Tonight 16 countries will battle for one of the ten prestigious Final sports which means we’ll have to say goodbye to six entries. The jury show took place last night so technically 50% of the votes have been decided and tonight the televoters will judge and vote for their favorites and soon enough we’ll know who is in and who is out.
This year it will be especially difficult to predict the outcome as the new voting system introduced a few months ago may shake things up a bit. In the past, both televoters and juries only picked their Top 10 and this time around they will rank all songs from first to last.
Over the past eight days, the ESC United sat through every rehearsal and had a chance to talk to press, fans and music and betting odds experts about their thoughts on who did well and where they are in the ranking. With all that knowledge and wannabe wisdom our team is going to tackle the impossible task and predict the 10 qualifiers. We are unable to take the actual Semi Final show into consideration but here we go:
Here are the ten Countries we believe will qualify tonight (in running order)
1. ESTONIA – Birgit Õigemeel – Et Uus Saaks Alguse
This is something we consider a borderline qualifier. Estonia’s song is overall considered by many as unremarkable but looks amazing onstage and many fans who wouldn’t give this song a second look before all of the sudden came around to support this song. With a bit of help from the juries Birgit may get to perform again in the Finals. Basically it really comes down to if the viewers will connect with this song but taking the reaction here in Malmo into consideration we are calling this a qualifier.
2. DENMARK – Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops
This is considered everywhere a sure qualifier with 99% of the juries calling this a Finalist. Emmelie started out rather weak in some of her first rehearsals but definitely picked up steam as she became more comfortable with the Stage and had two fantastic rehearsals including the jury show last night. Assuming tonight’s performance will be as mesmerizing as her last few performances, she could even end up as the televoters Number One. It will be a bit more difficult to predict the jury vote.
3. RUSSIA – Dina Garipova – What if
There is no question that Dina can sing and that the entire song and staging is incredibly well executed. Russia is taking advantage of the audience hand wrists which will light up during the performance turning part of the arena into an ocean of lights. The entire song gives people goosebumps and even those who are not fond of that song here in Malmo admitted that this is a certain qualifier.
4. UKRAINE – Zlata Ognevich – Gravity
After some initial concerns about the Staging (random Giant) this is high up on almost everybody’s list. Zlata has an amazing voice, looks amazing and everything looks amazing on TV. It’s the kind of song that will be equally appreciated by televoters and juries. The only thing that could stop Ukraine is the camera hitting Zlata in the head knocking her unconscious.
5. THE NETHERLANDS – Anouk – Birds
An early fan favorite, the Netherlands has received a bit of criticism here for the Staging being too cold for Eurovision making it difficult for the casual viewer to connect with the song. Despite that alleged flaw, the jury support alone should be enough to catapult Anouk into the Finals. The big disadvantage is the fact that the four favorites are performing one after another increasing the chances for one of them to flop and the Netherlands is the first one to be feared to get axed but despite all of this, we should see this one in the Finals on Saturday.
6. BELARUS – Alyona Lanskaya – Solayoh
It’s fun & catchy, a sing along song that stands out. A few voices here criticized Alyona, being unable to deliver the joy as her movements and facial expressions are quite rehearsed. But the entire Staging is elaborate and among a Semi full of ballads, the odds for Belarus increased significantly. It’s a border qualifier that probably will receive most of it’s support from the televoters.
7. MOLDOVA – Aliona Moon – O Mie
This song was overlooked by many fans until the rehearsals started in Malmo. Every performance by Aliona is pitch perfect and the dress and the lift effect is a visual feast. Moldova has been underestimated almost every year and still managed to qualify for the Finals, with 2008 being the exception and this year is not any different. The fans, press and odds experts are all in an agreement that Moldova will easily make the cut.
8. IRELAND – Ryan Dolan – Only love survives
There is so much buzz about this song in the press center. One could say it’s because it’s mostly gay men in the press center, and the highlight of the show are the shirtless backup dancers. However, the performance is so entertaining with so much energy. Given that the song is between slow songs from Moldova and Cyprus, this should stand out.
9. BELGIUM – Roberto Bellarosa – Love Kills
We were very confident in many of our picks, but we struggled with this one because it’s one that we think will barely make it through. Over the past week, the press has noted that the song is growing in their favor as well. We agree. Belgium also has brought in a great team of backup singers, backup dancers, and choreography. A well-oiled machine that might return Belgium to the finals for the first time in 3 years.
10. SERBIA – Moje 3 – Ljubav je svuda
Like Belgium, Serbia has one of the best slots in the first semi-final. More importantly, the song is a great closer. The three girls of Moje 3 are capable singers that provide an entertaining show. Sara steals the show as the “devil” character with fun flirtatious gyrations and great facial expressions. Although fans are torn regarding their overall opinion of the song, we think the televoters will eat this up. Unlike Serbia’s 2009 entry “Cipela,” this isn’t as risky; it’s very mainstream and the girls can sing!
The songs we believe will not qualify are Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Lithuania, and Cyprus.
1. AUSTRIA – Natalia Kelly – Shine
Going first in Eurovision is always a difficult task because it sets the mood for the rest of the show. Unfortunately, because Slovenia is really the only fast-paced song in the first half, the producers were stuck selecting a mid-tempo as the starter. And Austria gets that (dis)honor. Natalia is a very talented singer and does what she can with “Shine,” but we fear that the televoters will just forget about her after the standout performances of later acts.
2. SLOVENIA – Hannah Mancini – Straight into Love
We were in Malmo Arena for the jury rehearsal yesterday and we thought Hannah sounded great. However, after talking with other press, they believed that “Straight Into Love” was a huge mess. One press member noted that it was so bad that it sounded like Hannah was singing an entirely different song. Because the jury members are watching the show not from inside the arena, we fear the worst for Slovenia.
3. CROATIA – Klapa s Mora – Mizerja
Another group of very talented singers. The song is very classic Eurovision, and could get high marks with the jury members. However, the performance, which is comprised of them mostly standing around, may be seen as boring to the televoters. In addition, klapa may be more of an acquired taste, particularly to those of the Eastern European countries. Western European countries may be left scratching their heads. We expect it will be one of the higher-placing non-qualifiers but won’t have enough to get inside the Top 10.
4. MONTENEGRO – Who See featuring Nina – Igranka
We are very torn with this choice. The song is unique, dynamic, and the performance is visually stunning. But the one issue is rap is still not a widely accepted form of music in Eurovision. We fear the jury members will give low scores for this song. On a side note, most of the press members love Nina and think she is very talented. There is much consensus that more of her and less of Who See would have garnered a better result.
5. LITHUANIA – Andrius Pojavis – Something
No one can deny that Andrius is a passionate singer that loves to perform. But the song lacks a climatic finish that is typical of Eurovision songs. As a result, it is difficult to craft a performance that sticks in the viewer’s minds at the end of the show. We fear Lithuania will be the bottom of the pack.
6. CYPRUS – Despina Olympiou – An me thismase
Cyprus has brought a beautiful and engaging singer who sings a nice ballad. However, like Lithuania, the performance may be too static for the televoters. On the bright side, the jury members may award it a nice number of points for the song itself and Despina’s vocal abilities.
In a few hours we’ll know if we were right or totally off but feel free to share your own predictions by posting them below or on our forum HERE.
After the show ESC United will attend the press conference to talk to the 10 qualifiers. We wish all 16 countries the best of luck.