Semi-Final 2. Here’s how the refrains worked out, in terms of tonic chords and otherwise.
Serbia - Nije ljubav stvar
Not in verse-chorus form, which makes a nice change. But the tonic chord happens at the start of the refrain.
Macedonia - Crno i belo
Netherlands - You and Me
Malta - This Is the Night
Tonic on the refrain. I had a brief ethical dilemma with this one – after all, the verses are minor, but the chorus hits the tonic major. So how come major key Malta gets a pass, but Switzerland’s major verse/minor chorus qualified as a key change, with a non-tonic chord at the top?
I reason thus: Switzerland used an interrupted cadence, and the start of the chorus felt like a break, like a fresh idea. Malta have used a perfect cadence, and the chorus feels like coming home, as though the song was really in a major key all along.
Belarus - We Are the Heroes
Portugal - Vida minha
It’s nearly the tonic chord at the top of the chorus, but it takes a bar to resolve.
Ukraine - Be My Guest
Another song with the same chord progression throughout (I-bIII-bVII-IV). Tonic right at the top.
Bulgaria - Love Unlimited
Slovenia - Verjamem
Croatia - Nebo
Damn, but all these songs sound the same tonight. Non-tonic chorus, however.
Sweden - Euphoria
Tricky, this one. It feels like the tonic minor when the chorus starts, but then the chorus itself moves to, and stays on, the relative major (at the “uh-uh-uh-uh” bit). It finishes in the major too, so I have to call this a non-tonic chorus.
Georgia - I’m a Joker
Another song that isn’t in verse-chorus form. Tonic on the refrain. If it were up to me, this sort of thing would win a lot more often than it does. Which is pretty much never.
Turkey - Love Me Back
Such a tease on the dominant the first time, before the chorus happens! Tonic chord when it does.
Estonia - Kuula
Ah, my old friend! Can’t Smile Without You, Last Christmas, Cuts Both Ways, Why God Why?, how I have missed you. Tonic on the first chord of the refrain. Nice extension of the form after that, but tonic on the refrain.
Slovakia - Don’t Close Your Eyes
Tonic on the refrain.
Norway - Stay
Depends what you call the chorus. It probably has to be the “I don’t know what I’m doing tonight” section, which would qualify as a non-tonic chorus. More songs with flattened ninths, please.
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Korake ti znam
Tonic chord on the refrain. Pretty extensions on the tonic chord the first time, but still the tonic chord.
Lithuania - Love Is Blind
Of the ten qualifying songs, eight tonic chord refrains. And two non-tonic refrains, obviously.
Of the eight non-qualifying songs, two non-tonic refrains – there were only four non-tonic refrains in the entire night.
But this means that the twenty songs in the final (so far – The Big Five and host country are yet to be heard) will feature four non-tonic refrains, from a possible ten, and sixteen tonic refrains, from a possible twenty-six.
40% chance of qualifying for a non-tonic chorus, 61.5% for tonic. If the favourites, Sweden, win (and they may have already done so, but faithful Australians won’t watch the final until Sunday night, our time), they’ll have the first non-tonic winning refrain since the hat-trick of Latvia’s “I Wanna” in 2002, Turkey’s “Everyway That I Can” in 2003, and Ukraine’s “Wild Dances” in 2004.