The line up for the final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest is completed. Tonight we saw the second semifinal. 18 countries competed for ten remaining spots in the big final. Beside the participating countries the United Kingdom, France and Germany were allowed to vote.
The show started at 21.00 CET which meant 0.00 Azeri time. The three presenters Leyla Aliyeva, Eldar Gasimov and Nargiz Berk-Petersen welcomed the audience in the Crystal hall and the TV spectators in Azeri, English and French. Between each song a postcard was shown with impressions of Azerbaijan.
1) Serbia – Željko Joksimović – Nije ljubav stvar
Željko is one of the most popular artists in the Balkan countries. He already represented Serbia in 2004 finishing 2nd with Lane Moje. The song was a great opener of the show and Željko and the five musicians on stage gave an outstanding performance.
2) FYR Macedonia- Kaliopi – Crno i belo
Kaliopi is another well-known and experienced artist from the Balkan. After failing to qualify for the Eurovision final in 1996 she finally another chance to represent her country. On stage Kaliopi showed the great variety of her voice from softly to rock with an extremely high note as a highlight.
3) The Netherlands – Joan Franka – You and me
The Netherlands have not qualified for a Eurovision final since 2004. The country has high hopes for this year. Joan who wore her Indian feathers again delivered a good and confident performance. The song was very well received in the hall and the audience seemed to sing along the chorus in some parts.
4) Malta – Kurt Calleja – This is the night
Kurt delivered us tonight’s first uptempo pop song. He gave us the impression that he enjoyed being on stage a lot. His vocal performance was solid whereas one female backing singers had some problems to hit the right notes.
5) Belarus – Litesound – We are the heroes
Finally it was time for Litesound from Belarus who actually only finished second in their national preselection. They wanted to show us that it was the right decision to send them to Baku and they did not disappoint us. The performance of this faster pop/rock song was faultless.
6) Portugal – Filipa Sousa – Vida minha
After Belarus we had the first break. In contrast to the just heard uptempo song we got to hear a ballad with classic Fado elements. Filipa delivered an emotional and passionate performance. Her voice harmonized very well with her five backing singers.
7) Ukraine – Gaitana – Be my guest
Right after the melodic song from Portugal Gaitana took the stage to perform her loud and cheerful song Be my guest. Her voice sounded very powerful, but it some parts it sounded like she did not hit all the notes. The camera showed that the fans in the hall appreciated the song a lot.
8) Bulgaria – Sofi Marinova – Love unlimited
After some attempts to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest Sofi Marinova finally got the ticket to Baku. Sofi who was completely alone on stage gave a very confident and powerful performance of this dance song with Ethno elements. This song could be popular in the Balkan countries.
9) Slovenia – Eva Boto – Verjamem
This entry was written by the same team who was behind Molitva, the Serbian winner from 2007. Eva Boto is the youngest participant this year and only 16 years old. Nevertheless her voice is good and powerful enough to carry this beautiful ballad.
10) Croatia – Nina Badrić – Nebo
Badrić is another well-established and very popular artist from the former Yugoslavia. After several tries to represent Croatia she was chosen directly this year. Her performance was faultless and she showed all her experience on stage.
11) Sweden – Loreen – Euphoria
It was finally time for the big favourite to win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Would Loreen be able to stand the high pressure? She was. Her performance seemed to be almost perfect and the fans in the Crystal Hall were euphoric during the song and gave some scene applause.
12) Georgia – Anri Jokhazde– I’m a joker
After another short break Anri Jokhazde took the stage. This was for sure the most weird song and presentation of the second semifinal. Nevertheless the vocals were good.
13) Turkey – Can Bonomo – Love me back
Last year it was a big surprise that Turkey did not reach the final for the first time. On his 25th birthday Can Bonomo wanted to ship Turkey back to a Eurovision final. Vocally he was good and the choreography was very special. Would this be enough for a place among the first ten?
14) Estonia – Ott Lepland – Kuula
Kuula is a lovely and gentle ballad. Ott’s vocal performance was outstanding and he might have caused goosebumps by some people. The staging was simple. Ott was just accompanied by one female backing vocalist, but this song does not need a big choreography.
15) Slovakia – Max Jason Mai – Don’t close your eyes
After showing some of the artists in the Green Room it was time for Slovakia. After the gentle ballad from Estonia this heavy rock song was another big contrast. There seemed to be some faults in the vocals, but as several parts of the song are screame, it did not appear that bad.
16) Norway – Tooji – Stay
Tooji’s performance was full of energy and very well fitting to this catchy uptempo dance song with some Ethno elements. Tooji had some vocal problems in the rehearsals. Tonight his voice did not sound as good as in the Norwegian final, but still good enough to reach the final.
17) Bosnia & Herzegovina – Maya Sar – Korake ti znam
Bosnia and Herzegovina have reached the final every year since the introduction of the semifinals. Would this year be the first one they fail to do? As there are lots of Balkan countries in this second semifinal, it is likely that not all of them would qualify. Maya started this gentle ballad playing the piano. With the beginning of the second verse she finally stood up. Overall Maya gave a very good performance.
18) Lithuania – Donny Montell – Love is blind
Lithuania had the honour to conclude the second semifinal. At the beginning of the song which started as a ballad Donny wore a blindfold. After the first chorus the song got uptempo. Donny threw his blindfold away and started to dance. His vocals cannot be criticized at all. He sang well throughout the whole song.
Afterwards the voting lines were opened for 15 minutes. After the song presentation and the short reprise of all entries we saw a very special interval act. The former Eurovision winners Marija Šerifović (Serbia 2007), Dima Bilan (Russia 2008), Alexander Rybak (Norway 2009) and Lena (Germany 2010) performed on stage. They sang their Eurovision entries in a special version, namely accompanied by Azeri musicians and traditional Azeri sounds. Finally they were joined by and Ell & Niki (Azerbaijan 2011) and sang Waterloo in a quite special version. The whole act was very well received by the audience as well as by the artists in the Green Room.
The ten qualifiers were announced in a random order:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
The big final will be held on Saturday, May 26th at 21.00 CET.