A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Semi 2: these are my ten qualifiers

If there was pressure to predict the first semi final then this second one feels like a nightmare for various reasons. Mainly because it all seems very open and I have no idea whether to predict with my heart or with my head.

I feel sure about five of ten qualifiers, perhaps. Then it feels like the placings 6 - 16 or so are one big grand lottery. How will the points spread between the candidates? If they spread enormously you might need less points than ever to make top ten tonight. Then a couple of high points could be enough. Which opens up for basically anyone.

But again - I repeat my old mantra that this is just a game and nothing to be taken too seriously. If I tell myself that a number of times I might believe it in the end.

1. LATVIA Here We Go / PeR
Just like Austria, this is a very good opening number and for a long time I thought this would be the happy pill that would appeal to the audience in the end. But I thought the same about Trackshittaz last year. You've got to learn sometime.
Qualifier: No

2. SAN MARINO Crisalide / Valentina Monetta 
This is where the real prediction nightmare starts. If you are not a eurovision fan and you don't know how much Valentina improved since last year, all you are left with as a ballad that never fully develops and a dated beat from the Siegel factory, which hasn't worked since 1999. This prediction is more based on me wanting to see San Marino on a scoreboard for once. Heart wins over head.
Qualifier: Yes

3. FYR MACEDONIA Pred da se razdeni / Esma & Lozano
I still think this is a dismal song that merely uses Esma as a special effect and nothing more, but you could have way worse special effects than her. And I'd rather have her than many others on offer tonight.
Qualifier: Yes

4. AZERBAIJAN Hold Me / Farid Mammadov
A weak song enhanced by technology, pretty much like last year's Azeri entry. Of course it will work, at least at this point.
Qualifier: Yes

5. FINLAND Marry Me / Krista Siegfrieds
Catchy, instant, over the top, girl on girl kissing, wedding dress. This one will stay in the audience's mind and will sail into the final. Well done, girl.
Qualifier: Yes

6. MALTA Tomorrow / Gianluca
A very charming song with a very charming singer has, reportedly, turned unnecessarily dull and not striking enough on stage. I still want to think that an ukulele and eyes as charming as Gianluca's will be enough, but I'm not sure at all.
Qualifier: Yes

7. BULGARIA Samo shampioni / Elitsa & Stoyan
Despite liking them a lot in Helsinki six years ago, I did not predict them to qualify, neither did I see their top five placing coming in advance. So maybe the trick will work again, despite this song lacking everything that made "Voda" good. But I don't think so.
Qualifier: No

8. ICELAND Ég á líf / Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson
This is a pretty little ballad in many ways. Iceland has a way of squeezing themselves into the final where they ultimately don't do so well. It could work this time around as well, but the battle for ballad points is ferocious and Iceland would need a large portion of luck to make it this time.
Qualifier: No

9. GREECE Alcohol Is Free / Koza Mostra feat Agathonas Iakovidis
This is another truly divisive song that certain people will detest, but temper, attitude, forza and dancing musicians dressed in kilts will win in the end.
Qualifier: Yes

10. ISRAEL Rak bishvilo / Moran Mazor
One week ago I predicted that Iceland would make it and Israel would not. Today I swap them around. I still think the song would need more of a climax - I expect more than it ever delivers every time I hear it - but think Moran's intensity will beat the Icelandic cool in the end. And I doubt there is room for them both in the final.
Qualifier: Yes

11. ARMENIA Lonely Planet / Dorians
I really hate bringing up the subject of diaspora voting, but the Armenian Head of Delegation mentioned it herself in their press conference this week. In my mind, this is the weakest song of the second semi, but will potential friendship points be enough to take it to the final. For the sake of this competition, I hope not.
Qualifier: No

12. HUNGARY Kedvesem / ByeAlex
This is one of my top favourites this year. But I think this introverted but brilliant little gem will be too demanding from a grand audience on a Thursday night and that it could very well mean ByeHungary in the end. I would love to be wrong on this one, but I don't see it happening.
Qualifier: No

13. NORWAY I Feed You My Love / Margaret Berger
After all these question marks it feels wonderful to be this sure again. Norway is a potential winner this year and is a sure qualifier tonight.
Qualifier: Yes

14. ALBANIA Identitet / Bledar Sejko & Adrian Lulgjuraj
I like these rockers, I like their song and I like their sound. But just like in 2011, I think this will be a bit too much for Europe. Unfortunately.
Qualifier: No

15. GEORGIA Waterfall / Nodi & Sophie
Big voices and a big - albeit predictable - ballad. Will work wonders and steal lots and lots of points and ruin the chances for most other ballad entries - how many are there room for besides this one?
Qualifier: Yes

16. SWITZERLAND You And Me / Takasa
Alongside Armenia, my least favourite song in this semi. Three minutes of very little action and very little else. The big question is if people are prepared to vote for a group just because they feature the oldest person ever on a eurovision stage. And again, for the sake of this competiton, I hope the answer is no.
Qualifier: No

17. ROMANIA It's My Life / Cezar
Is this a good song? No, not particularly. Will people laugh at Cezar tonight? Quite a few will, yes. But perhaps the final needs a performance like this. To ensure entertainment value for everyone.
Qualifier: Yes

So these are my ten qualifiers tonight: San Marino, FYR Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Finland, Malta, Greece, Israel, Norway, Georgia and Romania. My heart is bleeding for Hungary, but I really don't dare hope that they will make it.

Am I sure? Not the least. Azerbaijan, Greece, Norway, Georgia and Finland will be in the final. Everything else is up for grabs. If I have more than five right tonight, that will be a victory in itself.

So bring it on, prove me wrong!


  1. I'm curious - you say that 6-16 is one big random group effectively... which is the 17th?

    1. It somehow sounded better in my head with place 6-16 rather than 6-17. Number 17 in my personal list would probably be Armenia. But I think Switzerland has really slim chances as well.

  2. I really like your list of qualifying countries, Tobias! :)
    But I would rather see Hungary and Albania qaulify to the final than FYROM and Israel, but that is my opinion!

    This year, Albania has a really, really good song.