First off, how bored is Dima Bilan with “Believe?”
Anyway, overall, both Jen and Chris got 7 out of 10 tonight, and goddamn are we be thrilled to be wrong about Malta and Lithuania. Donny Montell has been delighting us for a long time, and we’re so happy he’ll be delighting us and our guests on Saturday. (Jen would like to believe that folks read our predictions post, in which she said, “He’d get my vote if I had one to give. Europe needs to experience the wonder that is Donny Montell.” So she’d like to thank our readers that shared in that dream.)
And how can you not root for, as Irish commentator Marty Whelan said, “plucky Malta,” who brought a lot of fun and joy to the stage and qualified from the fourth position. We jumped out of our seats when they got through.
Bad luck for Belarus, who we thought did a great job. They’ve gotten a lot of stick (particularly from Terry Vision) for changing the arrangement of their song, but it made sense in context, and they staged it well. (Although Dmitry Karyakin sorta missed that high note.)
Of course, missing notes was kind of a theme. Both Slovakia and Norway were rough as hell, and it seems to us like Tooji and company have a lot of work to do if they expect to contend on Saturday. Particularly from 12th position.
Chris’ plan to just pick all the former Yugoslavian republics backfired, but honestly, the staging for Croatia absolutely killed their chances. Slovenia was sort a hard luck story, but she was nervous, and when faced with so many ballads, a few are going to miss out.
Ott Lepland from Estonia apparently noticed that there were a lot of ballads tonight and upped the intensity and the theatrics to good effect. Sadly, all the theatrics in the world couldn’t bring Georgia to the final, especially when having technical issues. Perhaps Anri should have gone even further over the top?
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sweden and in particular Turkey all provided clinics on staging Eurovision entries. Ukraine, meanwhile, continued its tradition of throwing everything and two kitchen sinks into the performance, but as always, it worked anyway.
And how about FYR Macedonia? We still don’t like “Crno i blo,” but Kaliopi sold it so well, there was no doubt in our minds that she was going through.
The trouble with making picks before the shows is that it hasn’t taken into account the live show. Had we made our picks immediately after all the performances, we both would have picked Serbia, FYR Macedonia, Malta, Belarus, Ukraine, Sweden, Turkey, Estonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Lithuania. Here’s how we actually did on the night:
After the show, the draw for the final was announced:
4. Lithuania 5. Bosnia & Herzegovina 11. Estonia 12. Norway 17. Sweden 18. Turkey 21. Malta 22. FYR Macedonia 24. Serbia 25. Ukraine
Both Sweden and Serbia drew seriously good slots, and we both suspect that the final votes are going to come down to them and Russia at the end of the night. To the chagrin of Jedward haters, we’d have to throw Ireland into the mix, although they are really a lovely dark horse.
Ukraine is a lock for another top 10 finish with a song that would make a better curtain raiser than 11 o’clock number, with only Moldova left to perform after. Macedonia and Turkey might also find themselves in the top 10 as well. (Fine predictions from us who said they wouldn’t qualify, of course.)
We’ll give our predictions later, but one thing we will say is that we’re in line for a really fun show on Saturday. Except for, you know, the parts where the hosts are talking.