The day of semi 1 has arrived, and despite (or maybe because?) following lots of rehearsals, we really are none the wiser, are we? Nevertheless, I'll dive into it and predict tonight's ten qualifiers. And to make sure I make an even bigger fool out of myself, I'll even throw in a more or less complete ranking of how I think it'll look when the full results are out on Sunday morning (or before, 2005-style).
So, here you go!
1: MOLDOVA- A little bit of a risky guess here, but I think it's going to do very well with the juries, and see no reason why at least some of the televoters shouldn't too.
2: DENMARK- I haven't "felt" it properly all season, and think it is far weaker than it's made out to be, but it's bound to do well. I never got the hype about Greece 2005 either, and we all know what happened there.
3: UKRAINE - She knows how to sell it, and it's pretentious enough for several of the jury members to lap it up, despite it having no structure or anything. Oh, and it's FABOO, of course.
4: IRELAND - Coming across very well, both in the hall and on screen - it manages to balance nicely between being modern and traditional, both visually and sound-wise. Would've been even better if he had the attitude to pull it off.
5: RUSSIA - Rock solid.
6: NETHERLANDS - Comes across very well after Ukraine. They have to make it with this one.
7: BELARUS - May well be punished by some juries for being a cheap pile of bouncy cheese, but for what it is, it's quite solid. Just remember to smile... CHA CHA HEY
8: ESTONIA - Stands out as a nice, warm standard ballad with a strong melody, performed well. Might not do too well with televoters, but I think the juries will make sure this makes it.
9: SERBIA - Looks horrible and it's a horrible song, but it somehow still works. Won't be shocked if they don't make it, but should be through.
10: CROATIA - The tricky tenth spot... Not at all sure about this, despite being confident all season.
BELGIUM - Opposite of Croatia here - I've had no faith in it all season, but it has crept up on me during rehearsals. In those cases I'm often better off sticking to my initial instinct.
MONTENEGRO - I hope I'm wrong - the final needs this!
LITHUANIA - Love the song, but it's somehow all lost.
CYPRUS - Might not hit a single televote top 10, but some oldfashioned jury members should keep this away from last. And it's cute.
SLOVENIA - I love them for trying, but I'd love them more if they'd both tried and actually found a proper song to go along with it. And why cover up the boys with massive masks?! :-(
AUSTRIA - Nothing to make it stand out, no friends, no pyro, no petitfours... A shame, really.