Stockholm Calling: Semi-final 1 jury show review

by Jessica Weaver 5,980 views

This evening sees the semi-final 1 jury show for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest and we here at ESCToday are here to bring you the latest from tonight’s show!

01 Finland: Sandhja – Sing it away

Sandhja opens the first semi-final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Sing it away. Sandhja performs alongside 4 backing vocalists/dancers, performing choreography together throughout. Sandhja sings consistently in the performance, the song finishing with Sandhja down the catwalk.

02 Greece: Argo – Utopian land

Six-member band Argo take to the stage next, bringing an interesting concept to the performance. Starting with the 6 artists on stage, the 2 female artists move to the front of the stage to sing the chorus of the song, the performance then being taken over by the male rapper and dancer. Halfway through the song, all of the artists come together to perform a traditional Greek style of dance choreography, bring something different and unique to the Eurovision stage. Having said that, it’s difficult to predict whether this style will appeal to the viewing audience and jury from the competing countries.

03 Moldova: Lidia Isac – Falling stars

Lidia Isac takes to the Globe Arena first tonight wearing a short black dress with metallic shards of glass-looking material. Originally performing solo, she is joined by a dancer… wearing an astronaut outfit. Lidia performs consistently in the first half of the performance, however in the latter part, Lidia fails to make a big impact with the power-note at the end of the song.

04 Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer

Wearing a more casual outfit compared to previous performances in Freddie from Hungary. Freddie performs onstage alongside 3 male backing vocalists and 1 drummer who performs slightly over-the-top choreography throughout. The floor of the stage lights up in colours of orange, creating a lava-like effect on the floor appearing through cracks in the floor. Freddie in vocally consistent throughout.

05 Croatia: Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse

Nina Kraljić takes to the stage next with her song Lighthouse, wearing one of the  most popular talked-about dresses in this year’s contest. The singer performs alongside 4 backing vocalists, who assist her in removing the original grey and black dress, unveiling a long elegant white dress. Having previously received mixed reactions regarding her vocals during the few days of rehearsals, Nina sings one of her vocally strongest performances since arriving in Sweden for the contest.

06 Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow down

Douwe Bob brings a country-style song to the competition this year, one of the few songs competing within that genre this year. Douwe performs with his backing band members onstage, playing behind the singer at all times. Towards the latter half of the performance before the final chorus, there is a long 10 second pause where Douwe looks towards the camera, before the song restarts and concludes. The pause itself adds to the performance and creates slight tension and anticipation within the song. A possible dark horse in this year’s contest.

07 Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave

Iveta took the stage with an elegant performance full of sensuality and glamour. Wearing a bodysuit with a highlighting her flawless feminine figure. During her appearance the camera work shocases all the details of her beauty. Yes, it has been really impressive to see Iveta on stage. Fireworks, wind, fire and hologram combined are delivering a result which will not be unnoticed.

08 San Marino: Serhat – I didn’t know

Serhat delivers the only disco song of this year accompanied by his 5 backing vocalists. Dressed on a burgundy suit along with his trademark, top hat. Impressively enough, Serhat throws the hat to the audience at the end of his performance. The whole presentation of the act looks well prepared and Serhat seems very confident about it.

09 Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You are the only one

One of the most expected performances of this competition is the one of Russia. Dressed in full black as he has during the last rehearsals, his camera work works effectively with the backdrop playing. His vocal performance worked with no flaws during the whole song prsentation.

10 Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand

And now it’s time for Gabriela t take the stage. Dressed in a white long dress, the Czech representative delivers strong vocals combined very well with the stage backdrop. There are no changes since her last rehearsal.

11 Cyprus: Minus One – Alter ego

The Cypriot performance is one of the few rock songs in this year’s contest. It seems that the camera work along with the gestures of Minus One’s members are right on the point which turns it into a very strong competitor in this semifinal. It is now safe to say that it is highly possible that Cyprus will make it to the final for the second year in row.

12 Austria: ZOË – Loin d’ici

Wearing his beloved long peach dress is Zoë, performing alone onstage in front of a watercolour-style graphic effect which is used in the official music video. The performance itself is strong, both vocally and choreography wise, and adds a lot of vibrant colours to the Eurovision stage, making it stand out.

13 Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann – Play

Jüri continues the trend of being alone on stage, following fellow Zoë from Austria, and turning her sweetness and rainbows into a dark and mysterious casino lounge. The song is performed very well, along with sleek card tricks (we already know that Estonians love magic), however the staging-song-performer elements together might not be so appealing to the viewers at home.

14 Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle

The land of fire brings us a exactly what Eurovision is all about: four backing dancers and singers, a videoart timed perfectly to Samra’s movements, lots of fireworks and an energetic performance. However, Samra’s vocals are not the best among tonight’s participants, and as Azerbaijan did manage to score only five points in ESCToday’s Daily Press Poll, Azerbaijan might find itself out of the final for the first time.

15 Montenegro: Highway – The real thing

We got another rock song here, with some dubstep spices added. The most significant aspect of the performance is the darkness, with the screen resolution being reduced from 16:9 to 21:9 (hence the two black lines at the top and the bottom) and lots of flashing police-like lights on stage. The performance might remind of the Turkish maNga from 2010 in terms of style and quality, however the song itself is not among the catchiest of the night, what will make it hard for Montenegro to reach the final.

16 Iceland: Greta Salóme – Hear them calling

Greta Salóme takes to the stage with her powerful graphic effects being used onstage throughout. Greta works well and in sync with the backing projected graphics, adding a lot to the performance and making Iceland a strong qualifier contender. Greta is alone onstage throughout, but we can hear the backing vocalists within the song.

17 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala

The interesting part of this act is its direct message to the refugee crisis, and this is achieved with the use of elements such as the barbed wire fence which separates Deen and Dalal, as well as the safety foil (used by the refugee rescuers) that the celoist is wrapped with. The overal presentation is strong with great vocals and well performed staging.

18 Malta: Ira Losco – Walk on water

The final artist onstage is Malta’s Ira Losco with her song Walk on water. Ira’s face is projected at the start of the performance onto the stage floor, in which her mouth moves along to the lyrics of the entry. The camera angle then switches to Ira herself wearing a black and gold outfit, proudly showing off her recently-announced pregnancy. A contemporary dancer performs around Ira throughout in order to portray the song.


Although they have no impact on tomorrow’s results, tonight’s “winners” from the first semi-final were as follows:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Austria
  • Estonia
  • Netherlands
  • San Marino
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Armenia
  • Hungary
  • Russia

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