The first semifinal for the Eurovision Song Contest has just concluded and the ten finalists were selected.  In general, the choices were not that surprising, though a favorite of mine was cut.  I got eight out of the ten right, plus one bubbling under entry.  The one I didn’t get, I was vacillating between including it in my bubbling under list or not, but I was trying to keep my bubbling under choices down to three at the most.

Hungary’s Boggie, to her and her delegation’s credit, jazzed up the presentation with artful cosmic backdrops and tastefully dramatic formations.  And being dressed in elegant formal clothes also helped bring an air of dignity to their number.  I’m still not expecting this to outdo Kallay-Sanders’ entry last year, but I’m not upset at this entry’s inclusion.

I’m saddened that Belarus’ Uzari & Maimuna are shut out.  Yes, the press people have criticized their presentation as lacking much visual impact, but I thought the strength of the song and the charisma of the two performers even with a relatively threadbare setting (plus Mother Russia’s support) would’ve helped power this through to the finals.  Oh well, it was still one of my favorite songs in this year’s contest.

Another one that I also felt a tad sad missing the cut despite solid vocals and the sheer merit of the song is Netherlands’ Trintje Oosterhuis.  Though she looked a bit more attractive than the way she looked in most appearances, the lace-on-the-face close-up and the poufy black jumpsuit are not really that flattering and that may have cost her a slot in the finals.  She should’ve flown in that hunk from her music video.

Now, let’s go to the highlights and top qualifiers.  Speaking of wardrobe, I dig the cape on Albania’s Elhaida Dani, but of course what most people rave about are her stellar vocals.  She didn’t win Voice of Italy 2013 for nothing…

Speaking of stellar vocals, Russia’s Polina Gagarina delivered on the vocals as expected.   It also helps she looks sexy and dreamy with her low-cut white gown.  Definitely bound for a Top Five finish in the finals.

I was concerned based on the first rehearsal how Serbia’s Bojana Stamenov would be styled, as she had frizzy hair at that time.  Fortunately sense prevailed and her hair is styled in the familiar bouffant style.  Her backup singers and dancers also delivered on the wardrobe changes so I’m pleased to see this advance.

Making striking visuals with choreography is Belgium’s Loic Nottet and his white-clad backup singers.  Some press people have dubbed it one of their Top Three favorite highlights of the night, and I agree with them.  I’m also glad it’s strongly sung, and Loic’s voice wasn’t drowned out in the chorus unlike in the recorded version.

My favorite is Georgia’s Nina Sublatti.  Some might argue her presentation might seem a tad boring as she simply stood still as she sang, but then again, she looked superbly fierce with her tigress stare that all she needed to do is sing well–and sing well she did.

Most Eurovision observers and pundits are excited about the second semifinal, as this is loaded with the big front-runners and heavy hitters.  I also just can’t wait and am rooting for Sweden all the way to advance (and Slovenia, and Azerbaijan, and Iceland, and okay, Norway).  Let’s see if my predictions for that round would hold up.



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