Results Round-Up: Lithuania Heat 3 and Norway Semi-Final 2

Week two for this buddy pairing of Norway and Lithuania.

Pabandom iš Naujo, Heat 3
The six qualifiers (in order) were:

Monika Liu — “Sentimentai”
Rūta Loop — “Call Me from the Cold”
Lolita Zero — “Not Your Mother”
Gebrasy — “Into Your Arms”
Gintarė Korsakaitė — “Fantasy Eyes”
Vilija Matačiūnaitė — “101”

We now have our 18 semi-finalists, and I guess it’s not worth speculating too hard until we’ve seen the running order for those events. In the meantime, the performances from Heat 3 were some of the strongest yet. Only a few contestants looked awkward on stage, performing moves by rote without seeming to believe in them. In the case of Basas Pegasas, he ruined his already over-the-top performance by fighting an invisible adversary in the last thirty seconds, throwing punches and kicking at nothing in particular.

On the other end of the scale, it’s probably no surprise that the top two qualifiers also gave the classiest performances. Monika Liu’s strong stage presence and confidence in her ability to perform well was amplified by the moody lighting. Rūta Loop’s creative use of lighting and some interactive LED work was only slightly overshadowed by her mumbling of the verses of her song, and her overly sharp intakes of breath. Gebrasy also gave a self-assured performance, with staging that was simple but effective, while Lolita Zero played up to the quirky nature of her song. It took a while to adjust to the actual vocals rather than the heavily auto-tuned ones on the studio version.

Everyone else fell into the middle-range, with at the very least some decent staging and good vocal performances. Vasha’s staging didn’t have the high-impact of her video, which may have left her song vulnerable and hence the failure to qualify. Overall, I don’t feel like anyone was particularly hard done by or undeserving of their result.

Melodi Grand Prix, Semi-Final 2
The first duel seemed to be decided before both performers had taken to the stage, as Lily Löwe didn’t have a particularly good performance vocally in the first parts of her song, whereas Steffen Jakobsen was pretty much flawless. Her staging was all about pyrotechnics and gaudy neon in the background, whereas he managed to create the idea of a futuristic saloon using similar neon. Even the key chancge in “With Me Tonight” made more sense live. Sometimes its a matter of context. In any case, I guess this shows how much a live performance will make or break you, regardless of anything else.

Over in the other duel, I suspected Farida would win on the grounds of her song being the stronger of the two, but in all honesty, I preferred Daniel Lukas’s simple but charming staging to round out a more balanced package. Farida had too much going on for my liking: she may have been stationary, but around here were four dancing violinists (which I thought was funny — not the intention, I’m sure) and the dreadful cliche of a burning piano. The tension I identified in my review as being one of the strengths of the song just wasn’t present on stage, especially with all that movement.

Having said that, you probably won’t be surprised that I thought Steffan Jakobsen was the more deserving winner of the Gold Duel, but I guess he’ll have to see if he can eke out enough from the second chance round to make the final anyway.