Eurovision Song Contest: First Semi-Final, BBC3

What was good about it?
• Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Laka, the most eccentric, inventive, weird act of the night with a haunting song and a routine involving (don’t ask us why) a washing line and kniting brides. Unlikely to win, though.
• Norway’s Maria with the most polished song of the night, Hold On Be Strong, a rather memorable pop ballad. A very possible winner.
• Andorra’s Gisela, who pepped us up with the poppy Casanova.
• Montenegro’s Stefan Filipović, a nice-looking lad with a terrible haircut and terrible clothng (leather trousers!!!) with a half-decent rock-pop song that sounds like it should be an advertising jingle.
• Armenia’s Sirusho, the most fanciable woman of the semi final with the night’s taste-of-Eastern-promise song, Qele, Qele, and the nght’s best dancers (a very energetic trio, one of whom was amazingly not weighed down by his mega mullet)
• Moldova’s Geta Burlacu with a smokey jazz number (shame about the props – a sofa, a teddy bear and a barefooted trumpeter)
• Azerbaijan’s Elnur & Samir with a shiny glam rock epic (and one of them somehow made Rhydian seem bashful)
• Greece’s Kalomira – some naughty candypop from a sort of feta cheese-eating Britney
• Romania’s Nico & Vlad, the best singers of the night with a ballsy boy-girl ballad
• Six of the nine songs we liked qualified for the final – Andorra, Montenegro and Moldova failed (robbed by Israel, Russia, Finland and Poland)

What was bad about it?
• Estonia’s comedy song (they’re laughing in Talinn) performed by three fat blokes in the wind.
• Belgium’s Ishtar with an indescribable mish-mash that sounded like a song that might have come about 13th in a 1960s contest.
• Poland’s Isis Gee, a well-tanned lady strolling into boring Celine Dion territory
• Ireland’s Dustin the Turkey, an unfunny puppet making a racket
• Israel’s Boaz (flashing his muscles as if that would distract us from his dreary entry)
• San Marino’s Miodio (points deducted for popping the mic during his overblown rock ballad)
• Finland’s Teräsbetoni, a heavy metal band who tried to emulate the country’s success two years ago via Lordia but more closely resembled mid-1980s Saxon
• Slovenia’s Rebeka Dremelj with an unremarkable Eurodance track
• The Netherlands’s Hind, an attempt at exotic pop let down by a lack of substance and two badly choreographed dancers
• Russia’s Dima Bilan who reminded us of Darius and pulled some horrible faces during his stirring ballad (and resorted to showing off his chest and needed a skater to pep up his routine)
• BBC3 commentator Catherine Flack who said nothing interesting as she busily interrupted a rather low-key, low-camp Paddy O’Connell


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