Austria - Nadine Beiler - The Secret Is Love - No doubt there are high hopes in Austria for this song. If it doesn’t qualify for the final, don’t be surprised if Austria is not in Eurovision next year. The board at ORF had better pencil in a meeting to discuss that very question.
The Netherlands - 3JS - Never Alone - Poor Netherlands! They have tried so hard and used many different genres of song, all to no avail. It will be another disappointing year, I’m afraid.
Belgium - Witloof Bay - With Love Baby - The only hope for this song is that the industry professionals on the juries love it, because the public won’t. I can’t see it happening, though.
Slovakia - TWiiNS - I'm Still Alive - This song could have been in High School Musical. While it starts well and full of promise, its repetitive nature will prove its undoing.
Ukraine - Mika Newton - Angel - Whatever the quality of song, Ukraine always seems to do well. This is a pleasant ballad, no more than that, but it will be enough to secure a berth in the final.
Moldova - Zdob Si Zdub - So Lucky - With the wearing of the traditional Moldovan hats, Zdob Si Zdub have turned this semi-reasonable rock song into something of a joke. The public love a bit of fun, though, so they will vote for this in sufficient quantities.
Sweden - Eric Saade - Popular - Popular is the right title, Eric’s song has gone down a storm with fans, predictably so. The glass smashing certainly adds impact to the very catchy song. However, this type of song doesn’t do well in the contest anymore, so although it will reach the final, it won’t do much more than that.
Cyprus - Christos Mylordou - San Aggelos s'agapisa - This is a very lovely song and deserves to be in the final. Alas, something is telling me that it won’t be there, but I can’t put my finger on what.
Bulgaria - Polly Genova - Na Inat - Georgia’s success on Tuesday shows there is room for a good rock song. Bulgaria’s offering is the best of the three on offer on Thursday, so to the final it goes.
Macedonia - Vlatko Ilievski - Rusinka - What has gone wrong in Macedonia? Its contest history started so well, generally speaking, but recently it has been bland song after bland song. Maybe they don’t want to be in the final. Their wish is Europe’s command.
Israel - Dana International - Ding Dong - Past glories are sometimes best left in the past. Ding Dong is really just a slowed down and inferior version of Diva. There will not be the sufficiently broad appeal to win the necessary number of votes.
Slovenia - Maja Keuc - No-One - One thing is for sure, Maja will belt this ballad out for all she is worth. Ballad lovers will like it and it has a slight twist on the stereotypical ballad formula, which will win it votes from elsewhere. Maja will be in the dressing room come Saturday night.
Romania - Hotel FM - Change - What’s not to like. It moves along smoothly and has an easy melody. It won’t be enough, though.
Estonia - Getter Jaani - Rockefeller Street - This is one of the bookies favourites. In fact, until very recently, it had the shortest odds of any of the songs it shares the semi-final stage with. All that money must mean something.
Belarus - Anastasia Vinnikova - I Love Belarus - Time to get up and party. Out and out patriotism can be risky, but this song is too fun and infectious to fail.
Latvia - Musiqq - Angel in Disguise - Welcome to the 1980’s, a time whose music is still widely celebrated and listened to. See you in the final, gentlemen.
Denmark - A Friend In London - New Tomorrow - This song was plagued by plagiarism (say that when you’ve had a few!) accusations when it won the Danish final. It survived to be here, and it will all have been worthwhile when they are on stage in the big one on Saturday.
Ireland - Jedward - Lipstick - Ok, I’m going to stick my neck out here with perhaps my boldest prediction of either semi-finals. The press love ‘em because they are good copy. The British public (at least, some of them) took them to their hearts when they were out of tune week after week in The X-Factor. The rest of us find them profoundly irritating, and Moldova has already secured the votes of those that like a bit of japery. Many of Ireland’s entries have gone home early in recent years. The same fate awaits Jedward.
Here are the countries to complete the 25 lining up on Saturday night:
Bosnia - Dino Merlin - Love in Rewind
Ukraine - Mika Newton - Angel
Moldova - Zdob Si Zdub - So Lucky
Sweden - Eric Saade - Popular
Bulgaria - Polly Genova - Na Inat
Slovenia - Maja Keuc - No-One
Estonia - Getter Jaani - Rockefeller Street
Belarus - Anastasia Vinnikova - I Love Belarus
Latvia - Musiqq - Angel in Disguise
Denmark - A Friend In London - New Tomorrow