PREVIEW/PREDICTIONS: Eurovision Song Contest 2022 Semi 2 starring Achille Lauro, Cornelia Jakobs, Ochman & The Rasmus

By Aline Mahrud and Neil Durham

WHEN? Thursday 12 May 2022

WHERE? PalaOlimpico, Turin, Italy

HOW DO I WATCH? BBC3 8pm (UK time)

We think the standard of this 2nd semi final is far greater than Tuesday’s 1st and also it will therefore be tougher for the better songs here to advance to Saturday’s final.

  • Read on for reasons including who we think the 10 qualifiers for the final will be from this semi

Last year we predicted 9 of the semi 2 qualifiers, read on to see how we do this year.

  1. FINLAND: The Rasmus Jezebel (Lauri Ylönen, Desmond Child) PREDICTION: Qualifier

We preferred Isaac Sene’s fantastic Kuuma jäbä at a high quality UMK in February with The Rasmus ranking 3rd. We said: ‘Musically this has a key change and is lighter rock than the band who brought us In The Shadows are best known for. The lyrics however feel very cliched and we’re not sure if they’re from the pen of Child but his songwriting credits include Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and You Give Love A Bad Name amongst some very well known enormo-hits.’ The live version was very memorable especially visually and lifted the entire package. This is a far more open semi than the 1st and we’re making 3 switches having seen the rehearsal clips. Unsure about the new staging. Last minute switch of this back in as can’t believe it won’t make it.

2. ISRAEL: Michael Ben David I.M. (Chen Aharoni, Lidor Saadia, Asi Tal) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Qualification here will be touch and go. David has an impressive live vocal and this is a strong, uptempo number reflective of the sound 1 associates with the country it represents. But the running order has done it no favours coming after arguably the Contest’s biggest name and so early on Thursday evening. As we write, there are doubts that this will make it to Turin because of a government strike. Great rehearsal clip and this is now qualifying.

3. SERBIA: Konstrakta In Corporo Sano (In a healthy body) (Ana Duric, Milovan Bošković) PREDICTION: Qualifier

This is a quirky song with an engaging and repetetive hook which burrowed its way under our skin on 1st listen. The lyrics are about the difficulties artists experience receiving healthcare in Serbia and it’s so quirky and memorable that we expect this to feature on Saturday night at the expense of some other more fancied competitors in this heat.

4. AZERBAIJAN: Nadir Rustamil Fade To Black (Andreas Stone Johansson, Anderz Wrethov, Sebastian Schub, Thomas Stengaard) PREDICTION: Qualifier

A predominantly Swedish songwriting team for this dark Scandi ballad which is classy although not especially representative of the country which is entering it. Azerbaijan quite often qualify for the final and we think they will do so here. Lots of shade from the fans which we’re not understanding at all. Perhaps because it is a little musical theatre, a genre we adore.

5. GEORGIA: Circus Mircus Lock Me In (Circus Mircus) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Novelty 90s indie entry which is super catchy. We haven’t seen the video or the live performance of this as yet so it’s hard to judge how compelling the package will be but it’s lots of fun. Definitely in the shake-up to qualify.

6. MALTA: Emma Muscat I Am What I Am (Dino Medanhodžić, Emma Muscat, Julie Aagaard, Stine Kinck) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

This isn’t the song that Muscat won her national final with and is in fact much improved. She’s a good musician and co-wrote this entry with Medanhodžić who has been behind Dotter’s fabulous recent entries in Melodifestivalen as well as Medina’s In I Damman this year which finished 3rd. It’s quite gospel in a very generic MF way and may have even been written for 2020 winners The Mamas because it is very much in their style.

7. SAN MARINO: Achille Lauro Stripper (Daniele Dezi, Daniele Mungai, Davide Petrella, Federico De Marinis, Francesco Viscovo, Gregorio Calculli, Lauro De Marinis, Marco Lanciotti, Matteo Ciceroni, Mattia Cutolo, Simon Pietro Manzari) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Lauro (pictured) failed in his bid to represent Italy finishing 14th at February’s San Remo Music Festival singing Domenica. Stripper is far more commercial and is predominantly sung in Italian with heavy 70s glam rock riffs. 1 of our favourites this year with a certain Bowie/Bolan/Almond flounce while namechecking Britney, Madonna and ‘personal Jesus’.

8. AUSTRALIA: Sheldon Riley Not The Same (Sheldon Riley, Cam Nacson, Timi Temple) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Jaguar Jonze and Little Fires was our pick to win Australia Decides in February with Riley ranked 6th. We said: ‘A co-write and clearly the theme of difference means a great deal to Riley. Otherness has always been embraced at Eurovision and this has an alluring quality but we’re not quite sure it’s enough in this strong field here. Needs a big performance and Riley sounds like he has the chops to do just that.’

9. CYPRUS: Andromache Ela (Come on) (Alex Papaconstantinou, Arash, Eyelar Mirzazadeh, Fatjon Miftaraj, Filloreta Raçi, Fifi, Geraldo Sandell, Giorgos Papadopoulos, Robert Uhlmann, Viktor Svensson, Yll Limani) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Fuego and El Diablo were 2 recent excellent entries from Cyprus yet despite the 10 writers credited here this is underwhelming. Quite often countries that win Eurovision shape up to do so and signal their intentions for a while but Cyprus appears to have lost much momentum here.

10. IRELAND: Brooke That’s Rich (Brooke Scullion, Izzy Warner, Karl Zine) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

This was definitely the right choice in a fairly by-numbers Irish final because it’s brash, breezy and rattles along at a fair old pace with quite a hook. But it’s in the staging where we want to see this elevated from a good pop tune into a definite qualifier and this is going to be a tricky semi to get out of. Staging looks good from the clip. Switched back in – and out again at last minute for Finland.

11. NORTH MACEDONIA: Andrea Circles (Aleksandar Masevski, Andrea Koevska) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

A reasonable if not especially competitive entry that reminds a little of UK singer Ella Henderson in the vocal. Like its title, it feels like it’s ‘running in circles’ rather than progressing to the point where it might merit inclusion in the final.

12. ESTONIA: Stefan Hope (Stefan Airapetjan, Karl-Ander Reismann) PREDICTION: Qualifier

Sahlene’s Champion was our choice to win Eesti Laul 2022 and we ranked Stefan’s Hope 3rd. We said: ‘Boasting the melodic country pop sound made famous by acts like Avicii, Stefan’s anthemic Hope is the highest placing act in our ranking by a non-returning representative. He co-wrote the entry and his partner is also credited in the team behind an act further down this list. ‘

13. ROMANIA: WRS Llámame (Call me) (Andrei Ursu, Cezar Gună, Alexandru Turcu, Costel Dominteanu) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

A Spanish title is probably the most in vogue aspect of this pleasant and hypnotic dance track which doesn’t sound especially of its country but is likely to find its audience in this very mid-paced selection of songs. The staging just looks a little basic and in this ultra competitive semi we’re now switching this out.

14. POLAND: Ochman River (Krystian Ochman, Ashley Hicklin, Adam Wiśniewski, Mikołaj Trybulec) PREDICTION: Qualifier

One of the favourites to win. Ochman is a Polish/American singer/songwriter and The Voice of Poland winner. He co-wrote the song which builds from something that is quite slow to a performance that is quite emotional, powerful, anthemic and mesmeric. No surprise that he’s an accomplished live performer and this is all set to do very well on the Saturday night.

15. MONTENEGRO: Vladana Breathe (Vladana Vučinić, Darko Dimitrov) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Co-writer Dimitrov has had some Eurovision success and that is why it is a little surprising that he’s co-written this very literal take with the artist on, we assume, the problems of Covid and quite literally continuing to breathe. Musically, it feels distinguished and stately but lyrically it doesn’t quite convince.

16. BELGIUM: Jérémie Makiese Miss You (Jérémie Makiese, Silvio Lisbonne, Manon Romiti) PREDICTION: non-qualifier

Beginning like a classic, orchestral Bond theme, this is again a slow song crying out for a performance that can show off the beauty and elegance of the song. Still too early to be sure how this might be performed or staged but the all important song is in place to give this entry a very good headstart. Switching this out after the rather laidback rehearsal clip.

17. SWEDEN: Cornelia Jakobs Hold Me Closer (Cornelia Jakobsdotter, David Zandén, Isa Molin) PREDICTION: Qualifier

We preferred Cazzi Opeia’s I Can’t Get Enough in this year’s Melodifestivalen but thought Hold Me Closer a potential Eurovision winner. We said: ‘Our worst prediction of this Melodifestivalen was forecasting 7th for this in Heat 1 although it’s notoriously difficult to rate a ballad on a clip. The only shot in this selection that Sweden has of winning its 1st Eurovision since 2015. The lyrics remind of Robyn (‘the right 1 at the wrong time’) and there’s an endearing rasp to Cornelia’s vocal. Could classy win Melodifestivalen? Plum running order position of 10th.’

18. CZECH REPUBLIC: We Are Domi Lights Off (Einar Eriksen Kvaløy, Abigail Frances Jones, Dominika Hasek, Casper Hatlestad, Benjamin Rekstad) PREDICTION: Qualifier

In a Contest woefully short of bona fide dancefloor bangers, this effort has found its feet and audience. However, huge question marks hang over its live performance after far from successful recent attempts. A great rousing song with which to finish, the rehearsals were positive and so we’re switching this back to qualifying.

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