Eurovision 2018: Second semi-final preview

The second semi-final is upon us, with a largely underwhelming set of songs the puzzle for punters. You’ll excuse me for feeling slightly uninspired by what’s on offer, and I think the market has got this heat more right than the first one.

Let’s start with the Scandinavian titans, because Norway and Sweden are obviously sailing through. Neither are appreciably different from their national final performances, which is more than enough.

Eastern Europe brings a few strong players to this semi-final, and I’d be very shocked if Moldova and Ukraine aren’t in the envelopes. Both have great staging concepts and come at the right time in the running order. Beyond that, I think Poland has something contemporary and well staged, which should also take them through.

AWS’s obvious USP should see Hungary continue their fine recent qualification record. Visually this is a searing success that is really enhanced by an audience. Unfortunately, the visuals are not such a success for the Netherlands. Nonetheless, Waylon has been very strong in recent rehearsals, and I’m assuming that will be enough.

I’ve not been a fan of the Danish entry since selected, but Rasmussen and his Viking band tick enough boxes for televoters in particular: it’s recognisably Danish and Eurovisionish. Romania is something different altogether, but there’s enough quality in Cristina’s vocals to have me put them through despite the #2 spot. They are defending a perfect qualification record, though we saw on Tuesday that’s no guarantee of anything.

One space left, and it feels like much depends on which Jessica Mauboy turns up for Australia. The one I just watched in this afternoon’s final dress rehearsal has a better chance than the one we saw in the previous few run-throughs.

The problem is trying to find an alternative, at which point I’d be throwing a dart: Russia really hasn’t shown any of the qualities of a qualifier, so I’ve decided to keep it out despite its 100% record. One is always cautious of laying Malta in a semi-final – they over-perform with juries every year – but their staging is messy and the song too weak.

I might have cheekily put Slovenia in but for the fail of the technical “fail”. That means I’m predicting a Balkan wipeout, as Serbia and Montenegro are not doing anything to persuade non-Balkan voters and jurors. Latvia feels like a deflating, empty three minutes coming right after Hungary. I’d love Georgia to cause a surprise, but it’s the opposite of competitive in the context of the contest. (I forgot to mention San Marino at all when first posting this article, which says it all.)

Thus, my qualifiers in draw order are: Norway, Romania, Denmark, Moldova, the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, Hungary, Sweden and Ukraine. Do post your own predictions below, and best of luck with tonight’s semi-final.

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100 comments to Eurovision 2018: Second semi-final preview

  • Hippo

    Surprised myself with some of these but I have my reasons. First 7 feel safe-ish, next 7 borderline and the bottom 4 would be a surprise.

    1. Norway
    2. Sweden
    3. Moldova
    4. Hungary
    5. Ukraine
    6. Poland
    7. Romania
    8. Malta
    9. Georgia
    10. Russia
    —————————————
    11. Denmark
    12. Netherlands
    13. Australia
    14. Latvia
    15. Serbia
    16. Montenegro
    17. San Marino
    18. Slovenia

  • BT

    On paper this looks like a much easier semi to predict than the first and my set of qualifiers are exactly the same as what the article and the market thinks, and happen to be my favourite 10 of the bunch. Surely it can’t be this straightforward?

  • johnkef

    1. Moldova
    2. Norway
    3. Hungary
    4. Sweden
    5. Ukraine
    6. Poland
    7. Romania
    8. Denmark
    9. Georgia
    10. Netherlands
    ————————-
    11. Russia
    12. Australia
    13. Latvia
    14. Slovenia
    15. Montenegro
    16. Serbia
    17. Malta
    18. San Marino

  • Chewy Wesker

    I’m with Daniel and the betfair market on this one
    Norway
    Sweden
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    Denmark
    Poland
    Hungary
    Netherlands
    Australia
    Romania

    Good luck to everyone watching and betting tonight.

  • Montell

    Here’s my guess

    Norway
    Romania
    Denmark
    Moldova
    Netherlands
    Australia
    Poland
    Hungary
    Sweden
    Ukraine

    Same as Daniel’s but I had this list before this article was published 🙂

  • Norway
    Sweden
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    Hungary
    Poland
    Denmark
    Netherlands
    Australia
    Romania

    Old fashioned bit of me hopes Montenegro or Georgia squeeze out either of the last two.

    Geopolitics of 2018 ESC could mean by 10pm a major realignment with no Armenia/Azerbaijan and virtual emasculation of Balkan zone, Greece included.

  • RonH

    My guess:
    Norway, Romania, Denmark, Russia, Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Ukraine

  • eurovicious

    Norway
    Denmark
    Moldova
    Netherlands
    Australia
    Poland
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Sweden
    Ukraine

    ie. the same as Daniel and a few of the rest of you but with Latvia instead of Romania.

    I’m intrigued to notice that the market and the above predictions (the ones with Romania Q) have 6 songs in the first half going through – am I right in thinking this almost never happens?

    It feels like a semi in which a 9/10 prediction is fairly easily achievable. So I echo BT on that front… perhaps it won’t be quite as simple as it seems.

    Have fun everyone 🙂

  • M. - @Eurovision Value

    – Sweden
    – Norway
    – Moldova
    – Ukraine
    – Poland
    – Hungary
    – NL
    – Romania
    – Montenegro
    – Australia

    Betting-wise I think laying Denmark and maybe backing Montenegro are interesting. But not risking that much on this semi, just some early value.

    Vanja (Montenegro) has such a great voice and quite a mainstream and nice balkan ballad. In this semi I expect quite some jury points, he sounded great yesterday…

    For me Denmark has the blueprint of the unexpected failure of Hear Them Calling. It’s dark, blue and really a concept-song (vikings), just no real appeal. Strip back the analysis of it, there’s not much left, I don’t see that much reason to vote for it. Adding this with the possible low jury scores, the odd is too short in my opinion.

  • niko

    Time for an unpopular opinion: I actually like this semi-final better. Quality-wise, it might be worse, but the entertainment value looks to be higher. Lots of different genres, weird staging choices, it’s what you can’t help but love about Eurovision.

    Wrote down my prediction yesterday, and yes, it is the same as Daniel.

    That said, Romania and Denmark are the ones I’m doubting the most.

    About my non-qualifiers: what to make of Russia? I don’t think the song itself is as bad as people are saying, but yeah, the performance is not good. I think I’m gonna be more irritated if I have it as a qualifier and it doesn’t get through, so I hope my gut feeling is correct.

    I could also see Georgia sneaking in with a great performance. It feels quite credible, with a good jury score it might be able to push into 10th.

    If a Balkan country goes through, I think it will be Serbia, but it is hard to see it gaining enough traction in Western Europe.

  • Norway
    Sweden
    Australia
    Hungary
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    The Netherlands
    Romania
    Poland
    Malta

  • Shai

    My prediction(in order of appearance):

    Norway
    Romania
    Denmark
    Moldova
    The Netherlands
    Georgia
    Poland
    Hungary
    Sweden
    Ukraine

    In semi 1 I had to think who will stay out. In this semi I have to think who has more chances of qualifying. Some of the qualifiers will do that because someone has to, not because the song deserve to qualify.

    Romania and Russia are both in danger of missing out for the first time but I can’t see both of them missing. Romania seem to be doing better and Russia is not even trying.

    Georgia is here as personal favourite.

    Some of the songs(Latvia and Malta) are suffering from the running order. There are just squeezed between 2 entries that have more to offer.

    Montenegro – He can sing this but is lacking in the charisma department

  • Eoin

    Happy with 8/10 in Semi 1!

    Good luck all tonight and here’s my 10 for Semi 2:
    Norway
    Romania
    Denmark
    Moldova
    Netherlands
    Australia
    Poland
    Hungary
    Sweden
    Ukraine

  • John

    Sweden
    Norway
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    Hungary
    Poland
    Netherlands
    Romania
    Russia
    Australia

    I think Denmark is a dull dud and similarly safe but boring Soldiers of Love got nuked a few years ago.

    Wouldnt mind Georgia to nick a place but its a sleepy number in a non English langue. San Marino for the lolz. Serhat would rock it this year too. Booo.

  • Rob4

    okie dokie, i got 8/10 in SF1 but crucially the ones i got wrong meant it was a bit of a betting disaster, so take these with a pinch of salt:

    Norway
    Romania
    Moldova
    Netherlands
    Poland
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Sweden
    Slovenia
    Ukraine

    yep that’s right, no Russia, Denmark or Australia

  • Donald

    Good luck to all tonight, sounds an odd bunch of performances.

    My 10 for semi final 2

    Norway,
    Sweden,
    Moldova,
    Ukraine,
    Poland,
    Denmark,
    Hungary,
    Australia,
    Netherlands,
    Romania.

  • Chris Bellis

    Agree with most of that, but I’m including Russia, even though it’s fairly dire. That’s because they read these things and they have a lot of tanks and fifth generation stealth fighters. Only joking Russia – I know I’m safe if I vote for you.

    1. Moldova
    2. Norway
    3. Hungary
    4. Sweden
    5. Ukraine
    6. Poland
    7. Australia
    8. Denmark
    9. Russia
    10. Netherlands

  • Augustas

    Random order:
    1. Norway
    2. Sweden
    3. Denmark
    4. Australia
    5. Ukraine
    6. Moldova
    7. Netherlands
    8. Poland
    9. Hungary
    10. Latvia

    Good luck

  • Chatterbox5200

    Norway’s odds have drifted from 5/1 to 10/1 after that performance. Cyprus now looking to be a clear favourite.

  • Stoney

    Im at football tonight why the huge norway drift, was it that bad?

  • 360

    I feel like Serbia stands a chance, that went down well in the room and running order wise.

    Netherlands I feel is more a question mark, it felt really out of place to me.

    I don’t know this semi’s contenders as well though.

  • 360

    Final Q prediction:

    Norway
    Sweden
    Poland
    Moldova
    Slovenia
    Romania
    Ukraine
    Russia
    Serbia
    Hungary

    • 360

      A few off, but pretty happy to’ve called Slovenia and Serbia Q there!

      • Chris Bellis

        Slov and Serb always had the potential but who would have thought it would come together so well on the night. Both worked really well and stood out among more obviously Eurovision by numbers entries.I got Russia wrong, but that was overthinking the voting patterns. It was a crap song, sung crappily.

  • Anglia Chu

    Missed the show because of a nap too long but my pre-show prediction

    Norway
    Sweden
    Ukraine
    Hungary
    Australia
    Moldova
    Denmark
    Netherlands
    Poland X
    Latvia X

    8/10 again

  • gcd

    Wins this evening:

    Lay Poland @1.31
    Lay Latvia @1.6

    Back Serbia @7
    Back Slovenia @ 5.2

    Losses this evening:

    Back Russia @ 2.3
    Lay Hungary @ 1.3

    Overall a good evening, thought the qualifiers were deserved as well.

  • Guildo Horn Forever

    I backed Belgium as my NQ in Semi 1; Latvia was my NQ bet for this. Only very small bets but I’m pleased to know that I’m improving at understanding Q and NQ prospects.

    Realised that I haven’t had a good word to say about either in ages and it would be remiss to not bet on them.

  • Shai

    7 out 10, worse than the first semi.

    Romania and Russia are out for the first time.
    I think we don’t have 100% qualifiers any more.

    Serbia – I don’t think anyone was expecting this one to go through in pre show predictions.

    Again – 6 from 1st half and 4 from 2nd half

    BTW – according to the Dutch commentators, 2 of Tuesday’s qualifiers, qualified with the assistance of the televoters

  • markovs

    Latvia NQ was my best of the evening. Denmark qualify also.

    Ballsed up on Russia qualify, Australia NQ.

    Is this Cyprus to win now with the 2nd half draw? Still think Germany could have a top 5 as immediately hits the emotions and France did not seem to.

    • Jessica Hamby

      Germany’s vocal performance reminded me of James Arthur. Like James it hits the feels but unlike him it stays at the same sort of level all the way through. It doesn’t really rise to an emotional peak or have any rise and fall in it. If you miss your dad then it’ll stand out but otherwise unless it’s near the end and there’s some Europe-wide tragic news event between now and the show I think it will get lost and forgotten amongst all the others.

      This is the song I immediately thought of when I heard it.

      https://youtu.be/XBEnMZhUigo

  • James

    Norway’s odds are completely tanking, out to 26 on Betfair as I write this. Not quite sure why as it looked and sounded exactly the same as it has from the start?

    • It’s a mystery to me James. Lithuania look a terrible price if you look at the performance in eurojury

    • Stephen Muckle

      Moldova has tanked in the last hour. I never saw anything wrong with their performance to be honest

      • niko

        Really weird, it is talk of the town among the ones I’ve spoken with, everyone seems to love it. I mean, I guess it’s not a winner due to juries, but in this year, who the heck seems to know anything.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Norway was too short for too long. Falling anyway short of the hype sparks an abreaction, expressed in odds lengthening too far?

      Something like that?!

      • johnkef

        Norway is not a winner and it looked cheap.

        The same with Moldova. I was expecting something more spectacular. This one maybe can sneak in Top10 if drawn in the 2nd half.

        • Jessica Hamby

          It stands out for being a bit different and it’s nice and light and catchy. A lot of the other uptempo songs are a bit dark and intense. To me, in terms of sound it’s Daft Punk to Sweden’s Justin Timberlake.

        • Alpie

          I agree with you on Norway and moldova, john. Then two left for the trophy: Cyprus and Israel. very difficult to choose

          • Stephen Muckle

            Estonia or Lithuania for me. Anything can happen in rehearsals and in the final itself. I think we are due another twist in the tale. I wouldn’t rule out a return to Kiev next year either

  • Showlad

    Germany’s odds are collapsing right across the board!!
    Could this be the winner coming up on the rails now – the song we were waiting for in the year that no-one quite seemed to fit the bill for the winner?

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Last night I had my first bet in the Top Big 5 market @4.8 on Germany against my beloved France (and the others).

      It’s currently @2.6 and that’s probably about right?

  • So Ukraine are Australia are now the only countries holding 100% qualification record.

  • HL

    How short can Cyprus go? I thought @2.9 would be too short, but now it is already @2.44.

    • I think it’s a lack of opposition, so people are piling on

    • Jessica Hamby

      I don’t actually like the Cyprus song much. She’s gorgeous and that’s got to be good for some votes but to my ears it’s a bog-standard Europop anthem. It’ll do ok but is it really enough to win?

      Mind you, I haven’t been following for weeks and months like y’all and I’m not really clued into the European musical aesthetic so I’m probably talking out of my fundament.

      I quite like Slovenia’s song so I guess that probably means you should ignore me.

      • Not at all Jessica, it’s all about opinions about the music. At this point, nobody knows what’s going to win. Most people wrote Cyprus off pre rehearsals as an average euro upbeat pop tune.

  • 360

    I’m holding to Lithuania as the most likely winner now, depending on her draw. Cyprus may ride the wave though. Nothing I saw tonight will be strong enough to challenge, especially with Sweden and Norway fishing in the same pool song-wise and bloc-wise. Israel is fanwank. Australia looks very lonely on that big stage. France and Germany are decent songs but neither have enough spark, and Germany’s singer isn’t charming enough to overcome others.

    • Guildo Horn Forever

      Yes, I’m keeping close all of my Lithuania stock. It’s very likely to be handed a prime position in the 1st half draw?

      Australia far too low @44

      Remarkably, Norway may end up with the 1st Party Banger slot (if that’s what it’s called). That ILWAC or HM slot.

      What are the uptempo songs in the 1st half?

      I’ve always considered Albania an uptempo track (but not a party banger, I suppose).

  • 1nce

    Oh for God’s sake! I’m like a budgie with two mirrors, I have bets on everything, this year is mad!

  • Rob4

    the winner is not coming from SF2 unless it is Hungary…

  • Jessica Hamby

    When do they make the draw for the running order?

  • 1nce

    Happening right now

  • Shai

    Allocation draw:

    Serbia – 1st half

    Moldova – 2nd half

    Hungary – 2nd half

    Ukraine- 1st half

    Sweden- 2nd half

    Australia- 2nd half

    Norway – 1st half

    Denmark – 2nd half

    Slovenia – 1st half

    The Netherlands – 2nd half

    I think Slovenia or Ukraine probably opening the show.

    The 2nd half is packed with up-tempo songs.
    Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark are the only songs that are not up-tempo.
    It’s going to be one up-tempo song after another with no option for toilet break.

    Running order is going to be a nightmare.

  • Jessica Hamby

    I dcn’t know how it works. What happens once they’ve decided 1st or 2nd half? How do they come to the final selection?

  • Dan

    I guess this is good news for Ukraine and Ireland.

  • This year randomness really didn’t work at all. First of all we had super strong semi final 1 and super weak semi final 2. Good songs were sent home from semi final 1 and bad songs were sent to the final from semi final 2.

    Second of all, what a terrible grand final runing order. 1st half – all ballads, 2nd half – all uptempo songs. Damn!

  • Rob4

    i think the market has it right now with the winner coming from Cyprus, Israel, Lithuania or France. personally i’d like Albania and Hungary to be first and second rather than that insipid quartet…

  • Jessica Hamby

    Saara Aalto will probably come second. She seems to do that in every singing competition she enters.

  • Waylon was so angry about the bad comments about his staging at the rehearsals that he used an F word in the qualifiers press conference. He said those people should be f**ucking ashamed or something. That was strong. Everyone went silent for a few seconds and continued like nothing happened. We really pissed him off. I feel a little bad about it 🙁

    • Jessica Hamby

      He reads Sofabet? Wow. I didn’t know it was so influential.

      *insert ironic wink here*

      • Well, by saying “we” I meant people who watch rehearsals and post their opinions on the Internet. It may not be sofabet it may be any website or whatever who said that their staging was bad.

      • Guildo Horn Forever

        @Jessica Hamby

        Very good! 😀

        @Montell

        He stuck to his artistic guns and bold staging choices and good for him. He’s the Grand Final to look forward to. And good for people who were amused by Team Testosterone – or The Leopard Print Pimp and his Country Krumpers, as I think of him.

    • Hippo

      Think Waylon’s problem was with those accusing it of having racist undertones, rather than those just critical of having dancing etc.

      • Yeah, that may be the case. It would make a lot of sense. I think the worst comment I read somewhere was about slavery or something. That is really hurtful.

        • RonH

          I believe he was also adressing the journalists of the two mayor Dutch newspapers. He had a huge fight with them over the last days and he refuses to talk to them since they commented his act. Not very professional i.m.o. to use a press conference to get back at them.

          • Jessica Hamby

            When else could he do it? They have the papers as a bully pulpit. If he can’t use a press conference then he’s got nothing.

            A lot of people seem to think artists and performers should just shut up and take whatever is thrown at them by people who never have the gumption or talent to create anything. Sod that. He’s a singer. The last thing I want from a pop star is that they conform to some corporate notion of “professionalism”.

          • Guildo Horn Forever

            @Jessica Hamby

            Yep. He’s a cowboy artist, On and off stage he should stick to his guns and give no quarter.

            He’s free to create, others are free to react to him, he’s free to react to their reactions…

            Yep. A press conference seems as apt and useful as anywhere else.

            I have the feeling Waylon can cope very well with a feisty critical reception; plus, a Wild West cowboy doesn’t necessarily prosper in peacetime, anyways.

          • Hippo

            When your backed against the wall that’s when you gotta learn to stand up tall.

  • gcd

    That split is pretty difficult to make a decent running order from…Slovenia and Ukraine the obvious openers but both have opened the final over the past few years so seems a bit unfair.

    I think:

    1 UK
    2 Serbia
    3 Ukraine
    4 Spain
    5 Austria
    6 Estonia
    7 Slovenia
    8 Portugal
    9 Germany
    10 Norway
    11 France
    12 Albania
    13 Lithuania
    14 Finland
    15 Netherlands
    16 Bulgaria
    17 Moldova
    18 Sweden
    19 Ireland
    20 Israel
    21 Hungary
    22 Italy
    23 Cyprus
    24 Denmark
    25 Czech Republic
    26 Australia

  • Hippo

    Yeah, a very hard running order to make. My guess:

    1.UK
    2.Albania
    3.Spain
    4.Austria
    5.Slovenia
    6.Germany
    7.Serbia
    8.Portugal
    9.Ukraine
    10.France
    11.Lithuania
    12.Norway
    13.Estonia
    14.Netherlands
    15.Finland
    16.Denmark
    17.Israel
    18.Italy
    19.Hungary
    20.Sweden
    21.Bulgaria
    22.Cyprus
    23.Ireland
    24.Czech Rep
    25.Australia
    26.Moldova

  • Jessica Hamby

    If I could I would put Finland near the end. You always want a show to end on a high and the performance, with Saara on the wheel and the final stage dive, is spectacular. If that happens she’ll hoover up some votes.

  • johnkef

    Here is mine

    1. ALBANIA
    2. UK
    3.SERBIA
    4.AUSTRIA
    5. SLOVENIA
    6. ESTONIA
    7. UKRAINE
    8. PORTUGAL
    9. SPAIN
    10. NORWAY
    11. FRANCE
    12. GERMANY
    13. LITHUANIA
    14. NETHERLANDS
    15. BULGARIA
    16. FINLAND
    17. MOLDOVA
    18. AUSTRALIA
    19. HUNGARY
    20 SWEDEN
    21. ITALY
    22. CYPRUS
    23. DENMARK
    24. ISRAEL
    25. IRELAND
    26. CZECH REPUBLIC

  • johnkef

    Serbia, Russia and Ukraine have more views than Rybak so far….

  • johnkef

    Am i the only one that still believes that it wil be Israel?

    • Jessica Hamby

      It’s my favourite. I wonder if the juries might take against it though. I think it’s a great song and she sings the hell out of it but I worry that it might be seen as a novelty song (which imo would be undeserved) and so marked down.

      (remember that song with the milkmaids – didn’t something similar happen then?)

    • Alpie

      I am with you on Israel. Speaking frankly, I have taken Conchita’s view and yours into consideration before making a final verdict. And I asked myself who’s got the story.

  • Hippo

    I worry about the public just as much as the juries with Israel, I mean take what you want from itunes but Rassmussen is charting better, along with 7/8 others, Czech Rep are ahead on spotify and Cyprus are level. Israel is a curiosity and attention grabber but I don’t think that’s translating into the amount of votes expected.

    • Jessica Hamby

      But a lot of people who watch the show and vote will be hearing all the songs for the first time. They won’t have followed any of the entries on Spotify or anywhere else. The fans of a given song will have watched it loads but they will be dwarfed by the live audience on the night – so are views on something like that a reliable guide?

      • Hippo

        Depends how much you think the semi final audience differs from that in the final. The numbers of downloads etc aren’t just fans otherwise they’d have been charting before now. There’s enough to suggest that Israel does not connect as a first time watch, which it still was for the vast majority of semi final viewers too.
        I’d say things like downloads are a good indicator as the willingness for someone to vote, and it has correlated last year in particular – Salvador, Blanche, Sunstroke were all well ahead after semi 1.

        • Jessica Hamby

          The numbers of downloads etc aren’t just fans otherwise they’d have been charting before now.

          I’m not sure what that means. I think you’re right to stick to your guns though. None of us know the result so we all just use the methodology we think is best.

    • johnkef

      To be honest i just check the youtube views. Cyprus is way ahead. but Greece has also a big number of views suggesting that a big part of them comes from Greece.

      Cyprus has 57k likes and 24k dislikes.
      Israel 78k likes and 19k dislikes

      Itunes are a thing in a few countries and affect certain group ages. I remember Armenia in 2016 charting only in Armenia and finished 7th

    • Jessica Hamby

      There’s an interesting poll here on the right of the page which has received more than 82,000 votes.

      https://eurovisionworld.com/esc/eurovision-2018-draw-for-the-running-order-in-the-grand-final

  • RD

    I’ve seen all the 26 performances and none of them seems like a winning performance.

    Cyprus would look the part if it wasn’t so meaningless. Lithuania if it wasn’t so forgettable songwise. Australia would with good vocals. France if it wasn’t so hard to read. Germany could without such a contrasting ending – it’s an effective yet a bit difficult staging.

    The final will be a cracker. I wouldn’t be surprised if Australia won this SF and that tells everything.

  • Quick thoughts:
    Got 8/10 again. Romania and Poland were my misses (and almost everyone elses) Astonished about Serbia and Slovenia. Didn’t see either going through in any situation. It seems the balkan bloc has re-discovered their loyalty.

    Quick thoughts:
    I was convinced NL had done a Trintije until the last qualifier was announced. The staging is divisive, but the song was strong enough and performance was good. Still not quite convinced on the staging, but it’s grown on me.

    Russia’s NQ is well deserved and a result of the ridiculous game Russia have been playing for the past two years with the competition. I reckon they got 0 or close to 0 with the juries. With Rybak probably the pic of the eastern bloc, the writing was on the wall. I feel bad for Julia, who’s been used in a pretty appalling way by the Russian delegation.

    Before this contest, 6 songs had never qualified from the first half of a semi. That has now happened twice. A host of countries with strong qualification records have been sent home. We now have a very uneven final. I think the betting market is spooked right now as a result of all these things. I still don’t know if the juries will go for cyprus, though they would still be my pick for winner. The dark horse that is being overlooked is Austria. It’s a good modern song that got out of a murderous semi and is currently second on ESC tracker behind cyprus. Crucially, I think it’s more jury friendly than cyprus. Still an outside bet though, but I think it’s being overlooked.

  • Daniel

    New thread for your thoughts on the draw which has just been published. See you there!

  • John

    01. Ukraine
    02. Spain
    03. Slovenia
    04. Lithuania
    05. Austria
    06. Estonia
    07. Norway
    08. Portugal
    — break position
    09. United Kingdom
    10. Serbia
    11. Germany
    12. Albania
    13. France
    14. Czech Republic
    15. Denmark
    16. Australia
    — break position
    17. Finland
    18. Bulgaria
    19. Moldova
    20. Sweden
    21. Hungary
    22. Israel
    23. The Netherlands
    24. Ireland
    25. Cyprus
    26. Italy

    Finish on gloomy, self-important Italy? Pft.

    Seems to be Israel vs Cyprus, with Ireland and Sweden in the mix.

    First half seems to indicate Lithuania may have underperformed in the semi, and Rybak has the first banger slot, though that may just help him to top 10 if you ask me.

    Albania has a nice draw. UK and Serbia have much better slots than they deserve. Tough draw to pick I guess.

  • Chris Bellis

    In the Bellis household it was Waylon that won it, for what it’s worth. They weren’t put off by the strange dancing at all. They also liked Slovenia very much, despite the odd staging – they thought it connected with the audience. truth to tell, this is still a very open contest, apart from the ritual sacrifice of Spain. The boss may have had a dodgy paella or something.

    • Jessica Hamby

      this is still a very open contest

      Agreed. Lots of variety of musical style. Lots of quality (as always) in the performances. Lots of beautiful, eurolicious eye candy. 🙂

      It’s a shame the way the draw has weighted things but I’m still looking forward to the show whatever the result.

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