Live Stream: Semifinal 2 (2018 Eurovision Song Contest)
May 8, 2018 9:04 PM - Subscribe

Semifinal 2 begins Thursday May 10th, at 2100 CEST / 3:00pm EDT. Semifinal 1 featured some shocking winners and losers, so there's no telling what can happen in the competition for the last ten spots! 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. Get a VPN with endpoints outside the US to access the stream on YouTube, or try the Swedish broadcaster's high-quality (and largely 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) Norway
2) Romania
3) Serbia
4) San Marino
5) Denmark
6) Russia
7) Moldova
8) Netherlands
9) Australia
10) Georgia
11) Poland
12) Malta
13) Hungary
14) Latvia
15) Sweden
16) Montenegro
17) Slovenia
18) Ukraine

Entry Previews
Official Music Videos, Semifinal 2
Previously in 2018 Semifinal action
posted by zebra (39 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sweden was one of the first entries to really grab my attention in this entire contest -- the Swedes know how to stage an entry, and "Dance You Off" is an incredibly well-produced song. I also really love Hungary and hope they make it through. (I can never quite anticipate how Eurovision will react to the heavier rock songs.) Moldova have been growing on me as well. Ultimately I think this semifinal is Norway's to lose. It seems like a bit of a disadvantage for Alexander Rybak to go first in the lineup, but he has the charisma and a catchy catchy hook that I think will stick in people's minds.
posted by zebra at 9:20 AM on May 9, 2018

I think Norway's song is terribly silly but I just adore it and have been singing it in my head for weeks now.
posted by JanetLand at 9:57 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Norway's song is so doofy. I was naturally inclined to dislike it because it seems like a pretty pat and useless piece of creative advice from an already-proven artist, which is a thing that I have Strong Personal Feelings about, but the music video made me laugh -- and in general/in principle I approve of pop songs that take a bit of a different theme/subject from the usual.

He also has a win under his belt already, so perhaps they didn't suppose it would be that much of a disadvantage!
posted by inconstant at 11:54 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

I consider Norway’s song to be a direct response to Salvador Sobral’s super patronizing speech last year about “fast-food” music. In my head canon, Alexander Rybak is singing about the democratization of art, and that not everything has to be So Very Serious all the damn time. Sometimes it’s okay just to have fun, and that for me is the core of what Eurovision is about. So yes, it’s completely doofy, but that is part of what makes it great.
posted by zebra at 6:34 PM on May 9, 2018 [4 favorites]

Oh, and whoever performs first in the second semifinal will be the 1500th performance at Eurovision. I think that may be part of the reason they put a former winner in that spot.
posted by zebra at 6:35 PM on May 9, 2018

I believe that the order is random. Otherwise there would be just endless yelling about organizer bias because the perception is that it’s better to be late in the lineup because then people will be more likely to remember the song.
posted by Kattullus at 2:03 AM on May 10, 2018

The order is definitely not random. Countries in the semifinals draw for which half of the round they will compete in — that part is random. But within each half, organizers order the entries so that each stands out as much as possible, both to give each entry the best shot it can have but also to create a better show for the audience. The same happens, separately, for the Grand Final. People definitely complain about organizer bias as a result.
posted by zebra at 5:40 AM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had to watch the first semi-final on Wednesday because work got in the way, but this afternoon, I am here, and I am ready.

I listened to a couple early, and aside from Norway's, nothing quite captures the ridiculous spectacle that makes Eurovision to me from this group, yet. (Read: I am upset there is no obvious equivalent to last year's exquisitely zany YODEL IT thus far.) But the stage performances could definitely change that.
posted by PearlRose at 11:27 AM on May 10, 2018

Norway's executed itself on stage better than I thought it would have. Although I'm wondering how those little squiggles and digital tricks look to to audience watching live? It looks kind of like it's meant for the people watching on TV.

Romania's this year is making me a little sleepy, kinda. It's pretty, I like the rock elements, but it's kind of not serious enough, and yet also, not sparkly enough.
posted by PearlRose at 12:16 PM on May 10, 2018

It's pretty hard to culturally appropriate your own culture, but Denmark just about pulled that off with their plastic viking nonsense.
posted by Kattullus at 12:27 PM on May 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

...San Marino's robot talks?
posted by PearlRose at 12:34 PM on May 10, 2018

Moldova's staging is quite clever. I like it
posted by zinon at 12:35 PM on May 10, 2018

Yeah, Moldova had a fun ABBA-like vibe.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2018

Moldova appears to be preparing an audition for their own sketch comedy panel show. I actually really like it! It's fun, bright, and exactly what I want from a Eurovision entry.
posted by PearlRose at 12:38 PM on May 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you mute Netherlands you'd never know it was a Country Song.
posted by zinon at 12:42 PM on May 10, 2018

So far Australia and Poland have been the most pleasant surprises so far. If I were on a dancefloor and those songs came on, I wouldn't immediately start thinking about getting a glass of water.
posted by Kattullus at 12:55 PM on May 10, 2018

Slovenia was a really nice surprise! If I could vote tonight I'd totally vote for them, mock-backing-track-failure and all.
posted by Kattullus at 1:24 PM on May 10, 2018

Some random thoughts and comments from the performers for Semi-Final 2 that I haven’t commented on yet:

I'm a sucker for the Serbian costumes, especially those fancy hairpieces and bracelets. (Yes, You can hang out over in the shallow end with me.) This one is also very pretty, and very breezy! Was there a Eurovision group discount on wind machines this year?

With San Marino, I was enjoying it, until the weird animatronics showed up.

That is a lovely beard on Denmark.

I didn't care much for Russia's entry last year before they dropped out, and this is not really that much of an improvement.

...It sounds like a country song, but it's not really staged like one, is it? The Netherlands continues to surprise me, although I can see why they might be a bit tired of Waylon already.

Lovely performance from Australia. I dig the song. Like her dress, like a lot.

Another operatic entry from Georgia. Quite pretty, liked the staging.

Poland's on deck. Nice hats, all of them!

Malta-in-a-box! With a HEART. A real one, not a stylized one. LET THEM OUT OF THE BOX.

Hungary! Heavy Metal, you say? I dig it, but it could have used some more pyrotechnics. Come on, it’s EUROVISION. Use the flames!

Latvia has a great song, very sultry and jazzy.

I didn’t really like Sweden’s when I listened to it yesterday. Too slick, not clever enough. But I’m really digging the staging, it looks like a video! Very smooth, and polished, which I come to expect from Sweden. Still not wild about the song itself though. (I think that may just be me.)

Montenegro’s turn, and it looks like another Very Serious entry, with lots of feathers and glitter. That’s all you need for Eurovision, right? Feathers and glitter?

That is some gorgeous lilac hair on Slovenia’s singer, I must say. Oooh! That is some sleek staging. Okay, the music cutting out was totally on purpose, and very odd. Not sure how I feel about it.

All aboard the Ukraine Train! Vampire chic appears to be the vibe they’re going for here. I kind of like the song, though! Also fire. Can’t go wrong with vampires and fire, right?

I will be crushed if Moldova doesn't make it through. Some of the rest are pretty good, and we'll see. I don't have my heart set on any others, although the staging did improve several of them for me, as I hoped they would!
posted by PearlRose at 1:29 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Man, Moldova seems like a really fun country! I gotta get there some day.
posted by JanetLand at 1:33 PM on May 10, 2018

Okay, Philomena doing Loreen is great. That woman is FUNNY.
posted by JanetLand at 1:39 PM on May 10, 2018

That the "history of Eurovision songs" bit jumped from Bucks Fizz to Euphoria says a lot about the quality of the years in between.
posted by Kattullus at 1:40 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Planet Portugal," however, not funny, nope.
posted by JanetLand at 1:50 PM on May 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

And if I hadn't been following the news, I would just assume that Salvador Sobral had died between last year & now, because so far there is literally no sign of him.
posted by JanetLand at 2:00 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I like how France always makes absolutely no concessions to prevailing trends or try to appeal to Pan-European tastes. And most often the songs are good, even if they rarely threaten the top spot these days.
posted by Kattullus at 2:03 PM on May 10, 2018

Salvador Sobral made some comments earlier today, or maybe yesterday, basically saying Eurovision is crap and he doesn’t want to be associated in any way with the contest.

I, for one, say good riddance.
posted by zebra at 2:05 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

posted by Kattullus at 2:10 PM on May 10, 2018

Salvador Sobral made some comments earlier today, or maybe yesterday, basically saying Eurovision is crap and he doesn’t want to be associated in any way with the contest.

He was also very mean-spirited about Netta's entry for Israel, so I second that good-riddance.

In better news, Moldova made it to the Finals! I'm glad fun is still allowed at Eurovision.
posted by PearlRose at 2:10 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

And the qualifying countries are, in alphabetical order:

posted by zebra at 2:11 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm a little bummed about Georgia; I thought it was lovely, but I guess not to everyone's taste.
posted by JanetLand at 2:12 PM on May 10, 2018

JanetLand, I had to check wikipedia during the voting tallies to confirm he hadn't died.

Much more fun show tonight! The funniest moment for me was, during Sweden's entry (while we adults were debating was it more 1982 or 1992 and more Justin Timberlake or Michael Jackson crossed with some bland blond), when the six year old -- permitted to stay up wildly past her bedtime for this special occasion -- announced, "I only like the lights. Turn the music off." (I liked it, though, so I'm not sure who wins this musical taste contest, the first grader or me.)

Yay! Moldova is through! I love them, they seem to send fun, goofy entries every year. I really enjoyed their entry this year. And Australia! I thought she was just fabulous. That was a good one.

"Yeah! Shit! God allemachtig! Christ!" was the Dutch broadcaster's official response as The Netherlands was announced as the final finalist. These guys are way too invested in a really ... questionable performance of a mediocre song. But at least I didn't lose my bet that it would make the finals.
posted by sldownard at 2:13 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sobral is scheduled to sing Amar Pelois Dois at the grand final, though apparently his poor health may preclude him from appearing (he's recuperating from a heart transplant).
posted by Kattullus at 2:15 PM on May 10, 2018

I'm a tiny bit sad that Poland didn't make it through--I enjoyed the song.

Now, in other, very important questions--is Slovenia going to try to fake-out the backing tracks again?
posted by PearlRose at 2:16 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I agree tonight's show overall was much better.
posted by JanetLand at 2:16 PM on May 10, 2018

I agree tonight's show overall was much better.

...which is actually pretty shocking for me. I definitely thought the first semifinal would be the Round of Death. I think there were definitely some higher highs in SF1 (Cyprus!) but also some lower lows. I would say SF2 was more consistent, for sure.
posted by zebra at 2:24 PM on May 10, 2018

I gotta say, I don't really get the Cyprus love. I mean, the song's fine, and she certainly delivers, but it just seems like any other big-production pop thing to me; it doesn't stand out. I have a feeling that this is going to be one of those years, like 2016, 2013, and 2011 (especially 2011), where I'm just not on board with the winner. Which is totally okay, I still have tons of fun.
posted by JanetLand at 2:48 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

(Although, if she does win, I'm really looking forward to seeing lots of Cyprus scenery next year.)
posted by JanetLand at 2:51 PM on May 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

Man, I have beefs with the results tonight.

How did Poland NOT get in? That song is great. The singer's live vocals tonight were a little off but not more than many others.

Australia - that song is crap. It's got the second most trite cliche lyrics of the year after Iceland. And her singing was bad. And the staging was blah. Why do people like this song? Poland's was SO much better!

Georgia - a little sad they didn't get through, but I guess not to be expected these days. Those harmonies are really lovely, I would like to hear more from those guys.

Norway - No, actually, that's not how you write a song. Also, minus several points for all the in-camera TV effects instead of staging. It seems like the choice not to include an LED backdrop left some of the producers scrambling to find ways to visualize their performances, and this one in particular felt the most reliant on camera tricks. I don't like that, and would strongly suggest the Eurovision rules-makers disallow it in the future.

Dear the Netherlands: My country is not your Eurovision prom dress.

On the "unexpected positive" side - I'm excited Denmark made it! I can't help myself, I dig a bunch of hunky bearded long-haired Vikings chanting in harmony. Bring it on.
posted by dnash at 7:18 PM on May 10, 2018

Cyprus all the way!
posted by k8t at 3:39 PM on May 11, 2018

Czech Rep's guy is like if Patrick Bateman had married Vanilla Ice and had a chikd
posted by chavenet at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2018

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