Now that all the 26 finalists are determined, I would need to revise my predictions very slightly as one of those I predicted to land in the Top 10 has been eliminated. There is one significant rising star that I observed after watching both semifinal performances, and some notes on a few entries. So here goes:
ROMANIA: “Zaleilah” – Mandinga. Everything about the semifinal performance just went wonderfully well for this entry, as all elements fell into their proper places. As expected Elena Ionescu’s sexiness is well showcased in her very short red minidress (showcasing her lissome long legs)–notice how the top looked like an apron? And she was able to employ good breath control as she indeed sounded as lilting as the recording. I first was worried about its Top 10 prospects, but judging from this performance this is a shoo-in and a serious contender to equal or exceed this country’s best finish in 3rd place (in 2005 and 2010).
MOLDOVA: “Lautar” – Pasha Parfeny. I forgot to note about Pasha’s resemblance to actor Colin Farrell, though replace Colin’s sex appeal with vocal and musical talent, and put him with five barefoot dancing girls like in this presentation, and we have a very engaging PG-rated party romp (if you put the girls with the real Colin Farrell, this would easily turn into X-rated territory). I love this performance that I think this could become a contender for a Top 10 finish. It’s the last number to perform at the finals.
CYPRUS: “La La Love” – Ivi Adamou. Yes, I’m glad she made the finals, but my goodness, her vocals are so pitchy! I cannot treat her as a Top 10 contender anymore…
UKRAINE: “Be My Guest” – Gaitana. There are fans who are impressed with the performance, but as much as I love this, I felt Gaitana sounded winded. She needs to learn to employ effective breath control for the finals so she can deliver the magic and perhaps she’ll then be in contention to equal Ani Lorak and Ruslana’s successful showing.
SLOVENIA: “Verjamem” – Eva Boto. It’s sad that when it counted, the vocals sounded pitchy. This is the factor why this entry failed to qualify for the finals.
TURKEY: “Love Me Back” – Can Bonomo. I forgot to consider that Germany was voting for the second semifinals, and the expected douze points that were typically given to Turkey by that country was perhaps the factor that allowed this entry to advance into the finals, along with an admittedly entertaining production featuring five male backup dancers forming into a boat at one point in the number. I still don’t like this song.
BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: “Korake Ti Znam” – Maya Sar. I suppose her two previous appearances to this contest as a backup performer helped her deliver a confident, polished, and professional performance when it was her turn in the spotlight. With Slovenia falling this ballad became the one that would accompany the formidable Serbia as the “other quality Balkan ballad” into the finals.
Here is my revised forecast:
ICELAND, GREECE, ROMANIA, DENMARK, SERBIA, MOLDOVA, SWEDEN, ITALY, SPAIN, GERMANY
BUBBLING UNDER: RUSSIA, HUNGARY, UKRAINE, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, NORWAY, UNITED KINGDOM, AZERBAIJAN