ESC 2022: Post-Rehearsal Reviews – Second Semi-Final

Apologies for the delay, I realise the second rehearsals for this semi finished a few days ago, but I’ve been distracted by other things. Again, this is purely based on the short clips from the official Eurovision YouTube page.

Lots of black balloons with yellow lighting, in keeping with the colour palate The Rasmus used in the Finnish national selection. I think this works well, but I’m a bit worried about the vocal performance and while The Rasmus bring back fond memories of my youth, this won’t be the case for a lot of younger viewers, and I suspect they’ll need a good televote to qualify.

I was hoping that both semi-finals would see the “curse” of the 2nd place in the running order broken, but given Latvia weren’t successful earlier this week, it falls to Michael Ben David to attempt it for Israel. And really, I want to believe there isn’t a disadvantage/curse, so I’m hoping that his incredible stage presence and charisma will overcome the so-so song and really connect with audiences.

One of the dark horses of this contest. If there’s one song that’s gained a lot of momentum since winning its national selection, it’s “In Corpore Sano”. The quirky elements of the song and Konstrakta’s deadpan delivery just serve to heighten its appeal. The staging hasn’t changed much, just been given some moody lighting, all but guaranteeing qualification.

Nadir’s on a set of stairs with a shadow dancer. But this is no “Hold Me” from 2013. Unfortunately, I’ve never quite warmed to this song, and I suspect if it qualifies it’s primarily because of the juries, who have a quite a few big ballads to choose from this semi.

This has appropriately batty costumes and visual effects for a collection of so-called circus rejects. Georgia have had an uphill battle qualifying since they last sent in a song like this one. It helps that the UK is voting in this final, as the track has British music influences written all over it. I certainly hope we’re eventually going to see what’s in that jack-in-the-box one of the Circus keeps winding up.

Gold and glitter for this one. I don’t think this is qualifying, but I’m also weary of how a simple song performed by an instantly-likeable singer can cut through when least expected. If Switzerland was my pick to appeal to older audiences in the first semi, I’d have this one down as the one for the second.

Many, many things going on at once here. It could sail through, or crash and burn. Achille’s wearing a see-through costume, with the stage a collection of cages and a mechanical bull. Oh, and there’s smoke and pyro, of course. People won’t forget this one, but the question is whether they remember it fondly.

On a personal level I’ve always struggled to connect to this song, most likely because of all the privilege I’ve had in my life meaning that I’ve usually been in the “in” group. However, Sheldon’s skills as a singer are undeniable and the staging has improved vastly since the incredibly dark national selection performance. I’m not sure how the public will react to this, but I’m certain the juries will rank it highly.

After a couple of years chasing diminishing “Fuego” dreams, Cyprus’s return to a more traditional sound is accompanied by staging which reminds me of Greece 2019. I’d like to see Cyprus rewarded for trying something different, but I have a feeling that this is at risk of finishing 11th or 12th.

With greatly improved staging compared to her national selection and a good amount of charisma to boot, there’s talk that Brooke might return Ireland to the grand final. I’m not getting too excited about this yet, but having the UK and Australia voting in this semi certainly increases her chances of a shock qualification.

Dramatic background lighting to reflect the anguish and frustration in this song, performed by Andrea out on her own. Fundamentally I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the way it is being presented, but my issues with the sub-par backing train remain.

I was hoping for a better presentation of the cowboy shoot-out from the national selection, but it was probably a good idea to drop it altogether, as they’ve done. Stefan’s backdrop clearly has been impacted by the issues with the sun, but I think the song and performance are strong enough to qualify nonetheless.

One of the better pieces of choreography in this semi, the song is catchy and accessible and the casual viewer will love the classic Eurovision “reveal”. The lighting feels similar to that of Iceland at times, albeit more red and gold rather than copper. I’d be happy if this went through, but I’m not convinced yet.

Ochman’s powerful vocals meant that this was always going to qualify, but they’ve certainly gone full-on with the staging, including wraith-like dancers and watery effects on the screen. This is probably necessary to a degree for the televote, because Ochman still doesn’t really connect down the camera.

Subdued staging which I think sells the song fairly well. The blue colours are soothing, and even though Vladana’s singing by herself on the satellite stage, the water feature gives the song movement which she doesn’t seem to be able to provide herself with her impressive headwear(?). Don’t think it’s going to help it qualify, though.

While I see the need to distinguish the singer from the dancers, I don’t think having Jérémie in silver and then the rest of the crew in black works, given how dark the rest of the lighting is. The dancers seem to fade into the background — this may have worked differently had the sun been operational. I can see this going either way in terms of qualification.

Not much change that I can see from the national selection for Cornelia, but this is an almost certain qualifier anyway.

Always a fan favourite, there were concerns about their chances after some issues with the vocal at the pre-parties. Fortunately for everyone, Dominka’s sounding much better these days, and the staging includes lots of contrast with white lights and a memorable “lights off” moment. Surely this will make it to the grand final now.