So it is almost upon us! I’ve been following all the rehearsals carefully, and also the very important jury show last night (Monday 8 May) which is the run through of the semi-final that the juries watch and cast their votes. Here’s my brief thoughts on chances of qualification of tonight’s 18 entries…

I should stress this isn’t who I would like to see in the final, but who I think will reach the final. My personal choice of the 10 to qualify would be very  different!

Sweden: Super slick and polished, although I still think it’s covering a fairly average song. Certain to qualify.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Georgia: Impressive vocals but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough. Not in a good place in running order and the Bond-theme song has been done so many times before.

Qualification likelihood: 30%

Australia: If this wasn’t Australia I would be (even) more doubtful of this getting through. He sings it pretty well, staging is competent, but it doesn’t seem to get beyond the bland and competent. It’s a bad place in the running order but Australia still pick up extra jury votes for novelty I think. So I think it’s more likely to go through than not but not a certainty.

Qualification likelihood: 60%

Albania: This was really bad in the jury show I thought – if you’re going to be a shouty woman wall of sound song, do it well. She didn’t. I think that will have killed its chances, those that it had anyway!

Qualification likelihood: 20%

Belgium: Finally, finally, Blanche put in a good performance of this just at the right time – at the jury show. I’m pretty sure this will go through now as so many fans love it and I’m sure it picked up plenty of votes with juries.

Qualification likelihood: 90%

Montenegro: A hot camp mess, it’s so much fun but I can’t see this finding favours with juries. It’s going to need a big televote score to come through for it but I don’t see that happening. I’d love to be proved wrong though as I think is so great and Slavko is a great character.

Qualification likelihood: 10%

Finland: Beautiful, dark, serene and vocally impressive. No worries for Norman John.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Azerbaijan: Truly bonkers, sorry, “avant-garde”, staging and performance – this will go through I’m sure.

Qualification likelihood: 90%

Portugal: The dark horse that is now the second favourite to win after Italy, Salvador got long and loud applause at the jury show. I think he’s on course to deliver Portugal’s best ever result.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Greece: Very hard to call this one. They got a second opportunity to perform at jury show as they has a “technical problem” in their perfomance. Everyone had thought Demy had just backed off singing the high long note and was playing safe as it had been pretty bad in rehearsals. It turns out though the backing vocalists mics weren’t on properly and it was one of the backing singers doing the high note – and still not getting it right! Also clear to jurors that Demy wasn’t singing it so not sure that will have helped there. Cyprus, UK, Albania, Armenia and Montenegro may still get this through on the televote.

Qualification likelihood: 55%

Poland: Lovely lady, and very well sung and performed – but both song and staging may get a bit lost and I think unless the Polish diaspora give this a big push, it may struggle to make the final.

Qualification likelihood: 40%

Moldova: Very polished, very fun and the band are having a whale of a time on stage. Only thing that makes this not

Qualification likelihood: 75%

Iceland: There’s something just not clicking or connecting for people with this. Like Poland, I think this may get lost and forgotten and there is no Icelandic diaspora to help in the televote.

Qualification likelihood: 30%

Czech Republic: Well sung, very warm and comforting. This may pick up a good jury vote but I think, like last year, it will get nothing in the televote and really hamper its chances. A shame as I think this is a very understated and pleasant song.

Qualification likelihood: 25%

Cyprus: Staging is impressive and the very Swedish-sounding pop song is catchy, while you are watching it anyway. Hovig missed part of his choreography in the jury show but I don’t think juries will pick up on that too much. Cyprus doesn’t have quite same diaspora vote as Greece, but it too has voting allies (UK and Greece the main ones) so of the borderline qualifiers, this, Greece and Australia are in strongest positions.

Qualification likelihood: 60%

Armenia: Armenia continue to bring performance art to Eurovision stage. Second best staging of the whole contest after UK – will qualify for sure.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Slovenia: Omar sings his heart out to this and his vocals are very impressive. It won’t save it from a desperately dated song though and no televoting allies either. Omar was last in Eurovision when it was held in Kyiv in 2005 but he didn’t get to participate in the Saturday final. He won’t this year either I’m afraid.

Qualification likelihood: 5%

Latvia: I thought this was sure fire qualifier in the run up to Eurovision, and their rehearsals seem to have gone well but the jury show saw a very subdued performance by all accounts and lead vocal isn’t the strongest in this field. I think it’s touch and go for Latvia – I’d like to see it in the final though!

Qualification likelihood: 40%


Definite qualifiers:

  • Sweden
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Azerbaijan
  • Portugal
  • Armenia

Likely qualifiers:

  • Moldova

Could go either way:

  • Australia
  • Greece
  • Cyprus
  • Poland
  • Latvia

Unlikely qualifiers:

  • Georgia
  • Albania
  • Iceland
  • Czech Republic

Definitely not qualifying:

  • Montenegro
  • Slovenia

You can watch the first semi-final on BBC Four at 8pm BST.