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Eurovision 2017: Semi-Final 2 Pre-Rehearsal Preview

Whereas semi-final 1 seems to be a process of eliminating a couple of amber nations, semi-2 is much more complex, and from a gambling perspective, there’s value, but also potential losses should a big name fall or a minnow unexpectedly make the cut.

This traffic light system indicates my current qualification thoughts. This is based on a pre-rehearsal landscape, so things will change between now and May 11th.

In The Green:

With two songs up for grabs from Persson & Milanov, Serbia opted for In to Deep, whereas FYRoM went with Dance Alone. I think that was a wise choice, as In To Deep delivers the most contemporary and impactful sound. Quite where that gets them in the final is up for debate, but in this friendly semi, Serbia really should be qualifying. Early evidence suggests Tijana is more vocally reliable than Jana, who lip-synced at a number of the pre-concerts. Tijana hasn’t been perfect, but then I don’t think she’s been trying. The slowed down version showed she’s capable when she can be bothered.

Despite its amateur national final presentation, Romania could be this year’s Beauty Never Lies; a song that comes alive on the Eurovision stage and sneaks a top-10 finish. I can also envisage Graham Norton calling it the dark horse on the BBC commentary. There is a certain charm about these two, and with the right stage branding – and as long as the Romanian diaspora turns up – they could nab a top-3 finish in this semi-final. If the odds are right, it’s worth a few shekels.

Hungary’s Joci Pápai will be hoping the Roma community turns out far more than they did for Esma & Lozano in 2013. On their side, Origo is at least credible, and in recognising that, I doubt juries will be unreasonably harsh with their marking. It remains an amber shade of green until we see how it comes together in rehearsals, though surprisingly, fans have been quite receptive to Hungary’s entry at the pre-concerts.

Anja’s powerhouse vocal should see Denmark make the final for the first time in three years. The song doesn’t look particularly dangerous in the final, in fact I expect it to suffer the classic jury-drop and finish around 12th-18th. It’s a slightly better version of Elhaida Dani’s I’m Alive, and like the Albanian, Anja can get a bit shouty and breathy in parts.

Norway also look set to join their regional allies in the final, with JOWST receiving positive fan reaction at all of the pre-Eurovision concerts. The song is no record breaker, but it’s refreshingly different and very well delivered. Both Nordic nations are a little short on support, but given the low bar in this semi, both should make it through to the Grand Final.

The Bulgaria debate has been firing on all cylinders of late with some arguing that Beautiful Mess lacks the punch to win Eurovision. In other years I would tend to agree with that assessment, but we’re not in a normal year. The bar is low and many of the alternatives to Italy are on the lower end of the BPM spectrum. In thinking what the juries might go for (both east and west), it’s difficult to ignore the potential of Kostov’s radio-friendly song. One never knows until rehearsals, but based on song and vocal quality, I’ve found it more reassuring to have Bulgaria on side. Would I back the current odds? Only if I was majorly red, which I’m not. Bulgaria looks a worthy favourite to win this semi-final, but given the short price, it’s always worth looking for higher odds challengers. As a side note, if Kristian wants to ad-lib during the song, he needs to settle on when and what he’s going to do, as he noticeably drifted off key in Israel. At Eurovision his backing singers need to know what he’s doing, otherwise the vocal mix will sound messy. This wasn’t the case in Amsterdam or Spain and I am reliably informed this was deliberate, so it appears he’s listening to his team. Good move!

Might Estonia be one of those long-odds challengers? If their national final chemistry is anything to go by, probably not. Verona is one of the catchiest songs in this year’s lineup, but as hinted above, the chemistry between Koit and Laura could be described as wooden. Back in 2014 The Common Linnets set the bar for staging a duet. Verona is less of a love song and more late-80s Kylie & Jason in approach. So the challenge here is get Koit and Laura to have fun on stage, rather than choreographed to within an inch of their lives like Nodi & Sophie were in 2013.

The power of the pimp slot should see Israel make the final too. I Feel Alive isn’t the new Golden Boy and nor is it particularly cutting edge, yet there’s enough energy and quality to see it through. Imri also has the vocals to carry the song.

In The Mix:

Jana was much improved in Israel and Amsterdam, but doubts remain over her ability to muster enough support to guarantee qualification, especially with stronger upbeat entries in this semi-final. It’s also fairly clear that she’s not used to performing upbeat songs – her lack of rhythm and ability to connect has been apparent throughout the pre-Contest parties. FYRoM have only qualified once since 2008, so the stats are not on Jana’s side.

Now Russia have withdrawn from the Contest, Malta’s qualification prospects have improved greatly. While Claudia’s song is dated, it is uplifting and she is convincing in her delivery. Furthermore, unlike Amber from 2015, Claudia is much more relatable and telegenic. If not Malta, then maybe Switzerland with the more contemporary song and their equally telegenic singer who is desperately pushing her Romanian roots. Timebelle were impressive in Israel, so they really shouldn’t be discounted just yet, although lead-singer, Miruna, is prone to drifting off key – one to watch with the juries!

We need to see much more from the Netherlands before calling them red or green. On song alone, they are very much red, but as some commenters have mentioned, the are vocally impressive. At this point I sway slightly more towards non-qualification due to the lack of a prominent hook and melody, but I fully respect the notion they could qualify on vocals alone.

Brendan’s vocal was a bit wayward at the Israel Calling pre-concert and was seen struggling with the in-ear sound feed. Christer has helped Ireland with this running slot, but sandwiched between the vocal powerhouse of Anja and the surprisingly good (in live form) disco number from San Marino, it’s still an uphill struggle for the 20-year old, especially if he continues to miss those big notes in May.

Being distinctive and among friends helps Croatia’s cause. My Friend is totally mad and it’s that element that could help it standout to televoters in the same way that Romania’s Cezar did in 2013, albeit with much less diaspora. I would say I’m leaning slightly more towards non-qualification, but I will be eagerly waiting Houdek’s first rehearsal in May. If the Netherlands are are hoping to qualify on vocals, then by rights Croatia should also be in with a shot.

If the pre-concerts have proven one thing, it’s that Belarus feels like a very long 3-minutes without proper staging. As is a common theme in this semi-final, it’s difficult to accurately predict Navi Band’s progression in the contest despite their infectious performance style. And with Russia out, that’s a crucial set of hard, friendly points wiped from their total. Laying or backing Belarus for qualification isn’t really something I’m confident to do at this time.

Down And Out:

Despite highlighting San Marino’s disco energy above, it’s still an uphill struggle for them to qualify, despite Shell’s ironic pro-San Marino post. I traded a green position having backed 13s and may back more if I see their chances improve at rehearsals. Valentina finished 11th in the semi in 2013, but then qualified at the third time of asking in 2014. This is arguably her best entry in what is a low quality semi-final.

Nathan Trent was quite fancied as a potential dark horse until Christer shoved him in slot 2. That makes it incredibly difficult for Austria to stand out with what comes after them in the running order. As a song it’s rather forgettable and the Justin Timberlake comparisons were rather flattering. I think Imri will drain away any ‘looks based’ support at the end of the running order.

Lithuania sort of speaks for itself. Who will vote for this outside of their diaspora? Their support still has to be respected, but I think they are exposed in this semi-final compared to last year.

We’ll have our semi-2 preview podcast published on Tuesday. In the meantime, share your qualifiers below.

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About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

13 comments

  1. I really think Norway will be the surprise Non qualifier this year.
    The song has finally clinged with me but it took maaany listens. When you hear it for the first time it sounds cold and indifferent and the lyrics a bit silly.

  2. The person behind Brendan’s staging is the woman behind Australia’s staging last year (Nicoline I think it is), with that in mind Christer gave Ireland as late a draw as possible so it might mean Ireland have a good stage show planned. I think we will get one of the Netherland’s or Denmark as I feel they are both sort of 1 trick ponies, strong vocal’s with no song. Denmark I’m a little surprised with the confidence behind it, being right after Hungary doesn’t help at all and despite her vocal I wouldn’t be surprised if juries still dont mark her as high as we suspect ( like around 6-10) its a slightly stronger version of Malta 2015 for me plus you need to remember that Malta also used there traditional brown envelop technique to get a lot of that score, plus Denmark won’t be much better come rehearsal’s as like pretty much every Danish entry ever it has already shown its full hand. At this moment in time I’d actually favour the Netherland’s who interestingly have the same draw that Douwe Bob had last year and come right after an add break. Most of that list I agree on bar Denmark (BTW I completely agree about the Albania 2015 comparison), Serbia I had through comfortably and while I still have them green there start to get very close to a yellow.

    For me its
    Green : Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Norway, Bulgaria, Israel
    Yellow : Macedonia, Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia , Switzerland, Belarus, Estonia
    Red : Austria, Malta, San Marino, Lithuania

  3. Wouldn’t have Estonia green, and make Malta red. These type of typical old-school Eurovision songs don’t seem to get jury-points nowadays, and those harmonies can really make your teeth itch. The same for Malta, can’t see where they will get the points from in this field.

    I can see Austria getting quite a bit of jury-support and squeeze through (yellow for me), with a good running order in the final there are even possibilities for more imo, if the staging isnt too boring. The value would be more in something like top 10 for big odds, instead of betting on them in this semi, there really is potential – as a breath of fresh air – but really needs a performance/staging that will take away it being bland…
    For me Ireland has a even bigger problem, might have a better starting position, it’s so damn forgettable (+ Bulgaria…), with quite a lot of similar style songs, edge-red for me.

    Most interesting will be Croatia, really have no clue at all how the juries (and public) will react to this. Like your point about NL, but do some really give points just based on vocals, or is it simply too weird to award points even when vocals are strong. Where NL is a bit dated, it’s not weird.

  4. Serbia : Should qualify comfortably, very comparable to Walk on Water from Malta last year but Tijana has yet to sell this song properly live which is a worry for a 35 year old performer who’s been here before (granted a backing singer). Until rehearsal’s I’m not confident enough to say she won’t make it but unless it improve’s it could be a shock NQ. – Q

    Austria : Completely agree, a big dark horse in my eye’s until it was thrown to the wolves. It actually baffles me that Christer put it here, a nice contemporary song sung by an charismatic likeable guy, surely there where other countries int he first half more deserving of this fate. But then again, Christer must have seen the planned staging and must not be too confident in it’s qualification chance’s, that and Austria’s lack of a strong voting block and that’s that I’m afraid, my personal favourite though so hopefully it come’s around! – NQ

    Macedonia : Fanwank flop written all over it, Jana say’s she sing’s as a hobby and you can see that in her performance’s. Just not good enough at all, add that to Macedonia’s history of staging song’s and this really should be a NQ but it’s still a somewhat catchy song that will have fan’s on both the jury and tele vote side of thing’s (granted she must pull it off first!), I think it’s qualification chance’s comes down the progression of the more accessible Serbia on in slot number 1. If Serbia doesn’t fulfil it’s potential and turn’s out to be boring than Macedonia might be there to capitalise but if not I can’t see Macedonia making it. – B

    Malta : First disagreement, I strongly dislike this song and hope it fail’s and thankfully I think it will. There is nothing special about this entry at all, Malta’s suspect jury score’s need to be kept in mind but I honestly struggle to see any tele vote going for this (could be last there). – NQ

    Romania : I actually thought this could be a shock NQ as it was very messy I thought and quite lacklustre but 4 pre parties later I not only think this is a certain qualifier but it could be a dark horse to win the semi, I think top 10 should be it ceiling in the final as I dont see TVR having the resource’s needed to give this the staging it need’s to aim higher. – Q

    Netherlands : More or less agree with you Gav, a complete non song literally no point of the song being there which could also be a problem as juries are not stupid and know what a song contest is just as much about the song as the performance which could be Netherlands downfall, until I see rehearsal’s I have this down as an amber but after day 1 of rehearsal’s ill know exactly which way I’m going, it’s all down to the Netherlands trying to distract from the song as much as possible, if they succeed they should qualify 8-10th and then bomb in the final as those thing’s can only get you so far.c- B

    Hungary : Must confess, I had this as a NQ prior to Amsterdam but after seeing the reaction in Amsterdam I very quickly changed my mind as I can really see this working in Kyiv, worth noting though that these sort of song’s are generally the sort of song’s that go down well at these parties so until rehearsal’s I’m still not going to say it’s a dead certain qualifier but with Bjorkman putting it 3rd last in its half plus between 2 nothing song’s I’d imagine Bjorkman like’s what they have planned meaning we might aswell! – Q

    Denmark : Another disagreement, for me this is borderline at best. Im stunned at how confident people are with this song’s chance’s of qualifying, tbh I actually gave there previous 2 NQ’s more of a chance than I am currently giving this one. I agree the vocal’s are impressive and the comparison with Albania 2015 is a great comparison lets not forget she had a much better running order slot, more friend’s,smaller semi and stood out more yet only snuck through in 10th and tbh if Denmark manage to qualify it will be 9th or 10th. On the vocal’s, while impressive most juries will still be able to see that this is a complete nothing song saved by a great performance from Anja. The other factor is Denmark has already shown us exactly what they will do at ESC which is why they look so strong currently but when we get to eurovision other countries will show what they got and when that happen’s Denmark might not look so rosy after all. For me its either this or Netherland’s and tbh at this rate i’d be more inclined to go with Netherland’s as they have a USP of being a girl group with a strong harmony and of course a moving back story. – B

    Ireland : I think Ireland is the best example of a yellow that we have this year as there are so many unknown’s, will people like his squeaky voice, will RTE screw up the staging and will Brendan be able to hit those notes, being Irish I’ve got more info on this and from what I understand Brendan will have 5 backing singer’s going with him which will undoubtably help but also the fact that the staging is being done by a woman known as Nicoline who has a good track record of staging song’s, add that to the fact that Christer saw this and gave Ireland the latest possible draw and it’s quite possible that Ireland have a staging that’s quite good. Based on what we know its hard to have Ireland as anything but a yellow at the minute but if there is a 5th qualifier in the first half Ireland are definitely the most likely candidate.

    First half thoughts, ill give my second half ones later!

  5. Very tough semi to call.

    Green: Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Israel

    Amber (leaning towards in): Hungary, Denmark, Ireland Switzerland, Belarus

    Amber (leaning towards out) Fyr Macedonia, Malta, Netherlands, Croatia, Norway

    Red: Austria, San Marino, Lithuania

    Ireland is the amber I have qualifying that I’m least sure on by a long way at this point.

    Top 3: Bulgaria, Estonia, Serbia

  6. Second Half thoughts (Sorry if I appear to be spamming).

    San Marino : Surprisingly good live I must say but its the sort of song that is just hopeless in this giant semi, any hope they had of getting the party vote might be gone with Croatia following is directly after. NQ

    Croatia : When people where ruling this out I seemed to be the only one giving this hope, the Romania 2013 comparison is indeed a very good one and one I actually came up with when the song came out, but I feel that Croatia needed a later draw to get out of the semi. He has an outstanding voice and will get votes for that alone (similar to Netherlands) but its at best a yellow and I would consider it a red shade of yellow rather than green. B

    Norway : Another personal favourite of mine, my only worry for this is when it was first released I thought it was at best borderline but since then I’ve come around and put it through as a qualifier. My fear for it is my first thought of it. Like Croatia I feel this could really have done with a later draw but unlike Croatia I still think this has enough about it to ensure that it gets enough jury and tele vote support to qualify comfortably but I struggle to see it beating or coming near Norway’s 2014-2015 result’s unless the whole package improves significantly. Q

    Switzerland : I for the life of me dont get why this song is so popular, I’m assuming its the whole Timebelle thing. Fan’s generally vote a lot more in semi final’s so because of this along with a decent jury score (6-10 at best) I could see this potentially qualifying over another fan song which ill mention later. Until I see rehearsal’s I can’t have this any more than a yellow but it’s one of the yellow’s I’m more confident of finishing on the right side of the line.

    Belarus : Another fan song, a little overrated imo but I can sort of see why people really like it so I can live with it. My worry is unless Belarus keep it in its current form (which imo is very amateurish and looks even more amateurish coming right before Bulgaria) they will only ruin it with there typical OTT staging, granted they have sent a likeable song like this in awhile, the way they staged TEO in 2014 give’s me hope that they can stage a song and make it likeable however this one they are in a tougher place than 2014 as I felt that was a much easier staging to get right, yellow but like Switzerland its very close. B

    Bulgaria : I havent alot to say because a lot of it has been said, its a very strong package that imo is the clear and obvious winner of the semi final. Q

    Lithuania : They plan to change the staging concept in Kyiv and have of course diaspora to call on albeit less than they normally have, Red for me at the moment until rehearsal’s but could be a dark horse qualifier. NQ

    Estonia : They complications on how they won there selection (largely down to how well known the singer is), the performance and the fact they have been put in the traditional scandi death zone lead to me thinking that this is a borderline at best, too me it seems that Bjorkman decided to use 2 piece’s of fluff instead of 1 in order to space Bulgaria & Israel apart. The fact they have gone to pre parties mean’s we haven’t been able to see if they have improved or not and I think you when you consider the odd’s Estonia have to qualify you would be a brave man to bet on them, also worth mentioning that they are virtually friendless in this semi (Ireland will vote but they will be behind Romania & Lithuania in diaspora voting plus potentially the better song’s will beat it also). One worry for them is the other song that is a fan favourite (for some reason) Switzerland who perform there song a lot better, I feel if Switzerland can up there game and Estonia doesn’t improve much I could see Switzerland taking most of the fan vote meaning Estonia has to rely on public vote’s which I dont see enough coming, really is touch and go and tbh when I listen to the song I seem to favour it but when I read the fact’s I go against it. B

    Israel : Another personal favourite, I do recognise though that as a whole the entry does have flaw’s that will effect Israel’s performance on saturday night as it’s for me one of the clearest picks in the semi. On saturday I struggle to see it reaching the height’s of Hovi Star last year at least until I see the actually live performance. Not much to say other than that. Q

  7. Serbia – Amber
    Austria – Amber
    FYR Macedonia – Red
    Malta – Amber
    Romania – Green
    The Netherlands – Green
    Hungary – Green
    Denmark – Green
    Ireland – Red
    San Marino – Red
    Croatia – Amber
    Norway – Amber
    Switzerland – Green
    Belarus – Amber
    Bulgaria – Green
    Lithuania – Red
    Estonia – Green
    Israel – Green

    Top 3 – Bulgaria, Hungary and The Netherlands

  8. Serbia – Green
    Austria – Red
    FYR Macedonia – Amber (tilting towards red if Jana doesn’t whip up some performance skills sharpish)
    Malta – Red: I know that juries are usually more than generous towards Malta, but surely this song is just too dull as dishwater to qualify?
    Romania – Green
    The Netherlands – Amber; I personally feel the song isn’t that bad, and that if the girls can pull it off and produce a moment they could create a guilty pleasure-type thing.
    Hungary – Amber (personally dislike it, but I do see it qualifying)
    Denmark – Amber: I think this is one of the worst songs this year, with cheesy cliché cheap staging, and I see absolutely nothing in it. I have it on amber since you and other sites seem to hold it in high esteem, but if it were solely up to me it would be red.
    Ireland – Amber: Hard to say. I doubt its chances, but that could just be my own pessimism talking.
    San Marino – Red
    Croatia – Amber
    Norway – Amber
    Switzerland – Amber
    Belarus – Amber
    Bulgaria – Green
    Lithuania – Red
    Estonia – Amber: I find the song very dated and empty, and the performers wooden and static, but I do think it’ll qualify.
    Israel – Green

  9. While Serbia’s song is a modern well produced number – for me there is something not quite working with it. It could be easily forgotten by the end of a run of 18 songs and will be relying on juries and televote diaspora to get through.

    I’m of the opinion FYR Macedonia’s is actually the more accessible and suitable song for Eurovision and could potentially do very well in the contest if executed properly. However, as we know, there are big question marks about the performer and the staging.

    Estonia – I actually liked the staging but I seem to be in a minority of one! I can see this doing well (maybe very well) in the televote but it may well suffer with the juries for being dated.

    Switzerland – if staged as a band song (not a lady ballad) and Miruna keeps control of her nerves, this may do surprisingly well. (nearest comparison Hungary from last year)

    Ireland/Malta – I see very little hope for either of these dated ballads.

    Romania – For me the nearest comparison is Poland 2014. Juries will absolutely pan this but there is a televote appeal to the diaspora and the wider public.

    Croatia – Yes, he can sing, but so could that big Belgian bloke fawning over his mother. It’s probably right to keep an open mind until rehearsals, but I very much suspect that this will turn out to be the pile of pants we always thought it was.

    Lithuania – No chance unless the rumoured new staging concept involves a change of singer!

  10. –NOT SURE– SERBIA:
    Nice effort this time from Serbia, but I think being drawn so close to Macedonia will confuse people in the end. I just don’t get it why they wanted to open the show with this. Romania or Croatia would be so much better to open with. Staging potential? She looks the age of Trijntje. This really needs to be improved in Kiev.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 19th out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– AUSTRIA:
    Smashed in between Macedonia and Serbia really might help this jumpy chap with tons of charisma. This could be the ‘Douwe Bob’ of this semi final. Song-wise? What do people mean with ‘safe’, when in this semi-final there are a bit too many safe pop ballads sang by females (Macedonia, Serbia, Denmark, Switzerland).
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 7th out of 43]

    –OUT– F.Y.R. MACEDONIA:
    Another good pop ballad. And I actually like this more than Serbia. But the singer, Jana, needs to dig into a better choreography. She seems to be the artist that does her own thing, but I just hope this gets a Dami Im-esque stage act. I doubt it…
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 14th out of 43]

    –OUT– MALTA:
    Nice enough Disney ballad. I do like the slow pace. But nice enough is not great and that could hurt this entry. There’sa danger performer brings make-up artists to Kiev that turn her into a 50+ Bond-girl-baddy, and I think that’s not what this song needs. I think this could do well with Hans Pannecoucke on board. Sadly he’s doing Spain.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 17th out of 43]

    –IN– ROMANIA:
    If Netherlands is a non-song, then this is………quality? Hell with that. Juries probably would not be so kind to this one, but this will grab a lot of televotes. The two singers ooze charisma on stage, and the jodeling is actually very good jodeling. This will go through without too much problems.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 41st out of 43]

    –IN– THE NETHERLANDS:
    Nice staging act in place for this song. The family pictures on the LED-walls, combined with camerashots of the girls gazing at them, create a story. Could be effective here. Stage director Rolf Meter is good friends with Hans Pannecoucke. Besides that, this has this ‘Olsen Bros’ bang near the end, full of clapping opportunity.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 3rd out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– HUNGARY:
    Great song (personally). I like the world music / folk flavour of this entry. The thing is…this might loose some impact coming after Romania and Netherlands. On top of that, singer Joci doesn’t look very ‘affectionate’ on stage. He looks more like a Roma-villain? This needs to have a good cameraplan as well.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 36th out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– DENMARK:
    OK pop-song, but again one that perhaps isn’t distinctive enough to get the TOP 3 placing everyone is talking about. Yes, I understand the Dami Im-comparisons, but at this stage we know that the act won’t be ‘Dami Im-esque’. What you see (during MGP) is what you get (in Kiev). Vocally Anja is screechy…
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 9th out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– IRELAND:
    This ballad could surprise. The Danish stage director, who did Italy last year, is working on this entry. Not that it necessarily results in a great package, but it’s good to know that RTE is investing more time on this one. Vocally Brendan is superb, but it’s a matter of taste if you like his high-pitched voice. Better chance than Malta.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 20th out of 43]

    –OUT– SAN MARINO
    You know, this won’t come last. Because I think Valentina & Jimmie actually have charisma and connection stage. Song-wise this is rather dull and bland, but I’m not ready to put this last. Perhaps this is also Siegels best effort from the past Valentina entries? Vocally Valentina & Jimmie have great harmonies.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 38th out of 43]

    –IN– CROATIA:
    Jacques is perhaps the best male vocalist of this semi final. Remember Axel Hirsoux? Well, I do think Jacques is vocally much better. It’s an uplifting Disney ballad, but way more impressive than Malta for instance. Probably this will look a bit akward on stage, but if Serbia 2015 can get the hall alive, then why not Jacques?
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 16th out of 43]

    –IN– NORWAY:
    Modern Gorilllaz-esque pop song. I frequently play this one. It’s also a rather unique entry in the contest. It hasn’t got any ral competition. The thing that worries me though, is the lack of dynamic in the stage concept. If there’s a satellite stage, I almost urgeee this group to use it. While it’s unique, the song lacks a bit ‘oomph’.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 12th out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– SWITZERLAND:
    Perhaps this is one of the better Swiss entries in recent years. The frontlady of Timebelle is quite telegenic. Vocally I’m not a big fan of hers, Currently this is doing very well in many fan polls. But I do have my doubts about it. Song-wise it’s still a bit on the safe side. I’m also not sure how this will be staged, as it’s a band.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 4th out of 43]

    –IN– BELARUS:
    Happy clappy folk entry from these two singers. I think this has a fair shot of qualifying. Especially the first two minutes are fairly effective. And isn’t that where the most impression should be made? Sadly the last minute becomes a bit repetitive. This could get votes from people who ordinarily vote for Russia.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 31st out of 43]

    –IN– BULGARIA:
    I really like this pop ballad, although I think it doesn’t build up so well as Australia. Written by the same guys who did Serbia and Macedonia. But this has the best chance. Was reading a bit on eurovision.bg now, and the Bulgarians are adament on showing us a nice story (youth? a big support for youngsters in financial trouble?).
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 8th out of 43]

    –NOT SURE– LITHUANIA:
    I do get why many people in here have this as a non-qualifier. But I wouldn’t write this off yet. This is a bit St. Vincent meets Michael Jackson. Vocally the frontlady is perfect. The criticism about that? I don’t get it really. She has energy. A bit like Aminata on coke. There’s nothing else in this semi and it has a good draw (Georgia 2016?).
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 34th out of 43]

    –IN– ESTONIA:
    Lovely 1980’s throwback. It reminds me of Modern Talking. And Koit’s vocal belting has this touch of A-Ha- in it as well. The studio-version is frequently played on my Sony Xperia. Yet, while it definately has slick camerawork, it’s perhaps a tiny bit too slick, thus lacking some charm. Ooowh and Laura? Sing better!
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 37th out of 43]

    –IN– ISRAEL:
    Great ending to this 2nd semi-final. Although it’s a bit bland compared to the slightly more Original Israëli entries from 2015 and 2016. I have this as a qualifier, but not sure if this is left hand scoreboard stuff. Will do well thanks to televoters, but will it convince juries? I do think this has great staging potential though.
    [Current ranking EuroJury 2017: 26th out of 43]

  11. Again, as subject to change as anyone else’s:

    Green:
    Serbia
    Austria <— Safe but definitely not meh, unlike Germany.
    Romania <— Enormous happy pill.
    Netherlands <— One for the Mums and not just because of the song's backstory.
    Belarus
    Bulgaria
    Estonia <— In danger if Laura doesn't get her shit together.
    Israel

    Amber:
    Malta
    Hungary <— Sceptical of jury support for this.
    Denmark
    Ireland
    San Marino <— Surprisingly good live means surprisingly good, period.
    Croatia <— Sinks or swims. Expecting another Barbara Dex eye popper.
    Norway <— Want to see how they pull off the chopped vocal live.

    Red:
    Macedonia <— *blows raspberry*
    Switzerland <— *blows another raspberry*
    Lithuania <— Even though I sort of like it and I expect a fucktonne of pyros and strobes.

  12. Man, this is a cluster fruitcake of a semi. It’s basically

    Green:
    Bulgaria
    Estonia
    Serbia – probably, on the friendly numbers at the very least, I still think it’s anemic and badly drawn
    Israel – potential top 3 value

    Then scry the others from a bundle of Amber songs which = jury drop fodder on the Saturday

    In order of likelihood:
    Romania – not top 10 fodder in the outright if you ask me, juries will kill it once it qualifies
    Hungary – seems to have regional and jury popularity written all over it, distinctive too
    Netherlands – vocals and jury support will push it over the line
    Ireland – a classic, competent enough affair which does the ballad nuts and bolts well enough
    Croatia – as long as they go simple or epic, not tacky, his vocals will see him through, think Nadine Beiler

    The danger zone:
    Norway – I dunno it’s kinda annoying and amatuerish with all the hand gestures and repitition
    Denmark – I think this is a shouty mess without a decent melody but will likely sneak through
    Austria – stands out but really badly drawn, kid will need bags of charisma and a decent stage show
    Switzerland – there’s something anonymous about this, despite the vocals, and the Swiss often under-perform

    Red:
    Lithuania – I love the hell out of this daft little number, but the ‘Yeah Yeang’s are off putting
    Belarus – people like its quaintness but I think folky non-qualifier is written all over it, repetitive
    Macedonia – Serbia’s forgettable little sister
    San Marino – fun, but old-fashioned, kind of ends with a whimper
    Malta – jury prowess can’t save a dull dud

  13. its not a pattern but i think people are over estimating australians. demark from my view can’t shout their way to the final. the song it too generic in my opinion and the vocal are the only thing that are holding this song. if her vocal were bad at the rehearsal expect a 10th to 11th placing for this.

    macedonia is too low. i think like belgium, vocals aren’t the main thing about the act to the actual song. if it had a mediocre vocals but a smart staging its going to be in the final.

    belarus is a more sure qualifier. the song is very tribal and universal that i think europe will get it

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