Results Round-Up: Spain Final, Moldova Final, Lithuania Semi-Final 1 and Norway Semi-Final 3

This is the first of several Sundays where there will be a bunch new songs selected for the contest and a lot of things going on at once. I’m going to keep these round-up as snappy as possible.

Benidorm Fest (Spain), Final
After some drama which saw Luna Ki withdraw because she was told her use of auto-tune wouldn’t be permitted at Eurovision, the two semi-finals were held earlier in the week, with the top four entries from each qualifying to the final. The acts left behind were Marta Sango, Javiera Mena, Unique, Sara Deop and Azúcar Moreno. If I could have picked one of those to save it would be “Culpa” by Javiera Mena, even though her live performance wasn’t as good as the studio: she seemed uncomfortable throughout except for when she was at the mixing desk: I’m sure I saw a smile or two from under her ornate mask then.

The final results:

1. “SloMo” by Chanel (96 points)
2. “Ay mamá” by Rigoberta Bandini (91 points)
3. “Terra” by Tanxugueiras (90 points)
4. “Calle de la llorería” by Rayden (67 points)
5. “Secreto de agua” by Blanca Paloma (61 points)
6. “Raffaella” by Varry Brava (55 points)
7. “Eco” by Xeinn (45 points)
8. “Quién lo diría” by Gonzalo Hermida (35 points)*

(Gonzalo Hermida tested positive for COVID-19 before the semi-finals, and hence his video clip for the song was displayed instead of a live performance.)

The weighting gave half the votes to the expert jury, with the other half split equally between the demoscopic jury and the televote. In the end, while Tanxugueiras ended winning both the televote and the demoscopic jury, the expert jury weren’t as impressed and placed them low enough (5th) to put them out of contention. Rigoberta Bandini would have won the contest had she come first in the televote instead of second, as the extra five points would have put her on 96 points with Chanel, the televote then being the decisive element of the tie. But Chanel had a headstart by winning the expert jury vote, and that was enough to hold off the others.

I’m going to write up an initial review of “SloMo” later today, so I’ll just comment on the other staging efforts at Benidorm. While I’ve said that I think the batch of songs on offer were particularly strong, the staging was uneven. Songs like “Secreto de agua” didn’t need much staging beyond visual effects, and that was okay. The “Raffaella” colour palate was very red, but that kind of fit with the theme. I think Xeinn was hard done by with his staging. Apart from the opening seconds when he emerged from that tube, it was disjointed and confusing. The screen in Tanxugueiras song was incredibly distracting, especially since it was clearly trying to tell some kind of story, but the camera angles wouldn’t allow for this. A simpler light show with shapes rather than photos as well would have less chaotic. Lastly, there was lots of talk about Rigoberta Bandini’s use of a globe breast as a giant prop. Too much was made of this: I suspect the staging would have changed to give the prop more context for non-Spanish speakers. “Ay mamá” was arguably the high risk/high reward option here: if it connected, it could take off. Instead, Spain has sent in a safe entry, which will probably help them get out of the bottom five in the final, as there’s always an audience for what Chanel is offering.

Eurovision Audieri Live (Moldova) – Live Internal Selection
In the Eurovision community, Moldova is notorious for sending in zany entries. The process the country uses to select their representative explains this. During a three-hour live broadcast, 28 acts stepped on stage, performed their song in front of a panel of five judges, who went away and decided who to send to Eurovision. I didn’t watch the livesteam, but I have taken a look at the video of each of the acts, and honestly, some things are best done behind closed doors. It all felt very unprofessional, and if this is how Moldova always does things, they’re lucky they’ve achieved the amount of success that they have at the contest. I don’t really have much else to add, except that I’ll start working on my initial review for the winning song later today.

Melodi Grand Prix (Norway), Semi-Final 3
As soon as I saw the four performances, it was clear that this was going to be a straightforward semi-final. Even though I preferred Mari Bølla’s song, the eventual winner, Oda Gondrosen, was unstoppable with the best staging and overall performance by far. She sold the story of her song very well, and the visual effects were outstanding. I liked Bølla’s furniture, but she dropped the ball a bit with her rapping, and didn’t seem anywhere near as in control as Gondrosen.

Over in the other duel, Sturla’s simple staging may have been a good reflection of the understated nature of his song, but it was blown away by Vilde’s more impactful staging and bigger song. Even with that win behind her, Vilde was not going to be a match for Gondrosen, who sails off to the final.

(I haven’t watched any of the presentations of the five pre-qualifiers yet; I’m going to do that in the week running up to the second chance show.)

Pabandom iš Naujo (Lithuania), Semi-Final 1

This is the weaker of the two semi-finals, with the only small surprise being that Heat 1 winner Erica Jennings failed to qualify. Then again, Heat 1 was the weakest of the heats, and appropriately none of the acts from there competing in this semi managed to get through to the final.

The results (top four qualify):

1. “How to Get My Life Back” by Justė Kraujelytė (22 points)
2. “Not Your Mother” by Lolita Zero (20 points)
3. “Into Your Arms” by Gebrasy (18 points)
4. “Washing Machine” by Queens of Roses (11 points)

5. “Deadly” by Joseph June (10 points)
6. “Back to Myself” by Erica Jennings (10 points)
7. “Fantasy Eyes” by Gintarė Korsakaitė (10 points)
8. “Illuminate” by Emilijana (9 points)
9. “Someday” by Elonas Pokanevič (5 points)

Lolita Zero crushed the televote, while Justė Kraujelytė won the jury vote ahead of Gebrasy. Most acts tinkered a bit with their staging and/or song, leading to quite a few improvements here and there. Some songs whose qualification baffled me (“Fantasy Eyes”, “Illuminate”) were shown the door. All in all, I don’t find anything to disagree with here: I think the right songs went through. There are some bigger names in the second semi-final, so that’s where we might have a shock exit.