Vocal Assessment: Amanda Tenfjord wins Jury Vote Semi 1 (Eurovision 2022)

Amanda Tenfjord for Greece in 2022. Source: EBU

Tomorrow it’s time for the first semi final of Eurovision 2022. Seventeen countries will compete for 10 spots in the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest. But 50% of the results will already be decided tonight! Follow the jury rehearsal with us. In this blog you can read what we think of the vocal qualities of each country, and how we think the juries will react to their performance.

NOTE: The star ratings are our indication of how likely it is that the professional jury might vote for this performance. They do not display any personal preferences.

For more information on how to read this blog, check out our Jury Jargon Explanation. For updates on the show elements of the grand final, you can read blog our liveblog from the first rehearsal during the afternoon.

Please keep refreshing this blog to receive the latest updates. Timeslots are indicated in CET. Newest update always appears on top.

22:52 – Thank you for watching!

We will be back with you tomorrow with more content about the first semi final!

22:42 – A strong middle pack

The subtop and middle pack in this semi final features a large group of entries that juries will appreciate to some degree. We placed Ukraine and Armenia in the top three, followed by a group of Portugal, Netherlands, Switzerland and Lithuania.

After that comes a group with more question marks: Norway, Croatia, Moldova, Latvia, Iceland.

22:39 – Greece on top, Austria at the bottom

We feel very comfortable placing Greece at the top of the jury vote in this semi final. At the same time, it seems as though juries might put Austria in the 17th and last place.

We are also negative about the jury vote for Albania, Denmark, Bulgaria and Slovenia. These countries likely will not crack the top 10 of the jury vote and need to make up for that tomorrow night.

22:30 – Armenia – Rosa Linn – Snap

The first sentence of the first verse is very slippery, almost off-key. The rest of the verse is better, but the “I” from “I just need time” is off-key (high side). Rosa Linn uses the chorus to warm up and find her rhythm. She makes no mistakes here, just like she made none all throughout the entire week. High notes in the second verse are strong, perfectly on point. Again during the bridge, the difficult high notes come out strong. Rosa Linn looks comfortable as she plays with the post-its on the stage, a professional outlook that juries will appreciate.

Another indie song in this semi final, which means I can repeat my prediction that this type of song is better suited for televoters. However, it is very middle of the road and inoffensive. That should be enough to make juries accept it, at least in a semi final setting. Rosa Linn did not take part in any talent shows, however she was groomed by Tamar Kaprelian, which could have a similar effect.

22:26 – Norway – Subwoolfer – Give that wolf a banana

You may not expect or notice this easily, but the verses of this song are technically not that easy to sing. Jim and Keith get through it okay, with only one note slightly on the edge. The chorus is rather flat and heavily carried by backing vocals on tape. Second verse features one mistake at the word “grandma”. At the choruses, as mentioned, it is almost impossible to make a mistake there (and they don’t). Final three lines come out solid, too.

The Norwegian Head of Delegation was convinced that juries would recognize this entry as a “serious” attempt. And to be fair: the song is clever, the performance is slick and very professional. However, I have my doubts whether that will be enough to prove the Norwegian HoD right. To me, this screams FOP-effect, in other words juries will feel like they are somehow fooled by this entry and downgrade it for that reason.

22:22 – Greece – Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord – Die together

The start of this song is vocally very demanding. You hear this in Amanda’s voice, that she needs to work hard for it – but with results. She gets through it without any missed notes. At the first chorus, the notes are slightly higher and here, Amanda can show off a little bit more. She sounds comfortable at these parts. One missed note on the low side in the second verse. Bridge is solid. Final chorus starts off good with the big high note on key, however she does not finish it properly on the low side if we are splitting hairs.

The ballad may be moderne and innovative (hence more suitable for younger televoters) however it also has the typical structure of a classic ballad, which is a genre juries love. My best guess is therefore that they will like this as well. Fokas’ staging is subtle and subdued enough (this time!) not to annoy or put off juries.

22:17 – Iceland – Systur – Með hækkandi sól

Solid start, with a few very strong notes at the end of the first verse towards the chorus. In the second verse, two notes are somewhat on the edge, but hardly noticeable. Just focusing on sound, this is the kind of performance that sits jurors back in their chairs, knowing it will be alright. However, when you shift to the stage presence, that same professionalism is not there at all.

At the bridge, the solist makes one obvious vocal mistake that I did not see coming at all. However, jurors will have noticed that one note, even though it was only one. This has been highly advertised as a jury entry. However, keep in mind that our model shows juries generally do not favor country music. Common Linnets had a higher televote than jury vote, just to give one example. They do, however, like harmonies to increase the level of difficulty for vocals.

22:11 – Austria – LUM!X & Pia Maria – Halo

Lumix starts the song shouting into the audience (red flag). The first chorus at the start is carried by backing vocals on tape. However, when the verse starts and Pia starts her solos, several notes are missed. They follow each other up so quickly it is difficult to point them out one by one. At the starts of the chorus, a note is missed high quite obviously and then the sentence “stronger than angels” is far off-key. Second verse features 4 more missed notes. This started bad, and then got worse with every minute.

The genre is not necessarily an immediate red flag for jurors, although they tend not to favor the DJ genre. In this particular case, the ongoing beat from start to finish won’t help Austria, as it makes it hard to distinguish verses from choruses. And that is an immediate red flag.

22:07 – Denmark – Reddi – The show

The word “say” in the first line, first verse, is off-key (low side). First chorus, the sentences from “what I want, that’s how it’s gonna be” are on the edge, sometimes off-key. Then a big miss on the high side at the words “never let it go”, twice in a row. The second verse seems to go better until the last sentence, where Reddi misses two notes low. Second chorus is fine, with the support of the backing vocalists. The final minute of the song features no big mistakes, including a solid big high note, however the damage has already been done.

The composition almost seems like a combination of three, four different songs. Such a build-up is a red flag for juries, as is the clichéed nature of the song giving it a trashy look. Previous editions have shown that juries get very defensive about entries with that kind of attitude.

22:02 – Croatia – Mia Dimsic – Guilty pleasure

The words “dare” and “share”, both low notes at the end of a sentence, are off key in the first verse. The word “funny” in the first chorus is at the edge, same goes for the “runaway” note twice. Low parts of the second verse, Mia does not reach those notes and her voice fades away. Second chorus: two times a missed note at “runaway”, with the second a rather obvious slider that juries cannot have missed. The final verse/bridge in Croatian is fine, but in the final chorus a few more notes are on the edge.

The composition of this song would potentially work well with juries. It is a very classic middle of the road pop song with a clear structure. In terms of music, it is very inoffensive and easily accessible.

Earlier on in this blog, I argued that quality of lyrics do not affect juries that much. However, if the message of the song is offensive (and cheating could very well be just that), it may influence the result in a negative way.

21:56 – Portugal – Maro – Saudade, saudade

Maro is off-key at the word “write” in the first line of the first verse. A few more solo notes are right on the edge, however once the harmonies kick in, the sound is full, comfortable and on point. Juries like harmonies. It increases the difficulty factor. Maro seems to like them too: after the first harmonies, she picks up her level in the solos as well. The final sentences, however, feature two more missed notes (low side). Will the harmonies make up for the solos?

Songs that are really alternative/indie such as this one, tend not to go as great with juries as people expect up front. But as with Netherlands, this performance in total has the kind of credibility that can win over many jurors who are concerned about voting for something fitting their image.

21:52 – Moldova – Zdob si Zdub – Trenuletul

Lead singer Roman comes alive in front of a live audience. He sings with more energy, and more confidence. Not only does he not make any mistakes, he also sounds comfortable and in total control of both the stage and his vocals. It needs to be said, though, that the vocal parts of this song are rather flat and therefore the level of difficulty is not high. It is also a highly ethnic song, which is a genre juries tend not to like. This could be the typical kind of song that fares okay with juries in a smaller semi final field, but falls through the cracks in the Grand Final (with juries at least). Question mark: will the FOP-effect be in place as much here as it was in 2011 when Zdob si Zdub was a non qualifier?

21:48 – Netherlands – S10 – De Diepte

S10 misses a note in the second line of the first verse, and again in the last line (both missed high). Also she misses one note in the “dadada” part low. First chorus comes out strong. It seems as though she has overcome her nerves now, belting out a strong second verse and chorus. Her nerves come across clearly, though, which is why she never allows the jury members to sit back in their chairs comfortably. At the final chorus, she misses one more note at the word “diepte”.

While the composition itself is a bit too modern and innovative to be perfectly suitable for (older) jury members, the over-all image of this performance is is still inoffensive and credible enough to still gather plenty of jury points.

21:43 – Bulgaria – Intelligent Music Project – Intention

The word “Life” second line first verse is off-key. The same note two lines later is again on the edge. Ronnie does not sound comfortable in the first verse, but gets through it without more big mistakes. The first chorus comes out okay, better than in the afternoon. Second verse is solid, with a more difficult high note at the end which comes out strong. One small note in the second chorus is missed low, followed by two more missed notes in the bridge at “freedom I gain”. Final chorus comes out okay.

What about the composition? Juries do not like rock, they do not like clichees and they do not like to be bored. Luckily for Bulgaria, there is no precedent found for juries punishing poor lyrics. And you could argue that this type of dated, accessible rock song is at least more suitable for juries than a more modern song. Obvious example for this is the Cypriotic entry “Minus One” from 2016, which got a pretty even split between jury vote and televote.

21:35 – Ukraine – Kalush Orchestra – Stefania

There is one slippery note in the first chorus that starts the song. Then the rap part kicks in. Second chorus is solid. This song does require a few difficult notes in the chorus, however it also repeats a few of the same notes several times. This decreases the level of difficulty. Final choruses again solid, not a vocal masterclass but no mistakes either. No clear red flags for juries to vote it down.

Tough to predict whether juries will like this composition or not. Historically, they like rap songs, however they do not like ethnic influences and they certainly dislike chaotic performances.

21:30 – Slovenia – LPS – Disko

Seeing as the song is rather flat, it does not require high class vocals. The level of difficulty won’t get Slovenia any extra points. However, this also makes the song acceptable to many. Inoffensive, middle of the road and a recognizable sound and structure.

Filip does not make many mistakes in this performance. However, when it comes to confidence, to letting juries sit back in their chair, he does not have that bonus. At any moment during the performance, it seems possible that he will make a mistake – however, he did not. This general feeling does not only go for Filip but for the entire band, not coming across like extreme professionals.

21:25 – Switzerland – Marius Bear – Boys do cry

Solid first verse, without mistakes. The first note of the word “Aeroplanes” in the first chorus is slightly off-key, presumably due to overenthusiasm. The song is very well suited for juries: credible, sweet, completely inoffensive and with a recognizable American Disney sound to it.

Marius is strong in the second verse again, and follows it up with a flawless second chorus. Especially the “mountains” note is rather difficult, but he nails it. The high note after the second chorus at “cry…” is slightly on the edge. Over all, this was a rather good performance. My expectations is that juries will let him get away with the 2-3 small mistakes he made.

21:20 – Lithuania – Monika Liu – Sentimentai

The first verse is solid, with one note on the edge but a very comfortable sounding high note at the end. The chorus is relatively easy to sing, while the difficult notes are in the verses and the post-chorus. Monika impresses especially at the latter. Second verse, second chorus again come out comfortably. The longer this performance goes on, the more jurors can sit back in their chair, knowing and trusting Monika will get through this.

Monika took part in The Voice of Lithuania (green flag). The song is inoffensive, mild sounding and slightly dated: classic jury food. On top of that, it comes right after two less jury friendly songs and therefore it could be perceived as “the first serious entry” of the night.

21:16 – Latvia – Citi Zeni – Eat your salad

First verse is without mistakes. It has to be said that the song is vocally rather flat, so the level of difficulty is not high. Chorus is fine too, even though two low notes are right at the border. Second verse again is good. It seems like this vocalist (the guy in green) is in top shape tonight, while his buddy (in red) is having a harder time with the choruses. Still, this vocal performance is without any large mistakes. When it comes to stage presence, the boys give the impression that they are very comfortable on the stage, though mentioning the Mans-factor here would borderline on sacrilege.

Shouting to the audience is a well-known red flag with the juries, although this effect has worn off over the years. In terms of structure and composition, this song may be more suitable to jurors than you would think. However, the lyrics of the song can (wrongly) be interpret as sexist and a joke entry – despite of what the guys said at the press conference. The FOP-effect could be in place here, dragging Latvia down.

21:12 – Albania – Ronela Hajati – Sekret

Ronela starts off by shouting into the audience (red flag). The first 30 seconds barely feature lyrics at all. She misses 2 notes low in the first verse. The sentence “I will never regret” comes out weakly during the chorus, after that she is fine. Another long instrumental part. What will juries think about this, in terms of vocal level of difficulty? Second verse is without mistakes, but Ronela misses two notes high in the second chorus. From the four high notes in the bridge, the third one is off-key.

In terms of composition: juries are not a big fan of highly ethnic entries such as this. The unconventional build-up and structure between verses and choruses is a clear red flag. The highly sexualized performance is potentially divisive and some female jurors will punish this for being sexist. Whether Ronela’s heavy experience in several talent shows will be able to compensate for that, remains to be seen.

21:07 – We are underway

A slightly delayed start, but here we are. The opening act is on. If you want to know more about it, check our liveblog from this afternoon! Tonight we cover jury performances only.

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