Predictions are something of a fool’s errand, especially when it comes to such a competitive year as this one. Is that going to stop me slinging out my expectations for the ten making it through tomorrrow night? Hell no.
This year’s semi split is reminiscent of the quality levels we found in 2018. In semi-final one we have a show packed with high quality entries and in semi-final two we find a more…eclectic choice. As a result of the split we have equally tricky semis to call even if it’s for completely different reasons.
The way I see this semi we’ve got four countries guaranteed of progression to the final and two ensured of an early way out of their isolation hotels in Rotterdam. In terms of the ones I’m sure of making it to Saturday we have Lithuania & Malta. They both, quite rightly, find themselves as contenders for the win and as such will have no issues making it through the semi. Whilst I don’t think they’re winning we also have Cyprus & Ukraine both bringing excellent staging to match their songs. All four have got enough in tank to make it through.
Conversely I’m pretty sure Slovenia and North Macedonia won’t find themselves with any kind of competitive chance. By all means, both delegations have certainly raised the game with decent visuals…especially North Macedonia. Vasil’s live performance truly elevates his entry and you can clearly tell he’s having the time of his life. But it’s just not going to be enough.
Taking these six out leaves a remaining 11 competing for 6 slots, and to be honest any one of them could well lay claim. So coming off the fence my picks for the final are…
Although not 100% nailed on qualifiers I’m going to say that Russia & Croatia are pretty close. Manizha gives a commanding performance that will be hard to forget for jurors and televoters alike. Within the “battle of the bops” Croatia sits in a pretty good place. Strong rehearsals of energetic staging should see Albina through. On the other hand I have my concerns for Ireland, Azerbaijan and Australia. The Irish staging concept was too messy, the Azeri one not messy enough and Australia is fighting an uphill battle singing from home. Though I have my fingers crossed for Montaigne, if anyone deserves some love it’s her.
Now then, this leaves us with five into four: Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Israel and Romania. I think Norway and Belgium make it through on being different. They both offer something that nobody else is doing in the semi meaning there’s no competition for the votes that should be coming their way. Sweden will likely proceed because they’re Sweden and they (almost) always do. This leaves Israel or Romania. Although it’s competing in a crowded marketplace Eden Alene has the quality of performance to drag Israel through. That leaves Romania missing out. I can’t see there being enough in their overall package to make a connection with either jury or televoters alike. But really with this semi, who knows?
This is a super open semi final with almost all the acts having a realistic chance of making it through. Good luck to all the artists, especially Ireland and Australia. I love both these songs so everything crossed they can prove me wrong! We’ll find out tomorrow night.
The first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest will be on BBC4 on Tuesday night at 8pm. Join Scott, Rylan and new commentator Chelcee Grimes for all the fun.