Tonight 19 songs will become 10. I’ve had mixed fortunes at predicting the qualifiers in the past but this is how I currently think things will go.
Greece – I thought this was a dreadful song when first selected but it’s a powerful and confident performance and should breeze through. Eurovision without Greece is about as unthinkable as Eurovision without Sweden but then we all know what happened there last year!
Azerbaijan – Great vocals, good use of backing singers and simple, classy choreography. Holding back on last year’s slightly over-the-top staging has actually worked well for them.
Norway – I just can’t help smiling when I see Stella Mwangi perform this. My initial contest favourite, Haba Haba fell back in my ratings, which I think was mainly due to its early selection. I’m sure viewers hearing this for the first time will love it. The only problem is Stella performing in the dreaded/doomed 2nd position.
Russia – Bland, generic, arrogant – just a few of the comments I’ve heard against this song. It’s one of my personal favourites this year and I really want a pair of those light-up shoes! Someone let me know where I can get them!
Armenia – Boom Boom, Ding Dong, Haba Haba, Da Da Dum – this really is the year of catchy nonsense titles. This little number seems catchy enough to see Armenia progress once again.
Turkey – Eurovision without Turkey would be like Christmas without turkey; although many countries seem to get on perfectly well without it and most people end up complaining it’s a little dry. Anyway, I like this little rock number, even if it IS a litte repetitive and lacking in the true stadium rock feel. Hard Rock Hallelujah this is not!
Finland – It’s difficult to write a song about the environment without sounding cheesy (even Michael Jackson was guilty of this) but this is a nice simple, sweet song that I think the voters of Europe will like. Not quite Tom Dice but shouldn’t have too much trouble making the final.
Albania – 12 points for effort, you couldn’t ask her to try any harder in this performance. At the bottom of the pile for me until the rehearsals Albania has been a pleasant surprise! I just hope they don’t use up all Germany’s gas with all that fire!
Iceland – I think this song actually sounded better in Icelandic but it’s a nice, enjoyable performance nonetheless.
Georgia – Verging on screeching this is a loud, brash song but has something that makes me think it will go through.
Hungary – A whole line of previous fan favourite non-qualifiers (Kate Ryan, Paulo Meneguzzi, DJ Bobo) makes me think Hungary will struggle to qualify. The staging doesn’t do the song justice and her vocals struggle at times.
Serbia – Never thought I’d see Serbia sending a song like this. It’s nice enough but I can’t stand the background and I find it hard to remember once I’ve heard all the other songs.
Outside Chance – Switzerland, Poland
No Chance! – Croatia, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, San Marino
Video recap of semi final 1 rehearsals.
So in summary, here are the countries I reckon will qualify tonight:
Greece, Azerbaijan, Norway, Russia, Armenia, Turkey, Finland, Albania, Iceland, Georgia.