So, let’s get down to serious business – semis over, qualifiers known, running order announced: time to check who got screwed over, who might benefit, and who might eventually run with it!
But first, let’s get the elephant in the room cleared out: SCANDISKANDAL! Apart from Sweden, none of the Scandinavian countries managed to conquer a place in the final. Remarkable, to say the least. Any other region and we might have multiple conspiracy theories on our hand, but let’s face it: they simply were not good enough. None of them made enough sense, with either old fashioned songs that were vocally raped to death (Finland and Denmark) or fickle compositions that weren’t interesting enough to keep the attention all the way through (apparently – Norway & Iceland). While some of the Eurovision seniors like Netherlands & my own little Belgium seem to have found their second (or rather umpteenth) breath, it’s up to the Scandi’s to get back to the drawing board and figure out how to tackle the Contest in years to come.
Looking at the line-up for the final, it’s a bit of a weird cocktail of countries. Seems to me that the quality of the songs (and acts) is outsmarting the regional/political motives, which we can only applaud. The fact that so many Western & Southern countries seem to be on a hit-or-miss trajectory will make for interesting entries in the years to come, I feel.
Looking at the draw in detail then – only the draw itself, I’ll save my prediction powers for last (see bottom of article):
- Belgium – since we drew the first half, I suspected we’d have to open the show and I was right on the nose. I don’t mind it that much, will set a nice and cheerful standard. Curious to see how it’ll be perceived when it’s not coming after a bunch of boring songs, like in the semi.
- Czech Republic – poor Czechia, finally got to the final and is awarded the Place Of Doom. Good contrast to Belgium though. But doomed nonetheless.
- The Netherlands – Again a nice contrast, but being third up will not help it along in the minds of the voters…
- Azerbaijan – Not that it had big chances to begin with, but this draw will probably result in a safe mid-table result.
- Hungary – Though early drawn, this will benefit hugely from coming right behind AZE as they are so different.
- Italy – Ow dear, this early in the line-up will not do this piece of poetry any favors. But coming right behind the shouty Hungary might be in its favor…
- Israel – If Italy comes across lovely rather than clumsy (can go either way, after having seen that snippet in semi 2), then this doesn’t benefit from coming right behind it. If not, this could be the welcome relief after a bewildering performance.
- Bulgaria – I don’t think any draw can save this from faring worse than many fans hope.
- Sweden – Will benefit hugely from coming right after Bulgaria.
- Germany – Might get lost from this spot. Might get lost from any spot, for that matter.
- France – Very dangerous with this draw. All will depend on those live vocals (as it always has).
- Poland – Depending on how Amir pulls it off live, this will either impress immensely or come across as really dated (as it did in semi 2, coming right after Latvia)
- Australia – So close to Germany, and right after Poland… This will make it shine even more than it already would.
- Cyprus – Might come across a bit ridiculous right after the Ozzies…
- Serbia – One bunch of dramatic leatherettes follows up another, will this affect either one? I’m thinking it might.
- Lithuania – I would have kept this for the end, now it’ll get lost from a rather beneficial draw.
- Croatia – Lucky coming after Lithuania, not so lucky coming before Russia.
- Russia – As if the SVT Gods want him to win, one would think.
- Spain – Will drown between two forces of nature, and will seem like a weaker version of Belgium.
- Latvia – Ideal starting position, I’d say.
- Ukraine – Ideal starting position, I’d say. Have a feeling that this and Latvia might enforce rather than weaken each other.
- Malta – Will come across rather weak after Ukraine.
- Georgia – Benefits from coming up after Malta.
- Austria – Benefits from coming up after the Georgian wild bunch.
- United Kingdom – People will still be on an Austrian sugar high, so this might pass them by. UK would have fared better with Lithuania’s draw, I’m sure.
- Armenia – Kinda bummed she gets to perform last, but then again this is where The Three Wannabe Tenors won the televoting from. Plus, she gets to walk all over the UK now. Fun times.
So, how do I see this panning out on the night once the votes start rolling in?
I think there are a couple of firm contenders for the win:
- Russia – even though I’m still not buying it, the act might be novel enough to distract people from the rather generic song.
- Australia – your typical ballad, brought to another level by miss Im’s vocal abilities. Still think she has the stage presence of an anchovy, but hey.
- Sweden – it sounds very now, is in a bit of a niche on its own and is the only Scandi country left. I’m not ruling out a back-to-back win at all.
Then there are a few outsiders that might ‘surprise’ with a top 5, or even more, who knows…:
- Armenia – despite the less accessible song, this is very powerful and convincing.
- Austria – I’ve labeled it a dark horse slash pink unicorn before and I remain convinced that this is very dangerous.
- Latvia – the most touching of all male soloists, with a fresh sounding song and an impeccable draw
- Ukraine – but only because others seem to think this can shake things up, still feels too fickle for me.
The one that’ll disappoint/fail:
- France: I’ve only seen that one snippet in semi 1, which was already enough to cast my hopes and dreams of that long overdue French victory aside for another year.
The one that’ll end up last:
- Germany: I really don’t want it to fail, but I can’t see who’ll vote for this when they’ve got the likes of Australia to vote for… (speaking rationally…for once)
So, expect something completely different on Saturday. Loving how (relatively) open this Contest turns out to be, even more than (half) expected beforehand. Let the games begin! Enjoy, and see you on the other side!