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And so the finalists are….

Posted by Caroline on May 10, 2007

After the longest semi-final ever, the ten songs which will join the 14 finalists in Saturday night’s main event are:

BELARUS

FYR MACEDONIA

SLOVENIA

HUNGARY

GEORGIA

LATVIA

SERBIA

BULGARIA

TURKEY

MOLDOVA

Notable by their absence are: Israel, Cyprus, Andorra, Malta and perhaps most eyebrow-raisingly, Switzerland, who were among the favourites to take home the title.

What is immediately obvious about the qualifiers is the lack of countries from Western Europe making the cut – in fact, with the exception of Turkey, every single new qualifier is from Eastern Europe.

All of which means that only a handful of old school Eurovision favourites will join the starting line-up on Saturday – the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and Ireland, to be precise. Meanwhile Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Norway, Denmark and Portugal are nowhere to be seen.

Some may say this is neighbourly voting gone mad (in fact it’s beginning to look as though FYR Macedonia and Turkey could stand on stage and sneeze for three minutes and still make it through to the final), but personally we can’t help thinking it has something to do with the fact that Eastern Europe are just so much better at this whole Eurovision lark these days. Sure, the likes of Belgium and Portugal were enjoyable, but paled in comparison with the likes of Georgia and Latvia, who gave some of the best performances of the night. And let’s not forget that while some of the usual suspects are in there, there are also a number of countries (Belarus, Bulgaria, Slovenia) who made it out of the semis for the first time tonight. And personally we think it owes more to their own merits than it does to political voting.

As for our predictions – well, OK, we only got five out of ten right. But let’s not forget that our possible spoilers included Hungary, Turkey, Moldova, Georgia and FYR Macedonia. So technically we got them all right. At least that’s what we’re claiming. Either way, we reckon it’s going to be one hell of a final.

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15 Responses to “And so the finalists are….”

  1. Mark said

    Caroline, you are spot-on with your generalisation about Eastern Europe.

    Just because it is Western Europe that doesn’t make the song any better and the qualifying songs were so diverse even if their geo-political distribution was not.

    A tip: Put a bet on Armenia ASAP, they were 125-1 this morning in some quarters but look at the draw now, they are the only ballad in the last seven.

  2. Tinsie said

    It’s certainly an interesting result. I’m disappointed Cyprus, Malta and Andorra didn’t get through, but on the other hand I’m glad Latvia and Slovenia did, as I loved their songs (and voted for them). I think some European countries simply take this more seriously than others – the western countries are more blase (or should that be jaded) and it shows in the quality of the songs they send to Eurovision. Add to that the general lack of interest from the media & the public, and you can see what’s happening: the eastern countries are watching and voting for the songs they like (generally each other’s) while the western countries end up open-mouthed at the results and blame political voting.

  3. Endlessky said

    I firmly believe is it’s really ALL about political voting. I too wondered why the semi-finals were dominated by Eastern countries. There were, in my opinion, other songs which were much more better than Turkey’s. (although I have to admit the singer was kinda cute)
    I think the Eastern countries voted each other. And Switzerland didn’t make it.. now that’s *really* surprising! Perhaps the Eastern countries thoughts it was a major threat as a possible winner.( don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Eastern countries!)

    I’m a bit disappointed at this point.

  4. Tinsie said

    Personally, I’m not too fussed about Switzerland and I never thought they had a chance in hell of getting through to the final. My Swiss friends didn’t seem to think much of their song either.

    BTW I’m not sure Turkey can be classed as an eastern country. I very much doubt the good people of Estonia or Latvia are thinking: yeah, let’s support Turkey, they’re one of us (although admitedly FYROM or Albania may well be thinking so).

    Not one of my British friends voted (or even watched) yesterday’s semi-final, and people laughed at me when I said I’d be voting. No wonder then that the songs “we” like didn’t go through…

  5. Richard said

    Hi Caroline.. been moaning all night and this morning about last nite’s results…. all 10 from eastern europe!!!why? why? why? Is it because we in the western bit of europe don’t vote any more or is it because, as I understand from your fab blog, we prefer the songs from the east? Or do people prefer songs to be straight-laced and boringly ‘normal’ now?

    OK, I admit I voted for Denmark cos he made me laugh so much .. all those feathers and it was so camp .. but I also want Moldova and Romania and Germany and Spain and Ukraine to win.. Some friends voted for Malta and Norway but not one song from this side of the Adriatic got through… Makes me wonder if so many of the old western countries had not pre-qualified then it would be a wholely eastern eurovision song contest… I mean, the singer from Bulgaria sung terribly last nite but she got through … oh well back to work.. cheers

  6. I think the question of ‘block voting’ is a very complicated one. Block votes probably work in the semi-finals as 10 countries ‘win’. However, to win the actual contest it is necessary to get votes from countries outside the ‘block’. So perhaps the semis are not fair but the final is?

  7. Mark said

    I think we need to wait and see how the voting went in the semi-finals.

    It’s quite possible that the west voted for the east.

  8. Richard said

    Mark, u say “think we need to wait and see how the voting went in the semi-finals.”… does this mean we get an analysis of how people in each country voted for the semi final songs after the contest has finished?

    I am fed up with friends saying that its down to ‘political voting’. I think its more complicated than that.. Thx

  9. Nik said

    Yes, Richard we do and it’s gonna be interesting reading.

    Personally, I definitely think that it’s more complicated than that. I am myself of Eastern European descent (Serbian) but have live in the UK all my life and consider myself more British than anything else. What people need to understand is that the countries in Eastern Europe don’t all love each other like we seem to assume. Yes, sure, some do but take Hungary for example, they have not been involved in any recent splitting of former countries and I can assure you that no-one from any of the other countries in the Balkans cares in the slightest how they do. Similarly from Slovenia, although they are of slavic descent they don’t really have any close links with the countries around them and I can assure you that even tho Serbia and Slovenia used to be part of the same country, noone in Serbia cares whether the slovenes get thru or not (demonstrated by their prior failure to ever get thru the semis). Just cos these countries are in the East, does not mean that that is how they got votes. Likewise for Latvia and Turkey (although they do have one or two friendly neighbours, it is not nearly as many as the balkan states have and they still got thru).

    I agree with Keith that the semis are more unfair than the final cos all the eastern states watch them religiously and vote because they want their countries in, whereas the west tend to assume that they will get in anyway and don’t tend to watch until the final.

    Final wise, we (the UK) came 3rd in 2002 and won in 1997 without any friendly voting – so it’s not impossible, all we have to do is send a good song and not some absolute drivel like scooch (or Jemini, etc.)

    Also, Greece – who, lets face it don’t really have any neigbourly voting (apart from 12 from cyprus – which really isn’t enough), and they still won two years ago. yes, they’re from the east but it has nothing to do with neighbourly voting – noone can possibly try to say that those 12 from cyprus made ALL the difference.

    In conclusion, I think the success of the eastern countries is for 2 reasons:

    1.) There are a lot of them and they have a similar taste in music, this is why they vote for each other not for political reasons – remember that many of these countries have had bitter arguments and wars in the very recent past and that this is the reason for the fragmentation of the east.

    2.) They try harder with the songs! Taking Serbia as an example. There were 20 songs in the national semi and then 10 in the final. a large number of them were sung by pretty, good looking well dressed pop stars and a large number of them were upbeat pop numbers. Even with all this, THE PUBLIC voted for the girl who, lets face it is not your stereotypical pop star but has an incredible voice and a good song. We, in the UK, picked Scooch. Go figure!

    There is definitely some political voting going on at Eurovision. Heck, I’m one of them. I can’t vote for the UK so of course I’m gonna vote for Serbia, and so are all my fellow emigrants. Overall though, I feel it is not right to attribute all the results on neighbourly votes as there are obviously many other factors involved. Let’s not jump at the first sight of Eastern European dominance. Lets see what happens in future years, maybe we’ll brush up our acts, maybe they’ll give up theirs. Maybe it’s a momentary blip.

    Hope the final is good and GO SERBIA!!!!!!!!! (I figure the UK don’t really stand much chance

  10. Tinsie said

    Well said, Nik. Totally agree with you.

    BTW I loved Zeljko Joksimovic’s entry a couple of years ago, and think this year’s Serbian entry is also very good. Good luck to you!

  11. Well said indeed, Nik! Whatever people may say about neighbourly voting, it’s still impossible to win the contest on political voting alone – and anyone who is complaining about the Eastern European dominance needs to take a look at recent results, since an Eastern European country hasn’t actually won since 2004! And let’s not forget that Estonia, Ukraine and Latvia (and of course Yugoslavia back in 1989)are the only countries from Eastern Europe who have actually won the contest to date, leaving plenty more who haven’t – hardly total dominance!

    As for political voting….so it’s not OK for Moldova and Romania to exchange votes, but it’s OK for the UK and Ireland to do so????? Go figure…….in many ways I think the West is just as guilty of being neighbourly!

  12. Richard said

    Thx guys… I’m going to a Eurovision party tonite (but wish I was in Helsinki or somewhere hot so we watch the show on a big screen outside in a city square with 1000s of other people and shout and argue and sing (Go Ukraine!!!!) and wake up tommorrow with a headache and a sore throat 🙂

  13. sweden said

    hmmm…i like georgia`s song but also bosnish..i think they r very good.hope at one of them r gonna win..
    i ll not talking about my coutry(that s wouldnt be fair:))
    good luck GEORGIA N BOSNIA 🙂
    johanna

  14. lise said

    out of anyone the russian girls should have won it the serbian song was depressing !!! re the voting i bet the outcome would be different if the countrys werent announced and it was eg vote song 1,2,3 and they were revealed at the end. it would make it more fun to guess which country you were actually voting for. well done terry wogan again at least he kept me awake tonight !!

  15. Tinsie said

    I’m really pleased Serbia won – I love their song. Ukraine were a scream, and I liked both Russia and Bulgaria.

    Not sure how Turkey got in the top 5 though. I thought their song was very mediocre.

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