For the first time since we started to try and predict the results of a Semifinal, we both made the exact same picks:
Let’s break it down.
Moldova: Eduard Romanyuta – “I Want Your Love”
NQ. Confidence: low. If picks were about personal preferences we’d love to see him perform on Saturday night, but the draw kills his chances. The thin sheen of sleaze on this performance is going to make those votes slip away.
Armenia: Genealogy – “Face the Shadow”
NQ. Confidence: low. This Semi is stuffed with message ballads. What we’ll remember about Armenia is not its message, but that musically it’s a mess.
Belgium: Loïc Nottet – “Rhythm Inside”
Q. Confidence: high. This is one of the best songs in the Song Contest, coupled with a good presentation and solid vocal.
Netherlands: Trijntje Oosterhuis – “Walk Along”
NQ. Confidence: medium. Much as we like the singer and don’t even particularly hate the song, Netherlands’ hot streak at Eurovision is about to come to an end. They were already behind the 8-ball with the draw, and too much this year is off the mark. Maybe Trijntje can redeem herself another year with a better song.
Finland: Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – “Aina mun pitää”
Q. Confidence: medium. We can’t see the juries going for it based on musical merit, but we figure PKN will make it through with a ton of public support.
Greece: Maria-Helena Kyriakou – “One Last Breath”
Q. Confidence: low. The song is uncomfortably co-dependent, but hot damn, Maria-Helena sells the hell out of it. Trust Greece to make it work.
Estonia: Elina Born & Stig Rästa – “Goodbye to Yesterday”
Q. Confidence: medium. We still feel like Elina and Stig are a bit wobbly on their vocals, but that shouldn’t keep them out of the Final. The lighting effects work and Elina is the best dressed contestant in the Semifinals.
Macedonia: Daniel Kajmakoski – “Esenski Lisja (Autumn Leaves)”
NQ. Confidence: high. Look, the moment we realized Blackstreet were backing Daniel up, we were rooting for this to qualify. But it just doesn’t come together. By the way, if ever there was a year we regret not getting press credentials and coming to Eurovision, it is this year. We would interview the hell out of Daniel and Blackstreet.
Serbia: Bojana Stamenov – “Beauty Never Lies”
Q. Confidence: low. The staging may be a little too on the nose, but you know what: we don’t care. “Beauty Never Lies” is a lot of fun, and Bojana deserves to be Eurovision royalty.
Hungary: Boggie – “Wars for Nothing”
Q. Confidence: medium. We want to be wrong, oh how we want to be wrong about this pick.
Belarus: Uzari & Maimuna – “Time”
Q. Confidence: medium. As lackluster as the staging for “Time” is, we think Belarus is going to have enough support from its traditional voting allies to qualify. Plus, Uzari sings it well.
Russia: Polina Gagarina – “A Million Voices”
Q. Confidence: high. The staging of “A Million Voices” is a bit too deliberate, but Polina is such a warm performer that we can overlook everything else.
Denmark: Anti Social Media – “The Way You Are”
NQ. Confidence: low. When “The Way You Are” won Melodi Grand Prix, it came off like a fun slice of Danish gemütlichkeit. Now, amidst all the serious ballads and without any Scandinavian allies in this Semi, Denmark is probably going to suffer.
Albania: Elhaida Dani – “I’m Alive”
NQ. Confidence: medium. Albania may be helped by coming after Denmark, but they are hurt by leading into Romania. Though Elhaida has been selling “I’m Alive” as best as she can, we don’t think it will be enough.
Romania: Voltaj – “De la capăt”
Q. Confidence: high. Of all the message songs, this is the strongest. We’re not sure they’ve 100% made the connection for the audience, but they should do just fine.
Georgia: Nina Sublatti – “Warrior”
Q. Confidence: medium. Girlfriend can give face.