I found Semi 1 quite difficult to predict, as my 'results' showed, with only seven correct out of ten. In Semi 2, however, I see far fewer surprises, and am quite in agreement with the bookies.
There are nine entries that are considered safe qualifiers by the bookies, and they're the nine I would put in without hesitation too. The only question that remains for me is around Georgia.
Until rehearsals, the Georgian song was considered a complete outsider, with no chance of qualifying. And despite really liking the song, I was fully on board with this. But rehearsal reports have suggested that it looks fantastic on stage, and several bloggers have placed it among their qualifiers for tonight.
I'm still not so sure. I still think it's just too difficult, too inaccessible, too 'not Eurovision' to get through a semi-final. A great visual performance can lift a song, but it's all too easy when watching rehearsals to forget to judge songs as just that - songs. We get so familiar with them, we end up evaluating them as 'better than before' or 'better than I expected', and losing sight of our initial impressions. And my initial impression of Georgia was 'great but doomed'.
So, on to my prediction
1. Ukraine - I never really saw this as a winner, but I've been talked around by the bloggers during the last week, and am now feeling it could pick up a big swell of votes during the semi (I still don't see it as a winner on Saturday though)
2. Australia - I always found this bland and overrated, and no doubt I'll be underwhelmed by it tonight, but it seems to be pressing the right buttons for people in Stockholm.
3. Belgium - a really tough prediction for 3rd, it could be any of Belgium and the three below it here.
6. Bulgaria - I don't quite think Bulgaria have Same Heart-ed this up, as much as anything because Poli has a lot more about her than Mei Feingold did, and a much less disjointed song in the first place
7. Israel - seems like an obvious qualifier now, so I'm pleased that I had faith in it when it was out at 3.1 to qualify
8. Poland - kinda predicted by default here, I'd be quite happy to see it miss out, and not shocked either
9. Lithuania - what I said for Poland
10. Norway - I'm still really curious to see if this works. I think it's great, and it should do well, bu it really could fall very flat, particularly if Agnete doesn't nail it vocally. And that then opens the door for Georgia or one of the others.
11. Denmark - hoping my instinct on their live performance will be right
12. Macedonia - it sounds like she's been nailing it through rehearsals, but I still doubt that's enough for such an old-fashioned (though amazing) song
14. Albania - boring but has friends
16. Ireland - boring and doesn't have friends
17. Belarus - seriously, who's going to vote for this? Yes, it's got gimmicks, but when they're this ridiculous and the song this bad, do people vote for gimmicks, or just laugh at them and move on?
18. Switzerland - not so much the last of her kind, just last.