After getting it almost right for my semi 1 prediction, here’s the preview for tonight’s semi-final. France, Germany and Ukraine will also be voting in this semi. I am loathe to make predictions for this one as aside from a couple of obvious qualifiers and non-qualifiers, this is an incredibly open semi. 

Once again, these qualification chances/predictions do not reflect what my personal top 10 would be!

Serbia: Normally pretty certain to qualify, it’s in doubt if this will go through. Something seems to be lacking in the staging, the vocal hasn’t been perfect and I think this could well be forgotten by time we get to end.

Qualification likelihood: 40%

Austria: Nathan always puts in a charismatic performance and connects very well with the camera. That should help in the televote, hopefully overcoming the bad running order.

Qualification likelihood: 60%

FYR Macedonia: A song that is better in the studio version, this hadn’t been impressing in live performances and rehearsals her – until the jury show last night when Jana gave the best live performance she’s done of this song. It may not be enough but at least it sounds less of a car crash than before. I love this song so I would like to see it go through but it’s not in a good spot. Still, chances are higher than I expected before the jury show.

Qualification likelihood: 45%

Malta: Claudia gives a powerful and emotional performance of this classic ballad but I don’t think this will get enough votes from juries or televotes. No UK to support Malta in this semi either so I think it will be tough.

Qualification likelihood: 30%

Romania:

One of the acts that are making news in UK papers. Not surprising given that this is one of Eurovision’s novelty songs that could only ever appear at the contest. They give it  their all and although their jury show performance wasn’t their best, it’s the televote that will be the key for this song – and I think the catchiness, the novelty element plus Romanian diaspora will see this qualify.

Qualification likelihood: 70%

The Netherlands: Vocally perfect, while I find the song dull, their big stage experience and their harmonies will have got oodles of point from juries and this will sail through.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Hungary: Joci put in a good performance at the jury show, and the distinctiveness of this song, and the meaning/story behind it I think will come across to televoters as well.

Qualification likelihood: 70%

Denmark: She can still put out a wall of sound, no doubt. I wonder whether this is such a top contender as the Eurofans seem to think. It’s not especially original so while I think it will go through, I wouldn’t be shocked if it didn’t.

Qualification likelihood: 60%

Ireland: The jury performance wasn’t so good (to my ears) and Brendan’s voice is a bit of an acquired taste. Like Malta and Denmark, it’s not offering anything different to before and I fear for Ireland that this will not make it.

Qualification likelihood: 40%

San Marino: Great fun, totally camp and retro, Valentina and Jimmie clearly have a ball on stage and to be honest they are clearly enjoying the overall fun of Eurovision. I don’t think they’ll even mind if they don’t qualify – and sadly that’s the likely outcome. But it’s been a fun ride!

Qualification likelihood: 10%

Croatia: Once again, people were laughing in the press centre at this (and it was definitely “at” not “with”) during the jury show. It’s a mess of a thing and while his Italian opera vocal is good, the higher register English parts are not. I just hope it doesn’t get too many ironic televotes – one hopes the juries will have ignored this abomination!

Qualification likelihood: 30%

Norway: They’ve been solid and competent throughout all their rehearsals and it’s a modern, quite catchy song. Could get forgotten about though with this running order but it’s more likely to qualify than not I think (just).

Qualification likelihood: 55%

Switzerland: A pre-contest favourite of Eurofans, it’s failing to catch light on the Kyiv stage and not helped by twee staging and a horrendous puff dress. The vocal performance in the jury show wasn’t good and I just think this isn’t memorable enough to pull in lots of televotes. I would say it’s a toss up between Norway and Switzerland on who goes through with Switzerland the more likely not to qualify.

Qualification likelihood: 45%

Belarus: Naviband always deliver energetic performances to this super happy song. Add in fun staging and also Ukraine and Lithuania for their televote and I think Belarus could be returning to the final at last.

Qualification likelihood: 60%

Bulgaria: Polished and sophisticated staging of sophisticated song and sung well by the very young Kristian. Also will pull in Russian diaspora votes as he grew up in Russia and has been Russian singing contest programmes. Contender to win Eurovision overall.

Qualification likelihood: 100%

Lithuania: Came in as rock bottom of most people’s rankings of songs, and not much that we’ve seen in rehearsals seems to be changing that. The staging is good but that doesn’t overcome the song. It will need every last bit of the Lithuanian diaspora televote to give it a chance to qualify – and I don’t think that will be enough…

Qualification likelihood: 10%

Estonia: One of the fan favourites, their rehearsal performances have been patchy and their jury show went OK but still not perfect. I really hope this gets through but it could be this semi’s Finland!

Qualification likelihood: 60%

Israel: A party banger of a song, and ending the semis, I think this should make it. Imri might not make all the notes, but nor did Demy for Greece, and Imri is as easy on the eye for those that like men, as Demy was easy on the eye for those that like women. Israel don’t have the diaspora vote that Greece gets, but they do tend to pick up votes from places like France, Ukraine and Belarus.

Qualification likelihood: 65%


Definite qualifiers:

  • Bulgaria
  • The Netherlands

Likely qualifiers:

  • Romania
  • Hungary
  • Israel

Could go either way (placed in order of likelihood):

  • Belarus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Austria
  • Norway
  • Switzerland
  • FYR Macedonia
  • Serbia

Unlikely qualifiers:

  • Malta
  • Ireland
  • Croatia

Definitely not qualifying:

  • San Marino
  • Lithuania

If I was stick my neck out then, I would say the 10 to qualify are: Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Romania, Hungary, Israel, Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Austria, Norway


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