A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tobson takes a guess: semi 2 in Kyiv

Tuesday's prediction went far better than I would have expected, with the obvious exception of Finland. Instead of a rewarding top ten on Saturday, Norma John found themselves kicked out already before the party had taken off. But nine out of ten makes my prediction pretty good, I suppose.

If the first semi was hard to predict, then semi two is sheer madness. It is full of songs that are fairly similar and fairly equal in strength. Some good songs are taken down by disappointing performances, some mediocre songs are helped by good or at least overwhelming performances. If anyone gets ten countries right in their prediction, I hope they selected their lottery numbers at the same tine.

Again I try to follow the gut feeling and if it is of any use, the following eight will leave us tonight:

Goodbye and thank you, Valentina, but you wouldn't believe a song as crammed with key changes as this one could possibly be this static and empty and hopeless.

This year's most interesting failure that I in many ways find refreshing. They want so much and are so energetic and in the end of the day it comes to nothing as their chorus couldn't be helped even by a smaller miracle. Intriguing but chanceless.

Personally I am rather fond of this chorus, but the delivery is far too polite and there is too little happening during these three minutes. Unless the juries shower it with love, nobody's going to remember it for long enough to vote for it.

I really warmed to this song myself - especially the quirky verses and the really nifty production details you only notice when listening to it in headphones - but in this tight competition their lack of visual presentation is going to cost them.

Performing first is no problem when you do your thing better than most others - like Sweden did on Tuesday. Serbia's song is nice and impeccably produced but also anonymous and stands out like a penguin surrounded by other penguins.

Will Sweden be the only Nordic country in the final for the second year in a row? Denmark's only hope is that Europe finds the Dutch entry to be too screechy and screamy and self-indulgent. Not impossible - it really is - and find Denmark the better version of the same thing. But I still fear the Danes are losing this battle.

Nathan Trent is arguably the most charming performer in this year's contest but the rather disappointing chorus is letting this song down. The question is if any cute staging or glittery moon can compensate for that, especially being sandwiched between two similar entries right at the beginning. I'm afraid not.

I have warmed also to this, the most old-fashioned of old-fashioned ESC ballads. Maybe jury and televoters alike will be triggered by a wave of nostalgia and reward this one, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that to happen.

This mean that my ten qualifiers would be - in order of appearance - FYR Macedonia, Romania, Netherlands, Hungary, Ireland, Croatia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia and Israel. This is my mind speaking, not my heart.

I think Croatia is a horrific pile of nonsense but it will stand out. Netherlands is three minutes of dull and soulless harmonising with no melody. Estonia could feel too cold and calculated, FYR Macedonia is only in because Europe managed to recognise Belgium had a great somg despite a shaky performance, Ireland is there because... well. He has a nice balloon.

The performance I am really looking forward to tonight is the happy Belarusians dancing on their boat as well as the terrific Kristian from Bulgaria. I think you will love them both.

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