Will Irish Eyes Be Crying?

May 8, 2014 by

Will Irish Eyes Be Crying?

Incredibly difficult to call best describes semi 2 in trying to figure out the 10 qualifiers. Last night, most countries really upped their game so it might be best to concentrate mainly on song quality here.

The early part of the semi is very strong, bar Georgia, and yet the likes of Israel and Poland can only be considered borderliners you really shouldn’t be staking your mortgage on qualifying, given the odds-on prices involved. Malta, Norway and Austria look safer though it wouldn’t shock me to see Malta even failing to qualify this evening.

Mei was excellent last night for Israel and the quality of ‘Same Heart’ should be recognised by juries. Poland may not be rated so highly by juries though Cleo and her cast of Slavic girls do a great job selling the song and it should get a strong televote tonight which should see it make it into the 10.

Like San Marino and Montenegro in semi 1 you also sense the EBU wants and needs Poland to qualify to encourage it to compete next year, rather than pull out again. So these 2 are both on my list as qualifiers, but with little confidence.

The next 6 in the running order – Lithuania, Finland, Ireland, Belarus, FYR Macedonia and Switzerland – ALL look like borderliners. Greece appears a banker to qualify, and we then have another borderliner in the shape of Slovenia, and might Romania even be in jeopardy of non-qualification from the pimp slot? This notion may sound absurd, but if this semi is being decided by song quality, Romania could be in trouble.

At current Betfair prices, the country that looks worth taking on has to be Ireland. While Kasey was better in front of the juries than she was in the afternoon rehearsal, the song simply does not stack up very well in the context of this semi, and looked and sounded weak on the reprise last night.

Lithuania is perhaps the biggest conundrum in this semi. It has a knack for getting through, it has a lot of voting strength here, and Vilija performed it well last night, but ‘Attention’ is best described as a perplexing song with even more perplexing staging.

Might it have received a surprisingly high jury ranking for being somewhat avant-garde, or might that ultimately prove its downfall as we now have a growing body of evidence that niche genre songs struggle under the new scoring system? You can add Belgium in semi 1 to that list.

It would not be a surprise to see Lithuania go through and it might be one to back to qualify in-running tonight as you sense the price could drift. FYR Macedonia looks a more likely non-qualifier compared to Lithuania but again, Tijana saved her best for last night and it would come as no surprise to even see FYR Macedonia sneak through. Another no-bet.

The staging of Romania makes it look worse than it already is, and while it should qualify from the pimp slot, ‘a few shekels’ (copyright, Gavin Lambert, ESCtips) have been layed here at 1.07 – it is a cheap lay and looks worth chancing given the tiny downside if it does go on to qualify. Will also be looking to lay Romania as cheaply as possible for a top 3 finish in this semi.

Many have rock solid confidence Finland will breeze through to the final. That confidence is not entirely shared here. Topi reverted to mostly eyes closed mode last night and the long shots of the stage lighting gave a sense of too much distance between the viewer and the band at times. Very much hoping Finland qualifies having earlier advised a double that hinges on it qualifying.

The last 2 qualifying spots then look to lie between Belarus, Switzerland and Slovenia. The Swiss qualification price looks too short. This had been an earlier play at 1.8 and bigger to qualify but there is no value in the Swiss price now. The fear is, juries might just consider it amateur compared to Malta. Sebalter sold it well last night though.

Teo has done a great job elevating Cheesecake. Tinkara, meanwhile, has had troubles in rehearsals only to produce her best last night in front of the juries, giving Slovenia a fair chance of qualifying. Teo may just edge into the 10 but both are no plays at current Betfair odds. If Slovenia drifts wildly this might be worth a small in-running play to qualify.

As for who is winning this semi, delighted to have earlier advised Greece e/w at 5-1. The guys really brought their a-game when it mattered most last night. The other shining light last night was Norway and despite the early draw in 3, this has to be a contender for the win too. Norway’s price looks short enough and it is more in the nature of this site to try and find a bigger priced nation that could surprise by getting on the podium.

In the hope the Sebalter boys haven’t been dented by juries, really bring it tonight, get the crowd clapping along and ‘go big in the hall’, Switzerland looks worth a small e/w play. It is such a wide open semi though a case can be made for any of 8 or 9 nations getting on the podium.

The 10 predicted here to qualify from semi 2, for bragging rights only, are: Malta, Israel, Norway, Poland, Austria, Finland, Greece, Romania, Switzerland, Belarus

Today’s betting advice:

Ireland not to qualify – 7-4 – 12pt win – Paddy Power
semi 2 – Switzerland – 40-1 – 0.5pt e/w – Coral
Top Balkan – Greece – Evens – 20pt win – bet365


  1. Matt

    Nice work Rob – Have decided to go against Israel as I feel the EBU want Poland and even Slovenia to get over the line. Lithuania has so many friends so it leaves questions over Malta and Ireland too. Last two places are always close, especially in a 15 man semi – so will plump for Slovenia and Ireland to fail. As such my ten are:


    Fingers crossed

  2. Rob

    That looks a wise list, Matt. Would be delighted to see Lithuania get through as it would mean Top Baltic bet landed, instead of that market being voided, as all 3 would have failed to qualify if Lithuania falls tonight. Good luck 🙂

  3. neomichael

    My list would be:
    1 Greece
    2 Austria
    3 Romania
    4 Switzerland
    5 Poland
    6 Malta
    7 Finland
    8 Norway
    9 Belarus
    10 Slovenia
    11 Ireland
    12 Israel
    13 Lithuania
    14 Georgia
    15 FYR Macedonia

    for me laying of israel and norway (mainly because of their draw) seems to be of good value

    • Rob

      Take a bow, Michael for 10/10 – that’s liquid ESC analysis, as Alan Partridge might say 🙂

  4. neomichael

    rob i like your advice bet:
    semi 2 – Switzerland – 40-1 – 0.5pt e/w – Coral
    if he perform well , given the last draw, above average allies and advantage of the second break it is possible to be placed even first. I have already backed it from 67.

    • Rob

      Well, we have 9 qualifiers the same michael, and you are leaving out Israel, which seems to be a popular one on people’s lists of missing out in semi 2.

      I, too, grabbed some bigger prices on Switzerland e/w – took some 66-1. My kind of price and the sort of song that might surprise. Fingers crossed 🙂

      • neomichael

        Congrats for the qualification, however i fill that greece was the winner tonight, Switzerland differently didn’t have that impact. The slow motion thing was very catchy (as well as Romanian’s magical trick)!

  5. Montell

    Congratulations, Rob. It looks that this semi turned into profit for everyone. You, Daniel, Gavster, Eurovicous predicted 4 NQ correct and me too. That’s just amazing 🙂

    • Rob

      Thanks Montell. Yes, a very profitable evening. Hope it was the same for you.

  6. neomichael

    Do we know when the final order of appearance will be published?
    and what about the voting order?

    • Rob

      We are waiting for the running order to drop any time soon, Michael. Should be in the next hour and a quarter, no later than 2am UK time.

  7. Matt

    Very good night – 9 out of ten right and should have trusted my instinct on Slovenia.

    Well done everyone

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