So Ukraine start the show with a bang, well the hamster-wheel guy did when he lost momentum and landed shoulder first. Mariya was fine, but it was a somewhat low key performance.
TEO’s Cheesecake dampens the mood somewhat and despite a sound performance, I think Belarus are one of several nations competing for last place.
Azerbaijan really loves their nasal singers, but the impact of Dilara’s song at this point of the running order is minimal. Not a top-10 banker for me.
First party song of the night from Iceland and another contender for last place.
Coming after Iceland, the impression of Norway is quite positive. It’s the first sign of quality at this end of the running order. It will struggle to stand out though.
Romania is just a comedy of bad staging; the exaggerated arm gestures, the lingering embrace and Ovi’s multi-octave pianist routine reek of desperation.
On to the former market-leader from Armenia. Aram supporting the UK today with his t-shirt, but judging by his vocal, I doubt that support will be reciprocated.
Sergej maintained his vocal consistency, but the energy and raunchiness of Poland following in the running order cancels out any credit Montenegro managed to bank.
The Greek boys had another bad day at the office and were vocally off during large parts of Rise Up.
Yesterday’s market mover next and Conchita contrasts well against the two preceding upbeat entries. Austria’s answer to Shirley Bassey put in a rather low key performance and you’d have to argue that Conchita is undone by Sanna at this end of the draw.
Elaiza delivered a nervy start to Is it Right (?) but improved towards the end. The problem is that the group are overwhelmed by streamers and the last shots looks like a scene from Ghostbusters.
A technical issue for the French which resulted in the whole performance being performed with barely any backing music. Expecting more tonight.
Russia also put in a poor performance, but I am expecting a little more support than expected.
Technical issues continue for Italy’s Emma Marrone and her vocals were all over the place.
Question for our Australian readers… Does Slovenia’s floor swirl in the opposite direction south of the equator?
Tinkara again assisted by backing singers. No issues here, but Slovenia are another country to consider for last place.
Finland next and Topi gave us one of his safer performances. Camera work was a bit shoddy in parts, which is surprising given they only did it for real last night.
Ruth Lorenzo appears on stage fresh of the shower. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if look remains for tonight’s jury rehearsal.
Switzerland is the real party starter and rumour has it they placed in last night’s semi-final. I’m a massive fan of the Swiss entry and think it could be this year’s Gianluca Bezzina.
Here’s Hungary and Andras looks like someone’s blowing air up his arse sat on that chair. His eyes randomly open wide when he takes big breaths. This song is very dark and I’m open to opposing top-5. I can’t see him being higher than 5th in the jury vote and I’m expecting the televote to be lower.
Basim was off the pace again for the host nation and delivered a few bum notes. The camerawork remained in national final form, but there were a few shots of the crowd at the back of the arena, who might not be the flag-waving fans you’d expect to see cheering the hosts. Looks a subtle hatchet job to me. The flag has changed to feature a big red heart with the word love.
Now we get one of a few potential winners. Netherlands is a triumph of staging and the raw chemistry between Waylon and Ilse is beautiful to watch. This is a contender.
San Marino kinda went over us and I think most people will switch off during Valentina’s dreary performance. Another potential last place.
UK were last up and Molly delivered the goods once she got past the first minute. There’s still a feeling the staging and camerawork is too static, but Molly more than makes up the deficit during the middle-eight. I think the live crowd and pyros will really lift Children of the Universe.
Interestingly, UK’s Graham Norton is featured sharing jokes with the presenters for roughly one minute after the song, so the UK’s entry is effectively 4-minutes long!
Just a small selection of the betting positions I will be taking after today’s full rehearsal:
- Switzerland top-10
- France top-10 (small stakes)
- Lay Hungary top-5 & top-4
- Back to lay Denmark (price should shorten in-running.
You can listen to more of my thoughts on today’s William Hill podcast: