Eurovision 2022 semi-final 1: preview and predictions

Eurovision week is well and truly under way and as I write this post, the jury show of semi-final 1 has just taken place where half of the votes are assigned (though we won’t know what the points are until after the grand final). I’ve been following social media and watching a livestream of one the fansites from the press centre and online press centre. It’s been giving me an idea of what the performances have been like and how they are playing with the live audience in the arena.

Making predictions for Eurovision qualifiers can be notoriously difficult. For some semis in some years, there are often many clear likely qualifiers and some obvious non-qualifiers. To an extent you could say that about this semi-final but there are a lot of ones that could go either way. Anyway, here is a stab at what I think will most likely happen…

Certain qualifiers

The following countries I am pretty sure are certain qualifiers:

Greece, Ukraine, Norway

Not much more to say on these that I haven’t said in my top 40 countdown, but there’s no way these are not getting through with jury and/or televote.

Not going to the final

Conversely, I can’t see Croatia, Denmark or Slovenia (and they are in my top 20!) making the final

These three just don’t stand out enough and that’s what’s really needed at semi-final stage.

Likely to qualify

I am pretty sure the following will qualify, I’m just a little more hesitant on being certain: Netherlands, Portugal, Armenia and Moldova

With this group, we have three that I think will do well with the juries and well enough with the televote, and the fourth, Moldova, I think will go pretty big with the televote and get across the qualification line. Netherlands I had as a sure-fire qualifier initially but the staging makes me worried a little it might get undeservedly overlooked. The song and performance is strong and good enough to qualify still though.

Likely to not qualify

Two countries fall into this category: Bulgaria and Switzerland

They both have an appeal to a demographic – a certain televoter in Bulgaria’s case, while Switzerland has potential to pull in some jury votes. I just don’t see them getting enough to counterbalance potentially low votes with the other voter group.

Could go either way

That leaves 5 countries which I think it’s a toss up on who qualifies. They are:

Albania, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria and Iceland

Picking three from her is REALLY tricky. I think if Lithuania gets love from the juries (and it well could), it’s through. Latvia could pull in a decent televote and get through. Of the remaining three I think Iceland could do OK in both jury and televote but just miss out. Then it’s between Albania and Austria. I give Albania the edge because of the stronger live vocal and the Albanian diaspora. However, that does mean I have places 1-3 in running order qualifying and I am not sure that has happened before – so I may be riding for a fall!

My qualifiers

Here’s a flag summary of my picks (not necessarily my favourites of course) to qualify:

Other things to watch out for

Keep an eye out for the interval performance by Diodato, Italy’s 2020 Eurovision representative for the cancelled contest. His song “Fai rumore” was seen as a possible winner that year, and also became something of a national beacon during those early dark months of the pandemic.

France and Italy will be voting in this semi-final, so viewers will see some of their performance prior to the grand final.

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