It turns out we are of one mind on our predictions for this Semi, but we took different paths to get there. Chris made his picks and stuck with them, while Jen agonized, making changes up to the last minute. Word is that the jury run through was very competitive. A lot of acts saved their best for when they needed it. We could be in for a wild ride. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Malta: Firelight – “Coming Home”
Jen – Q. Confidence: High. Good staging, likable song.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium. I’m still not sold on this song, but the staging should tug enough heart strings and texting thumbs to see it through.
Israel: Mei Feingold – “Same Heart”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium. I’m not a huge fan of the song, and we’ve been led astray before by enthusiasm from the press room. But it’s by no means one of the worst 5 songs in this Semi, nowhere near.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High. Another song I’m not a big fan of, but I am betting Mei’s intensity is going to carry the evening for Israel.
Norway: Carl Espen – “Silent Storm”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Low. Before rehearsals my confidence for Norway was high. That was before I saw what they were planning for the staging. I still think the songwriting has sufficient merit to garner jury support, but Norway as a shock non-qualifier would not shock me.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium. Norway seems to have overthought the staging, but I’m not sure they’ve fatally shot themselves in the foot.
Georgia: The Shin and Mariko Ebralidze – “Three Minutes to Earth”
Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low. I worry the song is simply too esoteric for mainstream interests. But Georgia nailed its jury performance, and that’s the one they needed. Georgia’s giving us good vocals and an interesting concept. Throw in a couple of voting allies, and maybe they’ll surprise us all.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High. In a just world, this goes to the Final, but this is not a just world. And by “just” I mean “loves prog rock as much as I do.”
Poland: Donatan and Cleo – “My Slowianie”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Low. I don’t think Poland’s going to get a lot of jury support, but the cheekier songs that make it through do tend to qualify out of the second Semi. The tenth spot should be Ireland’s, but Georgia or Poland could easily nab it. Ireland seems to be making people feel nothing. Georgia makes us feel something–be it passion or bafflement. But I’m going with Poland, because it makes us feel other things.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Low. It’s catchy and it’s cheeky and I want this in the Final so bad.
Austria: Conchita Wurst – “Rise Like A Phoenix”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium. Conchita is a talking point of this year’s competition. Maybe the beard will be too much for some folks, but, as Conchita well knows, you don’t have to win over everybody.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High. This is Conchita’s Eurovision Song Contest, and we’re all just small players in it.
Lithuania: Vilija Matačiūnaitė – “Attention”
Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low. Why has Lithuania qualified in previous years? Evelina Sašenko had a cabaret tune, Donny Montell gave us…so much, really. But both could sing. Andreas Pojavis had expressive eyebrows. What has Vilija got? A loud voice and a silly outfit. Enough already.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Medium. Wesley Snipes gave me a word of advice: “Always bet on Lithuania.” Yet I keep ignoring him. HE CAN’T ALWAYS BE RIGHT, CAN HE?
Finland: Softengine – “Something Better”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Low. If Finland fails to connect with the cameras they are definitely at risk of not qualifying. However, Softengine has an immediate song and a contemporary alt rock sound, the only one of its kind on the night.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium. I worry about this young band performing like Eurovision is just another gig, but I feel like “Something Better” is a catchy enough song to see Softengine through.
Ireland: Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith – “Heartbeat”
Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low. This Semi is full of countries that still love it when Ireland plays the tradition card. But Ireland has been struggling this week, trying to get the right mix of Irishness, movement, sex appeal, and vocal prowess. This performance is a mess and Kasey doesn’t sell it. Does Ireland deserve to qualify? No. But will they do enough to make it anyway? Anything’s possible.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Low. The rest of Europe has to be as tired of this shtick as I am, right?
Belarus: Teo – “Cheesecake”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium. Teo is the consummate performer. He looks like he’s having a blast up there. Watching him, we will too.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium. If Ireland gets through and this doesn’t, I am going to throw things. Granted they will be soft pillows against the floor, but pillows are still things and I will still be throwing them.
Macedonia: Tijana Dapčević – “To the Sky”
Jen – NQ. Confidence: Medium. Word is Tijana had a great jury performance, but I’m having a hard time seeing a scenario where Macedonia makes it through.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High. I kinda want Tijana to qualify, but I kinda don’t expect her to.
Switzerland: Sebalter – “Hunter of Stars”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Low. Up until the 2nd rehearsal Sebalter was in my NQ column. But this isn’t a strong Semi. His goofy charisma, coupled with the late draw, means he’ll get noticed by audiences. Also, the few countries that tend to vote for Switzerland are all voting in this Semi.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Low. I may have read too many comments coming out of the Eurovision Press Center and let them influence my decision here.
Greece: Freaky Fortune feat. Riskykidd – “Rise Up”
Jen – Q. Confidence: High. Greece always works it out in the end, ’nuff said. <drop mike>
Chris – Q. Confidence: High. Hi, we’re Greece. Move over and let us be awesome, please and thank you.
Slovenia: Tinkara Kovač – “Spet (Round and Round)”
Jen – NQ. Confidence: Medium. Pleasant, but no gravitas.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High. Slovenia specializes in decent little songs that you forget about until you rewatch old contests.
Romania: Paula Seling and Ovi – “Miracle”
Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium. The number has been overworked, but this is old school Eurovision. We expect it to be over the top. They’ll make it though.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium. Another delegation doing target practice on their feet. Won’t be enough to keep them out of the Final.