The Great Big Semi-Final Predictorama Part 2
Posted by Caroline on May 23, 2012
All calmed down now since the events of last night? Good. Well don’t get too calm because we’re about to do it all over again – and as such, here are our predictions for the qualifiers in Thursday’s semi-final….
For it: Oh, just the fact that Zeljko is Eurovision royalty. You know, that small trifling matter. That and a damned fine song.
Against it: Very little to be honest – in fact this is probably one of the surest things this semi-final has to offer, to the extent that it would be a SERIOUSLY major upset if Serbia didn’t make it. Although frankly we think he would have to forge his words, sing the Lithuanian entry by mistake and fall into the orchestra pit to have even a remote chance of failing, and even then he would probably STILL go through to the final.
For it: Because all we’ve heard for the past couple of months is Loreen this, Loreen that, and then some. Let’s not detract of course from the fact that this is one of the best songs in the contest and – if they stick to the Melodifestivalen format – is likely to have one of the most eye-catching routines (OK so she’s not going to stand in a giant water feature while dressed like an extra from Star Wars but surely not everybody has to go down that road?) Fact remains, Loreen is another one of the surest things in this semi-final, to the extent that we reckon all she has to do to qualify is simply turn up on the night.
Against it: Well 2010 taught us that not even Sweden, bastions of Eurovision glory, are guaranteed finalists. And just because Loreen is the favourite doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll come out on top. But we’ll be honest, we’re optimistic.
For it: Because it’s one of our favourite songs in the contest this year (with, reportedly, one of the best stage shows), and we’ll probably have a tantrum if it doesn’t get through.
Against it: Turkey’s 2011 disaster proved that not even they are infallible. And Can Bonomo’s track could prove just a bit too quirky for voters. That, of course, is where the juries come in handy….
For it: It’s this year’s Popular. Only better.
Against it: Norway were one of the favourites last year, and look how that did. Tooji should make it, but he’ll have to turn in the performance of his life to ensure he doesn’t fall at the final hurdle.
For it: Because this is UKRAINE we’re talking about! Like, duh???? Plus it’s a football anthem, and the unexpected success of Jessy Matador for France in 2010 proved that actually those can go down a storm on the Eurovision stage.
Against it: As we have learned, even the most popular of Eurovision nations are not entirely infallible when it comes to qualification,. Ukraine have yet to miss out on a final – but there’s a first time for everything, and dress rehearsal word of mouth for Gaitana was decidedly mixed. That said, the sheer catchiness of the song – and the fact it’s one of the handful of uptempo tunes in a ballad-heavy semi-final – should tip the balance in her favour.
For it: One of our dark horses of the year, we’ve been slightly in awe of this song – and the power of 16-year-old Eva Boto’s voice – since we first heard it all those months ago. However much it sounds like Molitva (possibly a little too much, even), she deserves to be in the final.
Against it: The fact that seemingly every other former Yugoslav nation (with the exception of Montenegro, which we are still baffled by) has entered a big ballad this year. And all of them seem to be in this semi-final. Surely that means one or t’other will cancel each other out (even if they do end up all voting for each other….?) As far as we are concerned she is in though.
For it: It’s big and it’s ballady. And Estonia always seem to do well when they field that kind of thing (they also seem to do well when they enter bafflingly ordinary disco anthems too but let’s not dwell on that)
Against it: It’s a ballad-laden contest and they can’t all make it. And Ott Lepland’s position in the running order between quirky Turkey and upbeat Norway means he will either stand out from the pack or sink without trace.
For it: Quite simply because we love it. We also love the fact that Joan was a contestant on The Voice in the Netherlands. Why can’t we have people like that on The Voice over here? (it might even drive the viewing figures up). Yes, we know the song is dated and cheesy as hell and evokes memories of Eurovision past – but we still love it to bits. And there are a lot of people out there just willing the Netherlands to actually qualify for the first time since 2004. Honestly? We think this is the best chance they have had since then.
Against it: On very early in the semi-final which could count against them, and will people actually listen to the song or just see a strange woman dressed like Hiawatha? Fingers crossed that they do.
For it: Let’s be honest, the song is awful. But the performance is reportedly kitsch and sparkly and everything Eurovision fans love. And on that basis – and the fact it’s Georgia, and they’re not in the habit of missing finals – we think they’ll make it. But they wouldn’t have done if they had been on last night.
Against it: It’s rubbish. Is that good enough a reason?
For it: We laboured long and hard over this decision (to the extent that we almost put Bosnia and Herzegovina in instead), but can’t help feeling that with a strong performance Kurt could get the sentimental ‘Malta haven’t been in the final for years’ vote along with the Netherlands. He’ll have to perform his little Maltese socks off though.
Against it: The song simply isn’t that good (not that it’s bad, just a tad average), and potentially could go the way of other Maltese efforts that were similarly average. But given the effort the Maltese put in, we’d rather that didn’t happen this year.
ALSO IN WITH A CHANCE
Bosnia and Herzegovina – this came perilously close to making the ten – and we wouldn’t be surprised if it qualified – but Maya Sar is in danger of being drowned out by other, better, lady ballads on offer. The penultimate place in the running order, coupled with ample chances for neighbourly voting, however, could see her through.
Lithuania – could be a surprise entrant into the ten, particularly due to the fact that Donny Montell is rounding the show off – and bearing in mind they pulled off a surprise coup last year. Not sure well the Zorro look will go down with voters, mind.
Belarus – well maybe the Poundstretcher One Direction do have a slim chance. They have after all pulled off surprise qualifications in the past. We’re just not buying it on this occasion. And we much preferred I Love Belarus in 2011.
Croatia – Nina Badric is a possible qualifier but once again we think she may be drowned under a sea of superior Balkan ballads.
FYR Macedonia – there was a time when FYROM could simply play the Skopje phone book through a nose flute on stage and still make it through, but those days are now long gone. Kaliopi’s song is a bit of a screeching racket, and thanks to Albania qualifying we already have one of those in the final. So we suspect this one will miss out. Although if it does make it we will be the first to admit we were wrong.
Portugal – Filipa Sousa’s track is one of the ones we have barely listened to this year – probably because it’s rather dull. Will it make it through? We would say extremely unlikely. Never mind Portugal, same time next year eh?
Slovakia – this is possibly their best entry ever - but Max Jason Mai’s metal mayhem may be a guitar solo too far for the more conventional voters. Still, we’re looking forward to watching him – and maintain that if any of the also-rans are going to cause an upset, it’ll be this one.
Bulgaria – er, no. And the less said about that the better really.