Eurovision 2012 Semi-Final Allocation Draw

This afternoon the 37 semi-finalists who have registered to participate in Eurovision 2012 were placed into one of two qualifying heats. You can see the details here. Each country has also been placed into the first half or the second half of each semi, though the full running order will only be finalised at a further draw in mid-March.

There are 43 countries that have registered to take part in total. Six entrants automatically qualify for the final (France, Spain, Germany, UK, Italy and Azerbaijan), but get to vote in one of the semis – which one was also decided today.

For those such as myself, who like to get heavily involved in the qualification market from the semis, this is an important moment. Some countries get drawn with plenty of allies, others are less lucky. Last year the draw threw punters a curveball by putting all the big hitters together in the first semi, and doing a great job of separating countries from many of their friends. Hence the failure of both Turkey and Armenia to qualify.

Here are five quick initial thoughts from today’s allocation:

1. Armenia have officially said they will take part, despite an ongoing territorial dispute with hosts Azerbaijan. However, there is a precedent for a country in the provisional list eventually not taking part for political reasons – in 2009 the Georgian entry did not make it to Moscow. So it remains to be seen if an Armenian song will make it to Baku. In the circumstances, it is lucky that Armenia was drawn in the heat with 19 entrants rather than the one with 18 entrants, as any withdrawal will mean there are an equal amount of countries in each semi.

2. Including Armenia, there are the same amount of entries as last year but one change in the line-up: Poland have withdrawn and Montenegro have returned. Although it seems on the face of it that Montenegro have been unfortunate to land in the semi with fewer of their immediate Balkan neighbours, whereas semi 2 has five ex-yugo countries.

3. Turkey managed to to be drawn with only three of its 13 best allies last year, but this year has been significantly kinder. Turkey should have a solid shout at getting out of the second semi with support from Germany, the UK, France, Georgia, FYR Macedonia, The Netherlands, Bulgaria and Bosnia in particular.

4. In the comments to the last post, Justin drew attention to how the diaspora vote played out in Italy on its return to the contest last year, with Romania and Moldova among the main beneficiaries. Both of those countries will be happy to have been drawn together, and in the semi on which Italy is voting.

5. Jedward are hoping to represent Ireland this year, being one of five acts who will take part in a national final. The boys did notably better among western European voters than eastern European ones last year. Irish eyes will not be smiling, however, at having been drawn in semi 1 when the UK is voting in semi 2.

Are there any point or queries you’d like to make about today’s draw? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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23 comments to Eurovision 2012 Semi-Final Allocation Draw

  • Justin

    I make Russia by far the weakest of the big hitters in terms of being drawn with friendly votes.
    As you say Turkey in a far better position than last year in terms of allies and will have a second half draw.
    Greece have got Cyprus in their semi but are overall a bit down on last year in terms of regular voting allies and are burdened by having to sing in the first half of their draw this year.

    • Daniel

      Hi Justin, I would agree with this. The two traditional big hitters in semi one – Russia and Greece – are not unduly favoured. Semi two not only sees that Balkan bloc but an ex-USSR one too, and the extra entrant. It looks far tougher at this early stage.

  • Nick D

    On the face of it, the first item on the year’s betting agenda might be Albania’s prospects of qualifying… or not.

    I’m thinking yes – assuming a typical qualifying threshold of 60 points +/- 10, it looks like they can bank decent points from Switzerland, Greece, Austria, Montenegro with no great threat of juries throwing a spanner in the works, leaving them most of the way home.

    Belgium, San Marino, Latvia, Switzerland, Austria, Montenegro all appear to be less likely qualifiers from what we know so far – Ireland (assuming Jedward) would be far from bankers in that semi, too.

    To my mind, it leaves Suus – in spite of being a very inaccessible ballad unhelpfully positioned in the early part of the draw – nicely placed to fly under the radar and tuck in to one of the lower qualifying slots. What do you think?

    • Daniel

      Hi Nick, it’s possible, though I can’t help being reminded of the fact that I made a very similar set of arguments for Albania’s entry last year, only to see it fall marginally short.

  • Emma

    Soooo…Estonian final JUST finished and Ott Lepland emerged victorious. What do we think of his chances? I like him, I think the song stands out among the loud dance music from Norway and the inevitable loud dance music from Sweden and it’s nicely placed in the second half of Semi 2. If Ott is really lucky, he’ll perform VERY close to the end, in which case I think the song will have a lot of impact. Estonia also has Sweden and Lithuania, as well as some other Soviet republics to sent points its way. Thoughts?

    • Daniel

      Hi Emma, thanks for your prompt thoughts. I think this was Estonia’s best choice in terms of trying to qualify for the Eurovision final. Sweden and Lithuania are allies, though not to the extent of Finland and Latvia, whilst the other Soviet republics have tended not to show much interest.

      I think Lepland’s chances may be rather dependent on the juries. In his favour, it’s the kind of ballad they have traditionally gone for. Against him, he has to improve on his rather nervous performance in the Estonian final tonight. He seemed much happier behind the piano in the semi-final.

      • Rob

        Hi Dan, out of interest why do you think Ott is a better choice than Lenna for Estonia? Is it because there are so many solo female ballads already? In terms of song quality I thought Lenna’s song was superior – her voice had a dreamy quality and the song reminded me of the sort of thing you could imagine Nancy Sinatra singing as a Bond theme? Tenfold Rabbit was my favourite 🙂

        • Daniel

          Hey Rob, on one point I agree with you, there are already too many female ballads. Lenna’s song may have been more interesting but it is less memorable melodically. Nice enough though it is, I couldn’t remember anything of the melody five minutes after it had finished.

          • Rob

            Yes, the old ‘it needs to get lodged in the listener’s head’ variable 🙂 Any views on Spain, Dan, you are willing to divulge at this early juncture? I think it’s a beauty but obviously Spain is up against it in terms of its bottom of the league status by way of voting allies.

  • taichou

    actually i think Lithuanian choice was really good, music vibe is kinda like in 80’s and very cheesy and can get some unusual for Lithuania votes!

  • Daniel

    Hi taichou, great to hear from you. I think a couple of aspects will count against ‘Love Is Blind’. Concerning the song, a change of rhythm halfway through never seems popular. The staging needs to change too: I’d drop the gimmick and tell Donny to cut out the overacting. Still, some backing dancers could add some impact to the second half of the song.

  • taichou

    well thats kinda interesting, cause the so called judges pointed out that he’s great without any backing dancers as he fills the stage pretty good, i would add maybe a good background theme or smthing

  • taichou

    but yeah after watching it again i must say that second half needs something more…well hope he’ll figure it out by then:)

  • I think Ott can win the jury vote in his semi.

  • ESCbettinsanity

    Hey Daniel,

    according to my stat-sheets, Greece is in a very good situation in the first semi-final.
    Albania&Bulgaria have given Greece more than 10 points on average so far.
    San Marino, Romania, Azerbaijan and Hungary have also been generous with greek entries.
    I would appreciate if you could check your data and elaborate why Greece are not unduly favored here.

    • Daniel

      Hi there, you are right about that. Greece has plenty of allies in its heat, despite my initial thought that these had been spread across both semis pretty evenly (just by considering Bulgaria, UK, Germany, Armenia and Serbia in the other semi). But actually, 74 of their 120 points in last year’s final came from those countries voting in this heat, and it looks even more skewed in their favour without Armenia in semi two. So I have to correct myself on this and say it looks like an easy qualification for them.

  • Rob

    Any idea how they will resolve issue, Dan, of only 8 countries in first half of semi 2 following Armenian withdrawal, but 10 in second half?

    • Nick D

      Hi Rob,

      To be confirmed on Monday/Tuesday, but I’m pretty sure they’ll keep the first 8 in positions 1-8 and the last 10 in 9-18. It won’t affect the positioning of ad breaks in the show, but it’s likely that the first rehearsals will split unevenly 8 on Tuesday and 10 on Wednesday, as originally allocated.

    • Daniel

      Yup, am pretty sure it will be as Nick states. Draw will be next Tuesday morning I have heard, no concrete time yet.

  • Please take in mind that draw, starting grid and emographic factors (like neighbouring voting) are only part of a country´s final result in the semi final. Another aspect, the quality of the song, the charm a certain singer conveys, has become more important since jury´s were re-introduced. The fact that Turkey and Armenia last year did not qualify says a lot.

    In the case of Greece I would like to say this: It is really one of the worst, outdated songs in a long while. The song has too much a ‘2005-feel’ instead of a ‘2012-feel’.

    We’ll see what the draw brings Greece.

    • 2005 feel isn’t bad compared to the 1990’s sounding filth around them. Greece’s entry is a rough diamond that should improve with dancers and a live atmosphere.

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