Venue: International Exhibition Centre, Kyiv
Hosts: Oleksandr Skichko, Volodymyr Ostapchuk and Timur Miroshnychenko
Date: Thursday 11 May 2017
N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Thursday 11 May 2017. All times in this post are in BST.
The OpeningShortly after the start, Oleksandr and Volodymir played some Eurovision hits Ukranian style; Oleksandr played a recorder and Volodymir played an accordion. Song excerpts which featured in this compilation included "Euphoria" by Loreen, "Fairytale" by Alexander Rybak, "My Number One" by Helena Paparizou, and "Rise like a Phoenix" by Conchita Wurst. They were accompanied onstage by dancers and singers.
The SongsNine minutes after the start of the show (20:09 BST) it was time for the first song. Each song was introduced by a postcard film related to the appropriate country.
Song 1: Serbia - Tijana Bogicevic "In Too Deep"It's difficult performing first, and judging the first song in either semi-final, but "In Too Deep" was one of my preferred entries among the preview videos for the second semi-final. I like tonight's live performance just as much. It's a good power ballad to start the show, and very well sung. What was the significance of the man lunging and rolling over sideways though? This song definitely deserves to be in the final, see you Saturday Tijana.
Song 2: Austria - Nathan Trent "Running On Air"Another of the second semi-final contenders I liked when watching the preview videos. "Running On Air" may lack the winning edge of "Rise Like A Phoenix" in 2014, but it's still a good song with a catchy chorus, and well performed live tonight. What was the significance of the crescent moon on stage though? I'd like this to qualify for the final.
Song 3: F.Y.R. Macedonia - Jana Burceska "Dance Alone"I felt borderline about this song when I first saw its preview video, and when hearing it on the official CD album. Tonight's live performance is certainly better, it's quite a catchy song but I'm still borderline as to whether or not this ought to be in the final.
Song 4: Malta - Claudia Faniello "Breathlessly"Another song I was in two minds about when watching its preview video and hearing it on the CD album, but I like it much better sung live tonight. It's a ballad with gently paced verses and a catchy chorus, and very well sung. This definitely deserves to be in the final, I hope to see you there Claudia.
Song 5: Romania - Ilinca ft. Alex Florea "Yodel It!"After Romania's unexpected absence last year, they are back this year. This time they've gone for a song which features a lot of yodelling. I didn't think much of this song from the first time I saw its preview video, or when hearing it on the official CD. Quite frankly I dislike its live performance tonight just as much, it's a rather silly song really, and I want it to stay out of the final. Unfortunately I have a feeling "Yodel It!" will get through just because it's catchy and makes one want to yodel along to.
Song 6: The Netherlands - OG3NE "Lights and Shadows"I wasn't overly keen on this when watching its preview video, or hearing it on the CD album. To me it seems an unusual style of singing which is not to my taste. Looking positively I like it considerably more sung tonight, the three ladies performed it very well, with good harmony. An entry I feel borderline about whether it should qualify or not.
A short break followed at this point.
Song 7: Hungary - Joci Pápai "Origo"When I first saw an online video of Hungary's choice of entry didn't like "Origo"; at time it seemed a very unusual style of singing and the rap made a bad song worse. On my subsequent viewings of its official preview video, and hearing it on the official CD album, I continued disliking it. Sung live tonight I still don't like it. I'd rather this doesn't qualify.
Song 8: Denmark - Anja "Where I Am"I watched the Danish national final online earlier in this year and at the time thought "Where I Am" was a good choice. Since then I've quite liked it whenever I've watched its online preview video, and I enjoyed tonight's live performance just as much. It's a good, catchy song, and very well sung live. I hope this goes through to the final.
Song 9: Ireland - Brendan Murray "Dying to Try"Although Ireland has had seven wins in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest, it hasn't had much luck in recent years. "Dying to Try" was one of the 2017 entries I particularly liked from the first time I saw its preview video, and when listening to the official CD. Tonight Brendan gave a great performance of an excellent song tonight. I like the way it's a rather quiet song for the first two thirds, and then there's a really powerful chorus. What was the significance of the balloon on stage. This definitely deserves to qualify to the final.
Song 10: San Marino - Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson "Spirit of the Night"The smallest country by land area taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, San Marino. They've only reached the final once since their debut in 2008. "Spirit of the Night" was one of my least-liked 2017 contenders among the preview videos and on the CD, and I dislike it sung live tonight. The preview video must have been shot in a night club, with loads of other dancers. That's where the EBU's limit of six performers really kicks in here; that effect is missing with just Valentina and Jimmie singing plus three backing singers on stage. I hope this stays out of the final.
Song 11: Croatia - Jacques Houdek "My Friend"Another song I had mixed views about when I first saw the preview video, I thought this song seemed very unusual, it's all kinds of everything and it seemed questionable whether or not it would work at Eurovision. "My Friend" has grown on me with repeat viewings of the preview video, and hearing it on the official CD. I liked tonight's live performance, it was very well performed. What was the significance of the sunflowers and rainbow at the end? I'd like to see this in the final.
Song 12: Norway - JOWST "Grab The Moment"Now for one of my least-liked 2017 entries among the preview videos and on the CD, and I dislike it sung live tonight. The chorus is memorable, but overall I think the song is somewhat below par. Please stay out of Saturday's final.
Song 13: Switzerland - Timebelle "Apollo"I wasn't overly keen on Switzerland's entry whilst watching the preview videos, or listening to the CD. To me it's better sung live tonight, but I'm still not overly keen on it. What was the significance of the lady singing at the top of the steps for a significant part of the song? I'd rather this doesn't go through.
A short break followed at this point.
Song 14: Belarus - Naviband "Story of My Life"Belarus is performing its song in Belarussian this year. I wasn't all that keen on this song when watching the preview video or listening to the CD album, but I quite like it sung live tonight. I like the way he man is playing the guitar whilst singing. What's the significance of the fans though? Based on tonight's live performance alone, it's a very catchy song, and well sung; I think this deserves a place in the final.
Song 15: Bulgaria - Kristian Kostov "Beautiful Mess"One of my most-liked ballads among the preview videos and on the CD, I like tonight's live performance just as much. It's an excellent ballad and very well sung. What was the significance of the shaky visuals at times? This definitely deserves a place in the final.
Song 16: Lithuania - Fusedmarc "Rain Of Revolution"Now for one of my least-liked songs among the preview videos and on the official CD album, and I dislike tonight's live performance just as much. I notice there's a lot of red in this song, the lead singer is wearing red and there is red in the background. Altogether, a poor choice of song from Lithuania this year. Please, please, please stay out of Saturday's final Fusedmarc.
Song 17: Estonia - Koit Toome & Laura "Verona"One of my favourite 2017 entries from the moment I first saw its preview video and this is the song I've been looking forward to most of all tonight. This evening I've enjoyed "Verona" sung live just as much as in the preview video and on the CD. It's a very catchy song, which one could easily sing along to. Altogether Koit and Laura gave the first class performance I wanted of this excellent song. This is the song I want to qualify most of all, and possibly even win outright; I'll be gutted if it doesn't get to the final.
Song 18: Israel - IMRI "I Feel Alive"The last song already, it's amazing how time flies. This is another song I particularly liked when watching the preview videos and on the CD, and I like tonight's live performance tonight. Another catchy song, and very well sung tonight, accompanied by vertical arm movements at one point. This is another song I'd like to see in the final
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Televoting and RecapAfter the songs finished, (names) reappeared to announce the start of the voting at 21:28 BST. A recap of the songs followed. The UK was unable to vote in tonight's semi-final, and therefore UK viewers saw a message "UK viewers cannot vote tonight" at the bottom of the screen during the recap.
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My PreferencesHere are my preferences based solely on all of tonight's performances:
Definitely want to qualify: Serbia, Austria, Malta, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel.
Wouldn't mind qualifying: F.Y.R. Macedonia, The Netherlands,
Prefer not to qualify: Hungary, Switzerland
Definitely don't want to qualify: Romania, San Marino, Norway, Lithuania.
So these are the ones I want to see Saturday night: Serbia, Austria, Malta, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel.
Had the UK been voting in this semi-final, I would have voted for Ireland, Bulgaria, Estonia and Israel.
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Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Second Semi-Final ResultsHere are the results, which were announced in a random order at 22:04 BST. Any use of "tonight" still means Thursday 11 May 2017.
My desired qualifiers: Serbia, Austria, Malta, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel.
Actual qualifiers (in order of announcement): Bulgaria, Belarus, Croatia, Hungary, Denmark, Israel, Romania, Norway, The Netherlands, Austria.
Bold entries represent the actual qualifiers that match my preferences.
OUT: Serbia, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Malta, Ireland, San Marino, Switzerland, Lithuania, Estonia.
I am gutted and shocked that Estonia didn't qualify because that's the one song I most wanted to qualify tonight. Also I'm gutted that Ireland didn't qualify, because I really liked their entry this year and I felt it was one of tonight's entries most deserving of a place in the final. I'm also disappointed that Serbia and Malta didn't qualify, as both had quality entries which were well sung tonight.
I'm appalled and disgusted Romania and Norway reached the final, as they were on the list of countries I least wanted in the final. Romania's song was, in my opinion, a rather silly entry, predominantly yodelling, but my guess is that's the sort of novelty gimmick people wanted in the final. Still this is a song contest and it's a shame Romania's entry qualified at the expense of other better entries. As for Norway, I didn't think that was much of a song either and I really didn't want it to qualify. As far as I'm concerned Estonia and Ireland deserved the places Romania and Norway took.
I'm annoyed Hungary qualified as I didn't like their song much either (the rap made a bad song worse), there were other better songs more worthy of a place in the final than "Origo". Serbia or Malta, which were far superior in my opinion, deserved the place Hungary took.
Thank goodness San Marino and Lithuania failed to qualify, as both of them had what I felt were appalling songs not worthy of being in the final.
I'm so glad Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark and Israel all made it to the final as they were among the entries I liked most tonight and therefore put on my "Definitely want to qualify" list.
As for The Netherlands, their entry ended up on my "Wouldn't mind qualifying" list. I sort of liked it tonight, I'd say it was my most liked of my borderline entries so I don't mind that having qualified even though it wasn't one the ten I most wanted in the final. Put it this way, it was better to have had The Netherlands in the final instead of Lithuania or San Marino.
So six of my ten "Definitely want to qualify" countries (Austria, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Israel) made it through and one of two "Wouldn't mind qualifying" countries (The Netherlands) also reached the final. Not bad I suppose.
Well done to the ten countries which qualified to the final. So that means all 26 finalists are now confirmed and 16 countries have been eliminated (but will still vote in the final). Roll on the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 Grand Final at 20:00 BST Saturday evening.
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