I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on the draw, now that it has eventually taken place in Bakı. You may not share my views, but there's nothing like a bit of debate to pick apart the merits of a Latvian's song writing skills. My thoughts will be a trilogy in five parts. Two posts for each semi, and then another for the six lucky finalists. So here we go:
1. Montenegro – So the Stevan Faddy memorial slot has been taken by Rambo Amadeus. We all know that the still-shiny-and-relatively-new little Adriatic nation loves rehearsing early on a Sunday morning, so the good people at the EBU didn’t disappoint by giving them their much coveted slot. Will this qualify? The omens aren’t good.
2. Iceland – As pointed out by a fellow blogger, Jónsi and Gréta still appear to be looking for that elusive yummy gingerbread house in an opera written by Gerry Dorsey. Or something like that. It’s a darn good song from a pretty good national final, so the early draw should not damage their chances. It’s also wedged between two more upbeat songs which can help its cause. Will this qualify? Yes.
3. Greece – Aaahh, the memories of a national final in a shopping centre. You see, there is money knocking around in the Hellenic Republic. And not just at those high-end shops like DrachmaEuro-land either. Anyways, this blogger’s concern is whether Ms Eleftheriou (so good they almost named her twice) can sing live. Will this qualify? It’s one out of either this or Cyprus.
4. Latvia – I was born in the distant 197X, the year that [insert demonyn] [insert singer] won. There, this is such a versatile song. But name checking Sirs Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney might only prove useful if they’re actually watching Europe’s favourite TV show. Now a beautiful song for me would be about cake or cheese, but I’m not most of Europe, and I won’t be televoting on 22 May. So Europe may like this. Will this qualify? Probably.
5. Albania – Chosen sometime in the previous decade it seems, Albania has done its usual trick of picking a seven-minute song they then cut down, re-arrange, re-write and then scare the rest of Europe with. To be fair, Rona’s got a fine pair of lungs on her in more of a Monica Aspelund than a Dolly Parton sort of way. If we want drama, then this is your song. Will this qualify? I somehow don’t think so.
6. Romania – Some upbeat niceness next from the country that is sure to win the contest within five years. Not quite sure where that five-year period started though. But this is fun, it’s multi-lingual (written that way it seems, not one of your “let’s cobble together an English version sharpish” songs), and it works. Will this qualify? Hell yes.
7. Switzerland – A long time ago, before I got those delightful socks for Christmas from Aunty Silvi, the Swiss Confederation picked a song that beat Lys Assia – she who always expects a standing ovation. I like this, as it reminds me of my youth (I was born in distant 197X remember). But somehow I think it might just get through this bloodbath of a semi-final. Will this qualify? Depends how many children of the 1970s and early 1980s will be watching.
8. Belgium – Plucky little Belgium aim to please with a performer who went to the Dolores O’Riordan School of Warble. She’s very sweet and it’s a pleasant song. But – there’s always a but – it might not stand out enough to make it through to Saturday’s shindig at the Crystal Hall. Will this qualify? I can’t decide on this one and maybe it’ll grow on me.
9. Finland – Recently I had to remind someone who commented on how nice the Finnish language sounded, that this was in Swedish. Only the second time Finland has done this I understand. She’s similarly sweet like our Belgium’s Iris. So maybe there’s going to be an almighty catfight between these two for one berth in the final. Will this qualify? Borderline, but I think sadly not.