Our Predictions: 2017 Semifinal 1

It is now the time of the year we make our predictions and then immediately regret three of them after seeing the live show and then still end up with 8 out of 10 correct. Let’s see if that pattern continues this year!

Jen:

  • Sweden
  • Georgia
  • Finland
  • Azerbaijan
  • Portugal
  • Greece
  • Moldova
  • Cyprus
  • Armenia
  • Slovenia
Chris:

  • Sweden
  • Georgia
  • Finland
  • Azerbaijan
  • Portugal
  • Greece
  • Moldova
  • Poland
  • Cyprus
  • Armenia

Sweden: Robin Bengtsson – “I Can’t Go On”

Jen – Q. Confidence: High.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High.

“I Can’t Go On” is a fun and, more importantly, memorable way to open the show.

Georgia: Tamara Gachechiladze – “Keep the Faith”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Low.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Low.

Neither of us are fans of the song, but it’s hard to ignore how many friends Georgia has in this Semi. Not to take anything away from Tamara, who has been singing it well.

Australia: Isaiah – “Don’t Come Easy”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Low.

It may seem harsh to judge this based on a 40-second glimpse at the camera work. But when we consider how much of a selling point Australia has made Isaiah in its staging and how little he engaged the camera while strolling on his needless prop, we wonder if he will connect with anyone watching at home. Going third may just seal his fate.

Albania: Lindita Halimi – “World”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: High.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High.

Albania’s kitchen sink approach has made for a mess of a staging. Lindita may try to oversell her vocal, which will only make it worse.

Belgium: Blanche – “City Lights”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Medium.

Putting aside whether or not Blanche is going to give a confident performance, Belgium’s staging and costuming are nowhere near as cool and urban as the song. The disconnect between the stage picture they’ve created and the song they are presenting is striking.

Montenegro: Slavko Kalezić – “Space”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: High.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High. 

All this needs to work is a good vocal performance and two back-up dancers. Unless Slavko has met some friends at the Euroclub he can throw onstage last minute, he is totally screwed.

Finland: Norma John – “Blackbird”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High.

Gorgeous, sophisticated staging for an ethereal ballad. We expect this to pack an emotional wallop. First chills of the evening.

Azerbaijan: DiHaj – “Skeletons”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium.

We always welcome Azerbaijan’s penchant for high concept staging. Anyone who says that this is too weird to qualify should remember that they have qualified with weirder stuff than this.

Portugal: Salvador Sobral – “Amar pelos dois”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High.

Shamelessly old-fashioned, but charming. This year, Portugal rethought what it wanted to do at Eurovision and they will be rewarded for their efforts.

Greece: Demy – “This Is Love”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Low.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Low.

Even with Greece missing out on the Final last year, we have learned to bet against them at our own peril. (To wit, they had an unusually bad entry in 2016.) We’re not entirely confident “This Is Love” is going to come together in the end, but we are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Poland: Kasia Moś – “Flashlight”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Low.

Jen thinks the song is not good enough, the juries will not respond to it, and Poland lacks voting allies in this Semi to overcome all that. Chris thinks there is something to be said for having an emotional connection to your song. Kasia is selling “Flashlight for all it’s worth. ($5.99 or something like that.)

Moldova: SunStroke Project – “Hey Mamma”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High.

It’s a bit hokey and a bit self-aware, but “Hey Mamma” is so full of glee and charm that you can’t help but enjoy it.

Iceland: Svala – “Paper”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Medium.

Svala is uncompromising, and we like that. She is still singing the song “Paper,” and we don’t like that.

Czech Republic: Martina Bárta – “My Turn”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: High.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: High.

Ugh, poor Martina looks like a sad, discolored disco ball in that gold lamé jumpsuit. The Barbara Dex Award was made for outfits like this. Even if it were actually flattering, it would still derail what is meant to be an intimate, emotional ballad.

Cyprus: Hovig – “Gravity”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Medium.
Chris – Q. Confidence: Medium.

You have to hand it to Hovig: this is an ambitious choreography to attempt. If he and his dance crew can pull it off, it should go over quite well. Also: G:Son wrote this song and Greece, Spain, and Sweden, who all vote in this Semi, usually buy what he is selling.

Armenia: Artsvik – “Fly With Me”

Jen – Q. Confidence: High.
Chris – Q. Confidence: High.

Artsvik is fierce. Armenia has one of the best marriages of song and staging this year.

Slovenia: Omar Naber – “On My Way”

Jen – Q. Confidence: Low.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Low.

Jen thinks the juries will eat this up. Chris hates this song and is picking against it out of spite.

Latvia: Triana Park – “Line”

Jen – NQ. Confidence: Low.
Chris – NQ. Confidence: Low.

As much as we like “Line,” the presentation is a bit of a visual assault. There’s too much going on to process and, seeing as we’re not at a rave spaced out on ecstasy, we’re not sure this is going to go over well.

5 thoughts on “Our Predictions: 2017 Semifinal 1

  1. Why, look, it’s time for me to share my own predictions even though nobody asked me to. I’ve been trying to get into the Eurovision predicting game this year (you guys are basically mu gurus in that respect), so it’ll be fun to post it online for everyone to see and have it immortalised on the internet so I can forever be reminded of my mistakes.

    Here’s how I feel it’ll go:

    Sweden
    Australia
    Finland
    Azerbaijan
    Portugal
    Greece
    Poland
    Moldova
    Cyprus
    Armenia

    As you can see, highly similar picks to yours. With one major difference: I feel “Don’t come easy” will manage to sneak through. Neither of Australia’s previous entries have really wowed with the staging, but sailed into the final backed by their charismatic performers, and I feel Isaiah will make it work. I did consider Georgia before that: the fact that Armenia and Azerbaijan will probably give their douze points to Tako (since they won’t vote for each other) was certainly not lost on me. But “Keep the faith” just sounds so, so shouty to me. And she really drills it with the repetition of the title. (This may very well turn out to be the one I regret after seeing ithe live show.)

    I side more with Chris when it comes to Poland. It’s unthinkably dull, but if “In the name of love” and “Colour of your life” both made it into the final then I have no reason to believe “Flashlight” won’t either. I’d love to be wrong about that one, though!

      • My successful predictions bring me little comfort, as I am exceedingly bitter about one of my favourite songs losing its place in the Final to the biggest wet fart in this year’s contest. I was initially underwhelmed by “City lights”, and have remained completely indifferent to it ever since. Aside from how I feel about the song, I thought Blanche’s performance on the night was shockingly terrible. I cannot fathom that a single human being would put her anywhere above Finland in their shortlist, which just goes to show how wildly tastes can differ. I am furious that she has been drawn in the second half of the Final only because she won’t get the second slot.

        Oh well, on to Semi 2!

  2. Time for the yearly challenge:

    Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Finland, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Sweden.

    Greece is dead in the water after the juries’ show because it turned out she did not sing the high notes, and the juries are not stupid. For me, basically, it boils down to choosing 2 out of 3 ballads (Australia, Georgia, Poland) and 1 out of 3 electronic pop songs (Belgium, Iceland, Latvia). With respect to the former, Poland looks safest and I feel that juries will carry through Isaiah. As to the latter, Latvia is my wild card, but Belgium just feels like a snoozefest and Svala’s number lacks coherence and depth.

    • I was wondering if Latvia had done enough to qualify. They definitely brought a big arena vibe to their performance that I thought was effective. Alas…

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