Jury rehearsal Semi 2: Vocal assessment of all the songs

We are ready for the second semifinal of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. However, 50% of the results of that show will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the adult jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

23:01 – End of the blog

We are not sticking around for the interval act tonight. If you want to know more about it, you can check our descriptions from this afternoon.

Also feel free to read back on our in-depth jury analysis of all the performances of tonight. They are right below here!

22:53 – Three clear finalists: Bulgaria, Netherlands and Denmark

Together with Malta, these four countries impressed the most during tonight’s show if you look at it from a jury perspective. Malta might still be dismissed by televoters, but the other three we will definitely see on Saturday again.

22:50 – Anja can book her ticket for the final

In the recap, we can enjoy once more Anja Nissen’s amazing performance tonight. It should be enough to reach the final and compete with Isaiah for top-10 spots there! And we know she can do even better than she did tonight.

22:48 – Recap not nice for Nathan

We see his worst notes in the recap back. Performance is great but I am not 100% sure he will receive a great jury score tonight. Will need to convince televoters tomorrow as well.

22:45 – Top 10 for the host country?

Last performance of the day is host country Ukraine with O.Torvald. They give a vocally strong performance and impress me time and time again with their song. Given their good running order, this cannot be ruled out for top 10 just yet.

22:42 – Alma focused, Levina has a soar throat

Alma’s vocal performance has been up and down throughout the week, but tonight she seemed focused. Levina has been better in earlier rehearsals. She sounds like she’s suffering from a soar throat either from a cold, or from overusing it in the last few days.

22:30 – Israel – IMRI – I Feel Alive

Imri is another artist who has really ironed out all the problems he has been having perfecting the vocal on this. The performance is very slick and it’s very ready for a TV audience. Whether a jury will rate this highly or not is a mystery. The visual and the whole vibe of the performance comes together very well but it is quite “cheap”. Vocally, Imri missed two high notes, one in the first chorus and one towards the end. Still this is one of his better performances of the week.

22:26 – Estonia – Koit & Laura – Verona

Something about this seems insincere. The vocals are not up to scratch either. Start of the song is very weak for both, Laura misses 4 notes in the first verse and Koit pinches a few of the higher notes. There’s an irony in Verona in that is has “retro appeal” but the performance falls slightly flat and it fails to bring the right kind of energy to the stage. Song should be suitable to juries albeit dated. Second half of the song is vocally good – strong recovery.

22:23 – Lithuania – Fusedmarc – Rain of Revolution

The big issue with this performance is that her diction is not great. Pair that with a shaky vocal, it’s hard to tell who will favour this song: it has neither jury nor televote appeal. Juries generally do not go for a song like this as the build-up is quite messy.

22:16 – Bulgaria – Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess

Wow. Stunning vocals and emotions coming through in this performance. Technical brilliance and artistic flare shine through on this performance and this will easily sail through this semifinal. The vocal talent will appeal to a jury whilst the emotionally captivating performer will steal the hearts of the televoters. Tonight’s performance has cemented Kristian’s place as one of the contenders to win the competition. Song is the perfect combination between contemporary and recognizable. It was vocally almost flawless (Kristian literally missed one note in the falsetto part of the first chorus), but given the high degree of difficulty, the juries should put this on top of their lists.

22:12 – Belarus – NAVIBAND – Story of my life

The performance remains the same as it has been, with the camera panning to the audience, clapping and chanting along. Vocals were generally in key however the problems with the ballance have reoccurred. Performers focused too much on interacting with the audience in the arena –> red flag for jurors. In the male solo’s, you hear the female voice on top –> another red flag. The song I have always felt is too indie and original for juries as well.

22:09 – Switzerland – Timebelle – Apollo

Panting first sentence for Timebelle. Bad start. Her voice remains wobbly throughout the first verse. The first chorus is in-key though not confident sounding. This remains the stable-level for the rest of the performance – Timebelle does not miss too many notes but she is always just about there. Listeners never get a relaxed moment. This is a shame because the song would be perfectly suitable for juries, it’s the prototype of a jury song. Last high notes awfully off-key.

22:05 – Norway – JOWST – Grab the moment

In the first chorus, the singer has one little flick on his voice in the first high note. Generally, this sounds solid though. It is not a traditionally juryfriendly song, although it might pick up some of the “Loic-Nottet-points” for modern experimental songs which part of the jurors like. Another question mark: how will juries react to the sampled voices? Will they perceive it as a trick to fool the listener? Potential red flag.

22:01 – Croatia – Jacques Houdek – My friend

This semi final is so diverse that it is very difficult to estimate what jurors will go for. This is one of those countries that can go either way. Is it kitsch? Or is it just very well sung? Both, in my opinion. The camerawork is excellent and well thought through. It makes Jacques Houdek a comfortable performer to watch, someone who knows what he is doing. Especially Eastern European jurors should go for this. Last few long higher notes go well this time.

21:57 – San Marino – Jimmie Wilson & Valentina Monetta – Spirit of the night

Song lacks build-up, the clapping bridge towards the end is usually a red flag for jurors. Vocals from Jimmie especially are quite good. This will not come last in the jury vote, however performancewise this may be a bit too glittery as well for jurors to actually take it seriously.

21:52 – Ireland – Brendan Murray – Dying to try

Brendan’s voice cracks throughout the first two sentences. When he starts the first bridge towards the chorus, it sounds a bit better. First chorus in key. Song could be jury friendly in terms of both build-up as well as the fact that it is slightly dated. The first long higher note goes wrong for Brendan however, and the press center reacts to this as strongly at least as jurors might. The ending is relatively okay, and this was not his worst performance of the week.

21:47 – Denmark – Anja Nissen – Where I am

It has already been pointed out very often that this is the kind of song that fares really well with juries, much better than with televoters. Add to that Anja Nissen’s enormous vocal power which shows itself best in the choruses. The verses are sometimes a bit panting today. Not off-key, but not as confident as during earlier rehearsals as well. Not Anja’s best performance but still easily enough to finish top 10 with juries tonight.

21:42 – Hungary – Joci Pápai – Origo

Again a difficult one to judge. Purely based on vocals, Joci could be a big hitter with juries. He does not miss a single note in this performance. However the rap part could be offensive to some jurors. It does not take away from the professionally executed act, including the technically difficult combination of singing & dancing at the same time. If Joci would look more confident on stage, it would have helped his jury vote – but he does not tonight.

21:36 – Brilliant harmonies from O’G3NE

Chills. CHILLS. These girls are arguably the best singers in the competition and the song really gives them a chance to shine. It’s absolutely on point, the crowd are in love with these girls, whose voices complement each other perfectly. This is a contender to win this semi final, especially in the jury vote, where the blandness of the song is actually more of an advantage than a disadvantage (as it may be with televoters). Harmonies are technically difficult as well, which jurors will notice.

21:33 – Romania nails it

Illinca and Alex have had technical problems throughout their time in Kyiv but she has absolutely nailed it. The yodeling is technically brilliant and she’s spot on, not missing a beat! The difficulty with this entry is judging where juries will focus on. If they purely go for vocals, they should vote for this – but if they perceive the song & performance to be kitsch or even a joke entry, it might go down very differently… Difficult to estimate what will happen!

21:29 – Malta – Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly

Claudia has been consistent as a singer throughout this Eurovision experience but the song is unbelievably dull. It’s difficult to see what a jury will make of this, as she’s a great singer, the problem is that the song just doesn’t go anywhere. That might be more of a problem with televoters than with juries though. There are also camera problems throughout this performance. It does not affect Claudia’s voice though. Strong performance.

21:24 – FYR Macedonia – Jana – Dance alone

Despite this being one of the weaker performances which needs jazzing up, the act has really come a long way since rehearsals began last week. Jana looks comfortable and the opening is much more in tune than it previously has been. She relies awfully heavily on the backing vocalists to get her through this. Jurors will notice this. The overtly sexual dancing might be a big red flag for juries as well.

21:19 – Austria – Nathan Trent – Running on air

Nathan has shown, time after time, that he is a very capable singer with a great personality and a very good stage presence. The big notes become ad libs and it’s a strong vocal, however he did have a few issues with the camera angles during this performance. As a charismatic and charming performer though, this should not effect the outcome. In the high notes in the bridge towards the last refrain, Nathan had some slight errors. The song is kind of like the juryfriendly version of a singer-songwriter song!

21:17 – Serbia remains solid

Tijana exhibits good control of her voice here. The hidden backing singers are also carrying this very well. The song isn’t particularly complex and doesn’t give her a great amount of opportunity to impress. She remains a solid performer nonetheless. In terms of owning the stage, Tijana still looks more like a backing vocalist than a primary performer. The song is the kind of song that jurors tend to discard, until last year when they did surprisingly vote for Ira Losco and Poli Genova. But those were both better vocalists.

21:11 – Technical issues before the songs have even begun.

Before song number 1, there is technical issues and we’re delayed by three minutes! Not a good start for the team.

21:04 – The hosts open the show.

There’s no rapper/procession or anything happening tonight, instead we open with a performance of a Eurovision medley, performed in a traditional Ukrainian style by our hosts accompanied by a troupe of dancers.

21:02 – Show started

The famous “Te Deum” intro tune to the Eurovision Song Contest has sounded! After the opening act, we will check in with you with the first update about Serbia, the opener of semi final 2.