ESC Pulse Article: Eurovision 2017 Semi 1 Predictions

Здравствуйте! It’s that time of year again. The first jury rehearsal has been done and dusted, and now it’s time to bite the bullet and try and deduct who’s going to be getting a flight home tomorrow.

Kylie was in the press centre watching the show through the TV screens, while John was in the arena watching the show live. Will that cause a difference in opinion? Let’s find out…

01) Sweden

Robin Bengtsson – “I Can’t Go On”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

Well, no duh. What’s the point in even trying to argue against it? It’s by far the most lively song in the first 5 lot and people will remember it as a show opener.

John: Yes

I was never the biggest fan of this song during Melodifestivalen, however tonight I was really blown away by the whole staging. It looks perfect and there’s no way it’s not qualifying.

02) Georgia

Tamara Gachechiladze – “Keep The Faith”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: No

As much as she knocks it out of the park vocally, I just feel like it has too much going against it: the red and black colour scheme of doom, the fact that it is a wail-y ballad coming after the fun of Sweden, and the fact that it feels like such a long 3 minutes.

John: No

Although I don’t see this as a qualifier this is probably the one song that will annoy me by qualifying over something I love. I feel weird calling this as a non-qualifier because her performance is impeccable but I just don’t think the song cuts it.

03) Australia

Isaiah – “Don’t Come Easy”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

As much as I don’t care about this entry, and as much as I don’t like their backdrop, I would honestly be shocked if they didn’t make it. Juries will like it, but to be honest, I think especially in the final, I can see it struggling in the televote.

John: No

I feel like I need to make at least one bold prediction, and here it is: this is my tip for shock non-qualifier. There’s just something missing here – he’s all alone on stage, there’s not much going on and he doesn’t manage to fill the stage all  on his own. I won’t be surprised if juries push it through, however.

04) Albania

Lindita – “World”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: No

The third of a tedious run of downbeat wail-y ballads, and this is the most wail-y of them all. I just can’t see the appeal of this.

John: No

I wanted this to be so good but I felt a disconnect tonight. I hate saying this as Lindita is a phenomenal singer. But sadly I don’t think she’s going through after tonight 😥

05) Belgium

Blanche – “City Lights”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

I know that I’m not the most objective person in regards to this entry because it is my favourite after all, but I think people in this press centre are being far too mean about this one. Personally, every time I’ve heard this song, it’s given me the feeling of being hugely overwhelmed and vulnerable, and I don’t see a problem with her looking a little fragile, because to me it compliments the feeling in the song. And I like how some of her arm movements make it look like she’s in a symbiotic relationship with the background. Bonne chance Belgique! Je crois en toi!

John: Yes

At the end of the day, this is a stunning song and surely it has to qualify based on that. I thought Blanche did look a little scared tonight but I think she performed well enough to qualify.

06) Montenegro

Slavko Kalezić – “Space”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: No

I don’t think I need to explain why.

John: No

He needed armies of dancers with him on stage. He is a massive personality but once again he suffers from Empty Stage Syndrome which really shouldn’t have been a problem for him. Sorry Slavko 😦

07) Finland

Norma John – “Blackbird”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

This failing would be a true Shakespearean tragedy. Juries will obviously love it, and I hope that there will be a decent enough televote to get through. It’s too beautiful to fail.

John: Yes

I’m over the moon with how this looks and sounds, it’s so beautiful and if it doesn’t qualify I will be DEVASTATED.

08) Azerbaijan

Dihaj – “Skeletons”. Credit: Thomas Hanses (EBU).

Kylie: No

#ControversialEurovisionOpinion alert: I think this will be Semi 1’s shock non-qualifier. If even I, someone who is very much an arty-farty left-field borderline-hipster type, found it unappealing to watch, imagine what the general public will think. In my eyes, it’s very “WTF”, but in a bad way. I might be wrong, and to be fair, I kind of feel that whatever I predict for this one, the opposite will happen: so now that I’ve marked as a “no”, it’ll end up safely through. How annoying.

John: Yes

I also didn’t get what was going on on stage either, but I actually think that whatever it was it kind of worked? I still don’t think Azerbaijan will be “Bergendahlised” with this one.

09) Portugal

Salvador Sobral – “Amar pelos dois”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

Like I said with Finland, it’s too beautiful to not qualify. This following sentences might look silly at the end of the week, but lately I’ve gotten a hunch that after the show, there might be a Common Linnets-style hype momentum sparking off with Portugal. We’ll wait and see what happens…

John: Yes

I have no idea how this looked on TV as the screens in the arena were switched off for the entire performance, but quite simply people are going to fall in love with this. I started crying even before the song started!!

10) Greece

Demy – “This Is Love”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

As tacky as the whole package is, I can’t see this not qualifying. The Greek diaspora will be motivated to vote for it because of who is performing it.

John: Yes

They struggled with the technicalities of the performance tonight and had to go again at the end, but I think Greece have done enough to make it.

11) Poland

Kasia Moś – “Flashlight”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: No

Much like Azerbaijan, I kinda feel that whatever I predict for this one, the opposite will happen. Personally, I’ve got a hunch that hardly anyone outside of diaspora will vote for this, and in terms of diaspora power in this semi, I think the Greeks will be more motivated to vote for Demy than the Poles will be to vote for Kasia. Plus the juries have a history of giving Poland a major kicking and I can’t see that changing here.

John: No

This is incredibly borderline for me. I think that of all the female power ballads in this semifinal Poland blew them all out of the water tonight, but I’m saying no for now simply because I don’t know who to take out of the top 10 in their place.

12) Moldova

Sunstroke Project – “Hey Mamma”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

I kinda feel that after a string of more downbeat/slow songs in this semi, this will come across as a well-needed injection of fun, and it’s a much more palatable flavour of fun than Montenegro. It’s also worth pointing out that during the second ad break, they play a clip of Epic Sax Guy from 2010, me thinks that TPTB want them in the final. Plus we NEED Epic Sax Guy in that final, make it happen Europe!

John: Yes

Surely this HAS to make it? I had a massive smile on my face throughout the performance and I’m convinced Europe will follow suit. I just hope the juries are in the mood for this!

13) Iceland

Svala – “Paper”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: No

It REALLY pains me to say this because I really like the song and she gave a really commanding performance in the jury rehearsal, but I must be honest and say that I’ve got that really horrible feeling that people won’t get it. I sincerely hope I’m wrong here.

John: No

Another one that’s painfully borderline. Svala and the team could not have done any more. She fills the stage all on her own unlike many of her competitors. But I still have Iceland 2016 at the back of my mind…

14) Czech Republic

Martina Bárta – “My Turn”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: No

I like this song, and I like Martina, but I can’t deny that this is a last place staging and I can’t see who’s going to vote for it. Now I feel really sad having to type this out.

John: No

It’s a quite obvious no for me, but I do want to say that Martina gave a lovely performance tonight.

15) Cyprus

Hovig – “Gravity”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

His jury performance was very well done, and I think the package is good enough to just about get through. It’s all come together in the end, and that’s what matters.

John: Yes

Reluctantly I’m putting this down as a qualifier. Although the song isn’t to my taste it did work well and I can definitely see why it would go through.

16) Armenia

Artsvik – “Fly With Me”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

Easily one of the best staged entries of this year, and I think this is easily sailing through, not much else to add here.

John: Yes

Well, this has put a spanner in the works, I even think we could be going to Armenia next year…

17) Slovenia

Omar Naber – “On My Way”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: No

Personally I don’t think the song is strong enough to make it through, but even though I have it marked as a ‘no’, I have a horrible hunch that this might be the shock qualifier (and a certain friend of the website will NOT be happy I said this).

John: No

I kind of fell for this song again tonight (even though I still think they ruined it with the revamp). Slovenia have thrown as much at this as they can to make it look and sound good (Omar sings brilliantly) but I don’t think it’s enough.

18) Latvia

Triana Park – “Line”. Credit: Andres Putting (EBU).

Kylie: Yes

I think this is an exciting end to the show. Yes they are kind of friendless in this semi, but I think the package is strong enough to make it through. Bring your glowsticks!

John: Yes

It’s 3 minutes of technicolour awesomeness, plus it’s the semifinal closer. Has to qualify.

So that’s our predictions! How many will we get right? How much of an idiot will either of us look? In any case, enjoy the show, and best of luck to everyone!

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Author: Kylie Wilson

Editor-in-chief of ESC Pulse. A British-New Zealander who's an unashamed Norwegophile, has watched Eurovision every year since 1999, and is not afraid to speak her mind and step outside the general consensus.

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