The delegations have arrived, the rehearsals are well underway, there’s a wind machine repairman on standby and I have bought out my local supermarket’s entire supply of bite-size junk food. What does this all mean?? That Eurovision 2012 is here, of course!
The first semi final of this year’s contest is on a) tomorrow, b) the day after that, c) at 4am on Wednesday morning, depending on where you are in the world. Basically, it’s so close I could ask it for an autograph. Being down here in Australia means I have to wait until Friday to see this semi on TV, so I’m about to embark on a period of media abstinence to rival that of the Amish. Before I do, though, I’ve got some serious predicting to do, based on what I’ve heard from those on the ground in Baku, all of whom I hate with a passion.
Without further ado, here’s my take on the events to come for both semis and le grand final!
SEMI FINAL 1
Who will qualify: Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Moldova, Romania and Russia
Who I want to qualify: Albania, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Moldova and Romania
Who is most likely to…
Win the semi: Iceland. I could so easily say Greece, because it’s Greece (and I believe they won their semi in 2011 with a song that many of us tipped to get left behind) but with a song that’s at least five years past the Eurovision use-by, an unreliable vocalist and some cringe-worthy lyrics, I can’t see it out-pointing the drama (and pretty lights) and magic (and pretty Jónsi) from Iceland. If anyone can, it’ll be Mandinga from Romania.
Lose the semi: Montenegro. Need I say more? Surely, as “clever” as this apparently is, it’s not getting votes from anywhere.
Get the biggest round of applause: Russia. The grannies will be clap-happy when they shuffle off stage, for sure. If you’re in the Crystal Hall, don’t worry about the volume of your Babushki applause, because I’m pretty sure they’re all deaf (or more specifically, tone-deaf…boom boom tish!)
Sing best live: Denmark, Iceland, Israel and Latvia – 5+ reliable singers with few difficult notes to navigate.
Sing worst live: Cyprus and Greece. At least they’ll give each other a good helping of points whether Ivi and Eleftheria suck or not.
Make the best use of the background: Albania, Cyprus and Iceland. I have high (and quite specific) expectations for Iceland in particular. I think I speak for all of us who’ve seen Greta and Jónsi’s preview video when I say that the aurora borealis better make an appearance on the LEDs.
Have the most boring stage show: Belgium. Let’s face it, what can be done with this? You can’t really use a prop or have a troupe of backup dancers, and a wind machine just isn’t appropriate. Dry ice? No. Pyrotechnics? Yeah, right.
Have the best costume/s: Albania and Denmark. Rona has worn some crazy-cool stuff in her dreadlock mountain since she’s been in Baku, so I can only imagine what she’s going to wear from the neck down. Soluna, I hope, hasn’t decided to get rid of her I-just-raided-the-dress-up-box outfit from the Danish final, because I dug it big time.
Have the worst costume/s: Montenegro and San Marino. I’m envisioning safari prints and rhinestones and nothing that really fits. Who knows, maybe Valentina will come out dressed as Mark Zuckerberg.
SEMI FINAL 2
Who will qualify: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Estonia, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine
Who I want to qualify: Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey
Who is most likely to…
Win the semi: Norway or Sweden. I think Scandinavia’s got this semi in the bag, be it via a more traditional extravaganza or a pared-back performance.
Lose the semi: Portugal. This semi is the toughest of the two as usual, and whilst I think Filipa may get votes from the juries, I don’t reckon the voters will go for her song at all – not with powerhouse artists, acts and songs from the likes of Serbia and Ukraine to pick up the phone for.
Get the biggest round of applause: Sweden, for the second year running (probably in a crab-like sideways manner like Loreen).
Sing best live: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Lithuania and Serbia. I’m yet to hear a live solo vocal from Maya, but she was a great backup for Dino Merlin last year. Donny Montell has proven his worth as a singer and showman more than once, as has Željko, who is one of the most reliable.
Sing worst live: Malta. Kurt is adorable, and I admit it was hard to choose a potential disaster from this lot (so I settled on him) however I have heard he’s had trouble in the rehearsals with certain areas of TITN. I hope I’m wrong and he pulls it together on the night…after all, this is the night to not stuff up (see what I did there?)
Make the best use of the background: Norway and Ukraine. I’m envisioning flashing lights and lots of colour – though hopefully not colour that nauseates, as Serbia’s did in Düsseldorf (and I’m not at all prone to motion sickness).
Have the most boring stage show: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Serbia. I love all three of their songs, but again there isn’t that much that can be done with them when it comes to choreography etc.
Have the best costume: Ukraine. When you’re singing such a summery dance song (and you’re from Ukraine) you’re pretty much required by law to wear something amazing that looks like a rainbow vomited on you.
Have the worst costume: Georgia. I can’t even begin to imagine what Anri will wear. Or do I just not want to?
THE GRAND FINAL
Who will win Eurovision 2012: I’ve been through all 42 entries numerous times, hoping not to be blindsided by a random win two years in a row, and finally, I’ve narrowed my potential winners down to Norway, Italy and Sweden. All three countries have in their possession great songs and charismatic artists, and from what I hear have polished up their stage shows nicely. They are bringing it big time.
Norway’s ethno-pop awesomeness and dynamic presentation could be let down by an off vocal from Tooji – but then again, a winner doesn’t have to have the best voice in the competition, do they Nikki? Anyway, I have a feeling he’ll pull everything together.
Italy has all they need to snatch the trophy. Nina and her song ooze vintage cool, and her performance will no doubt be flawless. When you combine the points that will roll in as a result, with the points Italy will get because they’re still being welcomed back…well, you get a lot. I’ll be shocked if there isn’t a win or a top 5 placing in store for Nina.
Sweden has been the bookies’ favourite and the one to beat since Loreen took to the Melodifestivalen stage for her reprise, way back in March. I know the bookies aren’t always right (we have that in common) but I can’t discount Euphoria from my picks. It stands out from the crowd both in sound and staging. Those of us familiar with it will vote for it (well, the 99.99% of us who love it will) and those who are watching/listening for the first time will get it immediately, I think. The juries aren’t as fuddy-duddy as they used to be either, so don’t expect them to rank the ballads higher than this. Sweden are going u-u-u-u-u-up!
Who will make the top 10: Azerbaijan, Germany, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Serbia, Sweden and Ukraine. I couldn’t bring myself to put Greece down despite the fact they’ve been in the top 10 every year since the introduction of the semi finals. I just can’t see the dated Aphrodisiac washing with voters or juries in 2012.
Who will be left at the bottom: France, Israel and Latvia. But you never can tell. Didn’t we all think we could be headed to Tallinn pre-Düsseldorf?
How the final 6 will end up: I think Italy, Germany and hosts Azerbaijan will place the highest, in the top 10. Spain and the UK should be somewhere in the 12th – 20th range. As for France…well, you can see just above where I think that one is headed.
There. I can shove my crystal ball and tarot cards and tea leaves back in the cupboard until Junior Eurovision now, and step away from my computer for the first time since…well, I suppose this time last year. Whether you’re watching the show live or waiting it out like me, I hope you enjoy your Eurovision experience. I also hope you get über depressed afterwards like me so we can all wallow in our misery together. Seriously, don’t make me go through it alone!
I’m going to attempt some semi wrap-ups over the weekend, so look out for those. For now I’m going to wrap up this long and obnoxious post by saying goodbye, aurovoir, auf wiedersehen, um…
I really need Sofi Marinova to teach me ‘goodbye’ in a few more languages…
What do you expect from Eurovision 2012? Where do you think we’ll be heading next year?