay is back on stage and this was also one of the acts which was very much successful with the Maltese followers noting that it managed to climb up to number #3 in the local iTunes charts. The track in itself is very middle of the road as has been quite successful for Denmark in recent years but I do not believe that this track will really be setting the scoreboard on fire as they have done in the past two years. It seems that Soluna Samay also started on a very bad note by being out of breathe and it has not improved actually.

Greece

Sophie: Another high enegry performance, don't really understand what message this song is trying to put across, and the singer is a bit over the top with her movements and facial expressions, but otherwise I quite like it! Another catchy one, should do well.

Magnus Kaxe: A typical song from Greece. Heard it thousand times before. In comperence to similar tracks from Romania and Cyprus this is falls out of my interest. And the singers don't manage to sing it...mostly out of tune.

Christabelle: She's making all the boys go crazy no wonder everyone is saying what a gorgeous figure she has! Greece always send fantastic songs to the final :) great tune! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: I must say that the traditional Greek element in the beginning is still just wonderful and clad in the same white, red, and black sparkling dress which does wonders for her body, she performs the song with some style. There had been talk that she could not really carry this song live but it seems that despite having much stronger vocals, she is still using her sex appeal to get some more extra votes. The choreography is very traditional and they have really thrown everything into this performance. Greece will have yet another top ten result at the end of the evening.

Sweden

Sophie: This is one of the favourites, you can tell by the reaction of the audience! I love the song, it's quite 'David Guetta' style. What's interesting is that you would expect a completely different performance to what Loreen is giving, but it totally works... It's very out of the ordinary, love it!

Magnus Kaxe: Now it's time for my native country Sweden! This is by far the best track has sent to Eurovision in years! This is suggestive, tempting and sensual at the same time. Ok, I'm Swedish but this is my favourite track this year. By far. I hope the rest of Europe sees the same what I'm seeing. And hearing.

Christabelle: I have no words for the Swedish song except Simply AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The strobe lights in the beginning of the performance are still there and what a beautiful start by Loreen who performs this pop/dance number to the best possible this evening. The backdrop for this one is kept completely black actually with the lighting being a mixture of purple and blue. I must say that she has gone from strength to strength during the rehearsals but this evening is definitely her best performance to date. Vocally, she is just brilliant and I believe that this will be the song to beat this evening especially after such an an exceptional performance.

Turkey

Sophie: This is a very different song, do not know how well it will be recieved. Personally it's not really for me, but that's just my opinion! He looks like quite a fun guy, and his personality comes out through his performance, but that's as far as it goes!

Magnus Kaxe: Now we are sailing out on the seven seas. Silly stage show. I like the balkan beat and vibe of the track but the guy sings with terrible English pronunciation. And what a vibrato he has! Though the audience seems to be cheering a lot. Maybe they see and hear something I'm missing.

Christabelle: Not my fav but everyone loves it ! I love the pirate theme and the song is catchy but not my fav.. He's a fantastic performer though!!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Huge applause from the people in hall as expected considering that Turkey and Azerbaijan are very close neighbours. Can Bonomo is wearing a leather jacket, a striped shirt and matching pants. He is joined on stage by a set of men who are clad very similar to him. The backdrop is one of the most intriguing featuring a cartoon based seascape. The vocals this evening are as good as they have been all week and the choreography is exceptionally strong but what makes this song special is the very endearing camera work which seems to have been personally tailored very closely. This will be one of the tracks to look out for this evening and will surprise. 

Spain

Sophie: Another strong ballad! Love the dress, not too sure on the harsh eye make up and pulled back hair, it's a bit too much for such a pure song! Would love to hear the English version, as I would be able to connect with it much more, but this song builds nicely to a great climax at the end. Should do very well!

Magnus Kaxe: So what has happened? This sounds amazing! So beautiful! Builds slowly and majestic in background. The spanish words sings great with the Celine Dion-ish melody.Together with Serbia and Bosnia this is the best ballads this year. Top five!

Christabelle:  What a goddess!!! Her voice is simply amazing and I love this song!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Pastora Soler is clad in a white floor length gown and she is wearing her hair in an up style. She decides to front the stage on her own this evening or rather during the beginning of the song. This is a beautiful ballad which has been getting a lot of attention in the past couple of days. The staging of the song is kept rather simple with simple blue lighting in terms of spotlights on the performance. The vocals are just stunning and despite the reports that she has been asked not to win this years' competition,  it seems that she might actually do especially considering that she gave two great performances both this evening and also last night. She is joined by a choir of backing vocals towards the end of the performance this might just be the one to beat.

Germany

Sophie: Love this one! Roman delivers this song perfectly, it's got 'Cold Play' written all over it! Really suits his voice, one of my favourites..

Magnus Kaxe: Time for the country where I'm living for the moment. Germany! First of all - lose that hat! A Ronan Keating look-a-like. A typical british song that works well on radio. Unfortunately I've heard it a million times before and this version is not one of the best.

Christabelle: Germany!!! One of the top contenders this year! Stunning man stunning voice excellent song! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Roman Lob looks very much like a bad boy actually with that tattoo on his chest and he is as always clad in casual attire and also a hat which has become somewhat his signature. The vocals this evening are off key almost at the very start and this is quite a disappointing performance from someone who had been receiving a lot of attention in the lead up to tonight. The staging is also kept very simple throughout with just a band present on stage but then again the lights are just wonderful and he does interact well with the camera-work. He does manage to pick it up near the end though and it seems that it could actually do well tonight. I do have a clue.

Malta

 

Sophie: Great performance by Kurt and the Malta crew, lots of energy and really got the crowd going! Not sure if he should have changed his improvisation at the end, prefered it on the semi-finals.. So happy to finally have Malta back in the final! Great job guys!

Magnus Kaxe: You have a really good song this! Kurt makes a great job with his charisma, great vocals and funny, tempting dance. :) I keeping my fingers crossed! Should be in the  top ten.

Christabelle: This was another great performance from Kurt and his team! Well Done!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: There has been a lot of buzz for the Maltese entry in the past couple of hours actually and it seems that this is a dark horse to do well this evening with a thumping beat which clearly makes Germany forgettable. It seems that he has decided to change a number of aspects in the vocal performance including the falsetto which has vanished during the performance. One has to add that it was a good performance but I believe that he could have even done better but nevertheless, that was just amazing and it is great to have Malta back in the finals. 

FYR Macedonia

Sophie: This a rather random song, featuring lots of different styles! Although it is placed towards the end I don't think it's got that special something to urge people to vote for it. Not for me I'm afraid

Magnus Kaxe: Great song. But I have a really hard time to hear it beacause of the bad vocals. And the production is terrible. Can't believe this made it to the finals! Just as Lithuania this should  have zero points.

Christabelle: At first I thought she was hoarse but now I realized that she has such a unique voice!!! Such a cool tone in her voice!! And I love the song too.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: This was a remarkable performance from Kaliopi this evening because she used heart and emotion to make sure that FYR Macedonia would get hear and made sure to impress her country once more this evening. 

Ireland

Sophie: Aaaah Jedward! Didn't like these boys to begin with but they've grown on me, and I love them now! Such a fun song, another catchy one! Love the fountain, and the ending is awesome! Their energy and movements are amazing, loved their performance.. Well done boys!

Magnus Kaxe: Typicalwritten  song from Sweden that you could hear ten years ago. Predictable and  boring. Last years' song was much better!

Christabelle: They're great performance, their voices aren't so strong but love the song and the whole staging and concept!! I can't believe they wet their hair!

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Jedward have already represented Ireland last year where they managed to achieve to achieve a very strong position by managing eighth place. This year, they have decided to return with a fountain on stage and an even stronger song. It seems that they have decided to drop their entry by just a couple of keys but this is sounding very strong nevertheless. Mid-way through the performance, they enter the fountain and have some great shots on them from the cameras. I must say that this evening has not really been the evening for everyone but this will definitely be in the top ten as their fans will be calling like crazy.

Serbia

Sophie: This song begins so peaceful, the music sounds like a something out of Mulan! Such a strong male vocal, really confident.. I wouldn't usually like something like this but it was a great performance.

Magnus Kaxe: The longest intro tonight. 45 seconds! Beautiful song with echos from The Lord Of The Rings. I'm happy to hear the song sung in the Serbian language. The singer is doing a great job! Top five!

Christabelle: Serbia. Beautiful voice. Though, wish he were performing in English.

Marc Calleja Bayliss: The late draw is definitely helping Serbia secure a top placing this evening and this will be the song to rack up a lot of votes from the Balkan block actually. The initial instrumental is too beautiful and as soon as he opens his mouth, he just calms the individual down and makes one want to listen. The lighting during this song is just wonderful and it works so well with the performance. The vocals this evening are just wonderful and I honestly believe that we might be going to Serbia next year.

Ukraine

Sophie: This song is a bit puzzling for me, I love the music and melody to this song however the lyrics don't make much sense to me! They're a bit repetative! Sounds really similar to Kelly Rowland's 'When Love Takes Over', but I like the presentation over all.

Magnus Kaxe: Chord progression stolen from David Guetta's "When the love takes over". Sounds like a cheap copy of that track. The melody of the song is anonymous with no flow. And the singer mostly screams.

Christabelle: Great way to end the evening! Loving this performance! Makes me want to get up and dance ! What fantastic diaphragm control!! 

Marc Calleja Bayliss: One of the main reasons why Ukraine picked this song is due to the fact that it is also the one which is being used as the official song for the European Championships. The vocals are as always spot on and on key and it seems that she is giving a masterclass performance this evening. She is joined on stage by a number of dancers who also play the trumpets but the screens being used are the ones which draw a lot of attention because there is an army of people all of whom are doing to the song. I must say that I do love the performance but not sure where this will place.

Moldova

Sophie: I like this song, if I heard it on the radio I wouldn't change over to another station, however I don't think the stage performancedoes it any justice! The choreography is a bit weird and the singer looks a bit weird too, but I think it should be recieved well by the audience!

Magnus Kaxe: Like the brass arrangement of the song. Though the song a little to simple to stand out in the tough competition. He sings great! But why do they have to wear clothes that look like a circus?

Christabelle: Reminds me of Colin Farell ! Very entertaining performance. Unique choreography for sure! The dresses are fantastic .

Marc Calleja Bayliss: Colin Farrell seems to be representing Moldova this year and he does so in impressive fashion because this has to be one of the catchiest songs of the evening with a very upbeat message in the lyrics. The choreography is just amazing still and I just cannot imagine this doing badly especially having been awarded the late draw. The backdrop also works very well with the overall staging and I must say that this it the first time in years where Moldova would definitely garner my vote. 

The Show (Part 2) 

The hosts are back on stage is much more formal clothing than they were in the beginning. They open up the voting of course and the recap is currently being shown to the viewers across Europe. In order to vote from Malta, you would have to call 522020XX or send a text to 505157XX. We would like to wish Kurt Calleja the very best of luck with the result!

Result

1st - Sweden

2nd - Russia

3rd - Serbia

4th - Azerbaijan

5th - Albania

Without the loud screeching at the beginning of each show that we have witnessed this week by the hosts of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, I would like to wish everyone a good evening with one of the most pivotal shows ready to begin in around half an hour. Following the two semi-finals, one held on Tuesday and the other last night, the full list of the finalists was revealed and despite some surprises, it should be one of the most intriguing finals in recent years and this is because, people are not sure who could actually win with a number of counties, all putting their best foot forward to take on the rest of the continent. This will be the very first final in quite some time to feature countries such as Malta and the FYR Macedonia who have been absent from the final evening for three and five years respectively. Each country had the same amount of rehearsal time and most of the production during the week was flawless with only some minor errors which will surely be tweaked in time for tomorrow evening.

There will be a total of twenty-six (26) acts competing to win this years' Eurovision Song Contest with twenty (20) having qualified through their respective semi-final, the highest contributing countries known as the Big Five (5) and of course the host country of the year which would have been the winner of the previous year. This afternoon, there was the first dress rehearsal of the final and it was also the first time that the songs were seen in this respective running order. It seems that Malta is really looking great in contrast to the songs that are found at each end of the competition, both before and after us. We would like to wish Kurt Calleja, Amber, Warren, Christian, Rebecca and Kevin the very best of luck with their performance this evening as they do their utmost in order to woo the judges and hopefully achieve a high placing for Malta this time round.

LIVE

The Show (Part 1)

The opening act of the final is actually quite noisy so to speak with a lot of people playing drums and doing what seems to be a very traditional type of folk dance. This looks nice actually but then again, we move onto the reprise of last years' winning entry being Running Scared by Ell & Nikki. They seem to be performing live and this is still a beautiful song so to speak. The hosts are trying not to shout this evening actually and this is because they must have heard of the comments in recent days. They are clad in beautiful attire and have somewhat improved. They are speaking in English, French, German and Azeri it seems.

01. United Kingdom

The very first performance of the evening is by Engelbert Humperdinck, a legend by his own standards and definitely growing old now being more than seventy five years of age. He is clad in black attire and is joined on stage by a guitarist and two dancers who perform a smooth waltz which is somewhat mixed with ballet. In the beginning, there was an extremely bum note unfortunately and this will definitely harm his chances with the jury. He does miss another one and this is sounding like one of the worst performances from the United Kingdom in quite some time. The higher notes in the meantime seem to be just right this evening and he may still amass a number of points. I am not sure that they will manage a top ten placing tomorrow night but the people in the hall do enjoy it. Prediction 12th - 18th

02. Hungary

The lead performer of the group is clad in the same black attire that he was wearing during the semi-final but it is quite an authentic look. Many people believe that this was the track that managed to scrape out the tenth position and qualify thanks to the Jury Vote because many people were surprised that it would actually make it but nevertheless, it remains to be one of the most contemporary tracks in this years' Eurovision Song Contest. The vocals are very good but I do not think that this song will stick to the minds of the viewers this time round because of the rough early draw and because of the fact that they are performing in the number #2 slot which has been doomed for a number of years as no winner has come out of it. Prediction: 22nd - 26th

03. Albania

Another semi-final one qualifier, one which has been suspect of garnering massive jury support. However, she may have qualified, she is definitely one of the best vocalists in this years' competition bringing out the best range that I have seen within a performer for quite some time. This is a candidate for the worst dressed award though with Rona wearing what seems to be a blue gown with a black circle around her neck. She impresses with her simple song and staging noting that the spotlights and the red colours are kept throughout. The audience in the arena is clapping mid-way through the performance and so are the people in the press centre. She never drops a note and that is why she is amazing. Could Albania actually better their best result of seventh place with this? It could be from the reaction this is getting. Well done Rona! Prediction: 6th-15th

04. Lithuania

This has to be one of the slowest beginnings to a final of the Eurovision Song Contest in years and here we have Donny Montell still clad in his smart black suit which is somewhat very reminiscent of something his friend Sasha Son would be wearing. He does have a blind fold in the beginning but then removes it mid-way through the song when the track becomes very much inspired by the recently deceased Donna Summer. The vocals for this one have always been strong and one cannot help feel surprised at how this managed to qualify to the final. It was a surprise but could suffer the same fate of Lithuania a couple of years back with the same aforementioned Sasha Son which is quite unfortunate. Prediction: 24th-26th

05. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Maya Sar was somewhat the second surprise of the evening last night even though Bosnia & Herzegovina boast one of the most successful records at the Eurovision Song Contest having a 100% qualification record which has been kept in tact. We believe that the main help last night for the main draw and coming after an uptempo song like the one from Norway but this time round despite crystal clear vocals, I just cannot see this song really troubling the scoreboard. The staging is just black for most of the time but then changes to dark blue and red at times to try and imagine a sunset. The piano and the violins are so beautiful but that dress is also a contender for the Barbara Dex Award with the black shoulder-pads. Perfect song but not for this competition. Prediction: 15th-20th

06. Russia

Russia have one of the catchiest entries in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and despite besides the fact that the track is quite silly actually. The performers for this one are none other than six grannies, who are quite cute in their own manner. The vocals for this one normally do not have to be astoundingly great but the people do enjoy a bit of a party and that is why, the press centre and the audience in the arena are just going crazy at the moment. This is the very first song which is uptempo and therefore, it was always going to obvious that it would be strong and in fact, they are seen to be favourties for victory tomorrow night. I would never imagine what Terry Wogan would have said to this though. This is a very good performance but I believe the juries will take it down and see it not winning in the long run. Prediction: 3rd-5th

07. Iceland

This evening, everyone is in their costume performing in front of a relatively full arena for a rehearsal and also the juries. Everyone is clad in the outfits that they were wearing in the semi-final meaning a black suit for Jonsi and a beautiful black shimmering gown for Greta. Every time he performs in front of an audience, it seems that Jonsi goes down a notch and he seems terrified performing this evening. Nevertheless, the backdrop featuring the mountains and the beautiful geography of Iceland is just beautiful. She normally carries his vocals most of the way through but I believe that she is complimenting him today and that they are managing to be on the same level. I believe that this could be a dark horse during the final because it is coming across so well. Prediction: 7th-10th

08. Cyprus

Another uptempo entry is needed this evening and this is one of the track which clearly has everything going for it including the song, the choreography and the visuals but then comes Ivi who has proven herself to be an incredible person but very much lacks the voice. She is definitely having her worst performance tonight and she just cannot seem to keep up with the tempo of the song at times. Oh My! This is atrocious from the sound of the press centre and it is quite funny how such an esteemed performer like her has managed to kill the song all on her own. They did their best to hide the vocals behind the choreography. I daresay that I could sing this song even better and interacting with the audience does not work at all. This might actually finish in the last five places if it does not improve until tomorrow unfortunately. Prediction: 16th-24th

09. France

Very good first note from Anggun considering that there have been a number of vocal issues with performances in recent days. She is clad in sexy attire including a cape which seems to flow with the wind actually. Just as she enters into the first minute though, it seems that she is very much shouting at times. She is joined on stage by a whole circus including three gymnasts who are shirtless in order for her to attract a couple of more votes and two female backing vocalists whom don't worry are fully clothed. She tries to take up this performance as light as possible and try to enjoy it but it is not coming as good as she would like it to show on the screens. The overall outcome is not bad but I think that all the high hopes that France had are not going anywhere. Prediction: 17th-26th

10. Italy

I have been telling people that Italy is my favourite and this remains to be the case as we head into this rehearsal this evening. She is wearing what seems to be a silver dress meaning that she has opted in using the dress in the picture which had seemed to be the first choice. The English/Italian version of the song is actually much better than the fully Italian as the diction does still work in this one. She is joined on stage by thee backing vocals who have a quirky simple hand motion type of choreography. This is coming across well on screen but something tells me that Nina is not doing enough in order to win this evening although the difference is that last year, no one expected Italy to finish as the runner-up. She connects with the people asking them to clap your hands and once more I believe that this could do it. This was a very good performance although I think she has had better before. Prediction: 1st-5th

11. Estonia

Ott Lepland is next on stage and this has to be the most beautiful ballad in the competition being performed by a good looking individual. The very first time he performed this song in the national final, I easily thought it blew everything else out of the water. He is still doing the vocal acrobatics during the performance but nevertheless, this is the very best I have heard them and he is definitely heading into second gear this evening as he performs to the juries all across the continent. This did get my vote from Malta last night and I just can imagine this doing well tomorrow. The camera shots are good but the interaction with the audience seems to be quite minimal but he does put in a lot of emotion. Prediction: 8th-15th

12. Norway

The first of two of the most energetic performance of the evening comes from Norway with Tooji from Iran performing for Norway. he is joined on stage by four dancers, a mixture of men and women and they are still clad in their tattered clothing. Last night, vocally this was not all that great but nevertheless, it seems that they managed to do enough and I believe that it is more a case of nerves rather than not being a good singer. Once more, this performance is looking great on screen as it did last night and they are making use of pyrotechnics to which the crowd in the audience just goes completely mad. This is just astonishing and Norway can also surprise but I just do not think they would trouble the top ten. Prediction: 11th-15th

13. Azerbaijan

This is the time for Azerbaijan to triumph at what they have managed to achieve musically because Sabina Babayeva in my opinion is miles better than both Ell & Nikki put together. They managed to find such a wonderful performer to sing a song which is also very beautiful featuring an element of a ballad along with traditional sounds. She is joined on stage by backing vocalists, females and also just one male but this staging is kept very simple with the lights show on the stage synchronised with the ones on her dress. This is an exceptional vocal delivery and the crowd inside the Baku Crystal Hall are just going mad with such a beautiful song. I believe that Azerbaijan are heading into the top ten and they could also manage a top five if lucky. Prediction: 3rd-8th

14. Romania

Honestly enough, it is just so good to hear this song being performed in the best possible way without any trouble. Elena Ionescu is a beautiful performer and she revel in her beauty by using the camera to her advantage. She is joined on stage by a five member band, all of which play different instruments. The vocal performance here is very strong and following that initial problem that Romania faced earlier on this week during the semi-final, it seems that she has overcome all of her nerves. She is definitely enjoying the time she has on stage but what is this, she lost her words and missed a line, and that just ruined it for Romania. I cannot think that the juries will like that in the long run. The pyrotechnics work well on the cameras but nevertheless, the chances are harmed and this will definitely not win after that blunder. Prediction: 5th-10th

15. Denmark

People in the press centre are very much bored of seeing her in this outfit even though it is a nice outfit to perform in. This is the middle of the road type of track, one which Denmark have used to their advantage on a countless amount of occasions in the Eurovision Song Contest. She is joined on stage by a number of people on stage which form her band of course. There is nothing wrong with this vocally but it is turning out to be quite dull and boring unfortunately. I believe that it is a hit outside of the world of this competition. I would also like to let you know that it did manage to climb up to number #3 in the Maltese iTunes making it the second most successful entry in our country. This is looking great on screen as well. Prediction: 13th-17th

16. Greece

Eleftheria Eleftheriou is also a very beautiful lady and she is wearing a beautiful short dress featuring three colours; orange, blue and white. She is also joined on stage by four dancers and a backing vocalist. The backdrop behind them is showing the sea and also seashells and it looks very strong visually. As I have noted this afternoon, this is one track which has had the kitchen sink through at it in order to look very Greek in terms of performance and staging. The vocals are fine this evening and they might actually be the best that I have heard thus far. I must say that Greece have come a very long way this year from looking like a complete no-hoper to a definite top ten finisher. Prediction: 7th-10th

17. Sweden

This is just one country which has managed to split the people into two groups, those who believe it can win and those who say that she will not win because it is over-rated but nevertheless, the performance is just immaculate and there is nothing to fault in this one. There is a huge applause in the arena and I do have my sneaky suspicions that this was the runaway winner during the semi-final last night and it will just increase on her lead tomorrow when all of the countries vote. The vocals are strong but I do believe she was better during the semi-final last night. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists and a dancer. This is looking strong on screen but what really impresses me actually is the long song mid-way through the song with the black backdrop, snow falling and the lights shining upon her. This is definitely the one to beat but what, Loreen also forgets a line and could Sweden have also hurt their chances. Prediction: 1st-3rd

18. Turkey

Can Bonomo has to be one of the nicest people in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and he was also one who came to Malta during his promotional tour where he and Kurt became the very best of friends. He is still wearing his leather pants and leather jacket with flocks of sea gulls draped in the inside part. He is joined on stage by four men and this seems to be the only performance which is fully masculine. The backdrop changes a lot of weather patterns but his vocals do not change and remain good throughout the competition. The audience in the crowd definitely enjoy being included in the track so much so that they start shouting mid-way. I believe that this could do well and even scrape a top ten result but not sure. Prediction: 9th-15th

19. Spain

This is one of the simplest performances this year and that goes to say a lot actually because there have been quite a number of songs which have been performed by their own but what Pastora does is bring out her best vocals this evening for the juries. The people in the press centre and in the audience are clapping along to this one especially when she hits the high notes that very difficult to reach. There has been talk that Spain might not want to win in order not to host the next edition of the competition and it seems that this could easily happen if she continues to perform in that manner. She is joined on stage by five backing vocalists who help her within the chorus. This is just perfect, and everything is going for it. Prediction: 1st-6th

20. Germany

Roman Lob came to fame for having won the competition known as Unser Star fur Baku and since then he has become quite noteworthy with this song being a hit in his native Germany, one of the largest music markets in the world. The staging for this one is kept very simple indeed with a band joining the performance giving it more of a feel of a track from the likes of Coldplay. It is written by some of the most well known names in music and it does show actually. The vocal performance is good, he knows how to use his voice at times to tighten up the vowels or rather relax them. This is coming across quite lovely on screens and whilst this could make the top ten, it will not really trouble the top five in my opinion but it is quite an interesting year for the Big Five. Prediction: 6th-12th

21. Malta

Once more, that lovely thumping beat in the beginning is one which I love to hear as it signifies us being in the final once more. Kurt is quite smart this evening as he was last night and the vocals are very strong earlier on as he interacts with the audience very early. The band joining him on stage are also doing their utmost to show their connection on the cameras. This is really looking good as it did last but night but I just cannot believe that I am saying this but Kurt is doing an amazing job during the jury performance. It seems that the focus will be on the lead performer for tomorrow night but what is infatuating is the choreography which has got a lot of people dancing in the past couple of hours. He speaks in Azeri mid-way through the song and that just sends the crowd in a flurry. He is receiving one of the biggest applauses of the evening. Prediction: 5th-15th

22. FYR Macedonia

Honestly enough, I was very happy to see the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia making it through to the finals for the very first time since 2007 and why not especially with Kaliopi being the queen of pop music in her country. She performs what is quite an underwhelming song with perfect pitch vocals and this is definitely not one which will be troubling the left side of the scoreboard. She is joined on stage by a band and some backing vocalists and they do sound very good. The shots are also as they were yesterday and that is quite a good thing. This sounds strong and looks great but I just cannot see it impacting all of the continent into voting for it at this stage of the competition. Prediction: 15th-20th

23. Ireland

It has been decided that Jedward go for spikey hair for the final performance of the competition and this seems to be a general consensus towards the people who prefer them in this manner. The main vocals of the brothers sound somewhat low in this one but nevertheless, they seem to be very much in tune. They are joined on stage by four backing vocals, two on each side, a male and a female and there is also a fountain which is being used as the main prop of the competition. This sounds great and looks strong on screen. They have also included pyrotechnics and Ireland could be heading for their best result in years. They are still in the water at the end and thus the hair does get flat. Prediction: 3rd-10th

24. Serbia

Zeljko Joksimovic has to be one of the most experienced performers at the Eurovision Song Contest and he does show that because he oozes charm and charisma every time he performs. This track is quite inferior to Lane Moje but I believe he did want to create something different in the long term. He is definitely enjoying every second he says on the stage and he does do his best to impress the juries this evening. This is a beautiful song which is definitely going to do well tomorrow night garnering votes from all of the Balkans and also the Baltics apart from other countries who will enjoy the orchestra in the track. The late draw is definitely an additional help in my opinion. Prediction: 2nd-8th

25. Ukraine

Ukraine have always been one of the more successful countries at the Eurovision Song Contest by always making it to the finals of the competition and therefore, there had been a lot of high hopes when it comes to this track due to the fact that it is the official song of the European Championships. The vocals for this one are good but I still believe that Gaitana does shout sometimes when she performs. The choreography is lovely though and I am in love with the extra LED screens which show a whole group of people dancing to the song. This might surprise people as Ukraine did manage to do just that last year but I believe it will rank just outside of the top ten or just manage to creep in. Prediction: 9th-14th

26. Moldova

The final performance of the evening comes from Moldova who are definitely getting a vote from me tomorrow night because this is just amazing and you have to love the choreography which is funny and quirky at the same time. There is a lot of positive acclaim towards this song and you just cannot help but laugh at times. The vocals of Pasha are just amazing and he manages to carry it off in the best way he could. The outfits might not be the cup of tea of everyone but they are authentic. One think though, Moldova have a track which is very traditional featuring that saxophone which is quite lovely. This is also looking very strong on screen as well so we'll how things go about. Prediction: 5th-15th


The Stage (Part 2)

Following all of the performances, the hosts are back on stage and they introduce the recap of the performances and I have to say that there are a lot of high hopes for Malta actually with one particular blogger putting it in a top five position and I do believe that we can manage to hit the top ten. When listening to the songs in their order, I believe that it is a very strong final this time round.

The Eurovision Song Contest is a music competition which brings about the whole continent together, even when it comes to countries who have not always seen eye to eye in other matter but nevertheless, this week showed how performers from several nations interacted together to see themselves garner the most out of this experience. We head into the day knowing who the twenty (20) qualifiers from the respective semi-final actually are for the very first time in three years, we have made it into the final with our song This Is The Night performed by Kurt Calleja and his band made up of Warren, Kevin, Amber, Rebecca and Christian. This also marks the very first time since escflashmalta.com was established that we are in the final and we are proud to be covering the event once more with our team present in Baku including none other than Šira Carolyn Bezalel, Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell, Patrick Strouk and Eric Lehmann and of course, last but not least, our respective Head of Operations in Baku, Garrett Mulhall.

Good Afternoon and welcome to the very first dress rehearsal of the final of this years' Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan having won the competition last year thanks to the song Running Scared by Ell & Nikki. There are a total of twenty six (26) performers taking to the stage this afternoon and this will be the first of three dress rehearsals, the one this evening being the most important noting that the jury will be basing their votes on what will be staged this evening. In the meantime, everything seemed to have gone smoothly during the first two semi-finals actually with just a small issue with Romania having not heard sound through her earpiece within the first semi-final. It should be quite an interesting final so make sure to follow all of the proceedings through escflashmalta.com

LIVE

01. United Kingdom

Marc: The British representative at this years' Eurovision Song Contest happens to be the most famous one in the competition with Engelbert's career spanning decades. He takes to the stage wearing a suit performing the track Love Will Set You Free and this sounds much stronger than it did back in the initial rehearsal. He has dropped the higher notes a key and this sounds much better now. There are also two dancers and a guitarist on stage and they add to the ambient. A great opener and this could very well put the United Kingdom in the top ten.

Garrett: We couldn’t see or hear the show on the video link but from our colleagues in the arena Englebert performed excellently and hit the high notes of the song. The dancers on stage were subtle and it came across well. Good Job The Hump.

02. Hungary

Marc: Hungary might have the most contemporary song in this years' Eurovision Song Contest especially with the track sounding like it came out of a radio station. The vocals are good as they have always been but one just cannot help that this song seems to be taking up someone elses' space in the final. This is a very strong performance but this draw will definitely not help with the dreaded number #2 position never managing to really put anyone in a good final placing.

Garrett:  I really cannot get excited about this song. Sounding like a B-Side Depeche Mode Song it was performed well but lacks any real impact and following The Hump it will get lost in people’s minds.

03. Albania

Garrett: Rona puts on a stunning performance of her song. Passionate and the same wonderful vocal abaility that brings cheers from the audience as one could easily listen to now.

Marc: Without a doubt, Rona is still one of the very best performers in the 2012 edition of the competition and she is clad in the same attire that she donned during the semi-final. This is just flawless vocally and she really puts the emotion into the  track.

04. Lithuania

GarrettThe surprise qualifier for some people – Donny gets his trade mark blind fold entrance to the song and when the upbeat element to the song kicks it makes a lot of impact. As my friend Roy Delaney said – this is 2 different George Michael songs sandwiched together. Not a contender but good to see them in the final.

Marc: Last nights' surprise qualifier shows that this type of song can still be appreciated by the masses although we have a sneaky suspicion that the jury were the brains behind this qualification. This is a strong performance though and he is definitely trying to show he belongs here.

 05. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Garrett: Simple staging but we are back to another ballad. A cute song sung well but I can only see this doing well with the Blakan countries. Not a winner in my opinion though because it could get lost.

Marc: This was one of those entries which no one expected to make it through last night because it was somewhat too calm for the general liking but the juries might have had a say in the qualification of the song. Maya is an incredible singer and she uses her vocal skills in her black gown this afternoon as well. A good performance but quite forgettable so early in the draw.

06. Russia

MarcRussia remains one of the most popular acts in this years' competition but the draw is once more too early for them and it seems they have some sound problems in the beginnings. Nevertheless, this is a fun entry and one could not see it failing at this stage. The grannies might be heading for a surprise top five finish unless the juries put them down completely which could be the case actually as they are definitely not the best vocalists.

Garrett: Thankfully a fast song that really gets this Eurovision Final started. The cameras focussed in on the Pin Up Granny aka the smallest Babuschka. This had the whole stadium on their feet chanting. There is no doubt that this is going to score HUGE with the televote but how will the Juries like it. So far Russia walking all over the competition.

07. Iceland

MarcIceland return with an extremely improved performance of their entry and this is actually looking more like a contender after Russia at this stage. We have no clue why they have decided not to go with their outfits today but nevertheless, this is looking very strong on screen and Iceland may just manage to crack the top ten the way things have developed. The vocal harmonies sound very strong and one just cannot help noting that things are really positive for the small country.

Garrett: Back to a ballad but this is a quality ballad. Jonsi and Greta performed excellently and now looking good for a Top 10 place. The Juries will like this a lot and is visually stunning. Job well done Iceland.

08. Cyprus

MarcIvi Adamou has to be one of the worst singers in the competition with her vocal performance being terrible once more noting that she is shouting through the song today. Once more, they have decided to go without their outfits for the actual final as this is a rehearsal for the media. Things will definitely change this evening when the juries come into the fray. The song is very catchy and has to be one of the best ones this years' but nevertheless, I just cannot see this bothering the top ten positions in the scoreboard even though the left side is guaranteed.

Garrett: This is one that we have a close affinity to as we have befriended the Cypriot delegation. Ivi gave a stellar performance. Her vocals were spot on and we know that the delegation were having difficulties with the mixing of the vocals from the stage but they managed to get that sorted. Ivi was electric on stage. The camera angles were spot on and the choreography was slick. Ivi is having great fun and this comes across on the camera – We might be heading to Limasol next year is Cyprus wins – and this is their best chance in a long time

09. France

MarcAnggun is a celebrity and today, she took the stage with the cape ready to perform her entry and it seems that things have really improved since the first two rehearsals. The choreography is still very much like something coming out of the circus but it is definitely not looking bad on the monitors. The vocal run is very good and one has to note that she has really upped her game but nevertheless, she needs to keep things going for this evening. 

10. Italy

Marc: Nina Zilli is one of the most notable performance in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and she is definitely enjoying her time on the stage. She is joined on stage by three backing vocalists and they could be found on the left hand side of the stage. The performance is kept very simple with a number of hand movements but there does not seem to be a lot needed to make this look or sound great because Nina is really performing the song well especially the English parts. She does interact with the audience and the people will like this come Saturday night. Italy is definitely a contender and I believe that they could win.

Garrett: Well you could not have 2 contrasting performances. Nina from Italy is sensational and following the circus routine from France this looks even stronger. Nina is dressed as a Silver 60′s Diva and sounding sensational. The Boom Boom Boom’s are captured on the cameras and are striking. This just gets better every time you hear it. Italy 2013 anyone? Turin I hear is the preferred choice of the Italian Delegation should they win.

11. Estonia

Marc: The Estonian entry was the first song that I have voted for in years actually and I believe that it is the most beautiful ballad in this years' competition. I have to be completely honest in saying that I preferred it when it was staged in a simpler way when it comes to vocal acrobatics but nevertheless, it still sounds perfect but the way that he is performing it could actually go wrong. Ott just happens to be one of the most popular names in the Estonian music industry and performing in the Eurovision Song Contest is an event which he has been hoping to do for quite some time. He took his first chance and he managed bringing about a great vocal, a great song and a stunning performance.

Garrett: Ott as usual puts in a passionate performance of this simple ballad. Less is more for this song and I think this could do better than people are expecting. Keep an eye on this one.

12. Norway

Marc: There has been a lot of comments in recent hours on whether Norway deserved to qualify but nevertheless, I believe that he did his utmost in order to make sure that the Scandinavian country makes it through to the final. He has taken to the stage in same attire he did last night and with many saying that he is good looking, this might surprise on Saturday night. The staging for this one is incredible especially the tight choreography. The vocals are very good and somewhat better than last night but he has to manage to keep this up.

Garrett: This is a strange one. In the hall it sounds as if the vocals are off key but on the video feed it came across great. A complicated dance routine that executed with military percision. This has gone up in my expectations.

13. Azerbaijan

Marc: It is coming across that Azerbaijan would not mind winning two times in a row because Sabina Babayeva is performing this song in the very best possible way that she could. She is joined on stage by four backing singers; three of which are females and another one being a male. She is definitely enjoying performing for her country and the fact that she is wearing what seems to be a dress co-ordinated with the lights is just impressive. I believe that this could be another top five finish for Azerbaijan especially if they can manage to keep up this performance. The ballad is one of many this year but it should still impress.

GarrettThe host nation comes on. Sabina looks amazing and it is a very difficult song to sing but Sabina was almost 100% perfect – just one big note that was pitchy but I am sure she will be fine on the night. This song has really grown on me and I like it and expect a good Top 10 finish.

14. Romania

Marc: Romania is the only song which faced problems during their initial performance in the first semi-final with the main performer failing to listen to the sound of the song from her earpiece but today clad in a completely different outfit, she does not seem to have any problems and the group is definitely helping her get the morale up. The performance is quite energetic and fun especially when it comes after Azerbaijan which will surely be a different change than how the evening will ultimately play out. This is still a possible contender in my opinion especially after such a strong performance.

Garrett: A good upbeat song that is going to stand out from Axerbaijan’s ballad. Summer summed up in 3 minutes. Romanis is looking and sounding great. Not sure if it is a winner but heading for a Top 10 again for Romania.

15. Denmark

Marc: This has never really been my cup of tea but the issue with this song has always lied with the amount of times that one listens to it because it does become quite boring after a few listens. The staging for this one is somewhat kept similar to the very first semi-final where it is predicted that it has done quite well. The vocals are very strong but nevertheless, coming after Romania, this is sounding somewhat quite dull. Denmark have a middle of the road kind of song as they have presented on numerous occasions and they will most likely reach another mid table position quite disappointing after the past two years. 

16. Greece

Marc: This song has always been impressive in terms of staging and visuals and therefore there is not really too much of an issue going on with this one. Eleftheria Eleftheriou is actually Greek as we confirmed during the press conference for the qualifiers for the first semi-final but nevertheless, she does have better, if marginally better, vocals than Ivi Adamou. The song is catchy but then again it is quite typical especially coming from Greece. They have thrown everything into this performance and they really want to impress but I believe that Greece might just be scraping through a top ten result this year, if they manage it.

17. Sweden

Marc: Loreen clearly gave the best performance of her life during the semi-final last night noting that she managed to qualify with relative ease we would imagine. The staging for this song is kept simple with three female backing vocalists on stage along with a male dancer who comes on later on into the performance. She is enjoying the time on stage once more and she is performing her heart out. This is the track which has already been very successful all across the continent but will it be possible for her to win the competition being the main favourite ahead of Russia and even Italy coming within this draw.

GarrettLoreen is doing it when it is necessary and getting the great performances in. She was holding back on the full performance but it is coming together. The lighting of Loreen is getting better with each take and Sweden are getting themselves back into contention. A great reaction in the hall.


18. Turkey

Marc: It seems that Turkey and Malta have worked to build very close relations and we were extremely happy that Can Bonomo managed to qualify from the semi-final last night. Can Bonomo is once more back on stage without changing any of the performance as he is clad in a leather jacket and leather trousers with his backing vocalists acting also as dancers clad in black capes. The track is somewhat very catchy and easily to sing and hum to especially the bits where he says 'hope onto my ship baby, I'll make you fly' and then he also adds a 'na na na'. This will most probably be on the left hand side of the scoreboard. Very good rehearsal.

Garrett: Well this is almost like having 2 home singers performing as the local audience love Turkey. Can is singing well and his English is better than some of his European counterparts. Visually strong and with the reaction it will get in the audience it may sway televoters and bring Turkey hig in the leaderboard. Still not convinced on the capes and the boring grey colour of them but we are stuck with them now.

19. Spain

Marc: Pastora Soler is also one of the most popular artists to compete in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and therefore, one could definitely see the many Spaniards who have come to support their artist who very much looks like she could win the competition.She is pitch perfect when it comes to her vocal performance the choir that comes towards the end is just immaculate. This is definitely the best chance that the country has had in a very long time and one could see this causing an upset and ultimately finish within the top spot but will the people really go for this type of song.

Garrett: One word – “Sensational”. Dressed in pale blue, Pastora delivers a song full of passion and emotion. She commands the stage and the camera. As she was singing the press were claspping for her. She is really the true professional. A beautiful performance and simply staged this has to be a contender if there is any justice.

20. Germany

Marc: Roman Lob is said to be one of the most good looking performers in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and he brings about another contemporary track which has already set the charts alight in a number of countries including his native Germany and also Austria. The performance is very much simple with a band performing the track just behind him but the lighting and the backdrop is what give this track an edge. He is enjoying every bit of the performance and he has crystal clear vocals whilst singing. Well done Germany for a very strong first dress rehearsal. Could they managed to finish in the top ten? I'd think so!

Garrett: Roman performs adequately but for me this is a very average song and sounding like it should be on a Coldplay album. I cannot get excited about it at all and do not see all the hype about it. Feeling this will be in the bottom part of the leader board.

21. Malta

Marc: Kurt Calleja is next on stage and honestly, the people are excited that we will be competing in the final for the very first time since 2009 when Chiara had made it to the finals with the song What If We. At this stage, we can notice that the performance is very strong with everyone doing their best to make sure that it does come out well in the long run. The vocals from Kurt are just perfect this afternoon and he seems to be continuing what he managed to do last night. There is a lot of buzz going around that the female vocal could be even stronger and we believe that this is the case as well. Nevertheless, glad to see Malta back in the final and let's hope for a good result in the end.

Garrett: WOW I have been banging the drum about this song for a long time and there is a buzz growing for Malta and that they could be in for a good result here in Baku. They are looking and sounding amazing. The dance routine is capturing the imagination of people and Kurt looks wonderful on camera. Watch out for Malta.

22. FYR Macedonia

Marc: The Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia have not been in the finals for quite some time and their biggest star, Kaliopi has managed to do just that. The song is quite an interesting pop/rock number which is performed to sheer excellence. This will be one of those songs which will reach the mid-table on Saturday night and this is because there are just two many songs of a very high quality this year because such a track would have done much stronger last year.

GarrettKaliopi was looking and sounding great. Passionate performance and a rocky look to the song. We really like her and this is going to do well for FYR Macedonia. She knows how sell a song and does this wonderfully

23. Ireland

Marc: Jedward are back to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second year in a row with what appears to be a much stronger song entitled Waterline. The staging of this track is just incredible with a fountain making an appearance despite not being operational along with a beautiful backdrop which is depicting a stream of water. The vocal performance is good but I believe that they did perform much better during the semi-final on Tuesday. This is one of the most visually enticing performances of the evening and one could definitely see them doing better than they did last year in terms of result.

Garrett: Well Jedward were on the stage now. Vocals were on the money and thge balance between Jedward and the backing singers was better that others that performed today. They did not use the water feature for this rehearsal but were in their costumes and their hair was down. Looking and Souinding great – and I am not being biased. This will be a good crowd pleaserperformance. JOB WELL DONE!!

24. Serbia

Marc: Zeljko Joksimovic has become one of the legends of the EurovisioN Song Contest having been here on so many occasions, either as a performer or as a songwriter. This is definitely a beautiful song with a lot of orchestration which definitely picks it up as a track. I do not believe that he can improve on his result achieved in Istanbul but one has to keep in mind that he is performing very late in the draw and therefore, he could definitely place high in the final with a possible victory looming as well.

Garrett: Well this is a song that I have never really felt brough something new to the table for 2012. If this was bak in 2008 then I would have been raving about it but as it has been done before so I personally would not have it as a winner HOWEVER the International press are calling this as a potential winner. It is sung wonderfully and the stage performance is very good but I am not a huge fan of the song. Still this could be a winner.

25. Ukraine

Marc: The European Football Championships are not too far away now and things are somewhat looking good for Ukraine for the second year in a row noting that they did finish in fourth place last year with a song that was not predicted to do well. Gaitana is a great vocalist but sometimes, I just cannot get the hype because she does tend to shout in certain bits of the song. The idea of having the LED screens on stage is interesting and created an ambient of a football match or a flashmob. This could also scrape into the top ten.

Garrett: Well I am not sure why but Gaitana has taken the song up a key and it has lost some of the power from the vocals. I am not sure if this is because of a problem with her ear monitor but I cannot see the reasoning for going up a key. She had to pull out of the high note in the song and it just sounded all wrong. I hope they revert to the original key. Still a potential Top 5 for me.

26. Moldova 

Marc: This is the final performance of the evening and one has to add that this a very classy performance with a twist. Pasha Parfeny seems to be the Moldovan version of Colin Farrell but that does not seem to bother him in reality. The choreography is still as quirky as it had been before hand and the performance is still very strong. The vocals are spot on and I just believe that this could be the best result for Moldova with the possibility of finishing in the top five if they are quite lucky with the outcome. 

Garrett: This was a fun performance and a great way to round off a great show. Visually and vocally strong and a dance routine that is very Benny Hill. You cannot help but be caught up in the feel good factor of this song. Not a winner for me but will score well and if the rumours are right – Moldova may have won Semi Final 1.

The Show (Part 2)

The hosts are back on stage and they are still quite dull unfortunately but nevertheless they are doing the job in the best way possible and hence they open the tele-voting and also announce the recap which of course seems to still be very much in tatters during the first run but then is fixed for the second run of the recap. This is the most open Eurovision Song Contest in  years and people believe it is quite a strong edition. They will now be rehearsal the interval act and also the voting segment to make sure that all is going well, therefore, we will be returning to commentate on this evenings' dress rehearsal which will be much more crucial as the jury will be casting their vote.

It has definitely not been the easiest possible ride to get this far but nevertheless, the preparations have now been concluded and the staging of the second semi-final is ready to take place this evening with eighteen (18) countries competing against each other for one of the elite ten (10) spots that are being offered in order to complete the final being staged on Saturday evening which will also include the Big Five otherwise known as France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom as well as the host country of this years' competition being none other than Azerbaijan. This will be quite the evening with Malta in contention and seemingly looking to be the dark horse according to many including the press who have been ranking our country in sixth position. 

We are definitely vying on making it even more interesting with three individuals signing up to do the live commentary including none other than our very own Elaine Camilleri; who is current Head of Press having been in charge of covering most of the local music related items in the past couple of months, Simon Casey; a well known Irish pop star known for his haunting vocals having once tried to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest with a song that would ultimately climb up to number #1 seeing him catapult to fame and last but not least Raquela; who has taken part in the Malta Eurosong on three occasions thus far with fifth being her best result and who joined us for the commentary of the first semi-final earlier this week.

Good Evening! Welcome to the LIVE report of the second semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their song Running Scared, the ballad which soared and impressed the tele-voters and the juries putting it in first place overall. Tonight, ten (10) countries will continue their journey on hoping to win the competition, some of which for the very first time. The hosts this evening are two extremely beautiful women known as Leyla and Nargiz as well as the charismatic Ell who was one half of the winning team last year. In Malta, we would like to remind you that the commentator for the evening will be none other than Elaine Saliba, a formidable hostess in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest and last years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as well as her co-host during the national final being none other than Ronald Briffa.

LIVE

01. Serbia

Raquela: Hmm pretty great pop ballad...great start to the show....professional performer and performance... sounds great...loving the orchestral instruments on stage and the build up of song is good but I don't know whether it will be memorable though

Simon Casey: Our second semi-final is under way. Nice ballad to start with undertones of Coldplay's 'Paradise', I hope Chris Martin isn't tuned in! Zeljko is a really good crooner. Think this song should certainly qualify tonight.

Elaine Camilleri: Beautiful, classical ballad with a particular twist in the second part of the song. The male voice is stunning ... one of my favourites, I've got to admit it. The intrsuments make it unique.

02. FYR Macedonia

 

Raquela: Starts off with piano again...hmm seems like i've heard this ballad before...not memorable...overall however, the song is not bad.

Simon Casey:  Was thinking this is just another ballad but good tempo change. Undoubtedly Kaliopi has a good voice but I just didn’t enjoy the song. Reminds me a little of Kate Bush..

Elaine Camilleri: Strong female voice, soft start which twist to a 'slight' rockish style.... I particular like the mixture of the violin with the electric guitar. But i still have doubts about it ...

03. The Netherlands

 

Raquela: Oh my! I'm sure everyone would agree...this is a Cher look-alike!! 70's folk pop.....doesn't sound interesing at all...ok next??

Simon Casey: Very quirky and Hippyish. A little unsure as to where the song was going until it hit the chorus, although I did enjoy the performance and there’s a good vibe to it. Love the Warbonnet.

Elaine Camilleri: Particular song, but it will surely fade in this evening's show. The voice seems a tad shaky ... She does remind me a bit of Kate Middleton;

04. Malta

 

Raquela: Might come off as biased, but loved the performance!! and it sounds refreshing after those forgotten ballads!! go Kurt!!! stage performance impeccable! I'm sure the audience enjoyed this one! It should definitely go through!!!

Simon Casey: I think this is Malta’s best entry in a while and can imagine this song being big on the Clubbing scene. Great performance from Kurt. Loving the fancy footwork!! (You should be proud) Go Malta!!

Elaine Camilleri: A single adjective describes this performance ... AMAZING :) His voice is PERFECT and even Amber's, a good mix! The backdrop really makes a great impression and the camera shots are brilliant. It should make a 'hit' after the Netherlands country song ... we'll see, but Kurt and his team should be proud of this! performance! Maybe this will be OUR NIGHT ...

05. Belarus

 

Raquela: Hmm "We are the winners?"....not too sure about that! Not loving the outfits, but that's my opinion! Commercial sounding song and they sound smooth and professional so that's good...

Simon Casey: Good performance but I just found the song a little repetitive. The stage setting reminding me a little of the Mad Max movies! With odds of ten out of eighteen, they should qualify!!

Elaine Camilleri: Mmm ... those microphines ... those outfits ... quite a catchy refrain ... and they already know that 'they are the winners' ...

06. Portugal

 

Raquela: Very traditional song...singer projects an emotional ballad and vocals are spot on...she looks gorgeous on stage and dress is beautiful, but not a fan of the coreography...great overall performance though.

Simon Casey: Found this song a little intense and for me this performance didn’t go anywhere. I don’t think Filipa will be around for the weekend.

Elaine Camilleri: Back to ballads ... it sounds like Zorro's soundtrack 'I want to spend a Lifetime loving youuu' ... though tecnicaly speaking, the vocals sound great ... I love that tangoish feeling and I love her dress.

07. Ukraine

 

Raquela: Coldplay evovling into David Guetta, stunning lady performing an impeccable song definitely designed to get everyone up, both physically and emotionally....great song!!! She executes a flawless performance...I do hope she gets through as I'd love to watch this number again on Final night!! wow! my favourite so far!

Simon Casey: Good dance track and Gaitana put in a great performance. Really catchy chorus. Certain to qualify tonight but possibly because the voters will associate it with 'When Loves Takes Over' by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland

Elaine Camilleri: A big 'NO NO' to that dress and the dancer's outfits ... seems like Donna Summer returned (RIP Donna Summer). I love the backdrop and the song, is in the 'not bad' section, her voice is amazing and frankly, the refrain is quite catchy. It will pass ...

08. Bulgaria

 

Raquela: This is an unexpectedly enchanting Saxo-beat-like song.  The opening riff makes this track memorable. An enlivening upbeat number...

Simon Casey: Don’t like being too critical but this was another weak song entry. Would have preferred hearing Sofi singing something not so dancy, as she has a very decent voice. A very big stage for a small girl to fill, there should be an act behind her, even someone pretending to be a dj!

Elaine Camilleri: Hello 'Saxobeat' song, nice to meet you in Eurovision again ... and yes, I love this song loads ... great voice, great music ... all the attention is surely on her voice. Pity, I'm not understanding the lyrics heh ... A finalist for sure. Big like. Very modern in her outfit.

09. Slovenia

 

Raquela: It’s a sweet melody and singer . She’s incredibly pretty. Not a bad number and song is expressive and emotional. Song, singer and backing vocals sound pretty professional. Loving the build up of the music towards the end....

Simon Casey: An enjoyable performance from the ladies. Quiet a haunting song and Eva has a very powerful voice. Surely should qualify tonight. Although a few tuning issues between them!

Elaine Camilleri: An intense vocal moment again. Maaaaa I love those outfits ... again, pity we don't understand their language but the voices and the music are great. A good chance to qualify ... really the year of ballads eyyy .

10. Croatia

 

Raquela: After watching a consecutive number of ballads, I'm appalled by their much improved quality...and this is definitely one of them!! Gorgeous! The video of this song complements its style...Highly artistic, musical and expressive....Another professional performance..Can see it making it through..

Simon Casey: A singer songwriter from Croatia, I didn't really like the song, although she has a great voice. Perhaps if she had someone write a song for her things might have been better. A very forgettable performance for me.

Elaine Camilleri: Wonderful backdrop, wonderful outfit and another intense vocal moment. Again ... the language factor! I also like the choreograph and those 'bells' ... a possible qualifier too ... would like to listen to it next Saturday.

11. Sweden

 

Raquela: ah was looking forward to this one!Loreen delivers a good performance. Her moves might come off as somewhat weird but I simply love her and her simplicity, as well as that of the stage! I am most certain that she will make it to finals!! She deserves it!! Great performance and great song!! Loved it!!!

Simon Casey: My favourite performance tonight. Loreen should place very high in the final on Saturday night. Catchy and instant. A song you could see doing well in the single charts in any European Country.

Elaine Camilleri: And here's this year's favourite ... Ehh the audience are really enjoying this number. Great interpretation. Nothing to add more. The choreography always left me impressed ... a Definite qualifier.

12. Georgia

 

Raquela: Love his confidence!!! song doesn't do much for me but I appreciate it for it's difference and unexpectedness! There seems to be too much going on...but overall it was a good performance!

Simon Casey: Anri has a good range but that’s that. This song is going nowhere. Very like a musical number, a bad musical number. Bad costumes, bad choreography, bad song. Certainly not going to follow up on last years result.

Elaine Camilleri: Georgia's Janvil hehe ... different style at last with a misture of styles (not particularly sure about this) ... although this kind of song without the choreography = nothing in my opinion. He's truly a 'womenizer' with those 4/5 cabarret ladies ... may qualify thanks to the neighbour thingy ... stands out after all those ballads.

13. Turkey

Raquela: He bounces around to the beat and the coreography is simple and cute. He has a cute and sometimes cheeky smile. It has a cheeky dark melody... Song is good....emm....ok it's a boat! hehe overall good song...

Simon Casey: One of the better performances tonight. A song with a sample of the Country's traditional music can do well. Very individual, certainly one we will remember in the morning..

Elaine Camilleri: Traditional (seems like a Moldovian style) ... mmm I'm not a particular fan of this song I must admit it ... I'm seeing seagulls or what?

14. Estonia

 

Raquela: A beautiful opening melody! Love the his vocal timbre....and very handsome..Staging is simple.. Loved the modulation ..not sure it's memorable but I think it might make it through...

Simon Casey: A great vocal from Ott, really good singer. I have no idea what he’s singing about but a good ballad is a good ballad. I think he’ll qualify the final.Simple stage production for this song just goes to show the right singer can fill the stage.

Elaine Camilleri: ehhh I adore this male ballad ... he sings his heart out and puts pure emotion in the interpretation. I was definetely 'listening' to you beautiful Estonian hehe ... he gives me goosebumps :) I really do  hope this qualifies ...

15. Slovakia

 

Raquela: Musically, not something I'd listen to. But for it's style, I guess it's a pretty good track, but lead vocal was slightly off at times...well seems to get a good response from audience...ah! there he goes, dad's just lowered the volume!

Simon Casey: Nice to hear something heavy, decent song. A good voice, reminiscent to American Idol runner up Adam Lambert with some bum notes thrown in!!!

Elaine Camilleri:  This song really doesn't 'leave you to close your eyes'! Hard rock hits the stage, I particularly like this song although I'm not a rock fan at all, but I like most the 'refrain' part ... may qualify ...

16. Norway

 

Raquela: Ah Norway and its dazzling male singers....It’s a crowd pleaser and he's a very good dancer!! Overall a very cool performance...but song doesn't 'STAY' in my head...

Simon Casey: Another instant hit. Good song and will easily qualify tonight. Intro straight out of Benni Benassi's 'Touch me' which continues throughout the whole song, shame because the rest of the melody is extremely catchy.

Elaine Camilleri: Norway; I was really looking forward to this number! I definetely like it! Feels like you're in a club ... wowww ... 'start moving to the beat' ... I like the choreography and his voice is ok. A qualifier in my opinion. I want him to 'Stay' in the competition! plus, he's a handsome guy! God Bless Norway! ;)

17. Bosnia & Herzegovina

 

Raquela: a fresh ballad with a sweet opening melody, but doesn't do much for Eurovision in my opinion....she is very expressive..and loving the violins' part in the song...overall a good performance but not memorable!

Simon Casey: Another nice ballad but nothing special from Maya. I think I've heard something like this in a hotel elevator somewhere..

Elaine Camilleri: Another ballad ... another song which lyrics are understandable unfortuantely ... but ... it gives you goosebumps ... I think it was the best female ballad of the evening. Her voice is so pure and clear ... & 'the piano and the singer' theme is perfect ... with a touch of flute ... beautiful. Will qualify.

18. Lithuania

Raquela: the slow ballad is beautiful to listen to but chord progressions have been heard before...i quite like the surprising up-tempo section that swings in action...pleasant to listen to...

Simon Casey: The blindfold!! Normally the interpretation of a song is left up to the listener..This could've found it's way onto a Bros album. Dodgy Michael Jackson dance moves. This years second semi final finishes on a low..

Elaine Camilleri: It's like I've ended up in a musical, wuwww I like it and it feels good! and yes, I would like to listen to this again on Saturday. The last position may be an advantage to him! He seems so young, yet so confident and his number reminded me of an 80's song. A perfect ending.

The Show (Part 2)

We have just had the time to speak with the Maltese Head of Delegation who was very happy with the performance telling us 'A brilliant execution by Kurt and the Band. Nothing Short of Excellent' and with that, we move onto the hosts who introduce the tele-voting. Here comes the recap of this evenings' competition. Make sure to vote for the favourite track of the evening by calling on 522020XX or sending a text on 506157XX. Remember that people from Malta cannot vote for Kurt Calleja but we can definitely wish him the very best of luck! The interval act features all of the last five winners together under one roof.

Guest Commentators' Prediction

Raquela: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine

Simon Casey: Estonia, Malta, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Turkey, Ukraine

Elaine: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine

Qualifiers

01. Lithuania

02. Bosnia & Herzegovina

03. Serbia

04. Ukraine

05. Sweden

06. FYR Macedonia

07. Norway

08. Estonia

09. Malta

10. Turkey

This evening, the city of Baku in Azerbaijan will be hosting the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest with eighteen (18) countries amongst them Malta competing for one of the ten slots which are up for grabs. The bookmakers think that they have a tail end on what should be qualifying this evening but based on the rehearsals, this has to be the most open semi-final in years with the press centre having no clue on what can qualify from places five to ten despite being seemingly convinced of the first five placings and very much borderline on the sixth which just happens to be our very own Malta which have a thirty point lead over the rest of the field. In the meantime, escflashmalta.com organized a set of a reviews which included well known personnel such as Tobias Larsson, Marion Welter, Magnus Kaxe and special guest Brooke Borg who come from Finland, Luxembourg, Sweden and even Malta. They commented about the songs, rating them out of ten before making their selection of who should qualify in typical Eurovision Song Contest point system.

In the meantime, the public votes were also closed earlier this year, and for this semi-final, we are pleased to announce that we managed to get some 1,500 votes in total and therefore, it could be a more clear result that it was for the first semi-final which was some two hundred (200) votes less. We allocated a fifty per cent (50%) billing to each and came up with quite an interesting prediction for this evening. It is important to point out that the votes came from all over Europe and the rest of the world and therefore, we know that they could prove to be quite a different bunch in the long term. The qualifiers in no particular order for this evening according to the expert reviewers and the voters in the poll are as follows:

  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Estonia
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine

Honestly enough, this is a very sensible billing and could very much be realistic when the qualifiers are revealed this evening because many people do not have a clue over who will ultimately make it through. The surprises at this stage would be none other than Georgia who have sent in their worst song this year but hold a 100% qualification record thus far, FYR Macedonia who despite having not qualifying for quite some time look to be garnering a lot of support and with Kaliopi being a popular artist, might actually take someone else's spot from the Balkan region such as that of Croatia or Bosnia & Herzegovina and Portugal whose ditty Fado number might actually impress following two uptempo songs from Malta and Belarus. Stay tuned to escflashmalta.com for all of the latest news and follow the live report this evening with our very own Elaine Camilleri, Irishman Simon Casey and performer Raquela.

Source: escflashmalta.com

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The official journey for the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest started yesterday with the host broadcaster of the music competition putting up a sublime show for the first semi-final which saw a total of eighteen countries competing for the ten coveted spots. Unfortunately, eight countries did not make it through last night and were therefore sent home. There were no major surprises actually with many people still wondering about how Hungary managed to qualify even though the song is one of the most current in terms of music. Nevertheless, that is over and done with now and with sixteen finalists now officially known, preparations for tomorrow commence as the dress rehearsals for the second semi-final are set to take place today and tomorrow, even just before the show itself. 

As has been all the case during the week, I would like to sincerely thank our Head of Operations, Garrett Mulhall who has for the second year in a row done Malta proud whilst still keeping his Irish roots intact within each occasion. Apart from him though, I should and will thank the lovely Šira Carolyn Bezalel who has been busy taking pictures and attending press conferences along with the rest of our team members including Juergen Boernig, Lilian Brunell, Patrick Strouk and Eric Lehmann. I believe that the best portal this year goes to escXtra for keeping the people intact through their live chat and videos and for this we thank them and salute all of their team. They will be supporting escflashmalta.com also with the coverage of the dress rehearsals. We would like to remind everyone that Malta is competing in this semi-final.

LIVE

Clearly it seems that they are doing the introductions very much the same way that they did them during the first semi-final last night. I must say that the hosts are not as bad as they were earlier on during the week but nevertheless, they are definitely not winning the award for the best hosts ever. Yet another time, they are telling the rest of Europe about the fact that the Big Five and also Azerbaijan, the host country are already competing in the final alongside the qualifiers from the first semi-final.

01. Serbia

Marc: This is a great opener to the second semi-final of the 2012 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and will definitely give the viewers the excitement that this will be a much better show than the first one they witnessed. Zeljko is very much still clad in the same outfits that they were in the last rehearsal meaning, very smart black outfits. In the meantime, the lighting is very much blue and dark. The vocals are very strong from Zeljko and one just cannot help thinking that this song is still in the running to finish in the top five although I am not sure that it can manage to win at the moment. With the right draw though, anything can happen!

Garrett: This is a well crafted song and sung well. I have never been overly excited by this song as I think it would have made a wonderful entry 5 years ago or so but the Eurovision has moved on since then. Saying that you cannot deny the song is good (not a winner) but a certain qualifier. It will though clear up on the votes from the Balkan countries. Will qualify and will be between 14-8 in the final

02. FYR Macedonia

Marc: Kaliopi is literally rocking the stage mid-way through the song but one has to commend the stunning vocals which she brings about to each and every performance. Today is no different and I am sure that the jury will love listening to her vocals tonight. The song is very much a pop/rock track which indeed starts out slow and then develops as it goes along. The guitar in the song is what makes it identifiable along with the perfect vocal screech that she gives away during the bridge. Many people did also like this track in English and I believe it would have had more impact in such a language.

Garrett: This was electric. She gives an amazing performance. A great rock song with that big high note. This for me is better that Slovenia  who is also in the same Semi Final and could be a fight for the final qualifying spot. A Strong Edgy performance. Battle Royale for the 10th qualifying spot.

03. The Netherlands

Marc: Joan Franka is one of the nicest people in this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest and she has a great accent in English. The song which she brings about to the stage is a simple pop/country type of track which might not be identifiable all across Europe. She is wearing this beautiful blue dress as seen above along with the American Indian headdress. She has never had any issues in performing this track and is not having any of them now either. On stage, she is joined by a band who seem to be carrying mostly native type of instruments. This is just a ditty little number and I must say, the best song from The Netherlands in quite some time.

Garrett: Charming as always. Joan still in her sky blue dress and Indian head dress. Her band are charming and Joan's vocals are childlike. Nothing that a great guitar stomper to get the crowd going. The Netherlands are surrounded by a whole lot of cowboys as far a song quality. This has to make the final. The Netherlands will qualify.

04. Malta

Marc: Great thumping opening beat in the beginning as has been the case for quite some time since the new arrangement was brought forward. Kurt is in a great shape this afternoon as he has been for quite some time and he is clearly enjoying his time on the stage in Baku. He is joined on stage by Kevin, Rebecca, Warren, Amber and Christian, all of whom have roles during the performance. Kurt has been getting a lot of attention in the media for his dashing good looks. One has to point out that Amber is doing a great job with her bits and she sounds flawless at times. This is another strong performance and I just cannot find anything to fault today. I do hope that he will give his utmost during the jury dress rehearsal this evening. Well Done to the Maltese Team! 

Garrett: Kurt oh Kurt oh Kurt. This is the night you take Malta to the final. As always Kurt sings this perfectly and he is just so good on camera. He is really electric and his interaction on the stage with the rest of the band is wonderful. The dance routine still has people hooked and is visually wonderful. This has to go through. Malta will make the final.

05. Belarus

Marc: There are problems with the Belarussian performance and in fact, they manage to kick off with the third run noting that the cameras were not switched on for this entry and therefore the shots were not appearing. The lead singer is clearly an energetic lad and the rest of the people on stage do compliment the performance well. The vocals are strong but then again, that will surely not be a positive when the diction is all over the place and I just cannot understand a word which he is saying. The performances over the week were not all good from Belarus but this is one of their worst unfortunately. They clearly need to up their game for the jury dress rehearsal this evening if they want to have at least a hope of making it through.

Garrett: Major problems. you knew from the first few seconds of the song starting that the lead singer was not happy – like myself as I am not a fan of the remix of this song. But it became clear that he could not hear the song in his ear monitor so the dress rehearsal was stopped not one not twice but 3 times until the band could hear their backing track. This certainly threw their confidence and they were pitchy and out of key in places. I am also opposed to hearing “We are the WEINERS” instaead of “Winners”. They have a big fan base in Eastern Europe that might help them get through. For me it is like a Madonna Song – “Borderline” for me.

06. Portugal

MarcShould have Portugal been in the other semi-final, I would have been sure that they would have made it easily bring about what seems to be their best chance of doing well in this competition. Fado has just been recognized as a heritage type of music and it is so beautiful. Filipa does enjoy her time on stage because her smile does say it all. This track is staged in a way that is very Eurovision by numbers but that does not take anything from it. She is wearing a long shimmery dress and the backdrop seems to be featuring the sights in Lisbon. The vocals are flawless and it could definitely surprise at the end of the evening.

Garrett: Filipa sings the song well and it is presented well. Simple and elegant which is what you need to do with a song like this. Unfortunately this is not really the contest for a “New World” track. I fear that Portugal will not score well with the televoters at home. Will miss out on the final.

07. Ukraine

Marc: The Eastern nation has been quite a successful competitor in the Eurovision Song Contest over the years and this year they have decided to send about the official track of the Euro competition. Gaitana is wearing the dress as seen above, meaning a ruffled white one and she is joined on stage by four trumpet players who also act as dancers. In the meantime, this is becoming one of the most visually appealing tracks this year noting that she does bring about some four LED screens which show a large amount of people. The vocals are good although I do not believe that they are at their best this afternoon.

Garrett: One of my favourites in the contest and it pains me say this but the week of rehearsals have taken it’s toll on Gaitana’s voice and she was very pitchy and hoarse. Overall this was the weakest that the song has been performed over the entire week’s rehearsals. No I am wondering if this is a sound issue following on from Belarus. Overall this should get through but not as comfortably as it should have. In the final though.

08. Bulgaria

Marc: Bulgaria have been trying to send the best possible track that they could over the years although they have not managed to interact well with the European audiences it seems. This year, they have decided to send what is a smashing dance track which they still managed to ruin due to the fact that she is performing the song on her own instead of having a full fledged choreography as the song really deserves. She looks very lost on stage and I just cannot see any thing positive about the staging. They are surely competing for one of the lower end spots in the semi-final unfortunately for yet another year.

Garrett: What is heavens name are they thinking?? The vocals were dreadful which makes me think that that the ear pieces are not fully working. But this was the worst performance so far. Off key – makes you think of Gemini from the UK – it was that off key. Now where do I start as to the styling. Content to make a dance track static with no dancing in it – they have put her in a white pvc tight jacket and ULTRA short skirt and thigh hih matching boots. It makes her look like she is Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman – the curb crawling scenes. Dreadful and certainly going home!! Last in the Semi Final

09. Slovenia

Marc: Eva Boto is officially the youngest performer in this years' Eurovision Song Contest and without a doubt, she manages to bring class and elegance despite her extremely young age. The vocal performance this afternoon goes without a hitch as she has managed each and every time. The backing vocals look very angelic actually and this is coming across very wlel on screen. A sublime rehearsal and I believe that this will be making it through although will reserve my predictions for tonight when it will really matter. If they do manage to make it, they will be quite happy noting that Slovenia is one of those countries who do not make it to the final consistently.

Garrett: Well at least this was the first in several songs to be sung in tune so thank the Lord. Not my personal cup of tea as it sounds too much like “Molitvia” which is another song that I found highly overrated. All dressed in white and all so safely staged I can now see this qualifying despite this not being my cup of tea. Looking like they are dressed as Cream Deserts it should still qualify. Now looking like it will qualify.

10. Croatia

Marc: This could have not been a worse draw for Croatia, coming back to back with Slovenia who have opted to send a similar type of Balkan Ballad. The issues lies with the fact that Nina is very popular whilst Eva is still a newcomer but based on the song, I believe that Slovenia trumps her easily. I am not sure which one of them will qualify but I am sure that not both of them will. She is the black dress as seen in the picture above whilst her backing vocalists are wearing white. The vocal performance is flawless, and daresay the best that she has given thus far. Croatia have not been in the final since 2010 and will be hoping that this is their year.

11. Sweden

MarcThe expectation of Sweden tomorrow night is inevitable and one cannot help feel like you have entered a completely different world with this track which is already dominating the digital charts all over the continent. Loreen is clad in black attire with what seem to be tassels on the arms. The backdrop features snow as it was materialized during the Melodifestivalen. She is joined on stage by three female backing vocalists, also in black who do absolutely remarkable harmonies. For the last chorus, she is also joined by a dancer who along with the performer carries out a similar routine, very modern in presentation. This is visually stunning and sounds amazing! Sweden might still be the ones to beat when it comes to this years' Eurovision Song Contest. 

Garrett: Oh this was so underwhelming it was scary. The stage is far too dark and at times Loreen could hardly be seen on the screen. Why have the Swedish delegation taken this decision. You cannot get the emotion that we all know that Loreen portrays as you clearly cannot see her!! Furthermore when it came to the snow scene it was not so much a blizzard but someone shaking their dandruff over Loreen. The entire performance needs more lighting and passion. Sorry but this is not looking like a winner at all and if the changes are not made then Sweden will be heading for a disappointing vote. Will scrape into the final

12. Georgia

Marc: I dread having to comment for this song because Anri is actually a very good singer with a ridiculous type of song unfortunately. He is wearing a black outfit with a sparkling silver shirt underneath. He is joined on stage by four female dancers who seem to be coming out of a burlesque movie. The overall outcome of this song is not that good and I just cannot believe that they decided to send this track to Azerbaijan but then again, they did not have anything better in the national selection. The camera shots though are very good and it does come across well in terms of performance. 

Garrett: This I have always thought was a very poor song but coming after the dark and dreary set of Sweden – Georgia looks fun and fresh and got a huge reaction in the hall. This was high high energy funk/pop/rock/camo and I can see qualifying. A surprise qualifier!

13. Turkey

Marc: The Turkish entry in this years' Eurovision Song Contest is one of the most noteworthy tracks actually but then again, aren't they always on top of things at this competition? They will be hoping to remove the bad memories of last year when they did fail to qualify to the finals but this time round things are different as they do bring on a different type of track. Can is on stage alongside four other men and they look much slicker this time round with leather jackets, in what seems to be a traditional format. The vocals are spot on and the performance is very quirky indeed. This will be one to watch out for in my opinion.

Garrett: Can is dressed in a black leather cap and jacket and looking more Village People. His dancers are in blankets and this is all looking somewhat dark on stage. The vocals were suspect and weak in parts. If they are going to stay with the blankest as part of the act them they need to make them in a vibrant colour. With enough friends in this final this should qualify.

14. Estonia

Marc: Ott Lepland takes to the stage and it seems that he is clad in the same outfit which he wore for the last rehearsal prior to today meaning the one which is seen in the picture. He is joined on stage by a female backing vocalist who is wearing a long white dress. This is coming across so beautiful on the screen. He has decided to include a number of different vocal ranges for the performance and he is playing around with the notes which whilst sounds beautiful might not be as effective. This should definitely qualify with relative ease though and despite me holding my predictions until tonight, I just cannot help but share my love to this song.

Garrett: If it isn’t broken then don’t change it. What have the Estonian Delegation done with their presentation. They have completely changed the melody of the song and it is ridiculous. The bridge from the verse into the chorus they have changed. They increase it up a key and it seems forced!! Please Estonia revert to the original as it was the simple presentation that made this song special and stand out from the crowd! If they do not revert to the original then Estonia will fail to qualify.

15. Slovakia

Marc: This track is the one which is very much out there in this semi-final due to the fact that it has to be the only rock song in this years' Eurovision Song Contest with Belarus having coming close in their first version of the song. Max Jason Mai is trying to show off his body in order to impress with his physique and as you can see in the picture above, he is wearing a black leather jacket and black leather pants. The vocal performance is very good and there is nothing which I would definitely change but this type of music is just not for the music competition and Slovakia might have to sit out of the finals for yet another year.

16. Norway

Last year, Norway did not manage to make it through to the final even though they brought about what was the most energetic song in the competition and also being a favourite. This time round though, they seem to note have that kind of problem because they bring a track which despite being full of energy, has already been successful. The track si very similar to the one which represented Sweden last year but it is coming across so well on the screens for having a very tight choreography. The vocals are very strong in this one and I just cannot believe that they came so far.

17. Bosnia & Herzegovina

Marc: I have just made my mind that Bosnia & Herzegovina is surely not qualifying and I am so sad to actually say that because Maya Sar is a beautiful woman and she is an amazing performer but this is looking too bland on the screens and I just cannot see the tele-voters going for this. My opinion might change this evening but the dark setting, the black dress, the piano, it is just too simple. The positive point is that it is coming after Norway and might relax the audience and put them in a good quiet mood heading into the final performance of the evening. I am still not sure about the outcome. We'll see.

18. Lithuania

Marc: Donny Montell looks like a young boy in terms of appearance but he does bring about a great vocal range to this performance. This performance is kept very simple as he does take to the stage on his own but at the end of the day, this is one which really works and it is also a borderline qualifier in my opinion. He is enjoying his performance quite a lot actually and the fact that he changes the rhythm is quite interesting indeed. This track goes from a ballad to a dance song in just a couple of minutes into the track. It is different but funnily enough works well on the cameras and that is what they wanted in the long term.

The Show (Part 2)

There are a number of recaps being shown as the televoting window is opened and following the fifteen minutes, it does indeed close as what happened last night. The interval act is now rehearsing for the very first time and the hosts do look really stiff today once more. Hoping that they will loosen up for tomorrow evening as it looks too staged at the moment. Dima Bilan is the first on stage performing Believe and the others following him immediately with Lena performing Satellite. It is important to note that all of the last five winners are performing the song with traditional Azeri music accompaniment. 

Fake Qualifiers

Bulgaria

Belarus

Croatia

Estonia

Slovenia

Slovakia

Portugal

The Netherlands

FYR Macedonia

Malta

This evening marks the opening of the Eurovision Song Contest with the very first semi-final of the prestigious music event being staged from Baku, Azerbaijan and as one could have noted from the past couple of days, there is surely a lot of excitement building up as eighteen (18) countries will be competing against each other for one of the elite ten (10) spots which are very much up for grabs. The countries competing this evening are a mixture of East, West, North and even Central and that is why it makes up for an extremely interesting evening. We are definitely vying on making it even more interesting with three individuals signing up to do the live commentary including none other than our very own Emil Calleja Bayliss; an upcoming lyricist having just finished as the runner-up in the Għanja tal-Poplu competition, Claudia Faniello; the runner-up in this years' edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest and also Raquela; who has taken part in the Malta Eurosong on three occasions thus far with fifth being her best result. 

Good Evening! Welcome to the live report of the very first semi-final of this years' edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which is taking place in Azerbaijan following the victory of Ell & Nikki with their song Running Scared, the ballad which soared and impressed the tele-voters and the juries putting it in first place overall. Tonight, ten (10) countries will continue their journey on hoping to win the competition, some of which for the very first time. The hosts this evening are two extremely beautiful women known as Leyla and Nargiz as well as the charismatic Ell who was one half of the winning team last year. The rehearsals were very well this afternoon and yesterday and therefore, everyone is ready for the first semi-final. In Malta, we would like to remind you that the commentator for the evening will be none other than Elaine Saliba, a formidable hostess in this years' Malta Eurovision Song Contest and last years' Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza as well as Ronald Briffa who is a special guest.

LIVE 

The hosts are on stage with the ladies clad in beautiful black and red dresses whilst the male is wearing a black suit which really suits him. The staging looks incredible on the television screens. It seems that the English language has improved from the rehearsals and therefore, they have toned it down speaking in German, French, English. They introduce the Eurovision Song Contest and we are off with the performance. Enjoy the evening people!

01. Montenegro

Raquela: The Opening track is shocking and unexpected. The verses are in a jazzy tune and therefore somewhat interesting. I wish the concept was slightly more clear ... but in its complexity it seems like they're bringing euronews on stage. The product is too weird though overall.

Emil: Dark Vadar at the Eurovision Song Contest. If he is trying to be funny he is failing msierably. If I had a buzzer, I would be buzzing constantly as probably the sound of the buzzer is more interesting. A guy sing talking with a giant trojan horse behind is surely not the way to impress. Will probably go down as the WORST song in EUROVISION HISTORY!

Claudia: I just cannot believe this entry and do not know whether to comment or not. I just cannot help but thinking to put this on mute at this stage as this is a track which does make up the numbers this evening. I do admire that he wrote this entry himself. I do believe they could have sent something better.

02. Iceland

Raquela: Beginning with a good and strong orchestration...vocals sound smooth and sleek..Hearing this song...brings Evanescence to mind.. Layout of performers on stage looks good...vocals sound really good in sync! Loved her dress!! Gorgeous!

Emil: A big Eurovision drammatic ballad - an instant Eurovision fan favourite since the day it was chosen. The singers looked a bit scary but they warmed up throughout the performance. The stage movement could have been a little more creative though. Typical Eurovision performance and I loved it.

Claudia: I like the dramatic aspect of the song, I think melody is a bit weak though for my liking. In the begging it reminded me of a well known Irish song known. The vocals are strong and this should do well this evening.

03. Greece

Raquela: The tune is catchy...seems like a candy twist to Greek traditional music and the performer is a sexy lady with an extremely thin voice in my opinion. The overall package of dancers leaves much to be desired although they seemed to pull it off.

Emil: Back in 2005 they found a winning formula so they decided to replicate this Greece. Found a singer who looks like Helena Paparizou and sent her to Eurovision with a similar song and a simlar presentation. Having said that she's HOT and will get a number of votes based on that. The song's catchy and the vocal performance was decent although the backing singer helped her carrying it through. Always fun to listen to this type of music.

Claudia: This is something which we have heard quite a number of times before actually because it is a very typical entry from Greece. I do like this song though, the best thus far even though I do not like the vocals too much.

04. Latvia

Raquela: Desperate housewives goes to Eurovision....but love the glamour! Catchy tune, good vocals and a good combination of voices put together. In it's simplicity it's still catchy and who knows what will happen with this track this evening. Melody line is very strong and can be hummed easily.

Emil: When you think that Desperate Housewives finished, you meet the new Housewives at the Eurovision Song Contest. They seem to be really desperate and the creator of that choreography deserves to either die or else given an award for making the audience laugh their hands off. The song is catchy and kind of sweet but the presentation is LAME. Vocally was good but can't believe what I just saw, I guess when mid-life crisis hits you can go to Eurovision.

Claudia: Like how the performer refers to music as being her oxygen ... I do like the chorus but then again, the act is quite weak and not really a fan of the song. I love her vocals when she does the higher bits but I think it starts low for her voice.

05. Albania

Raquela: Well, as Elaine pointed out, hairstyle is quite over the top. I'm hoping this will turn into something beautiful. She executes a perfect vocal rendition, hitting every single note!!! Simply Amazing! I am literally in awe!Very expressive...I have goosebumps!

Emil: Albania sent the evil queen from Snow White. Her voice is AMAZING and it simply blew me away. I guess my dog doesn't agree with my commets as she was shaking her head throughout. She's very talented and the highly drammatic performance will surely be a hit. I guess the jury might save this tonight.

Claudia: I love love how she sings with so much passion, it's a real pity I can't understand what she's saying! Wonderful vocals! Her voice and passion has stolen my attention and that says a lot... Goosebumps!

06. Romania

Raquela: Positive energy radiates from this group!! I love the cohesive unit of bagpipes, accordian and saxophone and drum. Her dress looks so fresh...and the colours look great. Orange and gold....so sexy..the song brings happiness, good times and joy! Just makes me want to get up and dance!

Emil: I have to confess this is my ringtone and I love this song to bits. I think it can be a massive Summer hit and I won't be surprised if it wins the Eurovision but she needs a stronger vocal performance as tonight's performance left MUCH to be DESIRED as it was quite weak. The choreography is fun and you can dance along to the tune. I guess this will go down quite well with the Maltese.

Claudia: I absolutely love back-pipes. It has a typical romanian sound, I'm not a fan of the vocals. Didn't do much to me honestly because she was someone off beat at times this evening. It is just another song honestly.

07. Switzerland

Raquela: A good vocal rendition, and despite it being a band, the voice is quite defined. Hard to grasp lyrics completely. But the overall scene, loving the laser effect...compliments the song. Seems like a good response from the public.

Emil: Not a fan of this song. Although the tune is strong, the fact that they are singing in English and I can't understand what they're saying is a bit irritating. The crowd's got in it too. I don't think this will have a chance tonight - the jury can save it but I highly doubt it. It's not catchy enough that the public will remember this and vote for it.

Claudia: I love his voice, I think this song could be a hit. It's so modern. Maybe the Eurovision Song Contest isn't the proper stage for it though. I would rather imaging it in another type of showcase though. This was meant to be a radio hit and I would definitely vote for this.

08. Belgium

Raquela: Overall a good song but not for such a stage. The tune does not seem memorable enough and her dress is somewhat cute and girly. The build up was somewhat impressive actually.

Emil: Simply ballad and I guess the inspiration behind her outfit was fom Malta's own Danica Muscat as it looks very similar to her outfit at this year's Malta Eurovision. A sweet love song that few will remember at the end of the night. Simplicity was surely the key for Belgium but I guess it was a bit too simple for my liking.

Claudia: I'm not crazy about her vocals, it has an old sound to it which is very much like the past decade actually. The overall outcome is very forgettable. She is so young though and she must be enjoying this whilst feeling very emotional.

09. Finland

Raquela: Love the dress, colour and style! Good and fresh melody line. Very pleasant to listen to...seems to bring the Corrs back to life noting their hiatus. Despite being a ballad, it has definitely captured my attention...I wouldn't mind listening to this again..

Emil: Back to back ballads and the fact that this is in Swedish gives it an edge. The singer is beautiful and oozes charisma as she sings. She looks like a girl out of a fairytale and although I think it might struggle to make it through it is still classy and atmospheric. It is different and the traditional feel to it makes it special.

Claudia: The very beginning of this song actually reminded me of the track I'm With You by Avril Lavingne. I like the serenity that comes with her facial expression but the song in itself is weak but then again, I have a soft spot for strings, nothing else really.

10. Israel

Raquela: It's got a radio-like effect , playful quality!!! This is a track which reminds me a lot of the seventies. There is something amiably retro to it. 

Emil: Love the rhythm to this song. They all seem to be having fun performing this odd entry. They tried to be funny but at least they presented some decent to our ears. The girls on the piano looks like she's high and the singer looks really odd perhaps like the Mad Hatter from Alice & Wonderland. Still I like this one. I guess it will do well tonight. It will surely be a bordering on whether to qualify or not.

Claudia: Ohh, Israel decides to go boogie this year. It's sounds to me like an opening song of a Japanese cartoon from the 70/80s.

11. San Marino

Raquela: The beginning of this song seems promising and well it suddenly becomes cheesy pop. Seems like a group I'd hire for a kid's party. Brings to mind the Spice Girls!!!! Voices however were in sync and overall catchy tune.

Emil: San Marino thought that whatever they send won't have a chance to qualify and it seems they decided to go for the stupidiest song ever. Pity after last year's strong effort. The girl can sing but this song surely doesn't allow her to show it. They took social networking addiction to a new level. Please don't forget to like our Facebook page we need more LIKES.

Claudia: I hate the subject. How stupid, sorry for being blunt. The act and her outfit are just hideous and her laptop just looks absolutely stupid.

12. Cyprus

Raquela: A lot of energy and I just keep being stunned at her beauty!! Looks like an underwater effect. This does stand a chance to make it through this evening.

Emil: I love everything about this performance except the vocals. Under than that I truly think they everything is perfect. The choreography is fun, the girl is sexy and the backdrop was SPLENDID. One of the fan favourites and I guess the public has to save it tonight after that performance.

Claudia: This track could easily be a club summer song for students and I believe that the track is just too low for her voice. She's the best up-tempo song so far and could be a dark horse this evening. I did dance to it!

13. Denmark

Raquela: Good voice...lost for words..maybe reminds me of natasha bedingfield? I didn't get the overall theme. This is very middle of the road and it is a maybe qualifier this evening.

Emil: Nice, simply and catchy. A radio hit and since it contrasts really well with the one before it, it will do well. The whole group looks relaxed and they all look cute. I guess this will sail into the finals tonight and will secure another good result for Denmark. Nothing else to add. Simplicity is the key and it works.

Claudia: Breathe of fresh air... Very radio! It's modern and I love how she uses her voice. I like this a lot actually.This my favourite this evening. I love the bass in the song.

14. Russia

Raquela: Now we've got a folk experience....seems fun to watch, and there is strong applause from the public...mmm I wonder what's coming! Its a risk! Evolves into an unexpected beat...seems like a dance beat! surprise surprise. I wonder what will pop out of that oven.....hahaha......maybe a Christmas tree? and...its they are...fresh out of the oven...BUNS.

Emil: How can you make a Eurovision crowd go crazy!? Get six grannies from an old people's home and they will all go mad. The song is catchy and somehow their vocal performance tonight is much better in comparison to their performances throughout the week. The song is catchy and I can't believe I'm saying this but they have a STRONG chance to win this. Never thought I would end up loving this but I kind of do. It's my guilty pleasure.

Claudia: The melody is very catchy and it gets you going but it wouldn't be a song I'd vote for. Pero if I was there I'd dance to it and I would definitely wave my flag. This could do well ...

15. Hungary

Raquela: Strong melody line. The modulations are excellent.Love it love it love it. Rhythm is strong, catchy. Wish it never ends........Finally a tune to look forward to.. This is my favourite so far. Very very good feedback from the audience.

Emil: I guess this is going to get lost tonight. It's a radio friendly song and Eurovision isn't the place for such a song. It seems something was missing but I cannot figure out what it is. Pleasant but that's it.

Claudia: What a beautiful instrumental beginning. I like the music but it does not really go anywhere special. It's modern, I wouldn't mind listening to it on the radio while driving my beloved smart.

16. Austria

Raquela:  Not liking the dance...party anthem. Too repetitive for my liking...

Emil: HAHAHAHA - Call me weird but I like this song. It's very tongue in cheek and different to what we've seen before. Don't know on its chances tonight. Perhaps some of the viewers are going to find the booty shaking a bit too much but it's cool, fun and the crowd seem to be dancing to this tune. It was very well presented and probably a number of people would be shaking their booty in Paceville to this song.

Claudia: I just cannot believe this song. I am sorry but I prefer to mute and not comment on it.

17. Moldova

Raquela: Ahh love the costumes and contemporary dance!! In fact, I love the movement in the song. My favourite overall stage performance and setting!! Vocals are spot on, especially backing vocals!!!

Emil: Love Love Love it! Love the music, the crazy choreography and all that makes this song. It's very entertaining. Different and FUN! We need more songs like these. Fresh and funny yet not over the top. The backing dancers/singers look crazy in a fun way and I really feel like getting up to sing and dance along with them. I seriously hope they MAKE IT! Fingers crossed. GO MOLDOVA!

Claudia: I can't understand a word this guys is saying. It's a cute song but didn't impress me much.

18. Ireland

Raquela: Seems like they followed the concept of the song..... but nothing more to add. That's all folks.

Emil: Saving the best for the last. Such a catchy song. I felt myself singing a long and doing their fist pump. The performance was strong and it looked great on screen. JEDWARD's energy is unbelievable and this transmits well. Not a fan of the outfits though - they look like they came out of a Star Wars movie but I guess that's the only down point to an overall strong performance.

Claudia: It is quite a pity that Ireland sent them to Eurovision this year noting the many classics that they have sent over the years.

The Show (Part 2)

The hosts are back on stage to say that the songs have come to an end and to open up the tele-voting noting that a person can phone up to twenty votes from a land-line. In the meantime, the recap of the tracks is currently being shown on screens. Not too much time in order to vote, some fifteen minutes but remember, Malta does not vote in this semi-final.

Prediction

Claudia's Qualifiers:  Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Romania, Russia, Switzerland

Emil's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Moldova, Romania, Russia

Raquela's Qualifiers: Albania, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania, Switzerland

Qualifiers

01. Romania

02. Moldova

03. Iceland

04. Hungary

05. Denmark

06. Albania

07. Cyprus

08. Greece

09. Russia

10. Ireland

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