Another Eurovision year is building to a climax, with the first semi-final only a day away. Money has been wagered and arguments made as to which songs will make it through to the final. Here is my guide to the likely winners and losers.
Of the nineteen countries competing, ten will qualify for Saturday’s final by winning enough support from the public phone vote allied with votes from juries. In addition to each competing country having a say, voters in United Kingdom and Spain will also vote on Tuesday night.
One thing is certain, the lucky ten will provoke opinions on all sides and we will be left wondering how song X made it, but song Y didn’t!
Poland – Magdalena Tul – Jestem – Early on in national final season, there was a sense of gloom and doom about the lack of quality in the songs being selected. Jestem was head and shoulders above the rest at that point, although the overall quality of song improved as the season continued. As long as the slightly bizarre outfits don’t put off the voters, Magdalena will have to stay around for Saturday.
Norway – Stella Mwangi – Haba Haba – This song has sold by the bucket load in Norway. How? What little tune there is, remains well disguised by Stella’s awful voice. It was an early favourite in the betting but has slipped down. Pack your bags now, Stella and find something else to do on Saturday.
Albania – Aurela Gace – Feel the Passion – This one is difficult to call. It would not be a surprise to see it qualify, but equally, failure to qualify would not be a shock by any stretch of the imagination. Ultimately, it might not have enough support – just.
Armenia – Emmy Boom Boom – Armenia seems to make it to the final no matter what the merits or otherwise of the song. It is on that basis only that I think it will score enough points, but it wouldn’t be in my top 10.
Turkey – Yuksek Sadakat – Live It Up – Rock songs have served Turkey well over the last few years, and Live It Up will continue the trend. It won’t win the big one on Saturday, but it will be one of the runners and riders.
Serbia – Nina – Caroban – The plan was to sing this song in English. Whoever made the decision to sing in Serbian should be congratulated. It sounds so much better! That said, while it won’t be far away from the top 10, it won’t be in it, either.
Russia – Alexej Vorobjov – Get You – Russia is another country that always makes it to the final, usually with contemporary, lively pop just like the song this year. The Russians won’t be checking out of their hotel just yet.
Switzerland – Anna Rossinelli – In Love For a While – The Swiss are one of the unluckiest nations in the contest. Their song should have qualified for the final in each of the last three years, but didn’t, and bad staging got in the way of qualifying in 2007. This year, they will miss out again, this time deservedly.
Georgia – Eldrine – One More Day – A strong rock song combined with spectacular presentation makes this a contender for qualification. Even the rap won’t stop it.
Finland – Paradise Oskar – Da Da Dam – If the juries were populated exclusively by members of the Green Party, Paradise would sail into the final. Unfortunately for him, this is not the case and so he may as well start packing his bags now. Time to put the kettle on.
Malta – Glen Vella – One Life – Apparently, Glen fancies his chances of winning. Someone had better prepare him for the disappointment which is to come. The public might go for it in reasonable numbers, but the industry professionals will see nothing in it worth scoring highly. It will be this factor that stops Maltese participation in the final.
San Marino – Senit – Stand By – Here, we have the opposite scenario to the Maltese song. The juries will go for this, but the public just won’t like it in sufficient numbers, so San Marino will still be awaiting its first visit to the final if the principality enters next year.
Croatia – Daria Kinzer – Celebrate – Last year, Croatia was very unlucky not to reach the final. This year, there are enough costume changes to keep the audience interested, while the song has enough about it to win sufficient votes.
Iceland – Sigurjon’s Friends – Coming Home – For those in Dusseldorf, this has become a huge favourite. There is a large emotional pull with this song because of the circumstances, but it should be remembered that those voting at home are distant from all of that and won’t have felt the goodwill that has followed the Icelandic delegation around Dusseldorf. However, a good sing along always goes down well with the public and the juries will see the musical integrity in the song.
Hungary – Kati Wolf – What About My Dreams – Every year, the Semi-finals always throw up a shock when they leave behind a song widely expected to qualify. If Kati isn’t in the final, it will be one of those moments, but that won’t happen.
Portugal – Homens da Luta – A Luta é Alegria – You have to be Portuguese to understand what is going on here. It was the public phone vote in the Portuguese final that ensured Homens da Luta’s presence in Dusseldorf. It will be the public phone vote from around Europe which forces Portugal out of the running this year.
Lithuania – Evelina Sasenko – C’est ma Vie – The Lithuanian song is the best ballad in the first semi-final. However, if the use of sign language in one of the verses remains, it will do nothing but cause a distraction. Ultimately, that will be the downfall.
Azerbaijan – Ell and Nikki -Running Scared – Azerbaijan has never failed to qualify for the final and there is nothing to suggest that this habit will be broken. The song is one of the best of the 43 and the staging is effective. It can’t fail to reach the final – can it?
Greece – Loucas Yiorkas feat. Stereo Mike – Watch My Dance – As often happens, the rap element of the song acts as a weakening influence. Performing last in the televoting format is never a bad thing and Greece has a very strong record of reaching the final. Expect that to continue unchallenged.
So, here are the ten predicted qualifiers on Tuesday night.
Poland – Magdalena Tul – Jestem
Armenia – Emmy Boom Boom
Turkey – Yuksek Sadakat – Live It Up
Russia – Alexej Vorobjov – Get You
Georgia – Eldrine – One More Day
Croatia – Daria Kinzer – Celebrate
Iceland – Sigurjon’s Friends – Coming Home
Hungary – Kati Wolf – What About My Dreams
Azerbaijan – Ell and Nikki -Running Scared
Greece – Loucas Yiorkas feat. Stereo Mike – Watch My Dance
Feel free to laugh at me if I am well wide of the mark.