Not So Great Danes

May 12, 2016 by

Not So Great Danes

Being at rehearsals can sometimes work against you (see Iceland in semi 1) and it has made semi 2 feel even more difficult to unravel.

The 3 that look up against it are Switzerland, Belarus and Albania, though Albania is not without a chance. Eneda sang well last night in front of the juries and it comes across as a quality entry on a similar level to Kaliopi for FYR Macedonia.

Rykka sounded fine last night and the Swiss song is perfectly adequate as a pop song in a semi full of only adequate pop songs. The much shorter Belarus price to qualify is somewhat baffling. The staging for this is an extravagant, incongruous mess and Ivan’s vocal was again not good last night.

Having warmed to Georgia’s qualification chances because it is so well staged and has USP in this semi as a very credible indie/rock tune, the worry is SVT messed up the visual effects for this last night not only on the 1st run through but also the 2nd one they got to do at the end. That said, more than one run through didn’t do any harm to Belgium or Cyprus in 2012.

Denmark really should not be qualifying. It’s a lame boyband effort and one of their vocalists was consistently flat again last night. Norway has a better chance to qualify but again Agnete was flat at the start and the song has that uncomfortable tempo change, so it seems a more likely NQ.

FYR Macedonia has a good few Balkan friends in this semi but compared to 2012 this isn’t quite as friendly for it, and the Balkan vote could not help save Bosnia & H on Tuesday night, so it edges more towards NQ.

The only 2 that feel like certain qualifiers are Ukraine and Serbia. There remains a question mark hanging over Australia. Dami lacks control with her vocal and she wavered a few times last night. Serbia’s Sanja was not at her best either by the way and the recap showed her slightly missing a high note.

There also have to be concerns how well a South Korean singer is going to be received, especially in Eastern Europe. The song has always felt over-rated to me. It is very repetitive and the staging is rather static and dull.

Australia is untested in an ESC semi-final environment, and every time I have watched Dami rehearse it has felt like a cold 3 minutes. So there remain many red flags on Australia and reasons for it to potentially underperform.

Latvia is another rather cold and sanitized presentation and a song that has continued to underwhelm from the 1 slot. Justs is vocally excellent but is usurped by Hovi Star for Israel whose song is superbly staged and his vocal was top notch in front of the juries.

If I was asked to pick the winner of this semi, it would have to be Ukraine. Jamala was outstanding again last night, this is 3 minutes of musical artistry that draws you in and if the market thinks Australia is Ukraine’s biggest danger, then my analysis would have Ukraine comfortably ahead.

Poland is incredibly dated, and on early. Michal sang well last night and it has its diaspora vote to rely on in numerous countries voting in this semi which could help it sneak a place among the 10 qualifiers.

The same applies to Lithuania. Donny performed it well last night but it is a very formulaic pop song and comes across on screen as a sparkly nothingness.

He was quite likeable and voteable in 2012. Now he comes across as cocky, and like Poland’s Michal sports a shocking barnet. The transition from blindfold to trampoline could see his popularity rating fall. But Lithuania also has a strong diaspora vote it should be able to rely on in this semi.

Coming to Stockholm Bulgaria was a dark horse in my book for a top 5 finish but it is staged abysmally and while Poli sang well last night, it could even be vulnerable to a shock NQ. But song quality should see it through.

Belgium came across as a very weak song on first listen. After the Iceland experience in semi 1, this original thought remains at the forefront of my mind. Laura did not sing and perform this at her best last night either. But the thing that helps to elevate it is the choreo. It does everything right that Bulgaria does wrong and as an uptempo closer to this semi, this will aid its televote.

The 2 that look most capable of surprise qualification tonight are Slovenia and Ireland. Manuella sang and performed ‘Blue And Red’ really well last night. When she does her yodelling, it was pitch perfect and worthy of merit among juries and it is a radio-friendly, contemporary sounding song.

It is just a shame she is accompanied by the superfluous sight of a bare-chested bloke swinging on a pole, though he is apparently Danish so Slovenia may be hoping to attract some Danish points.

Nicky Byrne has improved with every performance and saved his best for last night. My initial reaction to ‘Sunlight’ this year was that it was a decent pop song, radio-friendly and a vast improvement on Ireland’s ESC songs of recent years.

Nicky also has his Westlife profile to possibly aid his televote tonight and Ireland has a decent spread of voting allies in this semi including the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium and Australia should offer support too.

It is a very difficult task to pick 10 qualifiers. Hoping the technical glitches haven’t cost Georgia it makes it into the 10. Belgium scrapes in too purely by dint of its (in theory) uptempo advantage from the pimp slot but its Q price looks way too short. There is a tendency for songs to be over-backed for qualification on Betfair.

Poland looks slightly more vulnerable from the 2 slot than Lithuania in 9 with Ireland and Slovenia looking over-priced for qualification in this semi and poised to take advantage if either or both miss out. On balance, Ireland has slightly more potentially in its favour so Michal’s out and Nicky’s in. Petra also talks to Nicky during the show.

My far from confident 10 are: Ukraine, Serbia, Israel, Australia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Georgia, Lithuania, Ireland.

Tim B’s 10 are: Latvia, Poland, Israel, Serbia, Ireland, Lithuania, Australia, Ukraine, Georgia and Belgium. He advises laying Norway, also having a small lay of Bulgaria and a small back of Ireland.

Good luck with your investments tonight. A late night awaits as we will see the 10 qualifiers draw first half and second half following semi 2, and then it will likely be in the early hours of tomorrow morning that the full running order drops for Saturday’s Grand Final. Please feel free to post your 10 qualifiers below.



  1. Henry VIII

    You both differ in only one Poland or Bulgaria. I’d probably have them both through and lose one of Ireland, Lithuania, or even Israel.

    But I say that without enough confidence to bet on it.

  2. Montell


    Poland is the most likely candidate to replace Ireland or Georgia.

  3. PeterNL

    1. Ukraine
    2. Serbia
    3. Australia
    4. Belgium
    5. Israel
    6. Latvia
    7. Lithuania
    8. Poland
    9. Bulgaria
    10. Georgia

    I hope the best for Ireland, but I don’t really expect it to qualify in a semi final with several more interesting uptempo songs.

    • Rob

      Well done Peter. 10/10. I’m happy to have got 9/10. Tim B got 9/10 as well.

      Georgia and Israel qualifying both nice results, as were lays of Denmark, Norway and Belarus to qualify.

      They have 7 solo females in the 2nd half so can alternate from 14-26.

      • Montell

        I got 9/10 as well. This semi was easier to predict comparing to SF1. In SF I lost some money on Iceland NQ, but fortunately I won plenty in SF2 backing Israel Q, Belgium Q, Georgia Q, Norway NQ, Switzerland NQ. I also loved songs in SF2 more than in SF1.

        • Rob

          Well done Montell. I felt semi 2 was potentially trappy but it worked out straight-forwardly in the end. I predict Poland crept in towards the bottom of the 10 Qs in semi 2.

      • PeterNL

        Thanks, after the Icelandic disaster of Tuesday I could use a night like this 🙂

  4. Matt

    Lithuania are my confident 6

    Latvia and
    Ireland are my ambers

    which leaves Poland, Bulgaria, FyroM and Slovenia for the last place.

    I’ll take Slovenia to shock over Poland.

    In for a penny in for a pound…

    Good luck all

  5. Rob

    Czech Republic
    The Netherlands
    United Kingdom

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