My beloved Eurovision like many other European institutions before her finds herself in crisis it seems. Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Portugal and Poland have all withdrawn leaving me unable to vote in a Eurovision song contest final for the first time since 1997. (Wstydź się, TVP!)
Bad timing means the contest falls smack bang in the middle of my second semester exams so I have neglected the faith a little this year.
On the plus side the withdrawls make this year’s semi-finals mathematically slightly easier to predict the finalists – with two semi-finals of 16 and 17 participants respectively. Can I do as well as last year when I predicted 17/20? – Here’s a brief recap of tonight’s songs . My predictions for semi-final one are in bold below. Here we go.
01 Austria: Catchy, positive, up-tempo and inoffensive. If she sings well she’s in.
02 Estonia: A repetitive sweet ballad in Estonian. She will be border line but she will be there.
03 Slovenia: Hmm… probably not.
04 Croatia: Nice ballad. I like their harmonisation but it doesn’t really stand out.
05: Denmark: Another very safe song from Denmark. The Danes are in a phase of sending impeccably well produced if somewhat bland pop songs. It’s a decent entry don’t get me wrong. It will make the final but it has been over hyped a little. It’s not a winner.
06: Russia: I really hate it that the Russians of all people are singing something this Americanised- where on earth is Alla Pugacheva when you need her? That said, it’s not wise to bet against Russia getting into the final and it doesn’t sound like a hard song to sing so she should make it.
07: Ukraine: They have spent rather a lot on promoting this song and I think it is catchy enough to make the final.
08: Netherlands: Definitely one of my favourites this year and it will certainly outclass pretty much everything else in this semi-final at least. Anouk should end the Dutch nine year wait to get back into the finals. I’ll cry if she doesn’t.
09: Montenegro: What? Is this what has become of Balkan Turbo folk? Because if it is lads, ye can keep it.
10: Lithuania: Killers style ballad. Only worse.
11: Belarus: Its guilty pleasures like this that keep me as a Eurovision fan. Infectious, trashy, kitsch… just brilliant. Who want’s to go to a dictatorship next year?
12: Moldova: Inoffensive, rather dull ballad. Her frock will be the highlight of the performance.
13: Ireland: RTE sticks to the same tired formula of following Eurovision rather than leading it. So we have a dodgy knock-off of last year’s winner. That said I’m sure this will be presented and supported well.
14: Cyprus: I kinda like this but no one else seems to and to be fair I think we’ve had enough ballads.
15: Belgium: I like this. I think this might have a grey chance of making in the final this is the prediction I’m the least confident about. It’s a good song but mid-tempo songs rarely have it easy. We shall see.
16: Serbia: Well I guess we need something text book Balkan Eurovision don’t we?