Editorial: Who do we think will qualify from Semi-Final 1?

So guys, this is it! Eurovision 2014 starts in less than a few hours and by the end of the show on Saturday, we know who will be hosting the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest! However, before we even get to the Final on Saturday, we have to go through two strong semi-finals to find out which twenty countries will accompany the Big 6..well, now, we’ll be offering you who we think will qualify from Semi-Final 1, along with the results of a poll we had created in the great Eurovision group ‘Eurovision Debate’. So who’s going to qualify, in our opinions?

Which ten artists from these fifteen will be in the Final on Saturday?
Which ten artists from these sixteen will be in the Final on Saturday?

Okay, so we are planning to do an editorial for each show like this and it will consist of:

  • The results of a poll we published in the Facebook group ‘Eurovision Debate’ in which we asked the members to vote for the ten countries they think SHOULD qualify to the Grand Final – they normally are the best group at telling which country will win, so it’s fair to say we could rely on them!
  • Our own predictions as to who will qualify for the Final on Saturday, along with a couple of words explaining why.
  • We’ll then give you some interesting facts and statistics about each show. This could range from betting odds to notable people on a certain country’s jury, to a country’s staging! Whatever interesting things we know about the show, we’ll be sure to tell you!

Does that make sense, guys? If so, let’s proceed with the first part of the article – the results of the Eurovision Debate poll!

EUROVISION DEBATE POLL – WHO DO THE FANS THINK WILL QUALIFY?

Just to give a little bit of context – we posted this poll in the Facebook group ‘Eurovision Debate’ on Saturday morning, giving the fans a good 2 days in which to vote. We also posted the poll for Semi-Final 2 at the same time and, to be honest, a lot more people decided to vote in the Semi-Final 2 poll than they did in Semi-Final 1. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we have a result! Here are the scores in full, taken at Monday 5th May at 00:40 GMT:

     1. The Netherlands – 20 votes                                                    = Hungary – 20 votes

    3. Estonia – 17 votes                                                                    4. Sweden – 16 votes

    5. Portugal – 15 votes                                                                  = Azerbaijan – 15 votes

    7. Montenegro – 14 votes                                                            = Russia – 14 votes

    9. Ukraine – 12 votes                                                                     10. Armenia – 11 votes

   11. San Marino – 10 votes                                                                12. Albania – 9 votes

   13. Moldova – 8 votes                                                                      = Iceland – 8 votes

  15. Latvia  – 6 votes                                                                         16. Belgium – 5 votes

Semi-Final 1 has come across as being very undecided, with several ties within the top 10. What’s most surprising is that major favourite Armenia only just managed to make it into the top 10, getting just one more vote than San Marino (Valentina will always think of her time at Eurovision and think – “Why the f*** didn’t people vote for me?!”). Belgium only managed to garner a quarter of their neighbour – The Netherlands – votes; to some people, it’s not surprising. So will this be the result on Tuesday, we’ll just have to wait and see..

OUR PREDICTIONS – WHO DO WE THINK WILL QUALIFY?

Rory – To me, the first semi-final is quite a strong one and I think that we’ll be having a shock qualifier in amongst these groups. These are the ten countries I think will qualify on Tuesday:

  • Armenia – Fans love it, first-time listeners will probably love it – it’s almost guaranteed a spot in the final, even if it’s up first!
  • Hungary – Despite having such a sensitive topic, the song is modern and will instantly attract young voters. Plus, András is easy on the eye, so that’s definitely going through.
  • Sweden – Like Armenia, fans and first-time listeners will love it. It’s a song made for Eurovision – definitely will be seeing them in the Final.
  • Portugal – Even though fans have dissed it for being too cheesy, people who won’t have heard ‘Quero Ser Tua’ will instantly end up having it stuck in their head for a while – it happened to me when it was picked!
  • Estonia – Modern and nice to listen to, Estonia will easily walk the semi-final..that’s if Tanja’s able to sing well enough while dancing that routine!
  • The Netherlands – Some fans don’t realise that there’s music for television and music for listening to. Given the basic staging and clever camerawork, this will be one I can see possibly being borderline, but I can see it going through..
  • Albania – So many people have scratched Albania off their list of qualifiers, but Hersi’s rehearsals have actually been one of the best from the semi-final. If she can sing as well as she has in the rehearsals on the night, we’ll be seeing Albania on Saturday.
  • Montenegro – Easily the best song Montenegro’s sent to the Contest. If people don’t vote for this on Tuesday, I will have lost all faith in the Eurovision fandom..IT’S GOOD – VOTE FOR IT!
  • Russia – As much as I hate it, I can see it easily sailing through to the final, due to the amount of ex-Soviet countries in the semi-final…plus, they have a see-saw. If someone has a see-saw, they’re gonna get through..
  • Ukraine – Mariya’s been giving some excellent vocal performances in rehearsals, so if she keeps that up, we’ll see Ukraine in the final…oh, and the hamster wheel will also be a help too.

Well, that’s who I think will qualify..how about you James?

James – Well Rory, I’m seeing a lot of similarities between your list and mine! Semi 1 is a funny one for me – on a personal level, I have more favourites in Thursday’s group, but I see more potential title-challengers in tonight’s line up. Here’s who I think will go through (in running order)…

  • Armenia – Even though I’m fairly confident this ain’t gonna win, and I do think it’s overhyped, I would be very surprised if Aram didn’t at least get to Saturday night.
  • Estonia – We have ourselves a dark horse in the room, ladies and gentlemen, and her name is Tanja. The song is enjoyable, but like Rory said about the Netherlands, this is a performance MADE for television. In a word: impressive.
  • Sweden – … cos it’s Sweden. And if we strip away all the fangirling and the clichés and the Christer Björkman… on paper, it is a decent song too.
  • Azerbaijan – Sublime song with a lovely subtle performance. I adore it, and given where it’s from, I doubt Dilara will have any trouble in qualifying.
  • Ukraine – Mariya and her lovely hamster boy have an undoubtedly eccentric stage show, but hey, this IS Ukraine we’re talking about. Various external factors are likely to work in their favour too, and added to their usual plaudits for musical and visual accomplishments, I’m singling out “Tick Tock” as one to watch.
  • Moldova – Everyone raves about Armenia’s use of dubstep, but Cristina Scarlat does it so much better. It will stand out coming after Belgium and before San Marino, and I reckon that will be just enough to see her into the final.
  • Portugal – This one is on the absolute borderline for me, but I’m including it in my ten based on the fact that there is NOTHING like this in the contest this year, and certainly not in semi final one. It will be close but I reckon our Suzy will just squeak over the line
  • The Netherlands – Without a shadow of a doubt “Calm After The Storm” is my favourite song in this semi final. It is exquisite. I do still find Waylon to be the epitome of irrelevance, but the stage performance is very effective, and I really hope we get to see it again on Saturday.
  • Montenegro – If this Balkan ballad came from Serbia, we’d all have no doubts whatsoever about it sailing into the final. Remember Montenegro has never tried this trusty formula before, and I reckon “Moj Svijet” has all the ingredients working in its favour (yes, INCLUDING the skater. I find it quite effective and memorable, don’t shoot me.)
  • Hungary – “Running” is a bloody good song. It’s modern and it’s extremely relevant. I’ve been exasperated by all the comments in the last week about the subject matter being “inappropriate” – excuse me, but domestic violence does exist, and András is getting a very important message out there in singing about it. Funny how the  people who cream themselves over Conchita Wurst’s ‘inspiring’ presentation of a contentious issue are the same ones who whine that András’ message has ‘no place’ in the contest. Well guys, let me tell you now: Hungary are going to qualify and Hungary are going to do very very well on Saturday. And they’ll finish higher than Austria.

There you go, those are my ten! And yes, just to clarify, this means I do think 2014 is going to be the year we see our first non-qualification from Russia. (oh god, I must be insane…)

‘STATS & FACTS’ FOR THE FIRST SEMI-FINAL

So, here are some nice stats about what’s happening in the first semi-final:

  • Bookies’ favourites Armenia, Sweden and Hungary are facing up against each other in this semi-final. Armenia’s still the big favourite to win the entire Contest, with odds at 6/4 as of the 5th of May. Sweden is second favourite, with odds of them winning the whole thing at 5/2..if you want to get a bit of money, don’t bet on those two!
  • Out of all the countries in the semi-final, Montenegro has the worst track record. Not only has Montenegro failed to qualify in every attempt, their placings in their respective semi-final have frequently ended up near the bottom of the table. Last year, ‘Igranka’ came in twelfth position – the country’s second best position. But as ‘Moj Svijet’ is a bit of a fan favourite, could we see them in a final for the first time ever?
  • We’ll be seeing many former Eurovision stars and NF contestants on several juries this year. From the countries taking part in Semi-Final 1, we’re definitely gonna have a few familiar faces casting votes. Inga and Anush will be on Armenia’s jury after they represented their country five years ago in Moscow. Finland has recruited Clarissa (from Clarissa and Josh Standing) onto their jury, I bet she’ll be on “Top of the World”. 😉 Oscar Zia will also make an appearance on the Swedish jury after he took part in MelFest this year. Them and many more people will be on the jury this year from the participating countries.
  • If you haven’t been watching the rehearsals, be sure to look out for San Marino, Hungary, Russia, Armenia, Estonia, Sweden and Azerbaijan. Their staging will definitely boast something to talk about after the show..you already know what Russia has planned after I blurted it out, but make sure to look out for the others!
  • Russia and Ukraine have the best track record for qualifying from the semi-final. In every showing in Eurovision, both countries have featured in the final since the introduction of the semi-finals back in 2004. In terms of betting odds, Ukraine is now the fourth favourite to win the entire competition with odds at 11/1, despite being an outsider early on. Russia’s odds, on the other hands are six times as large as Ukraine’s (66/1), so if anyone is to bet on Russia winning the show – either be prepared to lose or be prepared to have a huge amount of money coming your way!

Well, I hope that this semi-final will be a great opening to the Eurovision Song Contest and we hope that you will #JoinUs for the result! Best of luck to everybody!

Your views:

Which song from this semi-final is your favourite and why?
Which song from this semi-final is your favourite and why?

Nick van Lith from the Netherlands: For me it’s Hungary. They have the perfect recipe: the music is very powerful and contemporary and the lyrics just hit you. Yes, that’s amazing.

Freja Eriksson from Sweden: Ukraine – the refrain is catchy, the song is great, I love Mariya Yaremchuk’s looks and her voice. The whole performance has IT!

Magnea Sif Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Iceland! 😉 Fun, colourful and has great lyrics!

Andrew Jeffs from the United KingdomI have to go with Sweden. I know a lot of people aren’t to keen on the song but I think it is such a powerful song and sung very well by Sanna Nielsen and I can’t discount it from a victory.

Marijn Habbo from the Netherlands: Montenegro. Strongly composed, nice flowing staging, love his voice & the song just carries you! The only flaw for me is the sudden end.

Looking at the opinions, it seems that everyone has different opinions as to who is their personal favourite – which isn’t surprising, as everyone has their own personal opinion! So what’s your favourite from the sixteen countries in the first-semi final? And who do you think will qualify to Saturday’s Grand Final? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!

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