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Leaving Alone?

May 11, 2017 by

Leaving Alone?

Semi 2 has always felt an open affair with a much lower qualification bar compared to semi 1. That creates a slight sense of unease calling both Qs and NQs with conviction. There might be a chance for one or two undeserving ones to sneak through, and one or two seemingly stronger entries doing a Finland and missing out.

Last night’s jury performance saw most artists, as is often the case, produce their best. Switzerland’s Timebelle is possibly an exception as she misfired close to the finish line, while Austria’s Nathan did something similar getting screechy attempting to freestyle, which was also the moment shown in the recap.

Of the two Alpine neighbours, it feels like Austria has the better Q chance, Nathan’s charm is likely to aid his televote this evening, and he sneaks into the 10 – though 1.46 looks on the skinny side – while Switzerland misses out.

Two the market suggests are going through, though there feels like there is an element of doubt with both, are Hungary and Norway. Joci’s ethno number carries a strong authenticity ticket and he gave his performance some real gusto last night. This is one that could drift in-running though because UK gamblers will possibly think, ‘What the hell is this racket?’

Norway’s JOWST also sounded at their best last night and while this track should be rated due to its modernity, there is a concern some jurors might not be ‘down with the kids’ enough to score it highly.

The countries I feel most confident will be called as Qs this evening are: Bulgaria, Netherlands, Romania, Denmark, Estonia and Israel. And those feel like the 6 nations most likely vying for the top 3 positions.

Imri for Israel managed to nail his performance last night having sounded terrible during 2nd rehearsals. Performed from the pimp slot, and likely to go big in the hall this evening, Israel definitely has a sporting chance of a top 3, on the assumption it could pull in a robust televote.

The market rates Bulgaria an 8-11 shot to win this semi. Kristian did sound a little off at song start but pulled it round with the aid of his backing singers and visually it came together well. It still feels a little too forced and manufactured.

Denmark’s Anya put in a highly competent effort last night but there is something about her and the song that doesn’t quite sit right. In her enthusiasm she almost comes across as too eager to please, and borderline aggressive, and the song has never been one that especially impresses me.

Romania’s ‘Yodel It!’ will no doubt be enjoyed by televoters but the duo have consistently struggled in the latter part of the song just before the final chorus, and they again lost their way last night. Jurors could prove punitive.

The Nethies sisters produced their best last night and their harmonising is something to behold. It’s a very polished performance. The only concern is the rather dated feel to the song, but this will likely be towards the top of jurors’ score cards. Its televote appeal is more uncertain but this could easily make its way into the top 3.

Estonia’s Koit and Laura have improved a lot since the Eesti Laul final, and the staging for this has come together well. They really sell it and some of Koit’s brooding looks to camera are out of the top drawer as is some of the close-up camera work.

It’s a classic ESC male/female duet and older televoters could go for this one. It’s just a question of whether they push it too far and possibly left jurors unimpressed last night.

So that’s 9 qualifiers which leaves Belarus and Serbia fighting over the 10th spot. It has to be a blow to Belarus not to have a guaranteed 24pts from Russia in this semi. While Naviband have real charm performing their song, and televoters may go for it, it’s one jurors could be tough on. It does risk coming across as repetitive and maybe only has a niche appeal, with Estonia possibly stealing some of their limelight 3 songs later.

Despite the 1 slot, Serbia gets the final Q place because it’s a modern, radio-friendly song with a strong chorus, Tijana produced one of her best efforts last night, it feels like the stronger entry among the 2 uptempo, Balkan solo females in the early section – Tijana is a much more professional performer – and as long as Serbia’s fabled voting power comes through in this semi (which includes the likes of Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Switzerland and Austria), it should squeeze through.

FYR Macedonia should not be qualifying from this semi. Jana again failed to convince performance-wise last night – she is all flailing arms and legs, and like someone at a karaoke event. As for the vocal, jury professionals should have spotted she was pretty much miming throughout with heavy use of synth-ed up backing vocals.

Ireland’s Brendan did a fine job last night but you feel the Irish delegation have let him down somewhat with rather limp staging, and not enough use of his backing vocalists – it could do with them appearing on stage when they join him for the key change. His doe-eyed stare could still land him a decent televote haul and he will take some votes away from Bulgaria’s Kristian in the teen boy likability stakes.

Malta is a highly competent entry, sung and performed superbly well and for that reason, along with Malta’s history for picking up jury points in unexpected places, it remains a value Q poke at anything 5 or over. The worry is, it’s an old-fashioned ballad and Malta may not be trying as hard as they did last year with Ira Losco.

Croatia pushes the saccharine levels to Haribo Tangfastic levels, and Jacques much used visage during the staging of this is off-putting. Some jurors may be impressed by the vocal range he showcases but overall it feels like it fails in its effort to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Lithuania and San Marino both look seriously up against it, despite personally enjoying the retro disco vibe Valentina and Jimmie create on stage.

So my 10 Qs are: Netherlands, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel, Romania, Denmark, Hungary, Norway, Austria and Serbia.

After both landing 9/10 on Tuesday (calling Finland Q wrong), we have a difference of opinion in this semi as Tim’s 10 are: Austria, Romania, The Netherlands, Denmark, Croatia, Norway, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Estonia and Israel.

He advises backing Austria Q, Croatia Q (as a more risky Q investment), and laying Estonia for Top 3.

Enjoy the show tonight, good luck with all your investments and please feel free to let us now your 10 Qs in the Comments section.

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4 Comments

  1. Slightly different again, struggled a bit:

    Bul
    Neth
    Den
    Rom
    Aus
    Est
    Hun
    Isr
    Cro
    Nor

    Bel
    Ser
    Ire
    Mac
    Swi
    Mal
    SM
    Lit

  2. Montell

    Me 10 qualifiers from this semi:

    Austria
    Romania
    Netherlands
    Hungary
    Denmark
    Norway
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Estonia
    Israel

  3. Matt

    Intrigued by Tim’s no Hungary. I have it getting home but it was one I toyed with. My ten are a mix of yours:

    Bulgaria
    Denmark
    Israel
    Romania
    Estonia
    Austria
    Hungary
    Netherlands
    Croatia
    Norway.

    Norway is really hanging in there as I don’t see who votes for it but on first listen it at least gives the appearance of being modern. If Norway is to fail, my first reserve would be Belarus (another song that is wafer thin but talks a good game!)

    Good luck everyone

  4. Tim van Dijk

    This semi-final is indeed much more difficult to predict. But my 10 qualifiers are:

    – Bulgaria
    – The Netherlands
    – Romania
    – Denmark
    – Hungary
    – Israel
    – Estonia
    – Norway
    – Serbia
    – Croatia