Friday, May 11, 2018

Eurovision: Now we see them, now they don't. Final predictions.

China may have done Ireland a huge favour by editing their broadcast of the first Semi Final. Rainbow flags were blurred and the two dancing guys were not shown so clearly for the poor Chinese viewers, the vast majority of whom probably wouldn't have got the significance of what was going on anyway. To be honest, I had no idea of what was going on until someone explained the song to me.

Anyway, the effect of Ryan not only getting through the Semi final with a far better live version than he had managed previously but also getting some handy publicity (as the European Broadcasting Unit have banned China from showing the whole final!) has been to drop his odds to around 10 as I write.

That would place Ireland 3rd but actually the impact of having them up there near the front could be to persuade voters who really would like to protest to do so more than they might have done. Ireland winning would be a huge sock in the jaw for those who control what Chinese people can see on their screens. So a win for Ireland, quite inconceivable yesterday, is on the cards.

Rehearsals are also under way and it will from these that the juries give their votes, not the actual Final. It seems that some people are doing really well whereas others are not, much as we found to be the case with the two Semi Finals.

With so many really quite awful entries in the second Semi Final, there was unlikely to be much problem for Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Moldova, The Netherlands and Ukraine, all of whom sailed through. The question was: which two of the others will make the Final?

The answer was Slovenia, who did make a good effort and probably had some help from Trump, and Serbia, who were very ethnic and that's about all I can say for their entry. For the first time since joining in, Russia did not qualify. No assistance from Trump was required either, with a simply dreadful effort by Yulya and her wailing backing singers. I had expected Romania to get through with a strong number but the singer's reputation for mischief may have acted against her with the juries who prefer the angelic android and no worrying images. Romania's entry was not sufficiently bland. Latvia, too, had a reasonably different entry and I wouldn't be surprised to discover that they were a close 11th.

So now we know the 26 who will compete tomorrow.

There are still clear no-hopers: Slovenia, Serbia, Albania, UK, Ukraine, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Bulgaria.

There are those who would need something extraordinary to happen to encourage voters to vote for them in sufficient quantities: Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy and Hungary I put in this middle category. Spain could be too sugary but that could still work for those who haven't seen them before. Italy have the best lyrics but I doubt whether anyone will know. Great singers too. Hungary are just an extraordinary band. As the only heavy rock outfit they will get all the votes for those who like it. Denmark and Czech Republic have a lot of fans and may just produce something remarkable but I suspect not.

That still leaves a good number who could make it:

Cyprus
Being the favourite always helps but seldom comes true. This time, though, she is favourite because of her performance, not the preview video. Eleni will do a good job and looks like a certain Top Five.

Israel
Netta used to be the favourite and has never really faded away like almost everyone else has done at some point. Another pretty safe Top Five.

Ireland
Totally unexpected, as I have said above. They've had that 'something extraordinary' so have to have that chance, I guess. My feeling, though, is that they'll miss out on the night.

France
A gentle song that sort of rolls along and professionally performed. But it is just a little uninspiring. Top 10 for sure but Top Five? I doubt it.

Germany
This lad has come up as a bit of a dark horse. Currently my pick to take the crown if he can really grab people's hearts and votes on the night. He has been vulnerable to cock-ups though and could still disappear out of the Top Ten.

Lithuania
I have backed this girl since the start. Quite a few others do now too. Another possible winner for me but she'd need to do something very special as she is near the start and may thus get forgotten, sadly. Top Ten, though.

Sweden
Another possible winner now, down to sheer professionalism and the possible big youth vote he could attract. One of the few modern tracks this year. Not great, not highly memorable and it wouldn't go down as a classic winning song at all but on a strange, confusing night it could take it. Top Five likely.

Norway
Experience counts for a lot and Rybak is great. He hasn't been really getting across that well, though, so far, and his one-time top position in the odds has faded a lot. Ought to scrape in the Top Ten though.

Estonia
On a night when no-one else seems predictable, one thing is sure and that is that this girl will impress a lot of viewers. Her position may not help much, though. Still a possible winner but more probably Top Five.

Australia
My favourite at the start but Jessica has not been performing well. Until the Semi Final when she did, almost, get her act together. She has the best personality of all of the acts and a superb song, apart from frustratingly low register starting bits. If she really, really tries and makes a connection with us all and also gets the right notes and stops bothering about the silly dancing moves, keeping things much simpler, then, yes, this could still be her big night. That'll annoy the bookies who have her at 100+.

So these are the Top 10.

Top Five: Australia | Estonia | Sweden | Israel | Cyprus

Winner?

I really don't know. Oh, I forgot Moldova! Yes. Great entertainment! They'll do and we can all go back to the 1970s.


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