Once upon a time, the Eurovision Song Contest happened for one night a year, you'd get a couple of preview shows (and even these were scrapped) and that was it.
Now, Eurovision is an all-year round, truly interactive experience. And aren't we glad about that!! Months of national finals, song selections and speculation, rehearsals week, the two semi-finals, the grand final and then months of post-match analysis before it all rolls round again :)
This week I've been enjoying watching all the rehearsal clips, both official and unofficial, posted on the internet almost as they happen. As I'll be on holiday in the coming week I'll miss the two semi-finals but should be back home in time for the final. However, I don't really feel that I've missed anything, because of all the wonderful people who are blogging, posting videos, tweeting links, recording podcasts etc....thanks to each and every one of you for bringing the Eurovision experience alive.
So it's foolish predictions time. Here's who I think will qualify out of the semi-finals. As ever, I will probably be completely wrong, but here goes:
Qualifying from Semi-Final 1:
Hope to be wrong here, as I'd love Hungary to make it through - it may not be a "fan-fave" but "Sound of Our Hearts" is one of my particular favourites this year. And he is great :)
You always get a shock qualifier/non-qualifier of course so don't write off Austria due to the draw and just the sheer ridiculousness of it.... and then of course there is also uh oh, uh oh oh, which is awful but catchy. Maybe take Cyprus out of the equation too despite the 12 points from Greece? Greece will probs qualify because they are Greece of course, even though I can't really stand their song this year. I just wonder if the current economic situation will affect their points total in the final...or could they be punished at the semi-final stage?
Qualifying from Semi-Final 2:
Again I'm having some doubts as Belarus could drop out of the running with either Croatia or Bosnia-Herzegovina sneaking through although both of their songs are, for me, substandard this year. I've got a feeling Slovenia is going to do very well though.
Georgia could be the possible shock qualifier in this one but I don't know who could drop out - maybe Lithuania, although they have a terrific draw, and if Donny sings out of his skin the way he did in the 2nd rehearsal then he's definitely a tip for the final.
You'll have noticed I've got the Netherlands in there. I have a feeling that "You and Me" could give them their best result in years, due to its simplicity. And everyone will remember the headgear which is totally unnecessary. But at Eurovision, you gotta have a gimmick, so...
The Big 5+1
My views on this, as with the rest of the entries, change from day to day, from hour to hour.
UK: will be top 10 at least, possible top 5 but won't win.
France: will get the poorest result out of all the big 5+1
Italy: definite top 5, possible winner - there was a lot of goodwill towards Italy last year and I think this could appeal to both juries and televoters.
Azerbaijan: just outside the top 10.
Spain: definite top 10 placing. She can really sing this song.
Germany: definite top 10 placing, if he loses the silly headgear. Great draw and a song with wide appeal, even if the hardcore fans seem to hate it.
I am not going to predict the winner. If Loreen does win, as she seems to be getting a pre-contest Rybak/Lena buzz going, then it will be the latest in a long line of predetermined wins, which seems to be becoming the norm in the internet age.
Then there are the grannies. Have you ever been to a kids’ school concert or a dancing display, and there is always the little attention seeking one at the end who is about three steps behind the rest at all times, and yet they are so damn cute that you can’t stop watching them. Just like that little one in the Buranovskiye Babushki. The "awwww" factor is alive and well here, and Europe could totally fall for it. However, what Eurovision really needs is an international hit song as a winner, not a novelty entry.
So if Loreen or the grannies don't win, I think it's going to be a really close contest with the lead changing after every couple of voting results are announced. Yep, I am sitting on the fence. So instead I am going to predict the top 10, middle 10, and bottom 6, based on the above predictions. Which, I reiterate, will be completely wrong. But that's the fun of Eurovision!
In no particular order, the top 10:
The next 10:
The bottom 6:
*possibly substituting shock/surprise qualifiers!
Next Saturday I'll be in front of the telly (watching in HD for the first time!) with wine and nibbles and the statutory potato wedges break . As usual mum will be on hand to provide the odd quip, and I'll have pen in hand writing down all the thoughts of the EuropeCrazy HQ jury to turn it into a blog post which should be posted on here next Sunday. In the meantime....enjoy Eurovision week!