Frozen Out?

May 21, 2015 by

Frozen Out?

Semi 2 has always felt a bit of a quandary and being here in Vienna hasn’t clarified things as much as hoped. You may laugh at the following statement but it is a struggle for me to find any more than 2 qualification certainties in Sweden and Norway, and 2 near definite NQs in San Marino and Portugal which suggests to me that tonight could be primed for a few upsets.

We do not know if this is the Azerbaijan of old or whether last year’s result was a sign of things to come. Dilara scraping through in 9th hardly encourages complete confidence Elnur is guaranteed to maintain Azerbaijan’s 100% qualifying record. But he did a good job last night in front of jurors and the song’s quality should see it through.

The same goes for Slovenia and while the staging continues to underwhelm this viewer it is surely a strong enough song to qualify from the 16 slot.

Preceding it, Cyprus has always had the look and feel of a classy entry. John performed it well enough last night but he was not at his best. Another concern is, it might be a little too vanilla to really excite jurors. However, it would still come as a surprise if it doesn’t get through.

Latvia should get through on song quality alone, much in the same style as Belgium in semi 1, especially as it felt like Aminata really nailed the vocal last night.

While Israel’s Nadav and his crew weren’t as good compared to first rehearsal yesterday this nation’s qualification hopes reside much more on the televote side of things and it is such a wonderful hit of energy from the 9 slot it should be lapped up by viewers tonight.

Despite small doubts, those appear a solid enough 7. After that, it becomes much more difficult.

Iceland has been over-rated by the market in my view since it was chosen in its national final. For me, Maria is a very weak performer with a very moderate live vocal singing a very moderate song which runs out of ideas after 2 minutes.

She was better last night than she had been earlier in the day but there was no concealing the lacklustre feel of the whole package. Much like The Netherlands in semi 1 it is essentially a single hook that repeats verbatim for 3 minutes. I have been happy to lay Iceland heavily for qualification at a much shorter price than it currently resides at on Betfair.

It wouldn’t come as the biggest surprise to see Iceland sneak through but the competition in this semi looks strong enough for it to miss out and it still looks worth taking on around the 1.5 mark.

Malta is always dangerous to rule out because of its knack for sneaking through, qualifying 4 times in the last 6 years and only just missing out on the other 2 occasions. And to give her her dues Amber rose to the occasion pretty well last night. Melanie Rene also did a good job with ‘Time To Shine’ as did Molly with ‘Playing With Numbers’ for Ireland. It is hard to discount any of them but for the purposes of finding the magic 10, they are all marginal NQs on my list.

The remaining 3 qualification places looks like a scrap between Lithuania, Montenegro, Czech Republic and Poland.

I like the comeback narrative with the Czech Republic. Back in the Contest for the 1st time since 2009 the EBU would probably love to see it make the final, to ensure its continued presence in the Contest. It gave it the best possible running order position of 8 in this semi after it pulled out a first half draw.

Also, with ‘vocal capacity’ being one of the jury criteria, I think Czech Republic has a chance to rank surprisingly highly with jurors as Marta and Vaclav powered through the song impressively last night and ‘Hope Never Dies’ is a meritorious song. A greater concern is how it does on the televote side of things but at the odds it looks worth a small investment to qualify available at 7-4 at time of posting this article. It may well go bigger in-running tonight on Betfair.

Poland’s Monika performed well last night and it felt like she really connected with the camera. It is a competitive semi though and Poland still feels borderline even from the pimp slot because it is not the strongest song and she is certainly not the strongest female vocalist in this semi. Much will depend on how much televoters buy into her back story.

But, basing things on the staple variables of tv betting analysis and everything it looks to have in its favour: a very likeable woman in a wheelchair singing a heart-warming ballad from the pimp slot with images behind showing her in her able-bodied youth, Poland edges onto the Q list along with Czech Republic.

Which leaves Montenegro and Lithuania fighting over one remaining spot. I’ve felt all along that Lithuania is a weak song and over-rated by the market. The concern with Montenegro is, while it is a quality Balkan ballad sung well by Knez, and a highly professional looking and sounding 3 minutes, it is really lacking voting allies in this semi whereas Lithuania has a nice spread of friends.

For that reason and that reason alone, and as much as it pains me because in my view it is excruciatingly forced, sickly sweet and sycophantic, Lithuania takes it by the shortest of short heads. When Vaidas says, ‘Vienna make some noise’ don’t be surprised if the resultant European-wide tsunami of chunder ends up submerging vast swathes of the Kent coastline.

So, my ten for the usual bragging rights are: Sweden, Norway, Cyprus, Latvia, Israel, Azerbaijan, Slovenia, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania.

What are you 10? Please feel free to add your predictions below and good luck with all your semi 2 investments.

10 Comments

  1. Matt

    Good analysis Rob. Mt ten are:
    Sweden
    Norway
    Cyprus
    Latvia
    Israel
    Azerbaijan
    Slovenia
    Poland
    Lithuania
    and Iceland.

    Just one different but agree with pretty much all written above. Going to be fun.

  2. Montell

    Lithuania Q
    Ireland NQ
    San Marino NQ
    Montenegro NQ
    Malta NQ
    Norway Q
    Portugal NQ
    Czech Republic Q
    Israel Q
    Latvia Q
    Azerbaijan Q
    Iceland NQ
    Sweden Q
    Switzerland Q
    Cyprus Q
    Slovenia Q
    Poland NQ

  3. neomichael

    For me, iceland is a boarderline qualifier and the market gives a good value not to qualify.
    Three of my favourite bets for tonight are Montenegro NQ , Switzerland Q and Lithuania NQ.
    As regards Poland, i feel that the wheelchair apperance, the pimpslot, and all those allies (italy, germany , ireland, australia),
    will make the song qualify and in fact in a good position, regardless the song’s quality.
    Here is my estimation:

    1 Sweden
    2 Cyprus
    3 Poland
    4 Norway
    5 Azerbaijan
    6 Latvia
    7 Switzerland
    8 Slovenia
    9 Israel
    10 Iceland
    ——————————–
    11 Malta
    12 Lithuania
    13 Ireland
    14 Czech Republic
    15 Portugal
    16 Montenegro
    17 San Marino

    Good luck guys

  4. Ron

    I can see a couple of big shocks tonight. Azerbaijan failing to make the cut would not surprise me at all : overrated song, uncharismatic singer and very messy staging.

    Slovenia failing would be an even bigger shock of course, but you couldn’t rule it out….there seems to be a lot of indifference to the entry.

    Do people really think Ireland can only get a Kasey Smith type result at best? It would be a bit baffling that RTE could get everything hopelessly wrong last year in the staging and vocals, get everything right this year and still only finish 11th-12th.

  5. Martin F.

    escgo’s “five bets to consider” for tonight’s show: http://www.escgo.com/2015/05/21/semi-2-five-bets-to-consider/

  6. Montell

    Wow! 9 out of 10 correct. I noticed that this new system where songs are rated from top to bottom is very helping good songs to standout. With a good song any country can qualify and it doesn’t really matter if you have no allies. I like this system very much. It maybe the best system used in Eurovision.

  7. Montell

    By the way I also got 9 qualifiers right but only when I saw the show live. My only miss was Poland. I thought Switzerland would qualify instead. Melanie totally deserved it. I’m pretty sure Switzerland was 11th.

    • neomichael

      I’m pretty sure for the 11th place too. For me montenegro took 10th place.. but even in this order i cannot explain how this happened.

      • big@blog.lt

        Well, in my eyes Knez and his per performance was credible. However, before the show I didn’t believe he would make it. Anyway I’m always happy when country who usually suck at Eurovision make the final. Then you can be sure that they will participate next year and the more countries participate the more exciting and competitive Eurovision is.

  8. neomichael

    Does anybody knows when the voting order is going to be revealed?

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