Venue: Lisbon Arena, Lisbon, Portugal
Hosts: Filomena Cautela, Sílvia Alberto, Daniela Ruah & Catarina Furtado
Date: Thursday 10 May 2018
N.B. Any use of "tonight" or "this evening" throughout this post means Thursday 10 May 2018. All times in this post are in BST.
The OpeningThe second semi-final began with an opening film followed by a speech from the hosts.
The SongsFive minutes after the start of the show (20:05 BST) it was time for the first song. Each song was introduced by a postcard film related to the appropriate country.
Song 1: Norway - Alexander Rybak "That's How You Write A Song"#NOR Alexander Rybak represented Norway with the winning song "Fairytale" in 2009. He's back this year, this time to sing "That's How You Write A Song". I quite liked this song when I saw its online video shortly after it won Norway's national final. Since then, "That's How You Write A Song" has been one of my favourite semi-final 2 contenders among the official preview videos. Tonight Alexander sung the song well, accompanied by the on-screen effects including the virtual keyboard. He even managed to include a real violin towards the end, just like in "Fairytale" in 2009. I definitely want this in the Grand Final, but whether or not Alexander can become the next Johnny Logan is another story.
Song 2: Romania - The Humans "Goodbye"#ROU A song I thought wasn't bad when watching the preview videos and listening to the ESC 2018 CD album. Based on tonight's live performance, "Goodbye" is quite a reasonable song, well performed, but I currently feel borderline whether this should qualify or not. I wouldn't mind this in the final, but I wouldn't miss it if it's not there.
Song 3: Serbia - Sanja Ilic & Balkanika "Nova Deca"#SRB Now for one of the ex-Yugoslav entries. "Nova Deca" sounds very much an ethnic Balkan entry to me, what with its first verse and somewhat different chorus. When watching the preview videos, and listening to the CD album tracks for the second semi-final, I found this to be one of the middle-of-the-road contenders. I think I like tonight's live performance better than the preview video and the CD album track, but I'm currently borderline whether this should qualify or not.
Song 4: San Marino - Jessika featuring Jenifer Brening "Who We Are"#SMR The smallest country to be taking part in the is year's Eurovision Song Contest is San Marino. This was one of my lesser-liked songs among the second semi-final preview videos. In my opinion, it's no better sung live tonight, in fact I thought the lead singer's voice was a bit weak early on. What's the significance of the robots? Perhaps it's best if this doesn't qualify.
Song 5: Denmark - Rasmussen "Higher Ground"#DEN This was one of my favourite second semi-final contenders among the online preview videos and on the ESC 2018 album. I like it just as much performed live tonight. It's a pity the lead singer's voice wasn't a bit stronger for a powerful song like this. Nonetheless, I definitely want to see this in the final.
Song 6: Russia - Julia Samoylova "I Won't Break"Julia Samoylova was going to represent Russia with "Flame Is Burning" last year, but due to political reasons Russia withdrew a few weeks before the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. This year she's back to fulfil her ambition of representing Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest. This is another song felt indifferent about when watching the preview videos and listening to the ESC 2018 CD album. Based on tonight's live performance, I'm not so sure. Julia sang reasonably well, but I question the need for the backing singers in the choruses (they overpowered Julia). Were the dancers really necessary? I'm not sure this merits a place in the final.
A short break followed at this point.
Song 7: Moldova - DoReDoS "My Lucky Day"#MDA Another song I felt was reasonably OK (but not overly keen on) whilst watching the preview videos and listening to the CD album. I'm less keen on the live performance tonight. What's the significance of the wall with the panels they randomly open? This is likely to end up on my "Prefer not to qualify" list.
Song 8: The Netherlands - Waylon "Outlaw In 'Em"#NED The Netherlands have gone for a rock song this year. This was one of my lesser-liked entries among the preview videos for the second semi-final, but I like tonight's live performance a bit better. Based on tonight's live performance alone, I wouldn't mind this in the Grand Final on Saturday, but I wouldn't miss it if it's not there.
Song 9: Australia - Jessica Mauboy "We Got Love"Say what you like about Australia being in the Eurovision Song Contest for the fourth year running, but anyway this was one of my favourite entries among the preview videos for the second semi-final. I like tonight's live performance just as much, it was well sung with appropriate use of movement on stage. Were the flashing lights really necessary though? I'd definitely like to see this in the final.
Song 10: Georgia - Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao "For You"#GEO This was one of my least-liked second semi-final contenders among the preview videos and on the CD album. To me it sounds a very depressing song, to say the least! I think I prefer tonight's live version, it was very well sung, but I'm not sure whether or not this should be in the final.
Song 11: Poland - Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer "Light Me Up"#POL This was another of my favourite second semi-finals whilst watching the online preview videos and listening to the ESC 2018 CD album. This evening I like the live performance just as much. I'd definitely like to see this in the final.
Song 12: Malta - Christabelle "Taboo"#MLT This was one of the my lesser-liked second semi-final contenders among the preview videos and on the CD album. I liked tonight's live performance considerably better; it was well sung but what was the significance of the screens. Based solely on tonight's live performance, I'd definitely like to see this in the final.
A short break followed at this point.
Song 13: Hungary - AWS "Viszlát Nyár"#HUN Hungary has gone for a lively rock song this year, hence it's hardly surprising tonight's live performance contains much use of strobe lighting. Admittedly I don't like this style of music generally, but I really detested this entry when I first saw an online video of its A Dal 2018 final performance shortly after the A Dal 2018 ended. Since then I've continued to dislike this song just as much with subsequent viewings of the official preview video and when listening to the ESC 2018 CD album. I hated tonight's live performance just as much. Please, please stay out of Saturday's final AWS, kérem!
Song 14: Latvia - Laura Rizzotto "Funny Girl"One of my lesser-liked second semi-final entries among the preview videos and whilst listening to the CD album. I like tonight's live performance better, it's quite a nice ballad, and well sung. Is there any particular reason why Laura is wearing a red dress, and the lighting is red. I wouldn't mind this in the final, but wouldn't miss it if it's not there.
Song 15: Sweden - Benjamin Ingrosso "Dance You Off"Sweden has entered some excellent songs in recent years, but quite frankly I was disappointed with their choice of ESC 2018 entry shortly after the Melodifestivalen 2018 Grand Final ended. Since then "Dance You Off" has been one of my lesser-liked second semi-final contenders among the official preview videos and on the CD album. I dislike tonight's live performance just as much, so I'd sooner Sweden stays out of Saturday's final.
Song 16: Montenegro - Vanja Radovanovic "Inje"#MNE Montenegro has gone for a beautiful ballad this year. I really liked this from the first time I saw this preview video. When I watched all the second semi-final preview videos earlier today this remained one of my most liked of tonight's songs. This evening I've enjoyed the live performance just as much. Based solely on tonight's performance, this is one of tonight's songs that I most want to see in Saturday's Grand Final. I would have voted for you Vanja if the UK had been voting tonight.
Song 17: Slovenia - Lea Sirk "Hvala, ne!"#SLO From one former Yugoslav country to another, and in stark contrast, this was one of my least-liked songs among the second semi-final preview videos, and on the CD album. I hate tonight's live performance just as much. Are the strobes really necessary in this song? What was the significance of the pause about two thirds of the way through? Please, please stay out of Saturday's final!
Song 18: Ukraine - MELOVIN "Under The Ladder"#UKR The final song already, it's amazing how time flies! Ukraine's entry was one of the second semi-final contenders among the preview videos, and I still feel the same way about it after tonight's live performance. What was the significance of the steps and the flame effects? I wouldn't mind if this qualifies, but I won't miss it if it's not there.
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Televoting and RecapAfter the songs finished, (names) reappeared to announce the start of the voting at 21:26 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: Norway, Denmark, Australia, Poland, Malta, Montenegro
Wouldn't mind qualifying: Romania, Serbia, Russia, The Netherlands, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine
Prefer not to qualify: San Marino, Moldova, Sweden
Definitely don't want to qualify: Hungary, Slovenia
So these are the ones I want to see Saturday night: Norway, Denmark, Australia, Poland, Malta, Montenegro, plus four of Romania, Serbia, Russia, The Netherlands, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine.
Had the UK been voting in this semi-final, I would have voted for Norway, Denmark, Australia, Poland and Montenegro.
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Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Second Semi-Final Results
Here are the results, which were announced in a random order at 22:06 BST. Any use of "tonight" still means Thursday 10 May 2018.
My desired qualifiers: Norway, Denmark, Australia, Poland, Malta, Montenegro, plus four of Romania, Serbia, Russia, The Netherlands, Georgia, Latvia, Ukraine.
Actual qualifiers (in order of announcement): Serbia, Moldova, Hungary, Ukraine, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Denmark, Slovenia, The Netherlands.
Bold entries represent the actual qualifiers that match my preferences.
OUT: Romania, San Marino, Russia, Georgia, Poland, Malta, Latvia, Montenegro.
I'm appalled and disgusted that Hungary and Slovenia qualified against my wishes. Of all the 43 entries in the Eurovision Song Contest 2018, Hungary's "Viszlát Nyár" is the one I dislike the most. Admittedly I didn't try watching A Dal 2018 final online from the UK (if that was possible), so I don't know what else "Viszlát Nyár" was up against, but nonetheless I was shocked Hungary picked that as their entry this year. I most definitely didn't want Hungary in the Grand Final, but they are there now, and there's nothing I can do about it. Slovenia's entry, in my opinion, is almost as bad, and I didn't want that in the final either, but it's there now, worse luck! I hope neither of them wins on Saturday.
I'm gutted and deeply upset that Montenegro didn't reach the final, as their entry "Inje" was a beautiful Balkan ballad. In my opinion, it was one of the best songs in tonight's second semi-final. Had the UK been voting tonight, I definitely would have voted for Montenegro. I'm also very disappointed that Poland didn't reach the final, as "Light Me Up" was a lively, catchy song which was among my most-liked songs tonight. As far as I'm concerned, Poland and Montenegro deserved the places Hungary and Slovenia took.
I'm overjoyed that Norway, Denmark and Australia all made it to the final because, as far as I'm concerned, all three had quality entries with excellent live performances tonight. They were among the songs I most wanted in the final; in fact I would have voted for all three of those countries if the UK had been voting tonight. So now that Alexander Rybak has reached the final, can he repeat his success of 2009 and win again for Norway this coming Saturday night "That's How You Write A Song"? Time will tell.
Romania and Russia failed to qualify tonight. This is the first time either of those two countries has failed to qualify for the final since the start of official, televised semi-finals in 2004 (before then, both those countries failed to qualify from the 1996 audio qualifier). To be fair I'm not surprised; both their songs were borderline entries. I didn't mind whether either of those qualified or not, but I wasn't desperately keen to see either of them in the final.
Anyway no matter how I personally feel about which countries' songs went thorough and which ones didn't, all the artists who performed tonight deserve equal respect. Well done to the ten countries which qualified to the final, and commiserations to the nine which failed to reach the final. So that means all 26 finalists are now confirmed and 17 countries have been eliminated (but will still vote in the final). Roll on the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 Grand Final at 20:00 BST Saturday evening.
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