My lucky Eurovision day – reflections on 2018’s semi-final 2

Thinking back to last year, it was the failure of fan favourite Estonia to qualify that was the big shock of semi 2. No such (nasty) shocks this time from what was an eclectic semi-final. A couple of pleasant surprises, and also a bit of both expected and less expected disappointments. The biggest news in terms of qualifications was the loss of both Romania’s and Russia’s 100% qualification records.
There is one country that has never failed to qualify since the semis were first introduced – and that is Ukraine who were again successful tonight (and deservedly so). (I’m not counting Australia since they joined long after the semi-final system was introduced and have only had to qualify three times so far!)

Here are the qualifiers and non-qualifiers of semi-final 2:

Qualifiers: Norway, Serbia, Denmark, Moldova, Netherlands, Australia, Hungary, Sweden, Slovenia, Ukraine

Non-qualifiers: Romania, San Marino, Russia, Georgia, Poland, Malta, Latvia, Montenegro

In terms of predictions, I got about 7 right – two unlikely qualifiers got through and one likely qualifier did not.

In terms of the biggest surprise, I think that is the qualifications of Slovenia and Serbia. Slovenia got a very positive reaction in the hall so that was perhaps less of a surprise than Serbia but I am pleased for both. I’m especially pleased Slovenia got through – I like her, I like the song and Slovenia rarely get to the final.

The other big story, and one that has been making national media in the UK, was Russia’s non-qualification. To be honest, if it were any other country with that song and performance this wouldn’t be news at all, but Russia does have a perfect record and of course, Russia is always newsworthy! I do feel Russia threw Julia under the bus a bit and put money behind Moldova instead – not sure we will ever know for certain though.

Other thoughts:

Sad to see Poland and Malta lose out but actually I am not surprised. Poland just didn’t seem to light the arena up in the way I thought that song would. Still, they were lovely guys and sorry to see them miss out.

It’s always a shame when Malta don’t make the final. The staging and production was very impressive indeed (and expensive I suspect!) but the song itself felt quite flat to me in the hall and her vocals were far from perfect.

As well as Russia losing their 100% qualification record, so did Romania. I don’t think that was too surprising either given the running order and the song itself though the lead singer was impressive vocally.

Moldova and Ukraine remained my favourites from this semi – and I was especially impressed with Ukraine actually – the song, performance and staging all very good indeed. It will be an impressive opener to the grand final.

So it’s on to the final now! I will be doing a preview post of the Saturday final which include my reflections of the jury final (as I will be at the arena for that) and I can let you know what I thought of the performances and how the running order comes across in action.

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