This post will be re-published after each country's contestant has performed. The official Eurovision website is here. I can't see which channel if any it's being broadcast on in Spain (all the channels seeem to be covering a live debate in the Spanish parliament in Madrid, so I'm watching it on BBC3 from the UK.
Contestants this evening, and my thoughts on their efforts are as follows:
1 - Montenegro
Just get out of my life
- a woman singing and doing a dance-routine with a man. Not a bad example of 'Europop'; her voice isn't terribly strong (a little off-tune), but it's a lively attractive song. Sung in English.
2 - Czech Republic
- sort of comedy gypsy-song, sung in English by an moustachioed man with backing group. Quite amusing and clever, but I doubt if it's really Eurovision material.
3 - Belgium
- Elvis lookalike with slicked-back hair performing in English a lively 'boppy' song; not bad and I suppose it's an original theme. best Belgian song in a long time, I think. Should, in a fair world, do quite well.
4 - Belarus
Eyes that never lie
- blond man wearing tight white suit and bare chest under his zippered jacket singing in English quite a lively ballad. Starts off very 'cheesily', but gets a bit better. Not really too bad, I suppose, but a little over the top and not really my taste. Suspect it will go well in Eastern Europe, though.
5 - Sweden
- blond Scandinavian beauty (female) with a lovely effortless, ethereal voice singing with a female backing group. It's a really nice ballad. Should do well. A class act.
6 - Armenia
Jan Jan (Nor Par)
- dramatic female group singing what is I take it traditional style of Armenian music, but jazzed-up a little and sung in English. It's really rather catchy and not at all bad, but I do wonder if it isn't just a little too different to be successful in Eurovision.
7 - Andorra
La Teva Decisio (Get a life)
- a red-haired woman with a female backing group. First ever entry from Andorra I think. Not bad, her voice was a little shaky, but she's turning it around. It's a nive 'boppy' song and is certainly the style of music for a traditional Europop effort - not bad at all.
8 - Switzerland
The highest heights
- lank-haired man with maale backing group. Song could be OK, but is being poorly-performed as singer's voice is weak and off-tune. Sorry - a thumbs-down from me.
9 - Turkey
Dum Tek Tek
Turkish version of Europop by a dramatic red-clad mainly female group, with one man. Slight middle-eastern elements, but jazzed-up to appeal to a wider European audience. I rather like it, it's catchy and being well-performed; now there's a sexy dance going on with the lead-signer and another male sort of acrobat-dancer. pretty good I'd say.
10 - Israel
There must be another way
- a Israeli-Arab and Jewish joint effort as as female duo sung in English, Hebrew and Arabic. It's quite tuneful and not at all bad. Morally I'd like it to do well, specially given the title of the song, which is pretty much what the song is about in the context of that troubled country. If it gets through to the final (and I think it should) I'd hope it'd do pretty well.
11 - Bulgaria
- male singer with female backing group, dressed in some kind of colourful robes and cloaks. It's a tuneful catchy tune sung mainly in English with sort of Bulgarian elements and he has a really good voice. It's an unusual song, quite dramatic, but might do pretty well.
12 - Iceland
Is it true?
- a woman singing in English with a female backing group and male instrumentalists, singing a lovely ballad. She has an excellent voice, she's absolutely in control and confident. A pleasure to watch professionals at work. They're all, male and female, nice looking, too, which certainly can't hurt. Definitely my favourite so far.
13 - FYR Macedonia
Neshto shto ke ostane
- two long-haired male leads (twin brothers, apparently) and male backing group, all good-looking men (yum!) singing presumably in Serbo-Croat(?); it's a good lively rock-ballad, quite tuneful and pretty well-performed. Obviously I have no idea what it is about, but will probably do well in both eastern and western Europe as they are easy on the eye and the ear.
14 - Romania
The Balkan Girls
- think a singing troupe of 'Varoomshkas' or 'Amazons' - all very pretty and the song is quite fun and lively (sung in English). It should do well - there are quite a few good songs, so it's going to be difficult to choose; although as i don't know if it's being broadcast in Spain (or on which channel) I've no idea how I can vote in any case.
15 - Finland
- funky rock song in English, with a female and male lead singer (both very trendy and nice-looking) and assorted male/female backing. The song doesn't appeal to me, but it is well-performed and may well appeal across Europe; it's quite a sophisticated performance I think.
16 - Portugal
Todas as ruas do amor
- female singer with nice instrumental backing (guitars, flute[?] and accordion). Unfortunately her voice is no good even though it seems quite a nice ditty - sun in Portuguese. Doubt if it will get too many votes.
17 - Malta
What if we?
- lovely voice from a female (rather plump) singer. She started off a little shakily, but soon got into her stride. It's rather a nice ballad, very traditional and quite catchy - probably not right for modern Eurovision I suspect. No doubt will get many votes from the UK as usual and deservedly so.
18 - Bosnia & Herzegovina
- sung in Serbo-Croat(?), by a male lead, male/female all regency-garbed in pale cream - all nice-looking. Quite a nice song, and although his voice is good, it's a little weak at times. Not rubbish by any means, so it will probably do very well amongst neighbouring countries where this style of song probably appeals more than it does to me.
Right - all the performances are over and the voting will soon begin. I now understand (see comments) that Spain are voting on Thursday, not tonight. If I could have voted these would have been my top choices:
- Sweden, Iceland and FYR Macedonia (probably the second although I liked the first too);
- closely followed by Israel, Romania and Finland.
Now I'll just hold fire until I see how the voting goes.
Update on Spanish TV
One channel has now switched away from the live debate in parliament in Madrid and they seem to be running through many of Thursday evening's songs from the 2nd semi-final; we've just had the Greek entry and the lead-singer is one sexy man. All interspersed with some of the best songs from previous years - softening us up for Thursday, no doubt. We've just had the belgian winner from 1958 I think, sung live in the studio by the orignal artists, now its someone called Johnny Logan from Ireland in [year not known] - song is 'Hold me Close', also live in studio by the man himself. Now we're on to 1979 with the Spanish entry, followed by 1975. All good fun.
1st Semi-final Qualifiers
As they're being voted through:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
- most of those I can live with, although I'm sorry FYR Macedonia didn't make it, and a little sorry that Armenia and Portugal did.
- next stop Thursday for the 2nd semi-final - WHEN I WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE.