One for the money and for the show…that’s semi final one!

Well, the Australian broadcast of semi final 1 has finished and my jaw is still on the floor and not likely to elevate back to its normal position any time soon. Not only did my least favourite song and the one I deemed “most likely to fail dismally” qualify (that would be Lithuania), but Turkey DID NOT.Turkey. Did. Not. Make. The. Final. My mind is officially blown.

But it’s okay, because Eurovision is well and truly here and I’m excited! As I’d been avoiding rehearsal photos and videos I had little idea what the arena and the acts would look like, and for the most part, I was impressed. The stage is amazing, the postcards are very sweet, and the Green Room – despite being more 80s than Kati Wolf’s hairdo – was quite fabulous. The hosts, “comedian” Anke, Judith and Stefan, didn’t really do it for me, I have to say. But they’ve got two more nights to impress…which will naturally be their priority.

I’m pretty exhausted from flag-waving and squealing inadvertently when a randomly exciting thing happened, so I won’t go into too much detail about this semi. So…highlights:

–          Norway’s Stella charming her way through Haba Haba, a song that renders Prozac redundant. She is TOO adorable, and though I’m not surprised she didn’t end up qualifying (thanks to the cuuuuurssse of number twoooooooo! And several other factors) I reckon she’ll still be dancing her way up the aisles of the plane to Scandinavia in her poofy dress.

–          The humbler songs from Switzerland and Finland both doing a Tom Dice and making magic happen live. I didn’t rate these too highly just on listens, but both Anna and Paradise Oskar (call me?) turned out really engaging, first-rate performances, and they well and truly deserve their places in Saturday’s final. I actually thought it would be one or the other that made it…but it looks like Mr. Dice started something 12 months ago!

–          Some evil person in the EBU saving Iceland for last when the magic envelopes were opened. I was backing Sjonni’s Friends all the way in this semi, but by the time we got to the last open spot I had pretty much abandoned hope that it belonged to them. Suffice to say that when that little blue and red flag appeared onscreen, I screamed/yelped in such a way that I almost choked on my own voice. HOORAY FOR ICELAND!

And now le lowlights:

–          Armenia and Turkey (hmm, I think I may have already mentioned them at some point) having their perfect qualifying records sucked unceremoniously down the drain. I really thought they were shoo-ins. I just hope they aren’t too bitter – I can see a Tonya Harding situation kicking off. Who knows what damage a 10-foot boxing glove or a steel hamster ball could do to one of the artists who did get to the final?

–          Um…that was about it really.

Right, let’s go over the results: in order of announcement, Serbia, Lithuania, Greece, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, Russia and Iceland will be seen again in the final. That means I was 60% right in my predictions which is not quite as spectacular as 2010, but I’ll take it! Of these I think Switzerland, Hungary and Russia are all in with a chance of a top 10 finish, though I don’t see a winner there.

And here’s a little something extra: in Australia, the ESC broadcaster SBS lets us have our own online voting to make up for our lack of input in the actual show, and I thought I’d fill you in on the results of that. You might be surprised…Greecetopped the poll with more than 10 000 votes, followed by Serbia, Iceland, Turkey and Portugal. Yes, I said Portugal. It seems Down Under we have rather different taste to you guys in Europe! Finland, Croatia, San Marino, Hungaryand Poland finished up our favourites, with Lithuaniabringing up the rear, scoring a relatively paltry 955 votes. You can be certain that none of those came from this Aussie fan. You can check out the full results here:

Well, I’m off to get some beauty sleep in preparation for tomorrow night’s semi final (I’ll see it just a few hours before the final starts). I can’t wait to see what shocks that will bring. I CAN wait to spend the whole of Sunday avoiding news updates and social media, bit what can you do? So don’t spoil anything, ladies and gents – just enjoy whatever chapter of ESC 2011 you’re up to!

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