Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Predictions for #Eurovision 2012

Last night's 2nd Group Semi Final was a pretty dire event and I would imagine that the voting figures were probably 90% Sweden and 10% across the rest which meant that dreadful noises from places like Lithuania managed to get through to the final by getting 4 votes compared to 2 or 3 for the others.

Sweden's Loreen did perform Euphoria well and that sealed her place at the top of almost everybody's table of likely winners on Saturday. The two acts who appeared to go down well with the crowd in Baku were Estonia and Norway. Despite a lacklustre performance of an entry I've favoured for a long time and an awful re-working of the ending to feature some tuneless girl, Malta still got through.

So, it's 'early prediction' time. As we still haven't seen how the Big Five will actually perform live I do still have some doubts about the make-up of the Top Ten so, as always, these come with a health warning and will almost certainly be subject to change as the Final unfolds and we see just what the likes of Italy and France actually deliver on the night.

Winner
Sweden

Top 10 (with a chance of winning)
UK
Italy
Ireland

Top 10 (the others)
Russia
Denmark
Norway
Romania
Serbia
Cyprus

Long shots (that might just make the Top 10)
Estonia
Albania
Iceland

Long shots (that could cause big surprises)
France
Malta

I can't pretend that logic plays much part in Eurovision but, for what it's worth, this is some of the justification I'd offer for these suggestions. there are only a few good ballads this year and Engelbert is the best of the batch. Serbia, the other big ballad, is also about the only decent Yugoslavia group entry this time and will benefit from their support and some other nations around there.

Ireland have the best song, likely to be a huge hit across Europe anyway, but Jedward... they've been pathetic in the live performances I've seen so far and lots of fussy voters in other countries like Finland and Slovenia don't like dodgy notes and random dancing.

As Sweden will sweep the floor with the high scores from Skandinavian countries, Denmark, Norway and Iceland will be hard pressed to get the same high numbers rolling in. They have great entries but that'll hurt their chances. Iceland have a really well-written track and fabulous violin and press all the right buttons but for some reason I can't figure their odds at the bookmakers have gone out to nearly 100-1 which is why they're a long shot now.

The eastern bloc and Russian states vote for each other and usually like what each other does and, of course, Russia still tells most of them what to do so, however bad their entries are - and they are all, without exception, pretty bad this year - some will amass a good number of points on the night regardless of what they sing or how short the girls' dresses are. That has to be good news for Romania and, of course, Russia itself. It could also help Estonia quite considerably as that's a clever song and can appeal to both the eastern bloc and Skandinavian camps. Estonia is my first prediction for the Big Surprise. They're currently 200-1 so not many people have seen that yet. Or they have and think I'm talking rubbish.

The second Big Surprise could be Albania. For similar reasons but also this is a truly extraordinary song and performance. If it goes well then she'll be up there. If it doesn't then never mind. Over 300-1 says it all really.

France has one very catchy whistle thing in a decent track. Much depends when they perform but if it is at a position where it sticks in voters' minds when they're dialling the numbers then it will do well. Malta is the other very long shot. It is a very catchy song and, delivered well, it will steal Norway's votes, being similar in some ways. People seem to like Malta too and they'll pick up middle ranging votes from across the board.

Cyprus has possibly the most 'Europop' entry and it is remarkably memorable. Even if you don't like it you'll be singing it afterwards. for a while. Their entry is very similar to Greece but this year my guess is that they'll get the more votes of the two and also pull in a load from the Mediterranean bloc. Italy have a strong number, great female singer with lots of personality and a jazzy theme that is quite different to any of the others. It'll be well supported, will make the Top 10 for sure and might just steal the crown if she gets enough votes from the eastern and Mediterranean blocs.

And then there's Engelbert. He is very popular across Europe and will be a confident and assured performer. at his age, he's got nothing to prove and nothing to lose. He could well do it, appealing across the blocs and, if it weren't for Loreen, I'd say this would be UK's year. It might still be.

And remember the Aliyev family control everything. Oh, did I mention Azerbaijan's chances...?


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