Fresh from correcting guessing seven out of the ten qualifiers from the first semi-final (be fair, it’s an improvement on last year) it’s time for me to guess who will emerge from then arguably stronger second semi-final on Thursday.
Latvia – PeR – Here We Go – Here we go, indeed, straight back on the plane to Riga. Somehow, I don’t think PeR will be needed after Thursday night.
San Marino – Valentina Monetta – Crisalide – Ralph Siegel in good song shock! Herr S and Signora Monetta teamed up last year without success. A firm fan favourite, they will be much more successful this year and can look forward to plenty of points on Saturday.
Macedonia – Esma and Lozano – Pred da se Razdeni – Failure to qualify will mean no former Yugoslav republics in the final at all after the wipe-out on Tuesday. One ethnic song always qualifies and I think this will be the one from this semi.
Azerbaijan – Farid Mammadov – Hold Me – The hosts of the 2012 contest seem determined to win again and I wouldn’t be surprised if Farid took the honours on Saturday, but one hurdle at a time.
Finland – Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me – Please, no! Surely not! It would be bordering on a travesty if this got through, it might, but stranger things have happened. If the political statement stays in the performance, there is a case for disqualification!
Malta – Gianluca Bezzina – Tomorrow – The juries might be attracted by the quirkiness of the song but it may not have enough about it to win enough votes from the public.
Bulgaria – Elitsa and Stoyan – Samo Shampioni – Back for a second go, Elitsa and Stoyan face the possibility of joining an ever growing list of past Eurovision acts to try again and finish up with a worse showing.
Iceland – Eypor Ingi Gunnlaugsson – Eg a Lif – Overall, this will be the most beautifully presented package of the evening. Superb use of the video wall adds atmosphere to a charming ballad. If it doesn’t qualify, SVT may need to find another venue for Saturday, the intake of breath from the audience will be so powerful.
Greece – Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol is Free – Some songs don’t need any presentation to win over the listener. Some songs have to try very hard, and this is one of those. If the semi-final was audio only, there would be no possibility of Greece qualifying. As it is, the staging is very entertaining and the viewers will love it in sufficient quantities.
Israel – Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo – My heart says this will qualify, my head says my heart may be wrong. It deserves to be there on Saturday and I think it is strong enough even with all the other big ballads up against it.
Armenia – Dorians – Lonely Planet – I know it’s written by who some consider to be a rock legend but sometimes reputation isn’t enough. Sorry Tommi, but how did you let this into the public domain with your name on it?
Hungary – ByeAlex – Kedvesem – Hungary’s is a song full of charm and is not an obvious qualifier, but those of us that know a thing or two about these things know it will.
Norway – Margaret Berger – I feed You my Love – In some ways, Norway’s song is similar to Slovenia’s which fell by the wayside on Tuesday. On the plus side, this is more instantly likeable and so should face a different fate.
Albania – Adrian Lulgjuri and Bledar Sejko – Identitet – I could toss a coin such is my indecisiveness about Albania. I can see many reasons why it will qualify and many why it won’t. I won’t object if my prediction is wrong.
Georgia – Nodi Tatishvili and Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall – In some ways, this is a Euro ballad by numbers, even in the presentation. However, there is a reason why the formula is used again and again; because people love it. I certainly do.
Switzerland – Takasa – You and Me – Not many people are predicting the Swiss will make the final, but not many predicted Lithuania. The public will like this more than the juries which, in a semi where only seven will be left behind, could be enough to see it through.
Romania – Cezar – It’s my Life – Being on last didn’t help Serbia and the concern is that his gestures are over the top by some considerable margin. A lot will depend on how the audience reacts to this.
So, after considering a couple of changes and then sticking with my original choices, here is my list of the lucky ten:
San Marino, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Iceland, Greece, Israel, Hungary, Norway, Georgia and Switzerland.