Eurovision 2014 has truly kicked off! Sixteen acts from each their country took the stage and gave it all to achieve one of the ten places available for the final. The great show featured last year’s winner Emmelie de Forest and as usual some surprises as well.
The first semi-final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest has been held this evening in Copenhagen with sixteen acts competing to earn their chance to qualify to the big final which will be held on Saturday.
1. Armenia – Aram MP3 – Not Alone
enter the stage was Aram MP3, representing Armenia with an
unconventional but very compelling song which has a rich combination of
lyrical erudition plus musical dexterity. He appeared alone standing on
the centre stage (he did not really need anyone else since he is a great
showman and well capable of perform a dramatic stage show). The mixture
of a sorrowful piano coupled with restrained percussion, provided a
perfect introduction for Aram’s poignant words and charmingly voice. The
stage was very dark and brooding for the first half of the song with
Aram standing in the middle of circular white spotlights which
illuminated him and the LED screen looking like a gorgeous starry
universe. The song builds so smoothly during the first two minutes and
the staging was atmospherically beautiful with several close ups which
prepared the viewers for the explosive finale once the dubstep climax
kicked in. As the song progressed, the backdrop was a lot brighter with
red and orange flashing images and some bursts of flames at the sides of
the stage. During this part the wind machine was used and Aram’s coat
was fluttering a lot. Towards the end, when the song slowed down, the
stage became dark again with the spotlights on him and a huge sun appeared on the stage floor. Aram wore a long
dark grey coat with a diamond-shaped brooch in the colours of the Armenian flag, black shirt, grey trousers, black boots and fingerless
black leather gloves. The whole performance was quite static but stylish
and he was vocally great.
2. Latvia – Aarzemnieki – Cake To Bake
continued with one of those songs that never fail to lift your mood.
This is a cheerful entry whose melody is quite simple and lyrics may be
ridiculous but it is catchy and easy to remember so you just can’t help
but tap your feet, smile and sing along. The performance started with
the lead singer, Jöran Steinhauer, walking down the catwalk with his
trademark guitar and joined by Guntis, the other guitar player. They
went to the main stage where the other two members of the group, Katrina
(with her violin) and Raitis (the percussionist), were. Jöran’s vocals
were a bit weak at the beginning but the band’s vocal harmonies sounded
quite well. The background and the floor looked great, giving the feeling of an
outside environment with a lot of green trees and shiny yellow lanterns.
All the members of the band looked like a group of friends having fun
on stage. They just seemed very relaxed and happy to be there. The lead
singer made full use of the huge stage and went back to the catwalk this
time together with Raitis and then back to the centre stage again. All
of them were casually dressed. The male members of the band wore
colourful trousers, shirts and jackets and the only woman of the group
wore a pink and orange striped dress.
3. Estonia – Tanja – Amazing
year’s Estonian entry is a dance song very powerful, energetic and
catchy with an eminently radio-friendly vocal hook embedded in the
chorus. Tanja is a great vocalist and has a good stage presence. She
began her performance lying on the floor alongside her dancer while the
camera, which was located right on top of them, gave us really nice
visuals looking like if they were over a wooden floor. Then they got up
and started their acrobatic choreography which was much the same we saw
in Eesti Laul, very complicated and very impressive. The visually
awesome dance routine and her ability to hold every note while dancing
that way is what made this performance stand out. It is unbelievable
that she managed to be pitch perfect while being thrown around the stage
that way. Tanja wore a short white dress and her male dancer wore a white
tank top and matching trousers. Both of them were barefoot. The
background was made up of sort of brick walls and window frames and
towards the end of the performance it bursted into thousands of white
pigeons projected onto a black backdrop. If anything is clear is that
this performance will not be easily forgotten by the viewers.
4. Sweden – Sanna Nielsen – Undo
Estonia’s choreography that left some of the viewers breathless, we
continued with something quieter, a well-crafted ballad from Sweden.
This song contains some really evocative and powerful melodies which
flow so pleasantly. The piano in the early section of the song was
stunning and painted a perfect backdrop to the performance. Sanna was
alone on a dark stage with small white lights throughout. The dark stage
gave it a mystic touch in an overall gorgeous atmosphere that gives you
goose bumps while watching it. The first minute of the performance
consisted mainly of several close ups of Sanna from different angles.
The lighting effects were very powerful and she was surrounded by a
number of white spotlights, quite similar to her Melodifestivalen
staging. During the last part of the performance, a glittery disco ball
appeared on the ceiling over Sanna with several lights making it shine a
lot. Sanna wore a chiffon black short dress full of sequins. Vocally,
she was flawless.
5. Iceland – Pollapönk – No Prejudice
the rather dark staging from Sweden, Iceland treated us with an
overdose of colour and a very lively performance. This year’s Icelandic
entry is a dated pop-rock song with an anthemic nature. It has a nice
message about tolerance and acceptance but the staging may look like a
joke just because of the colourful attire of the members of the band.
Unsurprisingly, the four lead singers were wearing their trademark
rainbow suits with white bow ties whilst the two backing vocalists wore
jumpsuits and caps. The stage was also very colourful with flashing
cubicles and neon lights and plenty of coloured shapes on the screens
and also on the floor. One of the members of the band was playing drums
whilst the other three were playing guitar. The lead singer is quite
charismatic. He has strong vocals and delivered a funny performance in a
confident way. Each of them remained at their position with their
microphone stand but there was a little choreography going on during the
bridge and they ended the song by spelling the world "love" with their
There was then a short commercial break where we were
treated with a video about the Eurovision Book of Records. This one was
about who had the highest hair and the award went to the Irish twins Jedward. And they were in the audience!
6. Albania – Hersi – One Night’s Anger
up on stage was Hersi from Albania with her midtempo ethnic ballad. It
is a pleasant song with a great melody and overall is nice but that may
not be enough to thrill the viewers.The performance began with a closeup of the tattoo she has on her back with the flag of her country. She was standing on a podium in the
centre of the stage wearing a beige coloured long floor lenght dress
made of lace with flower applications that stood out with the dark blue
backdrop. Some dry ice covered the stage floor and it looked really nice
in the many wide shots. The LED screens featured cloudy skies, trees
and the moon during the most of the song but when it changed to the
final part, the backdrop bursted out in a real anger with lots of
flashing lights. She was joined by a guitar player and a drummer to her
right and two female backing singers to her left who were also wearing
beige long dresses. Hersi’s vocals were downright great and she was able
to hold long notes with a very controlled power in her voice which was
always on point and in tune. It seemed effortless for her. Sadly, the
whole rendition was monotonous, plain dull and it lacked a bit of energy
which might make it unmemorable.
7. Russia – Tolmachevy Sisters – Shine
course, the Tolmachevy twins do not look and sound so vivacious like
they used to when they won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest eight
years ago but they are still charming and work perfectly as a duo. Shine is
a cheerful but rather generic up-tempo song. Lyrically, it is pretty
shallow and the melody is quite dated but the sisters delivered a nice
performance on stage with plenty of energy and commitment. The
performance started out with both of them standing on a huge seesaw
back-to-back holding a couple of translucent sticks. Their two long
ponytails were attached and they were separated during the first chorus.
Then, they went to the sides of the seesaw and went up and down several
times. The smoke effects on the floor looked great especially during
this part of the performance. Once they stepped off the seesaw, one of
their backing singers (who happen to be Rui Andrade, a well-known face
from the Portuguese national selection) opened a scallop-shaped curtain
on top of the seesaw behind the girls which served as a backdrop for the
last part of the song. They were dressed alike in white robes. The
backdrop was blue and purple with lots of white spot lights and it
turned into yellow and red during the last part of the song including a
firework waterfall. They harmonized perfectly together and were vocally
flawless with a great charisma for the camera.
8. Azerbaijan – Dilara Kazimova – Start A Fire
is a strong contender that never fails and this year’s Azeri ballad is
pure class. It is a great song, with strong vocals and beautiful lyrics.
Dilara’s warm and smoky voice was outstanding and the visual
presentation was amazing. Dilara looked gorgeous in her beautiful
sparkling red dress with bright lace on the torso. There was a swinging
trapeze on stage and a female acrobat who was lifted in the air during
the whole performance. She wore an almost identical outfit to Dilara’s.
The camera angles flicked between Dilara and the female trapeze artist
throughout the song providing a connection between both of them. The
background was stunning, very classy and understated. The stage was lit
in purple and blue and the LED screens showed a silhouette of what
appeared to be gothic windows as well as a city skyline. Towards the end
of the song the stage colour changed into a dark red. The whole
performance was marvelous.
9. Ukraine – Mariya Yaremchuk – Tick-Tock
brought us a lightweight pop song in the middle of so many ballads
which was a moment of levity, joy and happiness which gave us a break
from all the sadness. Tick-Tock starts out slow before crashing
down with thunderous rhythms. It is funny, modern and it has a catchy
chorus. Mariya looked stunning in her dark blue long dress and the cameras
loved her. She has a kind voice and she sang amazingly. The effective
choreography was very energetic but left her enough room to dance or
rest and she delivered it effortlessness. She performed alongside a male
dancer dressed in black who during the majority of the song was running and making
acrobatic movements in the big hamster wheel which was on the centre
stage. At some point, Mariya herself even climbed on top of the wheel.
The background was dark blue with small white flash lights and the
silhouette of the wheel was also featured in the backdrop. The light
effects on the floor were brilliant.
10. Belgium – Axel Hirsoux – Mother
is the entry that most mothers across Europe will love. It is a
wonderful ballad that really fits Axel’s vocals. He was in the centre
stage and looked very smart wearing a black tuxedo. He was joined by a
female dancer dressed entirely in black who executed a number of slow
dance moves symbolizing the message of the song. Belgium opted for a
purple-black floral pattern on the background screen which looked very
classy and sophisticated. The camera shots were long and slow reflecting
quite well the touching nature of the song and Axel engaged well with
the camera. No doubt he is a magnificent singer, probably the strongest
male vocalist of the evening, and he sang brilliantly, feeling every
single word he pronounced with passion and tenderness but his
performance was far from making the needed impact and after three
minutes it all was a bit flat.
11. Moldova – Cristina Scarlat – Wild Soul
up was Moldova with a very dramatic performance from Cristina Scarlat.
It is an aggressive song with existential lyrics but it may be instantly
forgettable since it really lacks a real hook or a catchy refrain. The
act opened with Cristina standing in centre stage and her backing
dancers performing an acrobatic choreography behind her. She wore a blue
dress with kind of a golden armour and she was flanked by four male
dancers wearing a gladiator styled outfit in gold. They had a rather
elaborate and energetic routine and at times their movements had some
inspiration of Samurai fighting. Cristina was not taking part in the
choreography, focusing on her vocals. Vocally, her deep voice was very
strong and she sang really well with lot of passion, anger and fury.
Towards the end of the performance she ripped off a part of her curly
long hair in the wildest and strongest part of the song where also the
wind machine did its work to increase the drama. The staging was pretty
dynamic but a bit baffling. It was very dark, brooding and magical, with
lots of white spot lights and the LED screen and the floor looked like a haunting
and spooky forest with sinister tree branches and undergrowth.
12. San Marino – Valentina Monetta – Maybe
was Valentina’s third attempt to qualify her country to the final and
she struggled to stand out from all the ballads in this first semi. Her
mid-tempo ballad is quite catchy and melodic and fits Valentina’s vocal
range who managed to reach the high notes effortless singing in a
heartfelt way. The performance started with a piano player who was
located on a small stage and then the cameras headed over to the main
stage where Valentina appeared standing on a gold glittery circular
platform in the centre stage in front of a large white courtain that
looked like a giant shell. She wore a simple white gown and stood in the
same place throughout the whole performance. Her energy was lovely. She
had a head mic and she was waving her arms a lot, maybe too much.
Besides Valentina and the piano player there were four backing vocalists
on stage as well, two female and two male, dressed in black. The staging had a nostalgic
vibe and the backdrop consisted mainly of blue images at the beginning
and golden shades towards the end of the song making a nice contrast
with the white courtain. Valentina sang extremely well and engaged it
emotionally, especially during the spoken segment of the song which was
full of emotion.
time again. Lise Rønne was in the green room and she showed us the
trophy. We also
watched a new episode of the Eurovision Records. This time it was about "Most Silver" and the
winner was Verka Serduchka who represented Ukraine in 2007 and was in the audience as well.
13. Portugal – Suzy – Quero Ser Tua
brought a unique sound to the show with her energetic, danceable and
happy entry. It was like a breath of fresh air after a series of
ballads. Her song is kind of a summery song with a samba beat and it is
sung in the Portuguese language. It did not need a big vocal effort but
Suzy’s voice was decent, right on key, but at times she failed to
harmonize with the backing singers. Suzy wore a sassy short red dress
and she had a great energy on stage keeping much of her staging from the
Portuguese national final. She had two male dancers, two female backup
singers (all of them dressed in black) and one more musician on stage
playing a hand drum with his naked torso decorated with tribal painting.
There were two massive drums in the back of the stage that were lighted
with the rhythm of the song beat as the dancers hit them. Suzy also had
a small choreography alongside her two backing vocalists maximizing the
stage space that way. The staging was very dynamic and so colourful
looking really Portuguese with the colours of the national flag in the
backdrop as well as on the flooring of the stage. Toward the last
chorus, the wind machine kicked in and the two dancers waved red flags.
The end was quite impressive with lots of flashing white lights and all
the team joined Suzy in the front of the stage with permanent smiles on
14. The Netherlands – The Common Linnets – Calm After The Storm
terms of both lyrics and melody this is probably one of the most
beautiful songs this year. Some people may say it is a dull country song
but definitely it is not. It is just a mellow song, very nice to listen
to, where the subtlety, the melancholy, and the blending of their
voices was awesome. Both of them have great vocals and sang so smoothly
with apparently little effort. They really know how to sing together.
The staging was very effective and incredibly well-planned. They had a
specially designed microphone stand which allowed them to face each
other for the entire performance. The stage had a sombre lighting that
created a very calm atmosphere. The LED screens reflected a rainy forest
which was gradually transforming into a brighter calm scene
representing the change from storm to calm according to the lyrics of
the song. The floor lit up as a road giving the illusion of movement.
The camera angles were very clever and created a more intimate effect.
The contrast of their outfits looked great. Ilse wore a beautiful white
dress and Waylon was dressed completely in black with his trademark
cowboy hat. They were flanked by three musicians playing bass, drums and
cello all of them wearing black suits.
15. Montenegro – Sergej Ćetković – Moj Svijet
is going for a traditional high quality Balkan ballad this year. The
instrumentation was stunning with some ethnic vibes and Sergej’s
beautiful voice blended perfectly with the melody. The presentation on
stage was pretty elegant. Sergej was joined on stage by a female skater
dressed in white as a ballerina. She was skating around the entire stage
unleashing flowery sparkles on the floor while Sergej remained still in
the centre of the stage wearing a black suit. At the end of the song he
was joined by three backup singers who came from the right corner of
the stage to the front. They were a man who wore a black suit and two
women who wore beautiful dark blue long dresses. The blue and purple
graphics in the background were very beautiful and it looked like a
giant enchanted fairy forest.
16. Hungary – András Kállay-Saunders – Running
closing proceedings, we had a powerful pop song from Hungary that
really hits a nerve among the viewers. With a strong message about
domestic abuse this song has a perfect combination of slower intro and
verses with drum and bass choruses. András is a great performer and was
able to show the emotion of the song in his voice which was very strong.
The staging was quite similar from the one we saw in A Dal. András
started his performance seated on a stool on the central stage with a
young lady next to him playing piano. He was dressed very casual all in
black while the pianist wore a simple white dress. The backdrop featured
a night skyline with some small lights everywhere. Right before the
first chorus kicked in, András stood up and ran down one of the catwalks
and the stage turned into a very bright fiery red colour. Then, András
came back to the central stage were his piano player turned into a
dancer and performed an awesome routine alongside a male dancer. The
couple did a great job trying to tell the emotional story behind the
lyrics and, in fact, the powerful choreography featured some movements
that really resembled a fight. When thunderstorm sounds appeared in the
arrangement of the song, flash effects were shown on the backdrop
looking like a real storm on stage. At the end András played the role of
rescuer hugging the girl and protecting her while he pushes away the
male dancer with his strong arm.
The two-hour show started at 21:00 CET from the B&W Hallerne in
Copenhagen. It was open with a recap of last year’s show paying special
attention to all the twelve points that Denmark received in Malmö and
then we moved into a sequence of Emmelie de Forest walking
through a field, through streets, into a chapel where a wedding was
being held, the metro… That sequence ended with her turning in to a
Lego character. Right after that we saw a map of Europe with videos of
various people from different countries singing the melody of the Danish
winning song Only Teardrops. This leaded to Emmelie on stage
singing her Eurovision winning entry flanked by a huge choir and the
videos of the people singing on the backdrop.
After the opening
act, the three hosts Nikolaj Koppel, Pilou Asbæk and Lise Rønne welcomed
the millions of viewers of tonight’s show from all over Europe and
beyond. The stage was a huge glowing cube with big LED screens in the
background and hundreds of lights and the green room right in front of
it. As usual, they thanked Sweden for last year’s wonderful show. They
also gave us the voting instructions and it was showed the caption with
all the participating countries in this first semi-final. Then, it was
time for the songs.
All the postcards inbetween the performances
consisted of each artist making up a huge flag of their own country
using different materials which were related to their countries, their
songs or their hobbies and then they took a photo of it.
sixteen entries had been performed, the hosts again entered the stage.
They talked about the Eurovision app and explained once again the voting
instructions opening the televoting. It was followed by a recap of the songs.
Then it was time
for the interval act whose name was The Ugly Duckling. It was inspired
by famous Danish author Hans Christian Andersen and it was sort of a
modern ballet performance.
In the next reprise, right after each
song we were able to see a little clip of each artist walking off the
stage after their performance. After that, our hosts were back on stage
giving a five second countdown and we were treated with a funny video of Pilou
giving a touristic tour around Copenhagen.
After that we were back to the arena were Lise interviewed
some of the participants from Latvia, Belgium and Sweden with some Sanna’s friends dancing on stage. Later we saw a new episode of the
Eurovision book of records. This time it was about
the biggest shoulder pads and, once again, Jedward won it.
we watched a little video featuring the entries from the Big 5
countries plus the host country. Right after that, Lise had a small talk with EBU’s
Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand. And, finally, we had the results!
Of the sixteen entries, ten would qualify to the big final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, which will be held Saturday the 10th of May. The result was determined by way of a 50/50 split between national expert juries and televoting from the sixteen competing nations as well as the juries and viewers from Spain, France and the host country Denmark.
The countries which qualified for the final were announced in random order and they were:
Montenegro, Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, San Marino, Ukraine, Sweden, The Netherlands and Iceland.