Eurovision 2015 – Semi-Final 2 Lineup

The second semi-final in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest is hours away. The artists and their nations are posted below, but first, a how-to recap.

Recap: How to Watch Eurovision in the USA

Eurovision has two options for watching online, completely free, either from their website or their YouTube channel.

Eurovision WebTV

Eurovision YouTube Channel

The official start time is 21:00 CEST or 9:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time. That translates to 3:00 p.m. EDT and Noon PDT in the U.S.

Here’s the lineup for the Semi-Final 2.

In order of appearance:

  1. Lithuania: This Time, Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila
  2. Ireland: Playing With Numbers, Molly Sterling
  3. San Marino: Chain Of Lights, Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola
  4. Montenegro: Adio, Knez
  5. Malta: Warrior, Amber
  6. Norway: A Monster Like Me, Mørland & Debrah Scarlett
  7. Portugal: Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa, Leonor Andrade
  8. Czech Republic: Hope Never Dies, Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta
  9. Israel: Golden Boy, Nadav Guedj
  10. Latvia: Love Injected, Aminata
  11. Azebaijan: Hour Of The Wolf, Elnur Huseynov
  12. Iceland: Unbroken, Maria Olafs
  13. Sweden: Heroes, Måns Zelmerlöw
  14. Switzerland: Time To Shine, Mélanie René
  15. Cyprus: One Thing I Should Have Done, John Karayiannis
  16. Slovenia: Here For You, Maraaya
  17. Poland: In The Name Of Love, Monika Kuszyńska

Good luck to all the countries and their artists. Enjoy the show!

Eurovision 2015 Semi-Final 1 Results

As an American, Eurovision makes me weep for one big reason: it’s so damn efficient. In two hours, there’s a big opening, a bit of host blathering, 16 performances, voting in 40 countries, a bit of local color and performances, tallying of votes, and announcing the winners. In two hours! One of the reasons I stopped watching shows like American Idol is because they take too damn long.

Got that off my chest. Onto Eurovision 2015 Semi-Final 1!

The evening started with the reigning queen of Eurovision, Conchita Wurst, singing her winning song Rise Like a Phoenix. She looked lovely in her signature strapless gown, this time white, showing off those gorgeous shoulders.

Artists from 16 countries took to the stage, but only 10 will continue on to the finale. They are:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Russia
  • Romania
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Estonia
  • Georgia
  • Serbia
  • Belgium

Best performance of the night goes to: Russia!

Polina Gagarina was amazing! What a great voice and such a powerful song. A Million Voices was not one of my favorite songs, but I’m loving it now.

Divalicious award of the night goes to: Serbia!

Beauty Never Lies starts out as a ballad and becomes a party! Bojana Stamenov​ commanded the stage with ease with her big voice and powerful presence.

Surprise of the night goes to Romania!

Voltaj​’s powerful performance vaulted their (mostly) non-English song De la Capat (All over Again) into the finale.

Most touching moment goes to Armenia!

Tears came to my eyes as each performer moved to different countries on a map of the world, representing the Armenian diaspora after the 1916 genocide. Face the Shadow remains one of my top songs, but Genealogy’s performance needs a little more work.

Eurovision Semi-Final 2 will be held on Thursday, May 21, at 21:00 CEST. That’s 3:00 p.m. EDT and Noon PDT in the U.S. You can watch the live show for free on YouTube and the Eurovision website.

Eurovision WebTV

Eurovision YouTube Channel

How to Watch Eurovision 2015 in the USA

Eurovision 2015 is upon us and the first semi-final is mere hours away. Most U.S. fans, like myself, can’t watch the competition on broadcast television or even cable.

But don’t panic!

Eurovision has two options for watching online, completely free, either from their website or their YouTube channel.

Eurovision WebTV

Eurovision YouTube Channel

The official start time is 21:00 CEST or 9:00 p.m. Central European Summer Time. That translates to 3:00 p.m. EDT and Noon PDT in the U.S.

Here’s the line-up for the Semi-Final 1.

01 Moldova
Eduard Romanyuta
I Want Your Love
02 Armenia
Face The Shadow
03 Belgium
Loïc Nottet
Rhythm Inside
04 The Netherlands
Trijntje Oosterhuis
Walk Along
05 Finland
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Aina Mun Pitää
06 Greece
Maria Elena Kyriakou
One Last Breath
07 Estonia
Elina Born & Stig Rästa
Goodbye To Yesterday
08 F.Y.R. Macedonia
Daniel Kajmakoski
Autumn Leaves
09 Serbia
Bojana Stamenov
Beauty Never Lies
10 Hungary
Wars For Nothing
11 Belarus
12 Russia
Polina Gagarina
A Million Voices
13 Denmark
Anti Social Media
The Way You Are
14 Albania
Elhaida Dani
I’m Alive
15 Romania
De La Capat/ All Over Again
16 Georgia
Nina Sublatti

Good luck to all the countries and their artists. Enjoy the show!

Eurovision 2015 – My Top 10

With the first Eurovision semi-final only a few days away, it is time to unveil my top 10 of 2015.

As I revealed earlier, I’m a bit disappointed at the plethora of ballads this year. I’m also unhappy that so many participants chose to sing in English rather than their native tongues. That being said, my top 10 does include artists who sing ballads in English.

My choices are, of course, according to my personal taste in music. Your top 10 might be very different. However, we can all agree that all the artists deserve love for stepping onto one of the world’s largest stages to represent their countries in front of millions of people.

I’ll also add that many artists surprise me during the actual competition, giving rock star performances above and beyond their official videos or previous live performances. My top 10 list usually changes during the actual competition.

That being said, let’s get to it.

1 point to Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa, Goodbye to Yesterday

2 points to Spain – Edurne, Amanecer

3 points to Finland – Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, Aina Mun Pitää

4 points to Montenegro – Knez, Adio

5 points to Georgia – Nina Sublatti, Warrior

6 points to Norway – Mørland & Debrah Scarlett, A Monster Like Me

7 points to Israel – Nadav Guedj, Golden Boy

8 points to Latvia – Aminata, Love Injected

10 points to Armenia – Genealogy, Face Every Shadow

And finally… drumroll…

12 points to Italy! Bravo Il Volo. Grande Amore is a fabulous song sung to great dramatic effect by a trio of polished performers with fantastic opera-trained voices. This is the stuff winners are made of, at least in my book. I have no idea how well Il Volo will do in the competition, but I’m hoping they make it all the way to the top.

Kisses and best wishes to all the participating countries and their artists!

Eurovision 2015 – United Kingdom

The UK is one of the most successful countries to perform at Eurovision, having won the contest five times. However, in recent years the UK has struggled to put forth a winning song, and has only made the top ten once in the past ten years.

What will 2015 bring this former powerhouse? Are they performing a standard ballad or doing something a little different?

They’re doing something really different! Take a look and listen to Electro Velvet, who are representing the UK with their song I’m Still In Love With You.

EDM Jazz. Now, that’s different! This is a ridiculously fun song with a catchy beat. Bianca Nicholas is gorgeous and has the pipes to sing this kind of amped-up jazz. Alex Larke is really more of a performer than a singer. He’s fun to watch, but his voice isn’t quite up to par. Regardless, they are definitely going to stand out! I do hope they keep the jazzy rave vibe for the finale performance. This year’s Eurovision desperately needs some wacky moments of memorable fun. Neon glowing flappers fits the bill nicely!

Thank you UK and Electro Velvet! Ballad weary voters might very well vault you into the top ten this year.

Eurovision 2015 – Montenegro and Romania

As I’ve stated before, this year’s Eurovision contest has too many ballads. It also has too many songs in English: 33 out of 40, which is ridiculous considering English is the native tongue of only three participating countries (England, Ireland and Australia.)

For that reason, I want to give love to the seven hold-outs who stand firm and sing in their native tongue. You are the rock stars of Eurovision and I hope you all do well, in the contest and in the future.

Five of these countries are singing standard ballads. Yesterday, I reviewed the female singers: France, Portugal and Spain. Today, I’m focusing on the men: Montenegro and Romania. Note: I’ve already reviewed the other two countries: Finland (punk rock) and Italy (pop opera.)

Knez was chosen by internal selection to represent Montenegro with his song Adio (Farewell.)

I love the violins and the ethnic flavor of this song. Knez has a really nice, smooth voice. For me, though, he has big shoes to fill. Last year, Sergej Ćetković and his song Moj Svijet had my 12 points. Don’t get me wrong! I loved Conchita, but this was my favorite song of Eurovision 2014. I don’t think Knez quite fills those shoes. Not the same amount of power in his voice and Adio isn’t as  much of a standout as Moj Svijet. I do love how both videos show the natural beauty of Montenegro. So proud of their country. I love it!

Voltaj were chosen by national selection to fly the Romanian flag in Vienna with their song De la Capăt (All Over Again.)

I’m all about social justice, so I’m very inclined to like this song about the plight of Romanian children whose parents were forced to leave their country to seek employment. It’s a sad plight of Romania and much of the world. Those of us fortunate enough to live in prosperous nations need to consider the welfare of our fellow humans and their struggles to make ends meet and provide for their families. So, well done, Voltaj! The song itself is lovely and melancholy with a nice ethnic flavor. It’s a good song, but not a standout, except that they’re singing in Romanian with a bit of English thrown in.

Which brings me to what I think is a great compromise I wish more countries would have done this year. Sing in the native tongue and throw in some English, maybe every other chorus or something like that. I know that English language songs are more likely to win. People like to understand what they’re listening to. Compromise is so much better than an Anglo contest.

I don’t see either Montenegro or Romania winning or even making it into the top 10. I will be sorely disappointed if they don’t make the finale. Kisses and best wishes from the United States!

Eurovision 2015 – France, Portugal and Spain

What do these three countries have in common this year at the Eurovision song contest? If your answer is three beautiful women with strong stage presence, all singing ballads, you would be correct. But there’s one more thing.

What they have in common is actually what they don’t share in common: they are all singing in their natives tongues. This year’s Eurovision is not only Balladvision; it also Anglovision. Only seven countries (Finland, France, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania and Spain) aren’t presenting songs in English. It’s a trend that has to stop, so I dearly wish one of these countries will be the winner.

Can one of these three women make it to the top? Let’s take a listen.

Lisa Angell was chosen by internal selection to represent France with her song N’oubliez Pas (Do Not Forget.)

Leonor Andrade was chosen by national selection to fly the Portuguese flag in Vienna with her song Ha Um Mar Que Nos Separa (The Sea that Separates Us.)

Edurne was chosen by internal selection to represent Spain with her song Amanecer (Daybreak.)

First things first. Hey, leather vest Spanish dude: you don’t turn and run from a tiger! You back away slowly, not making eye contact. Haven’t you ever watched National Geographic or whatever the Spanish equivalent is? Yeesh.

Had to get that off my chest.

That aside, I would say that Edurne is the strongest singer and Amanecer is the best song of the three. Lisa Angell is a close second in terms of voice, but N’oubliez Pas isn’t as exciting. Portugal has an exciting song, but Leonor Andrade isn’t nearly as good a singer as these other two women.

Honestly, I don’t see any of these women as a winner. I think Spain has a decent chance of making the top 10, depending on when they perform in the finale. If Edurne is in the midst of a batch of weaker ballads, she could very well stand out enough to win votes.

Best wishes to all three of these women and heartfelt thanks for keeping it real and resisting the urge to go Anglo.

Eurovision 2015 – Australia

That’s right. Not Austria. Australia.

The Aussies are mad about Eurovision. The contest has been broadcast in Australia for 30 years to an ever increasing audience. In honor of this popularity, Eurovision invited Australia to compete in the 60th Anniversary show. They will compete only in the finale, not the semi-finals. This is a one-off opportunity, unless of course Australia wins.

Could happen. Or could it? The best way to judge is to check out the Australia’s official video. Guy Sebastian will be proudly waving the Aussie flag in Vienna with his song Tonight Again.

When this started, all I could think is, “Please, not another ballad.” It’s not! It’s a fun and upbeat R&B number that is so refreshing to the ears. It reminds me just a bit of Uptown Funk in that it makes you want to get up and move to a funky beat. Guy Sebastian has a soulful voice and is an accomplished performer.

Go Aussie! This is good stuff. I really enjoyed it. Is it a winner? Hmm. You know, with the right momentum, it could be. It’s certainly a strong dark horse contender. I would put money on Tonight Again being in the top 10.

Well done, Australia. What a great debut! Kisses and best wishes from another non-EBU country!

You can find out more about Guy Sebastian here.

Eurovision 2015 – Moldova

Woo-hoo! Not a ballad! Right there, Moldova is already on my good side. Let’s see if they can stay on it. At least they’ll bring some variety to Balladvision… er… Eurovision 2015.

Eduard Romanyuta was chosen by national selection to wave Moldova’s flag in Vienna with his song I Want Your Love.

The official video is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like watching Justin Bieber have a Grand Theft Auto fantasy. Ugh. Plus, he sounds auto-tuned AF. So, I searched out his winning performance at O Melodie Pentru Europa.

Ahem. Well. It’s definitely better than the official video in that he’s giving a decent performance. His voice isn’t great. As for the song, I Want Your Love is a ’90s boy band-esque pop confection. Eduard Romanyuta reminds me a bit of Norway’s 2012 performer, Tooji, except Tooji is a better singer and dancer.

Norway came in last in the 2012 finale. Just sayin’.

If this was another year, I don’t think Eduard Romanyuta would have a chance to make it to the finale. However, amidst all the ballads, I Want Your Love sounds cheerful and infectious, and will get people moving. The new ‘do in the official video makes him look a lot cuter. He could pull this off. Best wishes to him, regardless.

You can find out more about Eduard Romanyuta here.

Eurovision 2015 – Italy

Grazie mille Il Volo for singing in Italian.

Of all the other countries I have reviewed so far, only Finland’s Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät have sung in their native tongue. It was starting to feel like Anglovision instead of Eurovision. Really, I get it. I know that performers who sing in in English are more likely to win. English is currently the universal language. It is my first and only language. But part of what I love about Eurovision is its international flavor. The contest starts losing that flavor when it’s all in one tongue.

I’ll be doing another post about 2015 being Balladvision.

This post is about Italy and their artists, Il Volo, who won the national competition with their song Grande Amore. The official video is a silly bit of business with movie references. Their winning performance at Festival di Sanremo is amazing and must be seen!

Wowza! Now that’s how to make a ballad memorable: three handsome men with operatic voices and power pop chops. What a terrific performance and great song. No wonder they won Festival di Sanremo. This live performance is far superior to the official video; it’s a shame they didn’t use it. Plus, dat wink at about 2:37! Swoon.

One small problem is the song in both videos is too long. They’re going to have to trim almost a minute off to make it work. I don’t think that will be a big problem.

I’m calling top three on Il Volo and Grande Amore. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Eurovision makes its home in Italy next year. Bravo bravo!

You can find out more about Il Volo here.