Live Stream: Semifinal 1 (2018 Eurovision Song Contest)
May 8, 2018 11:11 AM - Subscribe

Live from Lisbon, Semifinal 1 begins Tuesday May 8th (today!), at 2100 CEST / 3:00pm EDT. Come on in for performance previews and conjecture about who's good, bad, and so-bad-it's-good. Viewers outside the US can watch via the main Eurovision YouTube channel. For fans located in the US: LOGO is broadcasting the Grand Final again this year (with Ross Mathews and Shangela) which means we get to deal with geoblocking again. (Boo.) Get a VPN with endpoints outside the US to access the stream on YouTube, or try the Swedish broadcaster's high-quality (and usually commentary-free) live stream. also lists a series of live stream links, some of which are geoblocked but many of which look to be open to the general viewing public.

Running Order

1) Azerbaijan
2) Iceland
3) Albania
4) Belgium
5) Czech Republic
6) Lithuania
7) Israel
8) Belarus
9) Estonia
10) Bulgaria
11) FYR Macedonia
12) Croatia
13) Austria
14) Greece
15) Finland
16) Armenia
17) Switzerland
18) Ireland
19) Cyprus

Entry Previews
Official Music Videos, Semifinal 1
Exclusive Rehearsal Footage (recorded from the audience during first rehearsals, does not include broadcast camera angles)
posted by zebra (32 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Really looking forward to seeing how Israel's song plays live. I also like Czech Republic's song, in a gosh-it's-catchy-as-hell-too-bad-the-lyrics-are-so-stupid kind of way.
posted by JanetLand at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2018

I just want Ireland through to the final, because they're gonna have two guys dancing together on stage, and I just love it when the Russian moralists lose their minds over Eurovision gay stuff.
posted by dnash at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, if anyone doesn't know about the yearly PopBitch guide to Eurovision, you should check it out. Super snarky, but also breaks down every song by major/minor key, beats per minute, key changes, lyrics, etc. and has stats for what the best choices are. (Minor key is better... 128 and 85bpm are both bad...)
posted by dnash at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Azerbaijan’s song X My Heart by Aisel is one of my favorites this year.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:35 AM on May 8, 2018

For the record: based on a short snippet of rehearsal footage, I am 100% #TeamCyprus. Looking forward to seeing how the entire performance plays out.
posted by zebra at 11:43 AM on May 8, 2018

Yeah, the wiwibloggs guys absolutely lost their shit over Cyprus, so I'm interested in that song too.
posted by JanetLand at 11:49 AM on May 8, 2018

Meh. Azerbaijan's typical dress, and now Iceland singing in English.
posted by infini at 12:13 PM on May 8, 2018

Isn't the Czech song channelling a wee bit of last year's Moldova?
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that's probably why I find it so catchy.
posted by JanetLand at 12:31 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

*looks around*

should have previewed ;p
posted by infini at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2018

Ah, Portugal listened to last year's complaints that there were three men MCing the show
posted by infini at 12:33 PM on May 8, 2018

I have no idea what I can say about Israel's performance art.
posted by infini at 12:35 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Poor Alekseev, his hands shaking like a leaf. Song still sucks but I feel bad for him.
posted by zebra at 12:39 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nice change from the cookie cutter sensations, Estonia
posted by infini at 12:44 PM on May 8, 2018

Props to bulgaria for diversity
posted by infini at 12:48 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I liked Bulgaria's Staging/Choreography
posted by zinon at 12:50 PM on May 8, 2018

Cyprus's outfit is quite something. I’m fascinated by the vestigial leather jacket that implies she might just be dressed up for a night on the town.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2018

Well, Cyprus was pretty damn good, but my neck hurts from watching all the hair flips.
posted by JanetLand at 1:29 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

There seem to be a lot more camera tricks this year, like super quick cuts cuts cuts cuts, melting multiple images into one, and showing things like flying rose petals that I don't think were actually in the arena. Dislike.
posted by JanetLand at 1:32 PM on May 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

By the way, did anybody see Netta do this acoustic version of her song?
posted by JanetLand at 1:36 PM on May 8, 2018

And the qualifiers, presented in alphabetical order, are...

Czech Republic

All I can say is ... wow.
posted by zebra at 2:09 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Okay, now that I am home I want to expand a bit on that "wow."

This is only the second time Greece has failed to qualify for the Grand Final. Prior to this year, they were 37 for 38, with the lone miss being "Utopian Land" by Argo in 2016. That song was a stinker, did not deserve to qualify, and rightfully came in 16th place in its semifinal. Oniro Mou was a legitimately good song, and Greece were consistently in the top ten of every metric my Eurovision colleagues and I track (including odds set by professional bookmakers, YouTube views, our own rankings, etc). The song is good, the staging was good, Yianna Terzi is a great performer. There was no reason for this song to not qualify -- I don't know what she was thinking with the blue/silver hand thing, but of all the questionable performance choices we saw today I would not put that anywhere near the worst. This is a shocking, and I would argue undeserved, result.

That said, good on Ireland for getting through when very few thought they would. I disliked that song at first but it has grown on me more recently and it's a very effectively staged performance.

I went 7/10, having predicted Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Greece over Albania, Finland, and Lithuania. Finland had been in my top ten earlier, and landed in 11th for my official prediction, so I'm not surprised by that (especially given the quality of the staging, which I have had concerns about). I had Albania 12th, so even that makes some sense. I still don't get Lithuania and probably never will.
posted by zebra at 3:16 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Ireland's was pretty good but it was no My Lovely Horse.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 4:16 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

So, I had to watch time-delayed (stupid work). For the first time, I had printed a score card from the BBC and scored the songs as I watched. In the end, my highest scores picked 8 of the 10 finalists. I missed Albania (which I did like, I mainly marked them down for boring staging) and Lithuania - which was in a three way tie for my worst of the night so WTF, Europe voters??

Zebra, I disagree with you about Greece tonight. I wanted to like it - I dig it when ethnic/cultural rhythms get incorporated into pop music, but this just didn't stand out to me, and her performance felt weak, but most of all the staging was "she stands there and halfway through they blow some smoke at her."
posted by dnash at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am literally moving in the middle of Eurovision -- today! -- so yesterday was a flurry of painting at the new place and a couple hours of packing at the old prior to the event, and I have a houseguest so was being social rather than livecommenting here. (Miss you guys! Maybe Thursday.) My houseguest had concerns about Czech Republic's backpack... though it was not the oddest wardrobe choice. (Azerbaijan's granny panties and Belgium's weirdly hoopskirted thing are in that competition.)

I felt underwhelmed by yesterday's entries? Cyprus was great, I enjoyed Albania (though the singer I shall now refer to as Elijah Wood's cousin), Ireland was somewhat tolerable, Israel was well done (I wasn't sure how it would translate to live performance...). I admired both the mad skills and the mad skirt of Estonia, though opera isn't quite my bag. But despite the best fireworks, smoke machines, and (very faint) wind machines, there was a lot of snooze material. And the camerawork! Those quick cuts and weird transitions and, during one act, slicing two cameras up to produce one image... Portugal, cool your videography staff's jets. That was not fun to watch, it had me yelling at the cameras to get out of the way and let me watch the performers. And I disliked the CGI rose petals. I always get irritated at acts that play to the cameras rather than the live audience -- people whose performance involves lying on the stage and singing upwards to the camera, so nobody in the arena can see them, etc -- those folks traveled a long way to see you, they should get precedence over us at home. So the rosepetals and glitter rain and wacky camera hijinks are right out. (I was actually pleased with the glitter rain until it started dancing and became obvious that it was CGI.)

So, on to Thursday! I apologize in advance for y'all having to listen to Waylon.
posted by sldownard at 10:27 PM on May 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Oh, and -- skimming the Popbitch guide, I cannot believe I forgot about FYR Macedonia and that horrible, horrible, horrible pink underboob sweater. No, girl, no.
posted by sldownard at 10:33 PM on May 8, 2018

As an Icelander living in Finland, I voted for the Icelandic guy, but more out of obligation than enthusiasm. I also voted for Israel’s Netta, a tune which pleasantly surprised me. I didn’t watch every song, but I honestly can’t remember anything about the ones I saw, other than the Finnish entry. The Finns are really trying this year and Saara Aalto is easy to root for.
posted by Kattullus at 6:25 AM on May 9, 2018

I rather liked Icelandic guy. I would love to see him come back with a more interesting song.
posted by JanetLand at 6:58 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the Iceland song is total dreck, but about halfway through the song I sensed the guy realized "I'm never getting to the finals with this song so I'm just gonna give it everything I have right now and enjoy this moment" which did win me over a bit.
posted by dnash at 8:24 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

sldownard, I was a big proponent of the Dutch song when it first came out, and I still legitimately enjoy it, but the more Waylon opens his mouth the less I can support him as an artist (and therefore his song as an entry). This year has been a great reminder that it takes more than a good and catchy song to win at Eurovision -- it's also about staging and personality. I'm not a fan of his in those contexts.
posted by zebra at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

dnash: Irish man goes from anger & despair to jubilation as the finalists are announced (video on Twitter.)

A friend of mine has the theory that Irish and Icelandic people have essentially the same general mindset in life. This video could have been taken in an Icelandic household. Except for the language. And that Ireland got through.
posted by Kattullus at 10:51 AM on May 9, 2018

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