Eurovision 2018 semi-final 2: hopes and predictions

I am feeling a trifle jaded after partying in Eurocafe until 5.30am last night but am gearing up now for the second semi-final and another trip to the Altice Arena to attend the live televised show. This semi is considered as the less competitive one but I think it will be no less exciting than the first (and actually it is just as competitive – even if the songs are overall of a lower quality).
There are going to be a few things to watch out for in this semi: will it be a clean sweep for the three Nordics in this one; will this see the end of Russia’s 100% qualification record; can Australia continue their run of success? It’s all to play for and I will be there to witness the excitement…


My 10 hoped for qualifiers

As with the first semi-final, these are who I would pick to go through, not who is likely to go through!

  • Serbia
  • San Marino
  • Denmark
  • Moldova
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Malta
  • Hungary
  • Slovenia
  • Ukraine

(NB these are placed in their semi-final running order, not my order of preference)


Qualification chances

In the end, my predictions/guesses weren’t too bad for the first semi even though I felt it was hard to call. I attach the same caveat to this list though as I did the first!

Norway

Well, as much as I am not a fan of the song, the star power of former winner Alexander Rybak and the earworm-like nature of this, means that this is a sure fire qualifier.

Qualification likelihood: Definite qualifier

Romania

Romania has a 100% qualification record but it is under severe threat this year. A mediocre song is lifted by strong vocals and interesting staging but it may not be enough. Hard to call.

Qualification likelihood: Could go either way

Serbia

I quite like this song but it takes a long while to get going and I think overall will be inaccessible to most televoters. Add to that a poor running order slot and this will struggle to qualify.

Qualification likelihood: Unlikely qualifier

San Marino

It’s cheap, trashy and firmly tongue-in-cheek. It will never qualify in a month of Sundays, but I would love it if by some miracle it did – I want to see those dancing robots in the final!

Qualification likelihood: Definitely not qualifying

Denmark

With Norway and Sweden in this semi, plus Germany voting as well, I think the Viking song has some guaranteed televotes. On top of that, it will stand out, especially after the songs before it and the song immediately after it. It’s not nailed on, but I think Denmark will be going to the final.

Qualification likelihood: Likely qualifier

Russia

Never rule Russia out but if this is a year that Russia finds itself losing their qualification record, this will be a year. The song is weak, the staging pretty poor and the live vocals in rehearsals have not been good. But until those ten countries are read out and Russia’s name is not among them, I won’t count them out.

Qualification likelihood: Unlikely qualifier

Moldova

Super cheesy and super fun, with great staging, this will sail into the final. My t-shirt tonight will be a Minipops one of Moldova!

Qualification likelihood: Definite qualifier

Netherlands

Successful at Eurovision he might be, but some curious staging decisions have made people doubt if this will go through after all. Still think it is slightly more likely to qualify than not.

Qualification likelihood: Could go either way

Australia

Exceptionally popular with the fanbase, this should have been a definite qualifier but lacklustre staging and some vocally ropey rehearsals has put the edge of doubt in that certainty of qualifying.

Qualification likelihood: Likely qualifier

Georgia

The harmonies and vocals are impressive but I’m not sure that will be enough to win over western European televoters (or juries).

Qualification likelihood: Unlikely qualifier

Poland

Very upbeat, I think this should qualify – the strength of the Polish diaspora plus a catchy song should see Poland maintain their recent run of qualifications.

Qualification likelihood: Likely qualifier

Malta

Another upbeat song but perhaps not as catchy as Poland’s and a bit darker. Impressive staging and solid vocals in rehearsals but this could be 50/50.

Qualification likelihood: Could go either way

Hungary

True to their selves and genre, this is quite a live experience. It may not be your usual Eurovision fare but I am sure this will qualify.

Qualification likelihood: Certain qualifier

Latvia

This will get lost and forgotten in the second half songs and there are not enough natural voting allies to raise this up.

Qualification likelihood: Definitely not qualifying

Sweden

Slick, professional but soulless. Will qualify with ease though.

Qualification likelihood: Certain qualifier

Montenegro

The only Balkan ballad this year, that may be enough to see this qualifying, though this is not a memorable Balkan ballad. Depends on if countries other than Slovenia and Serbia go for this.

Qualification likelihood: Could go either way

Slovenia

I’d like this to go through as it’s something a bit different from Slovenia and very sassy. But an ill advised (deliberate) cut out of the music in the live performance does nothing to improve its chances.

Qualification likelihood: Unlikely qualifier

Ukraine

Great song, memorable staging and solid live performances. This remains one of the dark horses of the contest. If Russia and Georgia fail to qualify, it will be one of the few ex-Soviet countries left in the final and will hoover up televotes.

Qualification likelihood: Certain qualifier


Summary

Definite qualifiers

  • Norway
  • Moldova
  • Hungary
  • Sweden
  • Ukraine

Likely qualifiers

  • Denmark
  • Australia
  • Poland

Could go either way

  • Romania
  • Netherlands
  • Malta
  • Montenegro

Unlikely qualifiers:

  • Serbia
  • Russia
  • Georgia
  • Slovenia

Definitely not qualifying

  • San Marino
  • Latvia

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