You have to laugh — 4 months of closely watching the national finals and both of us got 6 of 10, worse than in previous years!
Most worrying to us is that though many strong songs had early draws, Serbia was the earliest to make it out. Looking towards Thursday, it raises questions about Austria, and one starts even to wonder about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Borderliners that succeeded: Serbia, Switzerland, Lithuania, Iceland, Georgia
A couple things stand out to me about these “surprise” qualifiers:
- All of them were well performed.
- Georgia had several natural voting allies, who were more likely to turn to out thanks to the good vocal and effective camerawork.
- Lithuania, we estimate had about 5 voting allies. Coupled with the late draw and the fact that it was the only big ballad in the group, I started to wonder about this one while watching the show. I also suspect the juries rated this entry highly.
- Serbia, Switzerland and Iceland are light, uplifting songs that seem a bit adult contemporary. It’s a genre that clearly performed well on the night. It made me wonder about the demographics of the audience tuning in for a Tuesday night semifinal. Older? Female?
Borderliners that failed: Poland, Albania
“Dead certs” that failed: Norway, Armenia, Turkey
The real shocker on the evening is Turkey’s failure to qualify. The song wasn’t strong and the fashion choices were ill-advised, but the vocal was professional and we both believed Turkey had enough friends to qualify no matter what. Lesson learned on that one.
Armenia, on the other hand, we are not surprised with. They looked promising in rehearsals, but tonight’s performance was a hot mess. The package was sloppy. Emmy and her backing singer weren’t in good voice, and even the dancers weren’t together. We got very nervous watching this one.
Poland looked sloppy and was pitchy. Coupled with the poor draw, we were always skeptical that they would be able to pull it out.
Norway and Albania will be missed. We are particularly sad that on Saturday we will not be able to entertain our friends with our 2-year-old’s infectious enthusiasm for “kibaba.” Albania we thought gave a very professional performance. There was nothing more she could do. If it wasn’t enough, so be it.
The first semifinal qualifiers are below, along with their draws for Saturday’s final.
- Serbia (Running order position in the Final: 24) — very nice draw indeed. Left side of the leaderboard a distinct possibility.
- Greece (Running order position in the Final: 9) — hmmm. More information about the earlier slots is needed. However, this goes before a lot of very strong songs.
- Azerbaijan (Running order position in the Final: 19) — excellent draw. Top 5 looking pretty darn likely.
- Georgia (Running order position in the Final: 25) — late draw, possible Top 10?
- Switzerland (Running order position in the Final: 13) — this is going to feel pretty amateurish between France/Italy and the UK.
- Hungary (Running order position in the Final: 5) — even if Kati brings it, the placement is too early to do very well. Top 10 may still be possible if she sings very, very well. Top 5 unlikely.
- Finland (Running order position in the Final: 1) — gutting. Very rough draw for the innocent ballad.
- Russia (Running order position in the Final: 10) — hmmm, right after Greece and right before France. Coupled with the relatively early placement, it’s not looking so good for the Russians. What might have been Top 3 under other circumstances is now looking like Top 10.
- Iceland (Running order position in the Final: 21) — the song doesn’t have so much impact but given that every commentator is going to talk about the backstory, it’s hard to tell how people will react. The late draw sets up the opportunity for a decent finish.