Tonight 17 countries will battle for one of the ten prestigious Final sports which means we’ll have to say goodbye to seven 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 ten 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:
Mind you, that in Semi Final 1, we had 9/10 countries predicted correctly, more than most other people we know. However, Semi Final 2 is a tougher Semi to predict.
Here are the ten Countries we believe will qualify tonight (in running order)
Photos courtesy of Sander Hesterman and Dennis Stachel (EBU
1. SAN MARINO – Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)
Valentina’s song is incredibly popular among the die hard fans but it’s not uncommon for the casual viewers to have a completely different taste and opinion. That being said, the song has all the key factors for success except the fact that it comes from San Marino which is still waiting for its first qualification. We decided to disregard its track record as all of the previous efforts were widely considered weak so this is their first serious shot at making it. Overall we believe that San Marino has a decent shot making the cut.
2. AZERBAIJAN – Farid Mammadov – Hold me
Just as in previous years, Azerbaijan decided to import their song and this has proven to be a recipe of success. In addition, the Staging of the entry was universally praised by fans and critiques and with solid vocals and charisma we expect Azerbaijan to fly through to the next round. Some people said that they’re trying to distract the viewers from a mediocre song by creating a visual feast but most experts agree that this is a perfect song for Eurovision. So we consider this a certain qualifier.
3. FINLAND – Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me
No doubt that Finland is this year’s Love/Hate entry but since you cannot vote against an entry, all we care about are the supporters and Krista has quite a few of those. This has quickly become a favorite and should score high with the televoters but whether or not the juries will be impressed remains to be seen. Some fans voiced their concern about the kiss between Krista and the female backup dancers as unnecessary and may upset countries considered conservative. But since this is such a fun number we don’t think there is any way that this is could score lower than 10th place.
4. MALTA – Gianluca – Tomorrow
Gianluca is incredibly likable and so is is entry. It is sweet, catchy and there is no entry like “Tomorrow” in the running. It may be a bit unremarkable to some folks but there are so many upbeat songs with elaborate Staging, this may be what the viewers are craving for, a song that they can sing along to without getting overwhelmed with special effects. We consider this a borderline qualifier.
5. ICELAND – Eythor Ingi – Ég á líf
We are confident that Eythor from Iceland will score big with the juries. It’s uncertain if it will receive as much love from the televotes; nevertheless it’s a solid ballad and looking at previous entries in the Style of “Ég á líf” they all have a track record of qualifying so we are putting this as a Top 10 candidates for Semi 2 which means they’ll advance to the Finals on Saturday. So in a nutshell, as long as Eythor will find a connect with the viewers Iceland will continue its streak of qualification.
6. GREECE – Koza Mostra feat. Agahtonas – Alcohol is free
Greece is sending a fun Ska song which typically proves to be highly popular with the televoters. In addition, Greek music has been really popular with the European audience for the past 10 years and we don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. Granted, the juries may be less impressed with this piece but it’s unlikely that it would be enough to prevent Koza Mostra from qualification. Being surrounded by two big ballads (Iceland & Israel) will only help its chances so we’re quite confident in our prediction when it comes to Greece.
7. ISRAEL – Moran Mazor – Rak bishvilo
Israel just screams jury favorite to us. It reminds us of 2010 when Harel Skaat was unable to convince the televoters but capture the hearts of the juries. But Moran appears to be vocally more consistent and with only 17 songs in the running it shouldn’t be a difficult task for Israel to enter the Top 10. Our only concern are Moran’s nerves as at she looks a bit intimidated by the cameras and fans but other than that she’s a safe pick.
8. NORWAY- Margaret Berger – I feed you my love
One of the fan favorites and probably the most obvious pick Margaret is a pro vocally and also comes across very likable on stage. The song is current and will probably one of the televoter’s favorites tonight. Having several nordic countries in this Semi certainly doesn’t hurt Norway’s chances either.
9. ALBANIA – Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet
Definitely the most difficult choice, Albania scored second last with the press but looking at the countries in the Finals, the running order and previous voting patterns by televoters and juries we put Albania in the Top 10. To give one example, juries commonly pick one Rock/Independent/Alternative song, in 2010 it was Bosnia & Herzegovina or in 2012 they went for Israel’s “Time”. Albania seems to be the most sane option.
10. GEORGIA – Sophie & Nodi – Waterfall
There is not a lot that could prevent Sophie & Nodi from qualifying. It is beautifully staged, both singers have great voices and it’s the kind of song that will probably equally appeal to the viewers and juries. There are even more and more people saying this could win it all so non qualification would be a shocker. The great draw will
The songs we believe will not qualify are Latvia, FYR Macedonia, Bulgaria, Armenia, Hungary, Switzerland & Romania.
1. LATVIA – PeR – Here We Go
PeR are outstanding performers. They are energetic, engaging, and love to get the crowd involved. They do a fantastic job of getting the crowd pumped up for Semi-Final 2 with their first position. The audience at the jury rehearsal went nuts over the stage-diving. But like Natalia Kelly and Austria in Semi-Final 1, we believe PeR will be long forgotten by the time the performances end. At the same time, music with rap elements (Montenegro 2013; Austria 2012; Latvia 2011; Macedonia 2010) struggle to make it to the finals, unless it’s from a Big 5 country (UK 2006) or the host country (Ukraine 2005). We love the Latvian delegation; a qualification to the finals would be a wonderful surprise, but we just don’t see it happening.
2. FYR MACEDONIA – Esma & Lozano – Pred da se razdeni
Like with Latvia, we love the Macedonian delegations. But we believe the jury members and televoters will simply not get their song. Esma is a living legend and an outstanding performer. However, we feel that televoters will simply find her sections confusing and messy. Lozano is also a terrific singer as well, but some press members here have said that “Pred da se razdeni” sounds like two songs competing at the same time. We love seeing a diverse range of music in Eurovision finals, but sadly, we believe this will be the first year in a long time in which the Balkan states are blocked out.
3. BULGARIA – Elitsa & Stoyan – Sami Shampioni
We heard many fans in the standing section of the arena exclaim that “Samo Shampioni” was one of their top picks this year. Our staff are split on the song appeal as well. Despite this, there are two main issues that may dissuade jury members and televoters. First, we believe that televoters, particularly those from Western Europe, will be left scratching their heads at some of the staging aspects, such as the backup dancer with his giant mask. Many hardcore Eurovision fans are in unison that “Samo Shampioni” is inferior to their 2007 entry “Water.” Second, Bulgaria believes that they can qualify with the artists that gave them their only entry into the final. However, that was before the introduction of the jury members, who we believe will not score “Samo Shampioni” highly. Furthermore, the casual viewer will probably not remember Elitsa and Stoyan, although they may put two and two together later. It would be so much fun to have Elitsa and Stoyan back in the final, but we don’t see it happening.
4. ARMENIA – Dorians – Lonely Planet
Here in the press center, the press is very split on Armenia qualifying. Some believe the song is bad and the performance is boring. Others believe Armenia is aided by the voting strength in this semi-final. However, we felt that Dorians were given a very tepid reaction from the audience at last night’s jury rehearsal. Furthermore, although rock songs do have a place in Eurovision finals, we believe the spectacular pyrotechnics show of Albania will sway televoters away from Armenia and more towards Albania.
5. HUNGARY – Bye Alex – Kedvesem
While watching Hungary in the arena at last night’s jury rehearsal, we found ByeAlex and the song “Kedvesem” to have a bit of the “X-factor.” Hands down, Hungary is one of the countries that makes the best use of its backdrop. It’s a beautiful piece of art that stands alone on its own merits. We also want to note that ByeAlex has a HUGE fanbase! Just look at our TVESCUNITED videos. The Hungarian second rehearsal has 15,745 views as of this writing. But we found that many of these views came from Hungarian fans and they cannot vote for ByeAlex tonight. Also, we found ourselves more focused on the backdrop and not the musicians themselves. We are very torn on ByeAlex. It’s such a catchy song, but we ultimately think Hungary will just barely miss qualifying for the final.
6. SWITZERLAND – TAKASA – You and me
Takasa have an anthemic song with a sing-a-long chorus. And on stage, there are so many likable aspects. Emil, the 95-year-old member of the group, seems so genuinely excited to be on stage. However, the performances are judged by televoters and jury members, both of whom watch from TV screens, and not are in the live audience. We found that on the screen, the performance felt very static and “by the numbers.” A song that some of us enjoy quite a bit, but one that we think will not make it through to the finals.
7. ROMANIA – Cezar – It’s my life
We have big fears that this may qualify just because Romania has always made it to the final since 2004, and since it is last in the lineup. Nevertheless, personal opinions aside, we believe that if the televoters and jury members did not put Serbia through in Semi-Final 1, they will not put Romania through as well. Furthermore, the performance is quite messy and at last night’s jury rehearsal, people in the standing section found the performance utterly ridiculous. Cezar is an amazing countertenor who has great control of his voice; however, the song just does not do his voice justice. Still, this could be this Semi-final’s surprise pick to the final.
What are your thoughts? For us, our favorites are very different from what we have selected. What would you like to see in the final, and what do you believe will actually make it there?