I never got round to do a proper rehearsal review/prediction of semi 2 before I left for Vienna, so here’s the quick version of it:
ICELAND was one of those very borderline songs that I changed my opinion on daily, but hearing she hasn’t been too good yesterday and seeing her rehearsals, I assume the last qualifier to be announced will be someone else. It might be ISRAEL, who brings its three minutes of retro Eurovision fun (retro in the sense of “it sounds like a song from 2007”) exactly when it’s most needed. We learned on thursday that the surprises get called early, and so we might hear the CZECH REPUBLIC first. It is a very athmosperic thing, with two very likeable performers and it stands out more than I initially thought, mainly due to Vaclav’s recognizable voice and Marta’s shoe throwing. Talking about likeable performers, we might hear SLOVENIA next. The Slovenes started a huge promo offense tuesday evening, when they gave out T-shirts, CD’s, flags and info booklets, and in combination with a song that finally grew on me, it definitely made me like them.
Slovenia gets us to the countries that can probably already focus on Saturday: SWEDEN and NORWAY. The Swedes were always going to qualify with their impressive visuals, a song that stands out simply by being more or less the only of its genre and at least partly sounds as if it came from “the real world” and Norwegian and Icelandic support. Norway probably won’t get close to the semi victory, but doesn’t have to worry about qualifying – unless their risky staging decisions backfire. AZERBAIJAN was probably the only country besides Slovenia that had chances to steal the semi from the Swedes, but like Slovenia, they might have blown it with the staging. However, I haven’t seen if the dancing improved (I will still find it ridiculous because I always think that about this kind of dancing) and the Azeris qualified with Start a Fire, so they’ll be fine with Hour of the Wolf.
From the sure qualifiers to the hopeless – SAN MARINO. Chain of Lights sounds like something that forgotten by even the most hardcore fans after coming 15th in 1981, which is because Uncle Ralph probably wrote it back then. I still think Michele’s “…NO” is his real reaction when he realizes he has to sing this song again. No-hoper number two is PORTUGAL, who managed to make a bland song staying out even less with their staging. A pity, because unlike San Marino, the Portuguese entry might have been revamped into something close to a borderliner. With that, they’d have been around MALTA. I’m not sure if I ever heard Amber singing Warrior perfectly, I am not sure if I ever heard a more inappropriately titled song and I’m not sure if I ever have been that unsure about a bad song not qualifying. Malta has a “talent” for qualifying undeservedly, but I doubt they managed to buy this boredom of a song a spot.
POLAND manages to combine Maltese boredom with Portuguese blandness, and while their whole package is not un-nice when watching it, it is forgotten minutes later. Even the last spot in the draw won’t save Monika from being forgotten. From last to first and from Monika to Monika – LITHUANIA is a brilliant opener, but every other spot would probably have been better for her and Vaidas. Still, a song that is so much happy fun should qualify in a semi that has so little of it. Right after them comes IRELAND from the dreaded second spot, but we saw a #2 qualification with a worse song on Tuesday – Molly probably got her final spot already booked. The beautiful backdrop certainly helps as well. We have one more unspectacular acoustic ballad in the mix, CYPRUS, which I simply can’t see failing as well. His stage looks good. His song has a nice melody and got just about tbe right amount of “eurovisioned” to sail through. I predict a safe qualification around 6th place in the semi for Mr. Karayannis. That leaves us with LATVIA and my own country, SWITZERLAND, but only one spot in the final. As much as I hate to say it, it will probably go to Aminata, and actually it should. Her song is a lot more modern, has an awesomely “reduced” sound and got staged a lot better than the typical un-daring Swiss treatment Time To Shine got. Actually, Love Injected reminds me a little bit of Euphoria in its vibe, just a scaled down, more “artistic” and more screamy version of it.
That leaves us with the following ten qualifiers (order is what I could imagine to be the semi 2 result):