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Room for Rom

May 10, 2018 by

Room for Rom

After the bloodbath of semi 1 it would be nice to feel more confident going into semi 2. Sadly, this is not the case largely due to the low qualification bar.

Norway, Moldova, Sweden and Ukraine have the look of Q bankers but after that it becomes more problematic. My view has always been Latvia’s Laura with ‘Funny Girl’ is of too high quality, in terms of song and performance, to miss out on qualification, but there is still a niggling doubt there due to Latvia’s lack of voting power in this semi.

Laura brought her best last night when it mattered most in front of the juries. Compared to so many other poor performers/live vocalists in this semi, she is head and shoulders above nearly all of them and would be a worthy jury vote winner in this semi selling her modern, credible song.

Romania has the dreaded 2 slot to overcome in trying to defend Romania’s 100% qualification record. In this company, it should be getting through as it is a very competently performed soft rock song and certainly more accessible than Hungary. Cristina was excellent last night.

The Netherlands Waylon merits vocal and performance plaudits too, and while the presentation leaves a lot to be desired, much like Romania the song has enough quality for The Netherlands to advance to the final. So that gives us 7 clear Qs in theory. The last 3 is where it gets much murkier.

Poland, on a Eurovision level, probably just has enough to scrape through, based on a primitive beat that at least will have some small, positive impact on televoters this evening. It should be falling a long way down on the jury side, however, with Lukas’s vocal no more than adequate last night.

Hungary has its authentic metal USP working for it. It’s competently enough done and looks more likely to be on the Q list. Such a potentially alienating song looks short enough at its current Q price though and might be worth considering to lay below 1.3.

It seems dangerous to rely on diaspora/voting strength based on what we saw in semi 1, so Russia is out. It’s a poor song, badly performed.

Georgia is competent for what it is, as is Serbia, so neither can be discounted from surprise Q. Malta and San Marino look much more up against it granted a level playing field, but the Maltese have invested a lot in their entry and you always have to wonder how far that investment stretches.

Denmark is being backed for Q like it is a certainty. It really isn’t and has to be borderline at best. It’s darkly staged and the song itself is incredibly weak, as was Rasmussen’s vocal, again, in front of the juries.

Coming here to Lisbon, many were already crowning Australia this year’s most likely winner, with it backed down to second favourite at 8 on Betfair. As stated pre-rehearsals, there always looked significant doubts regarding both performer and song, and this has been borne out during the rehearsal period.

In front of the juries last night, Jessica was poor again. Of course, Isaiah was poor last year and that didn’t stop jurors rating him and his song highly. A key difference is, Jessica was bad throughout the entire 3 minutes. The one thing in Australia’s favour is, the EBU seems heavily invested in its continued presence in the competition and has given it a lot of favour since it first turned up in 2015.

Australia, along with Denmark, would be in my jury bottom 5 in this semi along with San Marino, Malta and Russia, and we have seen Australia struggle on the televote in the past.

Montenegro looks like winning the battle of the Balkan ballads versus Serbia but may well still come up short of qualification. Could fellow Balkan nation Slovenia do an Ireland and be a surprise Q from its nice late r.o. position?

Lea and her dance crew are incredibly polished in the way this catchy pop song is presented and regardless of that unnecessary pause (which could prove costly) it gets the last Q spot over both Australia and Denmark.

So the 10 Qs here in order of confidence are: Norway, Moldova, Sweden, Ukraine, Latvia, Romania, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia.

In terms of the semi 2 win Norway would defy the semi stats if it manages to win from slot 1 which makes its best high street price of 6-4 look far too short.

Sweden’s Ben is a weak vocalist and this came through last night for any juror bothering to listen closely enough. It feels like the Swedes are stretching their luck trying to package this as a modern pop song of merit. It feels too plastic and Ben as a performer is unconvincing. It may not do as well on the televote as some believe.

Moldova is a different shade of weak – more of a 3-minute skit than anything else. Ukraine, despite the pimp slot, is an insubstantial track, further reduced by Melovin’s poor diction. So for anyone seeking to grab some e/w or top 3 value Latvia looks worth a small play at 33-1 with Coral.

This has undoubtedly been the most difficult ESC to unravel ever, remains in a state of high flux, and much like Tuesday’s semi 1 no one can be confident how it will play out tonight.

In terms of the Outright, things may only become slightly clearer when we get the grand final r.o. turn up in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Prepare for a late night vigil.

Please feel free to post your top 10 predictions and best investments of tonight below.

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4 Comments

  1. Norway
    Ukraine
    Moldova
    Sweden
    Hungary
    Poland
    Denmark
    Australia
    Malta
    Romania
    ————
    Latvia, Georgia, Netherlands, Slovenia, Russia, Montenegro, Serbia, San Marino

  2. Matt

    Im with you Rob – same 10 for me – Think Slovenia is a great price to ease out one of the more fancied in Denmark and Australia. Assume one of those will get home but happy to take the value.

  3. Tim B

    Norway
    Sweden
    Australia
    Hungary
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    The Netherlands
    Romania
    Poland
    Malta

  4. PeterNL

    Norway
    Sweden
    Australia
    Hungary
    Moldova
    Ukraine
    The Netherlands
    Romania
    Poland
    Latvia

    Good luck to everyone!