Good Afternoon readers! Who is still hungover from the excitement of the first semi final last night?
To start with, wasn't last night just spectacular? Its good to have Eurovision back on our TV screens after another year. I personally thought the stage was brilliant; the diamond floor and squared backdrop came across really nicely on TV, and it was used well throughout. The opening sequence was a little cheesy if we're all honest, and I did want it to end much sooner than it did. The hosts looked like they were having fun though. Oh and then there was the interval act. I never find out what the interval acts are and how they're rehearsing as I like to keep some magic for the show. Although forgetful, I thought the interval act was very nice, and the diamonte tracksuit will be remembered for time to come.
But what about the entrants! Well I thought every country gave it their all on the night and should be thoroughly congratulated on an excellent performance. The only exception to that is Andras Kallay-Saunders, who I found personally gave a weak vocal performance. Not too much criticism though, he gave an energetic performance and was rewarded with qualification. I predict that he won last night's semi final.
And that moves me on to the qualifiers!
They were: Armenia, Sweden, Iceland, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, San Marino, Netherlands, Montenegro, Hungary.
Once again I only got 8/10 correct, with San Marino and Iceland replacing Moldova and Estonia. Were there any shock qualifiers? Well in reality, there weren't. I ate my words as I watched Iceland's "Pollaponk" bring the house down! Well they definitely were one of the favourites in my house anyway. I suppose the biggest shock was San Marino qualifying, but I did have them 11th in my pre-semi final prediction so it wasn't much a shock for me. I am so pleased for Valentina Monetta, it's true what they say about being "third time lucky"!
Eurovision fans have been mourning the loss of Tanja and Estonia from the competition, but it definitely felt very much like Cascada and 'Glorious' from last year, so at the most they would have qualified and finished in the bottom 5/6. Tanja had a great choreography, but I think it was a bit too generic and a bit too early on to qualify. As for Moldova! Well I've always got a soft spot for them, and perhaps prediciting 'Wild Soul' in the final was a bit too optimistic. Still I though diaspora voting would carry them through, but perhaps countries like Ukraine and Portugal were a bit too preoccupied with other entrants to send douze points there way. And that brings me to Ukraine...and Russia....
I've never been a fan of 'Tick Tock' but it's definitely a good song when performed, and we know the Ukrainians would provide some of the best staging yet again. The Giant Hamster Wheel went down like a storm and although in reality rather simple, it visually works perfect for a TV audience. And plus, Mariya is a very pretty girl, always guaranteed votes for being mega hot. Did Ukraine give Russia 12 points is the question? Well, who gave Russia points? Russia would always benefit from a generous diaspora vote, and former Soviets are likely to give them points. Plus, no matter how much Eurovision fans don't like the song/boycott the Russian entry, 'Shine' has all the elements that an Eastern European jury will marvel in, and two attractive blonde twins will go down well with males across Europe. I don't think the Russians squeezed into the final, but I still don't predict they will take the roof off in the final. I could see Russia finishing 14th or something, just missing out on a left-hand side position. The booing that the twins experienced when they were announced as qualifiers was absolutely disgusting. Booing Aram MP3 for 'potentially' homophobic remarks at Eurovision In Concert is one thing, but booing an act for making the final is just awful. There are many ways to express your current discontent with Russia, and Eurovision is not one of them. I say Good Luck to the twins for the final!
On a more positive note, who do you think just missed out on qualification to the final? Jan Ola Sand has since tweeted that there were just 3 points separating 10th, 11th and 12th last night. This means that two countries were agonisingly close to qualifying! My money is on Estonia and Moldova, but I've heard a number of combinations from the 6 countries who were unfortunate not to make it.
Finally we come to the first half, second half draw for the final. I've heard many UK fans say that the draw was fate, and well if we're honest, having quite a few favourites draw to perform in the first half makes it look even more positive for the UK. The draw so far looks like this:
(6 slots left)
23. Denmark (randomly drawn before the semi finals began)
(4 slots left)
Well as you all know, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Sweden and Ukraine all performing in the first half means that one of them will not make the top 10, if not more. Performing in the second half has always been more beneficial, but it's not the be all and end all. However, the producers do now have a bit of a headache, having to select to choose where each of them performs. But as I said, they wont all do well. Is this the first year Azerbaijan wont make the top 10? Will they even finish on the left-hand side?
The second half of the draw does look very pretty for Molly and the UK at the moment. The only big rival is Hungary, and I have a sneaky feeling they might steal it this year. 'Running' is very well polished, and I think it could chart all over Europe...and that reminds me! Charts! I'm sure you've all heard how the Common Linnets are charting everywhere! This is brilliant news! The odds for the Dutch to win are falling rapidly, and could we be heading to the land of the orange next year? I'll be the first to admit that I never saw this coming. But Congratulations to them! They have a second half performance too, is it all falling into place for the Netherlands at the right time? I gave their staging a maximum 20/20 in my pre-contest scoring prediction, and I can see the juries lapping it up...but it seems televoters are too. All will be revealed Saturday, it's just too exciting!
Well the next semi final kicks off the same time at 20:00 CET and 21:00 BST on Thursday 8th May. We'll be joined by the final 10 qualifiers for the final on Saturday. It's a close one this year, no more close than the second semi final. Here are my predictions again:
Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Lithuania, Finland, Ireland, Greece and Romania. But I think it's impossible to predict. I could get just 5/10 or I could get the max 10/10 right.
And now back to revision I go, procrastination can survive no longer!