Tuesday, May 09, 2017

1st Semi Final: a chance for Portugal and Armenia to close the gap on Francesco.

This is certainly a different year in terms of how people are viewing most countries' chances of winning Eurovision 2017!

This evening Semi Final 1 takes place and we'll get the first real idea of how 17 of the 40+ acts will come across and just where they are going down well and where they're simply going down.

Three of the current Top 4 will perform tonight: Portugal, Sweden and Armenia. They'll all sail through but I have the feeling that Sweden's good-looking chaps are just also-rans this year. Sweden are today at their highest odds for months - not a sign of much confidence in the market at this stage!

Azerbaijan, Belgium, Finland and Australia might have been regarded as absolute certainties a few weeks back but they've all been disappointing. Belgium held so much promise with a very cool video and track but their young lady, Blanche, has failed to impress live. Azerbaijan frighten the pants off people with the horse's head, ladder and strange writing on a blackboard. Finland have an artist with one of the most reliable voices and a simple backdrop to the performance but it is really very boring. Australia have a good-looking young lad waving the flag from down under but he really needs a better song. All four are lounging at their highest odds so far too but, despite that, have no real competition so should also get through.

That leaves space for three more to qualify tonight.

That would be Moldova, Greece and Poland if you go by the betting odds. But with the 'best' of these out at 400-1 it really is going to be totally unpredictable! It also doesn't matter a great deal as none will have a hope of winning anyway. My guess is that Georgia will make it through in place of one of those, probably Poland, and Albania might squeeze in too, despite their 1000-1 odds. It really is that crazy.

Moldova is the only country whose odds are not at their worst amongst the first Semi Final lower echelon contestants. They have a fun number about a guy who fancies a sexy girl but gets told off by her mother. A wedding is eventually arranged and, yes, you've guessed it, the bride turns out to be the mother not the sexy daughter. We would miss Moldova, wouldn't we. In an evening of tedious tracks I wouldn't be surprised if they actually make it through!

Italy are still way out in front but Portugal have recently closed the gap considerably and are a serious contender now. Armenia must nt be forgotten either. the song is neither one thing nor the other but they will get the massive Eastern bloc vote and that may even be enough to make them #1.

Finally, at the time of writing the United Kingdom are predicted to come 6th! That's the highest for many, many years, even as a prediction so well done to Lucie for what must have been excellent rehearsal performances and interaction with people there, all of which counts. If Armenia wobble then she may even take the top female ballad spot and then anything's possible!

So tonight may not actually tell us a great deal after all but it'll be fun watching anyway.
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