Eurovision First Listen: Preview of the First Semi-Final

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 (Photo: Eurovision)
Eurovision Song Contest 2014 (Photo: Eurovision)

One last first listen to the Eurovision Song Contest Semifinal number 1.

It’s almost time for Part 2 of the Eurovision coverage at What Else is On to begin. To give all the tracks some fresh perspective, Mike and I are trading semi-finals.  Before I let go of Semifinal 1’s songs, though, I wanted to give my first ranking of how I’d currently want things to shake out come May in Copenhagen:

Making the Cut

  1. Iceland – This song manages to satiate my hipster impulses and my love of a good Eurovision-y pop song.  I am also possibly the only person ranking it as their number one, but the song makes me happy.
  2. Sweden – A perfect example of how to build a power ballad over 3 minutes.  Sweden is full of quality songwriters and this is another proud export.
  3. Netherlands – I think how this one does will depend on how much Europe loves Americana, but I thought this was surprisingly gorgeous.
  4. Hungary – Like Iceland, this manages to mix a Big Issue with a Big Melody to good effect.
  5. Armenia – Amongst this year’s surprising number of mid-tempo ballads with dubstep elements, this one is the cream of the crop.
  6. Azerbaijan – Azerbaijan’s near-scientific method for generating Eurovision songs produces another great, smoky number.
  7. Moldova – This isn’t my favorite entry from Moldova, but there’s a lot of interesting things going on that could do well on the big stage.
  8. San Marino – I’m really pulling for Valentina Monetta this year.  Hopefully this year’s mid-tempo ballad will go all the way to the final.
  9. Russia – It feels slapdash and last minute (and it is), but Russia’s song is surprisingly decent.
  10. Ukraine – Updated lyrics have raised this one in my opinion, but it still remains middle of the pack.

Not Quite There

  • Portugal – This would have killed at the 2003 contest.  Unfortunately, it’s 2014.
  • Montenegro – There are a lot of “meh” ballads this year.  This is one of them.
  • Albania – Although the arrangement’s better, Albania’s song is still really wordy, and the English translation doesn’t help.
  • Estonia – This feels like a copy of a copy of “Euphoria”, and Tanja’s voice rubs me the wrong way
  • Belgium – This is another one of the “meh” ballads.
  • Latvia – I was raised to not say anything if you couldn’t say anything nice, but the hell with that.  I actively hate the lyrics of this song.  There is no way in hell this is winning.  Nul points.

We’re back tomorrow with Mike’s thoughts and initial rankings for Semifinal 2. Here is a refresher on the running order for the first Eurovision semi-final:

Eurovision Song Contest 2014 First Semi-Final

CountryPositionArtistSongLanguageLast Win/Best
Albania6HersiOne Night's AngerEnglish5th (2012)
Belgium10Axel HirsouxMotherEnglish1986
Estonia3TanjaAmazingEnglish2001
Latvia2AarzemniekiCake to BakeEnglish2002
Moldova11Cristina ScarlatWild SoulEnglish6th (2005)
Portugal13SusyQuero Ser Tuo
(I Want to Be Yours)
Portuguese/English6th (1996)
Denmark, France, and Spain will vote in this semi-final, taking place May 6.

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About Ben Smith 230 Articles

Ben has been writing about TV, music, and pop culture in some form or another since 2009, including stints at Mental Floss and Temporary Obsession. When not solving puzzles of some sort or consuming pop culture at a frightening pace, he can be found collecting shiny pieces of the internet at GoodAtInter.net. E-mail: ben@whatelseison.tv