Five Last Minute Tips For Semi Final Two
This is a weird post to write on Thursday morning. 24 hours ago, Iceland had just hit favourite position to win this semi. After the news of a COVID-19 case, and therefore the use of their rehearsal clip, that's caused a very fractious market and a drift for Iceland.
Drift feels fair, the rehearsal was great but not winner great, and the energy is obviously missing. Some voters may avoid because they will conclude that they have been breaking protocols and been naughty people (social media suggests other acts have been far more loose in their social distancing - do we believe Flo Rida did five days of quarantine before arriving in Rotterdam?). Australia's poor showing on Tuesday also suggests the tape alienates viewers at home
However, if anybody has the chance of a sympathy vote, it is this loveable Icelandic team. That it is them and not, say, Albania, without the history of last year and so much love and engagement with the community, means this is highly irrational. Social media and song downloads/virality will be important to check on Friday, assuming qualification, as will running order. I would have assumed a favourable draw if they were present, but now with my producer hat on I may bury in the mix.
So so hard to judge, and our tips therefore kind of ignore their presence. We've never had a case like this before and no idea where the mood lies.
Switzerland to win the semi (Exchange, 2.38)
Vocal flawless and huge crowd reactions in the hall for jury show. With Bulgaria feeling very distant last night and Iceland not present, there's an open goal for Gjon's Tears to steam through tonight.
Austria to qualify (Unibet, 2.1)
General consensus is the the top 8, maybe 9 qualifiers in the odds are the ones expected. Of the rest, by far the best performance of the jruy show came from Vincent Bueno, who turned it on last night and looked uber professional. Tight to squeeze into the top 10, but seems the most obvious candidate to do so.
Serbia Best Balkan (26, Various, Inc. Bet365/Unibet)
All other Balkan tracks didn't qualify on Tuesday, so only four remain. Bulgaria is odds on and while beautiful there's certain doubts about the appeal of it and could get buried in a running order for the Grand Final. Greece, while cool with the green screen, may struggle to cut through and Cyprus being strong splits the vote from loyal Greeks around Europe. Serbia won't be in contention to win Eurovision, but without especially Croatia can now take at least 100 points from the region, and if the favourites run away with it then this could end up placing left side on the final. The Hurricane girls perform flawlessly.
Portugal Top 3 in Semi, (Unibet, 7.5)
The Portuguese song oozes class. While I crave more melody and progression, especially in the chorus, my goodness surely the juries love this stuff. Great use of colour and staging too, which was unexpected before getting to Rotterdam. Good value for the top 3 just in case the juries have it far enough ahead that it stumbles through to finish third with an average televote score.
Georgia to be last (2.5, Exchange)
The Georgian song just shouldn't be in the song contest, and offers nothing for the audience at home. In competition with Poland for last place, which is shockingly terrible, and the others should have enough to save it. Tipping Georgia here because Poland at least may get some loyal points from Iceland/UK in televoting to see it over the line.