The second semi-final took place this evening in Copenhagen with the last ten nations being selected to go through to Saturday’s final. It was a fabulous show which, besides featuring the fifteen participant acts, included a guest performance from Australia during the interval act.
Five acts would be eliminated with those remaining going through and joining the ten qualifiers from the first semi-final and of course, the Big 5 countries plus the host nation, Denmark.
1. Malta – Firelight – Coming Home
The second semi-final started with the Maltese band Firelight with a folk entry that aims to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. This song has a very good energy and that good vibe is also among them who were smiling throughout the performance. They had perfect control on their vocals and their voices blend really well. The six members of band were all in a line in the middle of the stage playing their instruments (piano, guitars, upright bass, drums and harmonica) with the main singers, Richard and Michelle, in the centre. All the group members were casually dressed. The backdrop was bright, colourful and happy emphasizing on the positivity of the song with several selfies in black and white appearing intermittently on the cubes of the metal framework. The floor consisted of a poppy field and the high camera shots looking down from the ceiling gave it an outdoor feel.
2. Israel – Mei Finegold – Same Heart
We continued with a quality pop-rock song from Israel. This entry has a strong melody with an insanely catchy dance beat and lyrics in the English and Hebrew languages. Mei has a unique powerful deep voice and the song is very demanding vocally but she made everything seem effortless. She was brilliant. Mei started the song alone on stage standing on a tiled black and white floor, singing to the camera. She wore a short, sleeveless black dress. The backdrop featured classic architectural shapes and it was visually an absolute delight. It was blue and white at first, it turned red once the chorus kicked in and it was yellow during the last verses of the song. Mei was supported at the middle of the song by two female dancers who wore black bodysuits. She and her dancers did a great job. Mei had a great stage presence and looked very confident with the dance routine singing powerfully without the assistance of any backing vocalists. At the end, she moved out to the catwalk with her two dancers behind her. The three of them had a great attitude. Overall, it was a very consistent performance, vocally and visually.
3. Norway – Carl Espen – Silent Storm
You really can only hear this song for the first time once, but thankfully it is still thrilling even if you know what is coming. It is a quiet and dramatic powerful ballad sung with smooth vocals. There was a lot of tenderness to his voice that sounded so melancholic that at times it may even be a bit depressing. But his emotions were real. He sang this timeless classic ballad with sincerity and, despite he seemed a bit nervous, the camera angles made the viewers feel that Carl was singing directly to them. Upon the first notes of the song, the camera focused on the pianist and then moved on to Carl. The spotlights shone down on him and the stage was filled with dry ice. During this part of the song, a large number of close shots were used to convey the emotion of the song. He did not seem too confident at first but that was part of the charm of the song, he had to look like he is a fragile man. Carl wore a black suit and blue shirt. After the first chorus we saw there were four ladies playing violin on a sparkly black angled platform. They were dressed in black with white capes. Their backdrop was overall very blue. It looked like waves or water flowing with the tempo of the song. It featured some golden fireflies during the last chorus which suited the nostalgic mood of the song really well and made it look visually very attracting.
4. Georgia – The Shin and Mariko – Three Minutes To Earth
Three Minutes To Earth is an unique and original jazzy song with a modern sound and folk influences. It is always interesting to hear this kind of songs with such a blend of styles and instrumentation. Of course, one of the great things of Eurovision is the variety and the different styles of the songs taking part and this one is bizarrely charming. They try to embrace the musical heritage of the country they are representing but the result is a bunch of random sounds with an unusual arrangement. The performance started with Mariko on centre stage back to the audience and the other members of the band behind her. Each of them kept their position during the whole performance, including the drummer who had a large yellow and white parachute on (that idea probably came from the lyrics which talk about skydivers but that on stage was very distracting). Mariko wore a long bright green dress with purple gemstones attached to it while the members of The Shin wore dark clothes. The main colour of the stage scenery was blue and the background had some images of space with planets and stars and it ended with a green sunny landscape whose green meadow was also reflected on the floor. The vocals were great especially Mariko who has a really nice voice.
5. Poland – Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie – We Are Slavic
The return of Poland certainly won’t go unnoticed with this song which has already been a smash hit in Poland. It mixes Polish folk music with modern hip-hop and ethnic rap beats. Its infectious melody is fun, cheeky and extremely catchy. Cleo was super confident and she gave an energetic performance with great dancing. She was flanked by three female backing dancers and vocalists dressed in traditional costumes. She was vocally great sounding pretty much like the studio version. She wore pretty much the same outfit as in their preview video consisting of a short skirt with colorful pattern, a black shirt, wide black belt and black boots. The backing dancers wore traditional Slavic dresses and floral wreaths on their heads as well as the two ladies who were to the sides of the stage. One of them washing clothes on a washboard and the other one was churning butter with a stick up and down in a suggestive way. Cleo and the dancers had a sassy attitude on stage and the vibe was absolutely right especially during the instrumental part in the middle of the song when we were able to appreciate the more traditional side of the song with Cleo and the girls performing what looked like a traditional dance in a circle waving some handkerchiefs with the colours of the Polish flag. The background was predominantly red featuring traditional Polish patterns and we could also see some footage from their official video.
During the first commercial break of the show we were treated with a new episode of the Eurovision book of records. This time it was the award of most hand clapping which was won by the Austrian entry from 1976 with no less than 157 claps.
6. Austria – Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix
Conchita was perhaps the most highly anticipated act for this year’s contest. Her entry is a classic power ballad, very classy, which has excellent instrumentation, nice lyrics and Conchita delivered a very stylish performance. Visually it was stunning with lots of long shots at first with her in complete darkness until a few seconds later her identity was revealed. Then, the lighting changed, all the spotlights were on Conchita and the background started looking like a golden shower of pyros. She was standing alone in the centre of the stage and up on a small platform on a smoke-covered floor. Her dress stood out amid all the flames. It was a gold sparkly dress with a long train. The backdrop started off in a gentle golden colour until it turned into a smouldering fire at the chorus. Once the second chorus kicked in, the backdrop was lit with flames in the shape of wings and Conchita seemed to be about to start flying around like a phoenix. The wind machine was put in use near the end of the song and its effect was gorgeous. Her live vocals were truly up to the task and she sang amazingly with passion and truth. And, to top it all, the pyrotechnic at the end was absolutely impressive.
7. Lithuania – Vilija Matačiūnaitė – Attention
This was a slightly underwhelming entry. The song is a mix of pop with a bizarre dubstep and a fairly catchy chorus. She started off singing in a very low register, almost speaking, but after the first chorus she was screaming for attention rather than singing and that was annoying to listen to after a while. She has a nice stage presence and she is certainly a great singer but the song is very disjointed. The staging had a great modern feel with a demanding choreography which was the only thing that made this performance memorable. She wore a black ballerina tutu with a leather black and turquoise top matching with the turquoise background. She was joined by a male dancer who wore a black leather outfit. The backdrop was pretty simple with turquoise and silver being the main colours in different shapes and pieces of broken glass shown on them. There were three female backup singers to the right of the stage dressed in black with turquoise arm gloves. They were not taking part in the routine at all.
8. Finland – Softengine – Something Better
Softengine is a brilliant teen boyband and they stood out as the only rock band in the contest. The five boys are cute, the song is reasonably catchy, quite pleasant and the lyrics, the rhythm and the whole style of this entry were great. It is an energetic soft rock song, very fresh with a great vocal hook. The melody is simple yet memorable but the chorus is definitely the best part of the song. All the members of the band were dressed in black except the drummer who wore a white jacket. Topi, the lead singer, wore a silver glittering jacket, black shirt and black trousers. The group stayed in the centre of the stage throughout the performance, jumping up and down energetically and playing their instruments (three guitars, a drum kit and a keyboard). The stage was really set up for a rock performance. Red and white lights were used in the backdrop and on the floor for the intro and once the beat kicked in lots of light beams shone up enthusiastically around the whole arena. It was very fitting for this type of song. The lead singer’s vocals were a bit shaky sometimes but mostly on key. He failed to engage with the camera a bit since he kept his eyes closed for most of the time during the song but anyway they all seemed to enjoy on stage. The desperate shrieking of the lead singer blended well with the back-up vocals and they sounded absolutely fantastic.
9. Ireland – Can-Linn featuring Kasey Smith – Heartbeat
Time for a bit of pop music mixed with some traditional Irish instruments. This song has a Celtic vibe and upbeat lyrics and Kasey was capable of delivering the necessary power, emphasis and confidence to the song with her smooth and sultry voice. Kasey wore stunning a golden dress with a long silky train at the back. Behind her were the members of the Irish musical collective Can-Linn. They were two male dancers who wore traditional Irish costumes all in black, including black kilts, whose choreography was full of Celtic elements. There also were two female backing singers who were in the right side of the stage and a drum / violin player on the other side. All of them wore long black dresses trimmed in gold. There was a golden background with Celtic-inspired symbols with lots of circular shapes. The same pattern was also on the floor. At the end of the song the backdrop looked like a dark sea with huge green waves.
10. Belarus – Teo – Cheesecake
This is different from all the other songs this year. It is an awkwardly titled song with a nice jazzy sound, a sultry rhythm and a memorable hook. The structure of the song lacks variety, the instrumentation is basic and it is also a bit outdated but it is weirdly addictive. The staging was really good. Teo wore a simple black suit and white shirt and he was flanked by four male backing singers dressed in black and white, two of them wearing black jackets and the other two wore black vests. The performance started with Teo and his four backing singers walking from the back to the front of the stage during the intro and they started their choreography in a V-shaped formation. The dance routine looked a bit messy at times but it was pretty cool and Teo interacted incredibly well with the cameras. Teo may not have the strongest voice of the contest but he is so charismatic and he put a lot of commitment and passion in the choreography with his amazing foot-shuffles. The backdrop was red during the verses and blue during the choruses. The performance ended with Teo throwing a kiss at the camera and then kicked it.
11. F.Y.R. Macedonia – Tijana – To The Sky
Next up was Tijana with her nice dance track. This song has the essence of a genuine summer hit. It is extremely radio friendly, with a strong chorus, pretty simple and a bit repetitive but it is not an easy song to sing. Her stage presence was great. She has an amazing voice, very strong and full of energy but most important was her rocker attitude. The song started with Tijana standing on centre stage on a lit white square with an energetic male dancer dressed in a full white jumpsuit doing sort of a break dancing routine around her. She had a sophisticated look wearing a black tuxedo with white piping. There were some interesting lighting effects and Tijana and her dancer interacted very well with them. The staging was pretty simple with a lot of black and white lighting and some swirls in the backdrop moving with the strong rhythm of the song. It all had a very futuristic feel. There were also three backing singers dressed in black standing together behind Tijana on the right side of the stage. In the last part of the song they moved to the front of the stage and joined her and the dancer making a good use of the space and taking part in the choreography raising their hands with fingers pointing up symbolizing the lyrics of the song. It was a great interaction and energy between all of them. Lot of aerial shots were used, showing the stage floor from above, on which several rectangles were moving all around.
12. Switzerland – Sebalter – Hunter of Stars
The whistling intro is beyond catchy and it provided a vintage and refreshing touch to the song very effective. This original country song makes you tap your foot and its distinctive style will make it stand out in this semi-final. Sebalter and his band are quite charming. He was accompanied by a group of five musicians which included a drummer, a tambourine player, a guitarist, a banjo player and a double bass player. All of them were dressed in black and white with Sebalter wearing a white shirt and black vest and trousers. Sebalter was very expressive and the whole band looked like they were enjoying themselves on stage. The main colours of the stage were orange and yellow with fiery elements and golden circles moving on the LED backdrop and the main cube structure. During the bridge he picked up a violin and started playing it before going down the catwalk and then started banging a drum which was there waiting for him. It was utterly fabulous. Some of the members of the band also joined him on the catwalk. Pyros were used with some explosions at the start of the song and later a waterfall pyro in front of the stage.
During this commercial break Lise showed us this year’s Eurovision trophy and we got another video of records. This time the winner was Johnny Logan for having licked his lips thirty times in 1987.
13. Greece – Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd – Rise Up
This year’s Greek entry is a trendy pop song which will make Europe rise up and dance. The start with the trumpets and the opening rap verse was a bit disturbing but shortly thereafter the song turned into a relatively generic upbeat number and it ended up becoming the sort of song that gets stuck in your head with an infectious fast beat and repetitive lyrics. They sounded absolutely amazing live with RiskyKidd’s rap and Nikolas’ silky vocals blending well. The three of them started the song in centre stage and later Nikolas and RiskyKidd both moved out to the two catwalks of the stage leaving the keyboardist alone. They were full of energy, engaged with the camera quite well and really used the stage with full potential. All of them wore white shirts and black jackets and trousers. The graphics were pretty simple with white strips slowly filling up the LED screens over a black backdrop at the beginning until the whole cube was totally lit up. Then, the backdrop turned into blue for the rest of the song and ended up black and white with kind of 3D cubes flying around with the rhythm of the song. In the back of the stage was kind of a black box with concentric white stripe pattern on the front which towards the end of the song we discovered it was a trampoline when a gymnast dressed all in white appeared jumping on it. Nikolas and RiskyKidd both joined the gymnast on the trampoline. While the gymnast performed some high leaps and rotations, the moves of both singers were not so complicated but nevertheless very energetic while still singing. That gave the performance an exciting feel.
14. Slovenia – Tinkara Kovač – Round And Round
This is a modern ethnic entry which has several different rhythms during the three minutes it lasts. The song started with a close-up shot on Tinkara playing the flute in the middle of the stage and all the lights were concentrated on her. That haunting flute introduction was fabulous and it gave this pop song a folk touch very different from the more commercial entries. This one is captivating without being overproduced. Tinkara wore a dark blue dress with black lace and she was flanked by three female backing singers to her right who were smartly dressed in black. The bilingual lyrics mix Slovenian and English languages wonderfully. Tinkara looked very confident playing the flute and her voice was full of soul and mystery, strong enough without being shouty. Tinkara spent most of the song standing in front of the mic stand playing her flute and only took the microphone in her hand at the end. The staging brought class and sophistication to the show. The background was blue during most part of the song but during the last chorus it brightened up into a swirl of gold and red. On the stage floor, the light effects looked like circles which were turning around Tinkara during the chorus fitting the lyrics of the song. She had a mystical and magical look that engaged the camera very well.
15. Romania – Paula Seling & Ovi – Miracle
Last on stage this evening were Paula and Ovi from Romania with their undeniably catchy entry. Miracle is a solid pop song with a powerful chorus and a memorable hook. Both have great voices and have a great chemistry with one another but Paula’s impressive vocals and her ability to hit the high notes with ease kinda overshadowed Ovi a little. Their live performance was spectacular featuring groundbreaking hologram technology. The song started with Ovi alone on stage and Paula in a hologram which dissolved while she entered the stage from the other side. The hologram seemed so real that probably most of the viewers were stunned when Paula vanished from the screen very much reflecting the title of the song: Miracle. In the second verse, Ovi moved to stand inside a circular keyboard which was to the left of the stage. A huge circular keyboard was also reflected on the LED screen. Before the last chorus they embraced each other. That was actually quite endearing and it was captured well by the close-ups. Ovi was dressed all in black and Paula wore a short glittery black dress. The backdrop was dark blue at first and more colourful towards the latter part of the song with lots of butterflies projected onto the screen and moving along to the tempo of the song. During the last part of the song we could also see some vertical flames in front of the stage.
The two-hour show began at 21:00 CET from the B&W Hallerne in Copenhagen. It started with a recap of last Tuesday’s show followed by a video of a car driving around this year’s host city Copenhage. In the streets we could see some boxes which looked that the cubes from the stage and following a group of people who came into the arena. On stage was a man in a white box playing violin. There were two more boxes with a dancer inside each of them. Three dancers lifted the three boxes up and the small violinist and dancers ended up dissappearing since it was only an effect. A group of dancers dressed in black and white performed a modern choreography with colourful backdrops. The virtual violin player from the begining was back at the end and this time he was real. The performance was based on Jacob Gade’s Tango Jalousie from 1925, the most well-known Danish hit ever. As we saw in the first semi, this year’s stage is absolutely impressive featuring a huge glowing cube with big LED screens in the background and hundreds of lights.
Right after the opening act, the hosts were introduced. Nikolaj Koppel, Pilou Asbæk and Lise Rønne were wearing black outfits and welcomed us to the second semi-final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest. They told us about the voting rules in English and French languages and it was time for the songs.
Like in the first semi, 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.
After the fifteen entries had been performed, the hosts again entered the stage, explained once again the voting instructions and opened the televoting. It was followed by a recap of the songs.
The interval act was starred by Australia. We saw a video of some Aussies saying how much they love the Eurovision Song Contest but, unfortunately, they are not allowed to participate since obviously, Australia is not in Europe. The viewers also enjoyed a very entertaining performance with lots of dancers on stage representing some elements of Australian culture with some images of all the competing nations on the backdrop. Australian superstar Jessica Mauboy took the stage wearing a silver dress with a long train and singing a fantastic pop song called Sea Of Flags.
Then we got one more reprise of the fifteen performances of the night. In this recap, besides a bit of each act we were able to see each artist walking off the stage after their performance and asking viewers to vote for them. Our hosts informed us that we only had five minutes left to vote and told the viewers about this year’s tagline: Join Us. A few months ago, DR asked people to send a video of themselves dancing and the twenty-six most charismatic had been invited to be part of the show dancing on the Eurovision stage. All of them got their moment in the spotlight.
After the five second countdown, the male hosts pronounced the classic "Europe, stop voting now!" and Lise, who was in the green room, had a small talk with some of the artists from Greece, F.Y.R. Macedonia and Finland. Then we saw one more video about the Eurovision book of records. That time the award was for the longest note and Malta’s Mary Spiteri was the winner with a thirteen seconds note. After the video, Lise was back in the green room talking to Kasey Smith from Ireland, Cleo from Poland and Conchita from Austria.
As in the first semi, we watched a little video featuring the entries from the Big 5 countries plus the host country. Right after that, Lise asked EBU’s Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Jon Ola Sand, if the results were ready but he said he needed a little more time. Lise said that they had another record ready to watch but instead we watched a new recap of tonight’s performances. That was a little weird since the voting lines were already closed.
Of the fifteen 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 a 50/50 split between national expert juries and televoting from the fifteen competing nations as well as the juries and viewers from Germany, United Kingdom and Italy.
The countries which qualified for the final were announced in random order and they were:
Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland, Romania, Norway, Greece, Malta, Belarus, Finland and Austria.