Now that we’ve heard all the songs and seen a lot of them performed live, I’m going to attempt to predict the results of the two semi-finals before rehearsals. This first semi is perhaps the most open I have ever known in terms of how many different ways it might go. For fun and potential bragging rights, this is what I’ve got at the moment.
1. Cyprus – This is qualifying easily, probably in the Top 3 in the semi-final. I was encouraged by rehearsal clip of Tamta with experienced male backing performers, which should help to differentiate this from last year’s effort.
2. Montenegro – One of the weakest and most dated songs in the semi, with almost zero chance of qualifying. This is performed well live but there’s very little that can save it. In the running for last place but will receive points from Serbia and Slovenia.
3. Finland – The stats say this is totally doomed, and I agree. It’s probably also a ‘contender’ to finish last.
4. Poland – A very tricky call. As is often the case, this could be in the Top 10 of the televote but not with the juries. I’m saying it will miss out as there is stronger novelty and a lot of Poland’s allies are in the other semi-final.
5. Slovenia – This has underwhelmed in stats a little bit and the running order is not great for such a low-key song. I still think it will probably qualify due to its overall quality and relatively strong impression. Not totally safe and current Top 3 odds are laughable.
6. Czech Republic – I’ve been very impressed by this ever since my first listen. This is qualifying with ease and is a strong contender for the Top 3, which is where I think it will finish in this heat.
7. Hungary – This is a classy, low-key entry which is underwhelming compared to his last effort. Like Slovenia, it deserves to qualify but I’m not totally confident with it just yet.
8. Belarus – This song is totally naff yet doesn’t feel totally hopeless. A lot will come down to the presentation, but it will need to look a lot better than the national final if it’s to be in the running. It’s missing so many ex-USSR buddies and so is out for me for now.
9. Serbia – Another tough call. She is a very strong singer and it stands out as a classy Balkan ballad that should receive decent support. If last year’s monstrosity could qualify then so can this, and I’m putting it through in my prediction.
10. Belgium – A contemporary ballad that’s a good jury song. It’s nice and normal enough to receive support on both sides in a semi full of weird and wacky entries.
11. Georgia – Simply awful. It’s fighting to avoid last place and there are very few ex-USSRs here. I don’t see where support will come from, so I will say it’s coming last.
12. Australia – They could be in genuine trouble for the very first time. We know the staging is changing, but I would like to see positive changes before calling it as safe. Might be enjoyed by non-Eurovision fans and is already beating at least a handful on the jury side. Deserves to qualify but might not.
13. Iceland – The USP is strong enough for qualification, in theory. This is one of the most divisive songs of the year and has a jury ceiling as a result. The overall impression is threatening but it will have its fans. Probably a safe qualifier with televote support.
14. Estonia – One of the most ordinary songs in this semi, but it is competent enough and stats are encouraging. The running order is pretty good for this following three batshit crazy songs.
15. Portugal – This is very weird and yet another difficult call. The performances I’ve seen have been almost completely unvoteable and so I think it could well miss out.
16. Greece – The clip circulating of Katerine rehearsing with her backing singers has removed doubts I had following dodgy solo pre-party performances. It was the Eurojury winner for this semi-final and so it should finish in the Top 3 overall before dropping down in the final. The running order is so solid that I am also predicting it to win this semi, though not with great confidence.
17. San Marino – Serhat needed the pimp slot here and the producers duly gave it to him. This should finish in the Bottom 3 with juries, without any cheating. It will require a monster televote in order to qualify, and I’m not sure he can achieve it. His best chance will be to go over-the-top novelty with the staging, but there are plenty of leftfield entries in this semi, all of which are superior compositions. Out, but one for consideration if the staging is amazing.
Qualifying: Cyprus, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Belgium, Australia, Estonia, Iceland, Greece
Not qualifying: Montenegro, Finland, Poland, Belarus, Georgia, Portugal, San Marino
3. Czech Republic
Last place: Georgia
Do you agree or disagree? Feel free to have your say in the comments section.