In the ritual known to kick-start each Eurovision season, the semi-final draws have been made in Düsseldorf, signifying that the 2011 contest is well on its way! The running order is still anyone’s guess (until mid-March), but that hasn’t decreased the excitement from my end, and no doubt many of yours as well. Just as a reminder (or on the off chance you’ve not seen it yet) here are the participants of both semis:
SEMI FINAL #1
Albania, Armenia, Finland, Georgia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey
Azerbaijan, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, San Marino
SEMI FINAL #2
Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cyprus, Moldova, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine
Belarus, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia
– The United Kingdom and Spain have been allocated to the first semi to cast their votes. Italy, France and Germany will cast theirs in the second semi.
– There are nineteen countries in each one, compared with seventeen from last year.
– In the three years that Eurovision has had two semi finals, the second one has been notoriously stronger, with a larger audience and a higher level of competition. It’s hard to determine sans songs whether this will once again be the case, but it is interesting to note that a whole bunch of the countries that often dominate the top ten – Armenia, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Greece and Iceland – will perform in the first semi.
– Yes, you read that correctly when you were scanning the countries: Slovakia is IN. Of course, with all the chopping and changing they’ve been doing I wouldn’t put it past them to pull out at least three more times before May rolls around. Apparently their presence here is mainly due to their desire to avoid the late withdrawal fine. Whatever the case may be, I’m happy that for now, they’re back.
– Nine of the countries from the 2010 first semi are once again to perform in the first. Ten of those from the 2010 second semi are back in the second.
If you have any thoughts on the allocations, let me know here or back on Facebook – comments are welcome! But I have a feeling there’ll be a lot more to talk about with the running order draw, and before that, the madness of February. A wonderful, wonderful madness. Stay tuned at EBJ for all the excitement and developments of Düsseldorf….now a mere 16 weeks away!!!