Tuesday 13 May 2014

Austria won!! The internet says so.

You -may- have heard it somewhere else already, but we can confirm it: All over Russia people are shaving their beards.

But we also want congratulate Austria with their second win, after 48 years! In what was one of the closest votings in years, Conchita Wurst emerged victorious and brought the trophy to the alpine country.

What remains after this fabulous 59th edition is to minimise the onset of Post-Eurovision Depression (P.E.D.). That black hole with a nagging lack of glitter, key change and television shows with snazzy led-backgrounds.

A good way to counter the ill effects of P.E.D. is of course to rewatch some of the shows.
You can always rewatch it through Eurovision.tv, a stream without commentary, but you may also enjoy the Irish commentary. You can rewatch that for the next fortnight via their rteplayer.ie service.
If anyone has access to it, we are VERY interested in the Australian commentary, with comedienne Julia Zemiro. So let us know!

Apart from watching endless repeats of your favourite event, you can also relisten to the special online radio channel BBC Radio 2 Eurovision, with many interviews and of course lots of Eurovision music. But be quick, it'll all be over in one week.

It can also be interesting to read what the rest of world thinks of Eurovision.
Some do give the facts a cringing spin, such as HBO's Last Week Tonight.

Oh well. At least he introduces Eurovision to a wider audience, which is always a plus. Also doing their bit to make Eurovision better known across the pond, is Buzzfeed. You may remember them from their hilarious post about the 2013 contest. The 11 Most Absurd Moments Of Eurovision 2013 And their general post about Eurovision in general. Everything Non-Europeans Need To Know About Eurovision This year, they also had a go and it's nice to see that they genuinely love it! 30 Amazing Things I Learnt At Eurovision 2014 The website OverthinkingIt.com also reviewed a few of this year's entries, though not as much as last year.

Another guide about Eurovision comes from TheWire, where they give the average, unsuspecting American a crash course to our beloved contest. They also had someone writing a liveblog during this year's final, which you can re-read here. And then there's those who just want to have a laugh. Dutch Luckytv.nl had a field week and his Conchita-montage was the one of the funniest on the web. Flemish comedy collective Neveneffecten had some current affairs fun too, as Vladimir Putin was secretly filmed at home. We're still waiting for Scandinavia and The World to make their annual Eurovision comic. This one's from last year. (EDIT: They have finally released it!!) For more snigger-reading there's several tens of thousands of #Eurovision tweets to go through. If you find any gold nuggets there, please post them under this article or on the Messageboard! Finally we'd like to thank you, dear reader, for visiting our little live blog from Copenhagen. We hope you enjoyed our reporting as much as we enjoyed writing it. If you're new to our website, please discover our message board. It is a very active little community, teeming with life even during the looming off-season, and it is THE BEST remedy against any bout of P.E.D. and helps to bridge the coming quiet months. Before you know it, the 2015 on-season will be here again, and our team will be ready to report from Austria! Until then, good bye!

Saturday 10 May 2014

And the final prediction for 2014!

So, with just over 15 minutes until the scheduled start of the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, coming to your screens direct from the B&W Hallarne in Copenhagen, Denmark, I thought it may be appropriate to try and give my (as much as possible) unbiased opinion and thought about the placing of the countries in tonight's show. As history has proven time and time again, this is not my strongest point in the least and I normally manage to fair shockingly badly on this - maybe something to think about for your last minute bets! Whatever I write, make sure you bet against!

So, after nearly two full weeks of rehearsals, of technical failures, of late busses, of more rehearsals, utter joy and sad disappointment for semi-finalists, what have I learnt?

I might be wishful thinking here (not that it would make any difference to me since apparently Maastricht is already being mentioned as a location - which would mean not able to stay at home if it did). I do however think it a strong song and one cannot disregard the monumental shortening of the odds after the semi-final.

United Kingdom
Although many British members of the accredited press seem to be annoyed at the fact that Molly has been selected to close the show, I believe this may be a stroke of genius. Maybe if the Netherlands was in the first half it could have made all the difference but I still think a good second place for the Union Jack is quite credible.

I feel this entry may have been dismissed by some of the betting population. It also comes from a country which always has very strong showings in the contest - and it cannot be just due to some unproven less than savoury stunts by some of their supporters. This year they have an excellent song and something for people to really go after.

Another strong Eurovision nation and another good song. Tipped by the bookies to be the winner of tonight, I believe it may not make it that far - even though the betting odds have been quite accurate for the past few years. I am sure of a top 5 finish, and a very likely 4th place in my books.

And to close my top 5, Conchita Wurst will Rise like a Phoenix. Unfortunately I don't think that there will be enough votes coming from some of the more conservative nations tonight to be able to clinch the top spot however a top five showing is quite deserved.

Unfortunately I cannot show explain each of the 26 so the rest will just be placed in my predictive order.




San Marino

Naturally some very scientific conclusions as to the reasons why I placed some of these countries in the place that I have. We shall see how much Europe and myself agree in about three and a half hours.

It's nearly time!

It's Eurovision today!

I've been getting 8 qualifiers right in both semis, and my wild prediction of Belgium not qualifying - let's see how I'll fare tonight... This is what I think, with some comments to spice it up.

1 SWEDEN Still not at all sure about this, but I'm confident it'll do very well with both televoters and juries, which I can imagine might be enough - even if she doesn't win either.
2 NETHERLANDS I did a ridiculous tiny bet of the well-that's-clearly-not-going-to-happen-but-it's-a-very-good-song-and-its-odds-are-201 on this a few weeks ago. Who knew everyone else would follow suit? :-o
3 AZERBAIJAN Still my favourite of all 37, it's a wonderful breath of fresh air, and should do well even with a less than ideal draw. Assume it will get the usual amount of Azerbaijan televotes, as well as quite a bit of jury votes all across.
4 DENMARK Has plummeted down on oddschecker, but I'm not sure why... Is there something hideous happening in rehearsals that I've missed the reports on? If not, it still sounds like a bouncy, happy delight with a great draw to me.
5 AUSTRIA I actually put this in 5th already in my pre-rehearsal prediction, simply in lack of something else, but all of a sudden, it's starting to look likely. And I've always thought it was a very good song, so why not?
8 ARMENIA Did not come across at all as well in the semi as I expected - can't see this troubling the top, but should still do reasonably well.
10 SWITZERLAND Erk. Don't like it, didn't think it'd qualify, but it did work better than expected on stage. And it seems to be doing surprisingly well on various iTunes charts across Europe. Could there be something in the waters...?
12 SLOVENIA A risky guess, this. Could still easily end up last, really. Assuming it'd have to rely heavily on jury support to come anywhere near here.
14 NORWAY Quite sure Carl Espen isn't going to come anywhere near where he was expected to a few months ago, and wouldn't really be at all shocked if it went all Tooji, but it does still seem to have a certain support from some. Basically, I think it'll pass most by, but those that do like it seem to like it a lot.
15 SPAIN Could end up anywhere between 4th and 26th, really...
16 POLAND Similarly, nooo idea about these boobs and things. Glad it's in the final, though!
17 ITALY Such a good artist, and then she brings that rather nothingness of a song, and also seems to not be performing it particularly well. Could we see Italy get their worst ever result in placing, worsening Domenico Modugno's joint 17th in 1966? Pretty sure it'll get more points than he did, though.
18 MALTA I couldn't care less, so 18th it is.
19 RUSSIA Worked far better on stage than i expected, even if it was all rather ridiculous (GOD, the HAIR thing!), but still, it's a massive pile of nothing.
20 FINLAND It's solid and competent, as well as quite different to all the others, but somehow still doesn't really stand out.
22 BELARUS Yami's cheesecake was noms. This entry kinda was too, surprisingly. But it's all a bit like CHA CHA HEY last year - makes perfect sense as a qualifier, but who's going to vote for it once it's here?
24 UKRAINE I really have no faith in this at all. It might be because I think it's frightfully dull and uninteresting, and with a total nothing of a melody, though...
26 GERMANY Too obvious to actually come last, so surely it'll be 25th instead.

Have a ball tonight, boys and girls and kittens and cheesecakes! May the best or thereabouts win - and if that could be Netherlands, for instance... oktxbai

"THE ODDS! THE ODDS! BETTING!" - A Gambler's Guide to the ESC Grand Final

It's only blooming Eurovision final day! And once again, those of us who like to place a bet or two on Europe's premier music festival find ourselves faced with the knowledge that surprises can happen at any time. Not that everyone had Israel down as a safe qualifier, but Mei's fine failure on Thursday was predicted by relatively few - although I do find myself with a certain sense of déjà vu here, having said something similar about Moran Mazor at this point in last year's proceedings.

With that in mind, then, how best to navigate the many and varied betting markets for tonight's grand final? This blog aims to provide you with a modest overview of the available options - based, as always, on the comprehensive Oddschecker mini-site (which you can find here) and using the odds at the time this post was published, which could still change substantially between now and the winner being crowned in Copenhagen!

The winner market is where we begin, of course, since it's where comfortably the most money is placed by fans and non-fans alike. The semi-finals have led to some huge and unexpected movements, backing up a theory I and many observers have had for a while: namely that the early favourite status enjoyed by Armenia was merely the result of local and ex-pat money being placed, coupled with a sense that the market "needed" a clear favourite à la Loreen and Emmelie. Aram was overtaken by the Common Linnets almost as soon as the first semi was over, and Conchita Wurst has since joined the ranks of the favourites too. The Dutch and Austrian entries are generally trading at a price of around 4.5 right now, just behind favourite Sweden at a best price 3.75 - with Armenia having slipped as far as 11 with some bookmakers following the announcement of the final running order.

As for where to place your money, you don't need me to tell you who to tip for the win tonight, but Denmark is surely an interesting each-way candidate at generous odds of 41 with Coral, while a best price of 14 for the UK is one of the more realistic appraisals of a British entry for some time (assuming you don't buy into the theory that the last starting position in a 26-song field is automatically fatal - which, in turn, might depend on whether you're a Ryan Dolan fan or a member of Team #HiPasha).

The rank outsiders according to the bookmakers are Slovenia, Montenegro, Belarus and San Marino, with odds ranging from 201 to 501 depending on who you ask. Two of those have pretty nice starting positions, granted, but now is probably not the time to be betting the house on a trip to Ljubljana in May 2015.

Most interesting of all might be Hungary at 26 with Bwin or at 17 with various sites that allow each-way bets. Tonight may (and probably will) prove me wrong, but I still have a general sense that Hungary is a little underrated: one of the few truly contemporary pop songs in the competition and with an effective visual performance, if you want to apply broad stereotypes (and they can be useful sometimes), it has a darkness that should play well with the "east" married with an urban sensibility that could fly in more northern/western parts of the continent.

That's why, with its healthy spot in the running order as an additional factor, I think 3.5 for Hungary to finish in the top four is a tempting bet. There's a similar if less persuasive case to be made for the friendly entry from Malta, which might catch fire and return you a tidy sum from its current odds of 9 for a top four finish. On the other hand, if you're versed in the ways of Betfair, you might want to consider "laying" (i.e. betting against) Sweden, Austria or the Netherlands for a top four finish - with Conchita in particular, there's a distinct sense that people are betting so heavily on the entry because they want it to do well and because it's being talked about, but talk isn't the same thing as cold, hard votes. In any case, you can more than double your money with a successful bet against any of the current "big three" in the betting.

You might want to save your Maltese pennies for the top ten finish market, where Firelight look very good value at odds of 3.25 to approximately repeat Gianluca's impressive result from last year. Alternatively, if you believe in the chances of the lady who kindly donated her lyric to the title of this post, you can get 3.25 for Spain's Ruth Lorenzo to repeat the Pastora Soler trick and squeeze into the top ten. Other interesting nibbles include seasoned professionals Paula and Ovi from Romania (4) and the charmer of the second semi-final, Switzerland's Sebalter (4.33), who also benefits from an optimal starting position.

Or if you're willing to play the shorter odds, you can get 1.6 and 1.7 respectively for near-permanent top tenners Greece and actually-permanent top tenners Azerbaijan, both of whom are probably trading at a higher than expected prices because of their early positions in the running order. On the flip side, if you really don't believe that Sweden's Sanna Nielsen will end up in the top ten, Bwin will give you odds of 9 or so for her to miss out, and similar markets and prices are available elsewhere. Never be afraid to make "negative" bets - they're often my biggest money-spinners, simply because sometimes it's easier to say what won't happen than what will!

Unlike in the semi-finals, there's no shortage of niche markets when it comes to the Eurovision final. Most interesting of all might be the geographical markets, where the bookmakers offer odds on the country that will finish the highest among a certain subset of countries. Take the so-called "top Balkan" market, for example: Montenegro and Slovenia (each 13) are the understandable outsiders here, but the short price on Greece (1.44) means that you might be interested in the only other country in the group, Romania, which currently has odds of 4.33.

Hungary again seems to be the value bet in "Central Europe", effectively being offered at 3.75 to beat Austria (OK, OK, and the others in its group too - namely Switzerland, Germany and Poland). The "Nordic" market is as you might expect, with Sweden clearly leading the way, while the "Southern Europe" betting is split quite evenly between Spain, Malta and Italy - so if you're a firm believer in the chances of one of those entries in particular, that might be an easy way to make a few euros. Finally, I have to highlight what's being called the "Eastern Europe" market, where the perceived strength of Armenia (1.53), Ukraine (2.75) and, to a lesser extent, Azerbaijan (7) means that the country with easily the most favourable draw of the group and arguably the most reliable "neighbourly voting" strength - Russia - is currently trading at a remarkable 19. I'm not saying they will come out on top of that particular battle, but they've got to be worth a look at that price...

A further category is the top big five entry, and Molly from the UK is the clear, clear favourite here at odds of 1.67. Again, this means big money if you're a backer of one of the other nations that are considered to be indispensable to the event, whether that's Emma from Italy (10) or Elaiza from Germany (21). Alternatively, if you believe in the overall strength of the big five plus Denmark but you don't want to pin yourself down to a single country, Bwin will currently give you odds of 9.00 for any of the automatic finalists to win. If nothing else, if you're planning on betting on the UK for victory at odds of 12, you might as well take this bet instead - it's almost the same price and you get bets on Basim, Ruth, Emma and co. as a safety net!

At the other end of the scale, we all enjoy a glorious failure, but at the time of writing only a few sites are offering odds on last place. Perhaps understandably, the field is headed by San Marino at 5, followed by Germany (6), Belarus (6) and France (10). By contrast, you can currently get odds of 2501 (!) at Boylesports for Sweden, Austria or the Netherlands to finish last. It won't happen, of course, but it's notable for being the largest price I've seen for any single Eurovision-related outcome for a while!

What the market for last place doesn't tell us is whether the last-placer will score nul points. As usual, and as recent history tells us, the simple answer here is that it's highly unlikely: you'll get odds of 6.5 for there to be a zero-scorer in tonight's final, with just 1.14 available if you're sure that everyone will get points.

Bwin also offer numerous head-to-heads. These allow you to bet specifically on one country beating another one, irrespective of where they end up on the scoreboard generally. For example, you can get 2.10 for the intimacy of the Netherlands to beat the carefully crafted impact of Sweden, while 3.00 says that Greece will "rise up" and finish higher than Armenia. Denmark is generally a little underrated for a mainstream pop song with an excellent draw, trading at 3.00 to beat the Netherlands and 4.00 to beat neighbour Sweden. For me, though, the outstanding head-to-head is Azerbaijan vs. Ukraine - both have unfavourable early draws, yet somehow last year's runner-up Azerbaijan with its reliable voting friends is considered the clear outsider, and you can currently get odds of 2.70 for "Start A Fire" to finish ahead of "Tick Tock". That must be worth a little look regardless of whatever sympathy votes may flow Mariya's way.

The final question we'll address here is one that might determine whether tonight's voting sequence is a thriller or an hour of relative boredom: namely the winning margin. Several sites are offering odds on this key question - but as you'll see, the categories they use for carving up the figures are all slightly different, making it more or less impossible to compare them directly. Nevertheless, take a look for yourself at Oddschecker and see if anything jumps out at you!

Believe it or not, even at the end of this long and rambling post, we've really only scratched the surface of the countless ways there are for you to both win and lose money tonight. Still, this has hopefully made things a little clearer, and the aforementioned Oddschecker will help you to navigate your way around the various markets. However you choose to spend your time and your hard-earned cash, may you have a wonderful Eurovision night, may the best song win (hah!), and may your betting account be a little fuller at the end of it all. Have fun!

Friday 9 May 2014

Download your Printable Final Scorecard here!

The dust of the drama that was semi final 2 hasn't entirely settled down, but the show must go on. And that show takes place next saturday. Danish broadcaster DR has just announced the running order for the Eurovision Song Contest final.

If you're planning a party you may enjoy our printable scoresheets. As a new thing this year, we're also offering US Letter size pdfs for download, next to the European A4.


Final Scoresheet (US Letter)

The running order is as follows:
1. Ukraine
2. Belarus
3. Azerbaijan
4. Iceland
5. Norway
6. Romania
7. Armenia
8. Montenegro
9. Poland
10. Greece
11. Austria
12. Germany
13. Sweden
14. France
15. Russia
16. Italy
17. Slovenia
18. Finland
19. Spain
20. Switzerland
21. Hungary
22. Malta
23. Denmark
24. The Netherlands
25. San Marino
26. United Kingdom

1st Dress Rehearsal - 2014 Final (Post-Songs)

After Lise's product plugging, Nikolaj and Pilou start talking about the commentators. It appears Graham Norton will be shown on TV again, probably one of the most famous Commentators accross Europe with his show being broadcast in many of the participating nations.

The voting is to start shortly and the list of all countries is seen. Shots of the green room follow with all but one of the sofa's being filled by stand-ins. The one which is not is France as you could imagine. Lorent, François and Patrick are taking in every minute of this it seems - and good on them for doing so.

Recap of the songs.

Back in the arena and Nikolaj informs us of the competition where people accross Europe were asked to send in their ideas of a performance on stage. A German viewer seems to have had the best idea, and he requeste to see what Eurovision wold look like in the future. We therefore have a preview of what the Contest will look like in 2075!

First of all it is an Earthvision. Every country in the world takes part. A showdown is needed to ensure the contest doesn't last two weeks and therefore five songs take part and sing at the same time. Well, this is ... painful. Merethe Trøan doesn't have enough lung capacity to mock this as much as it needs. We've seen some bad interval acts in the past but this takes the cake. Can we get Petra Mede again please? Really, if you ever needed the bathroom use this - you miss nothing!

After the randomness that was this 'interval', Lise is on stage with Gaia, winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2013 from Malta. Gaia doesn't sing her whole song but gives us a bit of the chorus.

Second recap ensues.

After the second recap, there is a 10 second countdown by the three presenters in order to close the televoting.

Nikolaj is on stage and informs us of the Danish museum of Eurovision History in Copenhagen. It incldes ABBA's actual costumes from 1974, the language school for visitors "Douze Points" says the teacher holding a stick. Johnny Logan (the real one) is there also and starts complaining about having to sit on the chair for hours and hours. In the children area, the younger amongst us go into a balloon arched-cave, where Lordi is there to scare them to death.

Leaving the kids area, we meet the Herrey's walking down the hallway, with their golden shoes leaving golden footprints on the floor. Finally, a karaoke booth with glitter and pyro and anything else which a Eurovision hopeful will need. Finishing this section (which in fairness is quite amusing) and we're back in the green room with Lise.

Lise talks to Richard and Michelle from Malta (again, the real artists this time) and also Molly (again, real!) which makes it slightly more interesting than when she was interviewing the fake ones. Molly would have voted for the Netherlands and Malta if she could.

Moving on and we now talk with Twin Twin. Patrick's hair naturally grew a French flag. Lise has a set of moustaches for Lorent and he selects one for himslef and also one for Lise to try on. This completes this section of the show.

Nikolaj and Pilou are back on stage and we are getting ready for Emmelie. A very different performance of Only Teardrops is shown on stage. Female dancers dressed as trees, many a man banging the stage with drum sticks... not really what we are used to.

We move along into Rain Maker and you have some drummer guys kneeling in the water for this. That water is quite deep!! We have people jumping into it (and going completely under)! Many a naked torso and jumping assets in bras to ensure all the watching public have something to look at.

The flags of all the participating nations start walking on stage as do the artists. Some of the artists seem to be enjoying this more than others. And some seem to know the lyrics a bit more than others too. In fact, some of them (not mentioning names) seem to be completely baffled as to what this is.

It seems that the section where the artists were singing the song which had previously been filmed has been removed. The original idea was that all artists would be filmed singing the song and clips used for this section however, for one reason or another, not all artists were invited to do the recording. This left some of those not requested to do so quite angry about the situation so instead of finishing all recordings, it appears the item was scrapped.

It seems the next section is for this:
I say it seems since it appears there are more technical issues and therefore everyone is just standing around looking confused. There's a lot of Danish being spoken - which I don't understand - and many a person with papers looking at what is going on next. The video posted above has been shown in bits and pieces so and Nikolaj has been seen at the white piano for a bit. I guess it might be considered funny and entertaining in some areas of the continent.

And yes, we have started again and in fact it is this ode to 12 points which is the next section.

And finally we have arrived to the most important part of the night - the votes! All the spokespeople will give a wave before the voting starts. Each of them is seen in a big block projected on the back wall.

And yet another issue now with the scores - no one knows who starts, is it Albania or Hungary? Again we seem to be needing to fill time while things get organised.

You'd assume that this part could not have been screwed up but it has been. Oh well, teething problems I'm sure. And now we start with the voting. And it is Albania who start us off. But it seems we are going in alphabetical order since next is Armenia. Ukraine gets 12 from 'Albania' and Belarus the twelve from 'Armenia'. I can see a pattern here. Will Azerbaijan get those from 'Austria' who is next to vote?

And yes, yes they do. So we know what the voting is like for this dress rehearsal. Alphabetical order for the country order and the 12 goes to the next song in line in performance order.

The voting order is ISO-2 code rather than alphabetical, Switzerland (CH) votes next after Belgium.

And yet more technical issues in this section. At least it's just a run through. Not nice to be watching this.

And if you were wondering why on earth it took so long to update anything, it's because it seems the voting section has been given up on. Nothing showing on screen, no audio and no one who seems to know what is going on It's raining heavily outside and well, that's about it. If nothing seems to be happening shortly I might take the opportunity to close and go for some much needed rest.

1st Dress Rehearsal - 2014 Final (Songs 13-26)

Impeccable performance, amazing staging as always, lights that work, this just screams to us top 5, if not winner. Unfortunately it is unlikely that Sweden will win again this year, but thankfully it is after a break so Conchita is unlikely to affect the result. Could Sanna be fighting Molly for the trophy? Wouldn't be too surprised if it did! 

The guys of Twin Twin are hanging round in a back alley street. They are playing with bikes and have hooked up smoke canisters which have colours added. The colours are those of the French tricolore.

There is a technical issue on stage and therefore Nikolaj has to do a very painful improvisation talk with the audience to keep the attention. If this happened on the night I can see many kettles being lit.

Which may not be just because of the Nikolaj speech, but also because unfortunatley France seems to be a disaster live. We start with Lorent shouting "Hello Copenhagen" and continuing with "We are Twin Twin!" - not to ruin his excitement but we know who they are, the commentator just told us.

No one would love to see these amazingly funny guys do really well in the contest but even though they have fun staging, fun attitudes and a fun performance, it does not manage to distract you from the fact that they are at best Euroclub karaoke singers who have decided to go on stage after a bit of Dutch courage being ingested. I can see Elaiza and Twin Twin fighting for the wooden spoon this year.

As many reports have been made in various media, there was a lot of boo's for the girls on their qualification on Tuesday. Even though we may all have our personal views on the situation regarding the policies of Russia and the decisions of their elite, this does not allow for the ruining of one of the happiest moments for two 17-year-old sisters who have nothing to do with the decision making of their political leader.

The song itself is good enough, and it's representing Russia so it will not do terribly even if the juries are not impressed as they were not with Alex Sparrow back in 2011. Could just miss out on top 10, but most likely between 7th and 11th.

Emma is in an open-air market. She goes round the stalls and buys some basil, tomatoes and mozzarella. She then goes back and is seen on a roof terrance cutting the produce bought and paces them in a serving bowl. Basil, mozzarella and tomatoes form the Italian flag.

Someone should inform Emma that clapping on the microphone is probably not the best thing you can do when you're singing live. Playback maybe, but live not. She still sounds very out of breath and you're half expecting her to decide to take a break and light up a cigarette. Shots of the cameraman's arse behind the lead singer bending over is lovely and will work well I'm sure *cough*.

Hot mess, and not in a good way. Probably Italy's worst result since coming back to Eurovision.

My wild prediction made it thorugh so very glad about that. Even though my second one of Israel passing and failing was beaten by the fact she didn't even get through to the Saturday show...

I still think this will do quite well, maybe not amazingly well, but well. I say top of the right hand side. It is not going to be lighting up living rooms accross the continent but will find enough classic supporters to persuade a decent showing. Slovenia as we know used to be considered doomed, with not even their former compatriots of former Yugoslavia bothering to give them many points. Neither their neighbours of Austria or Hungary, the forgotten country if you will, so the fact they qualified for the first time since Maja Keuc back in Düsseldorf is an achievement in itself. 

This was bound to get through to Saturday and it did ot fail to deliver. Will it be enough though to see them have a strong showing on the night? Not convinced that it will. It was a strong song in the semi-final but now that there are the strongest songs from both semis involved and having Spain just after them might mean they are quickly forgotten. Having said that however, the aficionado's of the genre will be voting for them en masse. Hard to predict this one but I would keep Finland in the second half of the score board. 

Ruth and her dancer friend are using woold and twirling it round two columns of a building. They obviously use yellor and red wool and once they have enough, a picture is taken of the Spanish flag.

And Ruth has wet hair, or at least appears to be wet, which may not be the most advised when the weather is as changeable as it is here in Denmark. Nonetheless, she belts out her rendition of the song, and in a much cleaner and less screachy style we have seen in the rehearsals. A big applause in the press area in heard after once done, but that is mainly since again it is dominated by Hispanics. A strong top 10 showing I believe.

Another lovely song next. Sebastiano is still the cutest thing and you can't help but go "awww!" every time you see him. His charm and song were enough to see him beat the likes of Mei last night, but what would they be able to grant him on Saturday? Unfortunately I would say not too much, since cuteness and charm do not always translate in votes for the Saturday when Joe Public is watching. I believe Sebalter will be celebrating their achievement anyway, which they should be proud of, however I doubt we will see them very high on Saturday.

Running, running, running, yes she is! And it's great that András and the Hungarian team managed to portray the song so well on stage. It could have easily gone very wrong for the Magyars this year but it did not - to which a big sigh of relief I am sure. Currently Hungary are 6th favourite to win, could an extremely electifying performance help them do better? There are always many factors to take into consideration but with the level of the songs this year I doubt that we are too expect much more. A top 5 is possible but I agree with the standings and say 6th is more likely.

Michelle is wearing her glasses this afternoon - I guess too much celebrating last night. Another good rendition by this group even though at points they appear not to be as enthousiastic as they have been in previous days, again possibly due to the celebrations. But an artist must be professional at all times and hope they bring it out of the bag for the Jury Final tonight.

Trying to keep an open mind about the song and not let my personal connection hype it more than it should, I believe the performance is strong enough for a top 10 or at least a close to. First half of the board.

Well, the danes doe things a bit differently... Basim and his friends decide to paint old furniture, including three-piece suit in the colours of Denmark. The picture does not seem to correctly represent what they were doing but since when did that matter?

Yes it is catchy, and yes you have the skubidubida thing but really, I still don't see what this is all about. And the fact that many a Dane thinks it will win just because it is catchy makes me question it even more. Vocally it is struggling this afternoon and that is without him having to have passed a semi-final just last night. The face flag has gone and now just the big heart with "Love" written on it remains.

The host country generally does well, but could we be facing another You so close to last year? If the performance is anything like this was, possibly yes!

After the Dutch post card ended, Pilou appears on stage in order to tell us three songs remain. It appears that the crew behind the song were not ready and therefore we are needing a new filler. It could be that this is just to test if it would happen in a real situation since a pre-prepared roll is played. The voiceover says "Ladies and Gentlemen, it appears we are having technical difficulties. While we fix these, here are some of the hits of the Euovision Song Contest". The video then continues to show some of the best known hits that came from the contest.

Once Calm After the Storm starts, you get the feeling that this will create a riot if there really were difficulties on the night. The interruption does make the whole continuation confusing and you're not expecting the song to just start. Maybe if they replayed the video first. I would complain vividly if I were in a delegation and this happened.

The song itself is a contender I feel. Currently third favourite this is an amazing feat since just two weeks ago they were a rank outsider where you could get amazing high odds for the country duo. Only the performance on Saturday and the voting public will be able to reveal if the bookies are right.

San Marino
Finally in the final, it is still a shock how this qualified but we all assume it is a mathematical reason of how she finished 10th due to the voting system. We don't need to be amazed at her not lighting up the scoreboard on the night however, being in between two of the top favourites while finding herself on 26th place in the odds does not bode well.

Ralf is still on the piano and Valentina is doing her best to try and make the song more appealing but it is not working. Apart from Germany and France, San Marino will probably complete the last three spots on the Final night.

United Kingdom
And we finally arrive at the song we were all waiting for. The UK postcard shows Molly rolling out white paper on a big car park. She directs old red-double decker buses to form the St. George's cross. She then directs red post office vans to be the cross of St. Patrick. After being lifted on a large fork lift, she then encourages various individuals in blue plastic raincoats to fill in the spaces in order to represent the blue of St. Andrew.

The performance is still amazing, even though this rehearsal did not have any pyro. Singing last was not the preferred choice of many of the British journalists and fans gathered in Copenhagen but it was quite likely to happen and so it did. It appears the last time a song which performed last won was back in 1989 when Riva's Rock Me clintched it for Yugoslavia. Could this be the following one? Possibly so - Manchester 2015?

Lise then comes on screen to sell off the CD and DVD and also the app where you can download all the song.

I hate that I love it

Poland just rehearsing. I am actually sitting with my back to the screen at the moment. When I don't have to watch the atrocities I actually like the song. It's the boobs, the boobs and the apparant flaunting of them I really dislike with this song. And like last time I was in the press centre it got a good round of cheers.

1st Dress Rehearsal - 2014 Final (Songs 1-12)

Vocally saving herself I think, she can do much better and these are now more of another run. Also, there is no more the pressure of having to ensure the qualification to the final which means there does not need to be that amazingness at every go. The guy in the hamster wheel however still gives it his all. Will IKEA start selling them do you think? It could be a new trend instead of the treadmill - much cheaper, doesn't run on electricity and fits quite nicely in a living room and can be the focal point of discussion when you have people over.

In regards to the song itself, not a winner I don't think but should still do pretty well. Would say top half of the board but not going to scare any of the strong entries battling for the top 5.

Teo seems to have had a bit of a late night. It seems a bit unfair to the acts who were only selected last night to have to do this rehearsal so close to their night of celebration but there is a time limit and therefore not much DR and/or EBU could do to avoid this. It is part of the planning nightmare that is the two semi-final system.

However he might be feeling, he is doing his best up on stage. Not as good as he was last night but good enough. I don't however see Belarus lighting up the voting finger of the viewing public and therefore would be quite comfortably see it lying in the bottom right corner of the board.

And another of the former Soviet Republics to take to the stage. This however is, as you may have imagined, one that personally does light a fire. Dilara looks lovely on stage and the song is worthy of a good place in the final. The trapeze artist is still a bit off-putting but it clearly didn't stop the Land of Fire from proceeding to the final. I believe it is not unlikely to see Azerbaijan holding at minimum a top-10 position.

Well, a pleasant surprise qualifier for this nation. And as mentioned in the press conference, why is it that Iceland always has to be revealed as the last country to proceed? Does no one in the volcanic island have a heart condition?

Vocally doing a good job and you can't help but tap your feet and do a little swing to this. It could well be a bit of a dark horse - left side of the board?

I just realised I had his postcard totally wrong but oh well... Coming so close after Azerbaijan may not have been the lucky break for Carl but with Iceland in the middle there is a break of pace which helps. Having to choose between the two nations, one dominated by ice and the other by fire, one holding the Northernmost position of Europe while the other technically making part of Asia, I still believe that Azerbaijan wins. Carl however could probably reach the top positions of the second half of the board.

Always one to look out for this country, especially after the miracle they pulled off last night. In fairness to them however, they have managed to get it a bit more slick than it was on screens before. Ovi still seems to be a bit of an extra but I guess we're used to him by now and as long as Paula is queen of the stage it's not as bad. 

Bad camera shot where you see Ovi stepping out of the circular piano - we do not need to see him bend over thank you very much!

And we see him come out of the circle again during Paula's high note. What is up with that?

The ending however is good, and can see the audience cheer and clap to this. Difficult one for me to predict since I just don't see why Europe would fall for this but it seems they do. Since I got their not-qualifying so totally wrong, I might as well go full change and say top half of the board.

Aram is wearing a t-shirt with the Union Jack on it. Is he sending a message to anyone? Probably not, but might as well have the rumour mill started like all good fans like to gossip about. Vocally competent but I believe the song has been hyped much more than it deserves to be. It is by no means a bad song but it should not really be challenging the top positions on the night. Having said this, Armenia does tend to fair quite well at the contest and therefore would doubt them finishing outside the top 10

So glad that the Black Mountain state has managed to get through to the final. It did take them numerous failed attempts in order to get here but finally they realised that the strong Balkan ballad is all you need to ensure qualification.

Ensuring qualification it did but what happens next. Many of the strong Balkan supporters are not in this year so would Montenegro manage to ammass the amount of votes needed for a good showing? I unfortunately think not necessarily. I would therefore put it at the bottom of the left hand side of the result table.

What can be said about this that has not been said before to show how much this needs to be in everybody's life? Well, unfortunately the fact that there was an incorrect graphic popping up during the song, that the mic level broke for a few seconds making Cleo sound far far away is not the exactly what needed to be said but it is what happened.

At least it qualified which is what most people wanted. In the final it might find a bit stiffer competition than last night. Could it see its popularity rise due to it being in the final - probably, will it mean that it will be in the top half - probably not. I would expect a mid-second half showing but may they be blessed for existing in Eurovision history!

Will he remember his lyrics on the night? Well, like we reported also during the rehearsals, it seems the written version of the lyrics is not as important to this group of youngsters as it may be to some of the other artists. The song allows for improvisation without it sounding strange - unless you are used to the studio version of the song.

The trampoline gimmick must have given the people at home a nice surprise but would this be as exciting second time around? I assume yes, and it is Greece after all - so what else is there to say apart from a top 10 result?

Should we be believing the rumours that Conchita won the semi-final? Could the Austrian bearded lady have knocked the youthful excitement brought to us by the Greeks? Is it a coincidence that they have now been placed back to back? Conchita is not singing with the power of last night, but that is understandable since she must be trying to avoid straining herself too much too soon, ruining the chances of tonight's jury rehearsal and most importantly, tomorrow's live show. She does however show us that she can still get the high notes whatever the situation and a rupture of applause envelopes the press hall.

First time we're seeing the German postcard and the group forming Elaiza are in a kitchen. They are making a mixture of candy blocks and are coloured Black, Red and Gold. they are then rolled together and small sweets made from the large sugary block. A picture is taken of one of the small sweeties for showing the German colours.

Performance wise there is not much there. The song itself is not bad, Elaiza are not bad, Ela's vocals are not bad ... but it seems to just be a mixture of "not bad". The cascade of streamers is too muchand it completely covers the band. Ela's face starts to get drowned by them and she has to remove some from her face. I would assume someone will be in touch about this to ensure that this is not the final result.

A quick break now where Nikolaj tells us to follow them on twitter on #JoinUs. He also decides to insult the elder generation by telling them if they did not know what a hashtag was, not to worry and just enjoy the show. "#JoinUs in the 21st century".

The Record Book is next, with the following record being that of Highest Note. No prizes for guessing who wins this one!

Back in the arena now for "Europe [to] make some noise!". More gay inuendos being mentiones with Lise thanking all the Eurovision fans, such lovely men dressed in, well, "all the colours of the rainbow." Yes, yes, we get it, most fans are gay.

Anyway, on with the show!

And thats why...

I don't tend to do predicitions. Yesterdays semifinal just screwed up everything I thought I knew about how people see and listen to music. Israel out?? I was astounded and a bit pissed off.
Other than that the second semifinal was a miracle when it comes to glam, lights and everything gala. Great music, not so great music and even a bit of australian exotica, wich one of my chairneighbours referred to as aubergine leading to a total collaps into laughter that kept going til the end of the night.
Euroclub was packed and we were happy.

On another note, our streak with strangeties about buses here in Copenhagen, magiacally seems to have vanished over night. Yesterday and today everything went as smooth as Teos face look on the beardfree areas.

Watching the first rehearsal of the final

The whole thing starts off with what can only be described as a Eurovision version of the "Parade of Nations" in beauty pageants like Miss Universe and Miss World. The stage shows the flag of each country, one at a time, while a voice reads the name of the country in three languages as the entrant walks across the stage and waves to the audience. Sadly, they aren't wearing ginormous feather-embedded national costumes :/

They managed to mess it up by announcing Greece as Poland and Poland as Greece, so they stopped it and will presumably start over...

One more try, and this time everyone entered when they should. A rather nice start of the contest

Something has actually changed in Ukraine. The whistle bits seem to be properly back. I can't tell if they are being done live or if they've changed to another backing track. But would this be the furst time (excluding 1993 and 1996) that a song has actually changed musically between the semifinal and the final?

The next few countries are all performing very similar to the semifinal, so not much to say there

Germany finally. In the postcard they're baking sweets in the colours of the German flag. The performance is quite basic, just the three members if the band performing it in the same way that someone would probably have performed this in Eurovision 1996 or so. Except for the pink confetti strips falling down at the end, which totally covered the lead singer making her look a bit like a pink egyptian mummy.

Now another Record book segment. The highest note ever is apparantly the one by Maja Blagdan. Congratulations Croatia, you managed to get a mention even though you're not participating this year.

Technical issue before France. But eventually it starts. The singer shouts random stuff in the intro and the rest of the performance is rather messy. But it might just be the kind of thing that works better with audience reactions.

Next country not from the semi is Italy, with the postcard of course being mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil. Visually I think the performance works well, even if there are a few notes that aren't quite working. 

Slovenia and Finland did their thing. Now Spain. Ruth made the Spanish flag with yarn. The stage looks really awesome, in my opinion. And the fake rain almost looks real, especially as Ruth performs with WET HAIR! (a first?). The white light at the end isn't that great though... And the backing singers are nowhere to be seen unfortunately. But overall the performance is very effective

Eventually we get to Denmark. Vocally it's not great today, but the camerawork looks good. 

Then there's some technical difficulties... They're taking quite some time. So they decided to cut to a clip containing a medley of "some of the greatest hits in Eurovision". I suspect this might be a clip they've created especially to use in case of technical issues on the final night, ans that we won't get to see it if there are no problems. Oh well, it was just "Fairytale", "Congratulations" (no, not the Silvia Night one sadly) and "Satellite", so no big loss :)

Now eventually the UK. Molly in a goldem short dress with a feather-like collar. Almost like something from the videoclip further up above. Vocally she and the backing singers are alright, but the performance isn't as effective as I hoped it would be. Maybe it'll work better with a more interested audience though.

1st Dress Rehearsal - 2014 Final (Pre-Songs)

Seems like we have not seen the intro video since the feed started, then went to a white screen. I believe there must be something in the middle.

And we're off! On the stage is a bunch of dancers each carrying a big flag in their hands, the flags of the competing nations. Trying to establish if it is only the 26 finalists or if it is all the entries this year. I believe it is the former.

"Europe! Are you ready to JoinUs!" is bellowed by the male announcer.

The singers are invited one by one on stage - a better concept than last years' catwalk which took forever. The nations are being introduced as "Song number ... Name of country in English, Name of Country in French, Name of country in national language (with Danish accent)".

They were going in time quite well but we see that there was an error and Poland being announced saw the Greek representatives emerge onto the stage, while the Poles came out for the announcement of La Grèce. We are now stopped until it gets fixed. Will they start it over again?

And yes, they start again from the introduction of the 26 nations. This time Poland and Greece come out at the right time.

After the entrance of the final participant, Molly from the UK, the three presenters come on stage to wish us the traditional "Good Evening Europe!". Pilou decides to talk some Chinese keeping in touch with the youtube clip of him wanting to promote China. This bit is in order to inform us that it is not only a European show but a worldwide sensation.

We move on to a video of a typical Danish family celebrating at the dinner table in order to show that they are the happiest country in the world - and that they have never been happier than they are tonight.

Lise reminds us in English that you are allowed to vote up to 20 times but unfortunately not allowed to vote for your country. Nikolaj informs us of the same however this time in French.

"Let the Eurovision Song Contest 2014, begin!"

And we're off with the postcard for Ukraine.

The morning after the night before

Well, if there was ever a time when you could have said Eurovision is all but predictable! The shocking elimination of Israel, the even more shocking elimination of Lithuania (third year in a row they have screwed me over) and the magical aligning of the stars and planets helping the Romanians clean their act up just in time for the live show.

Just moments after the show was over we already started hearing rumours that Belarus had decided not to broadcast Conchita's performance and would therefore be disqualified leaving a window open for possibly Israel (who everyone assumes must have come 11th) to qualify. These turned out to be just whispers in the wind and after contacting a couple of Minsk residents, confirmation was given that their national station did in fact show the Austrian song and there is no reason for them to be removed from the top 10.

Which leaves us to upcoming final dress rehearsal. A very strong mix of songs but many strong entries singing right at the end of the show. Could this have an adverse impact on the show - would people start getting fed up of the line-up by the time their favourite entries start being sung at in the late teens? Thankfully we have Austria at 11th and Sweden at 13th which should help keep the audience alive. Ukraine starts the show in a very strange twist. Would not have thought they would open with this but then again it is very eye catching and could work well to ensure people stay glued to their screens for the whole thee-and-a-half hours.

With four minutes to go before the start of the rehearsal, this means just enough time to go grab a coffee, make myself comfortable and get ready to flex my fingers in order to bring you the essence of what is going on!

Sam and Sild's hotties list, 2014 edition

That is all.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Miracle if it qualifies?

It seems like many of us here has managed 8/10 from last Tuesday's show and we seem to be unanimous in thinking tonight is even a greater task to handle. Having spent so much time in Eurovision central I have had many changes of opinion and if trying to form realistic opinions on the dress rehearsal wasn't strenuous enough, this definitely beats it!

This semi-final is quite a mind-puzzler. My main issue is that even though Romania is seen as a known qualifier, it has happened before that perennial qualifiers fell. This happened to two nations in the year 2011 when both Turkey and Armenia failed to qualify in Düsseldorf. No one had thought this possible but there it was! Could this be the year Romania gets punished for sending a mediocre-at-best performance which seems to be stuck together by every gimmick you could think of and just shoved on a stage with a deer-in-headlights looking lead? On the other hand, do I take the risk and miss out on them qualifying even though my head says it must?

So, since this must be done and time is of the essence, here is my haphazard guess and how I believe Europe will be persuaded tonight:

Lithuania - they have UK, Ireland, Poland and Georgia in their semi, they must make it.

And there you have it, doomed them again I have! Such a hard semi to predict. I have thought of every-possible country qualifying and also of them not. Norway was my last entry since I see this as possibly failing but then again I think it will be saved. Televoting lovelies like Poland and Lithuania should find their flag shown at the end of the show. I still am doubtful of Romania but need to stick to my instinct and even though I most probably am wrong, I don't know which of the 10 up there to remove in order to accommodate it. Switzerland is also a candidate, maybe it and Belarus or it and Norway will switch places... Now enough! Stop typing and start getting ready!

Well, it's semi 2 day people.

I did see the dressed rehearsal from the press centre yesterday so I haven't been out to Eurovision island at all today. Been moving instead. Out of the lovely apartment and into Grand Hotel Copenhagen (wich, to be honest isn't that Grand) and I am staying put here for the rest of the week. Well, almost for the rest of the week. Some excursions out to the arena will happen, I'm sure. Just done with moving for the week.
After the rehearsal yesterday (we actually just stayed for the songs and left in a hurry just after to avoid the stampeed of craziness that comence immediatelly after the show) we got on a bus (9A, 9A, 9A) back to the city where we ended up at the Pan-European party. Several of the European acts joined forces to give Euroclub some extra oomph. When we walked in the door Germany was playing something reeeeaaalllllyyyy slow and at the end of the song Elaiza stood up and roared: are you ready to paaaaarrrrtttyyyyy?? Needless to say after that slow stopper, not many roared back. Aram was up next but since the stagechange took forever I went for a beer and a smoke and when I finally got back inside it was in the middle of Not Alone and he sure as hell wasn't! Floor was packed so I decided to watch from the balcony instead.

For tonights entertainment we are going to the semi and again I may scream so much my voice will be f****d tomorrow morning when I am due to report back via phone to my radiostation. Oh joy!

If all goes well tonight (and I sure hope it does) we will probably not be at Euroclub early or even at all, depending on if and when my booboo claws his way free of reporters.

But for now, I am so gonna lay down on my lovely hotelbed and just relax for a bit.


"Six hours to bet!" - A betting overview of Semi 2

Welcome to the Gran Canaria mobile press centre and ESC Nation's betting overview for the second semi-final of ESC 2014! As ever, the odds in this article are based on the Oddschecker summary and can (and probably will) change radically as the day progresses.

So what did we learn on Tuesday night from a gambler's point of view? Probably not too much, really. We were reminded that favoured songs can fall at the first hurdle - the local "reality TV-lite" story behind the Belgian entry didn't transfer to the international stage, and the usually reliable voting performance of Moldova failed to repeat itself even in a small field. Meanwhile, two of the bookies' outsiders - Iceland and, even more sensationally, San Marino - will be making a repeat appearance on Saturday night, and have made a handful of people a little richer in the process!

The second heat is, of course, even smaller; only five of the competing entries will be heading home again tonight. Despite this, the to qualify market is confident that there are two big outsiders: you can get odds of 4.00 for Tijana from Macedonia to reach the final, while a price of 6.00 is available for "Three Minutes To Earth" from Georgia. In concrete terms, this means that if you place a bet of €10.00 on Georgia to qualify and your bet is successful, you will receive €60.00 in return.

But let's be honest, only an idiot would consider that to be a likely outcome.

The borderline cases are where the real interest is here. With two supposed no-hopers in the line-up, you might not actually need many points to qualify. As such, there could be value in backing regular qualifiers Lithuania (2.1) with their basis of reliable friendly points, or even Belarus, which can be grabbed for a surprisingly generous best price of 2.00.

Of course, you could play ultra-safe and pile the pounds on Greece (1.05), Romania (1.06) or Norway (1.05), who seem to be all but guaranteed qualifiers according to the markets. Bear in mind, though, that you would need to place a successful bet of €100.00 on Greece just to return a profit of €5.00 - barely enough for an ouzo or two.

Being such a small semi-final means the rewards for bets on non-qualification are even greater. For example, Carl Espen from Norway has impressed few people during rehearsals, and best odds of 13.00 are available if you think this early-season favourite will stumble. Other tempting prices can be found for the potentially divisive Conchita Wurst from Austria (8.00), the dangerously middle-of-the-road Ireland (2.75) and the boobtastic but unmelodic entry from Poland (also 2.75). And surely Slovenia, even with a favourable late position in the running order, must be worth a sniff at 1.91 to fail to qualify.

The winner and top 3 markets for this semi are particularly interesting because some of the more favoured songs, e.g. Israel and Norway, have potentially unfavourable early positions in the running order. Don't forget that a semi-final podium finish doesn't necessarily mean a thing when it comes to the final: the example I tend to use is 2011, when Paradise Oskar from Finland and Maja Keuc from Slovenia landed in the top 3 of their respective semi-finals, only to do relatively little on the Saturday night scoreboard.

With that in mind, you can get inviting odds of 2.5 for Israel's Mei Finegold to finish in the top 3 tonight, or 2.65 for the crowd-pleasing Maltese entry. Alternatively, you can bet on the semi winner: even with juries in play, a best available price of 5.00 for Greece seems quite tempting, as does 5.5 for Romania. Or perhaps the fanboys will have it right after all and Israel will take the semi 2 trophy even from an early spot in the draw: 13.00 says that this will be the case.

At the other end of the scale, poor Tijana from Macedonia props up the field: an unlikely victory for the ex-Yugoslav nation in tonight's semi-final comes at odds of 151! She isn't the favourite to finish last in the semi, though: only Betfair offers odds on that particular market, with Georgia considered the most likely candidate at 2.29.

I wanted to finish this blog post with a look at some head-to-heads, but Bwin doesn't have any for tonight's semi. How rude! They have plenty for the final, though, and we'll be taking a closer look at those in Saturday's final betting post. But let's take one step at a time...

So for now, that completes our brief analysis of some of the bets available to you for tonight's show - you can see more at the aforementioned Oddschecker link. Wherever you place your money, may the odds be ever in your favour - and have a great time!

Predicticación, part DOS

It's time to predict again! My Tuesday morning blog resulted in eight correct qualifiers, and even though I changed my mind on some while watching (putting Iceland and Portugal through, shoving out Ukraine and Moldova), I still was stuck on eight. Maybe that's the max I can physically do? :-o

Statistically, tonight's semi should be easier to predict, being the smallest Eurovision event for 44 years (apart from The Dida Drăgan Show in Ljubljana in 1993), but I'm far less confident about my guesses here than I was two days ago... About 9 of the entries feel like they should end about 8th to 11th, somehow. And that's clearly not going to happen, is it? As if finding ten qualifiers wasn't hard enough, I can't for the life of me find anything that could actually win this semi - or end top 3, for that matter... In lack of something better, I'll just go with someone we know are capable of winning Eurovision semis, the Greeks, with a close to random guess about the rest of the result:



Semi-final 2 predictions

It's harder to predict when you're not seeing any rehearsal videos, and have to go on impressions from fellow bloggers. As it was, I scored 8/10 on Tuesday - and a different 8/10 after watching the show!

Semi 2 is a little easier, not least because the fewest you can possibly get right is five, but also because there's a couple of real no-hopers and a couple of obvious perennial qualifiers. Romania and Greece are obviously sailing through, and Macedonia and Georgia are perhaps equally hopeless at the bottom.

Until this week, I'd always had Poland as a certain non-qualifier. It's getting almost universally positive reviews from bloggers, but my instinct is still that the song doesn't have strong appeal to a wide range of Thursday night televoter - particularly with the first half of the song in Polish.

At the other end of the scale, I'd put in Malta, Austria and Finland as likely qualifiers, which leaves a huge swathe in the middle. Norway really should, but I'm worried for it. Israel the same - both are good, but have the potential to not quite 'catch' with the voting public. Switzerland I've always counted out, but everything seems to be going right for it in rehearsals. Belarus on the other hand is right near the bottom of some of the betting markets, but I've always assumed it's a safe qualifier...

So, hmm... let's try a prediction.

1. Romania
2. Greece
3. Malta
4. Austria
5. Finland
6. Belarus
7. Switzerland
8. Israel
9. Norway
10. Lithuania

11. Slovenia
12. Poland
13. Ireland
14. Georgia
15. Macedonia

I'm not sure of this at all! What do you think?

Oh my *actual* word! We really *are* like the Delphi Oracle! Not.

After our obviously* successful foray into the world of "accidental oracle-ing" in the bloodbath that was known as semi 1, we decided to throw caution in the wind to once again come out boasting that the opinions of the ESC Nation TV preview panel are pretty much the pulse of tele voting Europe. So here's what they thought of the semi final 2 songs:

* This post was pre-written on Monday 5th of May.