Our Predictions: 2019 Semifinal One

Our son made his predictions debut last year and declined to do it this year lest he embarrass himself. Unlike him, we have no sense of shame, so here we go again.

Jen:

  • Cyprus
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Serbia
  • Belgium
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • Estonia
  • Greece
Chris:

  • Cyprus
  • Poland
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Serbia
  • Belgium
  • Australia
  • Iceland
  • Estonia
  • Greece

We made the same damned picks as each other again. We are two different people, we collectively swear.

How confident are we? Meh?

Cyprus: Tamta – “Replay”

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

Cyprus is trying too hard to recreate the magic of “Fuego,” but no matter. “Replay” is still a lot of fun.

Montenegro: D Mol – “Heaven”

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

Montenegro has played it so safe, they are actually taking a huge risk. Which won’t pay off.

Finland: Darude feat. Sebastian Rejman – “Look Away”

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

Forget “Look Away,” have you heard Darude’s remix of Pænda’s “Limits?” This whole Eurovision journey will be worth it if Darude remixes all of the other entries. We want to see what he could do with “Say Na Na Na.”

Poland: Tulia – “Fire of Love (Pali się)”

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

“Fire of Love” and “Telemóveis” operate in the same space in our minds. We genuinely have no idea what casual viewers are going to think about either of them. We’re giving Tulia the edge here, but we wouldn’t be shocked if this doesn’t qualify.

Slovenia: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl – “Sebi”

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

Zala and Gašper are giving an anti-performance, and that internalized stage picture may alienate everyone watching. Keep in mind, however, we’re still bitter about Ema 2019.

Czech Republic: Lake Malawi – “Friend of a Friend”

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

Czech Republic are in the perfect spot to kick Semifinal One back into high gear. We bet they will be rewarded for waking everyone up.

Hungary: Joci Pápai – “Az én apám”

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

Joci is a great performer with a clear vision of who he is as an artist. And he can tell his stories while still communicating in his own language. Our confidence level would be higher if we weren’t still unfairly comparing “Az én apám” to “Origo.”

Belarus: Zena – “Like It”

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

We really enjoy the recorded version of “Like It,” but we suspect it is too inconsequential to make much of an impact. They have done themselves no favors with a messy staging.

Serbia: Nevena Božović – “Kruna”

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

Every year we try to gauge Europe’s desire for the style of ballad Nevena is providing. We are usually wrong. Still, this is a song that comes alive when she sings it, so we figure she’s through.

Belgium: Eliot – “Wake Up”

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

We have absolutely no read on “Wake Up.”  The song is fine, its staging is inconsequential, and we have seen both before. Ten songs will make it out of this semifinal. Qualification by default.

Georgia: Oto Nemsadze – “Keep on Going”

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

We are no experts on Georgian culture, but this feels very Georgian. It also feels like it will alienate general audiences and international jurors alike.

Australia: Kate Miller-Heidke – “Zero Gravity”

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

The technical achievement of Australia’s staging is staggering: Kate is singing flawlessly while flinging herself around on a 10-foot pole, while two performers are doing synchronized choreography on their own 10-foot poles. Wow.

Iceland: Hatari – “Hatrið mun sigra”

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

We love what Hatari are doing, but we also love Nine Inch Nails and Paul Oscar. We could see a scenario where they alienate viewers and their shtick falls flat. We hope not, though.

Estonia: Victor Crone – “Storm”

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

“Storm” actively annoys us and we think the green screen gimmick is too clumsy to work. But we’ve been wrong about it before, so we’ll assume that television audiences will respond to it.

Portugal: Conan Osiris – “Telemóveis”

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

Our gut feeling is that “Telemóveis” will baffle anyone being introduced to it for the first time. Will we be surprised if it makes the Final? No. But we really aren’t expecting it to.

Greece: Katerine Duska – “Better Love”

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

There is a possibility that Greece has over-egged their galaktoboureko. But even if the stage picture is a little busy, Katerine sounds like she has everything under control.

San Marino: Serhat – “Say Na Na Na”

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

San Marino and Serhat are the Tommy Wiseau of the Eurovision Song Contest: They love basking in the attention they get without really understanding why they’re getting it.

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